7th June, 2001

A reader asked me to mention the lack of a “Welcome to Douglas” sign as traffic passes into Douglas. There is a small sign put up by the Douglas Lions Club, but the reader feels, as I do, that the powers that be might take a trip out to Ballincollig and take a look at the welcoming sign there, not to mention the flower bed that surrounds it. I’m sure one of my business friends in the Douglas area would sponsor it.
This weeks old photograph is one which was given to us by Jim Wilkins, who I met in Douglas Village Shopping Centre recently. One day, after the meeting, Jim rang the office and asked if I was related to Frank O’Hanlon (I am, he’s my father). He asked if my father was still alive, because, he told us, he knew him when he was a teenager living on Blackrock Road. At the time, Jim lived around the corner in Victoria Avenue. Jim’s [parting words on the phone were, “Frank was a wild young fellow in his younger days”.
There days later, as I was delivering the ‘Weekly’s to the Ballinlough Credit Union, who should I meet coming out of the building, only Jim Wilkins!! We chatted for about twenty minutes, he knew everybody in the photograph, but he didn’t know if the two Lynch brothers in the snap were still with us. Perhaps our readers might let Jim know, through the ‘Weekly. We eventually came around to the subject of “the wild young man”, my father. Jim told me that my father used to shoot tin cans off his friends’ heads with a pellet gun!! “My God,” I said, “If he was a few inches lower!!”. “Yerra”, says Jim, “He was a good shot!” Greetings to William Tell, now exiled in Ballincollig!!
Speaking of Blackrock Road, I got a lovely letter and a book from our old friend Stephen Hunter. The book is called, “Cork Built Heritage”, written by C.P. Hudson and Stephen Hunter. Stephen, like a lot of us, is concerned about what is happening to a lot of our old buildings, and now more than ever in this age of the ‘Celtic Tiger’, we need people like Stephen to protect what is left of our heritage. One of the buildings mentioned in the book is Cittadella, (which we knew as “Bulls Asylum”). Ernie Keeffe and his family lived there. We lived in Springville, which is now an office block. I used to go down to Springville car park last year, and try to remember where all twenty three rooms were situated, the apple and the pears trees, the cellars where the monks slept, the holy water font from which they blessed themselves, the secret passage up to Rochelle (which we never found), the cobbled stables in the back of the building. It’s all gone now, replaced by an office block. Although I did get a laugh last year when I called down to do some business with Southern Advertising, who were based in the building. I told the girls in the office that they were working in my bedroom!! They though I was mad, until I explained the history of Springville. I gave them a photograph of the old Springville and asked them if they had heard the monks walking at night!! Springville is gone, but thank God for memories. We do need people like Stephen Hunter to pass some of our history and heritage on to future generations.
I got a call from the USA last Sunday. The caller was our own Cathal Dunne, singer, songwriter, and the only Douglas man to represent Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest. How ironic today that the song was called ‘Shalom’ and the contest was held in Jerusalem. Anyway, Cathal wanted song words to a tune he’s recording for his latest album. Cathal’s dad is one of life’s gentlemen, Gerry Dunne.
Cathal’s sister Valerie rang me looking for the lyrics to the song, “At the End of the Day”. Most of our older readers will remember it as the closing down song on Radio Luxembourg. I think it was sung by Steve Conway. The good news is that the new album will be out shortly, and Cathal tells me that he will be home in mid September to do a few shows. I’ll let you know where and when. We might get to hear Cathal perform in Douglas, I know some good venues. So, Cathal, if you read this, give me a night and leave the rest up to the Douglas Weekly.
I met local man Dan O’Mahony last week and Dan mentioned my piece last week on giving a little something back to Douglas. He’s prepared to give one acre free to the people of Douglas on which some type of social amenity could be built on. I’ve arranged a meeting of cross-party politicians with Dan to discuss his offer. I’ll keep you informed of things as the develop.
Finally, Siobhan Corbett, wife of Noel (owner of Douglas Electrical in Douglas Village Shopping Centre) shocked me. Noel went on a motorbike holiday to France with some biker friends. Last Saturday Noel rang Siobhan to tell her that he was going to Lourdes!! Words fail me, perhaps Noel went to light a candle for me!!

Bye for Now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

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