4th April, 2002

Well, I never knew so many people went to Waterville during long weekends. Like Daniel O'Connell, who was born only a couple of miles away, if I threw a stone in the air last Saturday in Waterville it would have hit a Douglas person on the head.

The O'Hanlon family left for Kerry on Saturday morning. Mother, father, children, grand-children. A four car convoy! We stopped for lunch in Kenmare - my son, who does a lot of travelling, always asks a local to recommend a good restaurant, and somebody suggested "Mickey Neds". It was very good, clean, and the staff were always available to help. The restaurant has two floors, but downstairs was pretty full, so we went upstairs, with a two year old child. We asked for a baby chair but were told that the restaurant only had one, and that was in use downstairs. Not good enough for a very busy restaurant with two floors. Try minding a two year old on a first floor next to the stairs ... not easy!

The grandchildren had their buckets and shovels, we had our picnic baskets - we did not make allowances for the Irish weather, and the two beautiful days before we left Cork (Thursday and Friday) were replaced with wind and rain. But we made the best of it, in between showers the children went looking for crabs on the beach, but the crabs must have known we were coming, they were nowhere to be seen. We stayed in the Smugglers Inn, and that night most of Douglas turned up to eat in the dining room. I'm told a lot of Douglas people have holiday homes here. A good meal, a bottle of wine, a few Irish coffees, and it was off to bed.

The next morning, being Easter Sunday, we went to mass in the local church. It's very community orientated, with the priest reading about job vacancies, FAS schemes, disco's, plays, sports training hours, etc... from the altar. When it was over we called to the shop over the road for a few Sunday newspapers, but no broadsheet Sunday papers. So into the car, into the town, and into the local Centra, again no broadsheets. Like the other shop, "only Sunday World's" and "News of the World". We tried the other mini-market next door, but again, only tabloids. This was only 11.45 on Sunday morning and not an Independent, Times or Tribune to be bought in Waterville. Did the shopkeepers get a supply of broadsheet Sunday newspapers? Did they sell them all in half an hour? We'll know better the next time - set the alarm clock for eight on Sunday morning and wait for the shop to open.

On Sunday a couple of our group went golfing across the road in the golf club. The girls went to the craft shops, another couple went walking to knock off the calories from the night before, and the rest of us went on to the beach - but still no crabs!! It was time to retire to the bar, and there we stayed. We all met later on for our final meal in the dining room, and at about 10.45pm half the party went to bed, while a couple ordered a few drinks and went to the bar, and that was when the sing-song began. Owners Harry and Lucille Hunt, friends and family, and our gang, sang their hearts out, and those Irish coffees were getting nicer by the minute, and it being our last night - what better way to end it with a song.

The next morning after breakfast, we packed our bags and agreed we'd get somebody to take a photo of us all standing out our backs to the ocean. Luckily, local golf pro Brian Higgins of Waterville Golf Club was passing and he took some pictures, although two of our grand-children were sulking, one was crying, because they didn't want to go home. The sun was out and it was a beautiful day, but Cork and work were calling.

My wife and I took the scenic route home, Kenmare, up the mountain into Glengarriff. We had lunch in a local hotel, well, not really lunch, we only wanted soup and a pot of tea. The mushroom soup was a bit watery, and only one small piece of bread with one square of butter. When we walked into the hotel a middle aged man inside the bar counter looked at us with an expression n his face of, "What do you want?" Glengarriff, get a face lift or a makeover, or you'll be left behind, and a smile doesn't cost anything. As a matter of fact, take a trip down to the Smugglers Inn in Waterville, Co. Kerry, and see how the professionals do it. Michael, you should be working for Bord Failte!!

Bye for now,
Michael O'Hanlon.

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