8th August, 2002

Well folks, with the August weekend over and gone, at least we got a few good days of sunshine before we face another long winter. We went away for the weekend, taking a chance, like so many other people, we headed for the Kingdom of Kerry, and where else but to our favourite destination, Waterville. It took us almost half an hour to get through Macroom on Saturday at about 12.00 noon. We stopped for lunch in Mickey Ned’s in Kenmare. Did you ever walk into a very busy restaurant and think to yourself “We’ll be waiting all day” not in Mickey Neds. The service and staff are excellent and the food is hard to beat. One bowl of homemade soup, two huge chicken with stuffing with potato made those sandwiches the best we’ve ever tasted. A pot of tea for two, total cost 12!! Superb!!
Onto Waterville, through Sneem. Incidentally Kenmare and Sneem were packed with tourists and I hope the businesses made a few bob to make up for a terrible season they have had to endure. Waterville was buzzing, the sun was out and a cold bottle of Bud at The Smuggler’s Inn was like nectar.
We met some friends of ours. Jerry and Sheila Russell were celebrating their wedding anniversary at The Smuggler’s. That night in the restaurant I met Louise and Peter French. Louise works in Power & O’Callaghan Insurance Brokers, Douglas. The last time I met Peter and Louise was when I snapped them on their wedding day in St. Columba’s Church. Peter told me that he works for Barry O’Halloran Fitted Kitchen Furniture and he swears they’re the best around. That must be worth an ad Peter!! They were with Louise’s mother Angela, who’s married to well known golfer, Tom Egan, who spent some time on the golf course across the road from The Smuggler’s Inn.
On Sunday we went to church, a beautiful little church on the hill as one enters Waterville. It looks down on the ocean and it’s as close to heaven as you will get. Back to the village we sat on the seats on the green looking out on the ocean. I heard a shout behind me “Douglas Weekly” as four young men from Douglas asked me if I had my camera and of course I had (see photo).
That night we went into the Butler Arms Hotel which was like walking into a pub in Douglas (see the snaps). We were told that there had been a great sing song there that night before with a well known doctor based in Douglas playing a pretty cool piano, but on our visit the music didn’t happen, but the craic was good.
On Monday it was time to return and we took the same route and stopped again for lunch in Mickey Ned’s. We missed Bertie Ahern and his daughter who had been there the day before. I called into Hallissey’s Supermarket in the square. I stood at the counter as the young girl was reading a newspaper, she looked up, looked back down and continued reading. She wouldn’t last thirty seconds in Mickey Neds. She was bored and her expression said it all. I paid for my purchase, she didn’t say “Please” or “Thank You”. She was what my son would call ‘a waste of space’. We continued on up the mountain road into Glengarriff. I’ve said it before. Glengarriff needs a makeover. Don’t let it become grotty because if it does people will pass it by. In Dunmanway I met my old friend Garda Sergeant Dan Sheehan on traffic duty. I knew Dan when he was a young Garda in Passage West twenty years ago, shortly after we were back in Douglas. Verdict! A great weekend, but too short. Time flies when you’re having a ball.
I agree with James O’Sullivan of the Cork Business Association. This rampant clamping is doing great damage to the city centre business community. We all agree that it is necessary when motorists park in disabled drivers spaces, at traffic lights etc., but to clamp some cars on old Blackrock Rd., Albert Rd., Turner’s Cross etc. makes no sense. Why not put a ticket on them if they are not displaying a parking disc. People will cease driving into town because of this heavy handiness. The suburban shopping centres will continue to grow as long as the motorist is treated like a criminal in the city centre.
Speaking of shopping centres, a reader, a very angry reader, who went shopping with an infant last week in Douglas Village Shopping Centre contacted me to ask shoppers not to take the trolleys with the baby seats. She had trouble finding one. She saw two elderly people using them. They’re the trolleys once can take without a coin. So readers, please do not take and use a trolley with a baby seat unless you have a baby with you. Be considerate.
The letters in this week’s issue just about sum up people’s anger and frustration at the condition and lack of toilet facilities in Fountainstown during the August weekend. Thousands of people were there over the weekend. The main toilets were locked and bolted. I showed pictures of them a few months ago. There were two portable toilets there on the weekend and I’m told that they were the worst ever seen. People were looking for hedges, bushes, trees, third world conditions in the land of the Celtic Tiger. Why can’t we get it right?
Speaking of litter, local litter warden Tom Walsh called into the office on Tuesday and we had a long chat. Tom showed me some horror photos of rubbish he had encountered in his job. A picture tells a thousand words certainly rang true as I flicked through them. He told me that he goes around to all the schools and speaks about the evils of litter to the children and older students. I’ve always maintained that it’s only through education that we will bring about change in our fight against litter, a fight we must win.
Finally, for all you people who need glasses, as most of us do, the good news is that Eye Deal have opened a super opticians in our area. At the airport roundabout, turn left, go about 100 yards onwards. John is at hand to help and advise on all aspects of glasses to suit you, and not a clamper in sight!!

Bye for Now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

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