Thursday, November 19, 2015

Update 20th November

Maud and Alice ‘The Dazzler’
Short pieces on what I might reference as ‘old Boyle’ have snowballed somewhat with an enquiry regarding Maud (I don’t know if there should be an ‘e’ there) and Alice Callaghan who had a bar on Elphin Street until 1978 when it was bought by Matt and Kay Smith and became the Hideaway. The Smiths gave it that name as Matt had worked in the Hideaway Bar in Rathmines, Dublin for a number of years before coming to Boyle. They expanded the premises considerably and carried on a very successful business there for a considerable number of years.
A lot has changed in that short part of Elphin Street in very recent times.
Anyway Maud and Alice Callaghan ran a popular rendezvous there for decades. They were of old Boyle stock. Maud was married to a man called Tuite and they had a son Jack and a daughter known as BA, perhaps an abbreviation of Barbara, who married a gentleman called Carlos who went to live in Dublin. The son Jack was involved in the racing business and there is a legend that Lester Piggott once visited the family home in Elphin Street though my ‘go-to-man’ on 'Old Boyle', Frank Tarpey, has not heard of that which puts it very much into question. Maybe I could print the legend.
The sisters ran the pub their way of course, as all publicans do, and it had a social division akin to Public Bar and Lounge Bar. The Lounge was a backroom snug where a particular ‘elite’ group would come together as in a club. In that back room was a fine table and a beautiful twin-oven range which was a memorable centre piece and is always referred to by those who called there. [As an aside I remember the ‘pot-bellied stove’ in the early seventies that was in Aggie Devine Conlon’s which is now ‘The Patrick’s Well’. Of course Kate Lavin’s has its lovely range and indeed is such a unique old-style bar that it is of particular significance generally].  
Alice, the figure-head of the establishment- was referred to by those who remember her as ‘the dazzler’ perhaps because she herself would describe some special people as ‘mickey dazzlers’. Also a bit like Cockney rhyming slang she would refer to a person as a Basil Jarvis, Jarvis being a famous horse trainer in her time.
Alice is described as ‘humorous, thrifty and smart’. The area from what is now the entrance from Supervalu down to Londis was a market area and from time to time the people from the country would bring carts of turf for to sell there. Alice would query a seller about the quality of the turf suggesting that she had bought turf previously that turned out to be of very poor quality and so asked for a sample bag of the product. This she repeated apparently and thus reduced her fuel bill! She is remembered as wearing a black bib and as a smoker of Woodbine cigarettes, "without the sock" as she called it when removing the filter tip of the small cigarette.
Maud died in February 1978 and Alice then went to live with her niece Bab in Dublin.
 *If anyone has a picture including these memorable Boyle ladies I would be interested in that.

Sir Patrick Hannon Boyle Connections
After my paragraphs on Sir Patrick Hannon I had the following piece from Christy (Wynne) to relay his Boyle connections as follows:
    “Having just read your piece on Sir Patrick Hannon and his background I may have a little snippet of information about the man that might be of further interest to you though it goes back goes back to my younger days. Assuming they are correct, the following are some of his connections with Boyle.
     A sister of Sir Patrick married a man by the name of Walsh who lived in a small thatched cottage close to the top of The Curlews, probably the town land of Upper Deer park. Mrs Walsh used call to our shop when I was a child and on one occasion after completing her transaction my mother told me the woman’s brother was a member of the House of Commons and was a very important man. Even then I was of the inquisitive type! Mrs Walsh had two sons Tom and Joe who lived with her on The Curlews. Both of them spent time in Britain during the war years and Joe was a member of the British Army and fought in the 2nd World War alongside another local man and a friend the late Tom Dooley. I can’t say if Tom Walsh joined the army or not. Joe came back after the war and ended up in the old homestead doing a spot of farming on The Curlews, and years later Tom returned to his roots. In time they built a new bungalow cottage on the opposite side of the road which still stands today but is in bad need of repair. Picture goers of the 70s, 80s and    90s would remember Joe Walsh the ticket checker going about with his flash lamp maintaining law and order. He remained on in the cinema ‘til its demise in the 90s. Brian Kelly the proprietor of Abbey Cinema might have a few other nuggets of information on the life of Sir Patrick handed on to him by Joe. Joe’s brother Tom drove a lorry for Roscommon Co. Council until he retired. Both of them have since passed away but are remembered very well by the people of Boyle. They could rightly be called “old stock” and as a family were very well respected. I had many conversations with them over the years, but neither of them ever bothered to bring up the name of their illustrious uncle Sir Patrick or elaborate on his achievements. They didn’t seem interested in having any in-depth discussion about him or about his time as a member of the mother of parliaments”.

Sports Review
Boyle GAA’s under 21s’ had a fine win on Sunday last in trying conditions at the Abbey Park in the ‘A’ semi-final. Well done to all involved. It looks as if the final versus the winners of Strokestown v Clan and nGael will be around the 5/6th of December.
Ireland Qualify for France
It was huge achievement for the Ireland soccer team to qualify for the European Soccer Championships which take place in France next year.  It has to be admitted that they are a limited football side but they certainly showed great heart, courage and spirit, call it what you like, in the games against Germany and Bosnia Herzegovina with each game providing new heroes. On Monday night it was Robbie Brady, Jonathan Walters and the tigerish Richard Keogh. They now join Northern Ireland, England and Wales in those finals. That is something to look forward to for next June.  The group draw takes place on December the 12th which will be watched with particular interest considering the above qualifiers and the possibilities. The organisers will certainly be pleased as all of the Republic’s matches are certain sell-outs, as was evidenced at the Rugby World Cup.

Sebastian (Seb.) Coe
Seb. Coe was part of a golden age of British middle-distance running with Steve Ovett and Steve Cram. After his athletic career he became an M.P. and later Lord Coe. Most memorably he was Chairman of the committee which brought and oversaw the London Olympics. Recently I saw that he was involved in a plethora of organisations at the highest levels. Also he is reputed to earn a six figure sum as an ‘ambassador’ for Nike which would have a high profile vested interest in sport. Last summer he became President of the IAAF i.e. International Association of Athletics Federation after eight years as Vice-President to a dubious Senegalese President Lamine Diack aged 82. Some time ago a couple of whistle-blowers blew the lid on state organised doping in Russian athletics and Coe saw the response as ‘an attack on their Athletics organisation’. In his eight years as Vice-President he 'saw no evil heard no evil'. In a recent newspaper article I read, he sailed close to the wind in his sentiments regarding how one deals with these things.
The shining knight has had the sheen sullied. I used to think that Coe was the example of how a talented sportsman could rise through the ranks and bring that experience of being a participant with him but my admiration for him has taken a big rain-check in recent months.
Of course Coe is not the only example of such with Michel Platini also embroiled in dodgy dealings in soccer administration in the shadow of another wheeler dealer Sepp Blatter. Both are currently serving a ninety day suspension.
Murphy’s Law of ‘if something can go wrong it will’ seems to following sports administrations.

U.K Referendum and the E.U.
The possibility of the U.K voting to leave the E.U. would be a huge blow to the E.U. and to this country. It would create a huge tangle of border, customs and trade implications. The E.U. is going through a major crisis just now and it will be a real test to see if it survives in a really meaningful way. If Britain opts to leave, could there be a domino effect? Could the refugee crisis, compounded by the present security challenges, as evidenced in France, contribute to that as countries try to return to the security of their traditional borders away from the open and impossible- to- secure open continent of today?  Europe is certainly in the eye of a storm and the challenges are huge. The next decade looks like being a traumatic one. Hopefully there is truth in the line ‘The darkest hour is that before the dawn’.
There is understandable outrage at the atrocity in Paris but we might remember that some people were capable of perpetuating similar acts in this country with the Omagh bombing of August 15th 1998; the Enniskillen bomb of November 8th 1987, the Dublin bombings of May ’74 and earlier, the London, Birmingham and Manchester bombings and the various other IRA /UVF atrocities.
One can also go back to an infamous atrocity at Ballyseedy in County Kerry during the Civil War in 1923. What I am saying is that a section of Irish people too are capable of such horrific acts.

The Sad Case of Fine Gael T.D. Tom Barry
There was an echo of P. Flynn and ‘coping with having three houses…you try it sometime’ on an RTE Current Affairs programme last week. It was dealing with the new rental regulations coming on stream.
As the Sat. Indo of the 14th commented; “Fine Gael T.D. Tom Barry really tugged at the heartstrings this week when he outlined the difficulties in dealing with his 10 rental properties in the current climate of rent controls. Surely some kind of whip-around could be arranged”.
Obviously Mister Barry has more strings to his bow than being a T.D. Another one of those brilliant multi-taskers, no doubt.
The Documentary on One, Saturdays at 2.
I happened on this stream of radio programmes in the last week or so. The programme I listened to was titled ‘My Uncle Jack’ (Dowling) by his niece. It dealt with a traumatic childhood, escape, of a kind, to Sheffield in England and his redemption through marriage. It dealt especially with his amazing career as a competitive walker and being ignored by the Irish Athletic Association. It was a fascinating tale told in a straightforward way and I enjoyed it a lot. If you source this series there are a number of other programmes dealing with sport and other topics. I probably do not listen to enough radio as it has much to recommend it. I will not go into the many details here but I heartily recommend The Documentary on One ‘My Uncle Jack’ episode.

The Wizard of Oz
Boyle Musical’s ‘The Wizard Oz’, which I attended on Wednesday night, was a resounding success.
I am not going to critique the show in any great detail just to say that the leads are all excellent with the Wicked Witch of Gráinne Caldbeck being the stand out performance. Dorothy, the Tin Man, and the Straw Man are very impressive and grow in confidence as the show progresses, especially Stephen Tighe as the cowardly Lion. The variety of costumes is superb and the jitterbugging bumble bees are finely presented. The show relies on big numbers of ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’, Yellow Brick Road' and ‘We’re off to see the Wizard’ which form the thematic musical base. Anne Kielty, as orchestral director, contributes her customary hugely energetic talent to the musical canvas. The show, once again, is great credit to Director /Choreographer Vivienne Caldbeck Moran.
There are 70 children divided into two groups involved. This is a huge experience for them and one they will not forget. I imagine a number will be smitten by the stage bug and that some will form the basis of musicals into the future. I can see the fun of the show transfer particularly to the matinee audience on Sunday for it is, in essence, a children’s delight as a story and a show. So congratulations to all involved, and there are many, in another big success for Boyle Musical Society.  
*P.S. If anyone has photographs from the earlier shows, especially ’84 to ’95, Benny Morgan would be very interested in having them to copy and add to his online catalogue of pictures from the shows which can be viewed online at
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