18th November, 1999
The Noticeboard


YEAR OF THE ELDERLY SENIOR CITIZENS COMMITTEE TOUR TO U.K.

Recently the Passage West Senior Citizens Committee organized their first holiday abroad, Blackpool U.K was the chosen destination. On the 6th Sept. 35 cheerful passengers boarded the coach in the early hours that Monday morning. I was privileged to be counted among the happy travellers. We were warmly welcomed by the committee members Patsy, Maureen and Daisy, who introduced us to Tom our driver of Barrys Coaches Mayfield. Light refreshments were enjoyed very much en route to Dublin thanks to the Committee. The scene was set for a wonderful trip. We journey to Dun-Laoghaire to board the Dublin Swift bound for Hollyhead - having breakfast en route.
The ferry was swift - 90 mins approx. saw is safely landed on foreign soil. After a 3 hour trip, most enjoyable scenery we arrived in Blackpool, our hotel “Hills Tudor Rose” on south promenade was a most welcoming oasis having travelled all day, a friendly atmosphere prevailed right through our stay - a most relaxing experience in this family run hotel.
During the following days we toured Granada Studios in Manchester to the set of Coronation Street. This was an interesting, enlightening experience. (Some of our members auditioned successfully as Newscasters and weather reporters!) We then refreshed ourselves in the “Rovers Return” - Well worth it.
The following day saw us enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the famous Lake District in particular Lake Windermere the inspiration for many poetic geniuses very close to Wordsworths’ Lake Grasmere where he saw “A host of Golden
Daffodils”, a lovely trip through quaint Lancaster. That evening our driver led us through 7 miles of illuminations along Blackpool promenade. This experience enthralled everyone. This was a colourful kaleidoscope to delight all ages. The children would have loved the legendary “Alice in Wonderland”, “Teddy bears Picnic” etc.. Many of our group bought videos, so many homes in Passage West will be enjoying this illuminating warmth through the dark days ahead. Special word of thanks to Ian Davis for his video footage throughout the holiday. We also viewed Blackpool from the top of its famous Tower a most exiting exhilarating feeling. Wonderful views of the coastline and dazzling resort with its lighted trains and horse drawn wagons. The tower boasts a fine ballroom, circus and disco. We returned to the “Tudor Rose” tired but happy. We also took a trip to Fleetwood market where the ladies planned to shop till they dropped and some almost did! During the entire trip we were all secure and happy under the caring and jovial supervision of Patsy, Maureen and Daisy they were fantastic and good humoured to each and everyone en route. Our driver Tom was one in a million, we were so lucky as he enhanced the atmosphere right through. We returned each night to our hotel the “Tudor Rose” our haven of rest, but it was much more than that. We wined and dined and danced and sang and were entertained until the early hours of the morning. The courteous staff were a delight and it seemed that our satisfaction was infectious as we befriended other gusts and they as well as the patrons of the Hotel Ann and Stan Hill accompanied us on our tours and all joined in the Sing Songs, The Hills’ performed a duet for us on the final night and the send off was tremendous to the tone set by this group. We left the hotel in a haze of waves and tears. We had become the heart of it all it seemed. Having motored back trough the UK We boarded the Dublin Swift and were homeward bound. Brimful of happy memories and feeling totally refreshed and last but not least full of admiration for the committee who showed their organizing abilities provided us with a holiday to remember.

We look forward to future dates and plans in this talented company.


DONNYBROOK PEDESTRIAN CROSSING

“A pedestrian crossing at Donnybrook Commercial Park is to be put in place by Cork County Council”, stated Deputy Batt O’Keeffe. “The positioning of the pedestrian crossing has been deferred until such time as planning developments have been completed in the area. The Senior Executive Engineer, Mr. Dan Ryan has indicated that it would be pointless putting the structure in place until developments which would directly affect the pedestrian crossing are completed. It is hoped that this work will be expedited”.


MORE PUBS IN DOUGLAS

Over the last few years it has become increasingly evident that Douglas badly needs more pubs. What is also evident is that a lot of regulars [too many] feel as if they are being ' pushed out' by various pubs. The majority of these people have been drinking in Douglas for years and have effectively been treated badly from what I have seen in the last few years. Although it's important to realize that the face of Douglas is changing rapidly , it would be foolish to think that this is or should be the price of ' progress'.
In certain pubs I have seen old men, who were drinking in Douglas thirty years before I was born, get barred for singing a song or simply for having one too many. Publicans are now 'spoiled for choice' when it comes to customers in Douglas, but customers certainly are not spoiled for choice when it comes to pubs. For this reason Publicans seem to treat people as dispensable.
There are as many if not more pubs in Carrigaline as there are in Douglas. Crosshaven speaks for itself, yet if you combine the population of these two towns it would still only be a fraction of the population of Douglas. It's totally unacceptable that so many should be catered for by so few. The pub business in Douglas is very lucrative, and competition is badly needed to give people a decent choice. Many more pubs are needed, and as a young person I find most of the pubs bland and lacking in atmosphere. Publicans don't have to face up to competition in Douglas either, and this is never healthy for the consumer. There were also questions raised recently on 96FM. It was specifically about the possibility of a cartel scenario in the area leading to price hikes. I don't remember hearing any answers from our publicans. Young people don't feel there is a choice of pubs either, this is obvious when you see them cramming into taxi's for town nightly, wondering what the hell Douglas has to offer in terms of a social life.
Niall O’Sullivan, Douglas.


FREE BOOK FOR PENSIONERS

A forty-page booklet, explaining pension rates and claims, is to be issued to all people who are 65 or older. The book will help pensioners identify their social welfare entitlements, their pension rates and how to claim them. It also explains the use of electronic fund transfer (EFT); i.e. having payments made directly into your bank account. It also tells how to go about making complaints. Pensioners will even be asked to contribute their views on how improvements to the system can be made. So hats off to the department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, it makes a welcome change to see the government doing something which is of permanent benefit to the people.


A BRIEF ENCOUNTER

It must be over thirty years since I met Michael O’Hanlon. Recently my husband started to read Douglas Weekly and said “Do you remember Michael, Terry, Jennifer, Paul O’Hanlon (pardon me if I have missed more) who used to stay in a bungalow on O’Regan’s Field?” O’ Regan’s Field is my field, part of my farm as my maiden name was O’Regan. My father, grandfather, and great grandfather farmed there before me, when it was Irish lush pastures and not a bungalow in sight. I looked at Michaels photo and didn’t know this fine young man he has become over the years from the equally fine young boy I had known long ago.
Last week Sean and I were having an ice cream at Douglas Court and Sean called out “Hello Michael” that was when we met again. We spoke about Douglas Weekly and I told him I write in Carrigdhoun Weekly every week so he said “ Why not write something for Douglas?”. Here I am giving it a shot.
I hope to write a book sometime in the future about my own area of Myrtleville, Fennell’s Bay Fountainstown etc from ancient times to the present and show the changing times. I can remember when we didn’t have electricity, piped water, or modern sanitation. We had oil lamps, candles, well and pump water and water collected in tubs and other containers which caught the rain water from the downpipes of roofs and was great as washing water. We brought water for drinking from the pump at the end of our lane. Those of us who were handy, like my Dad made pits in the earth into which toilet matters flowed with the help of buckets of water which we threw down. We were the lucky ones. Others availed of the “Eau de Cologne man” as we called him who called to the dry toilet people and, through a trapdoor, removed the you know what and into a barrel it went and was horsedrawn in a cart to some dump . He was busy in Summer as he went “splash, splash” along the road nourishing the blackberry bushes as he proceeded! Perhaps he gave it an extra flavour for we had the nicest blackberry jam every September. “Would you like a spin on the cart?” he used to ask and we said “Oh, no Sir! Not at all “.
Photos are around when all one can see are the very old whitewashed cottages belonging to farmers and neighbours, lovely quiet people and good neighbours. My Grandmother used to say “Never allow bungalows on your land. If you do trouble can happen!” We did not mark her words!. Every farmer wants a son and Dad only got me, an only child, much beloved, I might add, but not exactly farmer material! He built cottages so that I would be well provided for in years to come and he allowed City people to build bungalows on the land for something paltry like 5 per year.
At first it was the Merchant Princes who came. They were the least fussy of the lot. They had money and were happy with the whitewash and yellow ochered “decor”, if one could call it such! I used to see my Dad and Aunt with a bucket of colour and a whitewash brush and the whole cottage would be done in a day. These people arrived in pony and trap or by train and a jarvey car used to take them out to the Bays. Servants would come with them in uniform as many had large families and much housework was done. This was a bit before my time but I saw the tale end of it before those people went abroad for their holidays when continental trips were opening. Then came more city people who were very nice indeed. We made many friends with them over the years and as a teenager I enjoyed the young company going swimming, boating, and to the Merries with them and later the dances. We used to have little dances and musical evenings at our old farmhouse also. To go back further my Mum decided she would have a shop so Dad built one for her at the boundry of our land and Mr Popham’s land on the track to Fennell’s Bay. Supermarkets were unknown so she did a great trade there for summer only, while holiday makers resided. It was the time of British Occupation of the Forts and soldiers from Camden and Templebreedy used to meet the girls in the large field belonging to Mr Popham. The whole field used to be covered with courting couples eating bags of sweets and cakes and drinking lemonade, all bought at Mrs O’Regan’s, my Mum’s shop! Fr. Impilatus, as jokers nicknamed the dreaded Fr O’Toole, wasn’t around at the time or his stick would be flaying the bushes!
I remember the frequent ocean going liners that used to anchor in view at the harbour and on a still evening we could hear the music aboard. At one stage the harbour used to be cleared of boats and the large gun was used for target practice. You could see the big ball of flame as the shots rang out loud and clear and dogs hid under beds in fear.
The Hippy era came along and everyone wanted his “own pad, man”. If you let a cottage to them you would find strange vegetation growing in household containers! Grass, man, grass! Fellows stared into space, they weren’t the worst and came from nice families. They got along fine later in life. We had a shop in a room at our farmhouse also at one time and later still when I married, my Dad built a shop for us. this was the time I first knew Michael O’Hanlon and his lovely family. Sean got the material and Dad built it without pay and gave us free vegetables to sell there, delivering them door to door. All this made up well for the cost of the material. Years afterwards I inherited the farm and every cottage on the land and many changes came about. I passed on places to my children and now have grandchildren so from great great we are now 7th generation. I could go on and on but I would take up too much of your space and ruin my book to come in the future. Bye Michael, nice to have met you!
Joanna O’Shea (nee O’Regan)


GARDENING - MORE ABOUT YOUR OWN CONSERVATORY


Keeping it warm. You should give serious consideration to providing heat for your conservatory in winter. Although some plants may tolerate low temperatures, most do not perform well when temperatures drop below 8*C. Most people install a radiator as an addition to their household central heating system. How ever if you want to grow a lot of tropical plants or have or intend to have a very large conservatory you will need to look for more elaborate heating. A glance through the Yellow Pages can be a big help.
Flooring; remember that damp proofing is essential. Whoever constructs your conservatory should always include a price for flooring. Carpet is only really suitable if you are using the conservatory as another living room and intend to confine plants to small areas. Otherwise, ceramic or quarry tiles provide a lasting surface in a conservatory with a lot of plants. Windowsills are best covered in an easy-to-clean durable surface such as tiling.
Planting; Different species of plants require different conditions to thrive in. It is easiest to maintain large collections of plants in purpose built raised beds that are installed as the conservatory is built. Ask for design ideas and quotes from whoever is doing the building before they start. On the other hand if you intend to use the conservatory mainly as an extension to living space, you should use pots so that you can move plants around depending on furniture arrangements.
Designing; You can create an image of lush greenery if you take advantage of all the space. Use shelves of pots, trellises on the wall for climbers and hanging baskets with brightly coloured plants to 'catch the eye'. Different plants have different architectural effects; some provide height, others depth, and some act as a focal point. Looking through some house and home-style magazines can often give you plenty of inspiration. More next week.


96FM KARAOKE CHALLENGE FINAL

After nine weeks of competition throughout twelve venues in Cork City and Semi-Finals in The Grand Parade Hotel this week and last, the cream of the crop are now ready to compete in Rochestown Park Hotel this Monday night, 22nd Nov., with one singer winning the jackpot of 2,000.
Karaoke sure does seem to be alive and kicking, with singers coming from far and beyond to enter this competition. With twelve bars represented on Monday (from as far as Fermoy, Mallow and Ballincollig), a sell-out is guaranteed. Tickets are now available at Laser Discs, Douglas, Pro-Musica, Oliver Plunkett St, and Rochestown Park Hotel at 9.50 each.
Douglas Weekly has three pairs of tickets up for grabs for three lucky winners in this weeks competition, so maybe you’ll get lucky !


ASTHMA INFORMATION EVENING

On the 24th November there will be an Asthma information evening in the Doughcloyne Hotel at 8.30pm
The topic of the evening in “The Best Inhaler Ddevice for you” which will be followed by a questions and answers session.
Guest speaker is Sheila O’Driscoll (Pharmacist). Admission ids free and all are welcome.


LAST CALL? NIGHTCLUB!!

Most of us know the nausea caused upon hearing ' last call' at eleven and soon after being turfed out of the pub. Middle aged people seem to be able to adjust to this horror reasonably easily. But to a lot of the younger people the thoughts of going home to bed at 11.30 or thereabouts is depressing. So this is what we do instead when the bell tolls:

Que for a Taxi for a half hour or so [ sometimes more, sometimes less] and pay the fare of course.
Go from Niteclub to Niteclub trying to get past egotistical bouncers on power trips.
When you finally find a club that will let you and Co. in, then you fork out a fiver at least to get in.
You pay a quid to hang your coat up [complete extortion] and this involves cueing when you get in, and when you are leaving.
Spend another half hour cueing at the bar for drink, forking out 2.60 and upwards for a pint [whether it be stout or larger]. I'll leave the expense of this to the imagination especially if you're calling rounds.
Get pissed this is all you wanted to do in the first place.
Find a woman.
Get shot down.
Find another woman
Go back to the bar and note that they've stopped serving pints on draught forcing you to buy bottles and spirits so again the price goes up. Bastards.

Don't forget of course that you can't talk because the music is too loud, and some young one had 2 drinks and keeps bumping into you as she's falling around legless. When you go to the jacks there is always someone spewing in the sink, and it sets off a chain reaction matched only by the Hydrogen bomb. When you finally leave the club, you've gotta queue for about an hour to get home by cab. All the above is just a brief description of what to expect amongst the clubbing fraternity. Although clubs usually make me cringe, I would certainly advocate one for Douglas. I've heard rumours of one on the grapevine, but I can't substantiate it just yet. I have no doubt that the middle class conservatives won't be too happy about the idea of a Niteclub in Douglas this is probably because they don't remember what it was like to be young. So why not have a club in Douglas? The young people should be given the choice and the opportunity not some gobshite who has nothing better to do with his/her time than raise objections about anything that comes into his/her mind. Ballincollig has a club for example as do countless towns throughout the county. The pub scene in Douglas is controlled by a few pubs serving a huge population this is also unhealthy for the consumer and needs to be addressed in the interests of choice and fair play.
Niall O’Sullivan.


KNOW YOUR RIGHTS

Question.
I am in full-time employment and due to have my first baby at end of December. Could you give me some information about Maternity Benefit?

Answer.
To qualify for Maternity Benefit you must be in employment immediately before the first day of your maternity leave. You must have, at least 39 weeks PRSI paid in the 12 month period before your maternity leave or you must have at least 39 weeks
PRSI paid since first starting work and at least 39 Weeks PRSI paid or credited in the relevant tax year. The relevant tax year for a December, 1999 birth is 1997/98.
Maternity Benefit is a payment made for 14 weeks. At least 4 weeks, and not more than 10 of these weeks must be taken before the end of the week in which your baby is due.
Your weekly rate of Maternity Benefit is calculated by dividing your gross income in the relevant tax year (1997/98) by 52 weeks. 70% of this amount is payable, subject to a minimum payment of 86.70 and a maximum payment of 162.80 per week.
Until recently there was a facility for Maternity Benefit to be claimed in stages, i.e. where a newborn infant was kept in hospital and the mother may wish to return to work and ‘save’ her Maternity Benefit until the baby’s discharge. This facility has been withdrawn from 18th October, 1999.
Under the Maternity Protection Act, 1994, the woman must give her employer at least 4 weeks written notice of her intention to take maternity leave. She must also advise her employer 4 weeks in advance of returning to work and confirm this notification (in writing) two weeks before she expects to return.
If you need further information you should contact Maternity Benefit Section, Social Welfare Services Office, Government Buildings, Ballinalee Road, Longford. Tel: (043) 45211 or Dublin (01) 8748444, or contact the Citizens Information Centre.


GET THE LEAD OUT

The Department of the Environment and Local Government and the Irish Petroleum Industry association are running a joint information campaign to highlight thedemise of leaded petrol. The sale of unleaded is to be discontinued on the 1st January 2000 under EU Regulations. Lead is a toxic air pollutant with adverse health and environmental effects. The majority of cars on Irish roads are run on unleaded petrol, as do most cars made since 1986 and all cars made since 1993. However there is still a stock 88,000 pre-1986 cars.
If you have an older car that runs on leaded petrol you still have a few options open to you,

In some cars the ignition timing can be altered to switch to unleaded petrol.
You can change to LRP (Lead Replacement Petrol) which should be available shortly from you local service station. Watch out for advertisements in the Douglas Weekly.
You can get anti-wear additives, which can be added to unleaded petrol. This could cost you 50p to 80p more per fill.
You can have the valve seats in your engine replaced. This could cost about 300 and might not be necessary as most cars work quite well on the other options.

You can use ordinary unleaded petrol without adjusting the engine or fuel but this will eventually cause damage. However careful driving minimises the risk. This means gentle acceleration, moderate speed, low mileage, avoiding high revs, and no towing. If you are in any doubt seek advice from a motor mechanic or engineer or your main vehicle dealer.


Sunday’s Well Swimming Club are holding a Christmas Social ‘Splash’ Supper and Disco on Friday, 3rd December at Blackrock Hurling Club, Blackrock at 9.00pm. Tickets are 7.50. Please Support this Fund-Raising Event.