7th October, 1999

Good news for all Church goers, last week St. Columba’s Church has finally re-opened. I can only say that it is beautiful both inside and outside. Well done to everybody who worked on it from the beginning right up to the people who polished the pews for the opening ceremonies. A lot of priests who administered in Douglas during the past 15 years were there on the night. Fr. Vincent Hodnett, Michael Crowley, George O’Mahony, Declan Mansfield were some who are now in different parishes. Bishop Buckley was the main celebrant.
Afterwards there was a social in the Douglas GAA club. The entertainment was provided by Sean O’Se, Billa O’Connell and an excellent musician from Glamire (I didn’t know his name). Billa, as usual, had everyone in stitches. Sean O’Se had everybody on the dance floor and the staff of the GAA club provided tea and sandwiches, washed down afterwards with a few jars. I’ve mentioned it before, events like this bring a sense of community to an area. The person of the night was Father Liam O’Reagan, P.P., who took on the mammoth task and still had time on Thursday night to take the stage and give us a song. Well done to Dermot Keane, the social staff of the club and everybody who made it a fantastic night.
Watching the news the other night I saw armed detectives at road-blocks up the country, carrying sub-machine guns. I waited for the news reader to say that the peace process had broken down, or the UVF were on the rampage. No folks! Nothing as serious as that, it was a travellers funeral!! Later the Garda showed us some of the weapons they had confiscated - slash hooks, pikes, swords, daggers, it was like a scene from the 1798 rebellion. Is this part of the traveller culture? When an Inca King died, the elders used to kill a few locals to keep him company on his journey. I’d imagine a lot of locals took their holidays when the old King was fading fast. “Sorry I missed the funeral, I was booked for the Mardi Gras in Rio!”
A reader from Grange called to the office last week and enquired whether we knew the “Shelly House” was under threat. The Shelly House is situated in what was and still is known as Crichtons Woods, situated in Donnybrook. He drove me up and we walked through land which is being prepared for house building, and its very, very close to the woods. I hope these woods are protected, because we owe it to our childrens’ children to leave them some piece of nature. In years to come when they ask us, “Daddy (or Mummy), what’s a woods?” Our reply might be, “Look it up on the nature channel”. (See article on “Shelly House” by Con Foley on page 10).
Looking at the tribunals on the TV I’ve noticed that the people who appear before it have to take the oath, with the bible in their hand. Yet their stories are conflicting, Spollen and Scanlan. Did I read or hear that they were friends since they were 8 years old? Not anymore, sad!! How many of you remember the suicides during the late 70’s and early 80’s of people who were threatened with eviction by the financial institutions? People who owed them a few months mortgage were told “The Sheriff is coming, get out!” Some people couldn’t handle the pressure and took their own lives, while the people who sent the letters were helping people with pots of money to steal from the state. The poor devil claiming 74 a week from the dole and selling blocks on the side is hauled before the courts to be told, “You’re stealing from the state”, while the very rich man has a senior counsel and can go back to a law introduced by Brian Boru and drag it on until its forgotten, and the next scandal crops up. If Pearse Connolly and Collins could see whats happening would they say, “Oh Liberty, what crimes are committed in your name?”
The well known Douglas landmark, the Fingerpost, is about to get a make-over. Shrubs and flowers will soon decorate our roundabout, and to take a quote from my fair lady, “Wouldn’t it be nice if they did the same to the roundabouts outside Shell and the Douglas Village shopping centre entrance, as the corporation do on the Well Road.” We at Douglas Weekly have been working behind the scenes to get something big happening in Douglas in the next few weeks. More about this shortly.
I know we sometimes complain about semi-state bodies and their employees, but today I met a man from the ESB who is a credit to the Board. Friendly, efficient and obliging, John Courtney from Glanworth take a bow. What did I expect from a Glanworthie, my mother came from there!!
Finally, I would like to thank Con Foley, who wrote “The History of Douglas”. Every so often we use pieces from Con’s book and I believe every classroom in Douglas should have a copy because with people like Con and Michael Linehan (our other local historian), we would know nothing about what Douglas was like in the past, then we would have nothing to hold on to. A sad thought don’t you think?

Bye for now,
Michael O’Hanlon.

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