DONEGAL TIMES

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August 13th 2003

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TIMES EXCLUSIVE

Revlin Development
Shot Down by
An Bord Pleanala

Consortium Express ‘Shock and Disappointment’
The Keeney Consortium was yesterday (Monday) verbally notified that their proposed development at Revlin had been refused by An Bord Pleanala. The reasons given for the decision were two-fold (1) The development poses a traffic hazard (2) Its potential to commercially damage Donegal Town centre. At time of going to press this decision had only been communicated verbally to the consortium and we will have a full detailed report with comments from Mr Keeney in our next issue.

Ice Cream, Cowboys and Coal Boats At The Pier

A nice wee anecodote of times gone by in the Irish Times recently in its coverage of the imminent closure of our best known ice-cream factory, Hughes Brothers (HB) in Dublin. Paul Mulhern has worked with the company since joining it as a 16 year old in 1959 - his first job was going round the shops selling ice-cream. But Paul’s moment of fame came some eight years earlier when he was on a panel of school-children on Radio Eireann’s most popular programme. ‘The School Around the Corner’ had come to the local national school where Paul was a pupil. The presenter, Paddy Crosbie, interviewed the children who had to sing a song, give a recitation or tell a funny story.
When Paul’s turn came he started a tale his father had recounted to him on the way to the show. The story was hardly funny. The nine year old told of how he had seen a horse bolt and fall into a hole on the road, injuring itself so badly, it had to be shot. Mr. Crosbie, whose mind had been wandering during the young lads discourse, was jolted back to earth by this disclosure. “And where did they shoot the horse?” he queried “In the hole, sir” piped Paul helpfully.
The nation erupted - nothing quite like it had ever been heard on Radio Eireann. “My mother’s still embarrassed about it half a century later” admitted Paul.
When we were growing up in early 50’s Donegal, HB ices were the only game in town. Later Merville and Palm Grove came on the scene, but it was no contest - to us street-wise urchins, there was only one ice worth the name, that was H.B. Terry Woods Snr’s shop was the place, three old pence the price, Vanilla the flavour and gastronomic delight the result.
The ritual was important and couldn’t be rushed. While we shifted impatiently, salivial juices working overtime, Terry would take the block out of the fridge, release the flap at each end, then slit the covering with a knife. This laid open to view the gleaming white object of desire. The trupences were now sweaty in our palms. But the process was not yet complete. Reaching under the counter Terry would bring forth a type of metal marker with which he would imprint the block into so many 3d portions. Back to the knife to slice off a section, then into the Jacobs tin for the wafers. With these slapped onto each side, finally the longed for article was delivered across the counter in exchange for the grubby 3d piece. Oh bliss!
This is one of the flashes that entered my mind when thinking back on that era, triggering other 50’s memories such as train excursions to Rossnowlagh, Corpus Christie processions, football on the Diamond, Bonfire Nights, Fair Days, sleighing on Millers Hill, coal boats at the Pier, cowboys on the High Bank, excursions ‘up the hill’ to gather sticks for the school fire, Timony’s emporium at Christmas - innocent times - but no less enjoyable for that.
But now the old H.B. is to close. We used to see it on the way into Dublin and nothing marked our imminent arrival in the Smoke like it. We gazed, awestruck, at the buildings that produced such a desirious item as vanilla ice-cream, and thought how lucky the workers in there were. to be able, as we imagined it, to eat as much of it as they wanted, whenever they wanted.

Not Right to Name Priest


What has happened to the presumption of innocence till proven guilty? If the report on North West Radio of a raid by Gardai on the house of a priest in the region is anything to go by, this cornerstone of our legal process is dead in the water. That the station should name the priest and give a detailed description of the operation in advance of any court of law, is wrong. What hope has the man? Even if, at a future date, he is found innocent of any wrong-doing, reports like this will stick - and forever, he is tainted.

Teddy finds Rightful
Owner After 40 Years

The author Kathleen Meehan Roper returns the teddy to Kathleen Meehan McGinty

To celebrate the reunion of the four schools in the Drimarone area, a booklet was produced, edited by Peter Campbell (see review on page 13). One of the stories in the book recounts a little incident that occured more than forty years ago. Kathleen Meehan was a young pupil at Drumnaherk N.S. and one day a wondrous thing happpened...

‘It was during Lent and we were collecting money for Trocaire. We bought tickets every week with our pocket money as we had given up sweets and biscuits for our sins. I had bought a lot of tickets and on the day of the raffle you can imagine how excited I was when the winning ticket was pulled out with the name Kathleen Meehan on it.
Strangely enough there were two of us with the same name in the school at the time, but on that day the other Kathleen Meehan was off.
I collected the prize - a beautiful yellow and white teddy bear and on my way home I called to Kathleen Meehan’s house to check if the ticket had belonged to her.
Her mother, May (a lovely, friendly, kind hearted woman from the west of Ireland) told me to hold on to the teddy and give it to my younger brother, Gerry, who was only a baby at the time.
She said: “We have no children in the house now as they are all getting big; I’m sure wee Gerry would love to have it” (as if he wasn’t spoilt enough already, I remember thinking). Little did she know I had no intention of parting with the teddy.
All the way home I was on cloud nine. I held on to the beautiful teddy wrapped in a cellophane bag, tied up in a lovely blue bow and thought how lucky I was. I had never owned such a lovely toy before. But deep down I had a nagging feeling that somehow it belonged to the other Kathleen. I know her mum said I could keep it and that was fine by me.
My conscience was somewhat clear but I could still see Kathleen’s disappointed face when she heard the news and, to be truthful, I felt that it was her ticket that had won and not mine. It didn’t really matter that there were no young children in their house as her mum, May, had said - even big grown-up children like ourselves would love to have a teddy bear - that was a luxury we had not been used to.
The much loved teddy sat for many years, still in the cellophane wrap with the beautiful blue bow, on the top of the wardrobe in the bedroom - it was too good to be played with - I couldn’t bear to see it getting all grubby and worn in any way, Gerry had more toys than enough to play with - far more than we ever had. He was never short of new games and gadgets. Every night from the bed which I shared with my sister, Maureen, I could see my prized possession.
That summer we had visitors and one little girl spotted my teddy and, of course, she had to have it. My father handed it over willingly, saying: “we have no children in this house now, sure they are all grown up, take it away with you.”
That night the top of the wardrobe looked so bare. For so many years the teddy had sat there, looking down on us as we slept. I knew that my mum was annoyed with my father for giving away the teddy, as she knew how much it meant to me. Rarely did we get such luxuries as this as no one could afford them at the time.
Over the years I have done my best to clear my conscience and just to say, Kathleen, sorry for taking the teddy and I hope that you will not hold it against me’.
Kathleen Roper

But last week, more than forty years later, Kathleen finally got the chance to make reparation for the perceived wrong she had visited on her namesake. On Wednesday night, in the Bluestack Centre, she presented a teddy to Kathleen McGinty saying “I can now sleep peacefully - my conscience is clear”


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