- The weather dominated April – let’s hope May will be finer for the start of the summer festivitiesSurely the arrival of May will bring with it fine weather, after one of the wettest winters on record. Whilst the weather is a common topic in this country, it assumed far greater proportions in recent weeks because of its impact on farming, the retail sector, the wellbeing of the general public and our roads. Emma Connolly talks to members of the agricultural community about their difficulties. Cork County Council is resurfacing sections of our main roads but potholes still continue to rule on our minor roads. Torrential rain this month caused Red and Orange Warning Alerts to be issued for Bandon, which is about to see its new footbridge open at the end of May. We bring you an update on both Bandon and Skibbereen Flood Relief Schemes, as well as the Courtmacsherry/Timoleague Sewerage Scheme. Hopefully, finer weather will allow these schemes to progress as quickly as possible as we look forward to the start of the summer festivities including Bandon Show, SeaFeast in Courtmacsherry, the Blue Haven Kinsale Vintage Car Rally, the Butlerstown Variety Group’s 40th anniversary musical extravaganza, the Fastnet Film Festival in Schull, Ballydehob Jazz Festival, Kinsale College’s production of Wilde’s Canterville Ghost and many more events, including the Bandon Music Festival in early June.
It was a great month for sporting success in Bandon with underage rugby teams leading the field with a string of titles. Hockey silverware also came to the town and a local rugby referee Richard Horgan took charge of an international match in Wales. Success also came to some in the commercial sector, as well as a number of new developments: Spearline in Skibbereen continued to taste success, as did Global Shares in Shannonvale. Specsavers in Bandon won a significant accolade and Oonagh Croke relocated her Bella Donna fashion boutique to a fine new premises in Clonakilty. Auto man Ger Seaman joined Dan Seaman Motors in Cork and Cork County Hall celebrated its 50th anniversary. Unfortunately Cork Airport continues to experience turbulent conditions, this time with Norwegian. Meet Sgt. Stubby, the heroic hound who is the star of a new animated film by Kinsale-based Fun Academy Studios. The upcoming 8th Amendment referendum has politicians taking different viewpoints and we ask Margaret Murphy O’Mahony if her ‘No’ stance has affected relations with her leader who favours a ‘Yes’ vote.
Betty Hennessy, Ballinascarthy is in the ‘In My Opinion’ hotseat and Voice Therapist Linda Coyle is featured on our Women in Business page. Strictly Dancing continues to entertain and this month we provide generous photographic coverage of Strictly Bantry and Newcestown. Tricia Tyson caught up with cancer expert, Dr. Tim O’Brien who hails from Kinsale, and we report on a scheme An Post is introducing in Bantry. Our Wildlife & Heritage series this month goes down Rosscarbery way to view the kingfisher and we travel further west for the launch of the new Social Centre in Dunmanway. We remember the Lilac Ballroom, Enniskeane with the death of Big Tom, and It is with profound sadness that we write about the death of our dear friend Hughie O’Donovan, a legend if ever there was one.
The big social event of April in these parts was the West Cork Community and Sports Awards, organised by The Opinion and sponsored by Bandon Co-op. Once again it was a gala ceremony with some exceptional local heroes honoured from throughout the region in front of an audience of 500 people. We give the winners prominence over 8 pages in this issue and are happy to do so as they all contribute so magnificently to the social, sporting, cultural, commercial or community life of West Cork….. a place apart with a people apart. Next year, God willing, we will celebrate the 30th anniversary of these awards – the longest established scheme of its type in Munster, if not indeed the whole of Ireland.
Until next month,