Letter from the Editor
Welcome to a fascinating Christmas Annual
‘Christmas comes but once a year’ goes the old saying and even the most ardent fan of the season would say ‘Thank God for that.’ It seems only yesterday that we brought you the 2018 Annual and here we are again with our 2019 publication. We have a nice mix between modern features, nostalgic and historical stories and some lovely old photographs with a selection of thoughts, reflections and jokes interspersed between them.
‘The Yank on the Plank’ is an interesting account of a gifted American woodturner Matt Gordon, who is also a talented violin player, even while dancing on a plank, often to be seen in Shanley’s Bar, Clonakilty. One night in March 1945, German soldiers arrived unexpectedly at the Galley Head Lighthouse, which is vividly recalled by octogenarian Mary Ruth McCarthy to her daughter Mary Rose ; Bandon’s Therese Kelleher also had an interesting involvement. John Fleming from the Seven Heads was bankrupt nine years ago; you’ll be amazed at what he has achieved in London since being discharged from Bankruptcy, including the construction of the tallest modular building in the world. We remember the Innisfallen, a motor vessel that evokes mixed thoughts and emotions for many of the older generation. Tricia Tyson met Declan Greenway who has spent most of his life in the troubled parts of the world; Kate Ryan of Flavour.ie asked some of her foodie chums the item or ingredient that makes their Christmas Dinner so special; John Bohane reveals his sporting highlights in West Cork in 2019 and we ask some well known West Cork people for their ‘take’ on Christmas. Once again we publish the main events that took place in this area throughout the year. Read Liam Murphy’s account of the re-enactment of Crossbarry and other ambushes for the TV documentary The Brigade.
We mark the 80th Anniversary of the founding of the Bandon Branch of the Irish Red Cross and we salute the late Michael Madden, the one time inspirational principal of Ardfield NS. Like Galley Head in 1945, the village of Schull welcomed some unexpected visitors back in September 1939 when survivors of the sunken Hazelside were brought ashore. Pretty Aoife O’Sullivan will be back in her native Ballinadee this Christmas after a hectic year as Miss Ireland. We recognise the achievements of another Ballinadee person in John C. Lordan, who won the Boston Marathon in 1903. We go down memory lane in Newcestown and we also remember an extraordinary woman in Mary Taaffe who sadly departed from us this year. Five years go, Gay Byrne kindly shared his earliest Christmas memories with this writer and in light of his recent passing, we felt it appropriate to give the article a second airing.
Enjoy our free competitions with up to €1,000 in prizes.
Bringing out this Christmas publication is always challenging and time-consuming, trying to fit it in with our monthly Opinions and for that I am hugely indebted to our hardworking and dedicated team – in particular Jacinta O’Donovan, Helen Glavin and Tricia Tyson. To all our aforementioned writers, many thanks also, and to our photographers who capture the moments. We are very grateful to all our contributors, the design team at Snap, our printers KC Print, our distributors A Cabs, newsagents and advertisers. Please shop local in your town or village this Christmas and we look forward to bringing you the January issue of The Opinion shortly after St. Stephen’s day.
Wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a healthy 2020.