A Month of Celebration Mixed with FrustrationApril 2017 was a month of great celebration in this area. Early in the month the Opinion/Bandon Co-op West Cork Awards Ceremony honoured 20 individuals, all of whom contributed to either the social, cultural or community life of West Cork. On Easter Sunday Bandon Rugby Club made history when it won the Munster Junior Cup for the first time, and were there wild celebrations! Coláiste na Toirbhirte brought Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin TD to Bandon to lead the 25th Anniversary celebrations of the school at its present location and Clonakilty Street Carnival popped the bubbly as the committee celebrated the success of the unique event in 2016 and launched this year’s carnival on June 17th. There were others also, particularly on sports fields and of course the arrival of the swallow put a smile on many a face as it will on yours, when you see Martin Quirke’s photographs. The colourful buntings flew in Ballinascarthy for the Ford 100th Anniversary celebrations.
In the midst of these moments of joy came the bombshell that Wills Bros Ltd, contractors for the Bandon Flood Relief Scheme had sent a letter of cessation to the Office of Public Works (OPW). Since then, intense negotiations have taken place and as we go to press we are hopeful of a satisfactory resolution to the dispute. To say that Bandon residents and traders experienced frustration on hearing the news is an understatement; anger, disbelief and exasperation would be more accurate words to describe their feelings. Thankfully on the positive side, the Skibbereen Scheme continues without interruption. The announcement that MSD in Brinny is to expand its operations was warmly welcomed. Bandon Summer Show, the first off the mark in the show circuit will be held on May 21st, the unveiling of a memorial in honour of Pat Deasy will take place in Kilmacsimon on April 30th. Kate Ryan takes a look at the upcoming Summer Food Fests and of course the two big social events coming up in May are the Ballydehob Jazz Festival and the Fastnet Film Festival in Schull. Bandon Music Festival will be up next on the June Bank Holiday Weekend with some top bands including The Blizzards and The Strypes.
We received a very positive response to the introduction of our two new columns last month: ‘In My Opinion’ featuring Mary Rose O’Donovan was a real hit and ‘Opinion Style’ also attracted very favourable comments. Up this month come musician and businessman Gavin Moore and Del O’Sullivan of Garbo’s Boutique respectively. Rural Ireland continues to endure an almighty battering from the decision makers in Dublin and we look at the continuing closure of pubs in towns and villages and its effects on older farmers in particular, living on their own.
Finally the Strictly Dancing phenomenon continues unabated, Valley Rovers being the latest club to ‘take the floor.’ It proved a resounding success and the good news is that Bandon is planning one now, which no doubt will give us great entertainment in the autumn, as did O’Donovan Rossa, Strictly Clon and the many other Strictly events.
Until next month