The Galway Bay Fm annual summer roadshow arrived in Milltown on the 24th August 2017 (Thursday). Ollie Turner hosted a three-hour programme in Sheridan’s Bar, featuring a host of local guests. The programme showcased the history of Milltown, its people, heritage, music, sport, drama and businesses.
Ollie: And it’s the summer road show tour for 2017, only two shows left and our penultimate visit of the week is in Milltown. We’ve got a fantastic three hour show lined up including some very special guests joining us a little bit later on in the programme but we are in the home of GAA, the home of business, the home of drama and very much the home of music, so lets kick start with our champion fiddler. Hannah Rattigan is going to be introducing us here live from Sheridans in Milltown. Take it away Hannah.
Ollie: Good stuff. Thanks, Hannah. Ah Cathal Sheridan, good morning to you Cathal. Thanks for hosting us this morning.
Cathal: Good morning Oliver and you are very welcome here to Sheridan’s in Milltown, a special Cead Mile Fáilte of course to yourself returning to your old home village, your old stomping ground.
Ollie: Nice to be back and of course so much history on the walls Cathal as well. I mean here in Sheridan’s I know it’s changed in recent years because you have done a massive refurbishment job but this building we are in, has huge history.
Cathal: Oh Yeah well, as you can see we have six or seven different pictures there of the premises as it has evolved since it was a thatched cottage over a hundred and fifty years ago into the two story building that it is now. As I said a different developments over the years Ollie and as I said everything is going well here for us in Milltown and we are very happy with what we have here at the moment.
Ollie: Yeah, it’s a beautiful village, a lot of people do stop off. In particular I suppose are the jewel in the crown would be the park and you’d see a huge amounts of tourists every summer would stop off in Milltown.
Cathal: Oh yeah, we would have a lot of visitors just to do the Milltown Sli na Sláinte walk or the river park walk there, Frank Glynn will tell you we have won medals, All Ireland medals for that river park walk. People come from Tuam, Claremorris and the surrounding areas just to do that walk everyday of the week.
Ollie: Of course, it’s a great stop off here as well for matches and you’ve had some great famous visits, no more than Mullarkey’s up at the other end of the town as well. It’s very much known as the GAA house as well, You’ve got some famous teams popping into us here over the years as well.
Cathal: Yes from the 1918’s up to the present day teams they pop in on their way by and their way there and on their way back and of course we have the regular supporters bus always stops on their way there and back to Castlebar, Sligo, wherever they are travelling to and it’s becoming known as a spot to stop now and meet up with all the Monivea lads, the Corofin lads, the Mountbellew lads, a couple of the Salthill lads. We have the same regulars that stop all the time and it’s getting bigger all the time.
Ollie: Of course, you are on the N17. So, what’s life like on this busy main through fare?
Cathal: Well, it’s different everyday Oliver. Everyday I open the door here, you get a different feel. We get a lot of business from passing people from Donegal, Sligo, west Mayo around the Belmullet area. We are about two and a half hours from those areas. A lot of people going to Galway, the clinic in Galway or hospitals in Galway. They use this as their spot as their way in for the breakfast and when they have their business done in Galway on their way back out because there is no traffic from here north, there is no traffic so once they get Claregalway and Tuam out of the way, they feel like they’re on the home run from that. So, we have a very good business from that side of things and then from the other side people going to Knock airport, holy Knock. We are beside holy Knock. We’d never go down to it at all. But people are a hundred miles away south of here go to Knock every year and we do see the same faces every year passing by going to holy Knock and of course the airport in Knock is a huge benefit to us here.
Ollie: Of course, you are chairman of the GAA club as well and we had a massive event here in your premises last Saturday night.
Cathal: Yes, very proud to be chairman of the Milltown GAA club the last couple of years. I have another year to do in my five year plan and hopefully move on and pass it on but we had a huge successful night here with an appreciation night for two legends of the past John Blake, Liskeevy and Micko Feerick, Kilgevrin. It was a fantastic GAA night, we haven’t had a GAA night in the village for a couple of years. So, you were at it yourself I’m sure you enjoyed it. It was absolutely brilliant.
Ollie: Yeah, it was amazing. We will hear from Jim Carney in a few minutes about that but they came from far and wide to honour the two lads and I suppose when you talk about Milltown, a great history going right back to I suppose the Milltown John O’Keanes and the last century but of course in recent years, Milltown have a really good senior team and of course going back to their last county title and a great record in staying senior for so long.
Cathal: Yeah, I think we are fifty-six years this year senior without once or twice threatening to be relegated but we managed to win those crucial games. Of course, it’s thirty-six years since we brought the fan to fox town. Now maybe the lads we have at the moment might replace their fathers name on every mantelpiece in the village or something but it’s time we did replace that and I would like to take this opportunity to wish the lads the very best of luck next Saturday evening. They are playing Mountbellew in the championship in the Tuam stadium next Saturday evening. So all the very best to the lads in that game.
Ollie: We’ll be talking to the footballers a little bit later on but Cathal thanks a million again for hosting us here. We’ll have a couple of other Sheridan brothers in the show between now and twelve o’clock.
Ollie: Michael Rattigan, good morning to you Mike.
Michael: Good morning boys.
Ollie: Now we talk about development. I don’t know, Cathal has done a great job here in the pub as well but of course the village itself has changed so much over the years in terms of the tidy towns development and I suppose in practical terms as well, the two big developments from my point of view would be the business park that a lot of people would know from going back to Mr Price or the N17 as it is and the Community Centre, which is now just a real hub of activity here in Milltown..
Michael: Indeed it is Ollie and we are very lucky that we have such a good community here in Milltown and back in 1996, we took the initiative to go and build a new community centre and we have the old CYMS hall up the town and it was going to poor repair and we felt that the only way was to build a new community centre just on the outskirts of town so we went ahead and we asked the local people inside the town boundary, if anybody would put forward a site for us to build a new community centre and luckily enough Cathal’s mother Mary Sheridan offered us the site at a reasonable price and we started building in 1998 and we finished the community centre in 2005 and officially opened it with president Mary McAleese at the time.
Ollie: I remember that day it was kind of a real sentimental moment in the history of Milltown parish because for so many generations. All they knew was the CYMS hall up by the church and now here we are with this big, massive, new modern facility right across from the GAA pitch. I mean there was a lot of money involved in making that happen as well Michael.
Michael: Yes Ollie, By the time we opened it, we actually had it fully paid for and it cost €450,000 which we got a lot of money throughout, from different agencies. I remember when we started, we just had the price of the site. We paid for the site, we went to the parish and asked 30 people for €1,000 loans at the time, we got 28. We put in the foundation with that and we went to Galway Rural Development then after that and they came forward with money for us. We went to the sports capital programme and we got funding from that, but our biggest success was, we went to the parish of Milltown and we raised €120,000. We raffled a Mercedes-Benzes car at the time and it was won locally thankfully but I think we raised on the region of €80,000 or €90,000 on that, so that was a big help to us. We also went to the different organisations in the parish, the GAA gave us money at the time, the development committee gave us money at the time and the church fund gave us money. But, I suppose we’d have to say, we’d be very thankful to the whole parish for the way they responded. And I have to take this opportunity to say that no matter what fund raiser goes on in the parish of Milltown, when the people of Milltown are asking for money they always dig deep. And indeed, I have to say that about people that have left the parish as well, including yourself Ollie.
Ollie: Donal O’Sullivan is here. Something has happened. They are all looking for money now. Stay away from me Donal. (Laughter)
Ollie: Is the community centre debt free now or are you still paying back a little?
Michael: Oh, it’s debt free.
Ollie: That’s amazing isn’t it?
Michael: We were actually clear of debt the day we opened it in 2005 and it’s a good facility to have and I know I was very lucky, I took over as chairman from Tony Murphy and Cathal took over as secretary from Eamon Callaghan. Now, they had a lot of the spade work done. But we were very lucky all along, Liam Glynn was our treasurer right through the whole time and still is, so Liam won’t give anything away too soft. The only thing, we feel sorry for Liam that he is in the parish the whole time and if there is any problem back there, he is the first man that’s called upon. But we are lucky now, we are debt free and we have a few pound in the bank but it’s in use the whole time and we’d have to thank the people that are using it. We’d get a good lot of indoor soccer there which pays for the lighting, heating and all that type of thing. We use it, there are many birthday parties in it, people have their birthday parties there, especially young boys and that. They can play the indoor soccer and have their cake or whatever they want inside the kitchen……..Foróige are there, the brownies are there, the guides are there. There is Irish dancing there on a Monday evening. We also sort of use it for their badminton also.
Ollie: Yeah, it’s a fantastic facility and you mention further back the road where the N17 is now as well that’s a park as well, a business park. That’s really taking off in recent years.
Michael: Oh, it is yeah and it’s great to see so many people employed over there. I’m sure Frank will touch on that later on with you but it’s great, it’s brilliant for the whole community and there is over a hundred people working over there at the moment between everything. So, it’s a great job.
Ollie: Brilliant stuff. Well listen Michael to you and to all those people you have mentioned and of course it’s great to see Tony Murphy and Fran here as well and so many of the great locals who have contributed so much down through the years as well. I’m sure you must take great pride when you drive past the centre and see that it’s there now for future generations.
Michael: Indeed, I would Ollie and I would just like to thank the whole community again for the backing they give us. If we didn’t get that sort of support, we wouldn’t be doing our job. I’d also like to thank the Tuam Herald for their help during the years and yourself Ollie at Galway Bay FM, yourself and Keith Finnegan and all the staff at Galway Bay FM and it’s great to have you here in Milltown. Thank you very much.
Ollie: More than happy Mike
Ollie: Cathal, just before we leave it, we better mention the stand that’s been built here in the pitch as well. I mean the work just seems to never end here in Milltown.
Cathal: Yeah, well we just finished a very successful fundraising committee. Our fundraiser there, we re-seated our stand. We have a new stand going to be officially opened in Easter time of next year now Oliver, 220-seater stand, we have the fundraiser that we have just finished. We didn’t have enough tickets to sell in the end. We sold 220 and we could have sold 420.There was a queue of names of people trying to buy the tickets and in the end we didn’t charge enough for the tickets really to be honest with you.
Ollie: Will we start again, could we?
Cathal: Hugely successful so we will have that stand paid for by the time we open it. We hope to have Galway playing one of the local county teams here maybe Mayo or somebody, Sligo, hopefully Mayo sometime next Easter, so we will be asking you maybe to come back and to officially open the stand for us in Easter time in Galway Bay.
Ollie: We’ll be along for that for sure but of course I have to ask, I mean because you’re here, I mean the rivalry with Mayo must be unbelievable. You are only literally a couple of miles from Irishtown and the Mayo boys.
Cathal: Absolutely fabulous around the Galway, Mayo match around here, I’ve 12 staff here and 4 or 5 of them would be staunch Mayo people and good friends of ours and we are so close to the boarder. We are very friendly with the Mayo people. A lot of my customers would be Mayo and the banter around here when there is a local match on would be fantastic.
Ollie: Well we’ll be shouting for Mayo on Saturday I suppose even if it’s through gritted teeth.
Ollie: Some of them will, some of them will (laughter). Tongue firmly in cheek as a lot of eyes are thrown up to heaven. Ah Cathal and Michael thanks a million for talking to us we are back here live in Milltown in just a minute.
Ollie: And you are welcome back to Sheridan’s in Milltown for our summer road show. Ciaran Murphy, good morning to you Ciaran.
Ciaran: Good morning Ollie, how are you?
Ollie: Great, busy at the moment. Second captains and all that and of course we are getting into the real business end of the GAA season.
Ciaran: Yeah, so obviously we are right in the business end as you say and we have a RTE radio 1 show every Sunday morning that we have been doing for the summer time while Mary O’Callaghan is off presenting TV shows. We step into the breach for eight weeks and we’ve had a great time doing that as well. So mad busy but delighted to be back in Milltown. I’m not in Milltown half enough, so excited for the excuse to come home.
Ollie: Yeah things have really taking off for you in recent years, haven’t they?
Ciaran: I used to work on Off the Ball in News Talk, the sports show that some people might be familiar with and four years ago we left there to set up our own media production company. We have done the TV show “Second Captains Live” the radio show. We also do six podcasts a week and two of those are free on Monday and then we have a subscription service which we launched in February which has actually taking off fairly well as well. We are kept busy, you know, you are talking sport Ollie as you know it’s hardly work when you are doing that.
Ollie: Of course, you played for many years for Milltown as well.
Ciaran: Yeah well yes, with varying levels of distinction I think it’s fair to say. I would have come on the scene actually when you were a goal keeper. I remember actually one of the first games I ever played for Milltown. I was obviously pretty enthusiastic. You were in goals and I decided at one stage that I should really run for a short kick out. So obviously I had miss timed this run completely. You were looking at me like I was an idiot and roared at the top of your voice down here in the pitch in Milltown “Have you the leaving Cert sat yet Murphy?” as if to say I am too stupid to even be there. So that’s one of my major forwarded memories of my time playing Gaelic football with you but you were always very encouraging but sometimes tough love is required as well.
Ollie: You know this is a guy that played behind the likes of Eoin Godwin and Padraig McHugh for many years so you can understand the odd frustration coming out as well. It’s lovely coming back though I mean do you get to see many matches, any club games in Galway?
Ciaran: I try and see as many as I can when I am home. I haven’t actually seen Milltown at all this year but I know that they are doing great work with Dessie Dolan and you know the lads that I have been talking to have been really happy with how things are and the game on Saturday is absolutely going to be a huge game. We seem to be forever playing Mountbellew – Moylough. It’s like ground hog day. We get Mountbellew again in the championship but no not quite as much as I would like but I know that the names that I played with the stalworths that are sort of my age that you know 34/35 still very much in the business for Milltown. It’s great to see such amazing service. I mean Diarmaid Blake is playing. This is probably about his 19th season in playing senior football for Milltown which is in itself is pretty spectacular.
Ollie: Yeah, it’s an amazing day I suppose longevity is very much in the family with his dad John playing for many years as well. I suppose one of the perks of the job as well is that you have meet so many sports stars and so many different codes over the years especially with Second Captains. Who is the stand out guys for you that made an impression?
Ciaran: God, we often get asked this question, I never really have a great answer for but I mean we would have meet Roy Keane a couple of times until we really annoyed him, so he doesn’t talk to us anymore but I remember meeting Roy Keane actually and I remember just being amazed, I was probably 6/7 inches taller than him and I probably weigh 4/5 stone more than him. He is a tiny fella, you know 5ft 10 / 5ft 11, no muscle mass like.
Ollie: Like you?
Ciaran: Yeah, exactly but just an extraordinary character and I suppose to spend anytime in his company was kind of instructive really, yeah know?
Ollie: Yeah and he has an amazing aura about him, isn’t there?
Ciaran: That’s a nice way of saying it, you’re scared out of your mind of him really, which you know is kind of the key thing really but the ruby players we have Paul O’Connell in our studio for our podcasts a couple of months ago and that was something else as well and an absolute gentleman but to be fair that whole line about never meeting your heroes is not really the case. The thing about Irish sports people, they are so relaxed and humble. I mean I remember actually when Padraig Harrington was on the TV show, that was actually one of the times that dad was up at it and it’s really nice to sort of look over your shoulder and see your father deep in conversation with 3 time major winner Padraig Harrington. It’s kind of a pretty odd set up you know. All those guys are great valets, it’s a privilege to meet those guys and sit and have a chat with them for 10/15 minutes.
Ollie: I suppose. What’s in the pipeline now Ciaran? Anything coming up in the next few months?
Ciaran: We are just finishing off the RTE Radio 1 series this weekend. We have Clare Balding on the show. We’ve had Adam Hills and Lenny Abrahamson the Oscar nominated director and actually a wonderful woman who lives in Galway, Dorothy Cross. She is a visual artist who is actually also is a five time national swimming champion so we have had her on this week. Once we have that done, it’s back into the podcast and that’s the plan at the moment but yeah it’s all go. It’s a brilliant thing to be into forever constantly evolving. So podcasts, even 5 or 6 years ago seemed very small but now it’s kind of growing with every 6 month period more and more people are getting interested in it, getting involved in it so secondcaptains.com, if anyone is out there wondering what the hell we do our time.
Ollie: No doubt at all you will be very popular. Of course, the final point Ciaran, the hurling final, I’m sure you will be at that? Is this finally going to be Galway’s day?
Ciaran: Yeah well, you know you would have to think so. They have been favourites ever since that brilliant league final performance in Limerick in April and it’s the way that they have kind of Frank that form, the way that they have lived up to the expectation would actually give you a lot of hope that this term around the favourites tag isn’t going to be a major obstacle for Galway. And I think as well it’s time for them. I think that they have the right mix of physicality in hurling and all the rest you know I think they are the favourites and I think they deserve to be the favourites. Hopefully it’s a 4/5 point win but as you know Ollie it’s a little confusing the Murphy household because my dad is a Waterford man so we kind of shook hands after the Waterford. I was absolutely up for the Waterford – Cork semi-final as well, shook hands at the end of that and said we’ll talk on September 5th, that’s it. (Laughter).
Ollie: Don’t tell me he is still, I suppose he’s still harbour at the love of the day Sham Shorey. Is he still shouting for them?
Ciaran: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, I mean I kind of thought that maybe there was a choice for that but there was no choice for you what so ever. He was in the square in Dungarvin in 1959 for the last time Waterford won the All-Ireland so I suppose that’s a pretty long time to be waiting 59 years. We will give him that, I suppose if Waterford wins, he can go back to shouting for Galway then after that. It’s amazing actually because Waterford would be our second team. We would have hurled a bit with our cousins down in Waterford and all the rest of that. So yeah, It’s confusing in some ways but I mean we’re Galway Bay so we will be shouting for Galway but yeah, it’s not quite as bad as loosing to Kilkenny or Cork or Tipperary or anything like that. I mean we can always join the Waterford celebrations with our cousins down there if things go badly.
Ollie: Thanks a million for chatting to us. We’ll talk to your uncle Jim in just a second, but I am just going to break away to the phone lines to join the minister for state Mary Mitchell O’Connor. Of course a proud Milltown woman. Good morning to you Mary.
Mary: Good morning Ollie. How are ye all in Galway?
Ollie: We are in great form here in Milltown. Of course, you know the place so well having grown up here, and I have to ask you straight off I suppose. When did politics first enter your mind as a possible career?
Mary: Well I actually learnt it at our kitchen table there in Milltown, in my home. You know where it was a focal point that kitchen table and sitting around and arguing and anyone listening to me in Milltown will know. We used to argue about water, water group schemes, football teams, football matches all of that and my father would have held forth at that kitchen table. So I learnt from that and I put all that then, I learnt all that and then I was really you know lucky and delighted to be elected in Dun Laoghaire.
Ollie: You are focused now very much on education Mary and of course working with Richard Bruton and obviously it is a very exciting time for an awful lot of students now heading towards third level. Something I know of course you keep close to your heart in terms of all the issues that are there for students now, in terms of accommodation, the points race. Of course, you were speaking as well at the announcement of the multi million euro initiative to widen access and I think is that something that is close to your own heart? Making sure that more people get the chance to go to college?
Mary: Absolutely and you know I was very lucky along with many of the children that went to Belmont school with me that did get a chance to go on and do third level education and many didn’t and stayed at home and really still had very successful lives but obviously my job now as the minister with special responsibility for higher education, want to encourage as many children from all across from the different specturms of society to go and to grasp that opportunity and it’s our duty as a government and as a minister to ensure that you know that there is equity of access for us people that want to go to college, and that you know should be in college, and that you know aren’t kind of under pressure because of lack of funding or other aspects that maybe there for them, challenges that maybe there for them.
Ollie: ………Pay for teachers that’s ah something else that you have been speaking about in recent times.
Mary: Well look I just believe that young teachers are in a classroom. Obviously I know that and I understand in incremental scales that all of that minority but I do believe that for younger teachers you know that have qualification, now takes up to 5-6 years to qualify then that when they are in classrooms in 2 classes right beside each other, there should be equal pay for the equal for those teachers, for those young teachers.
Ollie: Do you get a chance to come to Milltown Mary very often?
Mary: I did actually, I was down last week as people in Milltown will know, my dad died recently so obviously I try and get to see my mother. I usually have a flying visit and I might come down early on a Saturday morning or early on a Sunday morning and I would drive back that afternoon. So yes, I do and I mean it’s a beautiful village. It’s as you know, it has won many tidy towns competitions. It’s a really pretty village and a lot of effort is put into the village but the one thing that I’d like to say is what I got from Milltown: I went to school in Belmont National School and there I got a wonderful education from I don’t know back then many of our listeners will know Mary Sheridan they know Sean O’Callaghain and my own mother taught in that school as well. I got a wonderful education. You know that has enabled me right through my life and those, not just a kind of formal education but an education for life and I got that in Belmont School and I also went to school in Ballindine so in county Mayo. So that gave me a love, a love for football in GAA, there was a great rivalry actually between Mayo and Galway and am I’ll certainly be supporting Mayo on Saturday and then please god Galway on Sunday in the hurling.
Ollie: Brilliant stuff. Listen great to hear from you Mary Mitchell O’Connor the minister for the state, the department of education. Thanks for chatting to us live from Dublin and of course you can’t ever have enough connections here in Milltown so having one in Dail Eireann. I’m sure will stand us in good state. I have got to take a short break. Jim Carney is standing by with his first contribution. Will be looking back at the beginnings and the great history of GAA here in Milltown just after these.
Ollie: We are live in Sheridan’s of Milltown for our Summer Road Show and we have so many brilliant, talented musicians here in Milltown. We’ll get two more of them in now. Here is David and Laura Flanagan (playing banjo and tin whistle).
Ollie: Great stuff from David and Laura Flanagan. Brilliant stuff as well. Ah the texts are coming in thick and fast as well. Ah James from Moycullen. James you must have misheard me a little bit early on. It wasn’t me that wished Mayo any ill luck through gritted teeth. We are all shouting for Mayo here, it’s just we are on a border village Jim Carney invariable there are rivalries whether it is in Clonbur or Milltown or anywhere along the line of a county boarder. There is always going to be those that will take the rivalry a bit too far but of course here in Milltown, they would very much be at the centre of all things footballing in Galway going back to Noel Tierney and the three in a row team. One of our greatest sons.
Jim: Yeah, It’s friendly rivalry though Ollie, there is no doubt about that. I mean some of us here are old enough to have walked the fairs in Ballindine when we were young you know. It’s friendly rivalry really and I think once one county is out, I think they will support the other in that and that’s all part of the banter, that’s all part of the crack. I don’t think anybody ever really takes it.
Ollie: You are talking about Noel Tierney one of the greats of all time that still is an iconic figure here in Milltown.
Jim: Yeah and on Sean Brennan captain of the 1971 team great. A great Milltown man from a great footballing dynasty as well, the Brennan’s of Liskeevy at our big night here last Saturday night. Sean gave a lovely mention to Noel, you know he is in good form again he is in great form Noel. And he is always remembered I think for the glory days of the three in a row especially. And for his role in Milltown for winning the Frank Foster cup for the first time in 1971 as well. And you know his brother Fr Peter you know he crossed there. Fantastic footballer as well. They reckon the best footballer probably of his era in Galway in the 1950’s but he of course was lost to the game through the missionaries. He spent his life abroad and came home, loved to come home but couldn’t play football of course at that stage. He used to love farming I am told. The one thing he always looked forward too and Frank Glynn would know this was to go out farming and of course Noel had a farming life as well and you know they will never be forgotten, those men will never be forgotten. And Noel Tierney will always be regarded as you know the great full back of his generation. One of the greatest fullbacks of all time but he would also be fondly remembered of all time for the great service he gave to Milltown as well. That lion-hearted mentality he had. He was a Milltown man first and foremost I would think, yeah.
Ollie: You talk about great service to Milltown of course when you mention Milltown, one name, sinuous with us is the Glynn’s. Frank take me back to I suppose the start of Glynn’s and where it all began of course the shop and hardware here right in the centre of the village.
Frank: My mother’s uncle worked here as a shop boy in years gone by, the turn of the century and he emigrated to the states then. The shop was owned at the time by McDonald’s who had five shops in this area. They had one in Tuam where the AIB bank is now and the famous John O’Keane worked there that you mentioned a while ago. So they are stories on him but he came back in 1913 and bought back the premises then and the strange thing about it is that he worked with PJ Kelly who had a singing pub in Glenamaddy here before they went to the states and PJ went before him and PJ sent him a letter and said there is good jobs out here come out. So, he was PJ’s boss here in Ireland before he left and he was working for PJ in America when he got there but the two of them came back Michael Noone, my mother’s uncle bought the place which is Glynn’s now and PJ was from Dunmore, bought the pub in Glenamaddy which became the famous singing pub.
Ollie: Great history and of course now you move on through the decades of course as well a flourishing shop and hardware business right through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and I suppose it was very much iconic in part of life here in Milltown and so many people worked over the years, so much employment over the years.
Frank: Oh yeah, one time we had 68 people working I think all together but the 2007 took, we took a heavy bet in that and the building just came from 100% down to 0 almost and there was no employment, so people had to leave. Well prior to that I suppose machinery came in like forklifts and where you had two people on a lorry then you had only person on a lorry where you had maybe three in the yard or four, you had only two. You know the mechanical end of it took over like for some of the jobs but at the moment they are building in the west of Ireland anyway, I don’t know about inside the Pale in Dublin but the west of Ireland is just devastated.
Ollie: Yeah, when did you first get involved in the tidy towns side if things then Frank?
Frank: Ah, we got involved in the tidy towns in the very late 50’s, no early 60’s, early 60’s and one day Willie Burke just said, the developer of association, Willie said Do you know we should join the tidy towns and help out the old village, do something for it? So we did and we had our first success in Virginia in 1964 I think that’s a long time ago, over 50 years ago. We won the Endeavour award at the time. At the time the Endeavour award which is now a county award was a national award at the time. The Endeavour award covered whoever got the highest increase in marks from year to year, You know so 64 we got that in Virginia and that was the beginning of the tidy towns. Within the tidy towns every year since we’ll say some people might win for 10 years and something happens and there is a break for a year or two like Ballygar we’ll say but they come back again but in the early days in the tidy towns I suppose it was Ballygar, Joe was a football man from Donegal.
Ollie: And of course there was great rivalry over through the years as well because there was a great competitor streak there between Abbey up in Loughrea, Mountbellew there as well and others as well of course with Milltown and it got very competitive.
Frank: Well, the earlier days, Portumna and Ballygar and Mountbellew were the big 3 in it. You know and recently then it’s Abbey, Loughrea or Abbey Duniry and Milltown.
Ollie: That Ballygar man Frank, the Donegal man.
Frank: Joe Sweeney from Gortnaher, yeah Joe Sweeney Gortnagarking in Donegal. Joe pioneered in Ballygar. While Joe was alive he kept it going, exceptionally well.
Ollie: Well, listen lads we’ll keep the conversation going on the tidy towns and all things Milltown. I have got to take a quick short break, We are back with Frank Glynn and Jim Carney in just a couple of minutes.
Ollie: Some texts coming through to 53995 to us live here in Milltown. Can you play requests for all working hard in easy solutions in Milltown. Thanks from Mary for that and another Mary says the first time I saw Druid from Mike Lawry was in CYMS hall in Milltown where they were putting on MJ Molloy’s the Wood of the Whispering. Well, we will be talking about the late great M J Molloy, one of Ireland’s great playwrights in the next hour but I am in the company of Jim Carney and Frank Glynn. I suppose without understating or overstating it Jim, the contribution that Frank Glynn has made to Milltown and to the tidy towns. It just can’t be overstated.
Jim: Yes, well Ollie, there are people here in the parish Ollie who have been doing things all their life and then retire in 65 or 66 and then they just live quiet lives and you don’t hear from them again. Even the last night here at the football you know what I mean, two men here had big birthdays recently, they hit the big four score, Ja Connolly and Paddy Forde, two magnificent Milltown football men and you know they are as passionate still about football, about Milltown, about the community as they ever were and Frank is absolutely the embodiment of community service all his life. Now my brother- in-law Tony Murphy has been mentioned here already. Now, he has been involved with him now too. But the more experienced that Frank becomes in life you know and the longer life is for him, the more active he is really. Now, he has a family now of course who can run his businesses plural for him now but of course in Tuam and Milltown but now he doesn’t have to do that anymore really as I am sure he is never really far away from it. But his tidy towns is probably his monument but he is involved in so much more as well and I was delighted that you mentioned one thing there Ollie, he was a great employer down through the years.
Ollie: For sure, as I know first hand. Many a couple of grey years I had in the hardware in Milltown. But Frank talk to me about I suppose about a couple of the real jewels in the crown. We talk about in the tidy towns, the river walk that attracts so many people to Milltown. I even see wedding couples going down there every weekend taking photographs. You’d see the stretch limos coming in and of course the cottage that’s used to such great effect all 12 months of the year.
Frank: Ah it is, it has taken on more than we have ever envisaged. It all started when we were building the new church and they wanted a place to dump the rubble of the old church, the stone. So a local engineer here at the time, lord have mercy on him now Jack Gibbons from Shrule suggested to us that why not build a children’s playground and ah if you could talk to Mullarkeys there, the old fair green is there and the rubble from the church could be dumped in it to raise it up from river level and it all started from that. We built the tennis courts then and that started in 69, back in 69 and we got grants then and gradually built the tennis courts and the children’s playground and that sort of thing, having completed that then, the old P.P the reverend Malachy Concannon who was a Tuam man said that would be a lovely place for me to say my office everyday, why don’t you put it in a little walk down around the river. (Laughter) So, we started on it anyways and we got access to the stank what they used to call the stank for keeping, it was built in the old days 100 years ago or more to keep the water into the mills and we put a bridge across and started from there, the river walk. So it’s the river walk has gone on I suppose since 1972 or 73 when we started. Of course it’s still not completed but you know we won first in Ireland for it at one stage. Later than that then we bought the island.
Ollie: And of course that’s where the cottage was built. So, We’ll talk more about that in the next hour but I am just conscious of the time as we creep towards the news at 10 o’clock and one lovely text in from Joe Burn, who says it’s lovely listening to Frank Glynn he served in the county council with my late father Toddy many years ago who spoke very highly of him, as they do here in Milltown. We are taking a short break but we have loads more to talk just after the news, come back to us in Sheridan’s.
Ollie: It’s heritage week running until Sunday as well. Pauline Connolly here is with Milltown heritage trail and of course so much to see and do out around Milltown for heritage week Pauline.
Pauline: Yeah, absolutely as you have there Ollie, you have the Milltown heritage trail booklet which was officially launched last year, it’s divided up in to three sections, the actual trail, heritage areas of interest around the village and notable people around Milltown. It would be great now to see people out and about doing the trail and the booklet is available in local outlets. As well as for heritage week, we are also open. Our heritage room which is based in the community centre and that’s open. People can come in and view a collection of artefacts and memorabilia that are on display. I’m involved as well through ICAN network. It’s the Irish Community Archive Network and we collaborate with the National Museum in Turlough and Galway Community Council and other community heritage groups and it’s through that network that we get involved in a load of projects and some of our projects would have involve the townland project which we would have started about 3 years ago now and there is a comprehensive record of each townland in the parish now recorded and they’re published on our community website which is milltown.galwaycommunityheritage.org and I’d like to welcome Mary Ann and Craig who has travelled all the way from Virginia. They actually came here 2 years ago and they are now re-visiting the village and it’s because of all this, we now have a platform through our website that we are being connected with people around the world.
Ollie: Sean Connolly joins us from our neighbours in Skehana as well. What have ye planned for us Sean for heritage week?
Sean: Our big event is on tonight actually in Screens of Guilka and it’s history of the quaker, modern farming in Conas town and it’s given by Sir Rob Goodbody who is building historian and a member of the historical committee of the religious society of friends and he has published many books on the subject and indeed lectured far and wide. We’ll also have a model of the actual farm buildings and the courtyard there it was constructed some years ago when Comas town themselves honoured the quakers and their contribution to the famine relief in Ireland back in the 1840’s and 50’s and Alfie Diál who’s parents worked on the farm actually designed and built it to scale and that will be on display and we are very thankful to Alfie indeed for providing that for us. So we are looking forward to a great night in Screen as gaeilge. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Jimmy and Becky for there contribution and sponsorship towards that, this event tonight. And if I may on cultural night on the 24th of September, we are having a great night in our community centre and our guest of honour that night will be our own Mary Costelloe the author of Academy Street. Award winning author and we are looking forward to meeting her and to have her and to have local talent there as well.
Ollie: Brilliant stuff. Well, get out and support your local heritage week projects that’s for sure. You talk about heritage Frank Glynn, who stays with us. Of course one of the biggest and most famous items in the national museum is the Lurgan Log Boat, but how long is that in the museum now?
Frank: The Lurgan log boat was discovered by Paddy Coen’s grandfather in 1902 in Lurgan bog down here and it’s the largest site in the National Museum. It cannot be photographed from inside of the museum. So the best photographs we have are the one’s that were taken when it went to Dublin. It went up to Dublin from Milltown railway station at the time. Two carriages and it was in Tuam for a day or two. Some of the Tuam people took souvenirs off of it with there pin-knife and that sort of thing and they had to put it under protection. But it is, it’s dated 2,500 BC which means that Milltown was inhabited, we’ll say back to 4 and a half 5,000 years ago and you generally find in Ireland where there is good rivers the people came up the river where there was no roads. That’s probably going back. They don’t know what the log boat was used for but it is a prize item there.
Ollie: Of course you mention the river there an it is very much the focal point, the centre piece of Milltown. It’s where the name came from obviously having the mill there over through the years.
Frank: Well we had two mills there. There was one here in the village, O’Grady’s mill and Birmingham’s. The landlord had another one just down, it’s on the banks of the river walk there in the townland of Lack.
Ollie: Mentioning the river of course, angling is such a big part of life all along the river Clare as well. Sean Nestor joins us as well. Sean, I mean how good of a river is the River Clare from an angling prospective?
Sean: It’s starting to improve now. Up to this, nine years ago there was virtually empty of fish but through the extreme enhancements that we have done, fish has come back in real big numbers now.
Ollie: What kind of fish are we talking about?
Sean: We are talking about salmon and trout. It started off as a project there on the Dawvros stream. It was down to about two reds. Reds are where salmon lay eggs and we did a project on it and put gravel into it and as a result the following year 80 reds were in it. So that’s the success we’ve had on that. Now we are part of Cairde na Clár, it’s a group of six angling clubs there on the Clare river and we put money into a fund that carry out stream enhancement and at the moment we are doing major project on the grange river where we have spent 20,000 at this moment. There is also the salmon conservation fund and there has been a scheme done in Liskeevy this year where 300 tonnes of gravel have been put in. We are also doing work on the Flaska river in Dunmore and we intend to do the Abbert river. So it’s looking good for the future.
Ollie: Well, but it’s a constant effort to replenish. John Gavin was with you and of course with a river like that as well John comes all sorts of wildlife and one thing thats in the Milltown heritage trail, you do get to see some of the amazing wildlife along that stretch of the river Clare.
John: You do, you do.
Ollie: So talk to us about some of the ducks in particular otters you can find anything really along the line, couldn’t yeah?
John: It’s amazing just how much there is. If you have a walk down there yourself especially early on in the mornings.
Ollie: I suppose protecting those species is important as well isn’t it?
John: It is yeah, I’ve got the task of keeping a mink down and that’s a never, a never ending
Ollie: A never ending battle is it?
John: It is yeah.
Ollie: I suppose Sean in terms of the interest then, I mean would a lot of people come from, I mean you talk about the local angling clubs that are here but I am sure that a lot of visitors would call to Milltown as well and use the facilities.
John: Of course yeah, it’s only yesterday we had two anglers from France that wanted to fish you know so. It’s all about putting fish back into the river and improving the water quality that’s what we are about.
Ollie: What about the next generation then John? Is there much interest in a lot of young fellas getting involved in fishing now or around Milltown?
John: There is a few people coming and asking to join the club. It’s good to see like young people taking an interest.
Ollie: Well keep up the good work lads. Angling has always obviously been a big part of Milltown and the facilities that are there. Thankfully it lends itself. We’ve got loads more of live music to come here in Sheridan’s in Milltown. I have got to take a short break and then we are going to be back and we’ll be talking to some more guests. Join us back here live in Sheridan’s in just a couple of minutes.
Ollie: And you are welcome back to Sheridan’s of Milltown. Time for some live music now. We’ve got Breffini and Niamh Molloy with Hannah Rattigan who you might have heard opening up the programme. Alright girls lets take it away. Some live music here in Sheridan’s of Milltown. (Music) (Instrumental)
Ollie: Wonderful live music here in Sheridan’s in Milltown. Thanks to the Molloy girls. Breaffini and Niamh and to Hannah Rattigan as well for joining us here. When we look at the Milltown heritage trail booklet, I always skip forward to the end where it says notable Milltown people and their legacies. We haven’t quite done enough Jim Carney to merit a inclusion but 2 men who have are M J Molloy and Christy Molloy. Christy, of course who would be well, well known as a teacher for many years in Belmont where he became principal and then of course sixty years ago moved to the old boys school in Milltown as principal where he is still fondly remembered the late Christy and of course the late MJ who was one of Milltown’s most famous sons and one of Ireland’s most noted play wrights and his nephew Ja is with us here. Jarlath good morning to you.
Ollie: I suppose we have to remember the likes of MJ and your dad, Christy on a morning like this. But in terms of the legacy of MJ Molloy, a Josey Molloy, Joe Molloy everyone had a different name for him. But what was it like I suppose growing up having someone with such esteem, such a well known writer and an uncle.
Jarlath: Well I suppose maybe if I start at the beginning with him. He was born into a family, he was one of a family of 10. 2 of the young boys died shortly after birth. There were 8 other brothers, sorry 7 other brothers and sisters. His mother was a teacher, his father was a company rep. The 8 of the family that were left. The father died in his mid 40’s and left the mother to rare 8 children. MJ or Josey as we call him. He went through college and he went on to the priesthood. He studied for two years in the priesthood and he got ill health, developed a bad knee. Some people here would remember him. That he had a specially adapted bicycle which he used to tour around the country and getting folklore from different people to get stuff for his plays. I suppose in the 40’s he started writing his first plays and 9 of them was premiered in the Abbey. 3 were produced on Broadway and New York and 3 in London. Some of the other work that he did, some of the more senior members amongst us would remember the Riordan’s and he produced a few episodes of that for Wesley Burrows at one stage. There was another brother Ger. He was a teacher in Ballina and he was also involved in drama. And he won an All-Ireland drama award in Athlone back in the probably in the 50’s. But he was a very quiet man, kept to himself a lot, travelled quite a bit, read a lot. As I said now he’s amazing.
Ollie: I suppose with many writers as well Ja, you need somebody to bounce your ideas and your writings off. I suppose the obvious guy was his brother Christy, your dad, so they would work closely together for many years as well..
Ja: Well, most times he would ever wright anything, weather it would be an act or an actual play, he would give it to a few people to review, my father would be one of the people, he had a friend in Dublin and in later years Michael Aidan in Dunmore. As my father used to always say they would always make recommendations and maybe to change this or change this and Joe would have agreed with him and then when the final script would come out nothing would have changed. (Laughter) Totally as he wrote it.
Ollie: Well I often remember Jim Carney carried a story from Michael Aidan as well where he would proofread one of Josey Molloy’s, one of MJ Molloy’s play and he would say MJ it is way over written. You need to cut 20 pages off it and he would say yeah, yeah, yeah and next thing he would come back and there would be 40 pages added. Yeah so.
Jim: Can I just say a great story when I done a stage interview with the Clifden arts festival a couple of years ago, and of course you mentioned earlier or it was mentioned earlier about the great production of the whispering which was in the CYMS hall that would have been in 1983. The great Mick McNally played Sandbatch in that and Gary did Wood of the whispering and wanted to make changes and Joe was not happy about all the changes that were made but he suffered through all that anyway and of course deep down he had a huge gra for Gary O’Roarke in that and everything else but he didn’t quite let her away with it, you know how she maybe changed some things in the play to adapt it to modern needs as she would have seen it and all that and eventually what she had, it was a run away success and she eventually asked him what did he think of it and you know he must have been so pleased as well it must have been such a success and he just said to her, she said this herself and she quoted him and he said in there somewhere I could see a play that I wrote he said. (Laughter)
Ollie: The ultimate put down.
Ollie: Ah but you must be very proud though Ja. I mean to see his work produced by the Abbey. I mean it’s not everybody that gets that kind of honour and it lives on to today.
Ja: Indeed it’s a great legacy to have left behind and he will always be accosted with Milltown too, which is another great thing. He lived there all his life. And a wonderful achievement for a man that really got on so well with so limited resources. He often criticised the Abbey and different places like that and said how they didn’t do enough if you lived outside the Pale and he said himself and John B. Keane and other writers, they weren’t even considered you know he was critical of the Abbey at times Ja. But he has plays in theoretical history’s are huge, we talked about that.
Ja: Yeah, yeah.
Ollie: But talk to us about some of the plays Jim. Because I know that the Milltown drama group have resurrected themselves on his centenary anyway, even over that centenary there were a few question marks over his actual birth date.
Ja: Yes, that’s right. I think there is no doubt in the end. 1914 and as Christy used to say he was a bit shy about his birth season. He was, some times it was down as 1817. (Laughter)
Ollie: Yes, because there was when he passed away there was a bit of discrepancy between Wikipedia and online and then the actual birthday.
Jim: Even in Hollywood you would have a show business licence I think maybe too. (Laughter)
Ollie: So, it was comical to judge.
Jim: About your age.
Ollie: He threw the dog in it now. He only lied for 3 years.
Ollie: Ok so I mean obviously some of the marquee plays Jim that we would know over the years.
Sean?: We talked about the Wood in the Whispering, there you know the old row, the Paddy Peddlers which they wish to revive, the Milltown drama society did but I think there is no doubt Ollie that his greatest play is the King of Fridays Men which was revived many times down through the years. I saw a wonderful production of it in the Abbey theatre many years ago. I think that’s his greatest play and I think that’s the play that will stand the test of time and the amateur drama movement, do you know, which Ja rightly said, which one of his uncles was involved in that with great success. The amateur drama movement got fantastic material there to work with in his plays and I think that’s the play that he will be remembered by, The King of Friday’s Men but the centenary celebrations was wonderful here a few years ago. It was an opportunity here for Milltown and the community here as well to show case the fantastic community centre that Michael Rattigan talked about earlier on. When Paddy Peddler was put on and the night was an open forum as well Dr. Darina O’Dwyer was one of the guests. Lila Doolen a very famous director who had worked with MJ Molloy in an earlier life. She was here on the night as well, Ja was one of the guest speakers as well and it was great and a very special thing happened that night Ollie really was where one of Ja’s daughters Breffini, I think it was Ja composed a tune in honour of Joe Molloy and that was thanks to Joe Molloy, wasn’t it?
Ja: That’s right. And that was a show stealer on the night, no doubt about it and that was a great tribute and it just shows you that the respect that the family had for a very celebrated person in their mist.
Ollie: Well here is a very special treat then for drama fans because coming up in a few short minutes we have the newly reformed Milltown drama group live here in Sheridan’s and are going to be performing the last scene of The King of Fridays Men. So we will ask Jim Carney to introduce the play contextualised those final few moments and we’ll have the actors and the troop from the Milltown drama group.
Ja: With guests, with guests.
Ollie: With special guests that will intro as well. All at a huge expense. Come back to us in just a couple of minutes.
Ollie: And you are welcome back to Sheridan’s of Milltown. Well, it’s drama time now because The King of Fridays Men, one of MJ Molloy’s great works in now going to be reproduced for you radio style, live here in Sheridan’s. Jim Carney tell us a bit about The King of Friday’s Men and I suppose the context of the closing stages of this play.
Jim: Well it’s set in the late 18th century. I believe the French revolution was coming up, the 98 rebellion was coming up here in Ireland and in a nut shell it’s all about landlords, Ceasar French, not necessarily a cruel landlord but he still knew how to treat his tenants not that well. Action fighters were big at the time as well, you know long before Conor McGregor’s time. Tally woman had a sad kind of a role to play, they had here, they had in Russia as well do you know it was the job to see the culture at the time. Where landlords felt that they could get their way with family members of the tenants. There were various other hangers on then and you know duckers and divers who wanted to stay well in with the landlords but also maybe play some tricks with the locals as well. So in a nutshell then, this is a group of people who were all gathered. One of the carriages of Bartly, a fighting man of trolie, he decided he now has to get away. Rory who is a son of the last of the wandering bards at the time, he has to get away as well. At one stage Bartly thought he had got a local girl to marry him but then they realised that wasn’t a great idea. She led him on a little bit and then he realised he had to get away. The play is set on the boarder of Galway, Mayo and Roscommon. So it could well be Milltown and they are going eventually to the Joyce country over around Carnamore, Cornabrack over in that area as you will hear now from the script. So as a enormous, enormous expense you have that moment but first some music. (Music starts)
(Talker 1): Bardly, I take a chance to where ever you are going and I’ve 13 round guineas that would be a great help to ya.
(Talker 2): Is it wed me and the hangman already harnessing these cards for me you might say.
(Talker 1): I’d take my chances with you. And I will tell you in all honesty and straight forward. I was a tally woman, with Caesar for two years.
(Talker 2): So misfortune crossed you too maybe so you will be no worse off if I wed ya?
(Talker 3): Or would better be a want orb a down fall, if he is to escape the gentleman and their horses and bloodhound he will want to be watering. Fast and free and not harnessed to a wife.
Talker 1: Is it true Bartly? I’d only delay and ruin you.
Talker 3: I’m no composer I tell you. I’m only a man still. He brought the gift with him so here I am betrayed and old and useless to the world. I’ll throw myself from the highest tree ceaser has.
Talker 2: Rory you have the same mistake made as me. It isn’t for good fortune god put our likes in the world. But only to do odd jobs for him. Yourself he gave good mind and to his composer that was blind and myself to snatch a girl from the press candy and to keep hunger from me sister and her orphans. We can no way complain. Himself gave his life for us ever Friday.
Talker 4: It appears all rank. Ye’re picked amongst The King of Fridays Men. But if ye are itself, he’ll reward ye highly when your lives day is over at last.
Talker 3: Bartly Dowd has strength and can earn his bread but Rory is too old and he hasn’t the breaking prayers off and there is no road or boat but his enemies is his fathers golden. Oh Rory will not wait for the hunger to melt his flesh in a ditch from the highest tree he will tassel himself body and bones.
Talker 2: Rory you have no occasion to end your days wrong. Come west to the mountains and while I live you will not get hunger and you will be teaching Cormacs Stauntons stories to me.
Talker 4: Here’s a stitch or two left by me old man that’s in heaven. Ah ha dated any rate. And Maura has the eatables for you.
Talker 2: Go maith ro Mhairde.
Talker 4: In around a couple of years, when the hunchback is down maybe the two of ye could settle us some quarter of the mountains, maybe in the Joyce country. The Joyce’s are very loyal against the English law and you would be a great addition to them in there fights against the O’Mally’s, Bartly.
Talker 2: If I live with Jo to the Joyce country so.
Talker 3: Maybe in two or three Maura and myself might meet ye there about at the gooseberry fair of Clonbur.
Talker 2: I’ll be there if I’m living but Maura let yourself not wait but where the decibels. Only odd jobs such as mine and Rorys is allotted to me.
Talker 1: I’ll be at the fair whatever.
Talker 4: Let ye come this way. I’ve the front door open for ye.
Talker 3: Any road up. If Rory is only a man itself. No mortal man in the ring of Ireland has all Cormac’s songs and stories off the same as him. Oh Rory will raise the joyces up to mile mende. So lad no longer Bartly Dowd.
Talker 4: Did you see that Bartly? God never closed one gap be he opened another. Already, you’re master of the songs and stories of Tyrallie. And in a few years you’ll have off the songs and stories or Cormac and of the Joyce country too. You’ll be a king story teller from that day out till you die.
Talker 2: Very apt. I will be a good story teller. T’will be something. If you cross her ever, tell her to send her to the Joyce country anytime she is in jeopardy and if Bartly is living, he’ll not fail her. And if she could spar an odd prayer for Rory and myself for a few days whatever. There is fortune that sticks too long where it rots. (Applause)
Ollie: Beautiful stuff. Well done to the Milltown Drama group and of course to the musicians as well, great stuff. Rory Hynes, Rory you are the chairman of the newly reformed group and as we spoke to Jim earlier on, I suppose the centenary of MJ Molloy was probably one of the kick starts for resurrecting but there has been a long history of drama here in Milltown.
Rory: Most certainly but it was the catalyst of MJ Molloy is the centenary of his birth that propelled us all to set up, to reform Milltown Drama Society and there was great support from the community and obviously the history of the drama, the tradition of drama in Milltown was certainly the forward great support from Jim Carney, Tony and Fran Murphy and that propelled us on, so yeah we are delighted to be back. We are four years in now. We started with the Paddy Peddler, was suggested by Gary Hynes, she said it was the 701 act by MJ and then we moved on in the second year down to County Kerry, down to John B Keane’s Many Young Men of Twenty and then we moved to Dublin in the following year to do The Plough and the Stars in the centenary of the 1916 rising and then last year we went all the way to America for Arther Miller’s All my Sons. It has just been four tremendous years and we are just so grateful to the audiences here in Milltown who have been phenomenal in their support of us.
Ollie: Of course ye put on the plays back in the new Community Centre as well so you can cater for huge audiences. Any plans for next year already?
Rory: There’re in the pipeline now and we couldn’t divulge that kind of information just yet but yeah without the Community Centre obviously would have been very difficult to do that. We had to kind of transform it to become a kind of live venue for theatre. Ah getting sound proofing curtains and to resurrecting the stage, lighting and so on. So it’s kind of been an investment, we’ve got great support from the community council and the parish council and the development association and our patrons, so mighty support and then the committee in the background under Ann Concannon and Eleanor Sheridan who have been phenomenal as well. So we have got great support, huge amount of people involved.
Ollie: Of course quite a number of them Milltown actors have won awards performing with Dunmore as well. Of course your own dad Joe and Eleanor are the first two actors to win down in the Glenamaddy Festival over 10 years ago. Ray McGrath of course as well.
Rory: That was Philadelpia Acrum I think because we done it here in Sheridan’s back in the old singing lounge that was when they started the drama up again in the 90’s. I think you were involved in that as well Ollie as Gar, Gar I don’t know were you a private? Yeah but yeah, Joe Hynes then and Marion Green went down to and sorry Eleanor Sheridan went down to Dunmore with that and great success there with dad.
Ollie: Well great history and great drama and a great future for the drama here in Milltown as well and I suppose long may it continue Jim.
Jim: And Ollie for the record just so that listeners would know, I would like to give the cast of the play and so far we’ve had Marion Green, Sinead Sheridan well known to the Dwalt family of Dunmore, Andrew Carney and then we had 2 very promising young actors and there has been phone calls here, 2 phone calls from England, one from the old bacon and the other from the old Shakespeare society in Stratford wondering would their services be available. Two promising young actors called Oliver Turner and Kevin O’Dwyer.
Ollie: Right well ah. (Applause)
Ollie: Again as our agent Jim I know you will do the right thing by us as you know. Listen we are going to take a short break we have loads more to talk about here in Sheridan’s of Milltown. Come back to us on our Summer Road Show Tour.
Ollie: We are back here live in Milltown where Charles Carne is with the local defibrillator group and Breda Hyland with the meals on wheels. Breda tell me about ye’re services.
Breda: Good morning Ollie. So this is a service we saw a need for providing hot dinners because there was people living on their own and in 2015 we set up the North Galway Community Meals service and this covers not just Milltown but also Ballyglass and Kilconnely and Kilbannan and basically we provide hot dinners to elderly and not just elderly but also incapacitated people in the area who might be living alone and not able to cook for themselves. So presently we supply dinners 3 days a week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday with a view to going 5 days depending on the need. But Ollie the importance of this service is not just for the food it’s also the social aspect of it because there are people living on their own and they might not see anybody from one end of the day to the next and they look forward to the familiar face as well as a hot dinner. And if there is anybody sitting at home now, living on their own and they would like to avail of this service. They can contact me on 087 2026465 and at this point, I would really like to thank is the charitable organisation so of course we need to fundraise and I would have to thank all the local businesses and people in the area that have contributed so generously to us and there is one place in point would be the card game committee and Padraig Ruane that set up that and he’s not here today to speak but I would like because he is not well and I would seriously like to wish him a speedy recovery but he runs the card game committee along with Helen Flattery and Mary Birmingham and I’m sure a whole lot more. And they have cards every new week in the winter and once every month in the summer and they raise money for meals on wheels and CPR and different charities in the community and we’d seriously like to thank them for that.
Ollie: Thanks a million Breda for that. Charles Carne you are here with your local defibrillator group as well.
Charles: Yeah, Good morning Ollie. Yeah, thanks for inviting us here this morning. Yeah, our group was first formed in 2009. We have 14 defibrillators spread around the community. We have our own trainers, one of which was Breda who you just heard speaking. She actually trains CPR, AED. Well our instructors are registered with the Irish Heart Foundation and the American Heart Association. I’d like to thank all of the fundraisers and all the contributors from our local community without which we obviously would not have the defibrillators and we wouldn’t be able to operate. They have been very generous. A local business has given us great support. We have our own training site for teaching CPR, AED.
Ollie: Are the defibrillators themselves then I mean obviously there is one in the community centre, where else are they around the community Charles?
Charles: They are at all the local schools. We have a defibrillator and they are spread right round the whole community. We cover something like 400 homes within our area. I’d like to make one, one comment regards the AED which is Automated Electronic Defibrillator, that it can only be used on a person who’s heart is fibrillating. They can not be used on anybody else, it’s a misconception. People think oh you can electrocute someone or something, it’s ignorance. It’s the fact that the machine can only be used for one specific thing.
Ollie: Well it’s a great thing to have in the community Charles. So thanks to you and your group and keep up the good work for sure. Adrian joins me as well. Adrian Connolly from Marriage Multi Media back based in Milltown again Adrian, I believe.
Adrian: Yes Ollie, how’s the form? Yeah it’s good to be back like I remember. We opened our first studio here in Milltown 10 years ago. Right here behind Sheridan’s bar and restaurant and as the years went on and the brand became more popular we kind of out grew the premises a little. So we kind of opened a couple of studios one in Claremorris and one in Tuam but a fantastic premises then became available maybe a year and a half ago here in the business park in Milltown and we couldn’t resist the opportunity to come back.
Ollie: So tell us about your services then and Marriage Multi Media.
Adrian: Yeah marriage Multi Media, cheesy name or what (Laughter). Well I suppose it does exactly what it said on the tin like I mean we are a creative production agency. And of course, we specialise in photography and video for the wedding industry and we couldn’t be located in a better place than in Milltown because we are smack bang in the middle of Connaught. So we are like 40 minutes to Castlebar, 40 minutes to Galway, 40 minutes to of course Roscommon and it’s a great location for us.
Ollie: Of course you talk about the beautiful amenities here as well. I see so many weddings getting their photos. I’m sure you’d be inclined to bring any bride or groom here to the river walk for their pictures as well.
Adrian: Well that’s for sure. We were literally talking about award winning landscape areas in the river walk here in Milltown. We are literally talking about the finest photography set for weddings in the west of Ireland. So if you have Galway weddings that are heading to Mayo for the reception, they usually stop there and vice versa, if you have people from Mayo that are heading to Galway for their reception they usually stop there as well. It’s the most beautiful place to have their photographs taken.
Ollie: I’m sure people can find out more online Adrian. Marriage Multi Media.
Adrian: Yeah Marriage Multi Media.com. So photography and video for the marriage industry of course and yeah we would love to hear from anybody.
Ollie: Brilliant Adrian, thanks for chatting to us. Ann Sheridan, Ann of course we will hold on to you for the next hour as well because we will be hearing a bit of music but of course we are here in the famous house where you grew up and of course you have had a love of music instilled in you in a early age.
Ann: From an early age yes. I suppose my first memories of singing really would have been with JJ, JJ my father here late at night when he was, after he had done his work and he would have a sing song with his friends. I see a few of those singers around here like George Garvey, Evelyn McAvoy was another one. Dad sang all his, he came from Mayo of course and when Galway and Mayo were playing in those old days, JJ has the two flags out. He’d say I don’t know if my head or my heart was in Mayo but one of them was in Mayo and the other was in Galway but the two flags always had to be out. I don’t know if Cathal would do that. That’s not on Saturday but when they were playing that was the story. I had singing on the other side, my grandfather Eddie Ford was a lovely singer and he used to always sing the Delia Murphy songs. So we knew alot about Delia Murphy because she wasn’t from far from here at all, she was just from down the road and she always said that she learned to sing from a little traveller boy called Tom Mongan and my grandfather loved to tell us those stories about the little traveller lad who had all these beautiful songs and he loved to sing them. As a result he used to sing in the CYMS hall years ago. During those days when there were great play on the stage even way back then. I mean my grandfather was born in 1900. So coming back to Sheridan’s, yeah we are here in what was I suppose initially a shebeen like all the bars in the early 1800’s in Ireland and it has the distinct, I suppose it is unique in that, I’m a woman for everybody but I particularly like to speak for Irish woman because I think that they are very strong. They have always been a huge part of our political background and of setting up of our state and everything like that and in fact the woman who ran this house and was responsible for bringing the Sheridan’s to Milltown in the first place. Her name was Mrs Slattery. It was Margaret Slattery. She would have been my great-great grandmother and she took over the shebeen because her brother went off to America and she was the next in line to run the bar and she was the woman of the house. Bean an tí abhian and then an fear an tí but we can’t forget that. And finally a job came up apparently in the local school here and a man came up from Cathair na chuinn called JJ Sheridan, James Joseph was his name and he got the numbers up so high that he needed a second teacher in, so he brought up another brother called Michael Sheridan. And Michael Sheridan and Margaret Slattery hit up together.
Ollie: The rest is history. We’ll talk about PJ Connolly Music Festival just after 11 but to take us closer to the news here is Emer Leonard and Chloe Kirrane with some live music. I think you will recognise this piece. The dawning of the day away you go girls. (Musical instruments, violin and harp)
Ollie: And you are welcome back to Sheridan’s of Milltown for the final hour of our summer road show tour. Lets go to the phone lines first because Sean Padraig of Twin Productions joins us because Sean, Aladdin is coming to the town hall theatre tonight.
Sean: Good Morning Ollie. Yes indeed. We open tonight for 8 performances. We are here on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday 7:30 tonight and tomorrow night and 2:30 and 5pm on Saturday and Sunday.
Ollie: So I’m sure a lot of excitement and a lot of great numbers of people that will recognise from Aladdin the musical. A real family favourite.
Sean: Well it is and we’ve been looking for a Disney product for the last few years and we have done the Oliver show, the sound of music and peter pan etc etc and this came our way and Disney has strict rules on how the amateur world can deal with their product but they have given us the songs for the Broadway show as well as the movie. So yeah a lot of great popular songs in the show like prince Ellie, A whole new world, Friend like me, One jump ahead, a body of a boy, etcetera. Sung beautifully by our leading man Lady Niall Caulfield and Emily Macken makes up a group of 50 young adults that will be singing in the show. Preforming and dancing in the show. It’s promised to be a very, very interesting show.
Ollie: Tell us Sean starting tonight. How long will the run last?
Sean: It runs up until Sunday and it’s a nice tidy one and a half hour show. So, no interruptions you’re in at half 7 and you will be out by at 9 o’clock on the evening show. And on Saturday and Sunday you are in at half 2 and you are out at 4 o’clock and then the evening show at 5 o’clock you’re out at half 6. So it’s great and all the cast will meet the audience afterwards if they would like to meet Aladdin, Jeffar the genie etc, etca after the show. So it will be a very exciting evening and a nice treat for the kids before they go back to school I think next week or the week after.
Ollie: Brilliant stuff Sean. Good luck with that. That’s Aladdin coming to the town hall tonight and running until Sunday. Ladies and Gentlemen live in Milltown.
Lets give a big welcome to the legend that is Sean Keane. (Applause) Great to have you Sean Keane. Whatever about being no stranger to Loraine, you are certainly no stranger to Milltown. (Laughter)
Sean Keane: I am not, I am not, I am not indeed Ollie.
Ollie: You have often passed through here of course on the way to different gigs. Indeed, last night you were down in Westport. Is that right?
Sean Keane: We were in Westport last night and the town hall down there. We had a night. It was a great night down there. It’s the second last night of a wonderful run that we had done for the last 10 weeks and next Wednesday night is the last night unfortunately. I’d like to keep it going for another while but that’s the way it is.
Ollie: Tonight again at the Salthill hotel, the latest of your Thursday night gigs that have been going so well so far.
Sean Keane: Yeah they have been going great. Something that we decided to do a couple of months ago. We were contacted by MS Ireland and Ability West and they wanted to see if we could do something to help out and do a fundraiser during the year. And so we decided to do three nights together and divide it up between those great causes and also Coltus are in there as well. They are being supported as well by the three concerts, which is dividing up the 3 takings of the three nights and dividing that between the three charities. So that’s what we are doing tonight and that’s our last night in the Salthill.
Ollie: Of course you have had a residency in Dublin over the course of the summer as well. How’s that go for you?
Sean Keane: That’s going great and it seems to be going into the future as well. We were there last Tuesday night. I think it was our 18th week in Dublin and they want to keep it going into the Autumn and somebody even mentioned Christmas. I said you light in the head, are yeah? But anyway, there we go. (Laughter)
Ollie: How’s the new single going?
Sean Keane: The new single is going grand indeed. It’s going grand. It was released I think up in the itunes at this stage but it’s kind of hard to keep track but I do believe it is up there. It is out there on the cyber space anyway Ollie.
Ollie: Of course Anne, you would be very much mindful of Sean’s efforts and the huge attraction that he is for MS Ireland as a charity as well, to piggyback on his wonderful talents.
Ann: It’s fantastic and I am really looking forward to the gig tonight and my mother is coming along and I have a few more in the car with me, bringing them to Salthill tonight. Really looking forward to it.
Sean Keane: You could bring the trailer.
Ann: The trailer as well. (Laughter)
Sean Keane: Put a roof on it.
Ann: It should be great. It should be great.
Ollie: Yeah of course Sean’s music is unique and very Irish.
Ann: And we are so lucky that we have the Keane family from our own area from north Galway and better known from the Maigh Seola area with such a richness of song and story and folklore. And we were brought up you know learning all about, well we didn’t perhaps learn the same songs as Sean did. We were brought up believing that we lived in a very important place in Ireland and that the king of the fairies funbuda lives on the side of the hill. So, without doubt is right. So, we wouldn’t be the same without him, would we, guraburda? I have always listened and have always been a great fan of the Keanes and Dolores and Sean and all of those songs and all through my teaching years taught like “May morning dew” and “Tourn na moire” and all of those songs that were brought back to life in many ways.
Sean Keane: Well actually I think part of my learning was playing in this house with Keanes ceili band back when I was a child and I was given a tin whistle and I would have been brought along and have been encouraged to play. Now I might not have been given a microphone.
Sean Keane: But I was there. I was picking up the tunes. I suppose I was learning as I was watching.
Ann: I know.
Sean Keane: I certainly cut my teeth in this house.
Ann: That’s back in the singing lounge.
Sean Keane: In the singing lounge, absolutely. When singing lounges were hoping in the country.
Ann: Hoping, hoping, absolutely hoping.
Sean Keane: Yeah, yeah.
Sean Keane: Well that’s where I learned my trade going around playing in the singing lounges with the Keanes ceili band, great experience.
Ann: Yeah great experience for young people.
Ollie: Of course it’s a big night for you Sean, not just with the concert as well but you’re celebrating you’re birthday today as well.
Sean Keane: A great, a great reminder, I don’t need a reminder of that. (Cheers) (Laughter) I’m trying to slip by them Ollie and you’re putting it right up in my face. Thank you very much so.
Ollie: The big four oh. Congratulations. (Sean Keane) Oh I love it. That’s the tenner anyway for today.
Ann: Yeah. (Laughter)
Ollie: Brilliant stuff. So, I suppose when you talk about the set, I know most musicians would have a kind of a set list of songs done but you are the kind of guy that would react to the audience as well if they were looking for a specific number because you have so many.
Sean Keane: Well that’s the way we like to do it and I suppose it’s something that just grew over the years but we don’t use a set list anymore going on the stage and the lads, we have been playing together for so long. I would be doing an introduction and all of a sudden a song would come in to my head and I would change the introduction and it would come to the lads and they would have to re-tune and everything. So I get lovely looks from them every now and again you know. But that’s the way we do it and sometimes the audience participate, they would shout up their favourite songs, their requests and we will try and do them if I can dig out the files in my head to recall the words, then it will be done. So we do, we just generally keep it rather than pre-empting the night and saying this this is what we are going to do. Every night is different. Like every night we do in Westport is different. I’m sure that tonight will be different than the other two nights that we have done in the Salthill hotel. So the audience are, I don’t know what changes the persona of an audience but they vary every single night. So we go with the run of whatever is presented in front of us and however the audience are reacting and if we are in good form or not in good form so the whole night, every night is different so we kind of let it flow the way that it can all happen.
Ollie: How is the voice as well? I know you were sucking lozenges all evening.
Sean Keane: I was around a few people at the Fleadh Ceol, the All-Ireland in Ennis on Monday night. A few people who couldn’t speak all that well with laryngitis and various other things that was going around the country at the minute. I found myself at my local GP yesterday morning. So I’m on stuff that I think I will be looking like a glow worm by the time they take effect. (Laughter) You know I am on steroids and antibiotics and try this and I am on a bunch of stuff. Fair play to them. It’s much better today. Thank god I can speak anyway. Yesterday I was down with Joe Cocker and myself and we could have done a duet but that’s the way that it is. It’s a little bit brighter and by the end of the day and when we start off tonight in Galway with the help of god too, I will be up and running.
Ollie: Lets just move away a little bit because we talk about great musicians and one man who is listed as well in the Milltown Heritage Trail book is the late great P. Conlon. Of course, a man who was born here in Guranne and you had a festival in his honour a few years back here.
Ann: We did, 2013 Ollie, yeah. We had a great festival. It was one of those things that just came out of a conversation again with Frank Glynn. He had organized it. There was a conference in Tuam, a heritage conference and he asked me if I would come and sing a few of my songs and bring a couple of people, which I did and there I met a big enthusiast Alan Morris Row who was totally into the story of the Conlon family and has done so much research in his own time over the years. So, I became, what would you say? A big fan of PJ Conlon from then. I remember of Charley Harris. The first time that I met him saying to me “Oh you are from Milltown. Do you know PJ Conlan?” and I was only maybe 20 at the time but I did not know who PJ Conlan was. In those days like Sean talks about the music that was on here the singing lounge. There wasn’t that much traditional music in this area. We were lucky that we had a great teacher Nancy Garvey and she taught us all the Irish songs from the cross an rowan and all of that but we didn’t have much trad instruments but finally, it had come around when a lovely girl in the area here about 15 years ago, Maude Connolly started teaching music, so we had this whole new generation of musicians who were young and in their teens and they were as unaware of PJ Conlon as I was when I was their age. So it became a kind of obsession for a few months and I talked to a few great people in Milltown. This is the thing about Milltown if you want to come in and try and organise something. There is a whole infrastructure there already. You have the community council and you have the development council. You just have a meeting with them and they’ll say “ok we’ll support you, we’ll get on board” and we were lucky enough to get a sizable amount of money from Tuam GRD but unfortunately that was only a once off, that was a fantastic weekend. We had great musicians here, we had singers, we had John Carty, we had Charlie Harris, Andrew MacNamara all these good box players. We had Charlie Pigott, lets see who else, Una Ni Langinose. We had a wide range of instrumentalists because the objective really, the main objective was to get the children and the young people of Milltown to realise that they had, what would you say?, a model, a role model who in the early 1900’s, went to America in ’19 I think it’s 15 now, yes 15, we’ll say went to America because he was born here in Milltown. His father wrote himself down in the 1901 census as a musician which is most unusual at the time. They were a big family, the mother was a great dancer and that’s how they made their livelihood, they taught dancing and played music and they played music where they could. They went to Enniscrone in the summers teaching dancing and all that kind of thing but anyway he went to America and he became a huge lets say a huge star because that’s when the recordings started in the US. All the different ethnic groups were beginning to record in the ’19, the teens as they say, the 1912 up into the late ‘20’s and he recorded no less than 50-75mps which was a huge amount of work. It was a great body of work and he was almost forgotten to be honest until these enthusiasts from all time records decided to gather as many as they could and put it back together and they created a wonderful CD package with a double sided CD of the original recordings and so after that happened, that was the emphasis for us to say “well lets do something in Milltown” so we had a great weekend. We provided workshops in all the instruments for anyone that wanted to come and we are hoping to do it again next year. So this is my little plug, watch out for the community notes, the Milltown community notes because I am going to be looking for people to come on board again to help myself and some original committee members to get going again and have another one.
Ollie: Well they could have. They will have that Sean before you go? I know you didn’t come empty handed so we have a couple of pairs of tickets to tonight’s gig in Salthill to give away. So, the most obvious question was? There are two colours that are common to the football teams of Milltown and of Caherlistrane. So we thought we might ask what those two colours might be?
Sean Keane: Yeah they might go for that.
Ollie: So if you know the two colours of Milltown and Caherlistrane wear. Lets see what else could you say? You might be, if you were feeling a little bit down. You might be this colour and if the snow was falling from the sky that might be the other. That’s all that we can do for people who have absolutely no idea. Lets play a little bit of your new single Sean “Go away I’m missing you”. So you can rest that vocal until tonight in the Salthill hotel. What time are you getting underway?
Sean Keane: Well I thought it was 8 o’clock until Anne corrected me and she said I think it’s 8:30.
Ollie: Be in there at 8.
Sean Keane: Yeah go for that one. Tickets on the door as well.
Ollie: Good luck at that tonight and a happy birthday to Sean Keane. Here he is with his new single “Go away, I’m missing you”. We are back in Sheridan’s in Milltown in a couple of short minutes. (Music of Sean Keane’s “Go away, I’m missing you”)
Ollie: Alright you are welcome back here to Milltown, lets crank on with some of our interviews here live in Sheridan’s. As we are delighted to welcome here of course we have got Anne Ryan, John Ryan. We’ve got George Flannery as well. George I’ll start with you. Of course you have got a business here in Milltown, coffee.ie. How is it going?
George: Going quite well, yeah. The last few years both myself and Matt is involved in the business that grinds it up to about 25-26 years ago. It’s onwards and upwards for us. Yeah.
Ollie: It’s exactly what it says on the tin. All barista coffee.
George: Everything coffee related, yeah. A lot of independent cafés, bars, restaurants that kind of thing. We supply the coffee and then all the subsidiary products that go with it. So you’re tea’s, your herbal tea’s, your cups etc, you know Ollie of course we are gone coffee mad in the last 10 years. Yeah, it’s changed, especially with Brian’s end of it. That filter pour of a coffee. Now, it’s all beans and cappuccino’s and that kind of thing.
Ollie: John Ryan as well of course. Mill meats. Fantastic business. Great employer for Milltown for many years. How long on the go now John?
John Ryan: Well it started in the ‘50’s. My grandfather Michael Ryan set up a butcher shop to serve the local community and it developed from there. My father then decided to start producing our own products because we couldn’t meet the requirements of the chef’s requests and that’s when we started the factory in Milltown. So now we distribute to most of the country.
Ollie: You see the vans on the road covering every corner of the country I’m sure. Of course Ryan’s bar as well has seen many great days over the years.
Ann Ryan: Many, many days. Things have changed so much.
Ollie: They have a lot, haven’t they?
Ann Ryan: They have indeed. Yes.
Ollie: At one point how many pubs was there here if you go back 30 years ago?
Ann Ryan: 6 or 7.
Ollie: At least, yeah and of course a lot of them are gone now. Grogans just down from me, Mannion’s bar at the time.
Ann Ryan: Yes.
Ollie: The hideout.
Anne Ryan: Flannery’s. (Ollie): Flannery’s.
Ollie: Oh my god but you are still kept going and of course you still have the shop and the post office now which is important as well.
Ann Ryan: Well, that’s very important to the rural community. You know they think it’s just for stamps but we have got a lot of extras in bill pay, we have investments, we have the western union. We have all those things that are very essential to people living in rural Ireland. We have banking as well.
Ollie: A lot of small places as well are just trying to hold on to their post offices. I am sure Milltown is no different.
Ann Ryan: Unless we get the community behind us and they come in to do their business in it. It will no longer be there because they are doing all in their power to do to close the rural post offices and with the shop it’s a great help both are good together.
Ollie: Of course you have got the petrol pumps there as well which is a great stand for people on that busy stretch of road.
Ann Ryan: It certainly is. It is. A long way at last. We do hope that people will come in and support the post offices. They are very essential to the rural Ireland and people like to come in. They like to see a face to talk to rather than going to a machine which is what they are doing with their banking.
Ollie: And of course there is a great history and I’m sure you have noticed the tradition as well John that as I say you go back to your Grandad for the start of mill meats. So it’s great to be the new generation keeping it on I’m sure in a place like Milltown.
John: Well we are going into the 4th generation now and thanks to the support of everybody in the community, we are still in it and we are expanding out further and hope to continue to do so.
Ollie: Well, many more years of happy trading for the Ryan family up there as well and to you George and to coffee.ie. onwards and upwards.
John: Yeah, hopefully, we took on a local guy there about 6 months ago and he is flying with us. So Brendan most people here will know him and it just allows us to just concentrate on growing the business because he is managing a lot of the sales and deliveries for us and then Matt does the sales and training and then I run the offices. So it’s going quite well for us.
Ollie: So, just to clarify Anne. When packages come in from South America with George Flannery’s name on it. It is coffee. Is that ok? (Laughter)
Ann: Well I hope so. I don’t examine the packages.
John: Coffee on the outside.
Ollie: Coffee on the outside. Listen thanks again guys for popping in to us. I think we have time for a short break now and we are back in Milltown.
Ann: I would like to thank our customers and hoping they will continue to support us.
Ollie: Well done Anne. Thanks a million for that. Join us again in a few moments.
Ollie: Back here live in Sheridan’s of Milltown can I mention the Paul Farragher memorial shield between Dunmore and Milltown and that is on this Saturday 1 o’clock in the fair green in Milltown. So note the early kick off time there so the boys will be finished in time for the Mayo match. All proceeds in aid of jigs also great to see Ja Farragher with us here today as well here in Milltown. So that everybody that can come down and support the Paul Farragher memorial shield and the aftermath in Dunmore afterwards. Also can I just say a big shout out to Bernie Naughton who is here the president of the Milltown/ Ballyglass episonic workers. Bernie tell us a bit about your work.
Bernie: We meet in the community centre. I speak on behalf of the woman of the apostolic work. We meet in the community centre every couple of weeks. We work in aid of the foreign vestments and you know we do missions and different things like that and take clothes for kids, babies and whatever and on mission Sunday. Then we have a church gate collection in Milltown and in Ballyglass in both churches and we display our work in the churches. So Christmas then we have a cake sale and raffles and you know it’s a good day and we wish to thank the people of Milltown and Ballyglass for all their support.
Ollie: Well done to you Bernie. Thanks for that. Of course Carmel Collins and Sheila Varley are here as well to talk about the brownies here. You are an active bunch aren’t ye girls?
Carmel: We are yes. We are members of the Irish Girl Guides. We meet every Thursday during term time here in Milltown and we are for girls aged 7 – 10. Where they learn new skills and they meet friends and they try new activities and most important they have fun in a safe environment.
Ollie: Well that’s key isn’t it Carmel. Of course a lot of obviously the moms. Do the dad’s get involved as well? Do ye get much help?
Carmel: Oh we do, we get plenty of help. Anyone is there to help us and if we just ask there is plenty of help all around.
Ollie: Of course Linda Walsh you are involved Linda as well with the Foróige here in Milltown as well so you will be starting back now soon, won’t ye?
Linda: We’ll be start back now in around mid September and we will run until about mid May. Our meetings are held in the community centre in Milltown every Friday night between 8 and 9:30. It gives a chance to our young people in our community to hang out with their friends, enjoy their games and activities and they also get a chance to attend national foróige organised events throughout the year like ceíli’s, disco’s. There is the youth citizenship awards. There is hype music festival in Longford and we also do a lot of trips with them through the year. Last year we brought them to Dublin to do the Viking splash. We have also brought them to Connaught games. We also bring them to pizza or to cinema nights and in our own club then, we run local soccer tournaments between different clubs. Last year we hosted Kilconly foróige club and it was a great night. And we also do a lot of table quizzes as well as with other clubs.
Ollie: Good on ya Linda and all the Foróige crew as well. Of course the final point then Sheila on the brownies, are ye back in action again soon?
Sheila: We don’t get together until September the 15th.
Ollie: September 15th ye are back?.
Sheila: Any girls who are nearing the age of 7 please put their name down on the waiting list.
Ollie: Make contact that’s for sure. Girls, thanks a million for popping in and chatting to us as well. We are going to be getting a song from young Seamus Kirrane in a couple of moments as well but two young girls who are high achievers in their own sporting right. We’ve got Aoife Sheehy and we have got Grace O’Donnell as well who are with us as well. Aoife of course you are involved of course in the Development Irish Athletics Squad of course. Is that right?
Aoife: Yeah, Yeah.
Ollie: So what’s your distance? What’s your favourite distance?
Aoife: 400 hurdles.
Ollie: Quite a tactical event, isn’t it?
Aoife: Yeah, it’s hard enough. You have to kind of get a technique going with the hurdles.
Ollie: I suppose if you look at the recent Olympics as well of course it’s a sport that Ireland is certainly really good at as well. So maybe are you thinking about down the road maybe in a couple of Olympics times you could be part of the Irish squad?
Aoife: Yeah well hopefully.
Ollie: Not getting too far ahead of yourself. So tell us about some of your achievements then and the school All-Ireland.
Aoife: I came second in the schools All-Ireland when I was in first year. I was doing 800’s back then and that was kind of one of the biggest things, achievements I had and I kind of went quiet there for awhile and came back this year and I came second in the 400 hurdles in All-Ireland.
Ollie: All-Ireland. Aoife: Yeah.
Ollie: Great achievements. Do you run out of GCH then? Is that right?
Aoife: Yeah. Ollie: Brilliant fair play to you and of course to Grace as well. Grace you’re with ace high cheer leading, is that right?
Grace: Yeah, high achievers as well. So tell me about team Ireland and the world championships that you did so well at.
Grace: That’s in Florida. That’s on every year. So, I was there in 2014 and 2015 for 2 years in a row. It’s a very good experience.
Ollie: So anything happening this year?
Grace: There is another national team going. So there was one there in March and they’re training now for the next one, next March.
Ollie: All right, well listen, good luck with that. Did you enjoy it?
Grace: Yeah, it was very good.
Ollie: Good fun. Listen Aoife and Grace thanks for popping into us as well. Right young Seamus. What are you going to sing for us?
Seamus: The Galway girl.
Ollie: The Galway girl, Right well, take it away. Here he is. Let’s sing along with Seamus Kirrane and the Galway girl. (Applause) (Seamus Kirrane sings Galway girl)
Ollie: Yeah great stuff from young Seamus Kirrane here live in Sheridan’s. We are back with loads more just after these. Come back to us.
Ollie: All right we are back here live in Sheridan’s of Milltown for the final chapter of what has been a great morning. Joe Sheridan, local brewer as well. Sheridan’s beer of course and I suppose the whole area of craft beer. Joe has really taken off in recent years. As well you have joined the 4.
Joe: Yeah, it’s been great the last couple of years. The whole job has opened up. We have a lot of hostelries now in the west that are nearly craft only. The job has expansional growth and seen great employment and has seen local employment. We run courses ourselves and periodically during the year and we actually have one this Saturday. There is a couple of participants still available if people are looking for it. We do it for publicans around the country and can give a graining effect on the consultancy as well.
Ollie: So much involved in it then, in terms of starting off costs.
Joe: Well there is an initially. Yeah like the growth, there is still huge growth available there, in the bigger urban centres and that. I suppose distilling is another area which has begun to grow as well and you have huge capital investments going in and all over the country in distilleries from most of along the sea boards and that. If you don’t mind Ollie, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank sincerely all the community volunteers and activists here in Milltown. It makes living in Milltown such a pleasure. They do huge work, you know? This is the real Ireland of a thousand welcomes where communities help each other and support each other. I was reminded lately at a GRD meeting last spring time and there were participants from all over north Galway at it. I walked into the room as a lone Milltown man, representing another group and in front of me were 6 Milltown people scattered amongst the crowd, representing their own groups but working as a team and as Anne mentioned earlier on there is a huge infrastructure in communities like Milltown for the development of their own community and portraying their own communities and what they have to offer. You know, I think that inner Ireland has a huge tourist potential. Places like Milltown and villages all over the country that you know they do work for themselves for the betterment of their own communities.
Ollie: Good man Joe. Well listen we will be hoping to make contact with your own brother John. Rossy as he is well known. He is over in Dubai at the moment.
Joe: That is right, yeah, yeah. He is spreading his wings. Dust, a lot of dust over there.
Ollie: He is spreading his sand.
Joe: No dust in Milltown this morning. (Laughter)
Ollie: We’ll try and talk to Rossy in a couple of minutes time. We’ll take a short break from Sheridan’s. (Joe) Thanks Ollie. We’ll see you now. Bye-bye.
Ollie: Sheridan’s of Milltown where I am delighted to be joined by George Garvey Senior, Ja Connollly and Padraig Coyne. Good morning to ye lads.
Lads: Good morning.
Ollie: We said that we will focus in on GAA. Of course George you go right back to the very start to the foundation of the new club as we know it, the current club.
George: That is correct. As a matter of fact I am the only living member of the founding executive committee. They are all slive na fiena or yas gaeil ar namica.
Ollie: So who are the great names back in the day? Of course we remember the O’Hehirs, Luke and Paddy were heavily involved. Who else was around at the time when you came to reforming the club?
George: Who was involved is it? I’ll tell you to get the record straight. It started in Kilgevrin school. Your own parish or your own townland. A frail old, well to me I was in my early 20’s at the time, a frail old Fr. Conroy cured used to visit the school as he did twice a month or something in a Honda, a little Honda and we were talking about, I had played for Jarlaths and I had played for the Galway minors and he was talking about this. He was talking about being very interested in football. And he said George, George he said, would you ever think about starting a club in Milltown again? Well I said do you know I would give it thought father and then I got talking to Lukey Hehir actually, God rest him and I put a notice in for the priest to announce that we would have a meeting and that’s how it began. Now, I think that I was the first chairman there but I had nothing much got to do there. Straight away at the second meeting, I decided that we would start another 16 club and we called them the juveniles and I started that and took over the under 16’s on my own for 18 years, from ’53 to ’71 and I brought them around. There were only about 5 cars I’d say coming in to Milltown church that time in the whole parish, maybe 3 or 4 or 5. And Willie Burke was, old Willie Burke had a van going out of the country shopping. What do you call them?
Ollie: Travelling shop. Yeah I believe that.
George: Yeah and he was to bring them around in the van and sure Willie was gone 90% of the time. It would be out of the country. So I had to make 2 and 3 runs many times in my own cars over the years. And I remember once coming out from Tuam, I halted a guy I knew with a horsebox and he carted a crowd into Tuam for me. And then I brought them out in a merc 2 what would you call it? A cortina, a cortina right and I brought one load home and I had 25 in term. And I brought one load home and I told them to walk out to the top of Tullinday Hill and they walked down and I picked up 15 there and put them in the boot and brought them home. I’m confessing this openly now. (Laughter) I said I had some good times.
Ollie: There was no health and safety that time.
George: And I’ll tell you one thing Ollie, we had no pitch, there was a school playground which we the Milltown club has taken over now. And we asked Fr. Malachy to let us play on that playground and he did and then it was very uneven and there was a hill at one side and we got a guy Mickey Burke from Addergoole to level off the hill. At the time Paddy Hehir had a tractor and trailer in ’55, this in ’55 and we drained the playground and I had a week off school in Kilgevrin because we had some scarlet fever or something and we had to close the school for a week. And I spent a week there bringing down the stones to build the drains with my fathers horse and cart. I remember that well that was in 1955 and that September I shook the grass seeds with a fiddle. I had a fiddle. That’s another story. And I got Mattie Slattery’s David Brown tractor and Henry Gordon’s horse roller to roll it that evening. That’s the first time I met Frank Glynn actually there. So, we had sort of a pitch then. Before that we played down in Mattie Slattery’s, Martin Slattery’s. We played over in it was Matt Concannon. Old Matt Concannon, Sean’s great grandfather now owned a field beside Ja Conolly there. We played over there and we played in various places.
Ollie: Mentioning Ja of course we will just fast forward to when Milltown really made there mark and that was when they won the junior and won senior and that was a famous time back in ’61.
George: That’s right.
Ja Connolly: Yes a famous time. I remember that time. I saw Ann Ryan here. Her brother trained to see the ruby player for Ireland at the time, you know down at the pitch. And training that time was catch the fella in front of you. That was the training, you know. And Padraig will refer to it in comers, the low pipe as well. But it was great, great.
Ollie: Some great players of course were mentioned. Michael Feerick, John Blake. That were honoured here at the weekend. John Waldron who saw all those times through.
Ja Connolly: Yes.
Ollie: ’61, ’71, ’81 and of course it was the same kind of names that survived right til the modern day of Milltown out of famous footballing families.
Ja Connolly: I remember coming up to the dartboard final in ’60. Milltown were playing. Kilconly had a very strong centre field. The lord have mercy Joe Kelly is dead now and my brother Michael used to play corner back and he was a big strong man and Michael got the job to go out and shake Joe Connolly up for the first half and John Waldron came on for the second half and scored 2 points and that won the match for us. And you know it was great, great.
Ollie: I suppose fast forward again, the first county title Padraig Coyne in ’71 was a real break through for Milltown and you were part of that great team that won in ’81. The team that provided so many lads to the Galway team that decade.
Padraig: That’s right but I suppose you should go back a year before that where we unfortunately we got a bit of a hammering by Tuam the year before. By 14 points to 1 in the first round in the championship but that same team came back the following year in ’81 and sort of made amends but that was the introduction we got in ’80 you know but I had also played in the two matches in ’78 against Killererin. The drawing game in the replay but we weren’t successful then. We moved on from there then. We were lucky to come through at ’81. We had a good bunch.
Ollie: Then of course lads yourself Gay MacManus was most part of the Galway team that time as well.
Padraig: That’s right, yeah. There was 3 of us on the team and we also had Pat Brennan and other lads that had come into the fore and Ja Brennan also. But there was a good crew coming through onto the Galway set up that time. You must remember that the team of ’80, ’78 and ’80 they were all young fellas that were playing for Milltown. We were only 18 years of age up to 22 years of age. So, they are talking now about burnout. I don’t know where they are getting this burnout from but that was the introduction that time as a 16 year old. You went out and you played and you didn’t care anything else about it. You just went on and you wanted to be a part of it.
Ollie: We are going right up to the modern era and talk to Diarmuid Blake and a very special young man but we have got to take a very short break from Sheridan’s.
Ollie: We mentioned Diarmuid Blake of course you are in championship action at the weekend Diarmuid. Kieran Murphy said at the start it seems like the almost annual match against Mountbellew and Moylough now.
Diarmuid: Yeah, it’s gone like a different championship from the last time that I played. It seems so long but I just want to say the last time there was a crowd like this in Sheridan’s they weren’t drinking tea and sandwiches anyway. So they are very quite in comparison.
Ollie: You had a great weekend Diarmuid I know it was an emotional weekend. It was one of those were you kind of went through every emotion last Saturday night honouring you’re dad Micko Feerick, two real legends.
Diarmuid: Yeah, it was great, fantastic. There was a huge crowd here and I know we all appreciate very much but it just shows the community. You know there is a community around Milltown here and you know even to listen to people talk here, you know I didn’t even know half the things that was going on here in Milltown and I am from here, but you know together I would like to thank Cathal Sheridan and all the lads for putting it together. It was great for a family and I really appreciate it.
Ollie: Introduce us next to this young man that is beside you because he stole the show on Saturday night Diarmuid.
Diarmuid: Yeah Jack. He is my nephew. He is Fiona’s son. He is mad to play with Milltown. He is trying to switch over now the last few years.
Ollie: From Tuam Stars.
Diarmuid: From Tuam Stars. His dad is from Tuam, David Cleary played with Tuam but we are trying our best to get him down and play in the blue and white but I don’t know, will he?
Ollie: Well like anything I’ll say, we’ll wait and see is he any good first Diarmuid would that be fair.
Diarmuid: Yeah, usually the Tuam lads are a bit yellow, they wouldn’t fit in down here but we’ll see.
Ollie: Diarmuid I think I will leave enough alone now. Ah Jack you played a lovely tribute to your grandad on Saturday do you think you might be able to do it for us again.
Jack: Alright, yeah.
Ollie: This was Jack last Saturday night here in Sheridan’s paying tribute to the great legend that is. His grandad John Blake.
Jack: I’d just like to say a few words about granny and grandad Blake. I always love visiting Liskeevy because granny and grandad are always very nice to me. Grandad is always smiling. He always asks me if I have played any football matches lately and did I win and when am I going to start playing for a real team like Milltown but I’m sorry grandad I’ll always be a Tuam Sham. (Laughter) When I do make Milltown in the future though, I’ll make sure to give them the elbow like grandad, elbow Blake. (Laughter) He is always telling me to eat more bacon and cabbage and to stop eating coke and crisps. Bacon and cabbage tastes nice but coke and crisps are better. (Laughter) Granny is always smiling as well. She loves her cigarettes and enjoys watching TV and talking and playing with the dogs. My mam said that Granny used to wash all of my uncles football gear when they were my age and wash all of the jerseys that the teams that grandad managed, that’s a lot of washing. Granny said that there were some evenings after matches when the meetings lasted longer than they should have. A bit like my dads golf meetings. (Laughter) But she didn’t mind. I just want to say that I love granny and grandad very much.
Ollie: And I’m sure they are listening. (Applause) Well done to you. Diarmuid I suppose the final point is, I know we were talking about Padraig Coyne and the lads of ’81. I suppose it seems like so long ago you weren’t born until the following year after Milltown won that county success but I suppose to be part of the great club and so many great players over the years must be met with great pride.
Diarmuid: Absolutely and just from the last meeting there. Jim Carney was saying how long we are senior and that’s a huge achievement and you know I was down coaching the under 14’s there and it’s great to see so many young lads. The pitch was full of boys and girls down there. So, it’s not all about winning, it’s about taking part and kind of getting a bit of confidence. A lot of people need the sport you know find their feet and go into secondary school. It’s a great platform for people to be able to express themselves. Yeah, it’s great to be from Milltown and I won’t transfer to Salthill yet.
Ollie: No. Not for another while. Of course your looking forward to the weekend, Diarmuid. It’s championship weekend which is always a big one.
Diarmuid: Yeah, it is, like I was saying, it’s like a different championship now since the slanté, since we have played but there is a few big match ups but thank god the rain is coming down. The pitch is getting a bit softer now. It suits our team but ah look it’s a big battle with Mountbellew in the championship. Well my group of championship players haven’t anyhow but hopefully on Saturday we’ll turn that around.
Ollie: Well listen as Jim Carney also referenced here earlier on, when he is writing his autobiography. He is going to title it “standing in Jame Jin”. A famous battle war cry one time from one of the toughest clubs of course a lot of people would know and of course that’s Milltown. Well we are going to finish off with what’s a brilliant morning here in Sheridan’s with a song that’s two brilliant young girls, musicians, Eva and Emer Leonard who are going to sing us out with a Dixie Chicks number I think you will all recognise but I think from everybody here in Milltown this morning, it’s been brilliant. So thanks to Cathal and all the staff here. They have been absolutely fantastic in looking after us so well all morning. And just to leave you because one man who was here so very early this morning and he knows his horses, so don’t say you didn’t get out of Milltown without a tip in the 2:05 in Chipstow the great Billy McGrath reckons that “time for wine” is a cert. Well no better doggy than Billie to know his horses so lets have a few bob on the 2:05 in Chipstow and we’ll see if “time for wine” can do the business. It’s nearly time to go here in Sheridans so lets leave you in the capable hand of the Leonard sisters Eva and Emer. Goodbye and thanks for listening to us here in Milltown. We’ll see you tomorrow morning in the Ryan woods. It’s time for Athenry tomorrow. Girls. (Applause) (Girls sing Dixie chicks acapella)