CARD DRIVE: The next Hurling Club Progressive Twenty Five Card Drive will take place in Guinans on Friday 15th at 9pm sharp. All are welcome.
HURLERS PRESENTATION: On Saturday evening the Galmoy Windgap minors will be presented with their County League medals in Galmoy Hall. The event will take place after 8pm Mass in the village and the guest presenter will be Kilkenny Senior team manager Brian Cody.
TRACTOR RUN: It was described as being like a gathering for the Spring Show or a Ploughing match as groups of tractors arrived from all corners of the parish for the Windgap National School Parents Association tractor run in support of the school building fund. With almost fifty tractors of all vintages, the colourful cavalcade ran from Windgap via Cuaile, Kilmoganny, and Tullahought before arriving back in Windgap. It was accompanied by a highly successful sale of work.
CLUB NEWS: The Hurling Club is holding a committee meeting on Wednesday evening in the Club Rooms at 8pm.
HIDDEN KILKENNY: Sean Keanes new book of the hidden gems of Kilkenny includes a number of places near and dear to the area. Launched in the Set Theatre on Thursday evening it includes stories of his visit to the Leac and Scail Dolmen, Castletown Cox known locally as Castletown House and the Coshel nearby in Knockroe. Added to his visit to Knockroe was his meeting with local resident the late Sean Power. The book contains stories from thirty nine locations across the county whose history delves back thousands of years. At the launch Gerry Moran related his life and times with Clara's Freestone Hill where the winning team brought the county Senior Hurling Trophy as part of their recent celebrations. For all interested the question was loud and clear, “what do you know of the hidden gems on your doorstep”. If nothing is the answer, the details are in the new publication and are easy to read and then easy to find. The guaranteed result for all will be amazement and appreciation of the people who created them and their ancestors who protected and preserved them down to the present day.
A HALLS LAST STAND: After fifteen months of activities, events and meetings the community of Windgap parish re grouped in general conclave on Tuesday night to review the progress and preview its future plans.
Having being rated the highest item on the agenda, at the largest public meeting in a generation, the upgrading of the parish hall had been surpassed by a huge range of social and infrastructural activities that had also generated from it
In its time, it has been known in various era’s as O'Sheas Hall, The Road House Cabaret Room, The Parish Hall, The Community Centre, Disco night spot, Badminton Hall, Meeting venue and Indoor Hurling Centre. An integral part of the history and even folklore of the area it was now back again centre stage. Wearing its best face for a generation, after the first public meeting saw volunteers give it a complete internal and external faceover last December. Its interior was now presented in warm lively coluors with detailed decoration whilst its Flagship Banner over the front door was changed to the Ballroom of Romance. Having warmed the hearts of generations through ceillis, shows, big band sounds, sports activities, bazaars, discos and functions where patrons were regularly “sent home sweating”, it was now facing a future to be determined by the attendance and rolling, high tech power point presentations.
As if it could sense its potential demise, or damage to its pedigree or to be humbled by unseen and unpublished Diocesan reports, of its crumbling state that promoted its demolition and replacement, it struck back with memorable force. On the first hard November evening of the year, it left its mark on all present with a fervour that chilled everyone present to the bone.
On the night, when even the smell of heat from the modern central heating system was non existent, the debate became labored, as some quietly recalled having to take off their coats to bear the heat whilst sharing a communal cup of tea in memory of local village resident Shem Phelan just three days previously.
Outlining the achievements carried out by individuals, groups and sub committees since the first meeting Fr. Nicholas Flavin’s long list had been well led and driven by a new innovative generation of organizers. On the night the required reflection on their benefits to the community life and their use and the experience of their organizers as a foundation, that the next projects would be built off was all too quickly swept over, as the temperature of the venue had set the agenda, to move on fast and get home to the fire.
So too the presentation of the new playground plans by Marie O’Shea and Barbra Kelly suffered, as the planning on the biggest infrastructural project since the creation of the Amenity Area and Hurling Club developments was not greatly acknowledged with questions or comments. Three years behind its original timeline, after the task of getting the ducks of Diocesan and Parish leases in line to compliment the ground done by the volunteers, the project may have well missed the funding bus that left in February. This was especially poignant as the parish’s first attempt for a community playground was commenced over thirty years ago and the school was turned down for funding for one, on at least three occasions by the Department of Education.
Like a set piece in Dail Eireann or County Chambers some of the big ticket items and contributions that were expected were skipped as the main topic was awaited like a budget or state of the nation address. Whilst they sat and waited the heart warming after glow and latent heat generated by the three day gathering that had done more for community life and spirit since the week long carnivals a half a century earlier was all that was required. Still vividly fresh were the recollections of the numerous exhibitions, street stalls, sports activities, music sessions, dances and church and school events and the memories of the many relations and friends who visited the area for the public events.
As the show stopping item "Our New Hall" presentation danced in high definition around the walls of the Hall, showing its various angle, elevations, internal and external layouts the backround and outline of the greatest proposed construction since the Church was built was explained and the debate commenced. Most prominent amongst the sounds were the shuffling of chairs as groups huddled together as much for heat, as for group discussions as the cold air clipped the clarity of the contributions from the edges of the group.
Like the forum in Rome or the Dail in Kildare Street the debate waged to and fro, as size and cost mattered more than expected. In it funding was discussed, percentages were quoted, unseen development fees, grants, legal costs and input from the stakeholders were included as the dreaded bank interest costs was almost airbrushed out. With the Yeah's out polling the Nay's as in a Commons debate, the night’s only unanimous decision was for more details, costings and revenue plans. It also included the requirement for more inclusion, integration and consultations with all parishioners particularly those without intranet access.
As the crowd dispersed rapidly a comment uttered on exit that it was "warmer outside" was re-called the following day as the Hall stood proud and inviting in the bright warm sunshine. Unable to give its own opinions on its potential future and not knowing the cost of, or possibility of a refurbishment, an extension, or a New Build through a more voluntary basis it was as ever ready to give of its facilities and warmth to the indoor hurlers, badminton players and the visitors to the Christmas fundraising Bazaar in the coming weeks.
PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE: The next meeting takes place in the Clubrooms on Tuesday 19th in the GAA Clubrooms at 8pm. Amongst the items outstanding is the timeline for renovations to the local creamery building.
PIONEERS: The annual South Ossory Pioneer Social takes place on November 15th in the Rhu Glen. Music is by Twice Shy.
COMPLIMENTS: Thanks go to the many people who supplied material to these weeks’ notes and have helped to record the ongoing activities of the community. Contributors and Clubs are invited to email items for publication with a name and contact number to firstname.lastname@example.org by Sunday evenings at 6pm. For all the local news, photographs go to Noel Smiths website windgap.ie