Welcome back to the Knockdown News column. I hope we all have a good and healthy year in 2012.

I did not get to hear or see any wrenboys this St. Stephen’s Day but I believe they were out both in the houses and in pubs. It is nice to see the tradition continuing every year. It was great to see so many at home in the area for the Christmas season but I suppose a little sad for those who could not come this year. It really shows how many have gone when you start to notice all the familiar faces back again. It is such a pity and a scandal that they have to leave again to return to their work in the various continents. Five years ago in this column in January I wrote the following: “At a recent 21st in Knockdown I was impressed by the amount of young adults in our midst, all so handsome and beautiful. It is lovely that they are able to stay and study and work at home rather than having to emigrate as many generations did before them. We are living in good times and hopefully it will last. I met a young Polish family this week in Glin who have moved with children  to live and work here so the prospects must be good.” 

How times have changed in five years! Let us hope that it will not be too long before things turn around again. Emigration brings a lot of sadness but we must also remember that every life experience is a learning experience and we must be willing to accept such changes.

Congratulations to Paul Mullane, son of Ta and Ita, who got engaged to his long time girlfriend Bríd Wallace from Glin at Christmas. Paul and Bríd now live in Brisbane.

Congratulations to Shauna Long, Knockdown who celebrated her 18th birthday just after Christmas.

Sympathies are extended to Eileen Dalton and her family on the death of her husband Patrick Dalton, Glenagragra who died last week. Sympathies too to the Shine family, Finnoe on the death of Brendan who died the week before Christmas. May they rest in peace.

Johnny Flavin and Louise, Sean Prendeville and Bernie and Lisa Daly inRottnest Island, near Perth this week