All eyes will be on RTE 1 next Saturday night when the IFTA winners will be announced. Why? Because we have one of our own nominated for an award. Yes, 24-year-old Gerard Barrett, son of Peggy and Joe, Carrueragh and formerly Knockdown and Knocknaclugga, has been nominated as a rising star in the Irish Film and Television Academy (IFTA) awards. Gerard Barrett made Pilgrim Hill, set in his native county, with a cast of six and a crew of four. He wrote, directed and produced the film himself. It has already been awarded the best film at last year’s Galway Film Fleadh. Gerard, on a low budget, used his own resources and a credit union loan to finance the film, recruited an amateur actor and full-time farmer Joe Mullins for the lead role as a lonely bachelor farmer. I quote from an article by Ronan McGreevy in the Irish Times on January 31st in which Gerard says “I just got a really good deal on the equipment. I think it was probably a little of the farmer’s son mentality coming out, always haggling” he said. “When you are young and starting out, it is good that somebody puts a hand on your back and says well done.” The winner will be announced on February 9th at the IFTAs which are staged in the Convention Centre Dublin (CCD) and will be televised. Well done to Gerard. We wish him the best in the future.

Congratulations to Ciara O’Grady who celebrated, with friends and neighbours, her 21st birthday in Brown Joe’s Bar last Saturday night. Ciara is the youngest of Tom and Marcella’s three daughters.  

The Clounleharde School Reunion is gaining momentum as all the invitations have gone out and some replies are back already. Many former pupils are really excited at the thought of meeting up in June and have their flights and accommodation already booked. The end of February is the deadline for accepting or not.

Congratulations to Ballyhahill N.S on winning  1st and 3rd places at the Estuary Credit Union quiz last Sunday in Glin. The school had a great day on Wednesday January 30th , during Catholic Schools Week. An important element of the Catholic Schools Week is to encourage pupils to appreciate the witness of Grandparents to the faith, and so thegrandparents were invited to the school and treated to tea and a  little concert by the pupils. One very happy grandmother was telling me that she was amazed at the talent of the pupils.  Well done to all.