“The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft a-gley”. So the poet Robert Burns said. And it was proved to me last week. I had plans made to take my annual holidays to be around when my new grandchild was born. But life always has a surprise in store. I visited my daughter in Abbeyleix for the weekend where I took ill and ended up in Portlaoise Hospital for a few days with my appendix being removed. I have not been in hospital since my last child was born 19 years ago and, I am glad to say, that despite of all we hear about health cuts etc I have nothing but good to say about the care I got from the doctors and nurses who were kind and courteous to me.  Thanks to you readers who sent me good wishes and who said they missed me!

All the confusion did not stop my lovely grandchild Saibh Prendeville from entering the world on Saturday 7th and I congratulate my son James and wife Fiona on the arrival of a new sister for Clodagh.

All plans are in place for Vintage Day in Knockdown on Sunday next. You will read all about it on the various posters and in the local papers. The weather is promising good for the day so be sure to come along for a family day out. It starts at 12 noon.

Hearty congratulations to Athea on the great marks received in the Tidy Towns while I was away. Well done to all the active members who keep the place looking so well.

The Parish of Loughill/Ballyhahill gave a good sendoff to Fr McIvor, a retired priest who has been living in Ballyhahill village for the past fifteen years. He was buried in Newcastle West on Monday after his funeral Mass in Ballyhahill. May he rest in peace.

Sincere sympathies to Mickey Finucane and family on the unexpected death of his sister Bridget last week. Bridget was one of Clounleharde’s past pupils and had expressed great interest in the Gathering but was unable to come at the time.