By Peg Prendeville

It is the season of holidays for some in the Knockdown area who are enjoying themselves in Majorca while it is exam time for those who are doing the Junior or Leaving Cert. It is the last year of the Junior Cert exams. We wish them all best of luck.  June is going to be an exciting month in the area as many of our boys, who have emigrated in recent years, are coming home for various reasons including weddings and births. I will elaborate more as time goes on.

Congratulations to Killeaney Junior team who is now back in the premier division after winning 3-1 away to St Ita’s last Friday night to secure promotion. It has been a great season all round for Killeaney. Well done to all.

I was at a family wedding in Fanore, Co. Clare last Friday, where the sun shone all day. Clare is the home of traditional music and customs and this wedding had all of that. Even the Strawboys paid a visit to Linnane’s pub in Kilfenora for the after-party on the day after the wedding. Whenever the custom started, (and there are many stories about them if you google it) the Straw Boys have survived in modern Irish life – at least in the western counties of Ireland, where they almost certainly originated. They’re most often described as an exceptionally odd bunch of party crashers – young men who appear suddenly at a wedding, possibly uninvited, and dance with the bride and groom before departing as swiftly as they arrived. The only thing that’s consistent in all the stories about them is the way they conceal their identities behind stylized hats made of straw.  It’s called strawing a wedding. Their presence was meant to bring good luck, health and wealth to the couple. It certainly brought life and gaiety to the visitors from Dublin and Meath and the UK who would not be accustomed to this tradition. I remember my father telling me that the Strawboys visited the mountain house in Glasha on the night that he and my mother got married back in 1952.

While in Clare I visited Lahinch and Doolin; both places got a bad bashing in the winter storms and floods but it was nice to see the progress made since. A new pier is being built in Doolin and the promenade in Lahinch has been cleared of all the rocks and stones which the sea threw up and is in good condition again. It is a great sign of hope to see how people bounce back from disaster and get living again.