By Peg Prendeville

Clodagh, Sáibh and Katie on final journey to school with Connie O ‘Donnell on school bus.

Congratulations to Dave Noonan who joined the “60’s club” at the weekend. It was nice to see that his son David and partner Kate visited from Australia during the past week or two but have now returned to Melbourne again. It is always lovely to see our young people coming home but sad to see them go again.  

The AGM of the Abha Bhán Players – drama group – will be held in the Parish Hall on this Thursday 4th July at 8pm. Officers will be elected on the night. New members are most welcome.   

Tax Reclaim forms have been posted to all Loughill/Ballyhahill parishioners this week. As a charity the Parish can claim from Revenue if you have paid €250 or more to the parish throughout the year. This is of great benefit to our parish and will reduce the debt which now stands at €40,000. Fr Austin would be most grateful if you would sign the forms as per letter accompanying them with your PRSI number and double signature.

Now that all the schools are closed for the summer we wish all the children – and teachers –  a safe and happy summer. Take care in the heat and in the water.

Last Friday was a sad day in Glenbawn and Knockdown when, Connie O’Donnell, after 35 years of  driving the Ballyhahill school bus, did his last round picking up Katie, Clodagh and Saibh. The bus is being discontinued due to lack of numbers despite the fact that, back in 1966/67 a promise was made, when Clounleharde School was closed, that as long as there were school-going children transport would be provided to go to Ballyhahill School. I know that, from September, there will be only two children going from this area but in a few years time there will be more as new babies are being born and new houses being built within the parish. So it is a pity that this service is being withdrawn. But hope is not lost. There is a new generation of educated people who are well able to stand up for their rights and who will not give in so easily. We wish them luck as we watch how the future develops.

I offer this tribute to Connie as my way of saying thanks.

Dear Connie, I fear the time has come

When you’ll no longer pass the gate

You’ve been a landmark a long time now

From 1984 to date.

It was in that year that James first took

The journey on the bus

With his little peaked cap and schoolbag

He never caused much fuss.

Back then there were many children

Sure the bus was always full

But you kept them all in happy mood

And their days were never dull.

Time moved on and twas my delight

To see my grandchildren at the gate

Waiting for “Connie’s bus” to come.

The excitement, it was great. .

But time it changes many things

And now the children are so few

That Bus Eireann is pulling the plug

So we must say Goodbye to you.

It’s a sad day for all of us

To see this service taken

You were the best bus-driver

If I’m not mistaken.

A special thank you from your girls

Katie, Clodagh, Saibh

Who were your final passengers

On the Ballyhahill drive.