From Castlebar - County Mayo -

Local Papers Commentary
From the Mayo News 30 June 2004
By The Jaundiced Eye
4, Jul 2004 - 09:56

A Mayo welcome

WITH so many people moving from different parts of the world to live in Ireland, clearly the country still has a lot going for it. Two English women who have recently made the move from England to County Mayo, and who have found that the ‘Ireland of the Welcomes’ tag still very much applies, are a happy reminder that we really have a lot to be grateful for on this unique island of ours. "Basically, it is the quality of life that attracted me to Ireland", explains Kerry Brown, mother of one who works as a Beauty Therapist with Zens Health and Beauty Salon in Westport. "My daughter was 10 at the time and was between national school and secondary school. The area I lived in in London had become quite built up and hadn’t much going for it. "I had been over and back to Ireland on visits and saw how laid back people were. People don’t watch the clock as much and if you arrive late to something, it’s as though you were expected to be late anyway. Also, education is so good in Ireland and that was a very important factor for my daughter. I thought about moving over for a long time and then just decided to go for it."

Mayo has a lot to offer and it is a great place to live. Of course you are expected to be late! If that event is scheduled to start at 7:30 don’t arrive before 8.00 or you will end up looking silly. You can always tell who is not a local by the time of their arrival at a function. OK it doesn’t apply to McHale Park or the Cinema. But I wonder is our laid-backedness all changing? I heard someone blowing their horn in a small traffic jam at the Spencer Street roundabout the other day! I was a bit shocked. And then there’s all the fuss over the closure of McHale Road. And people complaining about lack of orthopaedics – marching in the streets even. And look at the result of the election - what were they think of voting against a government that was so good to them? The natives are getting restless indeed and maybe - just maybe - they are not going to take it any more?

Castlebar business boom

MAYO’S magnificent victory on Sunday afternoon against Galway in the Connacht Senior Football Championship was celebrated long into Sunday night right across the county. But there can be no doubting that Castlebar’s pub, restaurant and B & B proprietors also greeted the victory with great zest in light of the fact that the Connacht Senior Football Final will also take place in the county town on Sunday fortnight. Over 30,000 people descended on Castlebar for last Sunday’s game and an equivalent number is likely to attend the final against Roscommon on July 18th. The early throw in of 2.10p.m., which took place to suit RTE’s television cameras, meant there was plenty of time for the crowd to filter into the town centre and spend the evening socialising. The revenue created from the football matches followed on from the large crowds which attended the recent Castlebar Blues Festival and heralded the anticipated influx of tourists for the eagerly awaited Castlebar International Walking Festival which gets under way this week.

If you were unlucky enough to be caught in the traffic heading out of town last Sunday you get a feel for what 30,000 people on the move looks and feels like. No doubt about it the GAA generate a lot of income for a town lucky enough to be hosting a big match like last Sunday’s great Mayo win. A lot of despondent looking Galway fans in their Tommy Varden shirts as they were stuck in the traffic heading out of town. But they were eating ice-cream bought in a shop here in town!

Mall fountain goes dry

THE son of Mayo patriot, Ernie O’Malley, has condemned the abuse of the Manamon McLir fountain sculpture on the Mall in Castlebar which was donated to the town by his family in memory of his father. While he accepts that the decision taken by the council to fill in the fountain with earth some months ago was justified because of the persistent littering of the water feature, he said that he would like to see the fountain planted with heather or reeds, which would give the effect of the sea underneath the Manamon McLir (Celtic God of the Sea) statue, if it was not possible to maintain it as a fountain. Cormac O’Malley has said that the decision to replace the water in the fountain with earth was "a pity for the people of Castlebar" but admitted that he himself had witnessed young people throwing rubbish into the fountain and even children bathing in it.

It is sad to see the sea god brought down to earth so to speak. The funny thing is that according to the Castlebar website the lake Mannin that is called after the same sea god perhaps has also gone dry. But is it really impossible to get Irish people to stop littering? Dumping soap suds in the fountain as an end of term prank is part of what a town should be and not treated like a major public order offence. But constant littering of coke cans, crisp bags, mars bars wrappers or chewing gum stuck to it are a real problem. But it is a shame to give in – are we effectively saying it’s OK to litter? We will work around your need to throw things into water or onto footpaths or over walls or wherever you want to dispose of your litter?

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