Sitting in Mrs Mooney’s living room on a mercifully sunny Thursday afternoon, as 2015 lived out its last few hours, it felt like it had been a good year for Greystones.
Sure, there’d been the usual mix of joy and sadness, of sunshine and rain, of the Flynn twins and Tomasso, but where would the light be without the darkness?
And right here, right now, with the always-smiling Bridie, and her chucklesome daughter, Brigid, the sun is out. In more ways than one.
As Bridie’s grandson, Eoghan, works his way through photographs of that recent Christmas Eve farewell for a new Mooney family album, I’m still reeling at the piles of retirement cards taking up various spots around the room. There’s a bunch on the table. Oh, and another pile over there, on the couch. And the kitchen top. And the floor. It’s been over a week, and Bridie has yet to open them all. And should she work up a thirst whilst reading all these good wishes from as far afield as Dubai and Boston, well, the woman could always pour herself a quick shot of Jameson.
“The word got out that I like the odd glass of Jameson at the end of the week,” smiles Mrs Mooney, “and before we finally said goodbye to our last well-wisher at 9pm on Christmas Eve, I ended up with over 70 bottles of the stuff!”
Which is all fine and dandy, if it weren’t for the fact that Bridie has only just this week acquired a liking for Prosecco, the sparkling wine served at her glorious retirement bash. So, anyone holding an event in Greystones over the coming year, make sure you have Prosecco on tap if you want the unofficial Lord Mayoress of Greystones to grace your event with her presence.
Earlier in the day, I had a quick coffee and lemon cake with Leo Ireton, another octoganerian Greystones icon, and it felt good to see two of our town’s elders in such fine fettle. The love and respect so evident from the entire town outside Mooney’s Shop on Christmas Eve is a clear sign that Greystones is a town that respects its past. Which is, of course, one of the main ingredients for a bright and loving future…
So, with that in mind, we asked various Greystonians for their own personal Reasons To Be Cheerful Pt 2015, and what they were most looking forward in 2016. Here’s hoping everyone out there in Greystones and beyond has good memories of the year that’s just gone, and high, happy hopes for the year that’s about to commence.
See you on the other side…
Lola Morrison [Awards Magnet]
Hi, my name is Lola. I am 11 years old and I’m in 6th class in Delgany National school.
In 2015, I set myself many goals and soon realised that I could achieve them IF I worked/tried very hard. I will set and achieve loads more in 2016. I really love running and exercising, and started yoga and body blitz. I made loads of new friends through the GSP (Greystones Summer Project), and I hope to keep them in my life.
I realised I had a passion for crafts and really enjoy making things from scratch, whether it’s baking, body scrubs, or whatever. I feel like I have matured a lot.
In 2016, I will start secondary school in Templecarrig, and I’m looking forward to the next phase in my education, learning new things and meeting new people. I am also going to be in a play in May and I’m really looking forward to that too.
Darragh Flynn [Happy Pear Pip]
This last year has been a whirlwind. Wow, things have flown. It was very exciting and bang, its now almost over! For me, I’ll definitely remember this year most for getting married, and then of course, turning 30!
From January 1st onwards, I’m most excited about the adventures that lie ahead, the new lands to cast the line out to, and the great opportunities of being alive at such an exciting time. Bring on 2016!
Siobhan Hanley [Queen Bee] The highlights of 2015 for me were:
On the 22nd of May the whole country (except Roscommon) came out and voted Yes for Equality, a huge step forward for Ireland. This made my year!
Previous to that, on the 25th of April I celebrated reaching the grand young age of sixty! I’m still celebrating but go home earlier.
I learnt that eating a healthy diet is very beneficial – on a visit to my gynaecologist he informed me that I had the vagina of a thirty year old! I walked out of that hospital on my hands.
I started saxophone lessons and am available for funerals.
McDonald’s lost the plot! Go Greystones.
Yes, it was a good year, and my hopes for 2016 would be…
More sex (well, any really!).
A decent summer.
An addiction to exercise.
Tomasso Spennato [Caffe Delle Stelle Felle] What am I cheerful about in 2015? Well, there’s not a lot in this life to be cheerful about, or this town, but the fact that we won Greystones Best Coffee 2015 makes me smile. When no one is looking.
And my dreams for 2016? That Caffe Delle Stelle wins Greystones Best Coffee 2016. And I see an old person fall over at least once a month.
Philip Moyles [No Fry Zone Big Cheese]
Achievements – I have two that I would like to focus on.
1. Rather predictably, biggest one for me was that we finished the year without McDonald’s at the Blacklion Retail Centre. We started 2015 with 77 submissions objecting to the development at this location.
It’s important to point out though that I, along with most objectors, don’t have any issue with McDonald’s coming to Greystones – it just has to be at an appropriate location.
This is a significant achievement based on the fact that a significant number of people were against this development and came together in an organised way to prevent this from happening – particularly when it looked like all our options were exhausted in November.
The three schools in the locality, the residents associations & committees, our local elected representatives (councillors & north-based Wicklow TDs), some local businesses, parents & Greystones residents, they all came together when it mattered. That local opposition when expressed to Lidl in addition to other factors most certainly helped them come to the decision they did – not to sell McDonald’s the land they needed.
This was a real achievement in protecting our children from the immediate threat of fast food outlets at that location.
2. The second achievement is a much broader one with the Irish Nation voting to introduce same sex marriage into legislation. That in itself was a great achievement and it was great to see Greystones turn out in huge numbers to support this. We had one of the highest yes votes in the country.
Both achievements highlight the foward thinking, progressive people we have in Greystones.
2016? Rather predictably, I want to try as hard as possible to introduce the No Fry Zone into the Wicklow County Development Plan to make sure that schools cannot be targeted by fast food outlets. Based on our success in 2015, we in Greystones are taking the lead on this issue. This is not a local issue and the icing on the cake would be to get this No Fry Zone into national legislation, or, at a minimum, into Wicklow Development Plan.
This last 12 months have been the best for me yet..!
Nine months ago, I gave birth to my fabulous little boy Charlie.
As for my work, easily the best yet. With 15 pieces so far, not a huge increase from last year, but with larger pieces, and more commercial work. One piece, The Salmon Of Knowledge, represented Board Bia at the World Trade Fair in Malian, and it incorporated three copper and stainless steel salmon swimming around three copper reeds, which stood nearly two meters tall. Chairlie was only two weeks old when I received this commission, and they took time to make. I am not sure who grew faster.
As you may have guessed, I have a love of all things fairy!!
Three large pieces sold this year, one of which spins in the wind, with a chime mounted, on a two-foot concrete plinth, now housed in a beautiful corner of Cork overlooking Lough Mahon.
It’s fantastic to think I have work all over the globe, with pieces in five different countries so far…
I’ve started a series of nine fairies which will be finished in the new year, and I’m really excited about them.
One fairy, Mayflower, spins around a ball of butterflies that she’s releasing into the forest, whilst Flo sits on a five-million-year-old petrified log…
So, lots to look forward to already in 2016. Wishing everyone a prosperous new year! x
Tom Byrne [Artist]
What I loved about the past year was the optimism that was in the air. The opening of my gallery in Greystones main street. The finding of one of my portraits of Beckett in a bush, stolen alongside a Jack Yeats, a Paul Henry and a Sir William Orpen.
What I’m looking forward to most in 2016 is my centenary municipal show in the Luan gallery in April, and also the feeling that Ireland has turned a corner, economically – and, hopefully, as a nation, we have strengthened spiritually…
George Jones [Former Fine Gael Councillor]
Really delighted that Greystones is doing well; quite clear the recovery is well on its way here, the few shops and commercial buildings vacant over past few months now reserved. Good to see the work at the harbour progressing significantly too.
Also, the groups that I am still very involved in – namely, the La Touche Legacy and the Irish-German Society – both had a great year in 2015. Lastly for 2015, great to see the major improvements to the Theatre Lane area. Well done, Ross.
For 2016, I hope that the economy continues to improve, bringing more jobs would come to Greystones; that the sporting bodies and places like playgrounds can continue to expand and improve on our image as the town with the best sporting and leisure facilities in the country; and maybe all the restaurants and eating houses could get together and promote Greystones as the eating capital of the east coast.
Happy 2016 to all, and remember the very important events of 100 years ago that helped in setting up this great little country of ours.
Nicola Lawless [Sinn Fein Councillor] I thought I didn’t have many memories for 2015 but as I scrolled through my photos of 2015, I realised there were many good ones.
From the water protest marches in Dublin and matching locally with friends and family. To speaking on health in front of 1,000 people or more at our annual Ard Fheis in Derry was just the start of 2015 for me.
The next big event then was the Yes Equality referendum in May and what a great moment it was for us in Irish history . Later in the year, I even got to be on TV for a brief moment on the Vincent Browne people’s debate show – who would’ve thought it little ol’ me, from Greystones?
Locally, I enjoyed working on the project for the mural wall down on the North beach at the harbour trying to create some colour in a vast grey concrete structure. Being part of organising the Saint Patrick’s Day parade and the Christmas lights events, and, of course, featuring in My Greystones page on the Greystones Guide.
I also had many great celebrations with family and friends, my fathers 60th, 20 year school reunion for East Glendalough and then near the end of the year my brothers engagement.
All in all 2015 was good productive busy year.
For 2016 I’m looking forward to the centenary of the Easter rising, the general election and what the future holds.
Part of the progress has seen me sign, on behalf of Wicklow County Council, the lease of the new clubhouse for Greystones Sailing Club. The building has been built to shell and core stage, and the club receives a cheque to fit it out, which will take a few months. The leases for the new clubhouses of the Angling, Rowing, Diving Clubs and Sea Scouts are expected to be signed in January. The previous premise of the Sailing and Angling Clubs have been Compulsory Purchased as part of the Harbour Redevelopment Plan and the new ones have double the previous boat parking and clubhouse space.
The Sea Scouts, Rowing, & Diving Clubs had no space previously and are getting smaller premises. The clubhouses are close to the sea wall and have been built very strongly, as can be seen by the many reinforcing bars in the construction picture. The cost of these Community Clubs is around €4m.
These facilities, together with the marina and 2 public slipways, are all part of the Harbour Plan agreed by the Council in 2003, and will produce great marine leisure facilities for Greystones when they are up and running in Summer 2016.
Jennifer Whitmore [Social Democrat Councillor]
2015 was a very exciting year for me. One where I found my political feet on the Council and was part of starting a new political party called the Social Democrats. And, to top it off, myself and my husband welcomed a beautiful new addition to our family, called Caoimhe!
My wish for 2016 is simple – that everybody has a year where they feel loved and supported, whether it’s by their family, friends or community.
25 years across the pond and the highlight of any year is a few weeks back in Greystones with the family. Never enough time to see everyone and every thing.
Seeing what’s changed and what is still the same.
Bumping into people on Church Road that I may not have seen for decades.
For 2016, I might try to find out what was happening in 1916, or 1816, or…you get the idea.
Naomi Manek [Treats To You]
Good things from 2015.
Turning 40 was a good thing. My mum passed away weeks before her 40th, so it was something of an important milestone for me. Plus, I believe it’s going to be a good decade for me.
I got the opportunity to make lots of different types of cakes during the year, which is always a pleasure and sometimes a challenge. With time comes experience, and with experience comes improvement (I hope!!).
I got to meet a lot of lovely new people through work and have some interesting chats, which I love.
My trip to Mondello Race Track Experience. Loved, loved, loved that day.
I taught my daughter how to ride her bicycle with no stabilisers. A skill for life.
I got to teach again for a couple of days. Hadn’t been in the classroom for a few years, and it was like putting on an old pair of gloves that you love. Nice to be able to put my two degrees and teaching qualification to good use again!
Hopes and Dreams for 2016
Firstly, spending fun and relaxing times with family and friends over the Christmas holidays. My favourite thing about this time of year. Oh, and the food. And maybe the wine.
I want to learn how to properly use my lovely camera in 2016. Have taken some good shots but want to outclass that Keeley fella!
Lots more cakes on the horizon hopefully. My kids are lining up a couple for their birthdays anyway. They like to see me challenged. I call it stressed, but sure, it’s all good.
Yet another year promising myself I will get a leaner look. Maybe 2016 will be that year.
Having fun and making the most of new opportunities. Sometimes life is just too short to say no to new things.
Anna O’Rourke [Photographer]
This year has been a pretty rewarding one for me. After two busy years, I graduated with a Higher National Diploma in Fashion & Textiles (textile weaving, in particular, being of interest), and then, due to also having an interest in photography, much to my delight I went on to enter and be awarded Canon Amateur Photographer of the Year.
The competition was run by thejournal.ie, and part of prize was being in an exhibition held in Teelings Distillery in Dublin. On the back of the exposure that came from the award, I had the opportunity of starting my own photography business, and held an exhibition in Greystones Library with the competition photos, entitled A Sense of Place.
I am so grateful for being in the position to work at something I enjoy. What is it they say? You never work a day in your life when you enjoy what you are doing. It’s so true, and I want to thank all my family and friends for their support this year.
What’s next? Part of my prize for the competition was a 6-month Creative Photography course in the Institute of Photography in Dublin, which is due to start in January 2016. I’ll continue to capture local landscapes and selling my work at exhibitions and craft fairs, doing freelance photography (landscape, interiors & outdoor family portraiture), and I hope start on an exciting project of combining textiles with photography for a new exhibition.
I feel very lucky and appreciate of all the opportunities I have had to date, and want to take this opportunity to say thanks again, and wish everyone a WONDERFUL New Year.
Basil Miller [Troublemaker] Reasons to be cheerful Pt 2015
1. Preventing McDonald’s from inserting their Frankenfood outlet beside my younger daughter’s school and two others.
2. Watching family members progress and achieve — and especially seeing my elder daughter and her partner move into their new house.
3. Extremely successful national campaign against the water tax, with most people not registering or paying the bills.
4. And many other, entirely private and personal reasons, which made me a happy camper this year.
As for 2016:
1. Looking forward to the general election — an opportunity to end the neoliberal austerity approach by dumping this nasty Government and moving to the left.
2. Seeing No Fry Zones implemented throughout Co Wicklow.
3. And, ah, yes — a really long holiday in the sun (you remember that warm disc in the sky?).
Kathleen Kelleher [Town Cryer]
Good things for 2015 include family.
I had a new granddaughter born January 2015.
And I learned that a new grandchild is due January 2016.
I am blessed with sisters, brothers, cousins, nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren.
A real Irish collection of relatives both here and abroad.
More good things!!
Friends!! I have the best friends ever.
I live in a great, special country blessed with clean water, and good food, and wonderful people. No wonder my party piece is A Little Bit of Heaven Fell From Out the Sky One Day.
I live in Greystones!!
I can fill my day with things that I love and enjoy doing.
I have people to do those things with.
My hopes and dreams for 2016:
That everyone is able to stay healthy and happy.
That everyone has a roof over their head and a job to go to.
That everyone has someone to love in their life. That everyone makes a special effort to keep in touch with their community.
That everyone keeps abreast with what is going on in Greystones and stays informed.
That everyone signs up for Wicklow County Council text alerts.
That everyone checks to make sure their name is on the Electoral Register.
That everyone votes in the General Election.
That everyone has a look at the Wicklow County Draft Development Plan.
That everyone clicks onto the Greystones Guide.
That everyone listens to my programme, About Greystones, on Garden County Radio.ie.
If you have some reasons to be cheerful, for both 2015 or 2016, please let us know in the comments below. Spread the love…
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