Donuts and nightclubs in Belfast

By Cavanman’s Diary

I picked up on the wisdom of John McGahern Memoir One day he just opened the page talking about his father. Frank McGahern, a Garda police officer and kind to say the least, is from Gowna.

“I heard him the other day while talking to another person about the price of oranges when they were young,” McGahern wrote.

“My father said he liked oranges then and when he saw he was getting married he bought two dozen oranges in Galway and went to sit in a park and eat them. She thought she would never be able to buy more oranges if she got married.

It reminds me of a time when I was 14 and visiting my uncle Matt in Belfast. Matt is a GAA promoter who has always given the Nuhou Irish and a column in the Record history called Matt’s Chat. He was a founding member of the Carryduff team and a Gaelic football player who wrote his first game, in a game he was playing, for the Fermanagh Herald at the age of 15.

We went to Sainsbury’s and I had £ 2 in my bag. I was a boy on a mission. I went straight to the bakery and bought 10 jam donuts.

When we got back to Matt’s house, I sat at the kitchen table, peeled back the paper bag and started eating. It is five o’clock. A quarter of an hour ago, I went for eight donuts. Not for the pig, I left two hours before returning to clean both.

My grandparents are there. I remember they couldn’t believe I ate 10 donuts in two sessions in one evening. But the young children did not finish eating.

That trip to be with Matt was my first time in Belfast. The second was when I was 16 and I knew everything. Myself and my friend Eddie (at 18, who is the main partner of this imbecilic duo), got the car on Friday evening. We’re going to play handball at the St Paul’s GAA team called the Golden Gloves.

I am in section U17; Eddie was in the Men’s C. Our first stop was when we got in the car at the Cavan station and we found it was close to £ 20. The treasury was immediately in trouble.

We told our parents at home that we would stay with Matt, and we – but not until Saturday night. On Friday, we will be painting the town red. We will worry about where we will be in the future; No problem with us!

We left the car in the city center and went to the Hotel Europa. After drinking two meals each, we threw the money left on the table and took the treasure. It didn’t take long to count, I can tell you.

Then we got the brain and melted it down nicely into a ‘Who Wants To Be A Millionaire’ (“this time next year, Rodney …”)… so another ten passed. With no other choice, we went out at night with no confidence, no research was done, no problem of finding a hostel and this terrible city was very safe.

After a while, a friendly visitor, out for the night with his friend, noticed us for how we were, two innocent lost idiots who were going to a very dodgy place with their our GAA football bags on our shoulders. He immediately caught the lies of the land and told us to find it quickly.

He went with us to find a place to stay. It was full but he took the position and persuaded them to take us inside. Maybe they loved us. The next morning there were five of us left. We bought two earthquakes and a bottle of water and got a car ride to ‘Andytown’ for handball. Our game is over; by the time Matt picked us up that evening, we were weak from hunger.

The next day, he covered a Down vs Monaghan National League match in Scotstown and drove us home, where we quietly spent our escapades.

Over the years, I’ve come back a lot to Belfast for a handful but not a few for football. Cavan fans often remember a kind of wine for Casement Park, where Cavan won the famous Ulster finals in 1962 and 1969, straightening the All-Ireland titles down to two; but for those who follow my age and youth, perhaps the famous ancient land is in another world.

In recent years, Casement has been secured and has grown exponentially as the saga surrounding its reconstruction has dragged on and on. I have only been there three times that I can remember. There was one draw with Derry in 2000, when Cavan watched death and was buried for Dermot McCabe only to hold hands with the match box during the injury.

One was a win over Antrim in 2008 and then a National League title in 2013. Shortly after that, Casement was replaced and is now the region’s largest population center. the heart of ten years has passed without a suitable home. call to himself.

It may not be surprising that Gaelic games were going to be a lull in the city on the whole at that time. Handcuff rates, which were the highest in the country in the 1990s, fell. In all parts of Belfast, where there is a Gaelic playing tradition, football is the sport of choice.

The GAA saw this and pledged £ 1 million to rededicate it as part of a project called Gaelfast, directed by Paul Donnelly, a member of the St Paul Foundation. , Which was the highlight of our unfortunate handball journey. over 20 years ago.

Donnelly spoke of the “poverty of hope” that the GAA sees in the city.

“Transforming Casement Park is part of the redevelopment of the GAA in Belfast,” he told the Irish News three years ago.

“Gaelfast teachers meet with 4,000 students every week, none of whom have landed at Casement Park. Without proper planning and increased long -term funding, the Gaelic Games in Belfast and Antrim will not be able to achieve its potential.

It will be interesting to see how the stadium’s renovation, after years of protests and legal battles, was given the green light last week, to win. in the Gaelic playground.

Perhaps it’s a ‘build and they come’ case but it’s more than the bricks and mortar required to change the value of the GAA’s biggest winners.

A few weeks ago, I was at Corrigan Park for the Cavan v Antrim game. Cavan played well; Antrim was terrible and their leader resigned after a year of detention. They seem to be far from successful.

After that game, I met some friends in the courtyard at the club, and some of them took a lot of interest in the game in town, and everyone agreed that Antrim was miles away. . The new stadium is now going to be photographed as they cut the tape but basic problems remain and are more difficult to fix.

It seemed like the city itself was upstairs and there was a much nicer and safer place than when my friend and I wandered around innocently. But in the language of the Gaelic games, it could be another generation before the landscape changes.

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