Wednesday, 1st August 2012
In brilliant weather conditions on Friday last the judging took place for the Passage East and Crooke Pride of Place National Entry in the Co Operation Ireland promoted event and it was a memorable day.
The two judges Tom and Alison Dowling and Waterford County Manager Denis McCarthy were met at "Faithlegg House Hotel" by MC for the day Fintan Walsh and then brought by Tony Rafferty Taxi Proprietor to Cheekpoint Pier and transferred to Martin Colfer's boat Rebecca C for the trip down the river to Passage.The Rebecca C was then escorted downstream to Passage by two RIBS from the Irish naval Corvette the LE Emer which had anchored off Passage coming there specially for the occasion, a number of boats from the Marine and Rescue Service followed and they were joined by a flotilla of local boats as well. As they approached the LE Emer its crew were lined along the deck and as the boat with the judges approached Passage Pier a series of shots were fired from armaments on the Emer On the Quay in Passage the judges were met by Damien Tiernan Chair of the Local Pride of Place Committee and he introduced them to County Mayor Billy Kyne and othe dignitaries. Hundreds lined the Quay and gave all a great reception and fishermen were mending nets. A guard of Honour was there made up of Children from Passage Hurling Club, Gaultier Football Club, Lios na nOg Playschool,Scouts from 31st Waterford Troop,Taekwando Club, Always Active Summer Camp, Park Rangers Summer Camp, Waterford Ballet Academy
Damien escorted the judges and dignitaries to the Community Centre where outside it they were greeted in music and song by a Choir made up of The Church Choir in Crooke, The Singing Group, Children an members of the public. Inside the Centre which was in the old days a Fish Curing and Processing Plant a full house awaited there. Official proceedings began with the MC welcoming all and introduced County Mayor Billy Kyne who paid a tribute to the Committee in the area.
Damien Tiernan Chairperson welcomed all and thanked all involved in the effort and Waterford County Council for their input and other Voluntary Organisations and spoke of the future plans for the area. Then a brilliant DVD was shown of past and present happenings in the area and people which was a real gem. It was done voluntarily by local Camera Man and Film Maker Stephen Kelly and is available. Three Presentations followed with the theme "A Passage through Time" and each was excellently presented and delivered by Margaret Farrell (Past), Lisa Whitty (Present) and Louise Mason (Future) . This was followed by yet another gem a specially composed song for the occasion by local man Seamie Carroll and sung by Seamie with the choir lending their support and it was tops.. The judges were then brought to the old Smoke House with Sinead Cheevers smoking some fish outside and in the Smoke House itself which has been retained, Historian Jim Hegarty gave a brief talk on the methods used by the smokers to smoke the fish and eventually come out as kippers and of the excellent business it was and the great work it gave to the area for decades under owner Arthur Miller's Stewardship. Just hot of the Press was a lovely history of the Fish House by Arthur E Neiland a grand son of Arthu Millers and it was available specially for the day .A re-enactment of the marriage of Aoife and Strongbow took place, Liam Barry Carroll and Amy Walsh were the participants, the judges and dignitaries left on a tour of the area on a Suirway Coach. On board the coach were historians Jim Hegarty and John Burke giving excellent commentaries on the history of the area. The Coastal Helicopter based at Waterford Airport did a Fly Over during the event. At the Post Office in Passage three photos were displayed of three famous hurlers from the village long ago, Paddy Donnelly captain of Waterford's first ever team in any grade to win an All Ireland, the minor in 1929, Willie (Doyle) Walsh Crooke, Captain of first Waterford senior team to win a Munster title in 1938 and Vincent Baston winner of an All Ireland Senior medal in 1948 with Waterford. Back then to the community centre and greeted with more music and song, the judges inspected stalls belonging to local businesses
Then in for a top class meal with Fish, Oysters etc being the main dishes cooked by Chef Jim Barry and his staff and served by local ladies and gentlemen. A few speeches then from County Manager Denis McCarthy, who complimented his Regional Manager Ken Walsh, Co Ordinator Nicola Wall and all Council staff and said that Cllr John Carey had been a great rep for Passage and the area for years. Capt Aedh McGinn of the LE Emer said he and his crew were proud to be associated with the day and Cllr John Carey again paid tribute to the Council and all those locally that had put in such an effort. He then made presentations to Judge Alison Dowling and Daisy Donnelly a great worker in the Community over the years and Olive Hearne presented Judge Alison Dowling with a hamper of local goods books, photos etc.
Earlier a presentation of a Bouquet of Flowers had been presented by Helen Millea committee member to the oldest resident of the village 92 year Mrs Annie Robinson in her home in The Brookside. Judge Tom Dowling then thanked all and was very complimentary of the effort. To round of an absolutely enjoyable day John Walsh Kill St Nicholas sang the Croppy Boy as only he can do. All involved in the organisation of the Pride of Place effort under the superb Chairmanship of Damien Tiernan should take a bow and on the day the Gardai can also be included and the presence of the LE Emer and Coastal Helicopter added greatly to the occasion, few Commemorative T Shirts are still available. Hopefully Passage and Crooke will figure in the honours list when the results are announced later this year.
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