The land where Super Valu and Lidl is now built was, in other days, known as the back of the Desmesne, in other words the back of the Old Lodge Wood estate. It was boggy on several sides with a small stream running just inside the road wall, and a big grassy hump in the middle covered with tree stumps which were once big proud beech trees that were cut down for commercial purposes during the Second World War.
What a pity.
In other times the Kenmare rugby team used to practice and play matches on the flatter, dryer portion near the railway sheds. However the best part of the field was near the Priests Cross because this is where the circus, when it came to town, set up its tents.
One would wonder if the architect who designed Supervalu knew this, reason being that if you look at the building objectively, not alone is it standing where the circus big top tent used to be situated but its design closely resembles one, and reminds you of times now long gone.
This is no bad thing because the odd bout of nostalgia is good for us all now and then.
The excitement of everybody, young and old, when you were aware that the circus was coming to town has to be understood in the context of today’s instant amusements.
No television, no radio, no phones, mobile or otherwise, few if any newspapers, that was what life around here was like in those days.
Fossetts or Duffys, both circus companies, were equally as good. Our first sighting of wild exotic animals were in the circuses with lions and tigers in a big cage in the ring in bad humour doing tricks for the trainer, even allowing him (it was always a him) to put his head into the male lions mouth.
The beautifully harnessed horses and ponies, from the tiniest Shetlands to the handsome Arabs, all doing little tricks, some of them with bareback rider’s somersaulting or jumping from one to the other, with the band playing loud music, and the ring master controlling each act.
The trapeze artistes, the high wire walkers with a long poles for balance, the jugglers with all the plates they could keep spinning at the same time, or the number of balls they could keep in the air.
The acrobats building pyramids of bodies up into the air, the knife and hatchet throwers, the Cowboys with their lasso tricks, the trained dogs who could sing and count, and the clowns.Who could forget them?
The modern day popstars could learn a lot from the fantastic costumes worn by the artistes, both men and women, it was a whole new experience brought into a drab and colourless world.
It must be admitted that some people lost the run of themselves and ran away with the circus, one man I knew personally who was reared on a farm near where we lived and was obviously not happy in this life, did just that.
The couple who reared him, lovely people, woke up one morning to discover Myles was gone off with the circus never, as far as I’m aware, to be seen again. Even though we were very small I remember all the upset that caused that family,
So there you have it, just a little window to the past.
Where are all those who lived the circus life? There must still be talented show artistes about but no outlets for them to perform and, what can they do? How the world has changed in a short few years with no going back, and more is the pity.
The Kenmare Trout Angling club had the last outing of the year on Uragh and Glen Lakes in October. It was reasonably well attended. What a day, very dull with a strong blustery wind with shore fly fishing difficult.
They were all seasoned anglers so they did catch fish and some good seized ones at that.
The winner was John O’ Hare, second Con O’Leary, third Martin Riney. Heaviest fish Malachy Scannell, who also won the Oulton cop for the biggest trout caught in club competitions for the 2017 season.
The salmon and sea trout fishing ended as it began, not very good.
The weather conditions did not help of course and according to climate forecasters we can expect more of the same in years to come.
Like the circus, are we seeing the end of an era? For the life of me, I cannot understand the politics being played by all governments when the dogs in the street, including my Balbo, know that the biggest disaster facing us all is global warming.
Talk about ostriches with their head stuck in the sand, it will be too late when they pull them out.
The sea fishing is still hanging in there with good catches of mackerel and pollock. Wrasse are still plentiful with the odd bull huss, skate, ling and cod thrown in the mix.