Liam Burke – Grand Marshal 2020

Grand Marshal 2020

Bob Dylan stated:

“If you were not around in the 60′s – you haven’t lived”

Life in the laidback village of Clane, in the 50′s and 60′s was so much different from today. Not many new cars around but there was quite a number coming and going from Paddy Woods Garage, our Volkswagen dealer for Kildare which was always busy. John Blake’s shop (now Londis) was a thatched roof building which could hold no more than 8 customers at a time but was always busy with newspapers, ice cream and sweets. Sunday mornings, after mass, there would be a queue outside. The 3 Pubs of today which are still there, were much smaller but always busy, especially after football matches. Clane won the County final in 1963 and the street was packed with supporters. Many a pioneer wore their badge for the last time that week.

We made our own entertainment growing up – Paper chasing through the fields where there are now Housing Estates, playing football and games in Manzor’s field – now Loughbollard. In summer days, heading to “Hickeys” Liffey and we had many other activities.

Clane Youth Club was formed in late 60s which I was involved in along with my two great late friends, Bryan Sammon and Paddy Behan with Jim Mahony and Pat Harty. We organised weekly “Hops” over a 3 year period and packed the “Old Hall” with teenagers who also came from Prosperous, Sallins and Rathcoffey. We brought the sound of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Beach Boys and of course the showbands, dancing to “The Twist” and “Hucklebuck” etc. Many a marriage was created from those great days. The era of Miniskirts, Beatles haircut and to us teenagers – this was the big change to better times. We also organised Bus tours to Tramore, Salthill etc. We held the first “Old Folks Party” with up to eighty sitting down to a meal and entertainment. We also organised S.R.P.A. -Special Relief of Poor and Aged in the Clane, Prosperous area. Paddy driving a mini bus loaded with briquettes and groceries bought from the proceeds of the Hops. The youth club also organised concerts and plays in the hall. Table Tennis was huge with over 10 clubs throughout the county and we could be playing in tournaments up to 2am.

Clane – THE VILLAGE WE KNEW

We have great memories of the “OLD” Clane. We knew who lived in every house within 2 miles of the village when the population was 300 approx. Bryan, Paddy and I often shared these memories when we would meet up and Bryan suggested we write a book about Clane and the local community, so we contacted as many people as possible and the response was unbelievable. We contacted publishers and produced “Clane – THE VILLAGE WE KNEW” in September 2006 with the launch in the Westgrove Hotel. Over 800 copies were sold on the night and in total we sold over 2,200 with proceeds to M.S. Kildare who received €10,000 and also made a donation to Irish Wheelchair Association and Little Way Cancer Support Group.

The following year in 2007 we organised a “Reunion and Presentation” to those who contributed to the Clane community in the 50′s and 60′s which also included some parishioners who left the village over the past 50 years and they arrived from USA, Australia, Canada and UK to receive the “Freedom of Clane” from the Lord Mayor, Des Marron.

Clane Tennis Club – Founder member 1973

I am proud to be a Life Member of this great club of which I was Chairperson and Treasurer over the past 8 years. We formed our Development Committee in 2015, submitted plans to Sports Capital applying for funding, which we were successful and last year we had the official opening of our new facilities which included resurfacing of courts and clubroom extension, spending over €175,000. The club have over 300 adults/ juniors members, 5 All Weather Floodlight Courts , membership now open for the coming year. We offer the use of facilities to KARE and local schools. 2 Midi Courts have also been installed for 6 -9 yr. olds and is used by members of KARE.

There are over 150 juniors playing tennis and coaching throughout the year, all supervised by approved adults. Membership is now open for 2020 and we encourage parents to assist when requested. Family membership available.

OUR CHILDREN, OUR FUTURE“.

As a proud grandparent, I often wonder what future lies ahead for my 3 grandchildren.

As the song goes – “Que Sera, Sera, Whatever will be, will be.”

My advice to parents – for what it’s worth:

Try to spend a few hours a week: No TV – No laptop – No phones

Talk and Walk with them – Play games, Be active, Laugh and Enjoy time with them – BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE.

We should also assist our Special Needs children in the area who have so much to contribute to our community by encouraging them all the way throughout their young life and their future.

I thank the Organising Committee for inviting me to be the Grand Marshal for 2020 and to all who have supported me. As I proudly lead the Parade through “Clane, the village we knew“, my thoughts will be of my two lifelong friends, Paddy and Bryan and the many memories we shared of our beloved Clane and for “Our Children – Our Future””.

Liam Burke