Christmas News 2017

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Vol 1 No. 22 Dec 2017

The year of the big Sporting Achievements ...

I am delighted to say hello to everyone far and wide and wish you all a very happy Christmas. The Tangneys have been 'far and wide' this year and some will be home for Christmas.

David is now almost 6 years in Dubai and coming home Sat for a flying visit leaving Catherine behind working!! However it will be nice to see him and catch up again. He will be here tomorrow all going well and James will then be in the skies heading for New Zealand via Dubai as he is in Glasgow airport as I write this at the start of his journey arriving in New Zealand on Christmas Eve if all goes to plan. There, he will catch up with Ciaran and Kendal for two weeks. James is still living here at home as he works in Fort William with Liberty Aluminium . Work is interesting as they are going to build a factory to make alloy car wheels .This is a big project and keeps James busy when not playing shinty. He has had a great year in shinty as Joe gives more detail later.This year James has only visited India,Germany ,Mexico and now New Zealand. He won't know where to go next with all those airmiles.

Ronan is presently driving home for Christmas in his new car which came about after he and his wee chevrolet had an altercation with a deer on the way back to Aberdeen during the summer. He was lucky as the car rolled a couple of times and all of this while we were away in New York. However he is enjoying working as a PE teacher in Porthlethen, Aberdeenshire and only finished school today. He is bringing Joseph home . So hope to see them soon.

Ciaran is still away in New Zealand since Nov 2016 . This will be his second Christmas in sunshine and appears to be enjoying himself. He is working near Tauranga and is off to Japan for two weeks including the New Year. All is going well except for vans and cars which keep dying on him but its summer there now and he will travel to Kim (his godmother) for Christmas along with Callum, James and Kendal.Thank you Kim and JD for your hospitality and generosity and make sure they do the dishes!!

Joseph is now in fourth year where has the time gone! He went to New Zealand in June a 21st present which he really enjoyed and he also got to catch up with Ciaran. He was back in Uni by the end of July however and its been non stop since. He is still playing rugby and his achievement for the year has got to be the Ben race see Joe's version below be aware he never exagerates!!!!

Aoife is also in Aberdeen in her 2nd year of Physiotherapy which is keeping her on her toes but she appears to be enjoying it very much. Aoife has had a busy shinty year as well .She is going to Shetland for a placement in January so an interesting time ahead.

As for Joe and I we are still working away Joe as hard as ever in the Surgery and I am still in the local A/E dept but retirement beckons in a few years time once we get these youngsters off our hands. But its been a good year with lots of visitors and no sign of this quiet house coming anytime soon.

Happy New Year.
All the best for 2018


James' Historic Shinty Year

Fort William Lift 2017 Balliemore Cup for the first time in 126 years


James is this years captain of the Fort William shinty team.

All sporting fans will understand that live sport is hard to beat and on Sat 15 July was a day to remember for sure. It was the day of the Balliemore Cup shinty final and we travelled up to Drumnadrochid near Inverness more in hope than expectation as James and his very young team faced Caberfeidh for the first time. A shinty final is a great occasion only seen in the Highlands of Scotland .You simply have to be there to appreciate the atmosphere and occasion. A big crowd with good support for both teams, a dry day ,the pre match interviews on facebook , the pipe band , the teams come out , the ball is thrown up and we are off ...It was a tense match right from the start and Fort William were easily the better team in first half but the score at half time was 2-2. The second half Caberfeidh started much more lively and were ahead 3-2 until the 82 min when Fort William equalised. The last 8min of normal time were agonising with several goal scoring chances just going wide for both sides.
All the parents and supporters were repeatedly put through the emotional ringer but extra time awaited. This game was on a knife edge and played at a hectic pace . Another 30 min and Fort struck first but caberfeid equalised with 5min left . Oh no .....a penalty shoot out ......this was not what we needed as everybody was already drained from the 120 min of play.

This was a true test of self belief and nerves .... The penalties were just fantastic and Caberfeidh went first . perfect penalties 2-2 then caberfeidh hit the post and came out .Fort William next Bobby hit a bullet and now we are up 3-2. caberfeidh score again 3-3 , sean scores 4-3 ,caberfeidh 4-4 , this match now depended on the next penalty ...the crowd were all holding their breath ....nobody wanted a sudden death contest a flash Mark Grant (a defender)stepped up with the ball in his left hand, put it down , swung his caman back ...and as it time stood still or slow motion ....he struck the ball sweetly and it rocketed into the net and the relief the joy the emotion was all released in the few seconds ...and everybody jumped up and down with sheer joy ...this could not have been any closer or a more exciting finish to a great game of shinty. You will not see a better penalties shoot out with players holding theri nerve under enormous pressure as they step up .This was a moment in time never to forget . James was absolutely delighted as 6 of his team are under 18 and stepped up to the mark when needed today. It was a wonderful historic sporting victory and lifting the balliemore Cup for the first time ever in the clubs 126 year old history is indeed a very special day !! James now has one of the most coveted trophies in shinty, that is a black silver tipped caman which is awarded to the captain of a winning cup team.

Below is the Press and Journal newspaper report on the game .

Caberfeidh 4 Fort William 4 (After extra-time – Fort William won 5-4 on penalties)

Fort William lifted the Balliemore Cup after a penalty shoot-out win over Caberfeidh following an eventful Balliemore Cup Final at Blairbeg. A good crowd gathered for this final and the teams had not previously met this season.

Fort William, who had to do without injured duo Bryan Simpson and Alexander MacMillan, got off to a great start with Jack Fraser giving them a 5 minute lead. Fraser latched onto a Seamus Gall cross from the right and he took the ball wide on the left before sending a superb strike across the keeper, with the ball dropping into the net.

Caberfeidh, who were minus the suspended Ryan MacKay, levelled 5 minutes into the second half when Craig Morrison found enough space to drive the ball home. There was more to come from the Castle Leod men as they went in front 4 minutes later. Craig Morrison controlled a ball from Kevin Bartlett before firing home.

Fort William came storming back and they equalised on 64 minutes. Jack Fraser burst forward up the left channel, winning a challenge with a defender, before knocking the ball past Cabers' keeper Ewan Pilcher who was dashing from his line. With 15 minutes remaining, Kevin Bartlett put Cabers back in front from the penalty spot.

Again Fort William responded and Lewis Clark made it 3-3 on 82 minutes, tucking the ball home at the second attempt.

And that's the way it stayed so referee Andy MacLean took the final into extra-time. The lead changed hands once more on 93 minutes when Calum Shepherd strode forward to unleash the goal of the game as his 25 yard strike flew into the net. There was more to come from Caberfeidh captain Craig Morrison though and, with 5 minutes remaining, he completed his hat-trick to make it 4-4 when he took a Kevin Bartlett pass before blasted the ball home.

So it all boiled down to a penalty shoot-out and they standard was of the highest level.

Just as during the game, Caberfeidh's Craig Morrison and Fort William's Jack Fraser finished in style and when Kevin Bartlett and Arran MacPhee both netted; the shoot-out was tied at 2-2.

Ally MacLennan hit his penalty well enough but the ball came back off the post and Fort William's Bobby MacMillan capitalised to put the Fort 3-2 ahead. And they stayed in front as Caberfeidh's Blair Morrison and Gavin Mclachlan and Fort William's Sean Cruickshank and Mark Grant – the latter confidently slamming home the winning penalty - all scored to give Fort William victory. Fort William captain James Tangney was presented with the Balliemore Cup by Camanachd Association President-elect Keith Loades

James wins player of the year for the third time in a row.


Balliemore Cup 2017
Glenmore Cup Feb 2017
Berlin James and Kendal

Harry Who ?

"Lifes a beach" for the cows in India

India James Jan 2017

India at the same time lived up to all my expectations and dashed them. There were people absolutely everywhere, wildlife roaming the streets unchecked and near death experiences with every tuk tuk ride. What I didn't expect from India rather naively was how diverse and friendly the country was. We started in the South in an area called Fort Kochin which was a nice seaside town with decent bars and these crazy Chinese fishing nets and from there headed a few hours east to Alleppy rather cheekily called the “Venice of the East”. This place was home to the Kerela backwaters where you could get a wee canal boat and explore all sorts of canals. It was a really relaxing place where all sorts of small communities seemed to thrive as it seemed you were all alone miles down this canal and would turn a corner and there would be a large vibrantly coloured school with houses packed in all along the bank.

After Alleppy which also had some amazing open top restaurants overlooking the beach we headed up to Munnar. This was only a 5 hour bus away but the landscape change couldn't of been more dramatic with Munnar being a mountainous region and also a massive tea plantation with tea leaves as far as you could see. The bus up and down was quite the adventure as well as buses are king of the road and don't mind taking blind corners at frightening speed on the wrong side of the road while courteously beeping the horn to warn smaller vehicles that they were coming around the corner on the wrong side.

After Munnar we headed to Palolem which is in South Goa. This was a picturesque beach resort where you could canoe and get boat rides out to monkey island and quieter beaches. Also as Goa is the only state where drink isn't actually illegal it was a good place to relax on the beach with a beer. Even hear in a more westernised part of India the cow ruled all and it wasn't uncommon for a cow to be strolling along the beach or up a road into oncoming traffic.

You learn quite quickly just to try and stop figuring out how India works. There is definitely method to the madness but it's pointless and overwhelming trying to figure it out and better to just accept it works and go with it. The perfect example of this is the Indian head waggle. If you can simultaneously nod your head to say yes and no at the same time and use that as an answer to any question and have people actually understand you then you can figure out India.

Liz and Joe 30th Wedding Anniversary

Liz and Joe are married 30 years and Joe says "it's hard to believe that it's only 30 years as it somehow seems much longer" If Liz decides to finish him off shortly then no more Christmas newsletters ...good news for you all !! We are still going strong as they say and decided to visit New York as a treat. Joe was there many years ago working as a doorman in Park Avenue and lived up in the Bronx. New York is a wonderful city and much more friendly than I remember in the 80's .
We were amazed at how helpful and polite everybody was and it felt very safe. The subways are packed at rush hour much like London and the metro card for $35 dollars is easily the best bargain or arguably the only bargain in New York. Unlimited travel in the subway for a week . The metro is so efficient and easy that we used it every day. people chatted to us on the subway and offered advice on best place to get off etc .We stayed in an apartment in Brooklyn which is very close to Manhattan . Liz must have thought that I needed to get fitter as we walked about 15 miles at least every day and as some of you know Liz is not a slow walker. It was hectic trying to pack all the sights in one week. We ticked off all the major sights in a flash !

The Metropolitan museum is absolutely huge and we also visited the natural history museum. Times square is a must and packed day and night. We saw Phantom of the Opera in broadway which was fantastic and running for over 20 years. Park Avenue to my old work place and interesting little has changed over the years. I met the superintendent Dennis Twoomey and the staff most of whom were new. We met my mother's first cousin Nora May Hickey who has lived in new York for over 50 years. She is now in her eighties but fit as a fiddle. She gave us a tour of the churches in New York and we visited St Patricks Cathedral and about 6 more churches ....Religion is a drug and a powerful one !! (But maybe it makes you live longer ??)


We went to Ellis Island with Nora May. It was fascinating to be there as my grandmother arrived there on the first of August 1923 just 18 years old on her own. I remember her telling me that the immigrants were not welcomed in the USA at that time. She had made the journey on a ship called the President Adams for 2 weeks and most people were in "steerage" ie packed in like sardines in poor conditions below deck.

I have to say it was emotional to stand in the "Clearing Hall" in Ellis Island where my grandmother stood as a young 18 year old country girl awaiting immigration clearance. It must have been terrifying as they were turning people back if any signs of eye disease or looked unwell. Thousands of immigrants were going through every week. There was a small hospital in Ellis Island where people were admitted before being sent back. When my grandmother got clearance she then went up to live with her uncle who sponsored her. Two of her sisters(one was Nora Mays mother) also went to New York to work as times were hard in Ireland and large families were the norm. While in Ellis Island I was able to find my grandmothers details on the computer showing details of the ships manifest showing where she boarded , sponsor,height ,weight ,eye colour etc.

I have to say that our ancestors were brave strong people to make that difficult decision to leave your family and face a long sea voyage.It must have been a daunting as they were often alone and only just teenagers never having travelled before. My grandmother worked in New York for 8 years returning to Ireland in 1934 and marry my grandfather David Fitzgerald. No doubt they brought back a new perspective on life having lived abroad and enriched Ireland.

Now where was I, yes Macys the largest department shop in the world . That says it all ,the largest in the WORLD and that is putting it mildly as 9 stories ..yes 9 stories and Liz dragged me through every single story .....we were there for a whole day ...I was close to ...actually buying something at one point such was my level of distress... men will understand when I say never spend a day in a big shop with your wife or partner !! The only saving grace is that it has two starbucks ,one costa coffee, macdonalds and a few more places that the man shoppers can congregate and slowly sip their coffee while awaing their wives return with more bags of shopping. I saw one poor man foolishly look at a receipt sitting on top of a shopping bag and once he saw the price he nearly choked on his muffin !! never never ever look into the shopping bags, just be prepared to take the hit and thats the secret to a happy marriage Ha ha !! ( it's worked for me !)

We walked every inch of Central Park which is over 840 acres and tried to find the bench dedicated to my first cousin Joseph who died in 2010.The only problem is that there are over 9000 park benches in Central Park.He worked a a jarvey there for over 20 years and fortunately we met a jarvey from Dublin (photo below)who knew him well. Even though New York has over 10 million inhabitants we were repeatedly amazed by the helpfulness and friendliness of its people. Ground Zero is worth a visit and a walk over Brooklyn bridge is good. Chinatown is interesting and little Italy. So in just under a week we saw all of New York and chatted to many people ......then back on the plane again.

A new imigrant arrives in Ellis Island
Metropolitan Museum .
Liz Shrieked "Take the hard shoulder NOW "

We were looking forward to the 57 Carysfort Ave renion in Galway for weeks .
Liz and the five girls she trained with in Dublin all those years ago arranged to meet up. Our flight was leaving Glasgow at 3.25pm. We left the house at 11am and usually Glasgow airport is about 2 hours journey. Is there ever a dull moment I ask myself as on the shores of Loch Lomond about 10 min from Tarbet believe it or not a carvan went on fire ! We were stuck now as the very narrow road was blocked in both directons. Still over 45 min from the airport and now 2pm eventually the caravan is cleared and we race for Glasgow. When you are in a hurry everything seems slower ....then as we approach the airport disaster strikes again . another accident just beyond the airport causing a 4 mile tailback on the motorway.......our hearts sank as it was now 2.50pm and we were miles from the airport sitting in two lanes of static traffic . We had no hope now of making the 3.25 flight ......Liz had a brainwave and shrieked out "take the hard shoulder now " It was one of those moments not to even think about this decison and just do it or die !! So I hit the hard shoulder and could feel the laser hate look in the back of my head from the drivers all sitting there for ages !! So racing along the hard shoulder for miles we could now see the airport at last . 3.10 pm we abandon the car in the car park and run like mad. Luckily security was quite as we raced through and I was awaiting a security guard stopping us as we must have had a frantic look of terror on our faces. The gate was right at the end as luck would have it and they were all almost boarded as we arrived at 3.20 As we sat down in our seats I said to myself .....I need a large brandy and Galway here we come !!

Fortunately the journey to the airport was the only drama of the weekend. The 57 Carysfort Ave crew were all there , Liz,Mary,Ger , Barbara, Margaret and Mary. The girls all did their nurse training in St Vincents hospital in the early eighties. They have kept in touch over the years and remain close friends. It was great to meet Ger and Phil from Australia and I had not met them for about 20 years. They were in top form and we had a lovely meal both nights.
We had a wonderful weekend catching up with old friends and had great craic. Needless to say there were some long winded rambling stories about the Carysfort days and old boyfriends etc. The weather was great with glorious sunshine on the Sat which was lucky. Joe did caddy for Phil, Liam and Mark on Sat afternoon and the boys were perturbed by the lack of silence as we strolled around the course. Fortunately for the boys I had to leave half way as Kerry were playing Mayo in the football semi final. Sadly Kerry lost and I had to keep a low profile amonst the Galway /Mayo fans in the golf club !! On sat night we went out for a meal and went to a local pub afterwards. There was music and a singsong in the pub which was great. Its hard to beat an Irish pub on a good night and you have to go away to appreciate it ! On Sun we all departed again and it is wonderful to meet old friends again. The long gap between meeting does not matter with old friends.....

Galway Reunion Aug 25 th

Ger, Liz ,Mary,Margaret,Barbara,Mary.
Out on the town
Mull (left)has gone all shy !
The venue

Ciaran's Saddest Day

Feb Wed 15 2017 Valentines day is over and its bad news for Ciaran and Callum as the van died suddenly and they are distraught .They were driving along aimlessly as usual and smoke appeared then a judder then no more judders just oil all over the road …….. It was probably a heart attack after smoking to much weed causing serve sudden onset congestion and the engine could take no more and had to blown a gasket and died ……

Vanless, homeless wheeless ,jobless, moneyless it could not be worse

The two lads were speechless as no words can express their grief and shock at the sudden departure or inertia in this case of losing a loved one even though they had only known each other for 3 months it was as if they had spent their entire lives together as every day they chatted, drove around, slept together, had safe sex, cooked together and had many a good night in campsites. But now it was over so quickly without warning ,the van was only 20 years old and the boys looked after her like a baby sister ………

Now the boys are homeless , vulnerable and in a trance like state wondering what to do next …. Ciaran struggled to find the words to tell us in his whatsapp message ,he was choked with emotion and I could feel the tears splash on his mobile phone screen…..

Ronan tours Europe

Lake Bled Slovenia

An open bath in Budapest
Ready for Canonying
Sistine Chapel Rome




Aoife's Shinty Career Takes off

Aoife has had a very busy year on the shinty pitch. Playing with Invergarry they won the challenge Cup in Sept .

In December off to Belfast to play for the Scottish University team combined rules. Scotland won 2-0 .

Aoife gets a half Blue from Robert Gordon University for her international shinty appearance.

The Challenge Cup Sept 2017

The Scottish Universities Shinty Team (Aoife back row 4th right)
Justine ,Aoife, Kathy and Liz celebrate the Challenge Cup victory .

David relaxing in the Seychelles ....those stressed out teachers......

Catherine meets the Tangneys and you could hear a tear drop

David's girlfriend, Catherine made the brave decision in August to visit the Tangneys in Castleisland.
Catherine flew into Cork airport (I noticed she had two bags one marked ..whistle ..pepperspray..taser..).We went to visit Annmarie in Killarney. We had a lovely meal together and all was well until Annmarie after much rooting around producted an old photo of Joe and this provided the entertainment for the next few hours.
I have to say they milked it dry repeatedly and that was without the help of Bernard !! Then onto to Castleisland and Catherine had her first encounter with Bernard. We all know Bernard is long winded and his detailed interview went on for hours and hours .....Bernie is a seasoned campaigner in digging information out of people and often plies his victims with large glasses of free drink and pringles(sometimes pretzels or dry roast peanuts are added if needed).

Catherine held on well but after 4 hours of interrogation David finally came back in from the pub and rescued Catherine. Bernie was gutted as he had two more tins of pringles still unopened.

So, the next day when Catherine surfaced she was clinging on to David like a Gucci clutch bag dreading the prospect of another long conversation with Bernie .

Bernard arrived in to the kitchen and it was clear that he had a heavy heart and had his funeral face on ....breaking bad news is never easy .......there was a little nervous quiver in his unusual high pitched voice and he was repeatedly wiping his eyes .......We were all now silent as Bernie cautiously approached Catherine who was sitting up pupils dilated , not breathing much at all ,lips pursed, not a sound in the kitchen could hear a tear drop .....then Bernie said in a quick sentence " Catherine, "I have bad news for you" .........there were a few gasps from the spotty teenagers (they have not yet learned to control those hormones )....Then Bernie plucked up courage once again as Catherines eyes welled up with tears ...and Bernie said "we have had a family meeting and.....and .....your application has been accepted !! " Catherine was clearly gutted with this bad news and ran out of the room immediately and David running after her saying "Don't worry Catherine I will look after you " The next day would you believe it, David and Catherine left for Dublin but not before Bernie held preliminary talks about a merger with Jim Auld in Scotland.
Somebody better warn Jim that it's hard to beat a cute Kerry man !!

David and Catherine
O Donovans Pub Kenmare County Kerry
Guinness Time
Kenmare traditional sweet shop



Joseph and the Ben Race

Sat 2 Sept a day to remember as Joseph was the first member of our family to compete in the Ben nevis race.

This is a big event in the athletics calendar with over 500 entrants from all over the Uk and abroad participating in this prestigious race.

It was a glorious day with sunshine and a large crowd in Claggan park supporting the contestants. With the good weather there was a carnival atmosphere and a buzz of excitement as the competitors all warmed up. Photos were taken and the comradrie was clear. This is it all those months of hard training now ready to go. There was a mixture of anxiety and joy amonst the competitors and the crowd. The pipe band lead the contestants to the start line.

And they are off , it's not dissimilar to the grand national race as hundreds of contestants all go off together in a huge group. Joseph had only done one trianing run of the Ben two weeks before the race and did it in 2hours 30min. this was a good time considering he had done little training over the summer as he was in New Zealand visiting Ciaran. So, we were happy with this time. Then over the tanoy a big surprise announcement as Joseph entered Claggan Park .We were all delighted and he was cheered home by all the aunties and family. Joseph surprised us all 2 hours .10min .25sec which was a brilliant run. He was totally exhausted and fell over the line. The sunshine was good for the spectators but hard on the contestants. Joseph was spurned on by the crowd and to finish in just over two hours is a great achievement. We all went out for a meal later and Joseph won the plaque for first under 23 local runner home This adds his name to a prestigious list of previous winners including Finlay Wild who won his 8 consecutive Ben race.

And They are off !

Well Done Joseph


The Slattery family

David falls asleep and Jane is shocked ...

Joseph and Rangit team up .
Joseph 21st .



Joseph goes to New Zealand in July

After skiing only a single day last season in Scotland I decided to chase the snow to the southern hemisphere via Dubai – might as well get some semblance of summer in on the way.

After setting off for dreary Glasgow I landed in Dubai on Thursday morning. My host for the next three days, David, was late. He takes after Mum. So while waiting I thought I would step outside and have a wee look at Dubai but I quickly turned back around and into the safety of air conditioning, my God it was hot, low 20s is my limit and this was nearly double that! David arrives not long after I managed to finally stop sweating, driving his nice automatic car. Being the only one not yet passed his test, something we never tease him about; it's always a laugh watching him try to rent an automatic back home.
Driving around Dubai is truly incredible! The scale and magnificence of the place is jaw dropping. This was David's last day of school so there was a class trip to the waterparks going on and thankfully I was needed as a teaching assistant. This meant a day at the water park for me! That evening we met Catherine and Jim for some lovely cheese and wine. Jim and Catherine are great craic and even David got funnier the more wine we drank.
The next day I slept off the jet-lag and had the chance to explore David's suburb which comes with a very nice pool. We then headed up the Burg Khalifa to the 125 floor. The views of Dubai were spectacular in the setting sun and the thick glass kept my fear of heights at bay. Also they had the biggest olives I've ever seen! For the last evening in Dubai Jim treated us to an amazing Argentinian restaurant right by the fountains. David was very generous during this trip and paid for much of it as my 21 st gift. No doubt I'll be paying for it over the coming years.


A 15 hour flight landed me in Auckland early one morning with Ciaran and Calum arriving just in time, handy for them I was held up in customs. We stopped on the way back to Ciaran's accommodation to meet old friends of the family Kim and JD and straight away I was introduced to a New Zealand national treasure: the pie. I was smitten. Over the course of the next four weeks I adopted the kiwi way and developed a strong love for pies.
We arrived a while later at Ciaran's accommodation and meet the lovely Ivan and Anita who had been helping Ciaran out of the various holes he had dug for himself the last few months.
Next stop was Rotorua and the much anticipated Tangney luge competition. Seven runs altogether with two as a practice to size up the course but mainly to size up the competition. The next five were complete focus and pure skill shown by myself in the first run saw me take an early lead of 1-0. Ciaran made a comeback to tie it up, but the next course brought me back into first place again. With the score at 2-1 this next course had me chomping at the bit to seal the win. Halfway down we are neck and neck and thankfully Ciaran's flip-flop failure gave me the inch I needed to take the win. I didn't let him forget this 3-1 defeat over the next four weeks. Jumping in some thermal springs and visiting the mud pools rounded up my first couple days in New Zealand.

Next we hit the road in our beloved Nissan no-pulsar (the name will become apparent later) and headed south stopping off at lake Taupo through desert road and finally to Wellington for the Hurricanes vs Lions. An absolutely incredible game with an atmosphere that rivalled any other international game I've been to. With the final score of 32-32 I can say we left a little disappointed but was hard to stay down after such a fantastic display by both teams. After a rough night in the kilts we headed further north and stopped off at an amazing black sand beach and watched the sun go down.
Next on the list was the Tongariro Alpine crossing, also known as Mt Doom in lord of the rings. Still in recovery after the lions game we set off late that morning and arrived at the start of the crossing around 2pm. This left me about 3 hours to cover 17km and ascend 1150m if I wanted to do this. Ciaran at this point kindly offered to drive to the other side and pick me up, leaving me to run it myself. I was in training for the Ben race and can say this was the biggest challenge I had encountered. After buckets of sweat, tears and profanity I made it to the emerald lakes and the red crater, a magnificent sight. Even sleeping in the car I have never slept quite so well.
Onto the glow worms for our next adventure; I had seen pictures of the glow worms before but always shrugged it off and exaggerated or photo shopped but they were truly a breath taking sight and something I would love to do again.

Back down to Wellington and over the cook straight to Picton. Thankfully the ferry was showing the rugby as the second test match had just kicked off. We caught the first half on the ferry then jumped off, dumped our stuff and ran to the nearest pub. This pub happened to be full of locals and we happened to be the only Lions fans in the place. Despite the score and our only two voices cheering in the entire pub the locals treated us nicely and even encouraged us to participate in their karaoke night. So we got up and sang 500 miles by the proclaimers of course but after a few more beers and a slice of one of the locals birthday cake we thought it'd be great idea to do another song. This time we dedicated it to every All Blacks fan in the pub, which happened to be everything with a pulse in the pub, and we sang ‘Why can't we be friends' by War, unsure how this was received but I can say that we found it absolutely hilarious.
Up next we did an 84km, four day and three night hike called the Old Ghost Road. This was a ghost road as it was all but deserted this time of year with us not passing a single person throughout the day. The path had been built very recently with the oldest hut being built in 2012 so we stayed, compared to sleeping in the car, in luxury compared with gas hobs, wood burning stoves and views to sit back and put the feet up to. If there was one thing I would recommend doing in New Zealand this would be it!

Pancake rocks, potholes, lake Matheson and Fox glacier were all sights visited over the next few days while working our way down to Queenstown.


Lake Matheson
Beware Ciaran !


JD, Joseph, Ciaran and God mother Kim

Lake Tauranga

All Blacks vs Lions 24 June 2017
Getting ready for the bungy jump



Cousin Cian wins All Ireland Minor Medal.



Home are  the heroes!

The Kerry Minors received a heroes' welcome home in Killarney on Monday night after making history by winning their fourth All-Ireland title in a row - an impressive record that will never be beaten.

It is being hailed as one of the best performances by a Kerry team in Croke Park and hundreds of people made their way to Fitzgerald Stadium to welcome back the victorious team and management.

Cian Gammell , Joe's nephew has had a year to remember no doubt. First he won his second All Ireland schools final medal with St Brendans school Killarney in Croke Park on Sat 1 April.

Then the All Ireland Minor campaign with victory over Cork and Cavan. Derry beat Dublin in the other semifinal. So,back to Croke Park in September again for the All Ireland minor final. The Kerry minors won easily 6-17 Derry 1-08 . Cian had a very solid game and they put in a very impressive team performance.
All the hard work paid off and this was four titles in a row which is a new record. This record cannot be beaten as the age group for minor football next year is under 17 years instead of the usual under 18.

Then a county minor medal with Legions Club and to top off the great year Cian was selected for the All Ireland Minor All Star team .

This is a huge honour to be picked for the all star team and Cian has made us all so proud of him. The dedication , hard work and committment paid off in a wonderful year of achievement for Cian.
Well Done Cian.

Team Gammell assemble outside Croke Park
Cian Lifts the Cup on the big screen

Cian with his All Star Award
Cian and Nana


Jane is 50 !!

Jane ,Damian and Ava
Jane and Damian

Yes it's hard to believe but Jane is now 50 and has eternal youthful looks . As part of the six month birthday celebrations Jane, Kathy, Martina and David came over to Fort William the first weekend of September. It was a hectic wekend of sporting activity.Friday evening we had dinner in our house and introduced Ranjit and Betsie to all the Slatteries. They are still recovering from the trauma !!
It was an evening of good fun and then the action began on Sat. First at 1pm we had aoife playing in the Challege cup final against Ardnamurchan in an Aird. Luckily we had sunshine which has been scarce all year. Invergarry won 7-1 against Ardnamurchan. Then we had Joseph in the Ben race so we all rushed over to Claggan park. The crowds were in great form and supported the runners coming in. So we celebrated the race and went out for dinner and hit the pubs after ....

We went up Steall falls for a quick walk Sun morning to clear the heads then back for the hurling It was another exciting day as we nervously watched the All Ireland hurling final. It was a nail biting finish and we were all relieved when Galway finally won an All Ireland after 29 years. the relief was tangible in the room(see photo below as the final whistle blew) and amongst the Galwegian diaspora throughout the world after years of disappointment.

It was fantastic for Galway and the celebrations are still going on .....Jane and all the Slatteries went back home on Monday tired and shattered after a hectic weekend which we all enjoyed.

Jane says to David "Do you know its my 50th ?"

Sheridans in Miltown
David all dressed up and ready to go out on the town
David forgot his Fitbit but luckily is supported by Martina and Jane

The final whistle blows and the 29 year famine is over !!!!

Some of our Visitors 2017


Fran the new knitting champion
Terry and John

Adam from Sydney visits May 2017

Conn and Peter

Aoife and Kendal  
The Slattery girls are fearless we all know !!