Waterford's Eleanor Halley with 1982 Ri Rua Mossy Fitzgerald
Eleanor Halley “couldn’t believe it was was speechless” when she was crowned the fourth Ri Rua of modern times at the Gaultier gala dinner dance in County Waterford.
She said it felt like winning a “Grammy, an Emmy and an Oscar all in the one go”.
I asked her if the cloak she was wearing was the Ri Rua cloak. “Yes, this is it. I can’t believe how well it fits. I intend wearing it at all the committee meetings in the future and at all my official Ri Rua events. We will be holding a fun night soon in a venue as of yet undecided, where we will hand over the money we raised to the charities. I will certainly be wearing the cloak that night.”
I then asked her about how she was going to get ABBA to reunite. “Well, my first move will be to change the name of Brownstown Head to Björnstown Head in honour of Björn Ulvaeus, the greatest songwriter of all time. I think it will give a more Swedish atmosphere to the area. I then intend to take the ‘r’ out of Carbally and put in a ‘b’ so as it can be known as Cabbally. It’s also my intention to send Eoin Jackson over to Stockholm as a special Abbassador to formally invite Benny and Björn to the first committee meeting that we hold in the new Community Centre. After that I might send Walkie over to charm Agnetha and Anni-Frid and he can make the arrangements for them to stay at his house when they do the concert at The Good Old Days festival in July.”
I asked her if she thought that all the work will be finished at the community centre by then. “Oh yes, it will be finished long before then. I’m just waiting on the planning permission to come through for the 30 foot disco ball, which I intend to have spinning on the centre’s roof before Whit Weekend. I plan on having a full-time Swedish chef working in the new kitchen by then as well.”
I figured that Eleanor had really hit the ground running, so I went into The Confession Box to see how Marina Hayes was dealing with the election results. Marina was clipping away on a woman with green hair when I entered. I asked her how she was coping now that the campaign was over.
“Well naturally enough I’m very disappointed, but I’m not 12-years-old anymore and I’m sure I’ll survive this. The campaign was very tiring, especially with all the extra work that came my way, but it was a lot of fun as well.
“A lot of people may have gotten funny haircuts, but no one dyed here and I’m certainly not going to sulk about it. However, I do intend to buy a sulky cart and a horse and during the summer months I’ll be touring the Barony Of Gaultier in a horse drawn carriage, just like in my dream.”
I asked her about the Curly Treats Natural Hair Festival and whether it would be coming to Carbally now. “I’m afraid that seeing as I’m not the new Ri Rua, I won’t have the kind of influence that I would have if I was. But who knows, the opportunity may arise again. However, I am considering opening a booth at The Good Old Days Festival in July and offering people a chance to have their hair done in the styles which were popular in various decades during the 20th century.”
One prediction that this reporter makes is that if such a booth should open a 100 years from now, the Ri Rua special haircut will be up there with the best of them.
Marina asked the green-haired lady if she would like any particular hair adornment. “I’m not sure, what do you have?” the lady replied.
“I have some crowns left over or maybe you would prefer a bird’s nest,” Marina answered.
“Oh I think a crown would look lovely on my head,” said the lady. I could see by the expression on Marina’s face that at that moment she was having exactly the same thought.
I decided to go and find Walkie and tell him of Marina’s plans to start using a sulky. I was sure this would make him happy seeing as he had run on an anti-car ticket.
I met up with Walkie out near Kilmacleague. He seemed like a man in high spirits considering the Ri Rua title had eluded him yet again. “Ah sure what of it,” he said.
“I may not be wearing the crown but I’m still the Lord of the Rings and the King of the Road. At least now since I got rid of the money out of my milk churns, I have somewhere to store my bowls again. I also have a number of one night engagements lined up and I’m still available for weekends away. When I go to Killarney in October, I’ll be bowling the women over down there as well. I’m still carrying a pocket full of rings around with me so I may get to have a wedding breakfast in the community centre yet.”
I told him about Marina’s plan to tour The Barony in a horse drawn sulky. “That’s fine by me - if someone wants to go around in a surrey with a fringe on top I have no problem with it. As far as I’m concerned the roads are meant for courting and bowling - they’re no place for cars.”
With that he went into his default position of down on one knee. I wasn’t sure if he was going to throw a bowl at me or propose. I didn’t hang around to find out.
I got back on the bike and cycled over to the Gaultier GAA pitch where Shauna Fitzgerald was taking shots on the goal. She had knocked out two goalies that morning already and was now on her third one. I asked her if she was angry after not getting the new crown.
“This is not me being angry - this is just part of my normal high intensity training. I can often take out as many as six goalies in a mornings workout. I have some big matches coming up.”
I asked her about her plans for the Ri Rua Dome. “That particular dome is on hold for the moment seeing as I didn’t lift the Ri Rua crown on this occasion, but I’m expecting to lift a number of other trophies this year. I’m sure that once we have won the AIB All Ireland Intermediate Club Championship final that the GAA will see sense and allocate me the funding for The Shauna Fitzgerald Camogie Stadium. I would like to see it in place by next summer, right beside the current pitch in Ballymabin. A place where girls from all over the Barony could come and train to be world class camogie players. That’s my 2020 vision.”
Shauna then took an almighty shot on goal and left another poor goalie stretched on the flat of her back. She asked me if I would like to stand between the posts for a few minutes until a replacement could be found, but I declined her offer and bid her a hasty adieu.
So there you have it, the campaigning is over and the results are in. It looks like a lot of change is going to come to Carbally during the next year. The only things that won’t change are the dreams of the candidates. As dreams have a habit of coming true in Carbally, you should watch this space.
Finally, I think that everyone in the community and the wider area wishes Eleanor a successful reign as The Ri Rua Of Carbally, Ballymacaw and Cloghernagh. Long live The Ri Rua.