By Gerry Moran
I did a very brave thing last Sunday. I got up on the big wheel – the Ferris wheel on the Parade for the St Patrick’s weekend festivities. Day after day I’d pass that big wheel, stop, look up and think: “There’s no way, Ger is going up on that contraption.” Damn it I was getting dizzy just looking up at the thing.
And then Sunday last, the wheel’s last day in Kilkenny, I took a fig-ay-ree, as my mother used say. I climbed on board the Ferris wheel. Live dangerously I thought, life is too short to be in fear of a Ferris wheel. But first a precaution, I cajoled my good wife to accompany me (to hold my hand lest a panic attack should ensue). And up we went, up, up and away, the Ferris wheel slowly, slowly (thank God) revolving and you know what, there was nothing to be afraid of; indeed the only thing to fear was fear itself to quote Franklin D Roosevelt.
And all the while the carousel below blared out Viva Espana and I’m getting into festive mood now, in fact I’m getting, not dizzy, but giddy. I’m like a big child moving from one side of the carriage to the other to savour the splendid views of our magnificent city. Indeed, as I looked towards the Castle I could almost see Bennetsbridge in the distance while in the opposite direction I was gazing out over Bonnetstown. And then a thought: wouldn’t a Ferris wheel be quite a romantic place to propose to someone? When you reach the tip top of the wheel, and you’re that bit nearer heaven, you whip out the ring, get down on one knee (but for God sake don’t fall out) and propose. Make for a great story down the line. “Granddad where did you propose to granny?” “Up in the sky.” “Were you a pilot, granddad?” “Not exactly” and a bit of embellishing might be required. But it’s still a good story.
And then I got to thinking about what else one could get up to as the big wheel kept on turning? To be honest I couldn’t think of anything – anything that can be mentioned in a family newspaper! Finally, as the wheel slows to a halt and it’s time to disembark (and I don’t want to get off as I’m enjoying the ride so much) the carousel is belting out the Vera Lynn classic, We’ll Meet Again. And I have no doubt that the Ferris wheel and myself will meet again (next St Patrick’s weekend perhaps) and on I’ll hop, with maybe a wee bottle of Prosecco in one pocket, two glasses in the other and a sombrero on my head for when the carousel blares out Viva Espana!
Letters From The Front
Last week was definitely my week for getting high (legally I hasten to add) as Thursday night I was on Cloud 9 thanks to Cloud 9! Let me explain. I was in the Watergate Theatre at a new musical drama called Letters From The Front (a Cloud 9 Production) written by Don O’Connor, no stranger to Kilkenny theatre, and with an impressive CV as long my arm, with original music by Ollie Hennessy with an equally, very, very impressive CV.
As it happened I had a coffee with Don a while back over which he talked about this new musical. And as I sipped my cappuccino I’m silently thinking the man is mad writing a musical with new, original songs about war! Some undertaking! Letters From The Front centres on World War 1 and the love letters going back and forth between lovers, parents and children and, of course, the letters no one wants to receive.
Foolish me for harbouring doubts; the show, scripted by Don, with original, haunting music by Ollie, was powerful; emotionally gripping and with a cast of 30 plus seasoned stalwarts (the scene with Brendan Corcoran and Peter Madden, a father and son in conflict, was riveting) it was extremely poignant, not least with the war in Ukraine on our minds.
Well done, Don, well done Ollie, and well done to all the cast and crew. Thank you for a marvellous, memorable production, the standing ovations (every night) totally deserved.