Huge turnout for Flan’s Turnpike book launch

Huge turnout for Flan’s Turnpike book launch

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Mayor of Ennis Ann Norton, Flan and Bella Hehir and Genealogist Paddy Waldron - Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016
Mayor of Ennis Ann Norton, Flan and Bella Hehir and Genealogist Paddy Waldron – Photo: © Pat Flynn 2016

Hundreds of people turned out tonight for the launch of the latest publication from The Clare Roots Society.

The Turnpike, written by Flan Hehir, has been a labour-of-love for the past two years for the Turnpike native and resident.

Flan has charted the history of the area and the people who lived in the old and present Turnpike.

The Turnpike documents the memories of some older residents who remember neighbours and the great characters that lived up and down the old road while younger residents recall growing up in the modern Turnpike we have today.

Tonights launch took place in the Old Ground Hotel where it quickly became apparent there would be far more people than seats. Hotel staff and event organisers laid out several additional rows of chairs to cater for the massive attendance.

Hundreds of people packed the hall as dozens queued to purchase their copy of the 210-page book.

Historical dates received from local historians are included.

1733 was the year the toll was introduced to the area and travellers had to pay for the use of the road for passage as it was the main route into town.

Some great names of houses and buildings are also remembered, Charlie’s Hope, Ivy Cottage, Knapsack Cottage, The Dispensary, and Fahy’s, Sharry’s and Darcy’s pubs along with the Sruthán Lane and the Rocky Road.

The connection between residents and Politics, Boy Scouts, Brass Band, Girl Guides, Boxing Club, G.A.A., Athletics, Soccer, World War I, Muhammad Ali visit, and People of the Year Awards are all well documented in the book.

Shops and businesses have always been an integral part of the Turnpike and still continue to this day.  With two new businesses opening this year, the link with the residents has gotten even stronger, and for shoppers in general also.

The history of St Patrick’s Terrace is also included. The seven-terraced single-storey housing scheme adjoining the Turnpike was built by Captain Mac’s father in the late 1800’s.

The Turnpike is a 210 page-plus offering of local history, folklore, reminisces and 360 photographs from both eras in a superb colourful production.

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Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick.

Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station’s flagship current affairs programme.

He was also the station’s News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day.

As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.

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