REVIEW OF THE YEAR
Photographer Barbara Flynn and reporter Mary Fogarty look back on what made the headlines in 2008
20-year-old Sean Keane lost his fight for life on Christmas Day. Grief was widespread as the only son of RTE news reader Una O’Hagan and radio journalist Colm Keane died following a long battle with cancer.
Owners of the Tara Care Centre, Paul and Anne Costello were fined €2,000 for charges relating to the disappearance of 87-year-old Maura Reynolds from their nursing home on Christmas night 2005.
The Holy Rosary Church in Greystones began a year of celebrations of their 100th birthday.
Hundreds of people came together at the Holy Redeemer to pay tribute to the late Breda Duane, a devoted wife, mother, teacher and friend who had passed away after a long illness.
The remains of Maura Reynolds were found on the side of Bray Head, less than a mile from where she vanished, and over three years after her disappearance.
Snow fell in the Sally Gap on the first day of Spring.
Traders stepped up their campaign for more parking spaces in the town, gathering 3,000 signatures from people in Bray.
A spate of car fires plagued Bray over the course of one week. Gardaí investigated a possible link between the blazes.
Controversy erupted over the opening of a ‘head shop’ in the arcade, a retail outlet selling ‘legal highs.’
Special Olympics champions Derek Kelly, Rita Dunne and Claire Byrne were Grand Marshals of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was interrupted by a fire engine rushing to the scene of a fire on Bray Head.
There was disappointment at the announcement that the Greystones Arts Festival would be cancelled in 2008, due to lack of funding and staff.
Timmy Kavanagh was sentence to five years for the killing of his friend, Yohan Verhoeven, whom he ran through with a sword during a cocaine-fuelled party in his Shankill home.
Mary Murray, the Widow of fire fighter Brian Murray, faced eviction from her Woodbrook Glen home for non-payment of rent.
A jobs blow hit Bray as Quantum Personal Care (formerly Fiacla) announced its forthcoming closure. 28 people lost their jobs.
Local man Kevin Murphy celebrated his 40th birthday at the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa.
There were more local job losses, as computer giant Dell announced that over 200 staff would be shed in Ireland, the majority of those from Cherrywood.
Trader Shane Rowan attached a lock and chain to the site of the ill-fated Florentine Centre to highlight the developer’s failure to start work on the project. The act was condemned as a ‘stunt’ by Town Clerk Christine Flood.
Bray Jazz Festival 2008 was a major success, with some of the finest musicians in the world descending on the town for the annual event.
Hero Frank Gordon pulled an unconscious Bill Ryan from the blaze, as flames engulfed Ryan’s Florence Road home.
Cllr. Pat Vance wrestled thief Dean Gray to the ground, bravely thwarting his attempt to hold-up the pet shop on Florence Road using a toy gun.
Derek Kelly, three-times medal winner at the Special Olympics, was named Person of the Year 2008.
A man was held up at gunpoint in his jeep outside the Co. Wicklow Lawn Tennis Club. Gardaí later recovered the firearm in a search of the area.
A group of New York fire fighters descended on Bray in a weekend-long visit to pay tribute to fallen Bray firemen Mark O’Shaughnessy and Brian Murray.
John Cash was sentenced to six years in prison for breaking in to a Dublin apartment where he drank tea with the resident and said he ‘bonded’ with her.
Greystones lost its Blue Flag status after failing to meet strict EU water quality guidelines.
The vacant LaTouche Hotel in Greystones went on the market with a €15 million price tag after going in to receivership.
Having fallen in to a state of disrepair, Newcastle Community was saved from closure after 26 years by a group of local people who began a fundraising campaign.
Bray Community Play-group closed its doors after a quarter of a century. The play-group’s funding was cut off forcing its closure.
Wicklow said ‘No’ to the rat-
Greystones women Laura Holly and Zoe Finnegan witnessed the murder of a fellow volunteer as they carried out charity work in Tanzania.
Golfer Robert Hogan completed a round in 56 minutes, 20 seconds and in 75 shots in aid of House of Dreams.
A Polish man was savagely beaten with a crowbar as he walked to his home on Greenpark Road. He spent several months in hospital after the attack.
Mundy opened what was to become the best Summerfest yet, with the amazing air-display turning out to be the highlight of the festival.
The Florentine plans in their original form were shelved. It was announced that parking spaces and as few as two shops would be installed on the site instead.
There was much consternation between councillors, members of the public and residents of Duncairn Terrace as home-owners employ a clamping service to stop illegal parking on the private road.
Bray Post Office was robbed at gun point, sparking fresh concerns for the security of staff and customers using the busy Quinnsborough Road office.
Torrential rainfall caused major flooding across Bray, Greystones and the rest of the county. Musician Ronnie Drew died the same day, to deep sadness amongst his family, friends and neighbours in Greystones.
Supermodel Erin O’Conner was spotted having lunch in Bray, with a mysterious stranger on her arm.
Greystones came alive with music, dance, colour and fun when the Greystones Town Festival took place in and around the theatre.
A Capuchin monkey caused a ‘tail’back on the N11. Gina had escaped from her enclosure in Copeswood Aviaries in Kilmacanogue and stopped traffic during her morning-long adventure.
Bray water was deemed undrinkable, as bacteria was found in it. Bottled water in supermarkets quickly sold out during the shortage.
Luxury Enniskerry health farm Powerscourt Springs revealed that it would close, with the loss of almost 70 jobs.
Padraic Moran and Gary Messett represented Ireland in boccia and soccer at the Beijing Paralympics. Both local men put in a valiant effort throughout the games.
Two new primary schools in Greystones, Educate Together and Gaelscoil na gClotha Liatha, opened their doors for the very first time.
St. Fergal’s parish said cheerio to Fr. Pat Power, Sr. Catherine Hyland and Fr. Joe Murray, all of whom moved on to pastures new.
A woman was stabbed over 20 times in her chest and stomach at Charlesland. Her son Daryl Sweeney was later arrested and questioned in relation to the incident. The attack is still before the courts.
Bray swimming pool was launched to tremendous support from the community.
Star Joss Stone was spotted partying in Koo.
A man was arrested in connection with an investigation in to the deaths of firemen Mark O’Shaughnessy and Brian Murray. He was released and a file sent to the DPP.
Brian Murray and Mark O’Shuaghnessy were remembered in an emotional memorial service in the Holy Redeemer a year after the two men died tackling a blaze in an unused Bray warehouse.
A fond farewell was bid to Fr. John O’Connell, who retired after 34 years as Parish Priest of the Holy Redeemer.
Cocaine was found to be present in almost every pub in Bray, it emerged following tests carried out by the local branch of Sinn Fein. The party later presented its findings to gardaí.
Two gardaí were injured in an attempted ram-raid of a Kilcoole petrol station. Their jeep was rammed by the criminals who made off in their own vehicle.
Another arrest was made in connection with the Bray fire tragedy. A woman in her 20s was released without charge.
Bray is the country’s second dirtiest town, according to a report released by Irish Businesses Against Litter.
The fire station was broken in to while the crew were out on an emergency call. A number of items were taken from lockers, including the keys to two cars. The cars were stolen but later recovered. One of them was completely written off.
Firefighters were not trained to use the equipment employed the day Mark O’Shaughnessy and Brian Murray died. A coroner later revealed that their deaths were caused by the inhalation of hot gases.
The number of people signing on in Bray had increased by 50 per cent in the space of a year.
Joe Bollard, who is blind, was delighted that he could now read the Bray People without assistance for the very first time, thanks to his new computer software JAWS.
A massive hash plant growing operation was uncovered in Fassaroe. Gardaí said that this was the largest haul of its kind ever made in Bray.
Santa made an appearance in Bray to turn on the Christmas lights, with the help of kick-boxing star Julie McHale.
Katie Taylor proved herself the world’s queen of boxing, when she retained her world lightweight title at the age of 22.
There was public outcry once again as controversial ‘head shop’ Nirvana relocated to the Main Street, despite concerns that planning permission for change of use would be required.
Tears were shed for model Katy Taylor, a year after her tragic death, in a poignant memorial service in her home town Enniskerry.
Dick Roche displayed tremendous courage as he and eight other people faced masked gunmen in the Marriott Hotel. The men made off with a reported €18,000.
Shots were fired in to a house in Palermo just one day after a man on Quinnsborough Road was threatened at gunpoint in an unrelated incident.