Dundalk After Dark
AidanDullaghan/Newspics ON Saturday Night I headed for the Imperial Hotel where a special surprise 60th birthday party was being held for Chris ‘Bear’ O’Donnell from Market Street and there to make sure he had an epic night was his partner Regina Reynolds from Blackrock, her daughters Caitlin and Grainne, Chis’ brother and wife Joe and Jacqueline O’Donnell from Belfast, nephew John O’Donnell and a huge collection of family and friends.
I wasn’t too long in the door when I met up with Regina who was with Caitlin and Grainne and their friend Saoirse Myles and she told me he hadn’t a clue and couldn’t wait to see the look on his face when he came in.
Next, I headed over to his brother Joe who was with wife Jacqueline, Mark McKay from Dungannon who told me he was one of Chris’ international amigos and they were in the company of Lisa Crowe from Dublin and Michaela Fitzsimons from Belfast who all wanted to wish him a very happy birthday.
Looking extremely well even though they had been travelling since 9.00 am the previous day to get back home from Capetown, were Karen McArdle from Chaplins and Martin McLoughlin from 5 cabs who had spent the previous 7 days on a building blitz on the Niall Mellon Educate scheme and they wanted to thank everyone who had sponsored them and also wanted to wish a very happy 60th to Bear.
Next, I caught up with some of Bear’s oldest mates Bernie and Tony Carlyle and Jennifer Higgins from Newcastle who were in rare form when I met them. Bernie told me that Tony is only four days older than Bear and Jennifer just wanted to say to him ‘ follow the Mars bar’!
Not too long later I then got a word with Tina Crosby from Haggardstown and Michael McLoughlin who said they too have been long time friends of Bear and tried to tell me it was going to be a quiet occasion.
I then had the pleasure of talking to Sadie Maggs from Castlebellingham and Gabrielle Reynolds from Kilsaran who could be described as future inlaws (no pressure there, Bear) and they were ready to make a major night of fun out of it with the birthday boy.
Bear is best known around town as being part of the Dundalk Sub Aqua Club and has been for a number of years, next I got talking to Bernie Higgins from Cavan and Ian Fitzsimmons from Kilmessan who had met the birthday boy while he was away on holidays in Turkey a few years ago, and surprise, surprise he couldn’t swim then, fail play to you Bear, one of the best move you ever made.
Seated close by was my old neighbour Aidan and Theresa Hoey from Lower Point Road who wanted to wish Chris a very happy birthday and hoped he had a great night. They were enjoying the evening with the lovely Gayle Flynn from Mullaharlin Park who is a friend of Gina’s and was definitely up for making the best of the occasion.
Taking up one of the main tables were Bear’s friends from the Dundalk Sub Aqua Club and Picturesby they included Stephen Crosby from Louth Village. He was having a laugh with Sorcha Brophy from town, Dean Ferguson from Faughart, Nessa Duggan from Blackrock, Amanda Nero from Sweden (expensive cab fare home I thought, but Amanda said ‘anything for Chris’).
Amanda was having a laugh with Blathnaid McClean from Lis Na Dara, Carol Callan from Carrickmacross and Lorraine McCoy from St. Malachys Villas who all wanted to wish Chris all the best on his big night.
Also in their company were Aaron Rooney from Bay Estate, April Dillon from Newtownbalregan, Fergal Ó Siochrú originally from Cork but now hanging his snorkel and flippers in Blackrock and Margaret McCarthy from Point Road who were delighted to be there to wish Chris all the best on his big night.
After this I caught up with some of Chris’ older mates who were up for making it a real night to remember and they included Eamonn and Elaine O’Farrell from Greenacres, Joe Murtagh from Cedarwood Park and Phil Toner from Beacon Court, Harry Bellew from Wynnes Terrace and Annette Hodgers from Distillery Lane, Olive and Harry Fee from Long Avenue, Brian ‘Pidgeon’ Clarke from The Valley Brian McShane from Oldbridge, Tony ‘Woo’ Fee from Beechmount Drive and Lee Edwards from Northampton who were all in party mode and were ready to make sure Bear had a huge night of celebrations on his 60th.
Martin McLoughlin and Karen McArdle.
Chris O’Donnell and Regina Reynolds at Chris’ 60th birthday party in The Imperial Hotel.
Mark McKay and Sean O’Donnell
Sorcha Myles, Muirhevnamor and Caitlin Buckley, Blackrock.
Jason Rogan, Ashling Park and Grainne Buckley, Blackrock.