All far from rosy in the St Anne’s garden as clueless Vinny presides over a debacle

Burly busdriver nearly cremed as Dollymount Gaels Easter Egg Hunt goes wrong

 St Anne’s Park, Raheny over the  Easter weekend as Dublin City Council staged the largest-ever living history battle re-enactment in Ireland at the Battle of Clontarf Festival. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

St Anne’s Park, Raheny over the Easter weekend as Dublin City Council staged the largest-ever living history battle re-enactment in Ireland at the Battle of Clontarf Festival. Photograph; Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times

Wed, Apr 23, 2014, 06:00

Like a miser counting his coins, Vinny Fitzpatrick did a double check on the Crème Egg front. They were all present and correct, four for every nipper, and a couple of spares for the helpers on the hunt.

By his calculations, the first party of Dollymount Gaels urchins were due back shortly, assuming they found, and followed, the clues which he’d painstakingly placed around St Anne’s Park.

The burly bus driver was satisfied with his handiwork which saw eight clues dotted around the estate. It had taken up a fair chunk of his free time but when it came to the Gaels, Vinny could never say no.

The kids involved in the Easter Egg Hunt were from the Gael Og nursery, aged from four to ten, and would represent the lifeblood of the little’s club’s future. Without the flush of youth, the small and imperfectly formed GAA club, for whom Vinny had given 20 years of undistinguished service, would wither and die.

The opening act of a High Noon appointment had gone as anticipated. Giddy with excitement, the giggling Gael Ogs had gone off at five-minute intervals, each accompanied by a grown-up – Vinny had roped in Angie’s 20-year-old daughter, Emma, as his aide-de-camp.

Emma’s role was to patrol the route and ensure the hunters knew what they were at. If necessary, she would provide a pointer for the next clue.

Vinny stayed put at base camp, armed with the prizes and a stop watch, so as to calculate the time it took each team to complete their task. He reckoned the hunt would take between 45 minutes and an hour.

Surrounded by rose bushes yet to bloom, it struck Vinny that he always liked the Easter renewal, even though the dates jumped around like a frog on speed. While he always attended first Mass in St Gabriel’s, it wasn’t the Christian aspect of the occasion which tickled his fancy, more so a personal link to 1916.

It wasn’t widely known that Vinny’s grandfather on his mother’s side – Gus Gavigan – had taken part in the Easter Rising. Gus had seen service in Ashbourne, County Meath, one of the bloodiest chapters in the insurrection, and had been praised for his cool head in the line of fire.

He had lived to see the 50th anniversary of the Rising but never spoke about events, not even to the chubby grandson who adored him and said a prayer in his memory each Easter Sunday.

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