Gary’s Dreams Realised as Abu Dhabi Olympics Experience Awaits

Castleisland’s Olympian, Gary O’Sullivan (right) pictured with his friend since childhood, Stephen McCarthy with an inset of the message on ‘The Slice of Life’ healthfood shop window yesterday. Photograph: Kate Walsh.
Brown was the only colour envelope Tom McCarthy said he could find when asked by Charlie Farrelly as they presented Castleisland’s Special Olympian, Gary O’Sullivan with the €1,000 proceeds of the previous night’s fundraising table quiz. Included are Gary’s mom Mag and nan, Mary. ©Photograph: John Reidy
Special Olympian, Gary O’Sullivan is on his way to Abu Dhabi today as part of the Irish Special Olympics team. ©Photograph: John Reidy

I was part of a small group which was quizzed in a pub one night – but it wasn’t in the course of a conventional pub quiz.

A couple of us were talking about sweets and bars and gobstoppers and the like – things that were no longer to be found in the shops.

A man sidled up and said that he couldn’t help over-hearing our conversation.

Trigger Bars from Dan Culloty’s

“Ye’re smart men,” he said. “Can ye tell me who was the first man to eat a Trigger Bar out of Dan Culloty’s Shop above in the top of the town.

“In fact,” he continued “he ate two of them the same day.”

“We were taken aback by the ridiculousness of the question and were about to say ‘what kind of a question is that’ – or something along that line.

Privileged Information

But it quickly dawned on us that this man had privileged information that nobody else could have or would remember.

I ventured: ‘It wasn’t yourself by any chance.’ ‘The very man,’ he smilingly replied.

I thought of him the other evening as I was on my way down to Tom McCarthy’s for the presentation to Gary O’Sullivan of the proceeds of Friday night’s table quiz in the pub.

Made Me Smile

The thought made me smile as I walked.

A woman who saw me before I saw her asked me to share the joke. I didn’t.

I’d have had to go into a description of the ridged, wavy chocolate and the jaw locking, hard toffee centre of the Trigger Bar and the picture of the cowboy on the wrapper and that Dan Culloty’s was one of the many shops at the top of the town in a time away before hers and that it was actually Mrs. Culloty who ran the shop and that the man who posed the question in the pub in the first place was prone to that class of thing anyway and that there isn’t much wrong with me.

So, I just told her she wouldn’t understand.

An Awkward Question

There was an awkward question too at Gary’s Special Olympics fundraising table quiz on Friday night.

“Where in Castleisland is The Poet’s Corner,” was the question and it left the collective brain bank badly burgled.

It’s not in Castleisland anyway –  at least not as a geographical landmark –  though I believe someone gave a vaguely plausible answer and got the points – for creativity.

Seventeen Teams

Seventeen teams took part in the quiz and the upshot of it was that a cheque for €1,000 was presented to Castleisland’s Special Olympian Gary O’Sullivan by event chief organiser, Charlie Farrelly outside Tom McCarthy’s on Saturday evening.

Well done to the organisers and to Domo and the Ó Ciardubháin family and to Tom McCarthy for housing the event.

Gary will fly out to the World Special Olympic Games in Abu Dhabi today. He will be accompanied by him mom, Mag and nan, Mary.

A Long Wait for Gary

It’s been a long wait for Gary since the news arrived of his selection on the Irish team last July.

This came as a result of his outstanding performances in the Irish team qualifying games in Dublin in June of last year.

“I can’t wait now. “It’s been an awful long time since I got the news that I was on the Irish team,” said Gary – who is the double Irish champion in the 4kg Shot Putt and 400m walk events.

No Small Part

The championships were held in Dublin over four days from June 14th. and Gary competed as part of the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club.

“People are lovely to me and they’re stopping me on the street and shaking hands and wishing me well,” he said.

Gary’s profile as a Special Olympian in the area played no small part in the Castleisland Races Committee recent decision to, again, include the Kerry Stars Special Olympics Club as one of its beneficiaries from the 2019 meeting.

Dream Come True

Gary set himself the goal of qualifying for the games he’s flying out to today. His double All-Ireland medal winning performance in Dublin pushed his dreams well down the road for qualification.

He dreamed of making the Irish team.

He’s living the dream now and whatever happens in Abu Dhabi over the week from March 14th to 21st will be an amazing bonus for him and his supporters.

Good luck Gary from all in Castleisland, Kerry and Ireland.

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