Tag Archives: Westport Ireland

Roundup: Ireland, Lacrosse, Politico …

“06880” readers know that Westport is a great place to live.

Now it’s official — at least, across the Atlantic.

Susan Garment spotted this sign the other day in Westport, Ireland. It says: “Tidy Towns National Winner.:

And below that: “Best Place to Live in Ireland.“

(Photo/Susan Garment)

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Westport sports fans know that the Staples High School boys lacrosse team’s rout of Darien in the state championship final was big.

But just how huge was it?

Inside Lacrosse just ranked the Wreckers’ win as the top performance in all of public high school lax this spring — in the entire country.

The site says:

A strong argument could be made that the Wreckers’ stunning 12-3 victory over Connecticut powerhouse Darien in the Class L state championship game was high school lacrosse’s biggest story in June. Scoring the game’s first eight goals to take a 9-1 lead into halftime, Will Koshansky’s squad played smart, methodical lacrosse en route to a commanding win over a Blue Wave squad that spent much of the season in the national Top 10.

This spring, the Wreckers picked up six victories over teams from the computer ratings Top 100, topping Massachusetts state champ St. John’s Prep, as well as Fairfield County foes Greenwich, Wilton, New Canaan, Ridgefield and Darien….

The 9-goal victory over Darien in the state championship stands above all of the Wreckers’ previous accomplishments this season, and now, Staples finishes as IL’s No. 1 public school program to end 2022…

AD

A young nucleus returns, so expect to hear even more about Westport’s finest going forward. (

(Click here for the full story. Hat tip: Dave Briggs)

Staples High School: boys lacrosse state champs — and now, #1 in the nation. (Photo/Chris Greer)

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Earlier this year, Steve Parrish brought Carlotta LaNier — one of the Little Rock 9, who desegregated Central High School in 1957 — to the Westport Library.

Now the consultant specializing in specializing in crisis management, corporate social responsibility, public affairs and communications — and frequent TV news show guest — has reached into his Rolodex, to plan another intriguing evening.

On July 19 (7 p.m.), he’ll chat with political journalist and Politico co-founder John Harris. Prior to creating one of the country’s most visited news sites, Harris was a national political reporter for the Washington Post.

Click here to register for a seat in the Trefz Forum. Click here for the livestream.

John Harris

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Kathie Motes Bennewitz — who serves as both Westport town arts curator and executive director of the Hopper House Museum and Study Center in Nyack, New York — joins Westporter Robin Frank in inviting “06880” readers to the Museum on July 19 (6 p.m.). Frank will give a presentation on “Framing Memory in American Art: Visions of Love and Loss.” The lecture is followed by  complimentary cocktails to toast the current exhibition Liliane Tomasko: Evening Wind.

Memory is the underlying theme of both Hopper’s isolated figures in interiors and Tomasko’s lyrical paintings of unmade beds. In addition to their works, I will discuss a diverse array of historic and contemporary objects—ranging from eighteenth-century mourning jewelry to a Covid-inspired video on view at the Whitney Biennial—that celebrate love and memorialize loss.

Click here for more details and tickets.

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Longtime Westporter, Red Cross volunteer, and one of Staples High School’s longest-lived graduates, Eloise Neyle Reilly died peacefully at her home, surrounded by her family and caregiver, on July 1. She was 102 years old.

Born on March 22, 1920 in New York City, she was called “a remarkable, self-sufficient and independent woman, known for her positive outlook on life.”

Eloise moved to Westport in 1934, and graduated from Staples High School. One of the most important chapters in her life began during World War II. She joined the American Red Cross Club Mobile Unit, a service to provide comfort and support to combat troops on the front lines with coffee, donuts and conversation.

After the war ended, she spent 2 more years in Germany, supporting US troops. She often told stories of her remarkable friendships and experiences during her years with the Red Cross.

Eloise’s strength and independence continued beyond the war when she returned home to Westport. In the late 1940s and ’50s she built a career in New York City, culminated as a human resource director at the advertising firm Young and Rubicam.

Eloise designed and worked with a local contractor to construct the home that she lived in since 1957. She was an avid gardener, a lover of nature and a long time member of the Westport Garden Club.    

In the late 1960’s, she left the city and the commute to start a second successful career as a real estate agent, with Helen Benson Real Estate.

One of her passions and strengths was maintaining great friendships in her community, and staying connected with lifelong friends and family across the country. A result of this passion came in the early 1970’s, when she began the first of many annual Red Cross Club Mobile reunions at her home here.

The tradition gained momentum and continued through the early 2000’s.   Reunions were held at the homes of Red Cross members and friends across the US and Europe.

Eloise is survived by her nephews, Kevin (Leslie Carrere) Reilly of Newfield, New York; William (Laura Gotfried) Reilly of Enfield, New York and Peter (Mary Picard) Reilly of Rye, New Hampshire; grand-nieces and nephews Colin, Marissa Mia, Megan and Conor Reilly, and great-grand-niece Kendall Reilly.  Her brother, Donald Reilly, recently predeceased her.

The family gives special thanks to Mary Krewsen, her personal caregiver, for her loving care, and the staff of Visiting Angels of Fairfield for their support.  In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in her honor can be made to The American Red Cross.

Family and friends are invited a visitation on Wednesday, July 13th (9:30 a.m., Christ & Holy Trinity church. Funeral services will follow at 10 in the church sanctuary.  Interment will follow at the Christ and Holy Trinity Cemetery.  Click here to sign the online guestbook.

Eloise Reilly

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Crabs are not the most elegant looking creatures.

But they — like this one, today’s “Westport … Naturally” feature — have been at Compo Beach and environs longer than we have.

lot longer.

(Photo/Jeanine Esposito)

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And finally … happy 52nd birthday to Beck. The one-named singer/songwriter/ producer turns 52 today.

(“06880” relies on the support of readers like you. Please click here to donate.)

Photo Challenge #382

No, last week’s challenge was not fair.

But as everyone from Bill Gates to your mother has said, life is not fair. Get used to it.

Lisa Tantillo’s image of a handsome window, framed by ivy over a bed of tulips, did not look familiar to most readers. (Click here for the photo.)

A few hours later, I gave a hint: Think way outside the box.

John McCarthy did. “Mrs. O’Brian’s house in Westport, Ireland,” he guessed.

Sure and begorrah, he was right.

Well, about Ireland anyway. I’m not sure where the photo was taken, other than in our hometown’s namesake in County Mayo.

“My mother would be proud,” he said, without noting whether or not Mrs. McCarthy is actually from Westport, Ireland.

Matt Murray wrote: “15 yard penalty for illegal use of location, plus a first down.” I challenged him to translate that into Gaelic football.

And while Doris Levinson did not know exactly where the photo was taken — hey, I just said, “Where in Westport would you see this?” — she was sure that it didn’t look like our town. “Deer love tulips,” she wrote, “so they’d be long gone.”

I think this week’s Photo Challenge is easier. If you know where in Westport  — Westport, Connecticut — you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

 

Roundup: Yanks’ Bat Girl, Playhouse, Ireland …

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Gwen Goldman McLoughlin’s star turn as New York Yankees’ bat girl — 60 years after the team rejected the 10-year-old’s request — has gotten plenty of national media attention. “06880” covered the inspiring story on Sunday.

One of the best pieces was in yesterday’s New York Times. Click here to read. Then click below for a tweet that will have you smiling all day.

Whether you love the Yanks or hate them, you gotta admit: This is pure class.

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Ninety years to the day after it first opened, the Westport Country Playhouse celebrated a new season last night.

The audience was COVID-limited in size. They enjoyed a recorded — not live — presentation of “Tiny House,” a clever comedy.

But — after last year’s remote-only season, and some decisions about how to present this year’s shows — there was a palpable sense of joy among last night’s theater-goers.

The Playhouse has survived one of the toughest times in its 9-decade history. They’ve got a full schedule of events this year (most remote, a few cabarets and such in person).

The doors were open again last night, exactly 90 years after the former tannery in an apple orchard began its run as one of America’s premier summer theaters.

Here’s wishing 90 more great years, to one of Westport’s greatest jewels!

Welcome back! (Photo/Dan Woog)

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Optimum will “dramatically reduce” upload speeds for new customers on July 12, according to published reports.

The Verge says that the cable company — owned by Altice — will slice some plans from 35 Mbps to 5 Mbps.

The change affects new customers serviced by Optimum’s non-fiber network. It will impact current subscribers only if they upgrade, downgrade or otherwise change their service. Download speeds should remain the same,

The change, Altice told The Verge, is to bring the plan  “in line with other ISPs and aligned with the industry.” (Click here for the Verge story; click here for a longer story from Ars Technica. Hat tip: Dick Lowenstein)

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Concerts at the Levitt Pavilion is an Angus family tradition since they moved here in 1993. He grew up watching the Hall Family Band Night (and was part of Music for Children for a long time).

Some of Drew Angus’ most memorable Westport nights were with legends Nile Rodgers and Chic, John Fogerty, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes, and most recently Bruce Hornsby. 

He remembers too when his grandmother brought panties to throw on stage for Tom Jones.

He’s seen great regional acts like Philly’s Low Cut Connie and Brooklyn’s Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds. He enjoyed some of the country’s best blues and rock acts at Blues Views & BBQ. One of his all-time favorites was a Latin zydeco band from California, Incendio. 

Drew long dreamed of playing on stage. He fulfilled that dream in 2018. It’s a stage I dreamt of playing as a kid and did for the first time in 2018

This Friday (July 2, 7:30 p.m.), Drew Angus is back. He’s joined by a 7-piece band, including Westport’s Russ Crain. They were fellow Class of 2007 Staples graduates.

They’ll play songs from Drew’s upcoming record, and familiar covers. It will be a special night for one of the Levitt’s favorite musicians — on both sides of the stage. (Click here for tickets, and more information.)

Drew Angus rocks.

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Work begins soon on the transformation of the old Barnes & Noble into a new grocery outlet — rumored to be Amazon Go. A construction trailer has moved into the parking lot.

Meanwhile, around the corner, work continues on the renovation of Greens Farms Congregational Church.

(Photo/Bob Weingarten)

Meanwhile, back near the former Barnes & Noble, there is no sign of action whatsoever at the abandoned Mobil Self-Serve. It closed nearly 3 years ago, and the site looks sorrier by the day.

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Last month’s Westport Fine Arts Festival was a cold washout.

Weston hopes for a better forecast for their own Fine Arts Festival. It’s July 17 and 18, on School Road.

The juried event includes over 100 artists working in painting, sculpture, jewelry, ceremics, wood and fine crafts, plus children’s activities, art demonstrations, musical guests and food trucks. Weston’s own Jose Feliciano performs live on Saturday.

Admission is free.

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Speaking of art: Sorelle Gallery’s next show is “Quiet Moments.” Works by contemporary coastal realist painter Daniel Pollera, and abstract artist Kelly Rossetti, are on display from July 10 through August 1.

A reception is set for July 10 (3 to 5 p.m.), in the Church Lane space. For more information, click here.

Works by Daniel Pollera and Kelly Rossetti.

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Yesterday’s “06880: The Podcast” upload featured Helen McAlinden. The CEO of Homes with Hope discussed homelessness and food insecurity in Fairfield County, with her well-known passion and trademark Irish brogue.

As it happens, she’s spending this week visiting relatives back home. She took time to send this photo of Westport — Westport, Ireland, that is.

Sure, and it brightens your day.

(Photo/Helen McAlinden)

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Speaking as we were of the water: Today’s “Westport … Naturally” photo is from this side of the pond. I have no idea if there are horseshoe crabs in Ireland.

(Photo/Lauri Weiser)

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And finally … speaking of Westport, Ireland: Matt Molloy of the Chieftains owns a pub and music venue there. It’s on a road whose name we share here in Connecticut: Bridge Street.

Welcome To Westport(s)! Step Right Up! Book Your Tour Now!

Among our many claims to fame, Westport was once the center of the luxury tour industry.

Tauck — whose founder, Arthur Sr., virtually invented the group tour concept in 1925 — was headquartered here for many years. They’re now in Wilton, but family members still live in town.

Lindblad Expeditions was here too, just down Post Road West from Tauck, before moving to New York. Their handsome building at the corner of Sylvan Road North now houses the Pierrepont School.

Both companies specialize in providing great adventures for high-end travelers, around the globe.

Westport is not one of their destinations. In fact, we never think of ourselves as a “tourist” town.

Try telling that to WestportSTourS.

They use that awkward capitalization, and odd name, for a reason. They offer tours to “FIVE of the Really Great WestportS of the World.”

In case you’re wondering, those Westports are in Ireland, Ontario, Massachusetts and New York.

And of course, Connecticut.

(I had to scroll down pretty far to find the Bay State one. The website — whose fonts, colors and layouts appear to come from the early days of MySpace — lists only 4 at the top.)

But WestportSTourS is pretty excited about being one of the niche-est of all niche travel companies.

They say:

Our Boston-Based staff has visited ALL FIVE (5) of the Westports mentioned here. Not just “visited”, but taken folks with them on Group Tours to EACH of the Westports – one Westport, hundreds of times – other Westports, several times each year.

The other Westports offer attractions like one of the oldest county fairs in the US (New York), canals (Ontario), and a large clock in the central square (Ireland).

On the surface, our Westport does not sound much different from the others. We are all on water (hence the name). Several Westports boast live theater and/or “quaint shops and boutiques.”

Despite the map on the website, Westport, Connecticut is NOT in Westchester County.

But it seems that WestportSTourS really likes our Westport best. We’re featured often on the home page, with photos of our “Rubber Ducky Festival,” holiday lights on the William Cribari Bridge, and colorful flags on the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge. (So what if the website claims that different nations’ flags fly on “International Flag Day, June 14,” which does not exist? That’s American Flag Day. International flags fly on jUne Day, the last weekend of that month.)

Hey — no biggie! I’m sure the tour guides are much more accurate once they actually get here, and take guests all around town.

They’re enticed, I bet, by this info on the website. (I have kept the Trumpian capitalization and breathless text verbatim.)

This is the Westport  that is in the News almost Every Day –

This is the FUN  Westport where there are 80 Restaurants (number changes daily and We do  try to keep track) plus – World-Famous theatre,The Westport Country Playhouse, that dates-back to the early days of Summer Stock and the Straw Hat Circuit – Westport 06880, where there resided more Celebrities than anywhere else in the World (except Beverly Hills) by Zip Code.  Join US.  We can show you just about  EVERYTHING.

Two more views of our town, from the website.

This Westport is the home of the World’s largest Hedge Fund (if that means anything to you ?) and also this is the Westport where the commuter trains to New York City (47 miles to the West) – commuter trains stop 78 times EACH weekday – give or take.       Ask for “Gart”

There is MORE = LOTS more –

Gold Coast – The Tour .  This Tour is available ALL-YEAR.  Groups ONLY – perfect for your Wedding or Party Guests when you want them to see YOUR town – ALSO perfect if you are passing thru Westport on Interstate I-95 between New York and Boston.  YES, you can schedule to arrive in THIS Westport by Train.  YES you can enjoy REAL Salt-Water beaches.

 There’s much more on the tour too: the cannons. Positano and the Black Duck (“Definitely a Local Hotspot in Westport as seen  on TV’s Diners and Dives”). Even the “Compo Sailing Team.”

I’ve lived in Westport my whole life. I never knew we had such a team.

Hey, you’re never too old to learn something new. Sign me up for the tour!

After all, as the WestportSTourS website says: “We do All the Work. You have All the FUN.”

(Click here for the landing page. Click here for the Westport page. Hat tip: Elaine Marino)