In recent years I have become aware that the students attending Coachford College spend lovely glorious sunny afternoons on the riverbank in Coachford. These days of freedom are usually around Summer exams and end of school time or at weekends. The road to the riverbank is often filled with laughter, craic and anticipation of spending some good times together with friends.
Time on the riverbank is spent talking and laughing, getting to know each other, (some really getting to know each other very well !.) and generally just being teenagers. Where there is water of course there is also danger, but thankfully most seem to treat the river with the respect it deserves.
When I was growing up in the village we spend many wonderful days down here on the bank and as I grew older the place was always one which friends and I visited on a regular basis. The difference between then and now is the name. I and many of my age group know it as ‘Jelletts’ but I have seen and heard the young of today refer to the idyllic River Lee bay as ‘Gillettes’.
When I heard this first I thought some one had made a simple mistake and it was an isolated incident of miss pronunciation but no, it’s rife among the students of Coachford College both current and past. Gillette’s ? where did this come from? have the shaving products firm come on board as a sponsor of Irish river banks? is it to do with that company’s logo, (‘the best a man can get’) and that link with the young boys who go to the river in the hope that this might refer to them in their quest for love.
Can I indulge myself on this blog by pointing out the reason we call this section of the beautiful riverbank ‘Jelletts’, or ‘Miss Jelletts’ as many of us called it, is because the house that overlooks the area was once owned and lived in by Miss Gwendoline Jellett. Miss Jellett, as I remember her, was an eccentric woman who drove a small red Massey Ferguson tractor (at speed), bred Hereford cattle and had two blind poodles.Miss Jellett was, as I remember, a kind lady who had a rich heritage and was very well educated.She passed away in 1985.
I have informed those close to me that they are calling this section of the Lee the incorrect name and that it is pronounced and called ‘Jelletts’ /Gel ettes/ and not Gillettes /jill ettes/.
This is really a very small thing and is only a rant by me or it might just be me being anxious that we remember one of the people whose family (The Leader’s) helped to create this village.
My real hope though is that young people continue to enjoy the riverbank safely and resist the temptation of swimming in the waters there.