ON Friday night we headed for the Clans Clubrooms where a very special surprise 60th birthday party was being held for the legend that is Frankie Hutchinson from Oakland Park.
And there to make sure he had a fantastic time was his wife Finola and kids Mary, Frances, Stephen and Gemma along with a huge collection of family and friends
Frankie was tricked into going over to the Clans by his brother Bernard Hutchinson from Ashling Park who acted as a decoy and managed to hold him over in his own house until everyone got there in readiness to surprise him and then asked if he wanted to go over for a few even though Bernard doesn't drink!
I wasn't too long in the door when I met up with Frankie's brother Johnny Hutchinson from Muirhevnamor who was there with his partner Anna Connolly also from Ashling Park, his son and his wife Ian and Sharon Hutchinson from Castleblaney and their daughter Naomi who all wanted to wish Frankie all the best on his big night. Johnny was also having a laugh with his mate Tommy Dixon from Fatima who assured me it was going to be an epic celebration.
Apologies Johnny about the mistake I made after I met you the previous week.
I then headed for a nearby table where I caught up with Frankie's sister Teresa O'Neill from O'Hanlon Park who was enjoying the festivities with niece Geraldine Flynn from Castle Heights and husband Gary as well as another sister of the birthday boy Eileen and Johnny Duffy from Castle Heights who were delighted to be there to share in the celebrations with Frankie.
Eileen was having a laugh with grand niece Naomi Hutchinson with her mum and dad Sharon and Ian who told me they were delighted to be there to cheer on Frankie on his 60th.
Also at the table was another sister Tina Cassidy from Knockbridge who was with husband Hugh who was on the missing list and she was up for making a night of it with niece Sinead Doherty from Ashling Park, sister Winnie McGee from Ashling Park who wanted a big shout out for her granddaughter Grace as well as Lisa and Tom Barron and all the McGee's and she told me that although Frankie's brother Patrick wasn't there, he wanted to wish Frankie all the best on his big night too.
Not too long later I got a word with ace postman Mickey Hutchinson from The Meadows who was sitting having a time of it with Frankie's daughter Mary Kerley from Clancullen Park with husband Darren and kids Michelle, Niall, Caoimhe, Mark, Eimear and Enya who were all there and making the very best of the party celebrations.
Meanwhile over at another table I got talking to Jim McGrath from Dundalk who was enjoying the company of Paddy and Ann McArdle also from Dundalk and Ann told me that Paddy works with Frankie in the Redeemer Centre and they certainly weren't going to miss Frankie's 60th no matter what!
Making my way over to another table I then got talking to Frankie's son Stephen from Oakland Park who was with Thomas Turley from Cederwood Park who was with Louise Murphy from Culhane Street and Rachel Conlon from Ramparts who told me they were there to party and were going to make sure that Frankie did the same.
I then headed over for a word with husband and wife Larry and Colette O'Hagan from Bay Estate who were delighted to be there.
Larry told me he is a musical buddy of Frankie's and has been known to perform sessiuns with 'The Hutchinson Ensemble' saying that Frankie reckons he has a bit of a Ronnie Drew vibe going on and thinks he a better singer than the late Dubliner.
Colette is possibly the best known Irish marathon runner ever and when I joked that she was taking things easy on the night, she told me she was heading for Sixmilebridge in Clare the following morning where she would be running the 26 miles plus that afternoon!
Not too long later I headed over for a chat with Caoimhe, Niall and Mark Kerley from Clancullen Park who were up for making the best of granda Frankie's bash and couldn't wait for the real craic to get going.
Also at the same table I then got talking to Frankie's daughter Gemma Donnelly also from Oakland Park who was with husband Jim and their daughter Nikki.
Gemma was sitting in the company of Michelle Kerley from Farndreg, Donna McDonagh from Cederwood Park with boyfriend and Frankie's son Stephen from Oakland Park and Amanda McMahon from Muirhevnamor who was with nephew Shane Hutchinson from Ashling Park who was having a great laugh with nephew Michael Cruise who had come up form Drogheda specially for the festivities and assured me it was going to be a late, late, late night!
Meanwhile back up at the bar I got a quick word with Johnny Duffy from Castletowncross who was having a laugh with Gary Flynn from Castle Heights who told me that his wife Geraldine is Frankie's niece and they were looking forward to a nice quiet night, as if lads, as if!
I eventually met up with the man who had acted as the decoy on the night Frankie's brother Bernard from Ashling Park who told me he was there with son Shane as well as Fergus Turley from Cederwood Park who was with Rachael Conlon, son Thomas and Louise whom I'd met earlier and Fergus was having a laugh with Frankie's sister Ethel Carolan from Beechmount Drive who was with her husband Brendan and told me that her sister Margaret Byrne from O'Hanlon Park was on holidays and had missed Frankie's surprise 60th bash, but had left strict instructions to wish him a very happy birthday, after the shocked look had disappeared from his face!