Bus driver Tommy Forristal has hung up the keys of the Ring a Link bus he has driven in Carrick-on-Suir district for 15 years for the last time.
Tommy from Poulacapple, Mullinahone transported children to Ballyneale and Newtown Upper National Schools and Comeragh College in Carrick-on-Suir during his career and also ferried people to day care services, shopping trips and to collect pensions.
The passengers on his 14-seater bus became friends among themselves and with Tommy. The Ring-a-Link bus he drove provided a life line for people living in remote areas from the foothills of Slievenamon to Ahenny. They shared many stories of their youth and their history, bringing Tommy a proud Kilkenny man, into the realms of Carrick-on-Suir and environs.
Tommy officially retired on Holy Thursday. There were no opportunities for goodbyes to his young passengers as the children have not been at school in recent weeks due to the coronavirus crisis. Christmas cards and handmade cards Tommy received from his primary school passengers each year brought him much joy.
Marty's Pantry on Carrick -on-Suir's Sean Kelly Square was a meeting place for Friday brunch for Tommy and his Friday passengers and they wish to thank proprietor Martin Gannon for his hospitality over the years. In retirement, Tommy plans to become a great cook and his wife Brigid is looking forward to his meals. He will also be busy pursuing his interests in beekeeping and wood turning and he has a big garden and two dogs to look after.
Tommy hands over the keys to Fiddown man Ray Commins with best wishes for a continuing essential service.