Sweden is preparing to celebrate the centenary of their greater screen legend of all – but Connemara too has its own footnote in the story of Ingrid Bergman.
The Casablanca star – Ilsa Lund to Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine – will be remembered in her native Sweden later this month to mark the 100th anniversary of her birth.
And among those present will be author and translator, Ann Henning Jocelyn, who has lived in Connemara for the past 32 years.
She will be remembering Ingrid Bergman, not alone as an actress and a screen icon – but as a close friend.
Ingrid Bergman’s autobiography “My Life” will be re-published as part of the commemoration and an epilogue written by Ann Henning Jocelyn has been appended to the original version of the book.
The epilogue is entitled: “Ingrid Bergman – A Good Friend”.
It happened in London 35 years ago. Ingrid Bergman’s autography was being crafted by Alan Burgess; the publishers wanted a simultaneous version of the book in Swedish.
“That was how I came into the picture”, says Ann Henning Jocelyn.
A native of Gothenburg in Sweden, Ann had come to London to study drama and she was also a proficient linguist. She was asked to translate the Bergman autobiography text to Swedish and the task also involved going through the film actress’s letters, diaries and Swedish source material.
Ingrid Bergman liked the translation but decided she wanted to tell the story again. She asked Ann Henning to join with her in doing the work. It was an unforgettable and almost awe laden assignment.
Ingrid Bergman is described by one film history source as “one of the greatest actresses from Hollywood’s lamented Golden Era. Her natural and unpretentious beauty and her immense acting talent made her one of the most celebrated figures in the history of American cinema”.
Bergman role in the 1940ies war time film “Casablanca” is legendary but it is only one of her major films: “Murder on the Orient Express” and “For Whom the Bells Toll” are others that remain etched in the popular memory.
Ann Henning-Jocelyn has fond and abiding memories of that spring and summer of 1980 in London.
“Ingrid had great charisma. She was warm and also forthright. She said what she meant and she meant what she said. I found this very comfortable as you had no difficulty in trying to work out how she felt about something,” says Ann.
Both of them were Swedish and Ann Henning-Jocelyn says this help in established a bond between them. As well as that link, Ann and her family had holidayed for four generations in Fjallbacka, a small fishing village on the west coast of Sweden.
Ingrid Bergman and her third husband, Lars Schmidt also had a home there and Ann, as a young girl, remembers Bergman coming shopping to the village. “We shared a nostalgic background in that way”, Ann explains.
During that summer of 1980 Ann Henning-Jocelyn worked with Ingrid Bergman, often outdoors on the roofed terrace of the film icon’s home in Chelsea. Sometimes it was seven days a week; it was hectic but fun filled and exciting.
“She always encouraged you and brought you into circles of people” says Ann.
Sometime ago Ann Henning- Jocelyn went back to Cheyne Gardens in Chelsea to see the Bergman homestead again.
It was spring, a cold wind blew and the skies were dark and “three dark windows looked gloomily down on me”…the scene had changed.
Ann Henning-Jocelyn writes in the republished epilogue to Bergman’s autobiography: “How different from my first visit to this Chelsea street! On that occasion the fruit-trees were in blossom, a southerly breeze played softly over the river Thames and curtains billowed around the three windows, left open to let in sunshine and warm spring air.
“I was filled with happy anticipation, for I was on my way to my first ever meeting with film star Ingrid Bergman. On my way to the start of a treasured friendship that was tragically cut short”.
Ingrid Bergman was already in the early stages of the cancer that killed her when the book was finished. Ann Henning-Jocelyn met her on occasions in the following years as the film star’s vitality and energy drained away.
It was about this time that Ann Henning-Jocelyn got married and moved to live in Doonreagan House in Cashel in Connemara and it was there on the morning of August 22 1982 that she heard the news on radio; Ingrid Bergman had died.
It was her birthday – she was 67.
Galway City Council to ‘review’ Kirwan junction
Councillors are demanding proof that the €5 million spent to transform Kirwan Roundabout into a signalised junction was money well spent – blasting the new junction as having created long delays and worsening rat-running.
A meeting of the local authority last week heard that while there was a general acceptance there would be ‘teething problems’ with the traffic-light junction after it became operational in July, ongoing issues were continuing to draw the ire of road users and local residents.
Cllr Mike Cubbard (Ind) said he was one of five councillors on the previous Council to initially vote against the removal of the roundabout, based on fears that it would increase traffic through local residential areas – a fear that had been realised.
“What changes have been needed to be done since it went live,” asked the former Mayor, indicating that there had been little improvement.
Cllr Alan Cheevers (FF) said he understood that enhancement works were being done, but more were required.
“A lot of drivers are avoiding it and its driving traffic through the likes of Terryland Business Park. The Tuam Road is now gridlocked,” he said, calling on the Council to do a “PR exercise” to encourage drivers back to Kirwan.
Cllr Clodagh Higgins (FG) said the junction continued to confuse people and suggested that “overhead hanging signs” would be of assistance.
Green Party Councillor Niall Murphy said when the roundabout was slated for removal, it was promised that delays would be reduced by 25% and rat-running by 90% – but as yet, no evidence had been provided to show this.
“We need to put some science on this.
“The rat-running has moved to Dyke Road and there are some sections of that road where there are no footpaths, so it is quite dangerous for pedestrians,” said Cllr Murphy.
Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the meeting he believed there was a silent majority that were satisfied with the new junction.
He said that the junction’s ‘go live’ date was July 19, which coincided with the reopening of many parts of society that had been in lockdown due to Covid, and that had contributed to additional traffic.
“The first two objectives were to improve pedestrian and cyclist safety, and those objectives have been achieved.
“There will be a post project review – that is something that we always do and I would be happy to bring that back to Council for its consideration,” said Mr Finn.
Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath confirmed that review was set to get underway.
“It will go through the various elements and if issues arise following the review, they will be addressed,” he said.
Thieves target cars as owners unload shopping bags
Galway shoppers have been advised by Gardaí not to leave their vehicles unlocked or unattended as they bring their shopping into their homes.
This follows reports in the Newcastle area of opportunist thieves ‘striking’ as the shopping bags were being moved into houses.
One resident told the Galway City Tribune that the thieves waited until the person had taken a bag of shopping from their cars to bring into their home.
“This gives the thieves a minute or two to have a quick look in the car – what they seem to be looking for are purses, bags or wallets that are left behind in the car,” the resident stated.
He added that some of local residents had notices two ‘youngish lads’ – possibly in their late teens or early 20s – hanging around the Newcastle Park Road area over the past week or two.
“I just think that people need to be on their guard for this kind of opportunist theft. They just wait until the driver goes inside the house with the shopping and before they come back out, they do a quick search of the car,” he said.
Galway Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Michael Walsh, said that opportunist thieves would always be ‘on the look out for a handy theft’.
“What I would advise is that either have someone to keep an eye on the car when the shopping is being removed – or else lock the car each time, and don’t leave any cash or valuables in the vehicle.
“It might be an inconvenience to lock the car each time you go back into the house, but it is still far better than having something stolen from your vehicle,” said Sgt Walsh.
He also urged, that as a matter of routine, no one should leave any valuables in their cars when they parked them up.
“Even the coins that some people keep in car pockets for parking or other small payments can attract thieves. Never leave anything of value in your vehicles,” he said.
Boil water notice issued for Barna area
A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes
The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.
The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.
The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.
Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.
Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.
Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.
In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.