We hope you will enjoy these bits and bobs of news from all over the country. As with the headlines and news on our web site, we purposely avoid murder and mayhem, opting instead for whatever we can find in the way of Irish traditions, customs and culture. We also try to avoid repeating news we've already published in our daily updates. Here's the URL if you aren't familiar with that feature on the site:
We publish links to seven stories gathered every morning from all the major Irish newspapers. These links are kept for two weeks just in case you can't visit the site every day.
Meanwhile, on with the county news:
Antrim: Fundraiser for maritime museum
A bid to raise money for the North’s first maritime museum is behind a new tour which gives people the chance to see the city from a vantage point. The Lagan Boat Company and Karl Properties have co-operated to offer a tour which begins with a boat trip around the Lagan, after which participants can ascend to the penthouse suite of the country’s tallest building, the Obel Tower on the waterfront. The tour will include a presentation on the history of the area as well as a photographic archive.
Antrim: Performers sought in Ballintoy
A meeting was held in St Joseph’s Hall in Ballintoy to encourage members of the community to become involved during the day on which the village will be judged in the Village of the Year competition. It has already been shortlisted and the judges are due to arrive in Ballintoy on September 8. Now the council is looking for singers, dancers, musicians and those willing to read poetry to perform on the day as a way of showcasing life in the village.
Armagh: A family tradition at Craigavon hospital
For the first time in the hospital’s history a mother and daughter will be working together as midwives in Craigavon Area Hospital. Cathy Robinson from Loughall, who qualified in March, will soon join her mother Eva Dalzell, who is from Richhill and who has been a midwife for the past thirty-six years.
Armagh: St Louis nuns leave Middleton
Recently, a thanksgiving Mass was celebrated by Cardinal Seán Brady at St John’s Primary School in Middleton to mark the departure of the Sisters of St Louis from the town. The Cardinal was assisted by parish priest Father Seán Moore. There were only seven members of the order left in the town, where they had set up a primary school which continued to educate local children until ten years ago. The convent has been sold by the order to the British and Irish governments in order that a centre of excellence for autism can be established.
Carlow: Stephen takes prize at RDS
In the Royal Dublin Society concert hall Stephen Ó Briain was awarded the RDS Reserve Prize in this year’s National Crafts Competition. Stephen, from Borris, won the €3,500 award for his entry into the furniture section, a chair made from American walnut with a woven cane seat. The chair, entitled Bone Chair, has been purchased by the Crafts Council of Ireland and his work has also attracted the attention of a delegation from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Stephen started making furniture almost twenty years ago and is the third generation of his family to be involved in the craft.
Carlow: Rathgeran bridge repaired
The bridge at Rathgeran, Ballymurphy, part of which collapsed a few months ago, has now been repaired and has opened to traffic once again. The problem arose when a herd of cows were crossing the bridge, with one becoming trapped for a while. Kennedy Construction have reinstated the bridge on both sides with mass concrete and it was reopened initially to light traffic. It is now open for heavy traffic also. After the collapse a three-tonne limit was placed on the bridge, which meant that all agricultural machinery had to make a ten-mile detour.
Carlow: A message from the past discovered at Carlow school
The renovation of Scoil Mhuire Gan Smál in Carlow has uncovered a message placed behind a fitted wall press fifty-one years ago by two of the men involved in the construction of the school. A square panel from a packet of Sweet Afton cigarettes was found, bearing the words “Patrick Hennessy and John Curran worked at these schools. Pray for us. 1959”. The local newspaper managed to trace relatives of the two men, better known as Patrick ‘Cha’ Hennessy and John ‘Jakes’ Curran, who had been employed by Carbery Construction.
Cavan: Loughduff church rededicated
Bishop Colm O’Reilly was the chief celebrant of a Mass held in St Joseph’s Church in Loughduff to mark its rededication. Bishop O’Reilly was joined on the altar by Canon Owen Devaney of Mullahoran, and Fathers Bernard O’Reilly, Jim Brady, Eamon Lynch, Brian Brady, Tomsie Smith and Kevin Fay. The one hundred year old church has been closed for several months and now has a new altar and tabernacle given to the church by the Sisters of Mercy in Granard. There is also a devotional area in honour of St Joseph in the front porch. Following the Mass refreshments, donated by volunteers, were served in the parish hall in Killydoon.
Cavan: Swan rescued from Loreto Wood
Local vet Seán O’Reilly was called out recently to come to the aid of a swan which had been found stranded in Loreto Wood in Cavan. The swan had been observed by locals on Drumgola Lake earlier in the year, with four cygnets. After they disappeared from the lake they were later seen walking down a road in the area of Loreto Cross, and it was here that the lone swan was found, with no sign of her cygnets. On hand to observe Seán’s rescue of the swan were Denise Sivakova with her daughters Gina and Jennifer. The swan subsequently had a broken wing reset and Seán is caring for her until she can be released back into the water.
Cavan: Only one bar open in Muff
While in days gone by all the publicans from Kingscourt used to set up their stalls in the streets of Muff on the day of the traditional fair, these days it is only Paul Garland who is there to serve the fair-goers. Paul’s father Jim originated the idea of a pub and ballroom in a large barn at the crossroads, having bought the rights to the fair some time ago, and Jim has continued this tradition, closing his premises in the town and transferring the licence to the barn. Thousands attended this year’s fair, said to be the oldest traditional annual fair in the country.
Clare: Special pass to Cliffs of Moher for locals
The entire adult population of the county is to be offered a ‘local pass’ which will give them unlimited access to the Cliffs of Moher throughout next year for a fee of €12. The move comes after the introduction of a €6 fee for visitors which initially stipulated that those under twelve years of age would have free entry. This age limit has now been raised to sixteen and concessionary tickets will be available for students, senior citizens and disabled visitors. The local pass will entitle Clare people to have access to all the facilities at the Cliffs, including the Atlantic Edge Exhibition, and it is hoped that revenue from the scheme will compensate for the general fall in visitor numbers.
Clare: Kilrush has new lifeboat
The Kildrush Lifeboat Crew have taken delivery of a new vessel which will greatly increase the service they can offer in coastal rescue. The Atlantic 85, estimated to have a value of more than €250,000, was handed over to the crew one evening last week. It is ten per cent larger than the previous lifeboat stationed in Kilrush and includes a number of new tracking devices which will make it easier for the coastal rescue to locate vessels or persons in trouble. The crew has undergone intensive training over the past week and have now been granted approval to man the lifeboat.
Cork: Who is the phantom fairy house builder?
The person responsible for a series of ‘fairy houses’ in the west of the county has yet to be identified but his or her constructions are bringing much pleasure. The small houses, some built into the trees, have been found tucked away in woods that lie between Union Hall and Castletownshend. It is believed that not all have been found yet as there is a distance of three quarters of a mile between the first and last house. Each small house is constructed of wood and features frosted windows, stone paths leading up to the front door and, in some cases, piles of logs outside the door representing firewood.
Cork: Volunteers sought for upkeep of cemetery
Government cutbacks and the recruitment embargo are responsible for the overgrown condition of St Finbarr’s Cemetery on Glasheen Road in Cork city, according to council officials. Four local councillors have now decided to gather together a volunteer force to carry out the maintenance work, establishing a Friends of St Finbarr’s Cemetery association. Among the notable people whose graves are in the cemetery are Terence McSwiney and Tomás MacCurtain, former Taoiseach Jack Lynch, sculptor Seamus Murphy and antiquarian Richard Rolt Brash.
Derry: Tourist initiative from Limavady student
Ryan Lusby, a student at Limavady Grammar School, has come up with an interesting addition to the tourist attractions of Derry City. Over the last eighteen months the sixteen-year-old has compiled a collection of photographs of one hundred and one architectural details in the city which are to be the basis of a Walled City Treasure Hunt. With the support of the Foyle Civic Trust Ryan has put the photographs into a book. “If Stones Could Speak” and this will be used as the basis for the treasure hunt.
Derry: Derrywoman goes back to Middle Ages
One of those chosen to take part in a week-long return to life in mediaeval Ireland is Derrywoman Emma Downey, who lives most of the year in Italy. Emma was one of those chosen from one hundred applicants to take part in the experiment and last weekend the group was instructed in some of the skills they will need, including foraging for food. A former student at Thornhill College, Emma is looking forward to the challenge which, she says, appeals to her love of nature. The group will convene the weekend after next at Taafe’s Castle in Carlingford, having left their mobile phones and internet access behind them.
Derry: Odhrán ensures he keeps a hurley
Odhrán McKeever from Dungiven, who has gone through some ten hurleys this year, is determined that on his next outing his hurley will not break. For the eleven-year-old will be playing at half time during the All-Ireland hurling final on September 5 in Croke Park and he persuaded his father, All-Ireland footballer Kieran, to buy him three top-of-the-range hurleys. A pupil at St Canice’s school and a member of Kevin Lynch’s club, Odhrán will be accompanied to Dublin by his father, his mother Denise and his sisters Ciara and Orlaith.
Derry: Church angels come from China
The restoration of the angels on the Long Tower church in Derry has been facilitated by a Derryman who is now living in China. Paul Lynch from Tamnaherin had read in the Derry Journal of the restoration being carried out on the church, including the return of Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphel, and offered his help. He knew that he could source them much more cheaply in China, where he now has his own company, and contacted Father Roland Colhoun. The statues, made from fibreglass reinforced concrete, will last for a hundred years, and Paul has been back to Derry to view the angels restored to their place on the roof of the church.
Donegal: John cleans up in Moville
John Putt, a retired nurse manager who lives in Moville with his wife Mary, has taken upon himself the task of ensuring that his adopted home is kept clean and tidy. Every morning the seventy-two-year-old rises early and goes through the town picking up litter. He is not paid for this work but the council workers who empty the bins twice a week help him out with gloves and bags to do the job. John has been doing this for a number of years now and once upon a time could count on picking up between ten and twenty euro in coins. Now that the Celtic Tiger has gone, however, pickings are decidedly slimmer and on one day last week he found just one cent.
Donegal: Plans to promote An Ghrianán
A meeting of the county council next month will consider a proposal to develop Grianán of Aileach which has been described by Councillor John Ryan as “the jewel in the crown” of historic Inishowen. The stone fort, which was restored in the nineteenth century, is believed to date from the late Bronze Age or the Iron Age. Up to ten thousand visitors come to the hill-top fort each year and Councillor Ryan would like to see, at the very least, a cafe and other facilities, though his ultimate aim is to see an interpretative centre located at the fort.
Donegal: Fishing abandoned for the day in Burtonport
When John Rafferty and his nephew Adam Rogers set out from Burtonport last weekend for an afternoon’s fishing they found that their focus changed when they noticed activity in the water off Arranmore Island. On approaching the area the two men found themselves in the middle of a pod of up to fifty bottlenose dolphins, which started to follow the boat. The fishing rods were set aside in favour of cameras and John and Adam spent some time recording the antics of their companions. The pod was also spotted by passengers on the ferry plying between Burtonport and Arranmore, among them Arranmore native Anne Connolly.
Down: Double win for Down goalkeeper
On top of Down’s triumphant win over Kerry in the All-Ireland semi-final, the team’s goalkeeper added to his score by taking part in and winning two poc fada competitions. The first was the M. Donnelly All-Ireland Poc Fada held at the Annaverna Mountain, where Graham Clarke was named King of the Mountain with a total of fifty-one pucks over the five-kilometre course. With that win under his belt Graham also took part in Poc ar an Chnoc held at Stormont as part of Féile an Phobail. At this event he also took first place and he was presented with his trophy by Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.
Down: Mourne Maiden is from North Carolina
The newly crowned Maiden of Mourne 2010 is Liz Schilling from Southern Pines in North Carolina. Liz was presented with a bouquet and a cheque for £1,000 at the final of the competition in the Balmoral Hotel on her first ever visit to Ireland. However it was appropriate that the Southern Pines entrant was the winner as the town is twinned with Newry. The contest was the highlight of the Maid of the Mournes Festival which opened with a parade led by the Newry and Mourne Special Olympics athletes. Grand marshals for the occasion were Billy McKinley, Paul McEvoy, Jean McGuigan and Mairead McAnulty.
Down: Warrenpoint cafe celebrates centenary
Local charities are to benefit from a special event being mounted by the Genoa Cafe in Warrenpoint, which this year celebrates the one hundredth anniversary of its opening. For a twelve-hour period all the takings will be donated to Southern Area Hospice Services, Newry and Mourne Gateway Club and the Alzheimer’s Society in Newry. The cafe was opened by Gemma O’Hare’s great-grandfather, Tomaso Magliocco, in Duke Street, from where it moved to Charlotte Street. It was eighty years ago that the cafe moved to its present premises on The Square, where it is run by Gemma and her husband Peter.
Dublin: Joe wins a trip to Paris
Joe Murray from Clondalkin found that using pedal power can bring you luck. It certainly did for him as he has won a trip to Paris and €2,000 in cash. The twenty-five-year-old, who works for Vodafone, became the one millionth person to use one of the bicycles in the Dublin-bikes scheme when he used one to cycle to the cinema after leaving work one evening. It was fitting that Joe should be the winner of the JC Decaux-sponsored competition, since he uses the bikes between five and ten times each week. His prize was presented to him by Lord Mayor of Dublin Gerry Breen.
Fermanagh: Straw men mark Ederney townlands
Anyone driving around Ederney these days would have their fill of scarecrows which have been created in an attempt to preserve the names of the area’s townlands. The scarecrow-building is also a competition organised in conjunction with the Ederney Townlands Festival and a winner is to be announced this weekend. Among those on display are the Letterboy Love Birds, Claude from Blackbog, Barney from Advarney and Roy from Cloy. The town runs from Glendarragh rocks to Muckross Bay and contains more than ninety separate townlands.
Fermanagh: Enniskillen schools join together in the US
Students from St Michael’s, St Joseph’s and the Erne Integrated College in Enniskillen have been joined by five fifteen-year-olds from Portora Royal as representatives of the county in a GAA event in New York. The idea of the cross-community Gaelic Games event, known as the Cuchulainn initiative, is to include in the games those who would not usually have the opportunity to take part. The twenty teenagers had earlier won the Cuchulainn Cup after victory over the Ulster counties, thus qualifying for the Continental Youth Championships on Long Island. Matches will now be organised for them back at home so that those who wish can continue to take part in Gaelic Games.
Fermanagh: Bried marks 50 years as a judge
The Fermanagh Farming Society this year celebrated its one hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary, and one person associated with the County Show, held each year in Enniskillen, marked up fifty years as a judge. Bried Britton from Pettigo was first invited to judge the arts and crafts section of the show in 1961 and has only missed one year since, when her youngest daughter was born. A retired home economics teacher, Bried began judging alongside Mrs Rowe from Lack and took over when Mrs Rowe retired. Bried married Pettigo publican John Britton and her son Pat and daughter Trina now run the bar.
Galway: Sarah celebrate’s 105th birthday
Sarah Canavan recently clebrated her 105th birthday iwith a party attended by family, friends and neighbours at Bolisheen, Corrandulla where she lives with her son Rob and his wife Mary. Sarah is believed to be one of the oldest people in Galway and Ireland and the milestone was recognized by the customary congratulatory letter and check from the Irish government - her fifth one!
Galway: Town councillor presents papers to Dublin City Library
Town Councillor in Loughrea Norman Morgan, who is also an archivist and printer, has presented to Dublin City Library a collection of editions of the former Dublin Evening Mail. The one hundred and fifty-seven issues, dating from 1838 to 1855, were purchased by Mr Morgan some years ago at an auction and are part of his private collection. He has recently donated thirteen issues of the Galway Independent dating from the nineteenth century to NUI, Galway and also has in his possession a number of rare books including works by Edward Martyn and Lady Gregory.
Kerry: Kirby brothers restore county pride
The knock to pride occasioned by the fate of Kerry’s footballers last weekend was restored to a certain extent when a cow owned by two brothers from Duagh was named as the winner of the Bailey’s Irish Cow Championship at the Virginia Show in Co. Cavan. Tim and John Kirby’s Holstein Friesian cow Smearlaview Storm Vixan was competing against twenty-one other animals to take the prize.
Kilkenny: Thomastown folly to be restored
Funding from the Department of Heritage, the local authority and the Belfast-based Follies Trust is to facilitate the restoration of the Stroan Fountain on the former Kilfane Demesne near Thomastown. The folly was built in the mid-eighteenth century by public subscription as a water source which was in use by the general public up to the 1960s.\ The limestone structure comprises a dome supporting an obelisk, the thinking behind the design remaining unclear.
Kilkenny: Duke’s visit fuels speculation
A visit to Kilkenny by the Duke of Abercorn who was accompanied by British Ambassador Julian King, has fuelled speculation that the city might be on the prospective itinerary of a visit by Queen Elizabeth. The duke was, until last year, lord steward of the queen’s household which put him in a prominent position in the arrangement of ceremonial events. While in Kilkenny he and the ambassador were guests of Paul Smithwick and they had lunch at Kilkenny Castle, where they looked at photographs of the last royal visit more than one hundred years ago. They also visited a number of notable sites including Rothe House.
Kilkenny: Tullaroan man sets new world record
James Fennelly from Tullaroan set a new world record recently when he was named All-Ireland Strongest man as well as Republic of Ireland’s Strongest Man for last year and this year. James took part in the competition in the Isle of Man and had to pull a twenty-ton truck as one of the events and he was the only one of the ten competitors to complete the pull. A qualified personal trainer and fitness instructor, he is now working towards the UK Strongest Man competition which takes place later this month in Belfast. It is due to be shown on RTE in September.
Leitrim: Writer to be honoured in Drumsna
The first annual International Summer School honouring nineteenth-century writer Anthony Trollope is to take place at the end of this month in Drumsna. Trollope stayed in Drumsna in the 1840s and it was there that he gained the inspiration for his first book, “The Macdermots of Ballycloran”. Colleen Guckian will be leading a cast of characters who will dress in costume and re-enact scenes from the book in their original settings. The School, which is attracting Trollope fans from America and Britain, will also feature a walk along the newly developed Trollope Trail, while the bridge is to be renamed the Anthony Trollope Bridge.
Leitrim: Historic document goes on display
An illuminated address dating from the first decade of the last century has been put on display in Ballinamore Library. The historic document was presented by the people of the town to their parish priest, Father Patrick Finegan, at the time that he was to be consecrated as Bishop of Kilmore in 1910. For two years prior to his consecration Father Finegan had been parish priest of Oughteragh/Ballinamore. The framed address, which praised the priest for his ‘piety, scholarship and patriotism’ was launched in the library to mark the one hundredth anniversary of its presentation to Father Finegan.
Leitrim: Mohill to host Culchie Festival
Mohill will have the honour of hosting the Original Culchie Festival in the year in which it celebrates its coming of age. In October the festival will celebrate twenty-one years and candidates for the title of Original Culchie will have to undergo a number of gruelling tests including footing turf, tractor racing and potato picking. An easier competition will be that of Super Gran, when people will be asked to nominate their Leitrim grannies for the title. At the same time as the Culchie Festival Mohill will also be hosting the Annual Horse Fair.
Limerick: McManus family keep construction workers busy
At least some construction workers are finding the times not so difficult, thanks to the building plans of members of the McManus family. Work on JP McManus’ mansion at Martinstown Stud has just been completed and he and his wife Noreen have recently moved in. However a planning application has been lodged by their daughter Sue Ann and her husband, Cian Foley, for major work to be carried out on the house they own at Islanmore. Originally a hunting and fishing lodge built for a son of the Earl of Dunraven at the end of the eighteenth century, the house will have a guest wing added and apartments will be built for staff.
Longford: Third time lucky for Colmcille?
The people of Colmcille are hoping that next weekend will be bright and sunny, allowing the annual Ploughing Festival and Heritage Day to go ahead. For the past two years it has had to be cancelled due to bad weather. This year, in its tenth, the event is to take place on Paddy Farrell’s land at Aughakine, Aughnacliffe, beginning with an opening parade from Oliver Welsh’s. On the previous day a tractor run has been organised by Michael Shaughnessy in aid of Aughnacliffe National School and the Ploughing Festival. Following the run a barbeque is to be held in Murtagh’s.
Longford: Longford priest for pilgrimage walk
Father Frank Murray, originally from Carrickboy, is setting out on a sponsored walk on the oldest pilgrimage route in the world. The priest who served in the Longford parish for thirteen years, is to set out next week to begin a walk of a section of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Northern Spain. Now based in Ferbane, Co. Offaly, Father Murray is raising funds for the Caring and Sharing Association which provides respite houses and also organises an annual pilgrimage to Lourdes. He will place the names of all those who donate to the association into his backpack and has pledged to pray for them every day at Mass.
Louth: Ryan steps onto Aviva turf
Ryan Rooney from Rockfield, Ardee was the first person from Louth to play on the turf of the new Aviva stadium in Dublin when he was selected to demonstrate his footballing skills during half time at the match between Manchester United and an Airtricity XI. Ryan travelled to Dublin with his parents Siobhan and Nicky and stayed in a hotel the night before the match before being chauffeur-driven to a reception where they met officials and players. The Ardee Celtic player represented Drogheda Boys in a penalty shoot-out competition and came out on top.
Louth: Record catch saved from frying pan
A mammoth monkfish caught by David Sharkey of Clogherhead aboard his trawler Rose of Sharon is at present in the deep freeze while it is awaiting treatment before being displayed in the Natural History Museum. The nine stone female monkfish measures six feet in length, about twice the length of the average monkfish. It was purchased by Seán Doran of Dublin and the Natural History Museum has agreed to find a specialist taxidermist to preserve the fish for permanent display. The fish was caught off the coast of Cork on the Labadie Bank .
Mayo: Monsignor’s dream turned into musical
A musical is to be presented at the Theatre Royal in Castlebar in November that will celebrate the achievement of Monsignor James Horan in bringing the international airport to Knock. The musical, “On a Wing and a Prayer”, is to be directed by Lavinia Gilmartin and is based on the book of the same name by Terry Reilly, who has adapted it for the stage. The musical is the forerunner of a number of events that will take place next year to mark the centenary of Monsignor Horan’s birth in 1911, and all proceeds from the performances will be donated to Mayo/Roscommon Hospice Foundation’s palliative care service.
Mayo: Danny will feature on turf-cutting poster
Danny Jennings from Rockfield, Barnacarroll, is one of three young people who will appear on a poster promoting the art of turf cutting in the bogs of Ireland. The Knock National School pupil, along with Ryan Garry and Ian Cully, retained the under-sixteen breast slean category in the All-Ireland Turf Cutting championships in Ticknevin this year, and it is a photograph from that event which will feature on the poster. Danny’s father Noel has in the past also held a national title from the same competition. The poster campaign has arisen from opposition to EU and Irish Government directives that will see the end of turf cutting in some bogs.
Mayo: Another record for the book
Yet another Irish undertaking is to feature in the Guinness Book of Records if all goes to plan, after a total of one thousand and fifteen people assembled on Keel Beach on Achill Island, all armed with tin whistles. The gathering was part of the centenary celebrations of Scoil Acla Summer School and all the whistlers, seven hundred locals and three hundred visitors, had learnt to play Fáinne Gael an Lae (The Dawning of the Day). According to Roisín Lavelle of Comhlacht Forbartha Áitiúil Acla Teo, it was decided to do something different and they wanted to create a record that would stand the test of time.
Meath: Kells shop closes its doors
Known to everyone in Kells as Larrissey’s, Crosby’s shop on Farrell Street in Kells closed its doors last week. The newsagents on Farrell Street has been run for the past thirty years by Dorothy Donegan who took it over after her aunt Frances Tormey’s death in the 1960s. Ms Donegan in turn rented the premises to Adi Crosby, which is the name above the door, and it was then rented to Paddy Larrissey. After his death Dorothy Donegan took over the running of the premises. The decision to close the shop came when Mary Fitzpatrick, who worked there for many years, decided to retire.
Monaghan: Fifty-year-old film comes to light
A film made more than fifty years ago is to have a showing at the Irish Film Institute this. The one-hour science fiction film, “Them and the Thing”, made by Desmond Leslie at Castle Leslie in the mid-fifties, was discovered by the IFI. He enlisted the services of people from Glaslough to take part in the film, and was also helped by his son Mark. One unexpected appearance is that of astronomer Sir Patrick Moore who at that time had not begun appearing in his television programme, “The Sky at Night”. Desmond Leslie was a UFOlogist and wrote a number of books on the subject.
Offaly: Birr man develops new business
When Gerry Davis from Birr became unemployed he set about starting up a new business with the support of the Business Development Programme run by Offaly Local Development Company in Tullamore. An experienced walker over the last twenty-seven years, Gerry is introducing guided walks of the Slieve Bloom mountains which will include packed lunches and nightly entertainment. He recently invited members of the Business Development Group to join him on a guided walk of the fourteen-kilometre Silver River loop at Cadamstown, giving information on the area as they progressed.
Roscommon: St Nathy’s celebrating bicentenary
St Nathy’s College in Ballaghaderreen was last week celebrating the bicentenary of its foundation, which has also been marked by the publication of a commemorative book compiled and edited by a teacher at the school, Father Leo Henry. Among the articles included is one by the late Dermot Earley, former chief of staff of the Defence Forces and a former student at the college. Cardinal Seán Brady celebrated a Mass in St Nathy’s to mark the bicentenary, while GAA president Christy Cooney attended a handball exhibition.
Roscommon: Elphin Show launched in Central Bar
The Central Bar in Elphin was the venue for the launch last week of this year’s Elphin Show, the thirty-third time the event will be held. The show will take place at Elphin Mart Premises on the first Saturday in September and will have a total prize fund of €17,000. There will also be a prize fund of €1,500 for the 2010 Pedigree All Ireland Charolais Baby Calf championship, sponsored by Tommy Gormley Contracting and the Percy French Hotel in Strokestown. The official opening of the show will be performed by Deputy Frank Feighan and a highlight will be the selection of the show queen at the Show Dance in An Bothar Rua.
Sligo: Tours arranged for Sligo Gaol
The tours of Sligo Gaol which were inaugurated during Heritage Week have proved so popular that the local authority is planning to have another series in the autumn, according to Heritage Officer Siobhán Ryan. A limited number of places were on offer for the tour, which was enhanced by a dramatic piece performed in the gaol by members of the Sligo Youth Theatre. Among the former inmates of the gaol whose stories were included in the guided tour were Michael Collins in 1918 and Matthew Phibbs, the ‘Ballymote Slasher’, who was the last man to be publicly hanged there, in 1861.
Sligo: Lissadell opens to public once again
Although a decision is not expected from the High Court until the autumn on the dispute between the owners of Lissadell and the county council, Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy decided to reopen their home to the public. The decision followed work being carried out in preparation for the recent concerts by Leonard Cohen and Westlife, and hundreds of visitors arrived at the weekend to view the new Yeats family gallery. This included the last photograph of the poet, taken by his wife a week before he died. A Markievicz gallery and a shell exhibition also attracted a good deal of attention.
Sligo: Five medals for Sligo woman in Hollywood
Aoibhinn Finnegan from Woodville near Sligo town, one of fifty members of the Irish team which took part in the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood, came home with a total of five medals. Aoibhinn garnered three gold, a silver and a bronze and was awarded a $10,000 scholarship to the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Art. She was also awarded a $500 summer scholarship to the New York Conservatory which she is at present attending. She is the daughter of Roe Finnegan, well known for his involvement in Sligo Feis Ceoil, while her mother Mary runs the Finnegan School of Speech and Drama.
Tipperary: Sue and Barry make history
A Portroe couple, both of whom used to work in one of the bars in Thomond Park, made history last weekend by being the first couple to be married in the rugby stadium. Sue Collins and Barry Hogan are both Munster fans and Barry wore a red tie and a red flower in his buttonhole for the occasion. The civil ceremony took place overlooking the ground and the bridal couple and their guests then enjoyed a reception in the hospitality suite located in the east stand.
Tipperary: Choreographed water dance for Terryglass
A unique event will take place in the county later this month when, for the first time in Ireland, a choreographed water dance is due to be performed on Lough Derg as part of the Twelfth Terryglass Arts Festival. The dance will feature water skiers and wake boarders from all over Ireland, curated by Grant McKay from Rex Levitates Dance Company. The festival, which was launched last week, also stars Rebecca Storm who will give a performance in the church, and the French acoustic singing group Txutxukan, while a fireworks display will take place on the quay.
Tipperary: Priestly reunion in Thurles
More than eighty priests gathered last weekend in St Patrick’s College in Thurles for a reunion. The priests, all missionaries and some in their seventies and eighties, all attended St Patrick’s when it was a seminary; it is now a College of Education. A special thanksgiving Mass was celebrated in Thurles Cathedral by Archbishop Dermot Clifford after which the priests walked through the college and looked at old photographs of their ordination groups. Among those who returned were Father Michael O’Hanlon who was sent to Billings, Montana, and Father Martin Bugler who left Ireland for New Zealand fifty-two years ago.
Tipperary: Sheen to film in Borrisokane
Martin Sheen, whose mother Mary Ann Phelan came from Borrisokane, is coming to the town in October to take part in a film chronicling the introduction of Borrisokane’s first cinema. The film is based on the book “Stella Days” by Michael Doorley and Sheen’s role as parish priest is based on Canon Cahill, who experiences opposition from the Church hierarchy and politicians when he initiated the plan to open the cinema, which opened in 1957. “Stella Days”, which received funding from the Irish Film Board, will also star Stephen Rea and Romola Garai.
Tyrone: Cycling keeps you young, says Hugh
According to Hugh McClean of Castle Street in Omagh, his use of a bicycle as a means of transport throughout his life contributed to the fact that he has just celebrated his one hundredth birthday; Hugh has never held a driving licence. Born in Ballygawley, where his father was stationmaster, Hugh and his family later moved to Sixmilecross and he took up farming after leaving school. He moved to Omagh after the death of his wife Teresa more than forty years ago. Helping him to celebrate his birthday in Omagh were his six children and some of his forty grandchildren and forty-seven great-grandchildren.
Tyrone: Johnny wins angling competition
Johnny McElwee, who owns Johnny’s Barbers on Lower Main Street in Strabane, took the heaviest fish at the recent World Cup Trout Fly Angling Championships in County Mayo. The contest ran over five days and Johnny caught his 6lb 2oz wild brown trout with the help of his friends Frankie Elliott and John Murray, for the rod he used had been given to him by Mr Elliott and it was Mr Murray who tied the fly with caught the fish. Johnny, from Bearney, was presented with a trophy, an Anglers Fancy boat and a cheque for €100.
Westmeath: Athlone entrepreneur sets up new site
Noel Lackey from Abbey Road in Athlone is hoping that his latest venture will become as familiar to Irish people as is Facebook. Noel has launched www.craicbook.com, a name with a distinctly Irish flavour, and to date has amassed more than five hundred members from North America to Europe. The idea came to him when he was travelling recently in Thailand and saw how important social networking sites were to expatriates. The twenty-five-year-old, the son of Noel and Ann Lackey, has ensured that his site has a particular Irish slant and hopes it will appeal to Irish people all over the world.
Wexford: Pikeman will have his pike back
The famous Pikeman statue which stands in The Bullring in Wexford town will soon have his pike restored, after the top of it was removed from the bronze statue last week. Pikeman Sean Farrell was informed on a subsequent evening that the missing part of the pike had been dropped into a pub on South Main Street and he was asked to pick it up. He duly did, passing it on to Councillor Anthony Kelly who gave it to the Borough Foreman. Now Seán is to contact the National Pikeman Association with a view to organising a parade in celebration of its return when the pike is replaced.
Wexford: First eco-friendly graveyard for Killane
Planning permission has been granted to Colin McAteer of the Green Grave Company for the establishment of the country’s first eco-friendly graveyard where marble headstones and hardwood coffins will be banned. The plot on a seven and a half acre site at Woodbrook House close to Killane has room for five thousand graves and is reached by a tree-lined avenue. Graves will be marked by small grave markers made from local stone or wood, and coffins will have to be made from environmentally friendly material. To date some three hundred enquiries have been received by the company, some from as far away as Canada.
Wicklow: Fate of Greystones hotel causing concern
Concerns have been expressed by local people and politicians about the fate of one of Greystones’ most iconic buildings, the La Touche Hotel. There had been plans to demolish the hotel and replace it with apartments and a boutique hotel, though the developers did agree to retain the facade of the nineteenth century building. Further concern has now been expressed following a decision by the county council to de-list the building, a decision that has prompted Councillor Simon Harris to table an amendment to the County Development Plan to ensure that the facade remains a protected structure.
Wicklow: Gardaí break Mounties’ record
In Bray at the weekend a group of off-duty gardaí managed to break a record set by the Canadian Mounted Police by handcuffing together a total of six hundred and fifty-one people. The previous record stood at five hundred and sixty-two. The crowds gathered on the promenade in Bray where they were linked by imitation cufflinks and the official count was carried out by Garda John Fitzpatrick, the organiser of the event. He was assisted by the cathaoirleach of Bray Town Council, David Grant.
Wicklow: DVD launched to promote county
The Druid’s Glen Resort was the setting last week for the launch of a DVD which will promote the county as a tourism destination. The DVD is presented by broadcaster Siobhan O’Connor and gives an overview of what the county can offer the tourist. “A Journey Through Wicklow” was officially launched by broadcaster, musician and film maker Éamon de Buitlear, who praised the quality of the production. Speaking at the launch chairman of Wicklow County Tourism Tom Fortune said that the DVD, which can be seen on YouTube, would be a valuable tool in promoting the county both at home and abroad.
As always, we'd like to thank the Irish Emigrant for providing these snippets from all over. They have a lot more news to read on line and if you're interested, here's the URL:
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Even hard -to-please lads love this unique piece of jewelry! See this and many other one of a kind gifts when you explore the Celtic Attic:
Until next time, many thanks for reading and we hope you enjoyed this edition of County News.
Slan agus beannacht,
Bridget & Russ