We have enjoyed sending out this monthly compilation of bits and bobs from all over the country, but this will be the last e-mail edition. This is due mostly because Pauleen Ferrie of the Irish Emigrant is retiring and she was our primary source. We wish Pauline all the best and thank her so very much for enabling us to share so many interesting snippets of Irish news with our readers. We know many of you will be sad to see the end of “News from Around the 32 Counties”, but we are going to make an attempt to continue a news round up ourselves. It won’t be as comprehensive as Pauline’s, but we are going to give it our best effort. Thus, starting next Monday, the regional round up on our regulaar Monday news headlines will link to a page on our website with news and links from the county newspapers.
We know many of you enjoyed the amail version of county news - we could not have shared it with if you if not for hard work. If you would like to send her a retirement congratulatory note, here is her email address:
Meanwhile, on with the last e-mail edition of county news.
Week of September 2
Antrim: New boardwalk on mountain summit
A new boardwalk has been constructed connecting the summits of Divis and Black Mountains in Belfast to bring an end to the muddy terrain which deterred visitors to the site. The three hundred metre boardwalk is the result of a collaboration between the National Trust and the Probation Service and all the work was executed by offenders carrying out their community service. One of those taking part in the project, overseen by National Trust ranger Dermot McCann, was Sean McNulty from Andersonstown, who said his life had been turned around by the project.
Armagh: Three gold stars for Portadown bakers
The Yellow Door deli in Portadown has been awarded three gold stars for its breads by the Guild of Fine Food at this year’s Great Taste Awards. The deli was in competition with 1,600 companies in Britain and Northern Ireland, with a total of 7,000 products. Owned by Simon Dougan, the company produces some 40,000 loaves of bread, 16,000 bread rolls and 21,000 scones each month. In addition to a bakery, The Yellow Door has three deli outlets in Portadown, Belfast and Lisburn. They also were recently awarded the title of Best Caterer at the Institute of Hospitality’s Janus Awards.
Carlow: €1,000 bill for starting school
When Mary Maher went shopping in Carlow last week she had to spend almost €1,000 kitting out her children for school. But these are no ordinary children, for Mary is the mother of quads Lillie, Robbie, Johnny and James and they started at Ballon National School this week. Footwear for the four cost more than €200 and, while most items of clothing could be purchased in Dunnes Stores, the school tracksuits had to be bought at Shaw’s department store in Carlow. The school principal has said, however, that a discount will be allowed on the children’s book bill.
Cavan: Past pupil becomes Cavan principal
The new principal of Loreto College in Cavan is a past pupil of the school, Angela McGarvey from Redhills. Living in Kells with her husband John Daley, who teaches in Eureka secondary school, she previously taught in Kells before spending some time in Dublin and then becoming principal of Loreto College in Mullingar. Ms McGarvey said loved her time as a pupil in the school and was delighted to be back as principal. She has taken over the role from Margaret Donagh who is retiring.
Clare: Tom retires after 80 years as barman
Tom Frawley has reluctantly pulled his last pint in the family owned bar in Lahinch, PJ Frawley’s. The ninety-one-year-old took over the running of the business in 1961 after his mother died, though he started working in the bar when he was nine years of age. The interior has hardly changed since it first opened in 1873 when it was also a grocery, and Tom has used a pencil and notepad to work out his customer’s bills; he has never had either a till or a calculator. The bachelor, who has had to retire due to ill health, is now living in a local nursing home.
Cork: Out of one wind into two others
Conor Wall from Ladysbridge arrived home from Cleveland just before Hurricane Irene grounded all flights, and then witnessed not one but two twisters much closer to home. Conor was visiting his wife’s grandmother in Ballycotton when he saw the first twister lifting straw as it travelled across a nearby field. While Conor was recording the twister on his mobile phone his son spotted another one at the back of the house and alerted his father. It appears that the two ‘dust devils’ were visible three miles away at the Garryvoe Hotel.
Derry: No Guildhall for City of Culture
There is disappointment that the Guildhall in Derry, currently undergoing restoration, will not be ready for the opening of the City of Culture celebrations in 2013. While progress has been made on the exterior of the building, the interior is also due an overhaul and it is hoped to have the project completed during 2013. It can then serve as a venue for the telling of the story of the Plantation on the four hundredth anniversary of the building of the City Walls. The Guildhall is due to close to the public at the end of the year and services are to be relocated.
Donegal: Canadian billionaire funds Spitfire restoration
Galen Weston, the Canadian billionaire, has donated a considerable sum towards the restoration of the RAF Spitfire recently recovered from Glenshinney bog at Moneydarragh on the Inishowen peninsula. The reason behind Mr Weston’s generosity is the fact that the crashed aircraft was the first one commissioned following a donation of £100,000 by his father, Garfield Weston, during the Battle of Britain. The organiser of the dig, Jonny McNee, with his wife and two children, are to meet Mr Weston in Toronto next month on an all expenses paid trip.
Down: Match to help former footballer
A match is to take place in Dunkalk in October to raise funds for the ongoing medical treatment of a Newry teenager, Ryan Cinnamond. The sixteen-year-old had to have his legs amputated last year after suffering an aneurysm and he is now walking on prosthetic legs. However the former Carlingford Celtic Youths player will need further medical treatment and the charity match has been arranged between Newry City and Dundalk at Oriel Park, not only to raise funds but also to honour his love of football.
Dublin: Model railway finds a new home
The Fry Model Railway, which has been in storage since it lost its home in Malahide Castle, is to have a new home thanks to an anonymous donation. A 93-year-old retired farmer has given €1.5m for the purchase and restoration of the thatched Casino House in Malahide in order that it can house the model railway. There is also a plan to provide direct access to the Dart station nearby. The farmer is also reported to have donated more than €500,000 to Malahide GAA and €4m to the local Catholic church.
Fermanagh: Signal cabin reclaimed for railway
A signal box which was once used on the Great Northern Railway line in Kilskeery, Co. Tyrone is to become part of a working railway again. The signal box had been salvaged by Ken and Ernie Fisher who were using it as a garden shed at their home in Ballinamallard. While local rail enthusiasts had always been aware of the location of the rare signal box, no suitable location could be found for its preservation. Now, however, it has been passed on to the Downpatrick and County Down Railway and it will once again form part of a railway system.
Galway: William receives a royal reply
William Concannon, who is a regular visitor at St Martin’s Day Centre in Loughrea, so enjoyed the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland that he wrote a letter of appreciation. The ninety-year-old was not, however, expecting a reply but was delighted when one arrived, from a lady-in-waiting at Balmoral, on behalf of the Queen. Such was his pride in the letter that he took it to the day centre and read it to all his fellow-pensioners, as he said he was writing on behalf of all the clients of the day centre.
Kerry: Turf-cutters filmed for documentary
Aideen O’Sullivan from Dingle and Dubliner Ross Whitaker have been filming a group of turf-cutters on Killarda bog between Listowel and Ballyduff for a new documentary. The pair, whose last film Bye Bye Now won a number of international awards, spent five days filming a group of twelve men, most of them in their sixties and seventies. They chose the subject as they believe turf-cutting by hand is a dying skill and they wanted to capture what they believe is the last generation to do such work. The film, Home Turf, is to be shown at the Cork International Film Festival in November.
Kildare: Allenwood priest keeps his cool
Instead of his usual homily at last Sunday’s Mass in Allenwood, Father Eddie Moore told his congregation of an occurrence at the parochial house that morning. Two men turned up at the house in Allen and demanded that he open the safe, but they fled when he pressed a panic button. Despite being very shaken Father Moore celebrated Mass, though parishioners noticed that he faltered on a few occasions. At the end of Mass the congregation crowded into the sacristy to sympathise with him on his ordeal.
Kilkenny: Mexican ambassador suggests twinning arrangement
On a recent visit to Kilkenny city Mexican Ambassador Carlos Garcia de Alba pointed out the many similarities between Ireland and Mexico and suggested that Kilkenny should be twinned with a similar city in his country. The Ambassador was making a courtesy visit to City Hall where he was greeted by Mayor David Fitzgerald, who showed him the city charter and mace and gave a brief demonstration of hurling. He was also presented with two books on the city’s heritage, and a Kilkenny tie.
Laois: Claire visits her birthplace
Claire King, who now lives in Dublin, was in Mountmellick last week to visit the place of her birth, the new town library. Claire is the daughter of Joe and Daisy Scully and Joe was caretaker at the courthouse at the time of her birth in 1926. The family lived in the house to the rear of the courthouse, which has now been converted into the new library and arthouse. Claire’s parents, coming from different religious backgrounds with Daisy a member of the Graham family from Camross, were ostracised by their families after eloping to Dublin to be married.
Leitrim: Centenarian launches centenary book
The Canon Donohoe Hall Centenary book was launched last week at a special function by Eileen Kelly, at one hundred and three years of age Mohill’s most senior citizen. The launch of the book was accompanied by an exhibition of oil paintings, the work of a local carers’ support book, and examples of the work of the Mohill Photography Club. Eileen’s late husband, JJ Kelly, was secretary of the hall committee and was significantly involved with the drama group. At the launch her granddaughter, Edel Palmer, spoke on her behalf.
Limerick: Corbally youth becomes YouTube hit
Seventeen-year-old Josh Stundon from Corbally has become a hit on YouTube for his skateboarding skills in a clip entitled ‘The Blind Skateboarder’. Josh has been blind since the age of four months but that hasn’t impaired his sense of adventure and at the age of ten he learnt to ride his father’s motorbike, with his father, Donal, sitting behind him. Later on Donal taught him to drive in a deserted car park near the family’s holiday home in Florida, where he has also become an acknowledged expert on sensing when a hurricane is due.
Longford: School uniforms bring controversy
While Moyne Community School introduced hoodies with crests as part of their school uniform last year, the introduction this year by Scoil Mhuire of crested hoodies has been criticised by the local branch of the St Vincent de Paul Society. School principal Paul Costello has said the hoodie has been introduced on a voluntary basis but the cost of €40 puts pressure on parents, according to Cyril Hussey of the SVP. Moyne principal Des Cullen has introduced stage payments through selling their uniform items directly from the school.
Louth: Evanna puts her education on hold
Having completed her Leaving Certificate at the age of twenty, and gaining a place in Trinity College to study History of Art and French, Evanna Lynch has decided to put her education on hold. The ‘Harry Potter’ actress from Termonfeckin is hoping to break into the acting scene in America where she has a new manager, and she has already been looking at a number of scripts. So she has deferred her place in Trinity, believing it is something she can always come back to.
Mayo: Taoiseach opens salmon weir
Taoiseach Enda Kenny was in Ballina last week to perform the official opening of the refurbished salmon weir on the River Moy. The weir, which dates from the fourteenth century, was used to trap salmon until the practice was stopped thirteen years ago and it has since fallen into disrepair. Now, after a €1.6m refurbishment, the original piers have been reinforced and have had their height raised, while the old watchman’s hut on the Ridgepool Road has been refurbished to house computer and plant rooms.
Meath: Businessman blames new road for factory closure
After forty years of business on the outskirts of Navan on the Cannistown-Kilmessan road, Frank Clarke has closed Ardsallagh Furniture, and believes that one of the contributors to the closure was the work being carried out on the M3 motorway. According to Frank, the roadworks cut off access to his business, a difficulty he overcame by placing signs indicating that the business was continuing as usual. However each time he erected the signs he was fined by the county council.
Monaghan: This year’s bog swim launched
The third Irish Bog Snorkelling Championships were launched at Alice’s Loft & Cottages at Doohamlet, Castleblayney last week. Organised by Declan Connolly and Ignatius McKinney, the championships take place next Saturday when participants will propel themselves along a sixty-metre channel of bog water using flippers only. Senior male and female, junior male and female, and fastest relay team titles will be on offer and all funds raised from the event will be donated to the Lorgan Ward and Day Care Unit at St Mary’s Hospital in Castleblayney.
Offaly: Offaly garda turns midwife
Garda Nicola Gleeson was in her patrol car when it was flagged down in the early hours of the morning in Daingean, and thought she would be escorting a woman in labour to hospital. However things had progressed beyond that point and she found herself delivering the baby girl of Niamh Longworth in the hallway of her home. Garda Gleeson was helped by instructions over the telephone from the ambulance crew and Mia was delivered safely, weighing 7lb 9oz. Niamh’s husband Damien was on hand, having been alerted to the emergency by his mother-in-law, Kathleen Coughlan.
Roscommon: Gorthaganny honours footballer
The village of Gorthaganny last week honoured footballer and Defence Forces chief of staff Dermot Earley, who died fourteen months ago. A life-size bronze statue was erected on a plinth beside the national school, close to the home of his mother, Kitty. The monument, sculpted by Clare man Seamus Connolly, was unveiled by President Mary McAleese and among those in attendance were army and GAA personnel and broadcaster Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh. Three wreaths were laid at the monument, one by his widow Mary, another by his friend Martin Walshe and the third on behalf of Roscommon GAA by Michael Fahey.
Sligo: Sligo the focus for meteor hunters
After reports of a fireball blazing across the western skies two weeks ago, Astronomy Ireland is urging people who might have seen it to get in touch. It is believed that the meteor is most likely to have come to earth in County Sligo and many people are now hunting for the valuable rock. A meteor found in Ireland twelve years ago was sold for fifty times the price of gold at the time, and chairman of Astronomy Ireland David Moore is concerned that some who saw where the meteor fell might prefer not to reveal the location.
Tipperary: Accurate dating for Fethard church roof
The mediaeval roof of the Holy Trinity Church of Ireland in Fethard has been accurately dated at Queen’s University Belfast and has been found to be more than five hundred years old. Timbers from the roof were subjected to analysis of the tree rings and it was ascertained that the trees were felled in 1489, with a margin of nine years either way. The present church dates from the mid-nineteenth century but it incorporates part of the original thirteenth century building, and the roof timbers were found beneath the Baltic pine ceiling and above the barrel-vaulted nave.
Tyrone: Cousins to cycle from Gorticastle to Santiago
When Michael McKenna, the uncle of Andrew Marshall and Matthew Ward, died of a brain tumour three years after his wife Rosemary had died, the two cousins decided to raise money for the Marie Curie Nursing Service. Andrew raised £1,100 by bag-packing in Marks & Spenser in Omagh, where he works, and now the pair are to cycle two and a half thousand miles from the McKenna home near Gortin through Britain and a number of European countries before finishing on the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain.
Waterford: Sheaf Pitching championships for Waterford
As part of the Waterford Harvest Festival taking place on the quays on September 11, the Irish National Sheaf Pitching Championships are taking place. Current world record holder is Michael O’Brien from Carlow with a height of 62 feet; contestants have to use a pitchfork to toss the sheaf over a bar which is progressively raised until a winner is declared. The competitors will have progressed through provincial championships, but there is also a junior competition for anyone who would like to have a go at the demanding sport.
Westmeath: First lay principal for Athlone school
For the first time in its one hundred and twenty-seven year history Our Lady’s Bower Secondary School in Athlone has a lay principal. Sister Margaret O’Reilly, who served as principal for one year following the retirement of Sister Denise O’Brien, is the last member of the Sisters of La Sainte Union to hold the post, which has now been taken over by John Cleary. Formerly a teacher at St Brendan’s Community School in Birr, he lives in Aughrim, Ballinasloe with his wife Sinead and their two children.
Wexford: Ann is off to Thailand
Ann Skelly from Oylegate left for Thailand at the weekend after winning an international video competition to be a reporter for the luxury resort and spa operator Anantara at the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament. It was Ann’s mother Rosemary who suggested she make a video for the competition and the fourteen-year-old included the fibreglass elephant owned by Declan Power in Ferrycarrig. Ann, a student in Coláiste Bride in Enniscorthy, will be conducting interviews with VIP guests including some of the All Black rugby players. She will also go on elephant treks and learn the art of Thai cooking.
Wicklow: Award for Bray astronomer
Deirdre Kelleghan, an amateur astronomer living in Bray, is involved in a website that has won Science magazine’s Online Resources in Education prize. Deirdre’s part of the website is entitled ‘Deadly Moons’ and she brings the project round to schools to teach children about the universe through images of the moons of the solar system. She encourages the children to draw their own pictures after seeing images from satellites of the moons of Jupiter and Saturn. The Deadly Moons section of the website has been adapted so that it can be used in many countries.
Week of September 8
Antrim: Five titles for Lisburn band
The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band from Lisburn has won the five most senior titles in piping this season, with the Cowal, British, Scottish, European and World Championships under their belts. Also winning for the band was Samantha Gordon, who won the adult grade in the drum majors competition at the Cowal Championships in Scotland. The Lisburn-based band is known as the ‘Barcelona of pipe banding’, given their expertise and their multiple wins, and the grand slam of wins this season will enhance their reputation.
Armagh: Residents welcome new footbridge
Both residents and local representatives at Creggan near Crossmaglen have long been concerned about the safety of the main Newry Road for pedestrians and now they have welcomed the news that work is due to begin in the middle of this month on a footbridge across the Creggan River. The bridge span will join the existing road bridge and Hearty’s shop on Donaldson’s Road, with a footpath from the bus shelter leading to the bridge on one side and another footpath terminating at Hearty’s shop.
Carlow: House with Narnia connection is on market
A house in Leighlinbridge which has a connection with The Chronicles of Narnia series has been put on the market. The ten-bedroomed house, on a twenty-acre site just outside the village, was the home of film producer Douglas Gresham, a stepson of the Narnia author CS Lewis. He bought it as a development project several years ago but has not lived in it in recent years. The main house was built at the beginning of the nineteenth century and was then extended some thirty years later. It is now being sold for €950k.
Cavan: Major role for Cavan referee
The man chosen to referee the All-Ireland football final between Dublin and Kerry is Joe McQuillan of Kill Shamrocks, the third man from the county to officiate. Previously Fintan Tierney from Butlersbridge and Brian Crowe from Cavan Gaels have carried the responsibility. Joe refereed the quarter final between Dublin and Tyrone and, when he wasn’t called upon to referee a semi final he felt he was in with a chance of the final. His umpires on Sunday week will be clubmates Ciaran Brady, TP Gray and Tommy O’Reilly, and Jimmy Galligan from Killygarry.
Clare: Burren walk to include musical interlude
The annual Burren Ramble which takes place on Sunday will this year feature a musical interlude. Walkers who set off from Fanore Beach to walk to the Blackhead Lighthouse will be entertained by four solo singers from the Lismorahaun Choir. The singers are Katie O’Donoghue, Ailbhe Howard, Peter O’Donoghue and Katie Daly, and they will be accompanied by Roy Holmes. This year is the fifteenth year of the Burren Ramble and all proceeds from the day will go to the RNLI, and for those who would like to hear the singing but not walk, a car park is available beside the lighthouse.
Cork: Megan is home in Macroom
Four-year-old Megan Malone had the honour of ringing the bell at the Presbyterian Hospital in New York last week as she completed her final course of radiotherapy. Megan was diagnosed last year with a brain tumour and her parents, who live at Kilnamartyra, decided to take her to New York for the specialist Head Start treatment. The family has been in the US for the last nine months, in both New York and Boston, and Megan has now been declared free of tumours. She will, however, return to Boston each year as she is signed up to a clinical trial at the hospital.
Derry: Adrian to compete in Leeds
Adrian Canning from Dungiven, who has won two gold medals from the Northern Ireland Skillbuild competitions, is now on his way to Leeds College of Building for the SkillElectric finals. The eighteen-year-old has studied through the summer at the Greystone training centre in Limavady, helped by his lecturer Keith Wade. This is his second appearance at the finals, having also qualified last year, and this year he feels he is much better prepared. Adrian, who is employed by RMG Electrics, has just entered his third year at the North West Regional College.
Donegal: Bride helps out colleagues on wedding day
After their marriage at the church in Creeslough Noreen Toye and Denis Sheridan were en route to the reception in Ballybofey but stopped off at Noreen’s workplace in Letterkenny, the Swilly Group School of Motoring. There they were greeted by a champagne reception but Noreen also noted that her colleagues were extremely busy so she sat down in her wedding dress with a glass of champagne in her hand and began answering phone calls. She is now wondering if her boss, Noel Sweeney, will grant her an extra day’s holiday.
Down: Dromore man retains his world title
Colin Shirlow from Dromore took part once again this year in the oyster-eating competition which is part of the Hillsborough International Oyster Festival. Colin has already set a world record of eating two hundred and thirty three oysters in three minutes, and though he only managed one hundred and ninety eight this year he still came out on top. Following his success he enjoyed a pint of Guinness, despite feeling a bit queasy. The competition was judged by Sean Hall, chairman of the festival and a former champion himself.
Dublin: Balbriggan on TV screens early next year
Former Tory MP Michael Portillo is at present working on a television series about great railway journeys and last weekend he was in Balbriggan. Focusing on three Irish railway routes from the Victorian era, he was following the journey set out in Bradsaw’s Guide in the nineteenth century from Dublin to Belfast, and shooting took place at the railway station and the harbour. The Balbriggan Historical Society had passed on to Mr Portillo their Millennium Book although society chairman Tony McNamara said the programme’s researchers had already learnt a good deal about Balbriggan before they contacted him.
Fermanagh: Portora becomes co-ed
Portora Royal School has become the first grammar school in the county to become co-educational, with a number of girls having enrolled in the sixth form last week. One of the fourteen girls to have joined the school is Dineka Maguire from Roscor near Belleek. Dineka has just finished her GCSE examinations at St Mary’s College in Brollagh and will study for her A-levels at Portora, hoping to focus on biology, chemistry, maths and art. She has just won the ladies and junior sections of the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Wales and hopes to take up rowing at her new school.
Galway: Symposium to mark author’s life and work
A two-day symposium is to take place at Galway City Museum, the Druid Lane Theatre and in Roundstone to celebrate the life and work of author and cartographer Tim Robinson. Robinson settled first on the Aran Islands and then in Roundstone and has just published the third volume of his Connemara trilogy, ‘Connemara: A Little Gaelic Kingdom’. This follows ‘Stones of Aran: Pilgrimage’ and ‘Labyrinth’. Readings will take place at the theatre, and in Roundstone there will be a showing of Pat Collins’ film ‘Tim Robinson: Connemara’. An exhibition of his work is also due to open at the Hugh Lane gallery in Dublin.
Kerry: Trad enthusiasts will need energy for this festival
As part of the inaugural Dingle Tradfest taking place this coming weekend at least one hundred people are expected to make their way to the summit of Mount Brandon. They will be tracing the footsteps of St Brendan and taking part in the Boots and Flutes Session featuring both music and dancing. The festival will also feature a polka/slide composition competition in memory of the late box player Stephen Carroll from Killarney, and will celebrate the life of times of Tom Crean from Annascaul.
Kildare: Restored Collins vehicle unveiled
Following the ceremony to honour deceased members of the Defence Forces, held at the Curragh, the newly restored armoured car once used by Michael Collins was unveiled. The Rolls Royce was saved from the scrapheap by Paddy Lynch who was based at the workshop in the Curragh camp known as Tin Town. He had been a driver in the National Army and was responsible for driving Michael Collins in Dublin during the Civil War. The care of the vehicle was subsequently taken over by Paddy’s son Pat, and on his retirement the responsibility fell to his son Padraig.
Kilkenny: Medals saved from meltdown
Operators of a cash-for-gold business contacted Mealy’s auctioneers of Castlecomer recently to see if medals they had acquired had any value, as they intended to melt them down. The medals turned out to be hurling medals belonging to Jack Anthony from the first three Kilkenny All-Ireland victories in the first decade of the twentieth century. Among the collection is a medal inscribed ‘Ye faire Citie’ which was present to Jack Anthony by the citizens of Kilkenny to mark his achievements on the hurling field.
Laois: Mick becomes tourist attraction
A Portlaoise man has become the focus of tourists’ cameras due to his unusual form of transport on the Dublin Road in the town. The retired haulage driver from Collier’s View has acquired two pure-bred American Akita dogs named Pal and Fluff, and each day he hitches them to a makeshift carriage and heads off down to Portlaoise Prison and back. Mick, who trained sheepdogs for years on his farm in Luggacurren, converted a go-kart with the help of broom handles and also carries a Laois umbrella to complete the unusual spectacle.
Leitrim: Rowing club celebrates anniversary
Carrick-on-Shannon Rowing Club, the oldest in the country, has just celebrated its one hundred and seventy-fifth anniversary with a function at the Bush Hotel. The club was founded in the same hotel, according to Club Captain Nigel Murtagh, who spoke after the dinner. He revealed that the club is to build an additional boat house and will also, in conjunction with the county council and Lough Rynn, develop a venue which will have the capacity to host full status regattas in six lanes.
Limerick: Castletroy boy shines in Manchester
Ger Barry from Castletroy has just returned from Manchester where he was taking part in the Bobby Charlton Soccer and Sports Academy. The twelve-year-old, who plays for Fairview Rangers, achieved the highest points in each of the five drills at the camp and won the soccer skills competition; precious winners have included David Beckham and Stephen Ireland. According to his father Tony, Ger was up against two hundred and fifty children from all over the world and his win will see him return to Manchester in October for the World Skills Final.
Longford: Foley’s takes Pub of Year title
Foley’s Bar in Longford was named as the Longford Pub of the Year 2011, and also took the title of Best Outdoor/Garden area, for the second consecutive year. Meanwhile Mary Sharkey from Hughie Doyle’s Bar was named as Bar Person of the Year and Begley’s of Killoe took the Community Pub Award. The awards ceremony took place in the Longford Arms Hotel and also featured awards for The Bent Elbow in Drumlish, as Best Live Entertainment, with Casey’s Bar in Newtownforbes taking both the Olde Worlde Bar award and the award for the Best Pint of Guinness.
Louth: Charity football match includes veteran player
A charity football match organised by Aiden Kerr from Annaghminnon, Stonetown not only featured former Louth footballer Colin Kelly, but also one of the founders of the Annaghminnon club. Tom Kerr replaced Colin towards the end of the match and scored a point, not a bad achievement for an eighty-four year old. The club took on Killanny and were victorious, at the same time raising funds for the special care baby unit at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where Aiden and Lynn Kerr’s son Killian was cared for after being born with a collapsed lung.
Mayo: Locals protest at castle gates closure
Members of the Cong Community Council and Ashford Village Residents’ Group have begun a series of protests at the closure by Ashford Castle Hotel of gates giving access to an established right of way. Chairman of the residents’ group is Frank Murphy, whose father worked as a gardener at the castle for sixty-five years, and he made the point that even during the visit of US president Ronald Reagan access was not denied to the locals. They have been told that the gates will be opened if car drivers sound their horns, but there is no guarantee that the sound will carry to the castle.
Meath: Two Meath men make the hundred
Jimmy Sheridan from Moynalty and Tony Rooney from Ballivor both celebrated their one hundredth birthdays recently. Jimmy, who is remembered as being one of the first owners of a car in the 1950s when he won an Austin in a newspaper competition, was joined for the celebrations by his wife Joan, daughters Mary and Breda and son Donal, and six grandchildren. Tony Rooney, who now lives at Roselodge Nursing Home in Killucan, received a visit from the Jubilee Hurling Cup, brought by members of his own club, Kildalkey, for whom he played in the 1930s.
Monaghan: Famine Commemoration in Clones this weekend
President Mary McAleese will be in Clones this weekend to attend the National Famine Commemoration which is being held in the Border town. Also at the event will be ambassadors from thirty countries and an ecumenical service will be held on the Diamond. President McAleese will lay a wreath in memory of all famine victims in front of Clones Market House. A committee headed by Marcella Leonard and Peter McClave organised a series of events in the ten days leading up to the commemoration including lectures and films on the Famine.
Offaly: Birr farmer takes Macra title
Kevin Heavin from Birr was named Macra na Feirme’s FBD Young Farmer of the Year at the final of the competition in Co. Wexford last week. The thirty-four-year-old was competing against a total of four hundred entrants, with twenty-five having reached the final, and his prize included a travel bursary of €3,000 as well as a trophy designed by Erich Fichtner. Kevin is a member of Ferbane Macra and the Irish Farmers’ Association and has been involved in the running of his farm for the past ten years.
Roscommon: Boyle to feature in new film
Boyle is to be one of the locations for the shooting of a film based on the childhood of actor Chris O’Dowd of ‘Bridesmaids’ fame. O’Dowd was commissioned to write a six-part television series, ‘Moone Boy’, with Kilkenny man Nick Murphy and shooting of the film will take place between next month and January. Among locations to be used in Boyle for the comedy series will be a school, the town centre and a number of roads, and the series is expected to be shown on the Sky channel next spring.
Sligo: Ballymote to remember 9/11
Ballymote is to hold a commemoration to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 atrocities in the United States. The ceremony is to take place on Sunday September 11th at the monument to the 69th Brigade and Brigadier General Michael Corcoran in the town. It has been scheduled to take place at 1.30pm, approximating the time in the US at which the attacks took place. In attendance in Ballymote will be former NYPD Captain Paul McCormack, a native of Donegal, who was on duty at the World Trade Centre in New York on September 11.
Tipperary: Bansha schoolgirl sets climbing record
Sarah O’Neill from Bansha last week became the youngest girl to scale Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro. The eleven-year-old had read about Seán McSharry, who at ten years of age became the youngest person in Europe to reach the summit, and she decided to match his achievement. For the past five months she has been training on the mountains in Ireland with her mother, Sinead, and they joined a secondary school group on the ascent, which was led by Seán McSharry’s uncle, mountaineer Ian McKeever.
Tyrone: Cousins undertake triple Ironman
Keith Clarke from Dungannon and his cousin Bob Davison from Cookstown recently completed a triple Ironman challenge to raise funds for the Emergency Services in Magherafelt. The pair undertook to swim 7.2 miles, cycle 336 miles and run 78.6 miles, all without a break. Beginning on a Saturday morning by swimming 456 lengths of the pool at Cookstown Leisure Centre, Keith and Bob then completed the cycle in the Cookstown area, at which point Bob went a few hours ahead of his cousin. Their deadline was 8.00am on Sunday and both completed the final part, the run, before the deadline.
Waterford: It’s never too late to take up exercise
When Seamus Casey from Kilmacthomas found that jogging improved his mood, he decided to take up a more strenuous form of exercise and so embarked on his boxing career. Not only did he take up the sport, the fifty-seven-year-old, known as ‘Little Bang’ Casey, went the distance and won a fight in the Rainbow Hall in Kilmachthomas. Seamus acknowledges the help he received from sixteen-year-old kickboxer Dylan Moran and has not ruled out returning to the ring. He is hoping to make the white collar boxing at the Rainbow Hall an annual event, since it was so successful.
Westmeath: Saoirse’s shop front takes the prize
In a competition overseen by the county council and Mullingar Chamber of Commerce, the shop front of fashion boutique Jasmine Design was awarded first prize as the town’s best shop front for 2011. Mark Cooney, cathaoirleach of the county council, presented the award to Saoirse McGrath who accepted it on behalf of her mother Caroline; it was she who opened the boutique on Mount Street in Mullingar thirteen years ago. For winning the award Caroline and Saoirse received a cash prize of €1,000 sponsored by the council.
Wexford: Camolin farmer sets new shearing record
At the British Isles Nine-Hour Lamb Machine Shearing Record event, which took place at Knockrobbin, Camolin last weekend, local farmer Roy Collier set a new record by shearing five hundred and twenty one lambs in nine hours. Organised in aid of the National Council for the Blind, it is expected that the event will have raised more than €5,000. Roy, who works on the family farm as well as being a contract shearer, had a particular interest in raising money for the Council since they had looked after his grandfather, who was blind.
Wicklow: Joanne earns the role of godmother
Joanne O’Neill is to be godmother to Dylan, the son of Tracy Murphy and Quintin Doyle, and there is no doubt that she earned the honour. For Joanne was on hand at the house in Wicklow town when Tracy realised that she was not going to make it into Holles Street in Dublin. While Quintin took instructions over the phone Joanne not only delivered the baby, but also managed to remove the umbilical cord, which was wrapped twice around his neck. Tracy is in no doubt that her friend saved baby Dylan’s life.
Week of September 15
Antrim: Ballycastle plays host to cruise ship
Last Saturday a small ferry was brought into service all day to bring cruise passengers from the Silver Cloud into Ballycastle after the cruise liner docked at the town. Chairperson of Moyle District Council Padraig McShane was on hand to meet the ship as it docked and he and the captain, Pontillo Cosimo, exchanged gifts. Accompanying Mr McShane was Kerrie McGonigle, Tourism Development Officer and the two were invited on board the six-star vessel which was on a cruise from London around Britain and Ireland.
Armagh: Everest climber given civic reception
Geoff Chambers from Richill, who is one of only a few climbers from Northern Ireland to have reached the summit of Mount Everest, was accorded a civic reception by Armagh City and District Council recently. Mayor Freda Donnelly hosted the event at the Palace Demesne in Armagh which was attended by Geoff’s wife Jenny and their children Chris and Laura, as well as other relatives. Also present was rugby international Rory Best who had promised that he and his team mates would sign his rugby jersey if Geoff wore it to the summit, which he duly did and took photographs to prove it.
Carlow: Tree planted to promote mental health
Last weekend in Carlow a tree-planting ceremony took place in the town park to mark World Suicide Prevention Day. The ceremony, organised by Carlow Mental Health Association, was designed to encourage people to support existing mental health and suicide services in the county. Local man Seamus O’Rourke recited a poem after the tree, donated by the Town Council, was planted near the river. On the adjacent wall an engraved plaque was unveiled which gave the date of the event and the initiators of the project.
Cavan: Reward for town for Fleadh excellence
Obviously the people of Cavan town and county did an excellent job in hosting the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil over the last two years, as Cavan has once again been chosen as the venue for next year’s event. Both Ennis and Sligo were on the shortlist of towns to host the fleadh in 2012 and Cavan’s success was celebrated last weekend when the news came through of their victory. It is estimated that the local economy has been boosted by approximately €75m over the last two years with the hosting of the All-Ireland festival.
Clare: Doolin to get new coastguard station
When the Doolin coastguards receive a call they have to drag their €250,000 boat two kilometres to the pier by means of a tractor. Now, however, tenders are being sought for the construction of a new coastguard station to be located at Doolin Pier. But the tractor will still be called upon for another while since no funding will be available this year and it is due for consideration for next year’s funding. Doolin is one of the busiest coastguard stations in the country, having answered thirty-seven call-outs so far this year.
Cork: Fort to be offered to UN
The United Nations is to be offered a disused fort in Crosshaven as the world’s first ‘neutral facility’ to be used in conflict resolution. Fort Camden dates back to the mid-sixteenth century and it was used by the British army from the late eighteenth century until being handed over to the Irish Army in 1938. The fort is to be restored and a section of the fifty-acre site will be offered to the UN as a Global Centre for Conflict Resolution. The proposal is contained in a report commissioned by the county council and compiled by John Miller, Director of Cork Civic Trust.
Derry: Campaign calls for renaming of Bull Park
Adrienne Carlin from Derry, who some years ago led the campaign to have Bull Park refurbished, is now undertaking a new campaign to have the park named after the late Jon Clifford. Jon formed Tristar Boys Football Club nearly forty years ago and had been dedicated to the club ever since. He was also a steward at Brandywell and his cortege halted their briefly during his funeral. Adrienne spoke of her campaign on Radio Foyle last week and received an immediate response from those who knew of Jon’s contribution to the club and to the youth of Derry.
Donegal: Campaign begins to save castle
Patricia Stratford and her husband Mervyn Watson moved from Belfast to enjoy their retirement on the Isle of Doagh and they are now to the forefront in a campaign to preserve what is left of Carrickabraghy Castle. Little remains now except the walls of the keep and the campaigners hope to raise €120,000 to save these. Patricia and Mervyn hope that work will begin in the near future when they begin to collect the fallen stones. No excavation has ever been carried out around Carrickabraghy and the preservation work will include an investigation of what lies beneath the castle.
Down: Car moves from museum to race track
More than fifty years ago the racing car created by Rex McCandless came in eighth in a race at the Goodwood track in the south of England. Now it is to return to the track after being kept in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum in the interim. The car has been brought up to racing standard by the Crossle Car Company of Holywood and it will be driven in the Goodwood Revival 2011 race by Arnie Black, director of the company. He has been carrying out a number of test drives at Kirkistown in preparation for the event.
Dublin: Application lodged to restore 1916 building
The company behind a redevelopment plan for O’Connell Street have asked Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan for permission to restore numbers 14-17 Moore Street. The buildings mark the last stand of the 1916 Rising when they were used as the final headquarters of the Provisional Government. Chartered Land, the company that is hoping to carry out the work, are also planning to open a commemorative centre which will be completed in time for the one hundredth anniversary of the Rising.
Fermanagh: Chairman’s reception for young talent
A number of talented young people from the county are to be honoured with a Chairman’s Reception by
Fermanagh District Council to mark their achievements. Those to be honoured include Julie Rice from Newtownbutler who last month won the World Dance Master Championships in line dancing, motorbike racer Andrew Brady who took part in both the Senior and Junior Grand Prix in the Isle of Man, and drummer Kieran Leonard who won the All-Ireland Senior Bodhran title at the All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil. Also to be honoured are Holly Nixon from Enniskillen, who was the first Irish rower to win a medal at the World Junior Rowing Championships, and sisters Kelly and Kerry Taggart from Irvinestown who won show jumping gold medals recently.
Galway: Galway to have allotments at last
They have been in the pipeline for years, but now it looks as though Galway is to have between twenty-five and thirty allotments available for public use later this year. Funding of €50,000 has been allocated to develop less than an acre of land to the rear of the Shantalla Community Centre which has been unused for years and applicants will be asked to pay a nominal fee for the plots. The decision to base the plots in Shantalla follows a recent meeting of the Shantalla Community Development Company, the Parks Department of the City Council, and Councillor Billy Cameron.
Kerry: Arrangements in place for MS fundraiser
Since it was set up in 1998 the South Kerry branch of MS Ireland has raised almost €400,000 and arrangements are now in place for this year’s event, the walk on the Old Kenmare Road from Kenmare to Killarney. The twelve-mile walk, which usually attracts up to two hundred participants, takes place on October 9 and O’Callaghan’s Coaches are providing free transport from the Gleneagles Hotel to Kenmare. The walkers will also be provided with refreshments at the hotel when they have completed the walk. South Kerry MS hopes to provide an outreach facility for patients in the Kenmare and Caherciveen areas.
Kildare: Balloons mark Ploughing anniversary
Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveny was in Cardenton, Athy last week to release eighty balloons to mark the eightieth anniversary of the National Ploughing Association. The balloons, in the association colours of green, white and gold, were released on the seven hundred-acre site that will host the championships next week and where the first championships were held in 1931. Some special events will feature to mark the anniversary, including speed and skills trials with axes, and the first all-Ireland pole climbing event.
Kilkenny: Kilkenny’s latest centenarian
The latest Kilkenny resident to mark her one hundredth birthday is Bridie Murphy who lives at Archer’s Avenue in Kilkenny. Bridie was born in Gorey, Co. Wexford and first came to Kilkenny in the 1930s to do private nursing. There she met her husband, James Murphy, at Desert Hall. His family had the woollen mills beside the book centre and Bridie’s daughter Marie runs a boutique on the premises today. Bridie managed to have two birthday celebrations, one in the Langton House Hotel and a second one at her home.
Laois: Ballickmoyler resident honoured at national event
One of those honoured at the 2011 People of the Year awards broadcast on RTE last weekend was Sharon Malloy from Ballickmoyler, who was presented with the special award for this year, the Best Friend of the Year award. Nominating Sharon for the award was Ian Lawlor from Portlaoise, a former drug addict who met Sharon when he joined a rehabilitation programme on which she was working. In a video shown on the night Ian said Sharon had turned his life around and had been ready to listen to him, whatever time of the day or night he called on her for support.
Leitrim: Dromahair has new campaign in motion
Bernie Linnane McBride from Dromahair read about the problems with the derelict Abbey Manor Hotel on the village’s Main Street in the local paper and decided to do something to save the building. After receiving a great response on the Facebook page she set up, Bernie and her supporters, who include publicans, business people and local residents, are now endeavouring to ascertain who actually owns the listed building with a view to working towards its restoration. The first step will be the organising of a public meeting in the village.
Limerick: Anonymous donor brings hope to Brian
Brian Hogan from Ballykeefe in Limerick suffered severe brain damage as a result of an unprovoked attack in Britain two years ago, and lost his eyesight as a result. His family had been organising fundraisers to enable Brian to receive stem cell treatment in the US which will help him, as he says, ‘reclaim the two years of his life’ that have been stolen. They were nowhere near their target of $30,000 but Brian received the news at the Headway offices in Limerick last week that, following extensive publicity of his plight, an anonymous donor has agreed to fund the surgery he needs.
Longford: Parents left in supporters’ quandary
At last Sunday’s County Senior Championship Final, played between Clonguish and Longford Slashers, Kevin and Gabrielle Devine found themselves in somewhat of a quandary. For their son Brendan plays for Clonguish while their other son, Paul, is on the Slashers’ team. In the event Paul, who had been suffering from a hernia injury, remained on the bench, but it was his team that was victorious with a one-point win over Clonguish. The brothers live in Derryharrow, a Slashers’ parish, but Brendan began playing for Clonguish in his early teens.
Louth: Drogheda hoping to attract famine commemoration
Next year the National Famine Commemoration is due to take place in Leinster, having previously been held in Skibbereen, Westport and Clones, and Councillor Michael O’Dowd has announced that Drogheda is to bid to be the venue. He was speaking following the annual Drogheda commemoration outside the Augustinian Church on Shop Street last week which was introduced by chairman of the Drogheda Civic Trust Denis Cummins with Mayor Kevin Callan. Music and song for the ceremony were provided by Gerry and Geraldine Simpson.
Mayo: Darts championships en route to Castlebar
For the first time in the thirty-four year history of the World Darts Championships the competition is to take place in Ireland, and Breaffy House Resort in Castlebar is the venue in the coming week for the event. Competitors from thirty-nine countries will attend, including former winners Eric Bristow, Roland Scholton and Martin Adams, while the Irish team will be captained by nineteen-year-old Martin Heneghan from Roundfort. Sponsors for the event, in addition to Breaffy House Resort, are Herman Stein – Bull’s Dartboards, Fáilte Ireland, Castlebar Town Council and Visit Castlebar.
Meath: Stones for sale – to build a house
Seamus Murphy, who has a quarry business near Gormanstown, had his heart set on rebuilding Hilltown House, dating from the early nineteenth century, on a new site to become the family home. To this end he dismantled the former B&B property block by block, numbering each one so that the house could be reconstructed. However Seamus’ ambition plan fell victim to the recession and he has now put two thousand large limestone blocks on the market. As well as being numbered, the stones also come with an instruction booklet to help in their reassembly.
Monaghan: Work begins on VEC campus
Work has begun at the site of the former Army base on the Armagh road in Monaghan on the construction of a new VEC educational campus which will house a new Gaelscoil Ultain, the Coláiste Oiriall secondary school and the Monaghan Institute of Further Education. John Sisk and Sons has the contract for the €37m project, the largest amount to be spent by the Government on educational facilities this year. The work is expected to continue for eighteen months, giving a boost to local employment with some five hundred building workers and two hundred and fifty ancillary workers to be taken on.;
Offaly: Famine and feast for Tullamore clergy
Priests from the Church of the Assumption parish in Tullamore experienced both feast and famine last week, when they first undertook a twenty-four hour fast as an act of penance for the recent failures of the Church. Parish priest Mgr Sean Heaney was joined by curates Fathers Shane Crombie and Patrick Donnelly for the fast, and two days later they hosted a Street Party outside the Parochial House on St Brigid’s Place. The party, attended by up to four hundred and featuring the Tullamore Town band, was to celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the reopening of the Church of the Assumption.
Roscommon: Cinema to open at last
Although no exact date has been given for the opening of the cinema complex, delayed for more than a year, it is expected that it will open within the next few weeks. Work on the amenity at the Centre Point Retail Park in Roscommon town has been carried out over recent weeks and Darren Corcoran of Flix Leisure said that the date of opening would be confirmed very soon. A number of new jobs will also be created at the new facility while local businesses have also been used in developing the cinema complex.
Sligo: Enniscrone has Ireland’s only seaweed festival
This weekend sees the inaugural Seaweed Festival in Enniscrone, the only village in the country to hold a festival devoted exclusively to seaweed. The festival is coinciding with the Walking Festival and a number of walks will take place over the weekend including the Ellagh Loop Walk, the Lough Alone Walk and an Archaeological Walk around Enniscrone. The festival is organised by Enniscrone and District Community Development and will also feature a cookery demonstration by Prannie Rhatigan, art workshops for children using seaweed as material, and seaweed dishes in local restaurants.
Tipperary: Nenagh hosts Blas an Fhomhair
This Sunday the annual Blas an Fhomhair takes place on Kenyon Street in Nenagh, with guest chef Hugo Arnold. Celebrating local organic foods, the event features Michael Seymour’s lamb, the pork of JP Crower, Philip Draper’s root vegetables and leaves and tomatoes from Dermot O’Mara. Local restaurants, led by The Pantry Cafe, will be cooking the food for the festival, at which the guest of honour this year will be Mayor Virginia O’Dowd. She and archaeologist Caimin O’Brien will lead a cycle to local historic sites including Tyone Abbey and Ballinaclough Church and Manor.
Tyrone: Hugh and Lily celebrate 70 years
Not many people can claim to have celebrated a platinum wedding anniversary, but Hugh and Lily McCutcheon from Mountjoy near Omagh have recently celebrated seventy years of marriage with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The couple were married in Mountjoy Presbyterian Church and had five children, Norman, Stanley, Cecil, Elizabeth and Ray. A surprise party was organised for Hugh and Lily at the Millstone at Gornagarn near Omagh where they were joined by seventy-five family members and friends.
Waterford: Waterford delicacy looks for protected status
According to Dermot Walsh of M & D Bakery, the Waterford delicacy known as the blaa is at stage three of an application to be granted EU protected status. At present there are only three bakeries still making the bap, M & D, Hickeys and Harneys, and if the EU application is successful it will mean that the blaa can only be made only in Waterford. The bap originated with the arrival of the Huguenots in Waterford at the end of the seventeenth century. They set up a bakery in New Geneva and it is believed the name of the bap came from a corruption of blanc, the French word for white.
Westmeath: Property owners to be offered protected status
The owners of a number of buildings in Athlone which are of architectural or historical significance are to be offered the opportunity to have their building added to the Record of Protected Structures. Among the one hundred and twenty-four buildings on the list are several within Custume Barracks, Seán’s Bar, Burgess department store, the Franciscan Friary, Goldsmith Terrace and Le Chateau restaurant. While there is a perception that work cannot be carried out on a protected property, county council Conservation Architect Bernadette Soban says that much can be done without applying for planning permission.
Wexford: Quinn family reunite in Curracloe
When Margaret Quinn of Ballyduff died shortly after her eleventh and youngest child was born, and her husband John died five years later, the children were scattered to relations and to orphanages and they are now based all over the world. However this year the family held a reunion when more than one hundred and sixty descendants of John and Margaret gathered in Curracloe. The oldest person there was Mary Quinn (now O’Hara) from Dublin, at ninety-six the only surviving one of the eleven siblings. Others came from Singapore, the USA and Canada as well as from closer to home for the event.
Wicklow: Wicklow pensioners are top of the bakers
A group of pensioners from Bray have won a competition organised by Age Action which required the eight finalists to bake in front of a panel of judges. The residents from the Tara Care Centre in Bray prepared dishes in front of the judges at the Cooks Academy premises in Dublin and it was their novel sponge which took the prize in the Big Bake Off. The Bray baking group was led by Pauline Gardiejow and they baked a Chocolate Carrot Cake from a recipe that was in danger of being forgotten but is now recorded for others to enjoy.
Week of September 22
Antrim: Barbeque and barn dance in Randalstown
A barbeque and barn dance is to be held at Moneynick Road in Randalstown this coming Saturday to raise funds for the Ulster Cancer Foundation. The event is organised by local couple Lynda and Colin Millar and their friends, with the Sunshine band and the Whyte Nights DJs providing the music. An unusual feature of the evening’s entertainment will be two pig races, and partygoers will be able to place bets on their favourites. The Ulster Cancer Foundation will use whatever funds are raised to provide services to cancer patients and their families.
Armagh: Portadown woman receives an Emmy
One of those on the stage at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles recently at the presentation of the Emmy Awards was Portadown woman Caroline McCall. Caroline, a former student of Portadown College and the daughter of Rosemary and the late Kenneth McCall, received her award for her work on the television series ‘Downton Abbey’. She was assisting the main designer, Susanna Buxton, who also received an Emmy. However Caroline is not working on the latest series of the period drama, opting instead to design costumes for Liam Neeson’s film ‘Clash of the Titans 2’.
Carlow: William and Stephen have craftwork on display
Included in the campaign by the Crafts Council of Ireland to highlight the country’s craft expertise are two Carlow men. William Bunbury of Lisnavagh Timber Products in Rathvilly and Stephen O’Brian of Stephen O’Briain Furniture in Borris are among those whose work will be on display in retail outlets throughout the country as well as on the web. ‘Celebrating Ireland’s Designer Makers’ continues until the end of the month. Stephen has also been chosen as one of twelve designers to represent Ireland at the TENT exhibition in London under the headline ‘Design Ireland – the Cream of Irish Design’.
Cavan: Cyclists to be looked after in the county
In the near future cyclists within the county will find themselves with extra amenities with the provision of ten new bike shelters in a number of towns including Ballyconnell, Ballyjamesduff, Belturbet, Cootehill, and Virginia. In addition to the shelters money has been forthcoming from the Jobs Initiative Smarter Travel fund which will provide almost three kilometres of cycle lanes on the Ballinagh Road out of Cavan town. The announcement of the new facilities has been welcomed by Ballinagh councillor Winston Bennett.
Clare: Festival to mark Guevara’s visit
Fifty years ago, during a stopover in Shannon, Cuban revolutionary Che Guevara stayed a night in the county and this is to be celebrated in a three-day festival next weekend. Due to fog Guevara’s plane could not continue its journey and he spent a night at the Strand Hotel in Kilkee, signing in as Raphael Trujillo. Cuban ambassador Teresita Trujillo will be in the seaside town for the event and she will formally open the festival. ‘Che do Bheatha’ will celebrate all things Cuban over the three days of the festival, which has been organised by Tom Byrne.
Cork: Pat signs photo for Queen
Pat O’Connell, who is based at the English Market in Cork, famously caused Queen Elizabeth to throw back her head and laugh at a joke he cracked when she visited his stall in the market. Subsequently the fishmonger received a request from British ambassador Julian King to sign the photograph before it was dispatched to Buckingham Palace, though Pat does not know if it will be on show anywhere. The photograph was taken by Valerie O’Sullivan from Killarney and with it Pat included a personal note to Queen Elizabeth.
Derry: Derry events to draw visitors
A campaign mounted by Tourism Ireland to target tourists internationally includes two festivals taking place within the county. Featuring in the £12m campaign is the Banks of the Foyle Halloween Festival, the largest such festival in Europe, while the Roe Valley Folk Festival, which takes place in Limavady in mid-October, is also to be highlighted in the campaign. According to Minister for Tourism Arlene Foster a particular focus will be on Britain, the North’s largest tourism market.
Donegal: Bruckless man runs length of Mozambique
Nick North from Bruckless has just completed a three thousand kilometre run from Mosambique’s northern border with Tanzania to its southern border with South Africa. Nick undertook the run to raise funds for Concern Worldwide, though he has been disappointed at the lack of corporate support for his venture, apart from a generous donation from the Denis O’Brien Foundation. The fifty-three-year-old, who trained for the multi-marathon by running from Malin Head to Bundoran, worked for the charity in Mozambique in the mid-1990s.
Down: Local campaigner calls for community use for Town Hall
Local campaigner and community activist Helen McFadden, who was recently awarded an MBE for her community work, has called for the Town Hall in Dromore to be used as a functions venue once again. The building is at present under repair and the library has been moved temporarily. Ms McFadden would like to see another permanent home found for the library while the old Market House would be used for concerts, balls, fashion shows and other community events. She further suggested that the ground floor of the building might house a small museum of local history.
Dublin: Two Dubliners conquer ‘aquatic Everest’
Two Dublin swimmers have recently completed the crossing of the English Channel, known as the ‘aquatic Everest’. Irish swimming champion Ger Carty had covered 750km in pool and sea swims since January to train for the event. A sports development officer with Dublin City Council, he completed the crossing to raise money for cancer research. Two days later the Channel crossing was also successfully completed by physiotherapist Sorcha Barry, who also this year became the first woman to complete the Galway Bay swim. Speaking of the difficulties encountered, she said she was disconcerted by seals popping up close to her.
Fermanagh: Farmer keen to retain his home
Adrian Orr, a farmer from Lisbellaw, is keen to retain the home he has built at Derryclawan Road but has so far been unable to persuade the Planning Service that he should be allowed to do so. Adrian unfortunately built the house on his land without planning permission and, despite numerous attempts to gain permission for retention, and appeals against planning decisions, it seems that he will have to demolish the building. While he could have been fined €25,000 at his latest court appearance, Judge Liam McNally was lenient and fined him just €3,000 for not complying with an enforcement order, but warned that Orr has only six months to demolish the house if he wants to avoid a greater fine.
Galway: Moycullen to have Irish centre
Work is progressing on a new Irish language centre in Moycullen, situated behind a community facility on a site donated by the local development association. Under the direction of architect Niall Ó Céirín, the construction work is being carried out by volunteers from Conradh na Gaeilge and other local people and it is expected to be completed in the near future. It is being funded by the Moycullen branch of Conradh na Gaeilge who believe it will provide a base for an increase in their range of activities in the community.
Kerry: Guides to stay longer on Skellig Michael
A drop in visitor numbers to Skellig Michael is due to this year’s bad weather and not to last year’s deaths of two tourists, according to the Office of Public Works which manages the site. In order to boost numbers it has been decided to keep the rocky outcrop’s resident guide service until mid-October rather than discontinuing it at the end of this month as usual. Last year the number of visitors to Skellig Michael exceeded twelve thousand, while this year to date only eight and a half thousand have visited the island.
Kildare: Coby goes for a bus ride
A dog who hopped onto a bus in Newbridge was returned safely to his owners after an appeal on local radio. Bus driver Jim Nolan did not notice the West Highland terrier boarding his bus and only spotted him fifteen minutes later when the bus stopped in Naas. At that stage he decided to keep the four-year-old dog with him as his bus headed towards Maynooth and thought he would keep the dog as companion to his own West Highland terrier if the owner was not found. However the radio announcement worked and Jim made an unscheduled stop at Toughers, Newbridge to hand Coby back to the McGrath family.
Kilkenny: More than books in Graiguenamanagh
This year’s Town of Books Festival in Graiguenamanagh has a definite maritime theme, with one of the highlights being a lecture by journalist Gary Quinn on his kayaking journey around Ireland. In addition the Graiguenamanagh Rowing Club are hosting rowing races on the River Barrow on Sunday. Twenty booksellers will have their stalls set out and the book trail this year includes a treasure hunt. Circus street performers and a guided nature walk along the river to Silaire Woods complete the programme for the weekend.
Laois: No money to keep bog body in county
While the National Museum would be amenable to returning to the county the body discovered in Cashel Bog near Portlaoise last month, which the museum at present has in its keeping for tests, unfortunately there is no museum suitable to house it. The surrounding counties are also without museums and a site has already been located in Portlaoise where a Midlands Museum of Antiquities could be built but there are no funds for such a venture at the moment. Some work has been carried out on a proposal to develop the old fort into a museum and library.
Leitrim: Charity cycle funds handed over
In Clarke’s Hotel in Mohill last week the organisers of the annual 80km South Leitrim Charity Cycle handed over €23,500 raised at this year’s event, with the bulk, €20,000 being presented by Tracey Kivlehan to John Kelly, representing the North West Hospice. The Order of Malta received €500 for providing medical back-up on the day and the remainder of the money will be donated to a charity chosen by one of the cyclists in a special draw. Sponsors of the event, which attracted more than ninety cyclists, included Peter Logan, Sean Clarke, Gallaghers Bakery and Eurospar in Mohill.
Limerick: Croom father keeps children in suspense
The three children of secondary school principal Noel Malone thought they would be able to be the first to receive their Junior Certificate results and asked if they could go in the car to the school with their father. However he insisted that the fifteen-year-old triplets go to school by bus as usual. Noel, Roisin and Grainne Malone attend Coláiste Chiarán in Croom, where their father is principal and he ensured they received their results in the company of their fellow-students in the school.
Longford: Longford men lobby for newspaper
A campaign to save the Irish Post newspaper in Britain includes among its members a father and son from Longford. Mel McNally was born in the county and both he and his son Malcolm were photographers with the newspaper before Thomas Crosbie Holdings decided to close it down last month. The staff believe that the circulation has increased and will continue to do so with the increase in emigration. The father and son are at the forefront of the campaign which has already received the backing of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Ireland and Britain and the Federation of Irish Societies.
Louth: In Louth at least one hen can fly
When Frank Godfrey’s friend Dave Kelly called to see him one morning last week at his chicken farm in Donore, the visitor was intrigued to hear the noise of chicks coming from above his head in a tree. He climbed the tree and found that an enterprising hen had decided to build a nest for her chicks fifteen feet off the ground. Since the chicks are thriving and obviously well-fed, Frank can only presume that the hen, Henrietta, is flying up to them with food supplies on a regular basis. Frank, who has some fifty hens, says in thirty years he’s never seen anything like it.
Mayo: Local lady is Knock’s milestone visitor
When Ryanair prepared to greet their four millionth passenger flying in to Ireland West Airport Knock last week they were delighted that it turned out to be someone from the locality. Sister Maude Murphy from Knock was greeted by Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary, airport chairman Liam Scollan, Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar and airport managing director Joe Gilmore. She was presented by the Minister and Mr Gilmore with a free holiday for two in Lanzarote, and Michael O’Leary also pledged to donate €4,000 to Sister Murphy’s charity of choice.
Meath: Parachute jump to help Navan five-year-old
A parachute jump is taking place in Birr next month to help five-year-old Caoimhe Duffy from Navan go to the US for an operation to enable her to walk. Caoimhe was born prematurely and has cerebral palsy which has affected her ability to stand and walk. Among the thirteen people taking part in the parachute jump are Tara Duffy and Daniel Farrelly from Castletown, Katie Maguire from Trim, Martin Carolan and Rose Tobin from Meath Hill and Johnny Cranny from Moynalty. Tara and Daniel have also held a Pirates and Princesses night in the Cross Guns Pub in Castletown.
Monaghan: Carrickmacross woman nominated for national award
Emma Gollogly, who works in the family business, Gollogly Insurances, in Drumgoan, Carrickmacross, has been nominated for a Women Mean Business 2011 national award. Emma, a qualified financial adviser and insurance broker, is involved in Business Networking through her membership of the 7.30 Business Club, of which she is an original member, and believes that it is this involvement that has led to her nomination. The awards will take place next week in the Shelburne Hotel in Dublin.
Offaly: Final push has Tullamore school ready
A final push by the construction workers of John Sisk Ltd ensured that Coláiste Choilm in Tullamore was ready when the students returned to school earlier this month. The new school building was completed and all the classrooms ‘fully ready for use’ according to chairman of the Board of Management Father Seán Heaney. However work still remains to be carried out on the gym area and initially the students have been using the gym in the old school. Two prefabs, meanwhile, have been brought into use until the new school canteen is completed.
Roscommon: Skeletons to be brought back to Knockvicar
Two unusual skeletons uncovered by archaeologists from the Institute of Technology Sligo, were included in a Channel 5 documentary which is also to be shown on the National Geographic channel. Found on land owned by John and Tina Burke at Kilteasheen, Knockvicar, the skeletons were unusual in that they both had stones in their mouths. This is believed to have been done to stop them rising from their graves to haunt the living. Both are believed to have been buried in the eighth century and at present they are being analysed in Sligo. Eventually it is hoped that the pair of skeletons will be reinterred in Knockvicar.
Sligo: There is no hiding the Gurteen fundraiser
A fundraiser taking place in early October in aid of Ceoláras Coleman in Gurteen will have no chance of keeping a low profile, since a celebrity Bodhránathon is to be held. None of the participants has played the bodhrán before and they are at present undergoing a crash course in the art from Junior Davy. On October 9 in Gurteen Parochial Hall the participants, including Margaret Gormley, Father James McDonagh, Tony McLoughlin TD and Dara Mulvey, will be expected to give a three-minute exhibition of bodhrán playing.
Tipperary: Art exhibition for Tipperary nun
Sister Jo Corby was born just outside Tipperary town in 1918 and she has just opened her first art exhibition at the convent in Glasnevin where she has lived for the last few years. In her seventy-four years with the Sisters of the Holy Faith Sister Jo has served in the US, in Wexford and Kildare and became interested in art some thirty years ago, with her works being inspired by visits to art schools around the country as well as the scenery of Ireland. Her sister, Hillary, was also a member of the Sisters of the Holy Faith.
Tyrone: Dungannon Youth Resource Centre opens its doors
Having just undergone a £340,000 refurbishment, the Dungannon Youth Resource Centre is eager to share its facilities with the local community. Beginning this coming weekend with a concert featuring Phil Coulter, the centre is to host a series of events including an afternoon for local residents from Fairmount Park, Ann Street, William Street, Donaghmore Road and Charlemont Street. On Monday the pupils of Sperrinview Special School will be joined by students from secondary schools who will help entertain them. The official opening of the centre takes place on Wednesday next.
Waterford: Vintage classics turn out for Lifeboat Station
Michael Flynn, Paddy Dwane and Noel Coffey are among a number of owners of classic vintage vehicles who are turning out for the Open Day of the RNLI at Helvick Head on Sunday. They will be undertaking a vintage run on the day to raise funds for the lifeboat station, and the tractor, car and bike owners will set off from the station on a route taking in the Seanachai and Marine on the N25, Coolrua, Goulane via John Paul’s, and back to Helvick lifeboat station. The public will also be able to meet the crew of the lifeboat and to view the special gear and equipment.
Westmeath: Olympic spot for Ballinahown man
Mark Rohan from Ballinahown won gold medals on the double at the UCI Paracycling Road World Championships last week in Denmark, thus ensuring himself a place at the Paralympic Games which take place in London next September. The 29-year-old is a former student at the Marist College in Athlone and under-21 county footballer who was injured in a road accident ten years ago. He retained the Road Race title he won in Canada last year and also won the Time Trial, a competition in which he finished in fifth place on his last attempt.
Wexford: Killurin has a new resident
Kevin Doyle, whose parents Bernie and Paddy own land at Reddina in Killurin, has now moved into a house he has built on a three-acre site, with his wife Jennifer Harney. The Wolverhampton Wanderers soccer star originally applied for planning permission five years ago on other family lands, but revised his plan and he and his wife were granted permission two years ago. The house includes a number of gyms and a swimming pool and has an area specifically set aside for the couple’s dog.
Wicklow: Bray Lakers receive land from council
Bray Lakers, a sports, social and recreational club for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and autism, has been granted a parcel of land at Ballywaltrim on a ninety-nine year lease by the county council. With over three hundred members the club is in need of its own base but, according to Councillor George Jones, it has taken more than a year to complete the agreement after a resolution was passed in May of last year. The Lakers are now undertaking a fundraising campaign to finance the construction of a custom-built centre.
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So there we are then - the end of one chapter and perhaps the beginning ing of another. Be sure to check on line every Monday to see how well we fill Pauline's shoes. We are already very nervous!
Slan agus beannacht,