Greetings & Blessings to all,
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:
These links are kept for two weeks just in case you can't visit the site every day.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Irish Emigrant - our source for these news items. They have a great site which is well worth visiting:
Meanwhile, on with the county news for each week in July:
Please note: If you are a new subscriber, this monthly news update is in addition to our regular newsletter which we hope to send out shortly. 
Week of July 7
 Antrim: Dentists to reach the heights in Scotland
Kathryn Robinson-Getty and Orla McGinnis, both dentists based in Ballymoney, are to climb Ben Nevis later in the year to raise money for the Ulster Cancer Foundation. The duo, who are members of the Causeway Dental team, have held a bag-packing event in the Fairhill Shopping Centre in Ballymena in order to raise money for the charity, and they will also be holding a table quiz in the near future. Also part of the dental team is Robin Alexander who, as chairman of the Ballymena Runners Club, has been able to offer Kathryn and Orla plenty of advice for the ascent.
Armagh: Lurgan singer performs at Áras
Emma Reynolds from Lurgan was recently invited to Áras an Uachtaráin by President Mary McAleese to provide entertainment at a Tea Party attended by senior citizens from all over the country. The soprano was accompanied by Susan Hewitt, the composer of “Home Again”, the song with which Emma won the Sean McCarthy All-Ireland Classic Ballad competition three years ago. Emma, who took up music at the age of nine and became part of the local folk scene, also came fourth in the recent Eurosong contest.
Carlow: Unusual event staged by sub aqua club
The Carlow Graiguecullen sub aqua club is endeavouring to raise money for a new clubhouse to be built at Webster’s Lock in Graiguecullen and has come up with a novel idea. On Saturday they will be offering people the chance to undertake a scuba dive at the Liberty Tree fountain, with all gear supplied by them. Last weekend the club, which now has fifty members, held a trad session in Racey Byrne’s pub on Tullow Street in Carlow. The town council and county Development Partnership are funding the building, but money is also needed for equipment.
Cavan: Cavan Institute group reach African summit
A group of five people from Cavan Institute have completed the ascent of Kilimanjaro and in the process have raised money for local charities. The Pink and Gold fund was set up by Kevin Doherty and his sons in memory of his wife Attracta who died of cancer three years ago. The group comprised Shane McCabe from Crosserlough, Catherine McCollum from Cavan, Rachel Rudden and Rachel Brady, both from Laragh, and Philomena McCluskey from Shercock. The money raised is to be shared among Cavan/Monaghan Palliative & Home Care Services, Virginia & Bailieborough Cancer funds and the Oncology Unit of the Mater Hospital.
Clare: Special meeting to be held over iconic sign
Members of Clare County Council have agreed to hold a special meeting in relation to the removal of signs from the signpost in Ballyvaughan, removed by the National Roads Authority. A council spokesperson cited road safety considerations as a reason for the removal, though Councillor Brian Meaney asked for evidence that it had caused any accidents. The proposed meeting has the aim of seeing the sign, which has been used by Bord Fáilte in its international advertising, restored to its prominent position in the north Clare village.
Cork: Bantry schoolgirl starts her own business
Sahnya Shiels from Bantry may be only sixteen, but she has already started her own business training horses for eventing and competition. Sahnya, whose family runs a livery stable and riding school, began eventing herself when she was ten and has won numerous competitions. In addition to training horses and becoming a top student at her school in Ballingeary, Sahnya is also writing a fantasy novel which she hopes to have completed by Christmas. Her aim now is to make the Irish eventing team by the time she is twenty.
Derry: Limavady hall demolished
Following a fire just over a year ago the Bethany Hall in Limavady was left derelict and it has now been demolished. The building, which was one hundred and twenty-five years old, was formerly the site of the Termoncanice School and was renovated for use by the community thirty years ago. The renovation was the initiative of the Limavady Silver Thread club and it was used extensively by the town’s senior citizens. Clearance of the site is expected to be complete in two weeks and work will begin on a new parish centre in two to three years.
Donegal: Bobby and Bessie renew their vows
When Bobby and Bessie Tasker returned to St Joseph’s Church in Rathmullan fifty years after their wedding day, the ceremony was conducted by the priest who married them, Father Eddie Deeney, who was assisted by Father Willie McMenamin, who had also been present at the original service. Remarkably, the entire bridal party was also able to attend, including best man Anthony Toye from  Letterkenny, bridesmaids Annie Toye and Mary Sheridan, and flower girls Daphne O’Connor and Marie Brett.
Down: Dragon puppet will launch book
A book to be launched during the family events in the Cultural Lodge in Castlewellan this weekend will be accompanied by a dragon puppet created by the author. Francis Morgan has been making dragons for parades for a number of years and decided to write a book for children on the subject. “Up Above Down Below” is, according to Francis, about dragons who live just beyond our field of vision. He is hoping that children who attend the family day will suggest a name for the dragon puppet.
Dublin: Fingal to be twinned with Chinese city
A delegation from Fingal County Council recently visited Chengdu in China and the two communities are due to be twinned later this year. Fingal now has plans to develop a Chinese-themed visitor attraction similar to the Chinatowns found in cities around the world. The local authority is also keen that Fingal becomes a European hub for the distribution of Chinese products in the areas of crafts, electronics and healthcare. One of the first indications of a special relationship between Fingal and Chengdu is the naming of a panda on a nature reserve in Chengdu after the Irish town.
Fermanagh: Cygnet returns to regatta
A yacht which has not been seen at the Lough Erne Yacht Club’s summer regatta for more than half a century made an appearance at this year’s event last weekend. The Fairy keelboat Cygnet has been rebuilt by Fred Ternan and won three of the six Fairy races at the Gublusk Bay event. The regatta is the country’s oldest yacht racing event and the bay is also the location from which two Catalina flying boats set out to challenge the Bismarck seventy years ago last month. A hundred sailors, in thirty boats, took part in the races this year.
Galway: Ironman event to have Salthill HQ
The Ironman event due to take place in Galway in September could be using the Salthill Tourist Office as its headquarters. The building, close to the Atlantaquarium, will not be opening this summer due to restrictions on recruiting to the public service and Fiona Monaghan, Head of Operations of Fáilte Ireland’s West Region, says she is ready to hold talks with the organisers of the competition. Councillor Niall McNelis is promoting the idea of using the office for the Ironman event which, he says, could bring as much as €5m to the local economy.
Kerry: Barrier on Ring of Kerry to be altered
A concrete barrier at Coomakista on the Ring of Kerry, which was erected as a safety measure, is to be subject to a review as it is seen as being unsightly and spoiling a magnificent view. The three-foot high barrier was put in place four years ago and it has been suggested that it would be improved by being faced with natural stone. An engineer is now to be appointed to look at alternatives and the National Roads Authority has allocated €200,000 for the work to be carried out.
Kildare: Swedish native flies Irish flag, at world games
At the 18th World Transplant Games held in Gothenburg in Sweden recently one local woman was seen to be waving the Irish rather than the Swedish flag. Liza Nikkinen moved to Ireland seven years ago and while working at the Naas Court Hotel she fell ill, leading to the need for a liver transplant. And so this year at the Transplant Games she represented her adopted country and won the gold medal in the three-kilometre walk. She later won a bronze medal while competing in the relay race with Angela Sherlock, Sinead McGowan and Megan Fahy.
Kilkenny: Callan to have festival at month’s end
The second Abhainn Rí Festival is due to take place in Callan later this month, with a ten-day programme of events. A Family Field Day including a vintage parade will take place in the Abbey Meadow and there will be dancing in the Friary, a juvenile hurling tournament and an architectural symposium, among the attractions on offer. The festival is one of a number to be held in the county between now and October under the auspices of the Kilkenny Community Festivals Network.
Laois: BBC role for Portlaoise actor
Robert Sheehan, an actor from Portlaoise, has won a role in “The Borrowers”, a feature length film which will be shown on BBC1 over Christmas. Robert, the youngest son of Joe and Maria Sheehan, had his first acting role in “Song for a Raggy Boy” although he had not had any previous experience, and he has also studied film-making in Galway. However he prefers to be in front of the camera rather than behind it and has appeared in two series of the Channel 4 programme “The Misfits”.
Leitrim: Water music in Carrick this weekend
This weekend sees the seventh Carrick-on-Shannon Water Music Festival, the aim of which is to make classical music and opera accessible to the Carrick area. And as last year, there will be a Gala Proms featuring conductor Fergus Shiel and a thirty-six piece orchestra, though the festival also features folk music, with this year the Folk the Recession tour, and jazz with the Guinness Jazz Band. At The Dock the Breffni Players will be staging David Trisham’s one-act play “The Extraordinary Revelations of Orca the Goldfish”.
Limerick: Dan lives the simple life on Shannon banks
When Dan O’Neill inherited his granduncle Christy Considine’s fisherman’s hut on the banks of the Shannon close to the University of Limerick, he decided it was where he wanted to live for the rest of his life. Without electricity but with driftwood to burn in his stove and salmon to be caught a few feet from his door, Dan says he’s never been happier. Originally from Kennedy Park in the city, he is now content to live in the only one of twelve fishermen’s cottages to be occupied.
Longford: Longford will have representative in Tralee
It has emerged that the county will have a representative at this year’s Rose of Tralee competition. James Duignan has been selected as one of the thirty-two escorts for the event, having attended the bootcamp final in Ballinasloe last week. One of the tasks, to foot turf, came easier to James than to those not from the midlands. A resident of Deanscurragh and a son of John and Assumpta Duignan, the twenty-two-year-old will now be undertaking fundraising for 1Life, an organisation providing support for those contemplating suicide.
Louth: Councillor calls for preservation of church
Councillor Frank Godfrey has proposed to Drogheda Borough Council that they purchase the Presbyterian Church in the town for its citizens. According to the councillor the church has been part of Drogheda for several hundred years and it could now be put to use as an amenity for the community. He believes the council has an obligation to save the building, which is subject to a preservation order, and he has formally written to both the Town Clerk and the members of the Borough Council on the matter.
Mayo: Seosamh MacGabhann Summer School takes place
The family of the late Joe Smyth, who established the Douglas Hyde Summer School, are behind the organisation of the coming weekend’s inaugural Seosamh MacGabhann Summer School in their father’s memory. Although a native of Straide Joe was an integral part of the life of Kilmovee. The festival in his honour will be based at the local community centre, with the administration work being carried out by the Family Resource Centre. Father Sherlock will celebrate an Irish Mass in the parish church and the School will be launched by the president of Comhaltas Ceoltóiri Éireann, Seamus McCormack.
Meath: Trim plays host to Satire Day
The town of Trim played host last weekend to Satire Day, a celebration of Jonathan Swift who ministered at Laracor, just outside the town. Among the events was a readathon held on Market Street when festival-goers paid a small fee to give a ten-minute reading from “Gulliver’s Travels” while seated, appropriately, in a Subaru Swift. The Gulliver’s Gulp Tavern was set up just outside the castle while among those who contributed were Gerry Stembridge of “Scrap Saturday”, Arthur Matthews, creator of the “Father Ted” series, and broadcaster George Hook.
Monaghan: The future is bright for Lisa
Lisa Quinn from Monaghan has not only graduated from Queen’s University with an honours degree in Food Quality, Safety and Nutrition, she has also landed a job with Sainsbury’s. And on top of that she has been offered a place on the company’s Taste The World scheme which will see her travelling over twelve months to four locations of her choice to work with Sainsbury’s suppliers and partners. Lisa was fortunate in gaining a work placement with Sainsbury’s from which the other opportunities have arisen. At her graduation last week she was accompanied by her parents Leslie and Gladys.
Offaly: New artwork for Edenderry
On Saturday each household in Killane Drive in Edenderry will plant a tree they have chosen and among the trees twenty-five ‘bird house’ sculptures are to be erected, stainless steel ‘houses’ on three-metre steel poles. The new artwork is being facilitated by artist Ceara Conway who has spent some months in discussions with local residents as to the form the artwork should take. It is envisaged that the installation will change over time as the trees grow. A number of billboards were erected on the green area, with parts left blank so that people could add their own ideas.
Roscommon: Roscommon actors work with professional director
Three Roscommon amateur actors are this weekend taking the stage at Backstage Theatre in Longford where they are under the professional direction of Padraic McIntyre of Livin’ Dred Theatre Company. Appearing in “The Carnival at Glenaduff” are Valerie Rabbitt and Caolinn Bruen, who are both involved with Castlerea Drama Group. The third member of the cast from the county is Andrew Reynolds from Roosky who is enjoying the ‘showband feel’ of the play, set in 1960s Ireland.
Sligo: Cas and Ross carry on boat building tradition
In the 1950s Casimer Carty’s grandfather, John ‘Ripper’ Carty, began building boats using the clinker method with overlapping pieces of timber. As a young man Casimer learnt the craft from his father Hubie and he has now been joined by his teenage son Ross in carrying on the family tradition of boat building. Living at Ard Cairn, Casimer says that the family also has a tradition of fishing as well as boat building and he has fished on Lough Gill for salmon and in the sea off Raughly.
Tipperary: Riverstown manuscript goes on display
The manuscript found by Edward Fogarty from Ballingarry five years ago in Fadden More Bog has now gone on display at the National Museum in Dublin. The Early Christian psalter dates from the ninth century, the same period as the Books of Kells and Durrow, and has been undergoing careful conservation work at the museum. In addition to the vellum pages and leather cover of the original psalter, the exhibition also features a replica of how the psalter would have looked.
Tyrone: Clogher school closes its doors
With only eleven pupils remaining it was inevitable that Clogher Regional Primary School would have to close, and this it did last week. The school, on the Augher Road in the village, has been located on its present site since 1939 but the old building beside the present school has a stone above the door bearing the inscription 1780. The pupils were given a tour of the village in a limousine before visiting Augher Central Primary School, to which most of them will be transferring.
Waterford: Tall Ships race not universally beneficial
Although it is generally agreed that the visit of the Tall Ships to Waterford was of great benefit to the city, some residents are less than happy with one legacy of the event. Walter Long is one of those who live in Gracedieu Villas and who was horrified by the way in which the trees lining the streets in the area were cut back on one side only. It was apparently done to ensure the safe passage of buses travelling along the route but Gracedieu residents believe it will give a very bad first impression to visitors.
Westmeath: Triplets arrive at Mullaghchloe
Martin Ryan, who farms at Mullaghchloe, found himself the topic of conversation in the locality after his Limousin cow gave birth to triplets, two heifer calves and a bull calf. Local men Liam Gilligan and Tommy McCormack were at the farm when the calves were born but only discovered when they returned to check on what they thought were twins that a third calf had arrived. Martin’s father, local councillor Michael Ryan, said that in almost eighty years of farming he had never seen triplet calves born. Their progress is now being closely monitored by Martin’s children, Siobhán, Eoin and Oisín.
Wexford: Hypothermia will not deter Enniscorthy swimmer
Despite the fact that he recently suffered from a bad bout of hypothermia following a swim without a wet suit, Pat Whitney from Enniscorthy will continue to swim. After giving up cycling, Pat has taken to swimming and last weekend he organised a charity swim at Curracloe, a preliminary event for a more adventurous swim later in the year. In September he will be part of a group from the county who plan to swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco, to raise funds for the Tracie Lawlor Trust for Cystic Fibrosis.
Wicklow: Centenary marked in Tinahely school
Parents, pupils, past pupils and neighbours turned out last week to celebrate the centenary of Tinahely National School, with the day starting with a party for the children. A 1960s classroom had been reconstructed, complete with open fire, double desks and old blackboards, while two models made by teacher Siobhán Mulhall were also on display. These showed the school in the old Fever Hospital, where the community hall is now located, and the school prior to the 1860s which was on the site now occupied by Ted Stedman’s saw mills.
Week of July 14
Antrim: Sean to feature in M&S campaign
Sean Turner from Ballymoney is one of four children chosen to appear in the new Marks & Spencer Autumn/Winter 2011 children’s wear campaign. The seven-year-old was entered into the store’s ‘Do Your Thing’ competition by his parents who submitted a one-minute video which showed his talent for playing the violin. Some six hundred entries were scanned by M&S and photographer Rankin and just four were chosen to go through. The competition aimed to celebrate the diversity in children and to demonstrate their individuality.
Armagh: Dromintee woman heads UK football club
Margaret Byrne from Dromintee has become the only woman to be appointed as chief executive of a Premier League football club in Britain, following her appointment as the head of Sunderland last week. Margaret has been working for the club for the past four years when she held the posts of legal director and club secretary. According to her sister, Anne Marie McArdle, the strong ties that Sunderland football club holds with Ireland, including chairman Niall Quinn, attracted Margaret to the position.
Carlow: New trees to be planted in place of old
Replacement shrubs and trees are to be planted in the grounds of the Presentation College in Carlow following the felling of more than one hundred and forty trees in the grounds. The trees, mostly leylandii and poplars, were obscuring the view of the school as well as providing cover for people taking a short cut through the school grounds onto O’Brien Road. In addition to the new planting, a fence is to be erected which will deter the public from entering the grounds at the Hacketstown Road.
Cavan: Virginia competition launched
The launch took place last week of the 2011 Baileys Irish Champion Dairy Cow Competition, with this year an increased prize fund of €9,000. The launch of the event took place at the Baileys site in Dublin and was performed by Alan Quane. The Baileys Champion Cow title brings a prize of €2,000 and the winner also receives the Virginia Milk products trophy. The trophies are due to be presented at the Virginia Show at the end of this month, which this year is celebrating its seventieth anniversary.
Clare: Welcome home for weightlifting champion
Father Liam Enright was the master of ceremonies in Sixmilebridge last week when new world power lifting champion Tom Cusack was welcomed home. Tom was named as the winner of the 2011 World Single Event Drug-Free Power Lifting Championship in the 82.5 weight division held in Michigan. Also in Sixmilebridge to welcome Tom home was Christy Curtin, who was on his last day as Mayor of Clare. Tom took up weightlifting twenty-five years ago and last year took gold at the European Championships in Malta.
Cork: Cork woman sets new triathlon record
Joyce Wolfe from Cork not only broke the Irish record for the Ironman triathlon, she beat it by a full thirty minutes. Joyce was competing in the swim, cycle and full marathon event in Austria for the second time and her achievement underlines her commitment to the sport since she broke her jaw in a triathlon in Majorca this year and had to reduce the intensity of her training. Her next ambition is to win the Ironman challenge to be held in Galway in September, while her husband competed in his first Ironman in Germany at the weekend.
Derry: Boys find unusual fish at Culmore
Two boys enjoying the first days of their summer holiday found an unusual fish on the banks of the Foyle at Culmore. Oran Harley and Shane Devine were close to Culmore Point when they noticed a large fish washed up. The flat fish, longer than the two eleven-year-olds who found it, was a common Mola Mola, more usually found in tropical waters. Oran, who first spotted the fish, decided that news of its discovery should be spread and he contacted the Derry Journal to tell them of his find. He and Shane also recorded a report on the fish on their mobile phones.
Donegal: Greek thief met his match in Edel
Edel Sweeney from Gweedore, who was in Athens recently to support her brother Hughie’s participation in the Special Olympics, had to do a sprint of her own when a thief stole her purse. Edel was about to enter the Metro when the purse was taken from her bag and she gave chase, shouting all the time so that others joined in and pinned the culprit up against a wall. When Edel reached the group the man threw her purse back at her and he was subsequently arrested by the police. Meanwhile Hughie Sweeney brought home a silver medal from the Games.
Down: Haulbowline to go solar
The lighthouse at Haulbowline, off the coast at Cranfield, is one of ten remaining lighthouses which will this week be fitted with the solar system to power its light around Carlingford Lough. The lighthouse was fitted with a diesel electric system in the 1960s and in 1965 it became the first major offshore lighthouse in Ireland to be monitored and controlled remotely. Haulbowline, which is thirty-four metres in height, dates from 1824 and replaced the Cranfield Point Lighthouse.
Dublin: Citizen Award for homeless man
John Patrick Byrne, who jumped into the Liffey last week to save his pet rabbit after it was flung in by another man, has been presented with the Compassionate Citizen Award by Animal Rights Action Network. The network has also given Mr Byrne a supply of food for his rabbit, Barney, and his dog, Lilly and they are to help him find accommodation where his animals will be accepted. It has also been reported that he has been offered a job by a Tipperary farmer but thinks it would be too hard to leave his girlfriend.
Fermanagh: Elaine completes her journey
Elaine Alexander, who has for the past fifteen years worked at the SHARE centre in Lisnaskea, has arrived back from her singlehanded kayak voyage around the coast of Ireland. At the beginning of May she left the Co. Antrim Yacht Club and paddled back into the club in Whitehead on Wednesday. Elaine has represented Northern Ireland at the Surf Kayak World Championships in Costa Rica and Mundaka, and her latest adventure will see her raise money for the purchase of a fully accessible bus for SHARE.
Galway: Connemara to honour broadcaster
This weekend at the Abbeyglen Castle Hotel in Clifden broadcaster Ryan Tubridy will be granted the freedom of Connemara. The honour is to be bestowed by the Connemara Chamber of Commerce to mark his support for the region over the years. On three occasions he has broadcast from the area, from Inishbofin, from Leenane and from Clifden, and visits the area very frequently. Tubridy has connections to the area since his great-grandparents both taught in Connemara, and his grandfather, a doctor, was a local TD.
Kerry: Film to be made about Blaskets
Eleanor McGrath and her husband, Cork man Finbar McCarthy, were in Dún Chaoin last weekend to meet Micheál de Mordha, the director of the Blasket Centre. The Canada-based couple are to make a full length romantic tragedy based on Great Blasket, on a budget of €5m. Eleanor first visited the area eight years ago and became interested in the islands after reading “The Islandman”. The film has acquired five patrons, Canadian Ambassador Loyola Hearn, Deputy Brendan Griffin, UCD’s Dr John Kelly, broadcaster Donncha Ó Dúlaing and Micheál de Mordha. It is expected to be released in 2013 to coincide with the sixtieth anniversary of the abandonment of the island.
Kildare: Second year for literary festival in Newbridge
For the second year the Gerard Manley Hopkins Literary Festival is to take place in Newbridge, having moved from Monasterevin two years ago. Based in Newbridge College during the last week of this month, the festival will this year feature the film premiere of “The Wreck of the Deutschland” by James McKenna, a poetry reading from presidential candidate Michael D. Higgins, and a concert by Mairéid Burke, the Limerick-born principal with the English National Opera. The festival has attracted guests from twenty-five countries.
Kilkenny: Open-air theatre in Ballykeeffe
As part of its summer tour of Ireland the Chapterhouse Theatre Company staged a performance of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre in Kilmanagh. Prior to the start of the performance the grounds of the worked-out quarry were opened for patrons to enjoy a picnic although refreshments were also provided. The amphitheatre was developed by the KBK Community Enterprise Group comprising Kilmanagh, Ballcallan and Killaloe and is used on an ongoing basis by a number of local groups.
Laois: Carol is named Queen
The finals of this year’s Queen of Festival Francais de Portarlington took place in the Anvil Inn in Portarlington last week. Four had made it through to the finals, including Niamh Bracken, Nicolle Dunne, Carol Lambe and Leanne McCormack, and it was Carol who was named this year’s Queen. She will now automatically go forward into next year’s Rose of Tralee Laois regional final. The Festival takes place this weekend and according to Arlene Foy, PRO for the festival committee, thousands of visitors are expected in the town for the three-day event.
Leitrim: Leitrim has great gas
According to Richard Moorman, chief executive of Tamboran Resources, Leitrim has the best gas, and his company is due to drill hundreds of gas wells over the next fifteen years. The drills will be in the Lough Allen Basin, with most of them within the county. The main focus of the company, who have vowed to consult with local planners at all stages of their work, will be south of Thur mountain, not far from Glenfarne. The drilling will necessitate the building of new equipment as Tamboran Resources’ American equipment is too big to use in Ireland.
Limerick: Foundations and lamps for Sarsfield Bridge
The Department of Transport has allocated €250,000 for repair work to be carried out on Sarsfield Bridge in Limerick city. The eighteenth century construction will have reinforcements carried out on the underwater foundations, with the work due to begin next month. Work is also to be carried out on the lamps on the bridge, untouched since the late 1970s, and these are to be rewired with funding provided by the City Council. This will entail removing the lamps and work is not expected to begin until the autumn.
Longford: International Day in Edgeworthstown
Given that there are fourteen different nationalities represented among the pupils of St Mary’s National School in Edgeworthstown, it was no surprise that school principal Helen O’Gorman decided to hold an International Day. The event, in the planning since May, was held in the new sports hall and featured profiles on each country as well as dishes native to the countries, prepared by the parents. Among these were Ola Sumbo from Nigeria, four of whose children attend the school, and Bridie Halpin, who returned from Connecticut five years ago.
Louth: Charity shop has unusual donation
The Enable Ireland shop in Shop Street, Drogheda, is used to having jewellery brought in as donations, but they were taken aback when someone dropped in with a gold engagement ring. Shop manager Patrice Maloney said they had had the ring valued by Fox’s Jewellers on Shop Street who told them it was worth more than €600. Already there has been considerable interest in the three-stone diamond ring for which, Patrice says, they will be looking for offers of over €300. The ring is believed to be less than thirty years old and it is not known whether it was a man or a woman who brought it into the shop.
Mayo: Glenhest principal bows out
At the age of nineteen Seán Ó Cionfhaola took over as principal of Cloondaff National School in Glenhest, straight from his training at St Patrick’s in Drumcondra, and forty-six years later he has just retired. A resident of Ballyheane, Castlebar, Seán began his career when the school had fifty pupils, though it is now down to twenty-four. A Mass in the school grounds was celebrated to honour his retirement and this was followed by a number of presentations from the school and the community. The new principal of Cloondaff is Deirdre Nevin from Newport.
Meath: Rosemary has an eye for a good picture
Rosemary Murphy from Kells is the daughter of keen amateur photographer Leo Murphy so perhaps it is no surprise that she has been winning photographic competitions herself. However at five years of age it is perhaps remarkable that she won the Danny O’Brien Memorial prize at the recent Swift Festival in Trim against adult competition. The theme of the competition was ‘little and large’ and Rosemary took a photograph of a pair of her father’s shoes alongside her own baby shoes. She now has her own digital camera, the prize for the competition.
Monaghan: Twelve vie for Muckno title
Twelve local girls will be competing this weekend for the title of Muckno Mania Festival Queen, at present held by Lisa McEneaney. Now in its tenth year, the competition was inaugurated in 2002 when the title was bestowed on Grainne Rossiter. This year’s line-up comprises Grace Denny, Rebecca Dykes, Danielle Fegan, Marie Fox, Elaine Hobbs, Louise McKeever, Ciara McGee, Alison Mackin, Rachel Maxwell, Hannah Mooney, Emma Parker and Katie Walsh. The girls have undergone a stage interview and will also be interviewed privately over the weekend.
Offaly: Memorial wall opened in Rahan
The president of the GAA, Christy Cooney, was in Rahan near Tullamore recently for the official opening of a memorial to the late Colin Dunne. A Hurling Wall has been installed at the Shamrocks GAA pitch in Rahan and is dedicated to the memory of Colin, who died while running the Barcelona Marathon for charity in March, 2009. Colin’s parents, Bernie and Tom, and his sister Ciara were joined by other family members and friends as well as club players and members, many of whom paid tribute to the former captain of the club’s senior hurling and football teams.
Roscommon: Retirement and Jubilee for Clonfad priest
Father Sean Kilbane celebrated both his retirement and the Golden Jubilee of his ordination last week in the parish of Moore and Clonfad, and a large crowd turned out for the occasion. Father Sean, who spent thirteen years as a missionary in Nigeria, came to the parish four years ago. Archbishop Joseph Cassidy was chief celebrant at a Mass in Our Lady of the Rosary church in Clonfad which was followed by a social event in the local hall. Among the gifts for Father Sean was a piece of cut glass presented by Padraig Kilduff, sacristan in Clonfad, while a presentation was also made by Moore sacristan Mary Kelly.
Sligo: Unusual entertainment for Sligo diners
Patrons enjoying their meal at Conrad’s Kitchen on Rockwood Parade in Sligo had an usual ‘floor show’ to accompany their dining experience. While they ate a number of workmen began to remove the signage from the front of the premises, owned by celebrity chef Conrad Gallagher, which they had installed only a short time ago. The signs had been put in place after Gallagher left his restaurant in the Model on The Mall to take over the premises vacated by Caesar’s Restaurant. The work from the chef’s agent was that the restaurant was merely rebranding.
Tipperary: Hurler undertakes go-kart marathon
Former county hurler Michael Cleary from Nenagh spent last weekend covering a total of eighty kilometres in a go-kart, accompanied by Robert Quinlan from Holycross. The pair were seen off from Clonmel by fellow hurler Eoin Kelly and travelled through Cahir and Cashel to reach Thurles on Friday afternoon. The following day it was rugby player Denis Leamy who started them from Roscrea from where their route took them through Moneygall and Toomevara before finishing in Nenagh. The idea behind the event was to raise money for Crumlin children’s Hospital Research Foundation.
Tyrone: Lottery funds to help Sion Mills restoration
Funding of £89,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund will enable the Hearth Revolving Fund and the Sion Mills Building Preservation Trust to begin work on the restoration of one of the listed buildings in the town. The stable block was designed by Victorian architect William Unsworth but is now in a state of disrepair. Three years ago scaffolding was erected around the building when the clock tower collapsed and, although the Lottery funding will help, a total of £1.5m is necessary for the restoration work on the stable block to be completed.
Waterford: Local company helps charities during big event
During the recent visit of the Tall Ships a group of volunteers from Hasbro Ireland spent many hours in a marquee on the North Quays or in a temporary outlet on Market Street selling jigsaws. The special edition two-hundred piece jigsaws featured four different designs using images of the ships from 2005, and five thousand were manufactured for the occasion. The forty volunteers managed to raise more than €16,000, with the money to be donated to three local charities, one of which is the Sacred Heart Centre on Lady Lane.
Westmeath: From trains to bikes on Athlone-Mullingar line
A draft Green Routes Strategy put forward by Athlone Town Council includes the suggestion that the Athlone to Mullingar railway line, now disused, be made into a cycleway. Although it is hoped that at some time in the future the line can once again carry trains, in the meantime a feasibility study is to be carried out into the issue. According to Director of Services Barry Kehoe the conversion would not cost a great deal and the proposal was generally welcomed by council members.
Wexford: Emigration History centre opened in New Ross
The National Centre for Emigration History was formally opened in New Ross last week by Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar and dancer Michael Flatley. The centre, located on the quayside close to the replica famine ship the Dunbrody, also features an Irish America Hall of Fame which honours, among others, the Kennedy family, Walt Disney and Grace Kelly. One of the more recent emigrants was Michael Flatley’s mother, who left the nearby village of St Mullins to go to the United States and who was in attendance at the opening of the centre.
Wicklow: Bat walks in the mountains
Two bat walks have been scheduled for the next two months, both taking place at dusk when the public will be invited to congregate at the Information Office in Wicklow Mountains National Park. The attic of the building has become a maternity roost for a colony of almost three hundred Soprano Pipistrelle bats and participants will see them emerging from the attic as dusk approaches. Everyone will then be led on a guided walk, equipped with both torches and insect repellent, to observe a number of other bat species.
Week of July 21
Antrim: Residents to fight closure of bank
The residents of Whitehead are to fight the proposed closure by the Northern Bank of the town’s only bank. In announcing the closure for October the bank said it is responding to changing banking habits and advances in technology, but it will mean that the people of Whitehead will have to travel to Carrickfergus, with which bank the Whitehead branch is to merge, or to Larne. Among those opposing the closure are Joe Reid, the former principal of Carrickfergus College, and East Antrim Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson.
Armagh: Official opening of Drumarg community garden
Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland earlier this month performed the official opening of a new community garden in the Drumarg area of Armagh. According to Stephen McCleary, chairperson of the local community association, the vegetable garden was established on a derelict plot of ground in the estate and now features raised beds planted with a wide variety of vegetables. These are being sold door to door by committee members but it is hoped that eventually a farm shop will open at the garden.
Carlow: Carlow woman sets cross-Channel record
The fifteen months that Maighread McMahon spent training in icy waters has paid off after she was part of the first two-person Irish relay team to swim across the English Channel. Accompanying the Blackbog Road swimmer was her friend Lyndsey Dunne and the pair completed the swim in a time of thirteen hours and fifty-three minutes. Each spent two hours in the water and two hours out and in the process of the swim raised more than €10,000 for the Irish Cancer Society.
Cavan: Gaels break piggy-back record
At Terry Coyle Park in Cavan last weekend members of Cavan Gaels and their friends broke the record for the number of people taking part in a piggy-back race. One hundred and sixty eight pairs were set on their way by Jacqueline Maloney, with the official timekeeper Garrett Fortune recording a completion of the course by all but two pairs. This sets a new record of three hundred and thirty six, compared with the three hundred and four who completed the race in Dundee earlier this year.
Clare: Celtic Mist arrives in Kilrush
Last Saturday saw the arrival at Kilrush Creek Marina of the vessel Celtic Mist, formerly owned by Charlie Haughey, for use as a research vessel by the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group. The vessel, which took part in the recent Tall Ships event in Waterford, was a gift from the Haughey family and Shannon Development sponsored the IWDG by providing a berth at the marina. Celtic Mist will be used for the survey of whales, dolphins and other marine wildlife, and will also be used as a training vessel to teach people to carry out marine surveys.
Cork: Cyclists brave elements in Cork city
A total of ninety-three cyclists set off from the Camden Palace Hotel in Cork on Saturday evening to take part in the annual Naked Bike Ride, now in its third year in the city. Undertaken to protest against car-dominated transport, the cycle followed a six-kilometre route to the Marina. Before they set out the cyclists were offered body paint by fifty local artists at the hotel but this was the only protection they had against the weather, although it stayed dry for the actual cycle.
Derry: One hundred years of Morelli’s to be celebrated
A photographic exhibition has already opened and other events are planned to mark the centenary of the arrival of the Morelli family in Ireland. The exhibition at the Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart will run for the month of July, while a family fun day will take place this coming weekend and a charity ball will be held at the end of September. Daniela Morelli has published a book, ‘Cento Anni: One Hundred Years of Morelli’s Ice Cream’, chronicling the family story from 1911 to the arrival of Angelo Morelli in Portstewart in 1927 and on to the present cafe/restaurant and gift shop.
Donegal: Dramatic rescue near Dunfanaghy
It was the opportune presence of two men on a fishing holiday that helped in the rescue of six people whose boat sank near Dunfanaghy last week. Richard and Sam Burgess from Co. Down heard a distress call while out fishing and immediately responded. They spotted a mostly submerged vessel between Marble Hill beach and Portnablagh headland and soon found six passengers, including two young children, in the water. The family, from the Creeslough area, were successfully taken on board their boat and brought to Portnablagh harbour, and the brothers’ reaction was that it was the life jackets that saved the lives of the capsized boat’s passengers.
Down: Newtownards company takes major rose prize
The oldest rose-breeding company in the world was one of the winners at the recent Rose Week held at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in Belfast. Colin Dickson is the sixth generation of his family to breed roses, at their nurseries in Newtownards, and he was delighted to be presented with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Award for the best cluster flowered variety for his rose Rebecca Mary. The rose had been commissioned by an English doctor to celebrate his wife’s fortieth birthday.
Dublin: Killiney brothers have cool way of fundraising
Gerard and Daniel Wolfe from Killiney are hoping to raise enough money to compete in the World Series events in mountain biking in August and September. To do so they decided to cycle from Dublin to Galway in tandem and pulling a fridge behind them. The fridge, which weighed one hundred kilos, contained energy drinks and was powered by the brothers as they cycled. Their father, meanwhile, carried food for the journey in their van which he drove ahead of the cycling pair.
Fermanagh: Swimmers to take to the Lough for charity
A group of swimmers including Sky Sports presenter Graham Little, Chelsey Wilson and Paul Colville, all from Enniskillen, will be taking to the waters of the Lower and Upper Lough Erne at the end of the month to raise money for the Ulster Cancer Foundation. Led by Graham the team of swimmers will start out from Crom Castle and complete their forty-eight mile swim at Belleek at the far end of Lower Lough Erne. In doing so they are hoping to break the record held by a ladies’ team from England, of twenty-two hours and twelve minutes.
Galway: New home for Irish school
Coláiste na Coiribe, which has been housed in a former national school at Cemetery Cross in Galway city, is to have a new school on the other side of the city at Ballyburke, Knocknacarra. According to principal Tomás Mac Phaidin, the new building will see an increase in school numbers from the current three hundred and fifty to seven hundred and twenty, and the new building will also have twenty-two practical rooms and a sports hall. Work on the new school and on another new Community School in Doughiska is expected to be completed by 2013.
Kerry: Unusual art project at Siamsa Tire
The current artist in residence at Siamsa Tire in Tralee, Sandra Vita Ann Minchin, is planning a very unusual art project. Entitled ‘Ars Longa, Vita Brevis’, the project will involve the tattooing on Sandra’s back of ‘Vase of Flowers’ by the seventeenth century Dutch artist Jan Van Davidz de Heem. When the work is complete Sandra plans to auction the artwork, with the highest bidder receiving his ‘painting’ after her death. She is inviting the public along to view the work in progress and she expects it to take one hundred and twenty hours to complete the tattoo.
Kildare: Kildare town man has answers to oil spill
Journalist Tom Bergin from Kildare town has told the story of last year’s oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in his book ‘Spills and Spin: The Inside Story of BP’. A former oil broker and now reporting for Reuters on the oil industry, Tom grew up on the Monasterevin Road where his father Charlie still lives in the house occupied by the Bergin family for more than a hundred years. He attended the De La Salle Primary School and Clongowes College before going on to University College Dublin. Tom’s sister Maureen still lives in Kildare and is married to auctioneer Jack Conway.
Kilkenny: Loreto to have extension
With the signing of the contract to build the new extension to Loreto Secondary School in Kilkenny by the board of management and McCann Builders, the first sod was turned last week. Carrying out the task was Sister Carmel Gallagher, who was principal of the school in 2001 and who was the prime mover in achieving the extension. Sister Tunney told those assembled that the school was originally built for four hundred and fifty students and it now has more than eight hundred, so the extension is greatly needed.
Laois: Gorta personnel accept cheque from Ballaghmore school
The national president of Gorta, Kevin Higgins, and Liz Gowing, who manages the Gorta shop in Portlaoise, paid a visit to Gaelscoil and tSli Dala in Ballaghmore on the last day of term. There they first watched a seven-minute film made by staff and students; ‘An Gorta Mor’ linked the Irish Famine with present day famine overseas. Following the showing of the film Kevin and Liz were presented with a cheque for €310 which represented money raised by the sale of copies of the film to family and friends.
Leitrim: Laura had to bow out of European race
Laura Reynolds from Eslin suffered a disappointment last weekend when she was unable to complete in the European Under-23 Track and Field competition in the Czech Republic. The Mohill Athletic Club race-walker had been receiving treatment for a shin injury and hoped it was cured but it returned after she went back into training after taking a week off to rest it. However Laura, who is a student at Dublin City University, still hopes to be able to compete in the World Student Games in China in August.
Limerick: Brother opens McCourt museum
Malachy McCourt was in Limerick last week to perform the official opening of the Frank McCourt Museum in his brother’s honour. Located at the site of the former Leamy School on Hartstonge Street, attended by Frank McCourt and his brothers, the museum was the initiative of artist Una Heaton and in it she has recreated the Limerick familiar to all who have read “Angela’s Ashes”. A bronze bust of the author stands on a plinth at the entrance to the museum while a collection of memorabilia includes school books and photos donated by former pupils of the school.
Longford: Three make shooting panel
Three junior shooters from the county have all been called up to the Irish National Shooting Championships which take place at the end of the month. For Adam Howard from Newtownforbes it is the first time he has been selected, while Darren Kenny from Longford and Blaine Carberry from Newtowncashel were also in the squad last year. All three say they learnt clay pigeon shooting from their fathers, with Adam the son of Pauline and William Howard, Darren’s parents being Barry and Margaret Kenny, and Blaine’s Rosie and Tom Carberry.
Louth: Double hole in one for Carlingford golfer
Last week Emily McGuinness from Carlingford was taking part in a practice round prior to the Irish Girls’ Close Championship, at Murvagh golf club near Donegal town. On the par-three fifth, and using an eight iron, the eighteen-year-old surprised herself by achieving her very first hole in one. Deciding to try another shot from the same tee, this time with a nine iron, Emily was even more astounded when she once again scored a hole in one. A member of Greenore Golf Club, she is studying biotechnology at NUI Maynooth.
Mayo: Nobody knows who bought the ticket
For the second time this year Kenny’s newsagents on Bridge Street in Louisburgh has sold a winning lottery ticket, but they do not know who the purchaser was. In January a local person won €500,000 on a ticket bought at the shop while last weekend one of the tickets sold for €16 brought a windfall of €3.8m. However Frank and Claire Kenny have no idea as the identity of the lucky customer, but they say they had a good number of tourists into the shop and feel the winner could be someone from outside the town.
Meath: Fame beckons for Navan nine-year-old
Joey O’Sullivan from Kilcarn saw an advertisement in the local paper looking for young actors to take part in the film ‘Stella Days’ starring Martin Sheen. Thinking he might get a job as an extra since he had no acting experience, Joey went along to the auditions and was given the plum part of the leading child role. The son of Karen and Joe O’Sullivan and a pupil at St Joseph’s Convent of Mercy School, Joe travelled to Tipperary and Dublin for the filming, which took five weeks to complete. He has now acquired an agent and is appearing in a McDonald’s advertisement.
Monaghan: A flying versus a swimming pig
Just as the Muckno Mania Festival was getting underway a sculpture of a flying pig appeared on the N2 route into town, but it has caused some argument. Apart from confusion as the National Roads Authority had earlier agreed to allocate money for a piece of art work close to the new Castlblayney bypass, there was also criticism that the sculpture depicted a flying pig. Local people have pointed out that the origin of the Muckno Pig tells of a black pig swimming in Lough Muckno, though festival chairman Tommy McGuire said it was perhaps time for a new legend to be created.
Offaly: Anniversary of Friends of Chernobyl celebrated
The Tullamore Court Hotel was the setting for a celebration last week to mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Friends of Chernobyl Children Tullamore. The evening was attended by the latest group of twenty children from Chernobyl with their host families and also by past host families and supporters. Chairman of the committee Padraig Mooney thanked all those involved with the group since 1994 when it was established under the auspices of the Knights of Columbanus in co-operation with the Kells Committee.
Roscommon: New plaque to commemorate Kiltoom man
A new memorial is to be erected to the memory of Frank Eivers from Ballybay, Kiltoom, who died in 1961 when he was a passenger in the plane carrying UN Secretary Dag Hammarskjold to the Congo. The twenty-eight-year-old had been married just four weeks and was serving as a security guard. A new plaque is to be unveiled alongside an existing plaque on the family home in Kiltoom, the unveiling to be carried out by Chief Superintendant Tom Curley; Frank Eivers was a member of the gardaí before volunteering for UN duty. The unveiling will take place in September to mark the fiftieth anniversary of his death.
Sligo: Council is preparing for winter
Rather than be caught out by a shortage of salt in future winters, the County Council is to build a salt barn at Ballydrand Union Quarry near Ballisodare. For the past two winters the council has been using a store at this site for salt but had difficulty keeping it covered and this led to it losing its effectiveness in dealing with ice. In addition to the covered salt storage area, which will cover two hundred and sixty square metres, a new access road is also to be provided, as is an onsite vehicle turning area.
Tipperary: Model pupil earns silver award
When Róisín Moloney completed her last day at the Convent Girls’ National School in Newport this month she was presented with a silver tray to mark her special achievement. For the youngest daughter of Gerry and Margaret Moloney from Shower had complete eight years of schooling without missing a single day. Róisín was presented with her award by school principal Miriam Foley at the school’s annual graduation ceremony and she was congratulated by the other children in her class.
Tyrone: Daniel in courageous rescue
Daniel McCauley, although he is unable to swim himself, immediately went to the aid of a teenager after he saw him jump into the River Strule in Omagh early one morning last week. The seventeen-year-old had apparently jumped into the river to escape from a menacing dog and Daniel scrambled down the bank after looking from the bridge and seeing the youth up to his neck in the water. Fortunately the twenty-one-year-old was able to rescue the youth by standing on the base of the bridge column and pulling him to safety.
Waterford: History of railway to be researched
WITh Care has been commissioned by the Waterford & Suir Valley Railway to research the history of railway lines in the area for a permanent exhibition at Kilmeadan station. The railway organisation is also seeking volunteers who have connections with the railway and who will take time to record their memories. They are particularly interested to hear from any women who were involved with the railway line and with emigrants whose last journey might have started at Kilmeadan station. It is proposed that the exhibition will give an idea of the day to day life of the railway.
Westmeath: New suite opened at Glasson
Tom and Breda Reid last week performed the official opening of the new conference and banqueting suite at Glasson Country House Hotel and Golf Club, although the €2m extension was completed last year. The three hundred capacity banqueting suite has already been used for a number of weddings and the two-storey addition to the club has been designed to fit in with the existing Killinure House. In addition to the conference and banqueting suites the extension also includes extra bars, meeting rooms, relaxation sites and new kitchen facilities.
Wexford: Three priests celebrate long service
At the Friary in Wexford town a Mass was concelebrated to mark the fortieth anniversary of the ordination of Franciscan Father Aidan Walsh and the sixtieth anniversary for Father Fritz O’Kelly. After the Mass the congregation adjourned to the Friary Hall for refreshments. Meanwhile in Carrig on Bannow the people attended a Mass celebrated by Bishop Denis Brennan for the fortieth anniversary of the ordination of their parish priest, Father James Kehoe. After Mass Bishop Brennan and Father Kehoe were taken to the community centre in a vintage car belonging to Greg Neville from Ballymitty.
Wicklow: Hannah is chosen for Spartan challenge
Hannah Nolan from Tinahely has been selected for the Spar Spartan Challenge, involving one person from each of the twenty-six counties and culminating in the Dublin City Marathon. Hannah, married to Gerry and with two children, qualified by losing half her body weight, reducing from sixteen stone to eight stone in just two years. She has completed a few ten-kilometre races and also took part in the Flora Women’s Mini-Marathon in June. In October she will begin a college course to qualify as a fitness instructor.
Week of July 30
Antrim: Headstone for Titanic victim
The first person to die in connection with the Titanic was a fifteen-year-old from Belfast who was working on the vessel in 1910 when he fell and fractured his skull. Now a century later Samuel Scott will have a headstone placed at his unmarked grave at Belfast City cemetery. At the weekend Sammy Douglas, DUP MLA for East Belfast, was present at the unveiling ceremony and spoke of the importance of shipbuilding to the people of the area. Also attending the ceremony was Tom Hartley, a former Lord Mayor of Belfast.
Armagh: Craigavon woman says thanks to hospital
As a gesture of thanks to the Glenanne and Mandeville cancer units at Craigavon Area Hospital, local woman Lorna Jennings from Lakelands is organising a fancy dress fun walk this weekend. Lorna, who is married to Graham, was diagnosed with breast cancer in December and following treatment at the cancer unit she was given the all-clear in April of this year. She is a regular walker around the Craigavon Lakes and thought they would make a good setting for a fundraising walk, and decided to make it a fancy dress occasion to add to the fun.
Carlow: Relative novice reaches international standard
He may only have started taking part in competitions last year, but Richard Looney from Graiguecullen is now representing Ireland in the UK’s Strongeest Man competition. This takes place in Belfast in August where he will be competing against sixteen of Britain’s strongest men, and the twenty-nine-year-old has been training for the past fifteen months. A self-employed carpenter, Richard was encouraged in the sport by his trainers, Daniel Walcak and Rafal Wilcynski and also by his girlfriend, Fidelma Murphy from Myshall.
Cavan: New sculptures for Cavan town
This week saw the unveiling of five new sculptures in Cavan town, funded by Peace III. The pieces, by local artists, will be located on Farnham Street and Cathedral Road at sites including the Johnston Central Library, Cavan Courthouse and Con Smith Park. The sculptors, who also produced pieces for the Fleadh last year, are Joey Burns, Padraig Cahill, Joe Doherty, Edwin Lynch and Tina Quinn. They all received input from community groups in the creation of their work, while sculptures produced by prisoners from Loughan House, in collaboration with artist Jackie McKenna, will also be on view.
Clare:  Palace accepts Lahinch artist’s work
The painting by artist Michael Hanrahan from Lahinch, which records the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Ireland, has been accepted as a gift by Buckingham Palace. The painting has been on display at Whyte’s auction rooms in Dublin and Michael is now due to travel to London early next month to present the painting of the Queen and President McAleese at the Garden of Remembrance. He completed a number of works covering the visit and seven of these will be auctioned at Whyte’s in October.
Cork: Renovation of old guesthouse completed
Ciaran Cronin has completed the renovation of his grandmother’s farmhouse in Ahakista on the Sheep’s Head peninsula and, in a novel marketing ploy, he has written to the first paying guests of the 1960s to offer them half-price rates if they would like to return. The civil engineer came across Kitty McCarthy’s first newspaper advertisements, as well as the visitors’ book which included the names of tourists from Britain and Europe as well as Ireland. His grandmother also offered space for horse-drawn caravans in a field beside her house.
Derry: Three Derry youths in international competition
Three students from the Lumen Christi College in 
Derry are in Houston Texas to take part in the final stage of the International Space Settlement Design Competition at the NASA Johnson space Center. Dara Canavan, Harry Hutton and Emmett McDaid are part of a group of twelve students who made it through the qualifying rounds in London. In Houston they will be asked to design an economically viable space settlement and they already know that theirs will be centred on life on Mars. Winners of the competition are in the running to be offered internships in NASA.
Donegal: Double success for Breege
A raffle held in Killybegs brought double success for Breege McShane, who lives close to Sarah Jessica Parker’s holiday home in Kilcar. First of all Breege won a handbag donated by the “Sex and the City” star, a Paco Rabanne le 69 bag worth €1,500 which contained a handwritten note from the donor. The bag was kept at the local Garda station prior to the raffle, and Garda Kevin Gilgunn was present at the draw. The raffle, held by the Killybegs Women’s Group on their charity night, also brought Breege a holiday at the Sandhouse Hotel in Rossnowlagh.
Down: Newry shop rises from the ashes
Following the disastrous fire which destroyed the Around-a-Pound shop on Hill Street in Newry last year, the official reopening took place last week. The star of the event was motorbike champion Michael Dunlop, who distributed signed posters, while also attending the launch were Down manager James McCartan and former and current players Benny Coulter, Danny Hughes and Damian Rafferty. Following the fire the internal walls and roof of the three-storey building collapsed and the shop had to move to temporary premises across the road.
Dublin: Dublin museum to be restored
The octagonal building on South William Street in Dublin which housed the Dublin Civic Museum until eight years ago is to be restored in three phases by the Irish Georgian Society. They have secured the eighteenth century building from the City Council for a nominal rent and will begin with the front part of the building which will become the society’s headquarters from next year. Believed to be the first pubic exhibition gallery in the British Isles, the building was later used by Dublin Corporation for meetings.
Fermanagh: Microcar is a family heirloom
A car purchased by the late Jim Monaghan from Lisnaskea in 1975 is believed to be the only one of its type in Ireland and has become a family heirloom. There are only about twenty examples of the Peel P50 microcar left in the world and one, manufactured in the Isle of Man, is owned by the Monaghan family. Jim’s brother Pat had the car restored for Jim’s two sons, Stephen and Edward, receiving help from a man in Scotland who had the original documentation for the car. Jim died a year after Stephen was born and the car has great sentimental value for the family.
Galway: Craft revived on Inishbofin
A craft has been revived on Inishbofin, leading to the launch last week at the Old Pier on the island of an old-style currach, created by participants in a course on traditional currach building run by County Galway VEC in collaboration with the island’s development co-op. Among those taking up the oars at the launch were Joe Cunnane, a champion currach rower in the 1960s, and his son John. The launch was performed by CEO of the VEC Seosamh MacDonnacha, while the boat was blessed by Father Tony Neville from Claddaghduff.
Kerry: Killarney couple win Wife-Carrying contest
Last year they were beaten into second place by two seconds but this year Anthony and Frances Greaney took the title at the Paddy Power National Wife-Carrying championship held in Sneem last weekend. The couple, from Ballycasheen in Killarney, were one of the few married couples among the eighteen that took part, and they had been in training for the contest for months. In addition to qualifying for the World Wife-Carrying Championship in Finland, the couple also took home a prize of €1,000.
Kildare: Memorial unveiled to missing Monasterevin man
A gathering took place recently in the grounds of the Stephen O’Rourke Memorial Park in Ballykelly to honour the memory of a Monasterevin man who went missing in Florida ten years ago. No trace has been found of John Rowan, who had been living in the US for fifteen years. A memorial service was held, presided over by Father Denis O’Sullivan, and members of John’s family, including his mother Peg and father John, spoke to those assembled. A granite seat was unveiled at the site and yellow balloons were released into the sky.
Kilkenny: Perfect pitch for Dunamaggin
Six rows of ride-on mowers lined up in Dunnamaggin last weekend to break the world record for the most cutting at the same time. A total of seven hundred and eight mowers, watched by more than two and a half thousands spectators, mowed the local GAA pitch for exactly one minute. There was never any doubt that the record would be broken as the previous record, set in Australia, featured only eighty-six mowers. The machines came from all over Ireland, with two hundred arriving the day before, and the successful record attempt also raised money for special needs charities
Laois: New garden opened at Ballintubbert
Minister Jimmy Deenihan performed the official opening last weekend of what are the largest public gardens in the country at Ballintubbert, Stradbally. Former residents of the house include poet Cecil Day Lewis, and actors John Hurt and Sebastian Shaw. The gardens, covering fourteen acres, have been developed over the past ten years by Fergus and Orna Hoban and include the Lutyens Garden and Robinson Meadows, named after garden designers Edwin Lutyens and William Robinson.
Leitrim: Further funding for Glencar
A second investment by Fáilte Ireland of some €300,000 will see more improvements carried out at Glencar waterfall. An earlier investment by the group of €262,500 has led to the development of a coach park, restoration work being carried out on the pathway leading to the waterfall, and the development of a bog walk including picnic areas and interpretative panels. The new funding will be used to install a viewing platform at the attraction, which received a visit last week from Minister for Tourism Michael Ring.
Limerick: Corbally girl wins title
Jemma Burke from Corbally was bestowed with the title of Miss Limerick World at Molly Malone’s bar last week and she will now be going forward to compete in the Miss Ireland competition in Dublin on August 20. The twenty-year-old is a marketing student at Limerick Institute of Technology and also works part time in Brown Thomas and the Icon nightclub; the latter establishment sponsored her in the competition. Jemma’a first task was to travel to Dublin for a photo shoot in preparation for the Miss Ireland competition.
Longford: County to have its first bungee jump
At the end of August Longford town will see its first bungee jump in a fundraiser for local charity Rehab. The event is the initiative of the Longford Leader and anyone wishing to have a go is being asked to raise a minimum of €120 in sponsorship. However according to Dessie Connolly, commercial manager with the newspaper, there will also be a prize for the person who raises the most money. In addition to the bungee jump there will be other events taking place so that people of all ages can enjoy the day.
Louth: Charities to benefit from novice rowers
A crew of twelve, calling themselves Oars of Hope, will this coming weekend row their way from the Isle of Man to Drogheda Port, a distance of one hundred and sixteen kilometres. The crew will be guided by champion rower Cameron Hughes on the voyage and in the process they will be raising funds for Boyne Fishermen’s River Rescue Service, Drogheda Youth Development and the Gary Kelly Cancer Support Centre. Their arrival in Drogheda on Saturday will be celebrated with a family day of celebration on the South Quay at Scotch Hall.
Mayo: Weather got the better of baptism plans
The plans by Chris and Sarah Burden to have their daughter baptised on the island of Inishglora, off Belmullet, were scuppered due to bad weather. The couple renewed their wedding vows on the island three years ago and had hoped that their daughter Thea could be baptised there. Thea’s great-grandparents, John and Bridget Gaughan, were the last residents on the island. Sarah herself was baptised on the island in 1982 prior to her parents, Sadie and Richard Gaughan, emigrating to Britain. Now Chris and Sarah hope that one day Thea will be able to be married on Inishglora.
Meath: A trip to the seaside for the albino snake
Among the favourite places for albino Burmese python Hiss, owned by Peter Trinder, are the rock pools on Laytown beach, where Peter takes his pet to aid his digestion. Hiss is at present fourteen feet long but is only one year old, and will eventually grow to be twenty-four feet in length. Peter and his wife Ann share their bedroom with Hiss and two other snakes, and they also have a savannah lizard named Bosco which Ann brings to the beach where it likes to climb the rocks.
Monaghan: Showtime in Castleblayney
This weekend sees the holding of the fifty-sixth annual Castleblayney Show at the Show Grounds on the Carrickmacross road, by permission of Deirdre McKenna, and the event begins with the Show Dance in the Glencarn Hotel in the town. The highlight of the dance will be the selection of the Queen of the Show, who will receive a make-over, a photo shoot and a number of other prizes. A raffle is to be held on Monday with the prize a luxury break for two in the Stillorgan Park Hotel in Dublin, as well as a number of other prizes. The official opening of the show will be performed by country singer Declan Nerney, who will lead the Vintage Parade.
Offaly: Clara hosts Bog Day
This weekend see the hosting of International Bog Day by Clara Bog Visitor Centre. The event, first held in Scotland twenty years ago, celebrates the beauty of bogs and the need for their conservation. A guided walk to examine the flora of Clara Bog will be led by National Parks & Wildlife Service staff based at the Clara centre, and there will also be an introduction to moths, using information gathered in a survey carried out in late summer by staff members. Events to mark the day are taking place around the world including Scotland, Wales and North America.
Roscommon: Anne decides to act on famine
Anne Farrell from Oran decided to do something for the people of Somalia and set up SURF, Somalia Urgent Relief Fund, in order to generate ideas among the people of the county to raise money. She had help in publicising her venture when priests at Masses in the locality read out a notice about SURF, and Ann said she was overwhelmed by the response. She is looking for ordinary people to do extraordinary things, from people running cake sales to bigger organisations asking members to donate one euro each.
Sligo: Students honoured for Microsoft win
The four students of the Institute of Technology Sligo who reached the world finals of the Microsoft Imagine Cup were honoured last week with a civil reception, hosted by Mayor of Sligo Rosaleen O’Grady. Calum Cawley, Áine Conaghan, James McNamara and Matthew Padden had just returned from the US when they were invited to the Town Hall for the reception which was attended by representatives from Microsoft Ireland, members of the college community and family of friends of Team Hermes. The Microsoft Imagine Cup is the world’s leading student technology competition, with teams being entered from seventy countries.
Tipperary: Book shows county life in ‘60s and ‘70s
A book of photographs depicting life in the county in the 1960s and 1970s has been compiled by former RTE cameraman Donal Wylde, who was at one time a photographer with The Nationalist newspaper. “The Light of Other Days” comprises photographs of life in both town and country and features many places that have disappeared. The book, which was edited by Peter McNiff, a former RTE colleague of Mr Wylde’s, was launched in South Tipperary County Museum last week. Running in parallel to the publication is an exhibition in the museum featuring some of the photographs.
Tyrone: Omagh man at international language conference
Among those attending this year’s World Esperanto Congress in Copenhagen is John Murray from Omagh. The seventy-one-year-old uses the language to progress his outreach work for the Society of Friends and is one of some forty people in Ireland who speaks Esperanto. This year is the one hundred and twenty-fourth anniversary of the creation of the universal language by Ludwik Zamenhof and although it is not taught in schools here or in Britain, Mr Murray, a former language teacher himself, maintains that many young people are interested in it.
Waterford: Quaker burial ground to be renovated
Members of Waterford City Council have voted to have work carried out at the former Quaker burial ground in the St John’s Lane area of the city. At present it is being used as a car park and the proposal includes the provision of a seating area with plaques showing the names of all those buried there from the seventeenth century to the middle of the eighteenth century. The burial ground was given to the city council in the 1950s for the development of Wyse Park, with the condition that the place be kept under supervision as an open space for the benefit of the city.
Westmeath: Search for a Joe clone
A major part of the annual Joe Dolan festival, which takes place in Mullingar this weekend, will be the search for a Joe Dolan impersonator. The competition, which will take place in the Market Square, is open to both men and women non-professionals and there is a chance that the winner will feature in a television documentary about the singer, who died four years ago aged sixty-eight. Other attractions at the festival include the Joe Dolan Belvedere Bus Tour, a Farmers’ Market and a Craft Fair.
Wexford: From one theatre to another for Betty
Betty O’Brien has been a member of the Wexford Light Opera Society for the past forty-five years and took part in its recent Centenary Concert. After the event she and the other cast members celebrated in Simon’s Place and it was the early hours of the morning before she got to bed. However a few hours later Betty found herself in another theatre, this time at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin where she underwent a kidney transplant. Betty has been on dialysis for the past three years, travelling to Waterford three times a week, and is delighte3d to have her new kidney.
Wicklow: Sixth airshow a great success
The sixth Bray Air Spectacular, which took place last weekend, attracted a record eighty thousand people to view displays by the three-man Black Nights Defence Forces Parachute Display Team, The Blades, and Eddie Goggins, five-times Irish aerobatic champion. Some people took to yachts to view the displays, while others covered the area from the seafront to Bray Head. Those standing close to the spot where an Air Corps helicopter winched a crewman on board had to take cover from the sandstorm raised by the rotors.

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Until next time, many thanks for reading  and we hope you enjoyed this issue of County News.
Slan agus beannacht,
Bridget & Russ 
May the bearer of the news be safe
Gura slán an scéalaí