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 April:
ED. NOTE: If you are a new subscriber, this monthly news update is in addition to our regular newsletter. 
Week of April 8
Antrim: MC for Ballymena woman
Kylie Watson from Ballymena, a Lance Corporal in the British Army, has been awarded the Military Cross for her rescue of an injured Afghan soldier in Afghanistan. The twenty-three-year-old spent twenty minutes on exposed ground treating the injured man while under fire from the Taliban. Lance Corporal Watson was also commended for running through a waist-high ditch to give first aid to another Afghan soldier who had been injured. She is only the fourth woman to receive the Military Cross.
Armagh: Louise is coming home for birthday
Louise Minnis from Armagh is hoping to be home for her birthday at the end of April after having served for five months in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. A Lance Corporal in the British army, the twenty-two-year-old is the only woman in a nine-strong team of engineers who have been repairing broken down vehicles to get them back on the road. A former student of Armagh High School, Louise says her first visit when she arrives home a day before her birthday will be to the hairdresser.
Carlow: Reddy’s Bar wins window competition
The competition organised by Glór Cheatharlach as part of Féile na Gaeilge to decorate the windows of business premises for the national holiday was won by Reddy’s Bar. Carmel Reddy was presented with the Glór Cheatharlach Cup. The judges decided to reward the best efforts in a number of streets, leading to Swan’s Electrical being chosen for Tullow Street, Jennings’ Opticians and the Sue Ryder shop on Dublin Street/Burrin Street, and Kelly’s Pharmacy and Nursery Rhymes the selection for Kennedy Street.
Cavan: David is Person of the Year
The Anglo-Celt Rehab Cavan Person of the Year 2010 has been named as David Mulligan, who has been recognised for his work with a wide range of charities. These include Cavan MS, Cavan Access Association and the local branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association. David and his wife Mary were at the Hotel Kilmore last week to receive the award. At the same ceremony Lisa and Leona Maguire from Ballyconnell were presented with the Special Achievement Award for their success on the golf course over the past six years.
Clare: Keith qualifies for World championships
Keith Whyte from Ennis, who took up running just under four years ago, has now qualified to represent Ireland in the 100k at the World and European Champions to be held in Holland in September. Keith was a member of the Irish team which came second in the 100k ultra marathon in Scotland last weekend, finishing third in his team and seventh overall. His time of seven hours twenty-eight minutes in that marathon led to his qualification for Holland. A tyre fitter at Pat Foudy’s Tyre Centre, Keith began his running career with the Clare Crusaders.
Cork: Student receives taxi drivers’ bursary
Patrick Kelleher from Fountainstown is this year’s winner of the Bright Eyes competition backed by the Cork Taxi Co-op. Their spokesman Dominic Casey said the taxis have been ferrying students for the past forty years and wanted to give something back. Patrick was given his €1,650 registration fee, the money being raised by personal donations from the eighty-five taxi drivers in the co-op. A final year student, his business plan was judged to be the best in the competition, run jointly with the university’s Entrepreneurial and Social Society.
Derry: Dungiven woman receives award in London
Carolann Carlile from Dungiven, who turned her skill at baking into a viable business with the help of The Prince’s Trust, was presented with the RBS Enterprise Award at The Prince’s Trust and L’Oreal Paris Celebrate Success Awards in London. The twenty-six-year-old’s cafe, The Cupcake, now has a staff of three and Carolann also takes orders for decorating cakes for weddings and other special occasions. The Prince’s Trust helps young people from fourteen to thirty years of age who dropped out of school early; Before turning her life around Carolann had issues with alcohol as a teenager and became pregnant at the age of seventeen.
Donegal: Lough Derg mgr celebrates 10th year
When Deborah Maxwell from Castlederg answered an advertisement for the position of manager of a “visitor attraction site” in Donegal, she little realised that the place in question was the pilgrimage island of Lough Derg. And Deborah was an unlikely candidate, being a member of 2nd Castlederg Presbyterian Church, but she found that she and the prior on the island had much in common. In her ten years working at the site Deborah has herself completed the three-day pilgrimage a number of times.
Down: Public thanks from heart attack victim
Samuel Hobson, who collapsed after suffering a heart attack during an Apprentice Boys service in Rathfriland some time ago, hosted a civic reception at Banbridge Civic Buildings to publicly thank those who helped him. One of the first to attend him was local firefighter and technician at Rathfriland School Sammy Heenan, who was assisted by police officers Jon McDonald, Peter Keely and Alan Feely. Also working on Mr Hobson for the twenty minutes before the ambulance arrived were fire fighter Martin Mackin and Ruth Nelson, a local nurse.
Dublin: Dun Laoghaire pavilion to go
An Bord Pleanála has given permission for the demolition of the old Dun Laoghaire Golf Club pavilion, which is more than a century old. The inaugural meeting of the golf club in the Royal Marine Hotel was attended by fifty-one local residents in 1909. The former golf course was purchased by Cosgrave Developments nine years ago and the company plans to construct almost fifteen hundred homes on the site, which is bisected by the Glenageary Road. The proposed development also includes retail and office space, as well as an eight-acre park with a lake. 
Fermanagh: Golf academy opens at Lough Erne
Among those present at the launch last week of the European golf academy by Sir Nick Faldo at the Lough Erne Resort was former Lions and Ireland rugby star Mike Gibson. The academy is set to attract students from all over Europe and will include a lecture theatre, a practice room and swing studio in addition to the usual driving range. Touring professional at the resort is Rory McIlroy, one of those who took part in Nick Faldo’s Series tournaments when he was younger.
Galway: New bye-law will silence music
A new bye-law to be introduced by Galway City Council will bring silence to the streets of the city at night. After complaints by local residents, buskers and other street performers will have to bring their acts to a halt each night at midnight from March to October and at eleven o’clock for the rest of the year. There had apparently been complaints from some people living locally that bongo drums were being banged outside their homes at two and three in the morning and at present gardaí have no powers to move musicians on.
Kerry: Footballer calls for cricket club 
Former footballer Michael Gleeson proposed to the Killarney Town Council that facilities for playing cricket be made available in the town, for the benefit of the many people from cricket-playing countries who now live in Killarney. The council is to ask for a section of a field at Knockreer, in Killarney National Park, to be made available by the National Parks and Wildlife Service. It is believed an artificial wicket could be provided for some €8,000. In the nineteenth and early twentieth century there was a cricket field in Killarney, on the Muckross Road.
Kildare: Narraghmore men encouraged to go out  
St Laurence’s GAA Club in Narraghmore has become part of the pilot phase of the GAA Social Initiative, which aims at providing older men who live on their own with a social outlet. They held their first official event recently with a visit to the club by sports commentator Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh and they are now set to pay a visit to Dublin to do the Croke Park Tour, a trip suggested by the men themselves. Included in the group are John Donovan, Paddy Lawlor and Ollie Miley.
Kilkenny: One shop closes and another opens
A new shop is to open in the same premises as one that closed its doors in Castlecomer at the end of March. Manager at the Irish Wheelchair Association charity shop before it closed was Anne Coughlan, and she is now opening another charity shop in the same premises, with all profits to be donated to local charities such as the Castlecomer District Hospital. She felt that the closure of the IWA shop would be a great loss to the town and decided to carry on the work with the new facility, Castlecomer Charity Shop – Supporting Local Charities.
Laois: Hill walk set for Easter Sunday
A hill walk is being organised by South Laois Tourism in collaboration with Gathabawn Rural Development for Easter Sunday. The walkers will set off from Durrow and their five-kilometre route will take them through Ballykealy, the Cullahill Mountain and to Gathabawn. There a barbeque will be held at Mackey’s Bar for all the participants, and refreshments will also be provided at Cullahill Mountain where some walkers will join. In addition to walkers from Laois, others from Wicklow and Westmeath have also expressed an interest in taking part.
Leitrim: Canadian couple to renew vows  
Canadians Nick and Mary Lee Konvi are celebrating their twentieth wedding anniversary in the coming week and they will renew their wedding vows and receive a blessing at the Costello Chapel in Carrick-on-Shannon. The ceremony has been arranged by the local Heritage Group and it will be conducted by the Rev. Noel Mills of The Rivers Group. Brian Duignan and Norma Duignan will respectively provide the videos and photos, and flowers. Transportation for the couple, who will be staying at Lough Rynn Castle Hotel in Mohill, will be the responsibility of Colm Spellman.
Limerick: Cafe to combine coffee and history
The owner of Lulu’s Cafe on Catherine Street in Limerick, Ger Sheahan, has come up with an idea to lure customers into his premises in the afternoons, which are at present the quiet times. He is to host weekly chats on local history and has already gathered together a number of books to help start the conversation. The guest speaker at the fist history afternoon will be Ger’s teacher from the Model School, local historian Donal Ryan, and Ger is also hoping that people will meet old friends and work colleagues.
Longford: Footballer receives national call-up
Daryl Carrigy from Ardagh, who plays with Stella Maris Football Club, received his call-up to the Republic of Ireland under-15 side for their recent friendly match against Belgium. Daryl, the eldest of the five children of Seán and Martina Carrigy, has been playing football since he was three years old and has travelled to Europe with his team over the last number of years. He has also been a member of the Longford Emerging Talent Squad and plays both football and soccer for St Mel’s College.
Louth: May retires from Muirhevnamor club
Last week May Cumiskey retired from the committee of the Holy Family Young at Heart Club in Muirhevnamor after serving for eighteen years in a number of roles including treasurer and secretary. Club members organised a surprise party for May, and she was even more surprised when her daughter Denise and son Niall arrived. Among those who paid tribute to May were Bridie O’Byrne, Annie Belton, Mary Macklin, and Anne Morrisey, another Muirhevnamor woman who is to take over from May on the committee.
Mayo: Prince returns to his mother’s home
On his recent visit to Ireland Prince Albert of Monaco travelled west to visit the cottage from which his ancestors emigrated to Philadelphia. With his fiancée Charlene Wittstock he attended a trad session in the Grainne Uaile pub in Newport, where he unveiled a brass plaque to commemorate the visit. Prince Albert also visited the now almost derelict cottage at Drimurla which his mother, Grace Kelly, had hoped to have restored as a holiday home. Seventeen distant cousins were invited to afternoon tea with their famous relative at the Newport House hotel.
Meath: The real bull takes its place in Navan
After the installation of a bogus bull in the Market Square in Navan some weeks ago, the real bull has now been placed on its plinth after a decade of preparation. Several years ago four and a half thousand people signed a petition objecting to the chosen location of the sixteen-tonne limestone sculpture and for the past seven years it has been in storage. The work of Galway sculptor Colin Grehan, it was originally supposed to be installed last December but a number of delays meant that the installation didn’t take place until last weekend.
Monaghan: 2011 is the magic number for Regina
Regina O’Reilly from Castleblayney has decided to make 2011 the magic number for a fundraising enterprise. She has decided that by taking part in a series of runs this year she will raise €2,011 for Castleblayney Cancer Society, €2,011 for the Irish Cancer Society, and £2,011 for Bowel Cancer UK. Regina completed the first of her runs in March when she took part in the UK Kilomarathon in Derby. Easter weekend will see her second outing, the Cooley Legends half marathon, followed by marathons at Cheltenham, Nottingham and Dublin. Five years ago Regina’s father, Frank, died from bowel cancer and she has worked to raise awareness of this disease ever since.
Offaly: Another locality vies for presidential visit
With invitations to President Obama going out from almost every town in the country, the latest to join the list is the village of Shinrone, which can claim the origins of the Kearney family. Letters were sent to the president via the US Embassy in Dublin from a committee set up to co-ordinate the visit and from local schoolchildren. Birth and death records of many of President Obama’s Kearney forebears are held in the local Church of Ireland archives, and many of his ancestors are buried in the churchyard in unmarked graves.
Roscommon: A special Mother’s Day in Ballinlough
For one family in Ballinlough Mother’s Day was very special this year, with a seven-year-old thanking her mother for a second chance at life, and her mother thanking her own mother for looking after the family. Last year Bernie Osgood donated a kidney to her daughter Rebecca, aged seven, so that Rebecca no longer needs dialysis and she has been able to return to school. Meanwhile Bernie had reason to be grateful to her own mother, Catherine, who took over the running of the family home while Bernie looked after her sick daughter.
Sligo: Woman appointed to new palliative post
Dr Mary Devins, originally from Strandhill, has become the first consultant in children’s palliative medicine to be appointed in this country. She will work with the palliative care team at Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children in Crumlin for a period of five years, with the funding also covering the employment of five outreach nurses for a three-year period. Dr Devins has previously worked in Ireland and Wales, while her most recent post was at the IWK Health Centre and Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Tipperary: Threat to rural tradition investigated
North Tipperary County Council is examining the threat, under Health and Safety Authority regulations, to the rural tradition of neighbours and relatives digging graves. Area Manager for Thurles Matt Shortt is to bring a policy document before council members soon, though Mayor John Kennedy described the possible ending of the tradition as a blow to rural life. He said he’d never heard of anyone being injured while digging a grave, with those involved deeming it an honour to be asked to do so.
Tyrone: Fiona takes to the stage with Enrique
Fiona Harte from Pomeroy had her moment of glory recently when she took to the stage at the Odyssey to join Enrique Iglesias. Not only did the seventeen-year-old join the singer on stage, she made sure she kept hold of the microphone while she sang two of his songs. This was not the first time that Fiona, who is an A-level student at Holy Trinity College in Cookstown, has performed before an audience. As a member of the girl group Shake the Glitter she won the CU Factor talent show.
Waterford: Work commences on old foundry site
The first phase of the transformation of the old Waterford Stanley site on the south bank of the River Suir in Waterford city has begun, with the demolition of all the derelict buildings. The work is being carried out by the Bolster Group following qualified permission from An Bord Pleanala to construct a riverside development which will see three blocks omitted. In the original application the Bolster Group had included a residential and office tower, a hotel tower and an auditorium and these will not now go ahead.
Westmeath: Pedestrian bridge is one step closer
The Town Council in Athlone has adopted a plan for the improvement and upgrading of the waterfront, including the provision of a pedestrian bridge from the left bank to the Strand. However it has been predicted that it could be another fifteen to twenty years before all the work is completed. It will include the demolition of the Office of Public Works sheds on the quays, the development of an ecology centre and walkway through the Golden Mile in Renelagh, and transforming the Strand car park to a covered civic space.
Wexford: A busy Mother’s Day for Mrs O’Brien
By the time Mary O’Brien from Gorey finished receiving Mother’s Day greetings from her children she could be forgiven for being tired, since she and her husband Séan have a total of twenty-one children ranging in age from forty-four down to sixteen. However Mary said it would be unlikely that all twenty-one would be at their house for the day as the last time they managed that was fourteen years ago for Seán’s fiftieth birthday. She is also a grandmother to thirty-six and great-grandmother to four.
Wicklow: Taking on toughest challenge
Bridget Brady, who is originally from Ashtown in Roundwood, is one of fourteen Irish athletes currently taking part in what is known as the world’s toughest race. Now living in Malaga in Spain, Bridget is the only female member of the Irish group in the Marathon Des Sables Desert Race in Morocco, run over seven days. The two hundred and forty kilometre race requires each participant to carry his or her own backpack carrying food, sleeping gear and any other necessities for the marathon.
Week of  April 14
Antrim: Old custom resurrected to fight gorse fires
Over the past two weeks some fifty gorse fires have been reported in the hills above Belfast and the Belfast Hills Partnership has now resorted to an old custom to help combat the problem. Last week Father Michael Murtagh of Clonard Monastery and Rev Gregory Dunstan from St Matthew’s Church of Ireland in Shankill jointly offered prayers for the protection of the hills and mountains, before blessing the area with holy water. The ceremony took place at the junction of the Monagh Road and the upper Springfield Road in the west of the city.
Armagh: Archbishop’s new house under construction
The new house being built for Archbishop Alan Harper in Armagh is due to be completed in November. It is larger than the former house, which was demolished last November after it was decided that it was no longer adequate for living in. Work began on the present house after archaeological investigations had been carried out and the builders are now up to ceiling height on the first floor. While it is approximately the same size as the old house, the new See House will incorporate a basement garage and utility room.
Carlow: Michael is on his way to World Championships
Michael White from Bagenalstown has taken the first step on his way to the World Skills competition in London later in the year. The twenty-two-year-old, who was representing Waterford Institute of Technology, took the gold medal at the National Skills competition last week. Employed by Seamus Byrne Electrical in Carlow, Michael is a final year electrical apprentice. The son of Michael and Brigid White, he will be accompanied to London by his parents and his sisters, Pamela and Cindy.
Cavan: President visits the county
On one day last week President Mary McAleese visited a number of locations in the county. She began the day by visiting Bunnoe Community Enterprise Centre in Lisboduff, Cootehill after which she paid visits to Drumgoon Community Centre and Bailieborough Community Resource House. After visiting the newly opened Childcare Facility and Fitness Centre in the Gallonray House Community Facility in Maudabawn, President McAleese was present at an event at Virginia College in Cavan to mark the seventieth anniversary of Virginia Agriculture Show.
Clare: App will augment heritage booklet
The county council’s heritage information booklet, published four years ago, has now been brought up to date with the addition of a downloadable iPhone and iPad app. Featuring many of the buildings included in the original booklet, ‘Rian na Manach – A guided tour of ecclesiastical treasures in Co. Clare’ provides an interactive mapping facility. A total of thirty-three church heritage sites on four trails throughout the county are included and the county council is hoping it will help promote the culture and heritage of Clare among a younger audience.
Cork: Nostalgic night for West Cork rail travellers
A number of people who travelled on the last train into Skibbereen in 1961 attended a function in the West Cork Hotel organised by owner Tim Looney. Tim had a number of family members employed on the railway and the hotel now owns the railway bridge. Among those who attended the event held to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the last train were Jerome McCarthy, who had a lampshade from the train, and Donie Davis, who had kept a ticket dating from 1960. During the evening a DVD was screened depicting a journey through a number of stations including Drimoleague, Baltimore and Dunmanway.  
Derry: Dermott hopes to be youngest councillor
Although he is only eighteen, and studying for his A-levels at St Columb’s College, Dermott Henderson from Derry has handed in his nomination papers at the Derry City Council offices on Strand Road. Dermott, who lives in the Creggan, is the youngest candidate in Derry and is expected to be one of the youngest in the North. He is secretary of the SDLP youth group in the city and was accompanied to hand in his papers by mayor of Derry Colum Eastwood who, at twenty-two when he was elected five years ago, was the then youngest candidate.
Donegal: Priest enters the ring for fundraiser
With almost €700,000 to be raised for the renovation of St Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny, Father Damian McGroarty decided it was only right that he should become involved. Last weekend saw him entering the boxing ring at the Clanree Hotel in Letterkenny in a bout with Liam Gordon which was declared a draw. Originally from Fanad, Father McGroarty was involved in athletics when he was younger and so considered himself fairly fit, but he received good advice also from members of the Letterkenny Boxing Club.
Down: Lucky escape for four fishermen
Skipper Geoffrey Chambers from Annalong, his son Gareth, Steven Haugh, also from Annalong, and Jackie Norman from Kilkeel had a lucky escape last week when their fishing boat was struck by a cargo boat. Geoffrey’s vessel, the Lynn Marie, was fishing for scallops off the Isle of Man when a nine thousand tonne cargo boat knocked the boat onto its side. Luckily the Coastguards and three other fishing vessels were on hand within minutes to help pump water out of the Lynn Marie. The cargo boat, which had not stopped, was detained some twenty miles away by the Coastguards.
Dublin: In two censuses – a hundred years apart
Eileen Corr, who now lives in Churchtown, will this weekend have the distinction of appearing in two national censuses one hundred years apart. In 1911 she was recorded with her parents, James and Bridget Corr, and her older sister Alice when the family was living in Coalisland, Co. Tyrone. Now at the age of one hundred and one she will be recorded on the census forms with her daughter Gay, one of her four children. Working in the publicity department of the ESB, Eileen met her husband Laurence Veale, who died suddenly in 1951. Among her friends she counted James Joyce’s sister, May Joyce Monaghan.
Fermanagh: One that didn’t get away 
Brendan Burns from Enniskillen recently caught an eighteen pound nine ounce salmon in the River Drowes, and vowed to take it home to cook it. Five years ago he was the first person to catch the first salmon of the year under the new rules set down by the Central Fisheries Board, and had to return the salmon to the water immediately. However he didn’t go home empty-handed; he received a €500 tackle voucher and a €1,000 donation to his favourite charity, Trocaire. His latest catch was hooked near the Four Masters Bridge near Kinlough.
Galway: City to lose its roundabouts
The successive roundabouts to be negotiated by anyone entering Galway over the past years are to be no more, with the decision by the council to remove seven of them. Already the roundabout at Moneenageisha has been replaced by what are known as ‘intelligent’ traffic lights, and the same fate is to befall the Lynch roundabout at Briarhill, the Font roundabout at Ballybane, the Bodkin roundabout at the Headford Road Shopping Centre, and four others. Work is expected to begin at Briarhill in September.
Kerry: Bridge reopens at Ballynagare
Four years ago the bridge at Ballynagare collapsed under the weight of a truckload of pigs. Now a new and permanent bridge which can carry heavy traffic has replaced the iron Bailey bridge which linked the villages of Lixnaw and Ballyduff. The bridge was officially opened by Mayor of Kerry Pat Leahy last week, ending the necessity for farmers with land on both sides of the River Brick to travel many extra miles in the course of a day. The original bridge had a top capacity of twelve tonnes when the truck, weighing forty-five tonnes, attempted to cross the river.
Kildare: Sisters benefit from TV makeover
Pauline Halpin and her sister Yvonne Slaughter took part recently in the RTE progamme ‘Off the Rails’, which was televised last week. The two Celbridge women were accompanied by three of their five sisters, Joan, Catherine and Marian to the cat-walk show held at the Whitewater shopping centre in Newbridge. The show also runs a ‘most stylish street style’ section in the town and this was won by Kim Davitt, a student at Maynooth, who won a €200 voucher for the shopping centre.
Kilkenny: Accreditation for Rothe House
In a scheme run by the Heritage Council in conjunction with the National Museum, the Rothe House Museum in Kilkenny city has been granted interim accreditation. It is the first voluntary museum to achieve the status, with the next step being final accreditation. The accreditation of the museum in the seventeenth century merchant’s house has been achieved through the hard work of former honorary curator of Kilkenny Archaeological Society Emma Devine and the new curator, Rosemary Barnes.
Laois: Order seeks permission to demolish school
The Presentation Order of nuns has lodged an application for permission to demolish their secondary school in Portlaoise, Scoil Chríost Rí. Built in 1968, the school consists of five buildings, a classroom block, the home economics building, the canteen, a prefab classroom and a shed. The school moved into new premises on the Borris Road last year. The Presentation Sisters have been in the town for almost two hundred years and established two primary schools in addition to the secondary school.
Leitrim: Two wins at Scór finals
After eight years of reaching the All-Ireland finals of Scór, the Glencar/Manorhamilton group have at last come back as champions. The group took the top prize in the Rince Foirne category and among the eight dancers were two, Amanda Sweeney and Shane Conaire, who were in the group when they last won the championships, in 1999. Bonfires were lit in Manorhamilton last weekend to welcome the champions home, and Aughinish was also in celebratory mood as local girl Aisling Shannon took the All-Ireland title in Amhránaíocht Aonair.
Limerick: Tree is rescued undamaged
According to Ray O’Halloran of Speedline Engineering, the metal Christmas tree which fell into the Shannon last month was recovered totally undamaged. The tree, made from metal salvaged from Thomond Park and the building of the Limerick Tunnel, was recovered last week in twelve sections. The rescue operation necessitated the closure of Howley’s Quay for a number of hours to enable to giant crane to be moved into position. It will now be kept in storage by Hegart Metals until it is re-erected for the Christmas season.
Longford: Author’s first book to be published
After a number of rejection slips Anne Skelly from Longford was delighted to learn that Book Republic is to publish her first work of fiction, “Estrangement”. Originally from Dublin, Anne moved to Longford twelve years ago where she met and married Abbeyshrule man Mike Skelly. She based her book, which is to be officially launched in Longford County Library soon, on Jane Austen’s ‘Persuasion’, giving it a modern day setting in a fictional Longford village. Anne teaches creative writing courses in Longford and Westmeath.
Louth: Muslims to be buried in Dowdallshill
For the first time members of the Muslim community in the county will be able to hold their funerals at St Patrick’s Cemetery in Dowdallshill, following permission being granted by the council. Until now Muslims from Louth who died were buried in Newcastle, Co. Dublin. Mohammed Salim Lennon from Greenore believes there are up to a thousand Muslims in Dundalk and a bigger community in Drogheda, and talks are about to begin with Drogheda Burial Board to facilitate Muslim burials in that town also.
Mayo: Matt continues with marathon climb
Matt Loughrey from Murrisk, who has pledged to climb Croagh Patrick for three hundred and sixty-five consecutive days, last week completed his three hundredth climb. And to add to its significance Matt wore a vest weighing just over fifty pounds, the combined weight of his two sons Frankie and Georgie. Matt moved to Murrisk from England eight years ago; he was familiar with the west as his mother was from Achill. To date he has raised €27,000 for the St Vincent de Paul Society and is hoping to reach his target of €100,000 when he completes his final climb on June 4.
Meath: Unusual medal to be auctioned
A GAA medal which is to be auctioned in Dublin in the coming week has an unusual history. It was presented to Peter Clarke of the Pierce O’Mahony club in Navan after the 1895 All-Ireland football final, at which Tipperary were named as the winners. However the Dublin referee admitted he had added up the scores wrongly and the result should have been a draw. As a consequence all the members of the Meath team were presented with Virtual Championship of Ireland 1895 medals as compensation. The match was the first final to be played at Jones’ Road and a plaque on the Hogan Stand commemorates the occasion.
Monaghan: Goup looking for sculpture parts
The Dartrey Heritage group is planning to restore the miniature Pantheon which housed a memorial to Lady Anne Dawson and is hoping that missing parts of the original sculpture can be found. After his wife’s death in 1769 Thomas Dawson commissioned the sculpture depicting himself, his son and an angel grouped round an urn. Over the past fifty years various parts of the piece disappeared, including arms, hands, feet, and angel’s wings, though the head has been rediscovered in a private collection in Dublin. The estate is now owned by Coillte and the house was demolished after the Second World War.
Offaly: GAA club caught by property crash holds raffle
Clara GAA Club purchased twelve acres of land on the outskirts of the town three years ago from the Sisters of Mercy, and planned to develop a new clubhouse and six new pitches. However they failed to sell their existing clubhouse and grounds when the property market crashed, and they now have a significant debt. They are consequently organising a Monster Draw which will take place at a County Board Meeting this month, with tickets at €100 each, and are also offering a ‘Sponsor a Sod’ initiative, through which a sod for the new pitch can be purchased for €20.
Roscommon: Good news for Ballyleague 
Following their being awarded twenty extra points in last year’s National Tidy Towns competition, the village of Ballyleague has received sponsorship this year from Bord na Mona. Manager of the Mount Dillon works Paul Riordan, and local man Danny Murray handed a cheque to Denis Dunne, the chairman of the local Renewal and Tidy Towns committee. The sponsorship will fund the purchase of a ride-on mower to ensure the grass on the approach roads to the village is always neat and tidy. Among other works to be carried out will be the renewal of the fence along the river adjacent to the old swimming pool.
Sligo: Sligo at forefront of schools campaign
A campaign aimed at preserving small rural schools was launched in Sligo last week. It emerged that twenty-one of the county’s sixty primary schools have fewer than fifty pupils and could become victims of the Government’s spending review. Among those attending the meeting was June McCormack, principal of Cairns national school which has just twenty-seven pupils, who stressed the effect on local communities which have already lost their post offices and garda stations. Also backing the campaign is teachers’ union president Jim Higgins, who has spent many years teaching in Sligo.
Tipperary: Thurles teenager takes top art prize
The overall winner of this year’s Texaco Children’s Art Competition is Keith Blake, a student in Presentation Secondary School in Ballingarry, Thurles. The eighteen-year-old submitted a self-portrait which he completed in four days, using a mirror and a photograph of himself. The €2,000 prize he expects to put towards college fees, as he is hoping to gain a place on the Limerick Institute of Technology art design course. Keith will also travel to Japan where his painting will be part of an international exhibition.
Tyrone: Traders have plans for Shamble Lane
Traders in Dungannon are hoping that improvements can be made to the small side street known as Shamble Lane, which links Scotch Street and Irish Street. The idea is to turn it into a pedestrian area with pavement cafes and bright lighting and the matter was discussed during a meeting last week between Dungannon Traders’ Association and Regional Development Manager Conor Murphy. Mr Murphy took the time to walk around the town where he was shown the area the traders want to develop.
Waterford: New angling facility at Carrigavantry
The official opening took place last week of a new angling facility at Carrigavantry reservoir. The initiative of the Waterford City and County Trout Anglers Association comprises a protective harbour with twenty berths, three lake boats for hire and a Coulam 16 Wheelyboat to give access to wheelchair users. The latter amenity was tested by Donal O’Halloran, who thanked the club for their consideration. The club committee members now plan to turn their attention to the lake at Knockaderry, which they hope to develop over the next few years.
Westmeath: McCormack exhibition to be moved 
Athlone Town Council has decided that the castle is not the best place for the John Count McCormack exhibition and it is to be moved soon to the civic centre. Offers of memorabilia have been received from America and from the John Count McCormack Society in Dublin and the centrepiece of the exhibition will be a lifesize statue of the tenor in bronze. It will also include a small theatre and an audio area. The exhibition area in the castle will in future focus on military history and in particular the Siege of Athlone.
Wexford: Everyone to benefit from ploughing event
The launch of next year’s National Ploughing Championship took place in the Horse & Hound in Ballinaboola last weekend. The launch was conducted by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney who announced that the event would be held at Heathpark, between Ballinaboola and Old Ross, on land owned by the O’Dwyer and Kehoe families. Hundreds of acres belonging to other local landowners will be used for parking and it is expected that the championships, taking place in September next year, will bring €15m to the local economy.
Wicklow: Web campaign for Shillelagh house sale
Following her divorce Jillian Godsil decided she must sell the early nineteenth-century house near Shillelagh which she had spent many hundreds of thousands restoring, but found she had no takers. So now the mother of two, who bought the house in the late 1990s for €100,000, has turned to the web to find a buyer, and has posted Raheengraney House on YouTube. The seven-bedroomed house stands on two acres of land on which there is a three-bedroomed cottage, and the asking price has already dropped from €1.6m to €500,000.
 Week of April 21
Antrim: New artwork for Dervock
Two paramilitary murals on McArthur Avenue in Dervock have been replaced by two pieces of artwork featuring aspects of local heritage. The free standing pieces, the work of artist Ross Wilson, show the history of the local flute band, the Dervock Young Defenders Flute Band, and Kennedy Kane McArthur, who won a gold medal in the marathon at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. The unveiling of the artworks was attended by local officials as well as members of the community, and Frankie Cunningham, chairman of the Dervock and District Community Association, spoke of a new village ‘enriched by history, culture and identity’.
Armagh: Official opening of Cloughreagh school
A Mass celebrated by Cardinal Séan Brady preceded the official blessing and opening of the new €3.42m St Peter’s Primary School in Cloughreagh last week. The official opening was performed by Michael Lynch, chairman of the school Board of Governors. Staff and pupils remained on the site, mainly using mobile classrooms while the new school was under construction close to the original school, which was built in 1965. St Peter’s has fourteen staff members under principal John Campbell, with a total roll of three hundred and thirty pupils including a nursery class.
Carlow: It’s only rumours yet but...
Although Eamonn Duignan of Donnybrook Properties has refused to comment on the names of anchor tenants for the new shopping centre planned for the Hanover area of Carlow, the word is that both Debenhams and Marks & Spencer are in the frame. Debenhams, in particular, are believed to be close to signing a deal and if they do it will mean between eighty and one hundred new jobs in the town. The progression of the development, which has the potential to bring six hundred jobs to Carlow, is being delayed by a single planning objection.
Cavan: Official opening of Swanlinbar hall
Bishop Leo O’Reilly performed the official opening last week of the refurbished St Mary’s Hall in Swanlinbar, accompanied by local man Gearoid McKiernan, captain of the county under-21 team. The hall has been refurbished at a total cost of €150,000, with the work being carried out by Peter Maguire from Milltown. New floors and ceilings, the insulation of internal walls and the installation of double glazing were included in the work, as were the replacement of the old heating system and the laying of a maple floor.
Clare: TDs and councillors asked to support parking campaign
Traders in Killaloe, who held a public meeting last week to start a campaign for better parking in the town, have called on TDs and councillor for support. Traders in the lower part of the town are particularly affected since double yellow lines were introduced, and the plan to provide a car park for one hundred and fifty cars at Dean’s field near the Cathedral was never completed due to lack of finance. There is a car park at the Convent Hill shopping centre but use of this is confined to those shopping at the centre.
Cork: Bridal party has unexpected wetting
Following the wedding of Mike Hickey and Yvonne O’Leary a week ago the bridal party went to the Jameson Heritage Centre in Midleton for photographs. It was while they were posing on a footbridge that disaster struck, the bridge gave way and everyone, including the photographer, ended up to their knees in mucky water. However the day was saved when a number of local businesses rallied round; Say I do provided a new wedding dress while Coakley’s Menswear kitted out the groomsmen and Bohane’s dry cleaned Mike suit in an hour. The distillery provided showers and the party then continued to the reception at the Vienna Woods Hotel.
Derry: New bridge to open soon
The final touches are now being put to the new foot and cycle bridge over the Foyle in Derry. The surface has to be cleaned and painted and the lights on the bridge are due to be tested. Originally scheduled to open last Christmas, it was delayed by problems in locating a solid foundation at the Foyle embankment, and a further delay was decided upon to await the completion of the first section of the work at the Ebrington parade ground on the Waterside. Now it will be officially opened at the end of June with a full schedule of events over a weekend.
Donegal: Two surprises for Ballybofey farmer
When farmer Bernard Muldoon realised the size of the calf his cow was carrying he knew he would have to call in the vet to help with delivery. But he, his father and the vet were all amazed when the calf, delivered by caesarean section, was found to weigh seventy-two kilograms; the average weight would be about sixty kilos. However that wasn’t the end of the day’s surprises, as a second cow belonging to the Ballybofey man had the same problem, and her calf was also born by caesarean section. And this one was even heavier, weighing in at between seventy-five and seventy-six kilos.
Down: Musician nominated for US award
Colin Elliott from Donacloney will be spending Easter in America as one of the nominees for the Dove Award, the highest honour in the world of Gospel music. A member of Live Issue, Britain’s top Country and Gospel band, Colin is also principal of Brownlee Primary School in Lisburn. He will attend the awards ceremony in Atlanta before travelling to Nashville, Tennessee where he will sing at the Grand Ole Opry and appear at the Nashville Cowboy Church with Joanne Cash, the sister of Johnny Cash.
Dublin: Pub broadcasts property auction
Such was the interest in the auction of ‘distressed’ properties in the Shelbourne Hotel last week that Doheny and Nesbitt’s pub decided to screen the event to entertain their Friday lunchtime customers. However there was no danger of any of the drinkers making bids on the property, as remote bidders were expected to pay a deposit prior to the event. In all, more than eighty properties went under the hammer and those who decided to watch from the comfort of the pub certainly did better than the people milling on the pavement outside the Shelbourne, who had been unable to gain entry.
Fermanagh: Designer homes for Lough Erne ducks
The ducks on Lower Lough Erne now have designer homes thanks to Devenish Wildfowling and Conservation Club. The nesting boxes, made to a US design, are constructed of straw or reeds held together with stainless steel wire. They are open at both ends and resemble a tunnel and have been erected on the lake near to Enniskillen in order to protect the eggs from foxes and vermin. They were installed in January and February before the start of the breeding season and Nigel Devine of the Devenish club reports that some have been used twice in one season.
Galway: Director’s chair for Galway museum
The chair used by John Ford when he directed “The Quiet Man” in Connemara sixty years ago has been loaned to the Galway City Museum. The chair has been in the possession of John Morris, son of the late Lord Killanin and John Ford’s godson. While the Spiddal resident has donated a number of the film’s memorabilia to the museum, the chair is on loan only, at the request of his children. The items will feature in an exhibition during the summer on one hundred years of cinema in Galway.
Kerry: A special Easter for Moyderwell children
The children of Moyderwell Primary School will have a special Easter this year as they already have sixteen hatched chickens from a total of twenty-five eggs. Class teacher Maura Duggan came up with the idea and she was helped by her father John, whose farm at Farmersbridge in Tralee will be the eventual home of the chicks. The incubating of the eggs was part of a science project and the twenty children in the class learned how to turn the eggs each day and now they are feeding the hatched chicks.
Kildare: Kilcullen student wins national award
Tara Haughton, a student at Cross and Passion College in Kilcullen, has won this year’s Student Enterprise Award. The sixteen-year-old came up with the idea of red-soled shoes after confetti stuck to her shoe one day. Although she is still at school, Tara’s company, Rosso Solini, now employs two people in the manufacture of the stick-on soles which sell for €15 online and in a number of retail outlets. Tara was named winner in the senior category of the competition, which involved fifteen thousand students from four hundred schools.
Kilkenny: Three Kilkenny lads compete in Texas
Three of the members of the four-man Sport Stacking Irish team, who are at present in Dallas, Texas for the World Sport Stacking Championships, hail from Kilkenny. James Carrigan, aged twelve, is from Maddoxtown; thirteen-year-old Lisa Kehoe is from Castlewarren; and Michelle Bergin, aged eleven, lives on Johnswell Road in Kilkenny. They are joined by Kevin Flanagan from Dundrum in the competition of the fast-growing sport which improves hand-eye co-ordination and ambidexterity.
Laois: Laois selects its Rose
The Portlaoise Heritage Hotel was the venue last week for the selection of this year’s Laois Rose, from eleven contestants. Judges for the event were Edel O’Connor, Westmeath Rose for 2006, Colette Murray from the Wicklow Rose Centre and former escort Enda Carey. The crown was eventually presented to twenty-one-year-old Sinead Fennell who was representing Graiguecullen GAA and she will now go forward to the regional finals in the summer. A nursing student at Dublin City University, Sinead is the daughter of former Laois footballer Andy Fennell.
Leitrim: Lough Rynn acquires Wheelyboat
The launch took place last weekend on Lough Rynn, near Mohill, of the Wheelyboat Ernest’s Pride which will give people with disabilities the chance to enjoy fishing or pleasure trips on the lake. The boat is named after Ernest Catherines, who led the initiative to provide the facility and who died in March this year. Launching the boat was Brendan Harvey, this year’s Leitrim Guardian Person of the Year. The provision of the Wheelyboat resulted from a collaboration between the Leitrim Association of People with Disabilities and the Rinn-Shannon Angling Club.
Limerick: Statue of poet unveiled  
Last Saturday poet Paul Durcan was in Newcastle West to unveil a sculpture of the late poet Michael Hartnett, as part of this year’s Eigse Michael Hartnett. The lifesize bronze statue, which was commissioned by the local council, shows the poet holding his book “Necklace of Wrens”; the sculpture is the work of Rory Breslin. Joining Paul Durcan for the unveiling ceremony was Michael Hartnett’s son Niall, while pupils from his old school, Courtenay Boys School, performed a rap entitled “Hartnett UnRapped”.
Longford: Mulvihills continue a family tradition
At the recent seventy-seventh annual County Longford Ploughing Championships David Mulvihill spoke of the honour of hosting the event on his land at Ballymahon since his great-grandfather, Hugh Garrahan, had hosted the championships in 1936. Before the start the site was blessed by Rev A.W. Kingston and Father McGowan, and chairman of Longford Ploughing Eamon Egan spoke of his delight at the success of the event. Great crowds turned out in the sunshine to enjoy the competitions in loy digging, and horse and tractor ploughing.
Louth: Staff offer averts closure
Damien Donegan’s decision to close his Costcutter store on Clanbrassil Street in Dundalk was reversed after an offer from his loyal staff. Damien had said he would close the store following the Town Council’s decision to close the road from the Demesne to Clanbrassil Street. However he changed his mind when his staff offered to take a wage cut of thirty per cent, the exact amount by which Damien believes his business has declined since work on the Market Square began. Now the store is to have an official opening at the end of the month performed by Mickey Harte and Ronan O’Gara.
Mayo: County to honour Roscommon man
Although he is seen as primarily a Roscommon man, the late Dermot Earley was originally from Gorthaganny and a life size bronze monument is to be erected in the town. Dermot’s father Peadar came from Lahane and taught in Gorthaganny school for many years, while his mother Kitty was from Castlebar. It was in the Byrne family home in Castlebar that Dermot Earley was born. The contract to erect the monument to the GAA man will be carried out by Feelystone in Boyle and it will be erected close to the family home in Gorthaganny where Kitty Earley still lives.
Meath: Meath has its 2011 Rose
At the Newgrange Hotel in Navan last weekend Dearbhla Toal from Dunshaughlin was chosen as the 2011 Meath Rose of Tralee. Fourteen Roses and three escorts competed in the seventh Meath Rose of Tralee contest, each of the Roses being interviewed by Oisin Langan of Newstalk 106-108. Dearbhla was supported on the night by her parents, Sean and Noeleen, her brother Conall, her boyfriend Harry Silke and her aunts Frances and Barbara. Also there to cheer her on were colleagues from SuperValu in Dunshaughlin, which had sponsored her for the competition.
Monaghan: 2010 uccess leads to second egg hunt
Last Easter the first Easter Egg Hunt was held in Carrickmacross and it proved so successful that another one is to be held this year. Local shops join in the fun by hiding eggs in their windows and children then have to spot them and record their finds on entry forms. The eggs themselves are decorated by children in three local schools before being distributed, and this year’s event will finish outside Bits’n’Bobs on Saturday afternoon, where the prizes will also be on display.
Offaly: Crinkill launches television service
At the beginning of this month the people of Crinkill became the first in the country to launch a community-based television station. The station, part of a public art project led by artist Michael Fortune, will feature short films, news bulletins, sports and documentaries all focused on the residents of Grove Street. They are attending workshops in the use of cameras and editing software and the eventual aim is to open a video edit suite that can continue to be used after the project is complete.
Roscommon: UFO centre mooted for King House
Astronomer and scientist Eamonn Ansbro, who has spent the last fourteen years monitoring the skies over Boyle with an ‘all sky camera’ has suggested setting up a UFO and science centre in King House. Having researched the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence for more than twenty years, Eamon has given presentations of his work to a number of bodies including the French government, and his work has been published by the European Space Agency. He believes such a centre would have huge potential for tourism in the area.
Sligo: Ballymote shop window keeps street alive
Although Cassidy’s shop in Ballymote closed five years ago, the Cassidy family have made sure that the shop window does not lie vacant, but rather adds to the life of the village. At present the decorations are on an Easter theme, the work of Jude Cassidy and his sister Cora. Last month the window reflected St Patrick’s Day and before that it featured a Christmas display. The shop has been in the Cassidy family for more than forty years and is owned by Gerry and Esther Cassidy.
Tipperary: Two conferences for Cashel
The end of June will see two conferences taking place in Cashel, with delegates at both staying with local host families. The town is hosting the Charter for European Rural Communities and more than three hundred delegates from twenty-seven towns across the European Union will be taking part in a series of meetings and cultural events. Meanwhile a second conference, for young people between the ages of sixteen and twenty-seven, will discuss education, housing and employment in their home towns.
Tyrone: Ruth is following in her mother’s footsteps
Some thirty years ago Sandra Blackburn travelled on exchanges to America and Finland as a member of Moneymore Young Farmers’ Club, and now her daughter Ruth is to make a similar journey. Ruth, from Clogher and a member of Seskinore Young Farmers’ Club, is on her way to Tasmania for a three-month exchange where she will stay with host families and attend Agrifest, Tasmania’s largest agricultural event. Ruth lives on the family farm at Killaney while she received her third-level education in Northumbria.
Waterford: New baby brings excitement to hospital
The doctors and nurses involved in the delivery of Evan O’Sullivan in Waterford Regional Hospital last week were as amazed as the parents, Eric and Eileen. For Evan, who was thirteen days overdue, weighed in at a massive twelve pounds six ounces. The couple from Kilmacow had realised their baby would be big but were thinking along the lines of nine pounds, and now they will have to buy a new set of baby clothes to fit what is almost certainly the biggest baby born in the county in recent times. Evan is the grandson of Julianne and John O’Sullivan and Seamus and Mary Ryan from Portlaw.
Westmeath: Athlone woman helps to foil robbery
Marlyn O’Rourke from Auburn Heights in Athlone, who works for the directory enquiry service, found herself at the centre of an armed robbery when she took a call recently. While the caller was on the line the phone was dropped and Marlyn could hear someone shouting to be given the money in the till. She checked the number from which the call had been made and phoned the gardaí, who arrived at the Dublin premises within minutes. Since then the caller, Bernie, managed to track Marlyn down in order to thank her, through the Joe Duffy show on RTE.
Wexford: Long-serving librarian retires
Kathleen Gleeson from Esmonde Street in Gorey began helping out at the local library as soon as she left school and she has now retired, having given almost sixty years to the library service. Most of that time was spent working on her own in the old Courthouse building before the move to the Market House on Main Street four years ago. Now with a new library opening Kathleen decided it was time to leave, and a retirement party was held earlier this month in the Loch Garman Arms in Gorey.
Wicklow: Bray acquires two dragons
People visiting the Sea Life Centre in Bray at this time will be able to observe two leafy sea dragons which are on display as part of a new programme to conserve the species. The sea dragons, native to southern Australia and an endangered species, are to be monitored by research scientists at the centre in a bid to aid in their regeneration. They are related to sea horses but are a unique species in their own right. Their arrival at the centre was marked by an official welcoming ceremony involving a blessing hosted by a Chinese dragon.
 Week of April 28
Antrim: Rodney Parade becomes gardening haven
A piece of waste ground at Rodney Parade in the St James’ Road area of Belfast, which was handed over to local residents by the Department for Regional Development some years ago, has been transformed into allotments. Among the groups allocated places in the scheme are a youth group, a school and a parent and toddlers group, and it is hoped that a community barbeque can be held. Plum, apple and pear trees, carrots, potatoes and strawberries have already been planted and at some time in the future the gardeners hope to be able to sell their produce at the site.
Armagh: Health workers running for two causes
Five members of staff from the Intensive Care Unit at Craigavon Area Hospital are taking part in the Belfast marathon on Bank Holiday Monday. They will be joined by four staff members from the Cath Lab accompanied by a haematologist. Chris Clarke, Damian Scullion, Erik Lichnovsky, Connor Hamilton and Ronan McBride will be running to raise awareness of organ donation, while Julie-Ann Prideaux, Sr Helen Eakin, Dr James Shand, Dr Anthony McClelland and Dr Don Hull will be raising money for funding the hospital’s cardiology services.
Carlow: Television show leads to new tours
The programme on the haunting of Duckett’s Grove shown on American television recently has led to an increased interest in the castle and many more visitors than in former times. The result is that the castle has been closed to night time visitors at present in order for preparations to be made to conduct official night time tours for those who are hoping to experience the paranormal. Prior to the closure there were further investigations carried out by the Killarney Paranormal Society.
Cavan: A new look for the bus station
Passengers using Cavan Bus Station next Wednesday might be forgiven for thinking they have lost their way, for the premises is to be transformed into the interior of a camera. “Cavan Obscura” is the work of local artist Siobhan Harton, who will project external images onto a wall in the darkened waiting room. A pinhole will be placed in one of the sheets facing the road front, and an image of the activity taking place outside the station will appear on the back wall in full colour. Siobhan Harton is part of the Border Arts Group working with Artist in Residence Sylvia Grace Borda and collaborator Keith Donnelly.
Clare: Otter evades first rescue bid
An otter that was found with its head in a crisp bag on the main street in Tulla managed to evade its captors on their first attempt to return it to the lake. Joe Burke from Broadford, accompanied by his friend Mike Hogan, caught the otter in a bag and drove to the lake. However on arrival they found the bag empty and the otter hot-footing it back to Tulla. A second attempt, using a traffic cone to trap the animal, was more successful and it was eventually returned to the lake after being given time to recover from the chase.
Cork: Doggy wedding raises funds for charity
Trish Gravina, a volunteer with the Dog Animal Welfare Group based in Doneraile, came up with a novel idea to raise funds for the charity’s new premises in mid-Cork. With the help of The Pantry Restaurant in Midleton she staged a doggy wedding between two rescue dogs, George and Sophie, which was attended by some one hundred and fifty guests. After the ceremony, which was broadcast live on Neil Prendeville’s radio show, a coffee morning took place where donations to the charity were accepted.
Derry: Unique public art for Ebrington
Construction work has begun at Ebrington in Derry on the Mute Meadow public art project which will engage with local school students through a competition. Pupils will be asked to record city soundtracks, either the noises they hear on the street or by personally reciting a story or verse. The Mute Meadow comprises eighty angled steel columns, each lit from the base, and some will be polished while others will be weathered. The chosen recorded sounds will be converted into animated beams of coloured light by means of a unique lighting programme.
Donegal: Cashelnagor restoration progressing
Planning permission has been granted to Donegal Railway Restoration Ltd to restore Cashelnagor station, between Gweedore and Falcarragh, that closed down in 1947. It has been leased to the company by the owner and company CEO Neil Tee and the proposal is to restore the station house and build one hundred metres of narrow gauge railway. It is envisaged that someone will take up residence in the station house and display artefacts in the ticket office, while a motorised trolley will provide transport for enthusiasts. Among those who have shown an interest in the project is Bill Hegarty, who lived at the station house as his father was station master.
Down: A sign of frustration?
A sign erected at Jennings Park in Newry is suspected to be the work of someone who has become frustrated at the lack of progress in the provision of a promised leisure centre. The sign, which features a sports complex, football pitches, a golf course, a racing track and a martial arts centre, was attached to the railings of the park more than a week ago. A council spokesperson said that since it was illegally erected it will be removed, and in the meantime it has been confirmed that work on the actual leisure centre is due to begin next year.
Dublin: Ceremony remembers ‘forgotten heroes’
The North Inner City Folklore Project held a ceremony last weekend to re-enact the hoisting of the green flag of the Republic at Liberty Hall. The original act was carried out by fourteen-year-old Molly O’Reilly and it was her daughter, Constance Corcoran, who raised the flag last week. The flag was presented to her by James Connolly-Herron, the great-grandson of James Connolly who had chosen her mother to raise the original flag. A plaque was also unveiled on the corner of Railway Street and Gardiner Street to remember Patrick Heeney, the composer of Amhrán na bhFiann, as well as lyricist Peadar Kearney and Liam Ó Rinn, who translated the words into Irish.
Fermanagh: Original visitor book returned to Belleek
When the first ever visitor book from Belleek Pottery was auctioned after being found in a house in Tipperary, two members of the Belleek Pottery International Collectors Society in England purchased it and it is now on display at the pottery. Among the signatures in the book, which dates back almost one hundred and fifty years, is that of the fifth Earl Spencer who made an official visit in his position as Viceroy of Ireland. The present Earl Spencer has confirmed, in a letter to the pottery, his great-uncle’s visit to Belleek in 1870, two years after the book was installed.
Galway: Thirsty ‘kickers’ on Salthill prom
Walkers on Salthill prom who wished to take a drink from the tap located beside the spot where they traditionally kick the wall were disappointed last week when they found that the tap had been removed. It had apparently been removed in January but it was only during the recent spell of good weather that people missed the refreshing drink. However a representative from the City Council has confirmed that it will be replaced within the next two weeks. The tap was removed following the big freeze in January as some people left it running, ice formed on the ground and people were falling as they went to kick the wall.
Kerry: New mural for Waterville
In anticipation of the film festival in honour of Charlie Chaplin, to be held in Waterville in August, artist Fin Collins has created a mural on the gable wall of the Bayview Hotel owned by Michael O’Shea. Con O’Shea provided a teleporter for the artist, who on Good Friday began the painting which depicts the comedian as “The Kid”. He and his family spent many holidays in Waterville in the mid-twentieth century and his daughters Geraldine and Josephine still own houses in the area. The Charlie Chaplin festival is being organised by Noelle Campbell-Sharpe and Dr Ellie O’Sullivan.
Kildare: Poor Servants celebrate fifty years
It is fifty years since the Sisters of the Poor Servants of the Mother of God arrived in Castledermot, and a concelebrated Mass took place last week in the Church of the Assumption to mark the occasion. The first principal of Coláiste Lorcáin, Sister Mary Hubert, who is celebrating her ninety-second birthday this week, was present at the Mass, whose chief celebrant was Bishop Eamon Walsh. A plaque was presented to the school by Sister Mary Whelan, Mother General of the Order who is originally from Moone. The plaque was accepted by deputy principal Ciaran Keegan.
Kilkenny: ‘Monks’ to return to Duiske
The group of twelve monks who sailed up the River Barrow to Graiguenamanagh at the beginning of the thirteenth century to found Duiske Abbey are to be commemorated in stone. Already two life-size granite figures are in situ, one harvesting wheat and the other carrying a sheep’s fleece and a set of shears. The proposal by the Tidy Towns committee is that the monks will form the basis of a tourist trail throughout Graiguenamanagh which will include the opening up of Duiske Abbey. To raise the €3,000 cost of each figure the committee is offering sponsors the chance to have the monk depicted with their own likeness or that of a loved one.
Laois: Jobs bonanza with shopping centre opening
Last week the new extension to Laois Shopping Centre in Portlaoise was officially opened, bringing a total of ninety-three jobs at the Tesco extra store which is one of the largest in the country. Also opened on the same day was a new car parking facility with one thousand two hundred covered spaces, and a new pedestrian entrance to the shopping centre has been provided close to Dunnes Stores at the Kyle Centre. Retailer Penneys will soon begin the fit-out of their extended store, and more than two hundred and fifty jobs have been provided through all phases of the extension. The work is expected to be completed by the autumn.
Leitrim: Carrick-on-Shannon to have low-cost store
Permission has been granted to German supermarket Aldi for a new store in Carrick-on-Shannon on the Dublin side of the town close to the N4 and the Castlecarra Road. An existing building on the site will be demolished to make way for the store which will include an off-licence and parking for eighty-eight cars. Aldi had put forward eight sites for the new store and seven were rejected by An Bord Pleanala due to susceptibility to flooding. There were a number of objectors to the proposal, among them grocers’ group RGdata, and Mike Bunn and Roger Eldridge.
Limerick: Riverfest to have royal dimension
This year’s Riverfest at the Milk Market in Limerick city will have a royal dimension since it begins on the day of the royal wedding in England. A big screen is to be erected for the occasion and there will also be two fashion shows held during the day, a collaboration between Celia Holman Lee and the Friday Flea in the Milk Market, on what has been designated Fashion Friday. Among other highlights of the four-day festival are an open air rock concert, The Great Limerick Run, and what is claimed to be Ireland’s largest barbeque.
Longford: Two Longford girls to head for Uganda
In July Sinéad Heaney from Drumlish and Emer Mulligan from Mullinalaghta will both be heading to Uganda as volunteers with the A-Z children’s charity. While Sinéad will be working as a teacher during her stay, Emer will be working on school and community health outreach projects and will also help to build a house for a Ugandan family. Both have to raise funds before they go and Sinéad is holding a Mr & Mrs night in the Bent Elbow in Drumlish this weekend. Meanwhile Emer is organising a race night to be held in Keogh’s in mid-May.
Louth: Costcutter postpones opening
The official opening of Costcutter in Dundalk, which was due to close but for the loyalty of the staff, has now been deferred for two weeks. It was due to take place on Friday but owner Damien Donegan conceded that many people would be watching the royal wedding. It will now be held on May 13 when Clanbrassil Street will be closed. The official opening will be performed by Mickey Harte, and he will be accompanied by Ronan O’Gara. Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan kept to the original date, however, and visited the store on Friday.
Mayo: From historic hotel to council offices
The Imperial Hotel on The Mall in Castlebar, the site of the founding of the National Land League in 1871, is to be purchased by Castlebar Town Council and Mayo County Council. Dating from the early eighteenth century, the building has been on the market for three years and it is now to become the new offices of the town council. Mayor of Castlebar Ger Deere is fully in favour of the purchase and hopes that the ground floor of the former hotel could be transformed into a museum reflecting its history and the history of the town.
Meath: Batterstown lady takes style prize
At Fairyhouse Races on Bank Holiday Monday the prize for the most stylish outfit went to Emer Lynch from Batterstown, whose outfit included a belt she had made herself from curtain lining at a cost of €3. Emer’s hat had been designed and made by her friend Gillian Hughes from Navan, and the entire ensemble netted her a cheque for €1,000 from Ladbroke’s, the sponsors of the race meeting, a pair of Christian Louboutin shoes, and a package from Carton House Hotel and Spa to the value of €8,000.  
Monaghan: Mary favours versatility in a dress
Mary Lennon from Castleblayney was awarded this year’s Persil Irish Fashion Award for her creation which can be transformed to give ten different looks to the dress. A fourth-year student at the National College of Art and Design, the twenty-three-year-old took as her inspiration the way in which garden umbrellas take on different shapes. The red cotton dress can have its shape altered by the strategic use of buttons and ribbons, and Mary’s ingenuity earned her a cash prize of €10,000.
Offaly: Boats to be scrapped or sold
A number of boats which have either sunk or have been abandoned at Shannon Harbour are to be scrapped or sold at auction, depending on their condition. Efforts have been made to find the owners of the five cruisers, a yacht, a day boat, a speed boat and a barge without success and the boats are now hindering navigation. They are also taking up limited mooring space close to the last lock on the Grand Canal before it links up with the River Shannon. The largest unclaimed vessel is a thirty-two foot steel-hulled cruiser.
Roscommon: Record attempt at Lamb Festival
During the fourth annual Roscommon Lamb Festival an unusual record attempt is taking place, when it is hoped that at least a thousand people will gather at Dr Hyde Park to knit simultaneously for fifteen minutes. The current record was set in Portland, Oregon when 937 people knitted in concert. While participants can knit whatever they like, those who choose to knit squares will have their work donated to the Irish Wheelchair Association. Up to six thousand visitors are expected in Roscommon over the six days of the festival.
Sligo: Community Park officially opened
A site was purchased from the late Joe Gorman in 1987 for a community park in Ballinalack and since that time the local Community Park committee members have consistently fundraised. Now the park, which already hosts a number of sports clubs, has had its official opening which took place on Bank Holiday Monday. A number of events were arranged for the day including live music, a display of vintage cars and tractors, a demonstration of birds of prey from Ballymote and an inter-county senior football match between Sligo and Monaghan.
Tipperary: Windfall for Cleary’s, but mystery remains
Cleary’s Garage on the Limerick road in Nenagh received a windfall last week of €15,000 for being the seller of the €6 ticket which won more than €7.4m on the National Lottery. However there is no clue as to the identity of the couple who bought the ticket, except that they are from the Mid-West. However they have revealed that they have been using the same numbers for more than twenty years. Meanwhile another Nenagh winner last week was Paul McKeogh, who won €12,500 on RTE’s Winning Streak game show.
Tyrone: Christopher is European champion
Surf-kayaker Christopher Hobson from Killyman, a member of the Blackwater Canoe Club, took part recently in the 2011 European Championships and came out victorious. The event took place in Northern Spain and attracted contestants from all over Europe and from as far away as Brazil. Among them were two previous champions, Andre Pinto from Italy and local man Edu Etxeberria. Christopher, who expressed his thanks for the support from Sport Northern Ireland and Mega Performance Kayaks, will now take part in the Portuguese Open and the World Championships in North Carolina.
Waterford: Three streets to become mega-restaurant
During the Tall Ships event in Waterford city in July Hanover Street, a part of O’Connell Street and the entire length of Gladstone Street are to be transformed into a huge restaurant with seating for four hundred and forty. Full meals will be served for much of each day from June 30 to July 3, overseen by fifteen of the city’s leading restaurateurs. Some five hundred thousand people are expected to visit the city during the event, when sixty ships will leave the city at high tide on July 3.
Westmeath: Muscle on show in Rathowen
This Sunday there should be plenty of muscle on show in the village of Rathowen when a lorry pull has been organised. The participants will pull a fifteen-tonne lorry, setting out from Rathowen Church and finishing at Feerick’s car park. At Feerick’s there will be a barbeque and music. The event is being organised by Brian Crum and David O’Hara, and all proceeds from the day will be donated to the Jack and Jill Foundation, established to help children with severe neurological development issues, and to give support to their families.
Wexford: Hook Peninsula in new tourist promotion
A new venture began this week to promote the Hook Peninsula, with Seán Cooke from Athurstown launching Hook Head Safaris. The safaris will be undertaken in a customised jeep and will, according to Mr Cooke, provide an unusual view of the peninsula. Among the sites included in the route are Ballyhack Castle, Tintern Abbey, Hook Lighthouse and Duncannon Fort and a number of walks in Tintern and along the cliffs to Slade will also feature. The official launch of the new business will take place in Arthurstown at the end of May.
Wicklow: Web-selling works for houses too
The house near Shillelagh which its owner placed on YouTube in an effort to sell it is now the subject of an offer of €500,000. Jillian Godsil has received a deposit from a buyer for Raheengraney House which she has had to sell due to a change in her circumstances. She made a video in a bid to sell the house and it received more than seven thousand hits on YouTube. She and her two teenage daughters are now living in a rented two-bedroomed cottage on three acres where the two girls keep their horses. However Ms Godsil is at pains to point out that they both earn the money for their horses’ feed by looking after a friend’s horse.
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Until next time, many thanks for reading  and we hope you enjoyed this edition of County News.
Slan agus beannacht,
Bridget & Russ 
May the bearer of the news be safe
Gura slán an scéalaí