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:
We publish  links to seven stories gathered every morning from all the major Irish newspapers. These links are kept for two weeks just in case you can't visit the site every day.
Meanwhile, on with the county news. Thre’s a lot of it, so from now on we will be presenting it week by week:
Week ending September 3
Antrim: Contents of Portrush pub up for auction
Redevelopment work to be carried out at the Kelly entertainment complex in Portrush, comprising the hotel, Beetles Bar and restaurant, has led to the auctioning off of a number of the fixtures and fittings that had been collected by the late James Kelly. Among items to go under the hammer at Lush’s night club in the town were a stuffed tiger’s head, half of an old model Ford car, a moose head and a Johnnie Walker Whisky advertising feature. This latter item sold for £400 while a stuffed white leopard and goat in a case realised £1,300.
Armagh: Four Peak Challenge raises funds for victims
Andrew McGaffin from Banbridge and Alan McNeice from Richhill have completed the Four Peak Challenge to raise funds for Help the Heroes and victims of the Troubles. The two men set off from Dublin Port for Wales, where they ascended Snowdon, then it was on to Scafell Pike in the Lake District before heading to Scotland to scale Ben Nevis. The final ascent was Slieve Donard where they were serenaded by the Pride of the Raven Flute Band. They were joined by members of FAIR for a service on the summit and Georgie Spence, a member of the band, played the Last Post on his bugle.
Carlow: Either end of the school spectrum
A nun who has been teaching for more than sixty years and four siblings who have just embarked on their education made the news this week. Sister Kathleen Corcoran, who joined the Presentation Sisters exactly seventy years ago, is still teaching Irish to students in the Presentation De La Salle College in Bagenalstown. Meanwhile in Ballon a set of quads began their school life in the local Montessori school. Robbie, Jamie, Lilly and Johnny Maher, the three-year-old children of Mary and John Maher from Kilnock, started at the Montessori school, having already attended the Ballon-Rathoe Childcare crèche last year.  
Cavan: Breccene to be first Cavan man to swim channel
Breccene Ennis, from Ballyconnell but now based in Dublin, is to attempt a solo swim across the English Channel to raise funds for Temple Street Children’s Hospital. In training for the past two years, Breccene will be the first man from the county to attempt the swim, during which he is not allowed to wear a wetsuit. He will also be monitored by a referee from the Channel Swim Association to ensure he does not hold on to the boat at any time during the swim. Breccene, who has been involved in open water swimming for the past three years, is hoping to raise at least €5,000 for his chosen charity.
Clare: An A-grade student and a budding entrepreneur
Cillian Fahy from New Quay, who has just completed his secondary education at Gort Community College, earned seven As in his Leaving Certificate and is hoping to study English and Mathematics at Trinity College Dublin. To finance his college education Cillian decided to sell his extensive notes on eBay, on the grounds that the most valuable part of grinds is the note-taking, and grinds can cost up to €50 an hour. Since all of his notes, in mathematics, English, Irish, French, music and history, gained him A grades, he feels they could be of use to other students. 
Cork: World’s fasted man on one wheel is from Charleville
Shane Egan from Charleville has earned himself a place in the Guinness Book of Records by becoming the fastest man in the world undertaking a motorcycle wheelie. The thirty-one-year-old broke the World Speed Wheelie record in Yorkshire two weeks ago when he travelled for a kilometre at a speed of 181.5mph. In last year’s competition Shane had finished in fifteenth place but this year decided to take it more seriously. It was on his fifth attempt that he beat the record of 172.9mph, and he was one of five Irishmen who were numbered in the top ten at this year’s event.
Derry: Derry couple have their dog returned to them
Ruby and Jack McGuinness from Derry put up flyers all over the city, contacted the local papers and ran an internet campaign when their dog Gizmo went missing from their home in July. After seven weeks they had given up hope of ever seeing the pedigree Pekinese again, and so they were astonished when they received a phone call from a man in Newry. The man told the couple that he had taken the dog from a young girl who was mistreating him, and he had seen the article in the paper about the missing dog. Jack and Ruby travelled the ninety miles to Newry and were at last reunited with their nine-year-old pet.
Donegal: Creeslough relives old song
The people of Creeslough gathered over a recent weekend to relive the words of the Percy French song “The Emigrant’s Letter”. Local man Paddy McBride played host to the corn-cutting event in the townland of Faymore at which vintage machinery, some of it up to one hundred years old, was used to replicate the song’s line of “cutting the corn around Creeslough today”. A number of teams took part in the harvesting including harvesting machines pulled by horses and donkeys, and a vintage tractor pulling a vintage binder. A second event was held last weekend at McCarry’s Bar in Kildarragh.
Down: No fine for long overdue book
Despite the fact that a book borrowed from a library on the Isle of Man was only returned after more than fifty years, no fine was applied as the book was returned to the mobile library, which doesn’t issue fines. Philip Leonard, a relative of the late Kevin Leonard from Newry, found the book, “The Loughsiders” by Shan F. Bullock, while clearing shelves at his home in the town. After reading the account of a Protestant community living on the shores of Lough Erne he posted it to Manx National Heritage, explaining that it had been borrowed in the 1950s and that he was sure his relative had intended to return it.
Dublin: Modern technology restores cat to its owner
When a five-month old cat managed to travel solo on the Dart from Malahide to Pearse Street station in Dublin, it was modern technology that returned her to her owner. Lilou was handed in at Pearse Street station by a fellow traveller and Iarnród Éireann officials were able to track the animal’s movements using CCTV. They then posted an appeal on Twitter which was reposted more than one hundred times, after which Lilou’s owner, Frenchman Eric Bieci, contacted Iarnród Éireann to say that the cat belonged to him. He lives close to Malahide Dart station and had left a window of his house open, through which his cat began her epic journey.
Fermanagh: Detective work reunites dog with owner
Liana Ledwith was sure she would never see her pet Chihuahua again after it went missing early in August, having jumped from the family car. However a man had been seen picking the dog up and taking him into a people carrier on the day he went missing, and the vehicle was later spotted in an Enniskillen car park and the registration number noted. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when a woman from Tuam in Co. Galway telephoned to say that she thought her neighbour might have Coco. And so it turned out when the Gardaí called on the man, and less than two weeks after the dog went missing he was returned to the Ledwith family.
Galway: Posthumous medal for Korean veteran
The family of Paddy Casserly, from Grealishtown, were in Washington last week to receive a medal on his behalf, marking his service in the Korean War, which began sixty years ago. Paddy emigrated to the US in the early 1950s where he initially lived with two great-aunts in Boston. Before long he was conscripted into the US Army and served as a gunner. Returning from hostilities the noted hurler worked in Harvard University and died at the age of forty-nine. The bronze commemorative medal was pinned on to the jacket of Paddy’s sister, Celia.
Kerry: Footballer to be honoured in Waterville
Waterville is to have a new bronze statue after a decision was taken to honour footballer Mick O’Dwyer in his own lifetime. A committee has been formed and details of the statue were presented at a public meeting in the town last week. In addition to winning four All-Ireland medals, Mick O’Dwyer is also acknowledged as the most successful team manager. Members of the organising committee gathered together to oversee the erection of the life-sized statue are to apply to the Leader programme for funding for the project, with a total cost estimated to be approximately €90,000.
Kildare: Unusual offer from Carbury property owner
The man selling Newberry Hall in Carbury is also offering a financial incentive to anyone who is willing to take on the refurbishment of the eighteenth century house. Richard Robinson, the last of his family and now ninety years old, is selling the property exactly one hundred years after his father purchased it. It is in great need of repair and Mr Robinson has offered a financial contribution to help towards those repairs if someone will take on the task. Newberry Hall Demesne comes with a farm of more than four hundred acres and comprises the house with two joined pavilion wings, one the former home of the estate steward and the other once used as stables and living quarters for grooms.
Kilkenny: Castlecomer couple renew marriage vows
At the Church of the Immaculate Conception in Castlecomer last weekend John and Margaret McDonald renewed their marriage vows before a congregation of family and friends. The renewal ceremony was conducted by Monsignor Michael Ryan and the party that followed was attended by some sixty people, including their four surviving children, Eddie, Aidan, Sean and Caitrina, and their nine grandchildren. The couple, who live in Church Street, lost their son Gerard thirteen years ago. John and Margaret met at a house dance in Aughaucky and courted for six years before marrying in 1960.
Laois: Two new schools for Portlaoise
Some of the children returning to school in Portlaoise had the added excitement of attending totally new schools in the town. The students of the Presentation secondary school entered their newly built Scoil Chriost Ri on the Borris road which, according to deputy principal Ann Dollard, has everything a school could need. Meanwhile in the refurbished technical school on Railway Street school principal Gerry Breslin was on hand to welcome thirty-five junior and senior infants, and first and second class pupils to the town’s first multi-denominational Educate Together school.
Leitrim: Rooney family leaves Glencar post office
Last weekend Dympna Rooney, postmistress at the post office in Glencar, closed the door on the office which had been in the care of her family for three generations. It was Francis Rooney who first ran the post office in the townland of Knocknaclassagh one hundred and ten years ago. He was succeeded by his widow Elizabeth, who passed it on to Frank Rooney. After his death in 1966 his widow Roseanne became postmistress for a period of ten years. It was in 1976 that Dympna Rooney took over the reins and with her retirement there will no longer be a post office in Glencar.
Limerick: Pallasgreen man produces unique crop
Mike Condon, a retired lorry driver from Pallasgreen, has confirmed that he has produced the only crop of peaches in the country, and this he has achieved in his garden at Kilduff. But it was no easy task, with bee numbers in decline Mike had to do his own pollinating, using a tiny paint brush to pollinate each flower individually; the entire task took him two to three days. Mike also covered the tree with a sheet of polythene to protect it from the rain, and the resulting fruit of his efforts has been sold to restaurants in Limerick. The money raised goes towards orphanages in Mumbai where Mike carries out voluntary work twice a year.
Longford: Another harbour opened on the canal
Following the opening last year of Foigha Harbour, last weekend saw the official opening of another harbour on the Royal Canal when Pat Newman, chairman of the Kenagh Royal Canal Amenity Group, cut the ribbon, accompanied by his son Paul. Paul was at the wheel of the barge which had been stored in Tullamore for years before being restored in Killucan. A flotilla of twenty-five boats set out on the journey to Foigha Harbour where the Kenagh group boarded the restored barge for the remainder of the journey. At Mosstown Harbour entertainment and competitions were laid on for the assembled crowd.
Louth: Omeath breaks the super record
A total of two hundred and eighty-eight people dressed in Superman costumes converged on Omeath last weekend and succeeded in more than doubling the record for the greatest number of Supermen gathered in one place. With a total of two hundred and eighty-eight Supermen, the Cuchulainn Gaels’ venture easily beat the previous record of one hundred and twenty-two. The idea of former club chairman Roddy McQuaid, the event raised £3,500 for four charities. A barbecue, a Battle of the Clans, penalty shoot-outs and a night of music at the Granvue House Hotel completed the day’s events.
Mayo: PJ makes it home to Inishbiggle
After having not had a very good record as a sailor, PJ Henry eventually made it home from Scotland to Inishbiggle, sailing from Fort William to the island to visit his mother. Earlier PJ had to be rescued twice from Lough Ness in the Scottish Highlands due to engine trouble and weather conditions and he had told his wife Fran that he would be accompanied on the journey. However for the last part of the journey, around the coast of Northern Ireland, it was a solo voyage. PJ, who left Inishbiggle almost forty years ago but has returned on visits frequently, was welcomed home by his wife and his mother Brigid.
Meath: Council acquires artisan cottages
The county council has been given two eighteenth century artisan cottages by Lord Henry Mountcharles. The cottages, on a lane close to the main street in Slane, originally housed employees of the Slane Castle estate and are in need of total refurbishment. The council hopes to transform them for use as a tourism and heritage centre. Lord Mountcharles timed the donation to coincide with the two hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the establishment of Slane as a village and the gift was received on behalf of the council by county manager Tom Dowling.
Monaghan: Castleblayney event part of new campaign
The 2010 Irish Bog Snorkelling Championships were officially launched last week by Alice Loft Cottages in Doohamlet, Castleblayney, Meteor, and Look Around Ireland. The championships, now in their second year, are part of the Meteor-sponsored Bringing The Craic Back campaign which is due to be officially launched this week. Contestants will use flipper power to propel themselves along the bog, meanwhile breathing with the aid of a snorkel, and the champion will represent Ireland at the International Bog Snorkelling Championships in Wales.
Offaly: Tullamore student helped by anonymous donor
Fernando da Silver has secured a place on the computer and networking course at Carlow Institute of Technology, but it looked as though he would not be able to take up the offer for financial reasons. The nineteen-year-old, who has been living in the town with his father for the past seven years, is Brazilian, is classed as a non-EU migrant and is counted as an international student, with annual fees of almost €4,000 for the four-year course. Now, however, a reader of the Irish Times who read of Fernando’s problem, and who wishes to remain anonymous, has offered to pay his fees so that the nineteen-year-old can continue his education.
Roscommon: Invention shortlist for Roscommon student
John Burke from Roscommon town has been included in a shortlist of twelve Irish finalists for the global James Dyson Award, with the winner to be announced early next month. The twenty-two-year-old, a final year student at University of Limerick, invented the Roll-Clean Wheelchair cleaning device which removes dirt from the wheels while a wheelchair is being operated. He said he had the idea as a family member and wheelchair user has had a constant problem with leaving trails of dirt in people’s homes and in public buildings; the device works by means of a brush mechanism.
Sligo: Vicar’s wife gives assurance over evictions
The wife of a Church of England vicar has stressed that the Middleton Estate, of which she is a shareholder, has no intention of evicting local residents at Rosses Point from their homes. Concern had been expressed after a number of people had received solicitors’ letters demanding ground rent on their properties, but Heather Chave-Cox has pointed out that only one property was subject to a claim of vacant possession, and this property had been vacant for a number of years. Ship owner and miller William Middleton, her great-great grandfather, purchased the land and property in 1875.
Tipperary: Diners enjoy Long Table meal
Last week a long virtual dinner table was created for the annual Tipperary Food Producers Long Table Dinner, which was enjoyed by two hundred and fifty diners. Four locations welcomed diners, Brocka on the Water in Nenagh; Inch House in Thurles; Chez Hans in Cashel; and The Old Convent Restaurant in Clogheen, and the emphasis was on food produced within the county. All of the thirty suppliers were members of the Tipperary Food Producers Network and the diners were addressed by John McKenna, food writer and critic. The four venues were formed into a virtual Long Table by linked filming provided by Tipperary Institute.
Tyrone: An unlikely present for a centenarian
There cannot be many people who are presented with a golf lesson for a one hundredth birthday present, but that is what Freddie Buick gave his father George this year. George, from Urney Road in Strabane, took up golf in his mid-seventies and enjoyed his lesson with club professional Bryan Patterson. This year’s gift is somewhat more grounded than those of previous years, which included half a dozen laps in a two-seater hovercraft, a seaplane flight to Lough Eske and Lough Erne, and a helicopter trip over County Down.
Waterford: A productive summer for Stradbally teenager
Rather than taking a job or just enjoying the summer holiday, John Darcy from Ballyvooney in Stradbally decided to raise funds for the disabled, a sector that he believes has been severely affected by the Government cutbacks. The eighteen-year-old, a student at St Augustine’s College in Dungarvan, gained permission from his neighbour, Beatrice Norris, to open her garden to the public. With an input from gardening centres, which donated plants, and help from neighbours Joan Walsh and Irish Reilly, John restored part of the garden and managed to raise €1,500 for the Waterford Cheshire Home from visits by gardening clubs.
Westmeath: County’s Culture Night launched
The Atrium in the County Buildings in Mullingar was the venue recently for the official launch of Culture Night 2010 for the county. Catherine Kelly, arts officer with the county council, invited the people of Westmeath to attend the launch to discover what will be on offer on September 24 in the first year that Westmeath has joined the annual event. Among the acts who entertained the audience at the launch was the Energy School of Dance, while items on offer on the Culture Night itself include a photographic exhibition on the history of the Dean Crowe Theatre, and a performance by Tonnta Street Theatre.
Wexford: Sculpture garden remembers Campile bombing
The German ambassador Busso von Alvensleben was in Campile last weekend at the official opening of a sculpture garden in memory of the three women who died when a bomb fell on the village seventy years ago. On August 26 1940 a German bomb dropped on the Shelburne Agricultural Co-operative Society, killing Mary Ellen and Kitty Kent, and Kathleen Hurley. Among those who attended the ceremony at the weekend were Kathleen Hurley’s brother Martin and five survivors of the attack, among them eighty-six-year-old Jimmy Whelan. The artwork for the memorial garden was carried out by local artist Ciaran O’Brien and German sculptor Anika Untermann.
Wicklow: Ballynagran to be carbon-free in ten years
An ambitious project in Ballynagran aims to transform the community into the first rural zero carbon district in the world. Up to six hundred and fifty households are involved in the scheme to eliminate emissions of carbon, beginning with ensuring that all light bulbs are energy saving and that all buildings in the area have an energy audit. In ten years’ time they also hope to have windmills, solar panels and biomass energy production of power, and electric vehicles in every driveway. The Ballynagran Zero Twenty project will also look for community allotments and the possible reopening of the Glenealy railway station.
Week ending September 9
Antrim: Lisburn man in novel sea crossing
Mervyn Kinkead from Lisburn may be sixty-five but his sense of adventure hasn’t deserted him yet. He has recently become the first man to cross the Irish Sea in a bath, having travelled from Donaghadee to Portpatrick, a distance of nineteen nautical miles, in eight hours. About three miles short of his destination the unusual vessel began to take water, but Mervyn managed to bail it out and he was greeted in Portpatrick by a welcoming crowd. At first he had talked jokingly about making the voyage but someone suggested doing it for charity and Mervyn took up the challenge.
Armagh: Still volunteering – at 97
Next year has been designated International Year of Volunteers and one person who certainly embodies the concept is Biddy Kaufmann from Meigh. Biddy, who is ninety-seven years of age, spent much of her life in America where she continued her volunteering activities. On her return to Ireland some forty years ago she began helping those affected by the Troubles. Now she runs a luncheon club for pensioners, the youngest of whom is eighty, and is also a founder member of the Meigh Community Association and was a prime mover in the establishment of the Meigh Community Centre which opened fifteen years ago.
Carlow: Novel adornment for roundabout
The as yet unnamed roundabout at the junction of the Palentine and Hacketstown roads in Carlow has a new feature, its very own dolmen. Since the roundabout comes under the remit of the county rather than the town council, it was decided to save money by not calling in a design team. Instead town engineer Brian O’Donovan and Pat Doyle co-operated in installing a dolmen, using a capstone Pat found while carrying out work at Duckett’s Grove. In addition, six trees have been planted on the roundabout, six bays of gravel have been installed and ivy has been set. The colours featured are the county colours of red, yellow and green.
Cavan: Odhran is following in his sisters’ footsteps
Many people are familiar with the Maguire twins, Leona and Lisa, the fifteen-year-old golfing prodigies from Ballyhugh, but now they have a rival for attention. Their nine-year-old brother Odhran last weekend became the youngest Irish child ever to win the Wee Wonders Great Britain/Ireland competition which took place at the famous St Andrew’s course in Scotland. Odhran was competing against more than twelve hundred participants from thirty countries and won the competition by an impressive seven points. Teachers at his national school have presented Odhran with a new putter to mark his achievement.
Clare: Cliffs cast net wide in search for votes
The Cliffs of Moher have been shortlisted for inclusion in the New 7 Wonders of Nature list, which is due to be published in November, and last week an interesting method of securing votes was staged. Children from twenty national schools in the north of the county were on hand to release more than seven hundred bright orange balloons, each bearing the ‘Vote for the Cliffs’ logo. The balloons also carried an invitation to contact the Cliffs of Moher visitor centre. According to centre manager Katherine Webster, the hope is that some of the biodegradable balloons will travel far enough to bring in the diaspora vote.
Cork: Cathedral organ to be rebuilt
The organ in St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, which is the only such instrument to have been constructed in a pit, is to be rebuilt and work has already begun on the project. The organ was placed in a fourteen-foot pit one hundred and forty years ago to ensure the pipes did not obscure the stained glass window, with the result that acoustics became a problem as it took some time for the sound to travel to the back of the cathedral. However according to acoustics experts the rebuilding of the organ will ensure that this problem will be overcome, while new bellows and blowers will also be installed.
Derry: Glenullin builds to retain priest
Fearing that the state of the parochial house could lead to the loss of a priest in the parish, the people of Glenullin, between Garvagh and Dungiven, have built a new parochial house. The job was carried out during the summer evenings and weekends and curate Father Karl Hann is looking forward to moving in soon. Already the village has come together to create a top-class GAA ground, to build a community centre and to prepare for outdoor Masses an ancient chapel. The work on the new parochial house was co-ordinated by members of John Mitchel’s GAA Club.
Donegal: Anne Marie completes North Channel swim
Last week Anne Marie Ward from Portnablagh became the first Irish woman and the tenth person to complete the swim from Northern Ireland to Scotland. Anne Marie was accompanied by a support team including members of Sheephaven Swimming Club on what was her fourth attempt at the crossing. Setting off from Co. Down, Anne Marie completed the twenty-two mile crossing in a time just inside nineteen hours, arriving in Portpatrick on the Scottish coast in the early hours of the morning. As on a similar attempt, she was plagued by jellyfish and was covered in stings by the time she reached her destination.
Down: Civic reception for dance champion
Last week Newry afforded a civic reception to its own dance champion, Naoimh Morgan, who was named Champion of Champions at the World Cup of Dance held on the island of Sardinia in July. She had already won both the modern dance and tap sections before taking the overall title. The reception was hosted in the council chamber by Mayor Mick Murphy and was attended by Naoimh’s family and friends in addition to members of the local authority. The civic reception for Naoimh, a student at the Sacred Heart school, was initially proposed by Councillor Jack Patterson.
Dublin: 10th anniversary for centre for blind
The tenth anniversary of the National Braille Production Centre at St Joseph’s Centre for the Visually Impaired in Drumcondra was marked last week by a visit from artist Robert Ballagh and Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney. A bench had been designed for the occasion by Robert Ballagh, while Seamus Heaney had composed a poem, “Seeing the Sky”, which has been inscribed in Braille onto the bench. The centre has twenty-five staff members who last year completed two thousand eight hundred transcriptions into Braille.
Fermanagh: Lisnaskea woman undertakes fundraiser in LA
Sinead Murphy, originally from Lisnaskea but now working in Los Angeles, will this weekend undertake a one hundred-mile bicycle ride across California from Los Angeles to San Diego to raise funds for a friend’s nephew. Sinead, the daughter of Madeline and Tony Murphy, is raising money for treatment for fifteen-year-old Joey Richardson, who was paralysed from the waist down following an accident last year. His is responding to treatment but unfortunately his insurance does not cover the cost and Sinead is joining with other members of the Irish community to help the family out.
Galway: Michael’s house is a bargain
Michael Dempsey from Moylough built a house, in part to provide income after his retirement, but after two years trying to sell the four-bedroom bungalow he has now said he is open to “any offers over €1”. The house is costing him money in insurance, maintenance and property tax and might have had to be boarded up, but now he has had a significant number of people showing an interest in his unusual offer. Among those who contacted him yesterday was a Nigerian doctor living in Dublin and a woman with links with the county who is a native of Australia.
Kerry: ‘King of Ireland’ confronts Charles Bigham
As part of his bid to reclaim ancestral lands for the Irish people, former New York policeman John Sweeney was in Lauragh last week where he drew his sword on Charles Bigham, the grandson of Lord Lansdowne. The incident took place in Dereen Gardens and the Lansdowne Estate was one of a number, including Blarney Castle Estate and Lismore Castle in Co. Waterford, which John Sweeney wants to win back through the courts. He crowned himself King of Ireland last year, ordering his crown from Dublin, and set up the charity known as Irish Crown Estates through which he hopes to help Irish people in need.
Kildare: Plaques come out of storage
Twelve years ago a number of plaques created by sculptor Brid Ní Rinn were put into storage but at last they are to be taken out and affixed to a 1798 monument in Athy. The delay in erecting the monument was due to archaeological problems at the original site on Woodstock Street but the monument is now to be located at Emily Square. The plaques will be placed on three limestone slabs, each some eight feet in height, with inscriptions in Irish, English and French. The first week in November has been suggested as a possible date for the unveiling of the monument.
Kilkenny: Jackie and Mary hype the match
Jackie Hoyne of the Blackberry Cafe in Thomastown and Mary McEvoy of A Slice of Heaven in Piltown joined forces last week to produce a range of cupcakes specifically designed to boost spirits for the All-Ireland match against Tipperary. The Kilkenny Cupcake is decked out in black and amber shirts and features such items as hurleys, sliotars and the Kilkenny flag. The cupcakes were made by Mary and were then sold at Jackie’s cafe, where assistant Marianne Mullins reported that people thought they were a great idea and snapped them up.
Laois: Derrylamogue chosen for school visit
A group of Chinese trainee teachers, who have already visited a number of schools in the Dublin area, paid a visit to Derrylamogue National School last week as part of their Irish experience. The school was also pleased to r4eceive the young visitors as it does not have a multicultural element and principal Ms Maher thought it would be good for her pupils to experience another culture. With just one hundred and four pupils and four classroom teachers, Derrylamogue school is a good example of a rural school, a type rare in China. Following the visit the student teachers walked in Glenbarrow before having dinner in a pub in Mountmellick. 
 Leitrim: Amelia Rose confident for finals
Amelia Rose Reynolds from Lough Rynn, Mohill, who is representing the county in this year’s The Face of Ireland modelling competition, believes she is in with a good chance of bringing the title home to the county. The nineteen-year-old won her place in the final at the semi-final in Balleybofey last month and the final will also take place in the Donegal town at the end of October. Amelia Rose has two sons, Calvin, aged three and one-year-old Oisín, and is hoping that a modelling career will allow her to give them the best start in life.
Limerick: Downturn means an end to family business
It is a big disappointment to Declan Murphy of Newcastle West that he has been forced to close down the family business and return to Australia with his wife and three children. Declan is the fifth generation of the Murphy family involved in the men’s clothing shop on Maiden Street, and returned from Australia to take over from his father three years ago. However dwindling business due to the recession has led him to make the difficult decision to close the shop begun by his great-great-grandfather in 1889 and re-emigrate with his Australian wife Kate and their three Australian-born children.
Longford: Longford to have new mosque
Dr Syed Ali last week announced the securing of a premises on the outskirts of Longford town for the county’s first mosque. The €200,000 price has been raised through donations and fundraising for the site at the Townspark Industrial Estate which will accommodate between three and four hundred people at any one time. Prior to this Muslims in Longford were worshipping in rented premises or in a private house in the town where no more than thirty people could be accommodated. Dr Ali is the Director of the Longford Islamic Centre.
Louth: Callaghan’s receives national award
Callaghan’s Butchers and Deli of Market Street in Ardee has been presented with a Retail Excellence Award in a competition promoting standards in the Irish retail industry. The store is included in the top one hundred shops in the country following the visit of a mystery shopper who gave ninety per cent approval for the way in which it is run, Callaghan’s have been in business for more than one hundred years, having been established by present owner Peter Callaghan’s great-grandfather in 1906. Peter and his brother Andrew took over the business form their father, Johnny, more than twenty years ago and Andrew now has his own shop in Bettystown.
Mayo: Ceremony honours US naval chief
Ballinrobe was last weekend celebrating a native sone who was twice awarded the US Medal of Honour for outstanding bravery and had a battleship named after him. John King was born in the townland of Currabee, emigrating to America in 1886 and joining the US Navy seven years later. He saw service in both the Spanish-American war and in the Philippine-American war. The ceremony in Ballinrobe included the unveiling of a life-size statue of John King and a performance by a US Navy band. Attending ceremony was Ann Reid, a grand-niece of the US naval hero.
Meath: Kells has a new approach to tourism
In order to attract more tourists to the area a new package has been unveiled, with cathaoirleach of the Kells Town Council Conor Fergus launching the venture, with Kevin Kidney of Fáilte Ireland. The Book of Kells Experience can be either a three-day or four-day tour, taking in St Ciaran’s Well and high crosses, the spire of Loyd, Causey Farm, Conalbreany Cemetery, Tailteann House and Kells Victorian Waterworks. Tourists will be able to board any one of eight fourteen- and twenty-seven-seater coaches in Dublin to be brought to Kells to begin the tour, or they can avail of a one-day tour. The Book of Kells Experience is the work of local woman Lucy O’Reilly.
Monaghan: Maher family break school record
Seven members of the Maher family from Carrickmacross have set a record by all attending the same school, St Joseph’s National School in the town, at the same time. A photograph of Cian, Cathal, Eoin, Conor, Darragh, Oisín and Odhran Maher appeared in the Irish Times last week at the start of another school year, and the seven don’t comprise the entire family of Paul and Edel Maher. For there are two younger brothers at home awaiting their turn to start at the school, Cillian and Fionn, as well as Aisling, the only girl in the family of ten.
Offaly: Modelling career awaits Tullamore man
Aidan Deegan, a novice in the world of modelling, managed to take second place in the Mister International Competition in Dublin. The twenty-two-year-old from Clonminch Road in the town is studying mathematical science at the University of Limerick and he was spotted on Facebook by the head of a model agency looking for a new face. Some interest has already been shown by companies but Aidan, the eldest of the nine children of Peter and Mavis Deegan, has said he will first complete the final year of his degree before taking time to build up a portfolio.
Roscommon: Proposal to mark artist’s anniversary
Moves are afoot to mark the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of the birth of artist Roderick O’Connor with celebrations in the county. Born in Milltown, Castleplunkett, Roderick O’Connor spent much of his life in France and was particularly associated with Pont-Aven in Brittany, where he became a friend of Paul Gaugin. Living on the income from rents on his Irish land, when the lands were sold in 1903 under the Wyndham Land Act he was able to continue his work without having to worry about selling any of it. A meeting is to be held this weekend in Kilmurry Community Centre to discuss the celebrations which, it is hoped, will have input from the county council and possibly from Pont-Aven.
Sligo: National accolade for Sligo pub
A live broadcast took place last week from the pub in Strandhill that has been voted the best ‘local’ in the country. A competition hosted by Newstalk 106-108 fm in association with the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland called for votes from around the country, and it was Kelly’s of Strandhill that came out on top. For the past eight years the pub has been run by Padraic and Geraldine Killoran, though Padraic, from Riverstown, had worked there some years ago when it was known as the Santa Maria. The couple and their four children, Michael, Sarah, Brian and Hannah, all took part in the live broadcast with Sean Moncrieff.
Tipperary: Ancient road found at Longford Pass Bog
Archaeologists working at Longford Pass Bog have uncovered the remains of an old oak road which has been dated to 986BC, using dendrochronology. The road, which runs parallel to a modern road, was found in the Bord na Móna bog and is constructed of oak planks laid across oak beams and gravel. Experts believe that the road may have been used as a causeway to cross the bog but no evidence has been found of either wheel tracks or hoof marks to support the theory. However it is thought that the road might have formed part of an ancient road network.
Tyrone: McGoldricks have a lucky escape
The McGoldrick family from Gortin were on their way out to dinner when Daniel parked the car to go to an ATM on Main Street. The ATM is just across the road from a graveyard and a large chestnut tree had become uprooted during the very stormy conditions; it fell, damaging the wall and landing on the McGoldricks’ car. Fortunately Pauline McGoldrick and her nine-year-old daughter Karla were in the back of the car and, though very shaken, they were unhurt. On hearing the noise Daniel immediately ran back to his badly damaged car and was able to help them out of the passenger door.
Waterford: Gardens to be placed in public ownership
An agreement, that the Mount Congreve Gardens in Kilmeaden be placed in public ownership twenty-one years after the death of the owner, has been superseded and the world-renowned gardens are now to be handed over in the immediate future. Ambrose Congreve, the owner of the gardens, is now aged one hundred and three years. Subject to formal approval the gardens will be handed into the care of the National Botanic Gardens. They were the subject of a proposal submitted to the county council two years ago for a development on a part of the property of a resort with a hotel and spa, holiday homes and a forty-berth marina.
Westmeath: New bridge honours local entertainer
The new bridge which was opened in Mullingar last week, the final link in the ring road around the town, has been named after famed entertainer and Mullingar native Joe Dolan. The Joe Dolan Bridge, a two-lane carriageway of five hundred and forty metres, crosses the flood plains of the River Brosna and Lacy’s Canal. Officially opened by Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey, the bridge links the Clonmore Business Park to the Lynn roundabout on the Tullamore road and will ease congestion in the town by allowing traffic to avoid the town centre.
Wexford: National title for Gorey farmer
From a total of twenty-one young farmers a shortlist of six was chosen and the final title of FBD Young Farmer of the Year 2010 went to Paul Kehoe from Gorey. The announcement of the winner was made at a ceremony in the Tower Hotel in Waterford. The thirty-four-year-old is a beef and livestock farmer and is also a member of the national livestock committee of the IFA. He is also a member of the Teagasc beef stakeholders committee and is involved in local politics in Gorey. When Paul is not farming he is kept busy as a crew member of Cahore Inshore Rescue.
Wicklow: Showjumpers gather to help St Catherine’s
Showjumpers both professional and amateur joined forces last weekend to raise money for St Catherine’s Day Care Centre, part of the services based in Newcastle. Among the seven hundred who gathered at Ballymoney Park Stud in Kilbride for the Newcastle Grand Prix Horse Show were showjumping stars Paul O’Shea and Ken McMahon. More than thirty competitions took place over the two-day event, with a prize fund of €7,000 sponsored by Bloxham Stockbrokers, with the overall winner being Edward Doyle. The aim of the event was to raise up to €10,000 for St Catherine’s.
Week ending September 15
Antrim: Official opening of church in Carrickfergus
A new church was officially opened in Carrickfergus last week, the third Methodist church to be opened on the same site. The first, built exactly two hundred years ago, was demolished and a new church built in 1884. This building was in turn demolished to make way for the new church, constructed by Hugh Taggart and Sons of Ballymoney. The opening ceremony was conducted by ninety-five-year-old George Apsley, with President of the Methodist Church in Ireland Rev Paul Kingston dedicating the new church. Carrickfergus Methodist Church stands at the corner of West Street and Albert Road.
Armagh: International trophy for Armagh association
The Armagh branch of the Royal Air Forces Association has been presented with the National President’s Trophy, given to the branch which has been selected as the most efficient of all branches worldwide. The shield was presented to Margaret Cotton, the secretary of the Armagh branch, by Tommy Foster MBE, chairman of the associations based in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The presentation took place at the annual dinner of the Armagh branch in the week when the seventieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain was being celebrated.
Carlow: Terrapin reunited with owner
He hadn’t managed to get very far, just across the road in fact, but it was two weeks before Alfie the terrapin was reunited with his five-year-old owner in Carlow. The turtle escaped from the home of Bryan Fitzharris in Huntingdon Court, just across the road from Carlow Garda station, and he was spotted by Garda Elliott Malone on the grass outside the station. However it took a call to the local radio station to return Alfie to Bryan, and in the meantime he was kept at the Arboretum Garden Centre in Leighlinbridge.
Cavan: Shercock slimmers do it for the GAA
A twelve-week slimathon to raise funds for a new stand at O’Hagan Park on the Kingscourt Road in Shercock has seen the one hundred and four participants losing a combined one hundred and fourteen stone. This resounding success was announced at the official weigh-in in St Patrick’s Hall last weekend, with six people being named as overall category winners. These were Brigid Burns, Paddy Farrelly, Sharon Farrelly, Louise Lennon, Pierce McDermott and Aidan McEvoy. The fitness programme for the slimmers was devised by Bernice Lamb from ‘Fit to Go’.
Clare: Drilling brings job prospects in Quinn
Canadian mining company Lundin has been drilling in lands at Kilbricken near the village of Quinn and has reported results for silver, lead and zinc very good to date. Beginning with four drills, the company increased this to six over the summer and it is at present employing ten people. The hope is that the positive outcome of the initial drilling could lead to employment opportunities in the locality. The drilling is utilising licences held by Belmore Resources and their spokesperson, Pat Mahony, has said that a typical mine has a lifespan of up to ten years.
Cork: Michael tends graves of 19th century sailors
Michael Healy, a retired Naval Service reservist, has for the past fifty years been tending the grave of seven sailors who were murdered by their captain on board a ship that docked in Cork in 1828. The grave is in the rural cemetery of Kilmurray and Michael has gone so far as to restore the engraved headstone which commemorates the men. He first came across the story of the murders fifty-five years ago and set about searching for the grave. Having found it, he has spent every year since ensuring that it is kept in good condition.
Derry: Coins to commemorate Bloody Sunday
A company in England is to mint a limited edition of collectors’ coins to commemorate the victims of Bloody Sunday. The coins will show on one side a hand holding a handkerchief, invoking the iconic image of the then Father Edward Daly, with the words “Justice, Truth, and Healing”. The reverse will carry the names of the victims on a Celtic cross. A donation from the sale of each coin is to be made to the Museum of Free Derry and John Kelly is looking forward to selling the coins on the premises, particularly as there are plans to expand the museum.
Donegal: Residents call for deer cull
People living in Gweedore, Crolly and Rosses are calling for a deer cull, following an increase in numbers which has left their gardens, and sometimes themselves, vulnerable. Apart from the herd of two hundred and twenty deer in Glenveigh National Park, there are an estimated five thousand roaming across the county. They have been destroying lawns and removing bark from trees, and wildlife expert Joe Gatins has warned that people out hillwalking could be at risk. However he believes that there are enough licensed huntsmen to deal with the problem, without an official cull taking place.
Down: Bonnets blessed in Rostrevor
An unusual ceremony took place in Kilbroney Church in Rostrevor last weekend when Canon Jamieson carried out a symbolic blessing of a number of bonnets. The bonnets, made by Laura McClelland and Margaret McBride from Kilkeel, represented the convict women and their children who were banished to Australia on board the Kinnear and the Roslin Castle vessels. The bonnets were placed in a wooden dinghy in the church to represent the ships that carried the women and children into exile. Speaking at the ceremony was Christina Henri, who has researched the lives of the convicts.
Dublin: Swimmers undeterred by warnings
Despite warnings of the danger of contracting E coli infections, hepatitis or Weil’s disease, some three hundred and sixty people aged from ten to seventy took part in the ninety-first annual Liffey Swim last weekend. All swimmers had first to complete four qualifying open-sea races to ensure entry to the Liffey Swim. The course runs from Watling Street Bridge, close to the Guinness Brewery, to Custom House Quay and the men’s race was won by Brian O’Dwyer of the Guinness Club, while first place in the women’s race went to Deirdre Dunne of St Vincent’s Club.
Fermanagh: Corn for threshing day harvested
Jim Joe Lynch’s farm at Cribb Cross near Derrygannon, Rosslea, was the setting for a traditional cutting of the corn last week, using a tractor and reaper. The machine was fitted with a tilted gathering table to allow the team of men to tie sheaves ready to be stooked. The corn was harvested in time for the Threshing Day next week, organised by Derrygannon Craft and Heritage Society. Following the threshing the straw will be sold to the Mummers’ Centre at Aughakillymaude in Derrylin, where it will be used for strawcraft classes.
Galway: Pair set caving record in Gort area
A Pole and a Belgian have set a new Irish record for the longest traverse of water-filled underground caves in these islands. Artur Kozlowski and Jim Warny called on the local knowledge of farmers including the Nolan, Quinn and Cunningham families to complete the traverse, which concentrated on the Gort area containing caves known as Polldeelin, Polltoophill, Pollaloughabo and Moran’s. They used deep-sea diving equipment during the venture and undertook a total of forty-five dives to complete the traverse of four kilometres.
Kerry: Plans afoot for Chaplin festival
Members of the family of the late Charlie Chaplin are co-operating in the organisation of a film festival to be held in his honour in Waterville. The comic actor spent every summer for nearly forty years in the seaside town and some years ago a bronze statue of Chaplin was erected which has become a major tourist attraction. The comedy film festival will take place in August of next year under the patronage of actor Josephine Chaplin and organised by local architect Albert Walsh. Also named as a patron is Noelle Campbell-Sharpe, the founder of the Cill Rialaig artists’ retreat.
Kildare: Naas school opens with just six pupils
Naas Community National School, one of three to open this year, opened last week at Pipers’ Hill with just six pupils under the care of principal Marianne Ó Foghlú. Serving Naas, Caragh, Clane, Johnstown, Kill, Newbride, Sallins and Two Mile House, the school has applications for the next four years so there is no danger of the numbers not increasing. The opening of the school was celebrated with an ice cream party at the end of August, and the new junior infants are to be known as Wrens. By the time they reach sixth class they will be named Eagles.
Kilkenny: New map and list aids cemetery search
People searching for the graves of their relatives at Tullaherin, close to Bennettsbridge, will now be aided by a plaque listing in alphabetical order all those who are interred in the ancient site. The plaque also features a colour-coded map showing where each grave is located. The official unveiling of the plaque was performed by Dearbhla Ledwidge, Heritage Officer with the County Council. She paid tribute to the members of Tullaherin Heritage Society who had ensured the graveyard was in excellent condition. The work of listing the graves was begun by Rita Harte, Katherine Lanigan and Mary Kenealy some thirty years ago, and has been completed by Margaret Phelan, Mary Cassin, her daughter-in-law Alison and grandchildren Matthew, Clodagh and Ruth.
Laois: More porcelain on sale at Durrow
The remainder of the collection of Chinese porcelain acquired from a Co. Carlow family is to be auctioned in November by Michael Sheppard of Durrow. At present the collection is being kept in a secret location within the county. When the first part of the collection went on sale in March a twelve-inch high porcelain vase was recognised by international dealers as being part of the private collection of eighteenth century Emperor Qianlong. With the vase selling for €110,000 rather than the €100 to €150 guide price, interest in the remainder of the collection is bound to be intense.
Leitrim: Annual run and walk rescheduled
This year’s Dromahair Four-Mile Run and Walk, postponed for a week, takes place on Sunday, with children’s races starting the event and all children participating receiving a medal for their efforts. The Four-Mile event itself will begin and finish on Main Street and there will be trophies to be won in all categories, with the Garry McTernan Memorial Trophy being awarded to the first local male to finish. The Blue Devon on Main Street will host the after-race celebrations and prize-giving, and all funds raised will be donated to S.T.O.P. (Suicide, Teach, Organise, Prevent).
Limerick: End of an era in Ballyorgan
Mary Kelly has turned the key in the door of the national school in Ballyorgan, close to the Ballyhouras mountains, for the last time since the last three pupils left the school at the beginning of the summer. First opened in 1941, the school had as many as forty pupils on the roll in the sixties and seventies, but over the past nine years the numbers have gradually dwindled, leaving just Mrs Kelly teaching there for the past two years. When it became a one-teacher school Ballyorgan had just eight pupils. Parish priest of Ballyorgan and Glenroe expressed regret at the closing of the school, saying it was “paramount to childhood friendships”.
Longford: Award nomination for Longford author
Esther Gobl Uí Nualláin, a teacher at Meánscoil Mhuire in Longford, has for the second time been included in the shortlist for the Foras na Gaeilge Irish Language Book of the Year Award. Esther’s new book for children, “Ruabll Trioball”, is aimed at the five to eight years age group and Esther plans to launch it at the secondary school where she teaches on September 29. The book is nominated in the Young People’s Book of the Year – Grada Réics Carló - category of Leabhar na Bliana, the results of which will be announced on September 28.
Louth: Triple win for the county
Louth can be proud that it has taken the overall title, the Tidiest Village title and the title for the Schools Award in this year’s Tidy Towns competition. The village of Tallanstown was voted Tidiest Village and then the overall winner, to the cheers of the thirty-five committee members who had travelled to the Helix in Dublin to hear the results. Committee chairman Richard Barry told the assembled company that in 1984, when Tallanstown first entered the competition, it was placed 730th, so the village’s success could not be described as overnight. Meanwhile the SuperValu Tidy Towns Schools Award went to Ardee Educate Together National School.
Mayo: Grandparents gather in Knock
The basilica at Knock didn’t even have standing room only last Sunday for the fourth annual National Grandparents’ Pilgrimage when more than ten thousand people gathered for a concelebrated Mass. Chief celebrant was Bishop John McAreavey, Bishop of Dromore, and the keynote speaker was teacher and Irish Times columnist Breda O’Brien. Among those who attended the celebration was Kathleen Madden from Ballyhaunis, who was accompanied by one of her eighteen grandchildren. The pilgrimage was initiated by Catherine Wiley of Westport, founder of the Catholic Grandparents’ Association.
Meath: Minister opens new line to Dunboyne
Minister for Transport Noel Dempsey performed the official opening last week of the new commuter rail line which runs from the Docklands station in Dublin stopping at Pace, the M3 Parkway and Dunboyne, with a total length of seven and a half kilometres. A station has also been built at Hansfield and will come into use when an access road has been provided. The long-term plan is for the line to extend as far as Navan and the thirty-four kilometres of railway will pass through Dunshaughlin, Kilmessan en route to Navan Central and Navan North.
Monaghan: No easy ride for Joseph
Since Joseph Kirk from Coolmore is an only child, it would have been easy for his parents Martin and Marie to accede to his request for a trip to Disney World in Florida. However Marie decided that things should not come too easily to her son and told the then five-year-old that he would have to pay his own fare. Two years and fourteen hens later, Joseph has saved enough money from selling eggs, mainly to his grandparents, for his fare and any money he makes now from the egg production will be spending money when the family takes the promised trip to Florida.
Offaly: Clareen farmers take organic award
Cheese made at the three-hundred-acre Mossfield Organic Farm at Clareen, six miles from Birr, has been named as the winner of the overall National Organic Award 2010. The Gouda-style organic cheese was manufactured by Ralph Haslam and his sons Drew and Jonathan, using milk from their herd of eighty cows. The family converted to organic farming eleven years ago and, with the introduction of their cheese in 2005, began to receive a number of awards. These include a gold and a silver in 2005 and a gold in 2006 at the World Cheese Awards.
Roscommon: FBD prize for Brideswell man
Tomás Beades from Brideswell was awarded the Special Prize for Community Involvement at the recent FBD Young Farmer of the Year awards. Tomás, now a full-time farmer, found himself with time on his hands after graduating with a degree in accountancy as he found it impossible to find a job. Rather than sitting at home doing nothing he began to look for opportunities to help out in his local community and now has a presence on an impressive range of committees. In addition to being chairman of the Cam/Dysart Macra na Feirme branch, Tomás is also involved in the local football club, the GAA club, the parish committee, the local branch of the IFA, and the Roscommon Lamb Festival.
Sligo: No aliens on Ben Bulben after all
Speculation that aliens might have been landing on Ben Bulben was proved unfounded after national broadcaster RTE came up with an explanation for the strange lights seen flashing over the Truskmore area last weekend. Visible within a twenty-mile radius, the lights turned out to be due to a malfunction of lights erected for aircraft safety. During the day the lights have the strength of sixteen hundred one-hundred watt bulbs, and this is supposed to be reduced to one hundred and sixty during the night. However something went wrong, the lights maintained their daytime strength and caused sleepless nights for some local residents.
Tipperary: Angler draws up new map of Lough Derg
With the help of local fishermen angler Shane Creamer from Portroe has produced the first detailed map of Lough Derg after three years of research. Among those helping Shane to name such places as Oileann Mahona, Sandy Grove and The Henhouse were Eamonn Giblin from Scariff; Tom Molamphy from Ballina’ Nenagh resident Billy Talbot; and Mark Grace from Ballycommon. All of these men have fished the lake for many decades and were able to supply many of the names missing from the original map drawn up by the British authorities in 1839.
Tyrone: A novel tourist attraction in Derryloughlin
For the past twenty-five years Brian McGirr has been producing clocks, paperweights, jewellery, picture frames and other items from bog oak, and now he has been instrumental in bringing to the county the first bog tourists. With the help of ninety-year-old Liam McCuskey, who has been cutting turf for more than eighty years, Brian has established a tourist amenity at Derryloughlin. He picked the site as being capable of bearing the weight of a tourist bus and the first group, from Florida, enjoyed the delights of cutting turf last week.
Waterford: Waterford man is gardener of the year
Joe Hurley from Viewmount in Waterford, who has been growing vegetables in his back garden for some thirty years, has been named as GIY-er of the Year by Grow It Yourself Ireland. The organisation encourages people to grow their own food and they have been impressed with the eighty-one-year-old’s production of vegetables ranging from potatoes to peas, from garlic to kale. Joe will attend the GIY conference taking place in the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin this weekend, where he will be presented with his award. The event is to be officially opened by President Mary McAleese.
Westmeath: Are they the oldest twins?
It is unconfirmed, but it is believed that Kathleen Conlon and May Nugent may be the oldest female twins in Ireland. Originally from Drumraney, the sisters celebrated their eighty-ninth birthday last week in The Bounty in Athlone at a surprise party organised by May’s children. Kathleen, who lives in Goldsmith Terrace, worked in St Peter’s Convent all her life, while May moved to Mount Temple after marrying Jimmy Nugent, and they had four children, Laurence, Mary, Tommy and Kathleen; she has lived there for the past fifty-eight years.
Wexford: Local singer looking for support
Joanne McCabe, who has made a musical contribution to the parish of Templeudigan over the years, is to hold a concert this weekend in St Laurence’s Church. A soprano, Joanne is studying as a lyric soprano with Deirdre Masterson and is hoping to raise funds towards the continuation of her studies. She has been acting as manager of the choir and group singing teams for the community games and has also been a long-time member of the St Clement’s Church choir as well as being a well-known singer at weddings in Wexford and the surrounding counties.
Wicklow: First prayer gathering in Shillelagh graveyard
Last Sunday saw the first ecumenical prayer gathering taking place in the Yew Tree Cemetery near Shillelagh, which is subject to an ongoing restoration and refurbishment programme. The work on the site, which dates to pre-Christian times, was carried out by a voluntary committee that was set up eight years ago. They have been responsible for the installation of holy water fonts, the repair of the gates, and the provision of a stile. They have also ensured that the grass and flowerbeds are kept in good condition. Those attending the prayer gathering were able to view a photographic exhibition and written accounts of the history of the cemetery.
Week ending September 23
Antrim: Plaque honours theatre director
A blue plaque was unveiled on Wednesday honouring broadcaster and theatre director Sir Tyrone Guthrie, who started his career as a producer and announcer at the BBC in Belfast in 1924. The plaque has been placed on a wall of the main BBC building on Linenhall Street and among those who attended the unveiling ceremony was playwright Brian Friel, who said Sir Tyrone had introduced him to the ‘profound joys’ of the theatre. Sir Tyrone had another link with the city, since he was appointed a chancellor of Queen’s University in 1963.
Armagh: Gold medal presented to choir member
A gold medal, marking fifty years of service, was presented to Harrison Morrow last week by members of the Portadown Male Voice Choir. The eighty-six-year-old, who is originally from Armagh, began his singing career as a boy soprano at the Church of Ireland Cathedral and later sang at St Mark’s. Harrison came to live in Portadown when he married Amy Carville and he worked for Cullen Brothers. The only other choir member to have received the gold medal since its introduction four years ago was Mervyn White, the deputy conductor.
Carlow: Environmental award for Ballon school
The pupils of Ballon National School set about making models from aluminium can earlier this year as part of the village’s presentation to the Tidy Towns competition. The initiative, overseen by the Ballon Improvement Group and sponsored by Alupro, saw forty-eight of the pupils constructing the models, with the winner named as Cian Byrne. At the announcement of the winners in the Tidy Towns competition in Dublin the “Can It” project was named as the winner of the National Recycling Award. The award was presented to Maire George, chairperson of the Ballon Improvement Group.
Cavan: Coothill man retains record
The latest edition of the Guinness Book of Records continues to feature a Cootehill man who set a record thirty years ago which has never been broken. In November 1980 Vincent Pilkington appeared on the Late Late Show and plucked a turkey in a time of one minute, thirty seconds, taking more than a minute off his previous fastest time. On one occasion the champion turkey plucker undertook twenty-four hours of plucking to raise funds for his local Holy Family School. On this occasion he succeeded in plucking a total of two hundred and forty-four turkeys.
Clare: Clare student is outstanding
Melanie Hennessy from Cloughleigh has been selected as one of ten outstanding people under the age of forty to be included by Junior Chamber International in the 2010 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World. The twenty-one-year-old, a medical student at NUI Galway, is to receive her award in the Humanitarian and/or Voluntary Leadership category. She has set up a school in Nepal, as well as Draíocht, a society at the university that raises funds for an orphanage in Nepal. With the other nine nominees Melanie will receive her award at the JCI World Congress in Japan in November.
Cork: Bird brings enthusiasts to Cobh
The arrival in Cobh of an Indian house crow last week has led to an influx of visitors to the town, including large numbers of birdwatchers from Britain. While the species was spotted in this country three decades ago none has ever been seen in Britain. According to ornithologist Eric Dempsey, it is likely that the bird arrived here on board a ship and it has happily settled in the centre of the town over Supermac’s restaurant. The bird was originally spotted by local enthusiast Jim Wilson, who was alerted by its continuous calling.
Derry: Teenager gives up summer to enhance estate
Seventeen-year-old Jade Shields from Limavady gave up a number of weeks of her summer holiday to paint murals for the Glens estate in the town. A fifteen-strong group of young people between the ages of fourteen and seventeen assisted Jade in creating the five fence murals, one of which features the use of their hands to create butterfly shapes. The work of the Limavady High School student and her helpers was unveiled at the Glens Community House last week. Jade, a fan of graffiti artist Bransky, is hoping to become an art teacher or a photographer.
Donegal: Beauty titles for Ballybofey sisters
Louise and Alesha Gallen from Dreenan in Ballybofey are both looking forward to the finals of competitions which they have entered in the past year. Louise was the Donegal winner of the Face of Ireland competition held in Jackson’s Hotel and will be representing the county at the national finals in Dublin in November. Meanwhile Alesha is to travel to Vietnam in December to represent Ireland in the finals of the Miss Earth competition, which promotes environmental issues. Both sisters are graduates of NUI Galway.
Down: Man sports county colours at Papal Mass
One of those chosen to receive Holy Communion from Pope Benedict at the Mass in Bellahouston Park in Glasgow last week wore a Down jersey for the occasion. Danny Boyle from Glasgow, with roots in Buncrana, Co. Donegal, was given the jersey by his friend Johnny Canning whose mother Margaret is from Hilltown. The idea was for him to wear it to watch the All-Ireland final but he also thought it would be a nice gesture to his friend, who had just become engaged to Bernadette Quinn, if he wore it for the Papal Mass. Danny was one of two people selected to represent the immigrant Irish community at the Mass.
Dublin: A new statue for Ballymun
Artist John Byrne is the creator of a new statue for the Dublin suburb of Ballymun which has found a temporary home at Trinity Comprehensive Secondary School due to building work in the area. The bronze five-metre high statue, Misneach, features a girl riding bareback on a horse to represent the local tradition, and the figure was modelled on local girl Toni Marie Shields. She underwent laser scanning in London which led to a computer-generated mould of wax which was part of the process in creating the sculpture.
Fermanagh: Jimmy is still waiting for his door
Jimmy Donnelly, who lives in the Drumbawn area of Enniskillen, is still waiting to have his front door replaced after it was broken down by up to twenty police officers. Jimmy was falling to sleep in bed when the police officers burst through the door and ran upstairs, erroneously believing the house to be full of drugs. It didn’t take them long to realise that they had the wrong house, the one under suspicion being around the corner. But seventy-year-old Jimmy says he’s still waiting for an apology and, more importantly, for a replacement front door.
Galway: World leader lays foundation for mosque
The foundation stone for Galway city’s new mosque was laid last week by Ahmadiyya Muslim world leader Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad and his wife Begum Sahiba at Ballybrit in Galway. The Masjid Maryum mosque will be the centre for the Ahmadi Muslims who have had a presence in Galway for the past thirty years. The laying of the foundation stone was followed by prayers and readings from the Koran, and among those who attended a reception in the Clayton Hotel later that night were Bishop of Galway Dr Martin Drennan, politicians and senior members of the Gardaí.
Kerry: Castleisland woman chosen to address Pope
During the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Britain a student from Castleisland was selected to deliver the closing address after his visit to St Mary’s University in Twickenham. Elaine Cahill, who graduated from the university this year with a degree in sports science, was asked by the college chaplain if she would take part in the ceremony. Although the closing address consisted of only three lines, the twenty-one-year-old confessed that she was very nervous before delivering it. Elaine, the daughter of John and Bernie Cahill from Dooneen, last year won a Volunteer of the Year award from the local council in Richmond.
Kildare: Carbury estate has quick sale
Ninety-year-old Richard Robinson has been surprised at the quick sale of his eighteenth-century estate near Carbury, which has been sold for an undisclosed sum after just three weeks of viewing. Newberry Hall Demesne, a Palladian mansion on four hundred and forty-four acres, has been purchased by a young Irish bachelor farmer who has already enlisted the services of one of the leading consultant architects to oversee the restoration. The new owner has plans to live in the house and to farm the surrounding land.
The guide price on the estate was €7.5m, a far cry from the £8,500 Mr Robinson’s father paid for the property in 1911.
Kilkenny: Gerald is rewarded for bringing event to Kilkenny
For the first time since the 1980s the annual Open Day Exhibition of the Eire Budgerigar Society was held in Kilkenny over the weekend. Responsible for bringing the event to the city, where it was held in St Patrick’s Community Centre in Loughboy, was Gerald Lanigan who said the judges were very impressed with the venue. He is now confident that the exhibition will be held in Kilkenny again next year. Gerald himself had much to celebrate since he won the title of Best Novice Breeder, and took first place in both the Best Novice category and the Best Budgie Baby category.
Laois: Annual charity hunt in Portlaoise
The third annual charity hunt organised by Portarlington Lions Club is due to take place this Sunday. The hunt has the support of local farmers who allow it to progress through their lands, and this year the numbers of horses and riders taking part are expected to exceed last year’s total of some one hundred and seventy. The anticipated two hundred horses and riders will parade down Main Street to the starting point of the hunt at the Railway Bar. All proceeds raised will go to the Children’s Sunshine Home and Laura Lynn House.
Leitrim: Westlife member has permission for development
Although it is not universally welcomed, Westlife member Shane Filan and his brother Finbar have received planning permission for a major development in Dromohair. The original application was turned down by the county council and it is An Bord Pleanála which has approved the development. The construction of a supermarket, crèche and gym on the site of the Breffni Centre Hotel on Main Street will necessitate the demolition of the hotel, and the approval of the development is subject to a total of eighteen conditions. Local opposition focused on the scale of the development and the presence in Dromohair already of two supermarkets and a convenience store.
Longford: Clondra harbour to be reopened
The last day of this month will see the official reopening of Richmond Harbour in Clondra, in association with Waterways Ireland and the Royal Canal Amenity Group. The Longford Pipe Band will feature at the opening and there is also to be a barbeque at the harbour in the evening, weather permitting. Other events to mark the occasion include a fishing competition and a family afternoon with canoe racing and boat trips in small cruisers. After years of work by the Royal Canal Amenity Group the Royal Canal will once again be a navigation route from Spencer Dock in Dublin to Clondra.
Louth: A record run for Colette
Colette O’Hagan from Dundalk will be entering the record books at the end of next month when she takes part in her two hundredth marathon. The sixty-one-year-old will be taking part in the Dublin City Marathon and hopes to encourage two hundred people to join her to raise funds for an orphanage in Romania. Colette will be running in aid of the Aurelia Trust which helps children in Romania, and all funds raised will go towards a group home for eight orphaned children and their carers. Colette, who started running twenty years ago, has been involved with the Romanian orphanage for the same period.
Mayo: National awards for Achill students
Two Achill teenagers who are now attending NUI Galway were last week presented with plaques and certificates by the National Educational Welfare Board. The presentations marked that fact that Sean McGinty from Saille and Barry Masterson from Ballycroy both completed five years in Scoil Damhnait in Achill without missing a single day. Sean was also awarded a scholarship for gaining the highest Leaving Certificate results in the school. His older brother Conor outdid him on the attendance record, however, having some years ago completed both primary and secondary school without missing a day.
Meath: Paraic seeks safety measures after multiple accidents
Paraic McGuinness has seen six accidents take place outside his home in Carlanstown over the past few weeks and is now appealing to the council for safety measures to be put in place. Paraic’s home is on the road into Carlanstown from Kells and the latest incident resulted in a car demolishing the front wall of his garden, the third time that the wall had been hit. When a man started work to repair the wall he abandoned the task as he felt he was going to be hit by cars which he heard skidding as they rounded the bend. The council has told Paraic there is no possibility of installing an anti-slip surface on the road, as he had requested.
Monaghan: Fun walk in Castleblayney
A walk taking place this coming Sunday will have the twin aims of increasing awareness of the importance of keeping healthy, and raising funds for the Irish Heart Foundation. Organised by local walking group the Blayney Ramblers in conjunction with Monaghan Sports Partnership, the walk will proceed along paths around the Black and White Islands, with a number of breaks for those who might find it hard going. However “Crunch” McQuillan has given an assurance that the walk, which is open to all ages, will be conducted at a leisurely pace.
Offaly: No unity for Duke’s body parts
A request from the Georgian Society in Birr, that the head and arm from the statue of the Duke of Cumberland that once adorned the column in Emmett Square should be reunited, has been turned down by the Town Council. The statue of the Duke was removed from the column in the early years of the last century and the head, which is owned by the Hunt Museum, is on loan to Lord and Lady Rosse in Birr Castle. Meanwhile the Duke’s arm is in the possession of Birr Library. The Georgian Society had hoped to reunite the two pieces of the triumphant sculpture for an exhibition in the library.
Roscommon: Fundraising day in Cootehall
On Saturday of next week a number of events are to take place in Cootehall as part of the fundraising campaign for the new Barracks Garden and the decorative street lighting project. Both a twenty-kilometre cycle and a ten-kilometre walk will take place, the cycle from Cootehall through Knockvicar and Battlebridge and the walk through Doogra and Knockvicar. After these events there will be an unveiling ceremony for the tree sculpture created on a blacksmith’s forge; this is located on the village side of Cootehall Bridge. A social evening in Henry’s Bar will complete the day’s events.
Sligo: Transatlantic flight for Strandhill
The airport at Strandhill welcomed its first transatlantic flight this month, but not one which carried hundreds of passengers. The aircraft was a four-seater Cessna Skyhawn piloted by Captain James Creamer who was delivering the plane to a client in Poland. Initially he was scheduled to land at St Angelo in Enniskillen but when he was unable to make radio contact with them he diverted to Sligo and landed at Strandhill. Captain Creamer stayed overnight in Sligo and set off the following morning for Warsaw after refuelling and preparing his flight plan.
Tipperary: Street Lunch a great success
The recent Street Lunch held by Blas an Fhomhair Nenagh proved to be a great success, with hundreds gathering to enjoy the fruits of organic producers for a modest outlay. The event took place on Kenyon Street where long tables had been set up in front of Teach an Leinn. Among those who supplied the food on the day were Nora Egan from Inch House with her hot black pudding, Larkins of Garrykennedy and Nenagh Farmers Market. Before everyone sat down to enjoy the meal Caimin O’Brien of the Ormond Historical Society led a food history tour of Nenagh.
Tyrone: First female head for Strabane school
With the retirement of Dominic McDermott as principal of Barrack Street Boys’ school, the primary school is to have its first female principal. Strabane resident Bridget Wilders is to take up the post next month, having spent the last year as principal of St Columba’s in Newbuildings. The locality of her new school is very familiar to her as she spent some twenty years teaching at St Anne’s Primary School close to Barrack Street Boys. One of the things Ms Wilders is looking forward to is contributing to the celebration of her new school’s one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary, which takes place next May.
Waterford: Asgard bell to mark start of Tall Ships?
A diver from Dungarvan who was part of a team salvaging items from the wreck of Asgard II has expressed the hope that perhaps the bell from the sail training ship could be used at the official opening of the Tall Ships Race in Waterford next year. Eoin McGarry and his team of divers brought up the ship’s wheel and a compass as well as a bell when they surveyed the vessel to see if it could be lifted from the sea bed where it sank off the French coast two years ago. Unfortunately its mast is broken and it is not salvageable.
Westmeath: A rally with a difference
This country is no stranger to motor rallies but one that took place in the county last weekend was a first. Wheelchair Cars Ireland sponsored a disabled drivers’ rally which was part of the fiftieth anniversary celebrations for the Irish Wheelchair Association. Some forty drivers and their navigators set off from Athlone and travelled to Roscommon, Loughrea and back to Athlone. According to Michael Doyle of the association, whose idea the rally was, it is believed to be the first of its kind in the world and, such was its success, that they are hoping to hold a similar event next year.
Wexford: Major drop in Gorey house price
A house in Gorey which was the subject of a non-completed sale at a price of €3.25m three years ago is now back on the market for a mere €950,000. Hyde Park in Inch was offered for sale earlier this year for €1.6m before the latest drop in price was put in place since it is an executor sale. The Georgian mansion is set on twelve acres and includes six cottages, some of which are let as holiday homes. The two-storey house was designed by Richard Morris, the architect responsible for Ballyfin House in Co. Laois, and dates from 1803. It also features original plasterwork by James Talbot.
Wicklow: A good year for Bray fisherman
2010 has been a good year for Brian Whelan, a member of the Bray Outcasts Sea Angling Club. Earlier in the season he qualified for membership of the Irish team which will take part in the home international championships in England next year. He added to that last weekend in Sligo when he won the gold medal at the master boat championships hosted by the Irish Federation of Sea Anglers. Brian was up against seventy-four anglers from all over the country and had straight wins over all four sessions. He will now captain the Irish team at the world championships in Italy next year.
Week ending September 30
Antrim: Restaurant is special place for Rachel
Rachel Lowther from Ballyclare is very fond of the Oregano Restaurant in Ballyrobert and now has even more reason for her liking, since her ice cream recipe has won a competition set by the restaurant. Not only that, but her new husband John Mark chose the restaurant as the setting for his proposal of marriage and she subsequently held her hen party there. Oregano’s owner, Dermot Regan, organised a competition to find a new flavour for ice cream and was most impressed by the recipe submitted by Rachel, which combined parmesan and chilli. The win earned Rachel and John a meal for two at the restaurant,
Armagh: Three childhood friends head for Afghanistan
Peter Jones and Kris Hanlon became friends when they were in Millington Primary, and they were joined by Luke Herbert when they went on to Clounagh Junior High. All three Portadown teenagers then went to Craigavon Senior High before becoming Rangers in the First Battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment. And the trio are still together as they embark on a six-month tour of duty in Helmand Province in Afghanistan. Peter is from Union Street in the town, Kris is from the Mahon Road while Luke is from Mulvally. Also going to Helmand are Luke’s brother John and his father, Jeff.
Carlow: Retirement Mass for Killeshin teachers
A special Mass was celebrated last week by Father John Dunphy to mark the retirement of two teachers from Killeshin National School, vice-principal Vonnie Bolton and teacher Fiona Phelan. When children from Vonnie’s first class in 1976 joined forces with those from the current year to sing at the Mass, there were two sets of mothers and their children included. Sinead Heaton and Denise McDonald were both in the 1976 class while their children were pupils in Vonnie’s final class. Fiona Phelan has been at the school since 1994 and both she and Vonnie were presented with gifts on behalf of the board of management and the local community.
Cavan: Killeshandra man in world event
The World Equestrian Games are taking place in Kentucky in the USA over sixteen days this week and next, and taking part this year is Ollie Galligan from Killeshandra. This is the first time that an Irish citizen has participated in the reining event, designed to show the athletic ability of a western-type horse. Ollie moved to America fourteen years ago to follow a career in horse training and is now based in California where he runs his company, Galligan Performance Horses, with his wife Gillian on their ranch in Petaluma.
Clare: Crash barrier for Tubber home
The county council has agreed to erect a crash barrier outside the home of eighty-year-old Martin McGuane at Bunnahow, Tubber, after six crashes have impacted on his home. His front wall has been demolished, vehicles have landed in his front garden, and one even collided with the house. For the past while Mr McGuane has refused to use his front door for fear of being hit, after one car came to rest up against the door. Another car demolished a wall at his farmyard across the road. Before the council will erect the barrier the retired farmer will have to remove the front entrance and build a side entrance to the house.
Cork: Three producers become members of the Brotherhood
For the first time three Irish producers of black pudding have been inducted into the prestigious France-based fraternity known as the Brotherhood of the Knights of the Black Pudding. Twenty-five members of the fraternity were in Ireland recently and among the three inducted were two Cork men, Jack McCarthy from Kanturk and Will Allshire of Rosscarbery. The third new member is Sean Kelly of Newport, Co. Mayo. In addition, Jack McCarthy was awarded a gold medal while a silver medal was presented to Will Allshire and a bronze to Sean Kelly.
Derry: Two Derry villages in running for award
The Rural Development Council team who are involved in the judging of the 2010 Calor Village of the Year Competition visited two locations within the county last week. Both Castledawson and Dromboughil are in the running, the former for the overall title and the latter for the Rural Community Award. Castledawson will be competing with eight other villages for the cash prize of £5,000, while Dromboughil is in competition with six for the award open to communities with a population of fewer than one thousand. The competition is based on five categories, building community life, business, environment, older people, and young people.
Donegal: Joseph takes judge’s direction to heart
When Joseph McElwee from Rathmullan was told to undertake a pilgrimage to the summit of Croagh Patrick when he appeared in court on breach of the peace charges, he took the judge’s words to heart. And now the thirty-eight-year-old is to turn his mountain climb into a fundraising exercise to help a hospital in Mayo, the county he admitted to maligning. Joseph has gathered together a small group of people for the climb and they have started raising money through sponsorship cards. The Aughavennan man is due to be sentenced in two weeks’ time.
Down: Annalisa is still the loudest voice
Annalisa Flanagan from Comber is once again in the Guinness Book of Records for having the loudest voice in the world. Almost twenty years ago she and her twin sister entered a competition, with Annalisa being judged the loudest. She subsequently entered another shouting competition and broke the world record with 121.7 decibels, equivalent to a jet engine or a rock concert. The word she chose to shout was, ironically, the word ‘quiet’. Annalisa teaches in Finaghy in south Belfast but insists she doesn’t shout at her pupils.
Dublin: Like father, like daughter
More than forty years ago Edward Hernon was presented with a National Certificate of Bravery after saving a six-year-old boy from drowning in the River Liffey. Last week Edward was present at Leinster House when his daughter, Cherie Eustace, received her own Certificate of Bravery and a silver medal. The twenty-nine-year-old received her commendation for saving the lives of her grandparents, Eileen and William, from their burning flat in Bishop Street five years ago. Since that time she has suffered the effects of smoke inhalation and has been unable to work, or to speak normally.
Fermanagh: Farming chief visits Fermanagh farms
The president of the Ulster Farmers’ Union, John Thompson, visited a number of farms when he paid a recent visit to the northern part of the county. His first port of call was to the farm of David and Ruth Fyffe at Ballinamallard where eggs are produced for Moy Park. After meeting with members of Magheracross Buying Group, he then went on to visit the farm of Terry Roberts at Lisnarick in Irvinestown. In addition to Terry caring for a suckler cow herd, his wife Rosie has charge of two self-catering cottages on their land.
Galway: Galway team brewing up for a party
Billy Quinn and Nigel Malcolm, archaeologists from Galway, with businessman Declan Moore of the Moore Group are in the process of recreating the heather ale drunk by Vikings. Working on the project for three years, the trio are using a traditional recipe which they think dates back to the eighth century and which uses heather, barley and bog myrtle. They have used barley from the Oslo Hotel Microbrewery in Salthill and heather from Maumeen Lake, and the finished product will be sampled at a private beer-tasting party next month.
Kerry: O’Donoghue calls for county recognition for broadcaster
John O’Donoghue has proposed that a monument be erected to the recently retired sports commentator Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh. The South Kerry TD has suggested that the monument should be located in Dingle, since Micheál hails from Dún Sion, and that it might perhaps incorporate some of his most famous sporting comments. Mr O’Donoghue has also called for CDs of Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh’s broadcasts to be made available to libraries throughout Ireland, to acknowledge the significant part he has played in the oral tradition of the country.
Kildare: Camphill resident to visit New York
Although he has difficulties in communication Colm, a resident of the Bridge Camphill Community in Kilcullen was able to convey his ambition to visit New York. And recently, through two happy coincidences the young man’s dream came true. The Community received a request from the Triform Camphill Community in upstate New York for an exchange visit with one of their residents, while at the same time one of the volunteer workers from Kilcullen was returning to her native New York. Colm has now begun a six-week stay in New York which will include five days in Manhattan where he will see all the sights of the city.
Kilkenny: City to have new cultural quarter
The general public will have the opportunity in the next few weeks to see the proposal for the new cultural quarter for Kilkenny city which includes the relocation of the Butler Gallery to the Evans Home. The building, dating from the early years of the nineteenth century, will be restored and it will be linked to a new three-storey pavilion by an elevated walk. The gardens attached to the Home are to become an urban space which will be used for exhibiting sculpture, while a permanent collection from the Butler Gallery will be housed in the new building. However the architects have been asked to produce shadow drawings to show any possible effect on the nearby St John’s School.
Laois: Fleadh to come to Portlaoise next year
The Laois Comhaltas Ceoltoirí na hÉireann County Board has selected Portlaoise as the venue for next year’s Leinster Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, a decision warmly welcomed by members of the local branch. This week a meeting was held in PJ Kavanagh’s to select a committee to organise the event, and in the meantime members of the Portlaoise branch of Comhaltas gathered at the Wren’s Nest on Main Street for a Trad for Trocaire session, a national event from which all proceeds are going to the victims of the floods in Pakistan.
Leitrim: Housebuyers get to know new neighbours in queue
The buyers of nine cut-price houses in Drumshanbo were able to get to know their new neighbours while they all queued for hours to be sure of confirming their ownership. Part of the twenty-house Corryard Wood estate which was developed by Niall McManus whose company subsequently went into receivership, the houses went for between €140,000 and €148,000 when they were sold by the bank at the weekend. Among the first-time buyers was Thomas Scollan, whose family home is just four hundred yards away, and taxi driver John McLoughlin, who bought a house with his partner Paula Farrell.
Limerick: Parkes brothers turn ‘negative into positive’
When plans for a pharmaceutical distribution warehouse fell through due to the recession, the Parkes brothers decided to turn the site into an indoor sports arena. Last week saw the official opening at Ballysimon Road in Limerick of the Delta Soccer Dome which, with seven indoor pitches, tennis courts, badminton courts and a trampoline court, is the largest astro-turf arena in Munster. Ralph and Michael have already opened the Delta Karting track in collaboration with Formula Karting, and they are also planning to initiate soccer leagues, indoor tag rugby and coaching programmes.
Longford: Lanesboro teenager to appear in TV show
One of four young people chosen to appear in a show on RTE television focusing on gifted children is Gavin Tucker from Lanesboro. The makers of the programme approached Mensa for names of possible subjects for “Growing Up Gifted” and the fifteen-year-old was put forward. Gavin, a member of the Centre for Talented Youth Ireland, will be sitting his Leaving Certificate in June of next year and is one of the youngest students to be sitting the 2011 exam. A student at Lanesboro Community College, he hopes to study medicine at Cambridge University.
Louth: Scholarships for two Louth students
Two students from Louth have been awarded scholarships under the Naughton Scholarship scheme. Padraig Ó Gallachoir, a member of Geraldines GFC in Haggardstown and a past student of Coláiste Rís, received his scholarship for achieving the highest marks in science within the county, with As in physics, biology, chemistry, maths and applied maths. He has been awarded €4,000 for each year of his UCD course while his school receives €1,000 for the development of the science department. Meanwhile Emma O’Brien from St Vincent’s Secondary School in Dundalk was runner-up, with €2,000 for each year of her third-level studies.
Mayo: Two Mayo women with parallel lives
Two women from the county who celebrated their one hundredth birthdays this month have had very similar lives, as they were born not far from each other and both emigrated to America in the same year. Kathleen Connell, formerly Raftery, from Tavneena left home in 1929 and in New York met her husband John, a Cork man and they came home to settle in Cork. Meanwhile Nellie Kirrane from Ranahard, Claremorris also emigrated in 1929 and married Mayo man Tim Lavin before heading home. Both are now living with family members, Kathleen with her niece Teresa Cunnane in Kilkelly and Nellie with her daughter Catherine in Tuam, Co. Galway.
Meath: Memento of Bavarian aristocrat in Slane sale
One of the items for sale in the Country House Collection in Slane Castle next week is a riding whip belonging to the Empress of Bavaria who enjoyed hunting  with the Meath Hunt. In 1879 Empress Sisi of Bavaria came to stay with Lord Langford in Summerhill House in order to join the Meath Hunt. Master of the Hunt was Captain Robert Fowler of Rahinston House, and it was in this house that the whip, found in a mahogany casket decorated with the imperial arms of the House of Hapsburg, was left by the Empress. The casket was located in the attic of Rahinston House near Enfield.
Monaghan: Food Festival in Monaghan
The annual Taste of Monaghan festival will take place over four days next week and will be launched at the Four Seasons Hotel in Monaghan town by Neven Maguire. The celebration of local products, skills and quality dining will also see the launch of the celebrity chef’s “Taste of Monaghan Cook Book” and there will be a chance to win a stay at his MacNean House and Restaurant. The festival will also feature a cookery demonstration in the Four Seasons Hotel by Kevin Dundon, while a wedding fair and fashion show will take place next weekend in the Festival Marquee.
Offaly: New sculpture unveiled at Lough Boora
A sculptor from Denmark is responsible for the latest work of art to be unveiled at Sculpture in the Parklands at Lough Boora. The official unveiling of “From Earth to Sky” by Alfio Bonanno was carried out by fellow-sculptor Mike Bulfin. The work comprises a central conical tower constructed from bogwood with a steel inner core, while a stream from the adjacent wetlands flows into the centre of the structure where there is a collection of stones and boulders. The steel core was manufactured by the workers at Bord na Mona.
Roscommon: Helen is en route to Vietnam
Helen Egan from Cloonbrackna Avenue in Roscommon town has embarked on a voluntary mission to Vietnam to help look after children with disabilities in an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City. Helen has taken a career break from her teaching job in Dublin and undertook some fundraising before she set off. With donations from individuals and the proceeds of a table quiz in Charlie’s on Church Street, she raised more than €1,600, while the members of Roscommon Gaels minor team also had a collection for her. The daughter of Tom and Margaret Eagan, Helen expects to return home in December.
Sligo: First and second prize for Knocknarea sisters
Ciara and Michelle McCabe from Knocknarea have taken the first and second prizes respectively in the youth category of the 2010 National Heritage Week photographic competition. The theme of the competition was “Wild Child” and seventeen-year-old Ciara’s entry was an image of a “Damselfly on a finger”, described by the judges as demonstrating the biodiversity of the human race. Meanwhile her twenty-year-old sister Michelle had submitted “Butterfly on a buddleia” which was judged to illustrate a typical back garden scene.
Tipperary: Outer Mongolia preferred to Nenagh
In the view of one councillor from Antrim, who is a member of the council that is twinned with that in Nenagh, he would rather go to Outer Mongolia than visit the Tipperary town. After twenty-five years of a twinning arrangement it came as some surprise to the Nenagh Town Council that their invitation to members of Moyle District Council would be met with such a reaction. It is only a month since Nenagh council members travelled north to the Oul’ Lammas Fair in Ballycastle, but Randal Daniel McDonnell, an Independent member of Moyle council, declined to pay a return visit. However Nenagh mayor Seamus Morris has said Mr McDonnell will be welcomed to Nenagh any time he cares to visit.
Tyrone: Plaque unveiled to two Omagh sisters
The Ulster History Circle were behind the unveiling in Omagh last week of a blue plaque to mark the birthplace of two sisters who were instrumental in furthering the cultural life of Ulster. Alice Milligan, a poet, writer and playwright, had poetry published in the United Irishman and co-founded and edited the Northern Patriot. She was also, for three years, editor of Shan Van Vocht. Her older sister Charlotte Milligan Fox, a musician, founded the Irish Folksong Society at the beginning of the last century and was also the publisher of the Annals of the Irish Harpers, compiled from the papers of music collector Edward Bunting.
Waterford: Asian mammal spotted in the county
The manager of the National Invasive Species Data base, Colette O’Flynn, has called on people who spot a Siberian chipmunk in the county to take a photograph and report the sighting. One of the species, which poses a threat to the red squirrel population of the county, was spotted at the beginning of August in Colligan Woods near Dungarvan, though a dead chipmunk was found three days later in the same area. However a further sighting, in mid-August, by Dina Walshe, has raised fears that pets have been released into the wild. The animal is usually found in Russia, China, Korea and Japan.
Westmeath: Wardens to swap four wheels for two
Community wardens in the county are to park their vans and take to two wheels as part of an initiative which will save eleven tonnes in carbon dioxide emissions each year. The wardens on their all-terrain bicycles will have a higher profile and will also be more accessible to the community, where they will have responsibility for the control of litter, the identification of derelict sites and the control of dogs and horses. The wardens will also promote the Green Schools initiative and will foster environmental awareness.
Wexford: Proposal for Norman Trail for county
While plans are only at the discussion stage, there are hopes that the county can benefit from its Norman heritage with a Norman Trail linking New Ross, Enniscorthy, Wexford town and Ferns. Included in the proposal is the establishment of a Norman Quarter at Bullawn in New Ross, and Junior Minister Sean Connick has written a submission for the draft New Ross Town & Environs Plan. He has cited Baginbun, where the Normans first set foot in Ireland, the town of Ferns and the fortifications on the River Barrow as major points in the Trail.
Wicklow: Permission granted for Arklow development
After a two-year wait planning permission has at last been granted for the development on the Alps site on Arklow’s Upper Main Street to include a hotel, residential units, a medical centre, retail and office units and a multi-storey car park. The construction of the complex on the site where once stood the Ormonde Cinema will, according to developer Graham Quinn, bring five hundred jobs to the town during the construction stage and when it is officially opened. Mr Graham will now begin talking to anchor tenants and marketing the project.
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Slan agus beannacht,
Bridget & Russ