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 for each week in January:
ED. NOTE: If you are a new subscriber, this monthly news update is in addition to our regular newsletter. 
On with news:
Week of January 6
Antrim: Murray is sending bikes to Africa
Over the Christmas period architect Murray Bell, based in Ballymoney, appealed for people to donate old but serviceable bicycles which could be used in Swaziland. The bicycles are to be shipped to Bulembu, an orphan village, and Murray hoped that the first batch of bikes would be suitable for the children. He was also looking for adult bikes which could be used to speed movement and to transport goods. People were asked to drop off their bikes at recycling depots in Ballymoney and Ballymena, with an accompanying £10 note to pay for the transport. Murray’s plan was to ship the first three hundred bikes early in the New Year.
Armagh: Consultation on future of gaol
Last week a consultation process took place on the future of Armagh Gaol, with members of the community invited to the Council offices to discuss the proposals. Hosted by Armagh Council, the Trevor Osborne Property Group and The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, the consultation was preceded by a chance for people to visit the gaol. The proposal is for a reconciliation and heritage centre as part of a larger development comprising a hotel, spa and retail and residential space. The aim of the project is to open the gaol up to the local community.
Carlow: The piranha that grew too big
Seven years ago Justin Carey from Graiguecullen bought a piranha, a fish which typically reaches a length of thirteen inches. Justin put the fish into a two hundred and eighty litre tank but after some years it became apparent that the ‘piranha’ was actually a pacu, also from South America. Now the pacu, named Hercules, has become too big for his fish tank, but Justin lost his job eighteen months ago and cannot afford the more than €1,000 needed to buy a larger one. He and his girlfriend Catriona are now desperately searching for a new home for Hercules before he totally outgrows his present one.
Cavan: Two Cavan players tipped for the top
Jonathan Leddy from Butlersbridge and Ryan O’Reilly from Crosserlough have both been tipped for a bright future in professional football by leading soccer coach Tom Mohan. Ryan, the son of Patrick and Noreen O’Reilly from Crover, has been playing for Ballyjamesduff Celtic for the past six years, while Jonathan is on the books at Ipswich Town in England. He is the son of Paddy and Fidelma Leddy of Drumsilla, and both boys played on the Irish under-16 team against Hungary in Budapest recently.
Clare: Unique bridge proposed for Bishop’s Island
Architect Tom Byrne from Kilkee has proposed a unique cable suspension footbridge to link west Clare with Bishop’s Island. Mr Byrne has presented the plan for the €1.75m bridge to the West Clare Economic Task Force where it has been widely welcomed. The bridge, similar to that at Carrick-a-Rede, would be much bigger, at 117m across as compared with the 20m span of the Co. Antrim rope bridge. It would also have a 50m drop and would give a boost to the tourism potential of the Loop Head peninsula, according to Councillor PJ Kelly.
Cork: County Council gets a bargain
The county council, in conjunction with Mallow Town Council, has secured a good deal in its purchase of Mallow Castle for €1.7m. Five years ago the asking price for the seventeenth century castle was €7m. The building, which stands on the site of an eleventh century castle, will be used as a base for a heritage development for the area. Owned for nearly twenty years by American philanthropists Michael and Judy McGinn, Mallow Castle is set on thirty acres of parkland.
Derry: Politician calls for development of former army barracks
John Dallat, MLA for East Derry, is calling for development to be carried out at the former Shackleton army barracks in Ballykelly. He has called on fellow politicians to set up a task force to examine the feasibility of establishing a range of industries on the nine hundred acre-site, pointing out that it lies close to the City of Derry airport and also has the Belfast to Derry railway passing through the site. Mr Dallat is hoping that the development of a
range of industries could offset the many job losses in the area.
Donegal: Anne Marie takes world award
Long distance swimmer Anne Marie Ward from Port na Blagh has been named Open Water Swimming’s Woman of the Year in an online contest run by US-based Open Water Source. Last year she became the first Irish woman to swim the North Channel of the Irish Sea, at her fourth attempt, and she has also completed a number of swims to islands off the Irish coast. The North Channel swim is recognised in the cold water swimming fraternity as being the toughest channel swim in the world.
Down: Tiernan is promoting Newry on the web
Tiernan Watson from Poyntzpass, who first began to learn how to create web pages at the age of seven, has now set up a network specifically for the city of Newry. The twelve-year-old, who is a first year student at St Patrick’s College in Banbridge, has based his website,, on Facebook and set it up in October. It now has more than fifty members and is aimed at those who live in the Newry area as well as Newry people who may have moved elsewhere. Tiernan’s next venture will be to create a discussion board and he is also studying how to create an e-commerce site.
Dublin: Resident mourns loss of bridge
Caoimhghin O Croidheain, a resident of Donabate, is unhappy at the decision to remove the Victorian cast iron footbridge at the railway station. The bridge is to be replaced by one that offers greater accessibility, but Caoimhghin believes the new and the old could exist happily side by side. The old bridge is to be dismantled and taken to Kilrush in Co. Clare where it will form part of the restored West Clare Railway and join old steam trains, equipment and other railway memorabilia.
Fermanagh: Neighbours keep the wheels of commerce turning
If it weren’t for the help of neighbours one businessman in Ballinamallard says he would have had to close his shop during the water shortage occasioned by the thaw. Andrew Burleigh uses up to one hundred litres of water a day in the butcher’s shop he has run in the village for the past eighteen years. He said it was the kindness of neighbours and friends who delivered supplies to the shop which ensured it has remained open. Meanwhile Lexi Beatty, who has shops in Ballinamallard, Enniskillen and Fivemiletown, reported panic buying of water.
Galway: Mummers Festival in New Inn
Singers, dancers, musicians and storytellers will be converging on New Inn this weekend for the thirty-third annual Mummers Festival. Organised by a committee under chairman Michael Mullins, the festival will be taking place in the local leisure centre. In addition to the participants enjoying sessions during the weekend, they will also be able to take part in competitions, with the adults competing on Saturday and the juniors on Sunday. Entertainers are expected to arrive in the east Galway village from all over the country.
Kerry: Who owns Kenmare public park?
The county council is to enquire into the ownership of the public park in Kenmare following a request from Independent councillor Michael Healy-Rae. The Lansdownes, landlords of much of the property in the town at one time and still owners of some private property, are believed to have handed the park over to the local authority but this has not been confirmed. The council, however, believes it either owns the park or that it holds it on a long-term lease. It seems that the search for ownership could take some considerable time.
Kildare: National title for Castledermot swimmer
Steve Redmond from Castledermot, only the second Irish person to complete the North Channel Swim from Scotland to Belfast Harbour on his first attempt, has been named as Long Distance Swimmer of the Year. The award was conferred by the Irish Long Distance Swimming Association. Towards the end of the swim Steve was accompanied by his brother Anthony but he completed the last two hours on his own in the dark. As well as being a remarkable personal achievement, the swim also raised a considerable sum for the Irish Cancer Society.
Kilkenny: Major award for Kilkenny man
Padhraic Kelleher from Castlecomer Road in Kilkenny, who is Head of Airworthiness for the Civil Aviation Authority in Britain, has been presented with a major award by his peers. At the ‘Flying through an era of Volcanic Ash’ conference in London he was presented with the 2010 Whittle Safety Award for helping to provide the solution to the volcanic ash problem. Padhraic’s citation spoke of ‘the establishment of a safety risk management framework for flight in contaminated airspace’. He is the son of Pat and the late Kay Kelleher, and his brother Ronan still lives in Kilkenny.
Laois: Kenyan project helped by Portlaoise man
A project in rural Kenya has been helped by Seamus Delaney from Portlaoise, who swam four hundred lengths of the swimming pool at the local Leisure Centre. He completed the swim in three and a half hours. Helping him with the fundraising for the Laois-Rongai Project were Jennifer Tynan and Claire Donegan and the €4,000 raised so far will go towards providing clean water. The Laois-Rongai Project was set up last year to support development projects being carried out by Self Help Africa in Kenya’s Rift Valley province.
Leitrim: County has first salmon honours again
Once again Leitrim has gained the honour of the first salmon of the new season. Just ten minutes after the season opened Ian Martin from Co. Tyrone landed a salmon weighing just over eleven and a half pounds at the Drowse Salmon Fishery. The fish was taken on Mr Martin’s second or third cast at the Blackwater on the Lareen stretch of the river and is believed to be the fastest-caught fish of any New Year. A tasting of the fish took place in the Fox’s Lair Hotel in Bundoran on Friday in aid of charity.
Limerick: Lankmark hotel has been sold
The Two Mile Inn hotel on the Ennis dual carriageway close to Limerick city has been sold two years after it was first put on the market. Tom Crosse of GVM Auctioneers was the agent for the sale but has not revealed the identity of the buyer. However it is believed that the hotel might be converted for use as a nursing home. When it was first put on the market it had a guide price of €7m, but this was dropped to €1.2m. A receiver was appointed to the hotel just over two years ago and it ceased operating in September of last year.
Longford: Two Cathedral windows restored
Two of the stained glass windows damaged in the 2009 Christmas Day fire at St Mel’s Cathedral have now been restored and are being held in storage in crates until they can be reinstalled. The two Harry Clarke Studio windows have been recreated by craftsmen at Abbey Stained Glass Studios in Dublin over the past twelve months. The craftsmen, working under the studio’s directors Gareth O’Grady and Willie Malone, and artist Brendan Mullins, worked from rubbings, tracings and photographs taken more than thirty years ago.
Louth: Long-serving CIE man retires
Daniel Keenan from Parnell Park in Dundalk had clocked up more than forty-eight years of service when he retired from the CIE in December. Originally from Ballymascanlon, Daniel’s father and grandfather were both employed by the transport company, and Daniel himself joined at the age of fifteen as an apprentice mechanic. A presentation ceremony was held at the Bus Éireann garage to mark his retirement, and Daniel will now concentrate on his involvement in ballroom dancing, which includes helping to organise competitions.
Mayo: Matt never climbs alone
Matt Loughrey from Murrisk, who is aiming to climb Croagh Patrick on three hundred and sixty five consecutive days, says he has never had to make the ascent alone. Even on Christmas Day there were some one hundred people who joined him on the summit, despite the fact that it was minus sixteen degrees. The thirty-two-year-old has so far raised approximately €20,000 for the St Vincent de Paul Society which will be used within the county. There is also talk of his writing a book on his unusual fundraising project.
Meath: Paddy hopes to revive Navan’s carpet industry
Community activist Paddy Pryle is to hold a meeting in Navan in the coming week to try to revive the once thriving carpet industry in the town. He is hoping to receive the co-operation of former workers at the Kells Road factory, as well as the support of both Navan Town Council and Meath County Council. While the Navan Carpets name cannot be revived as it is used by a London-based manufacturer, Paddy believes that the industry can be re-established under a similar name. He sees the project as a co-operative which will initially be run on a voluntary basis.
Monaghan: Emyvale teenager brings home US title
Darren Doherty from Emyvale, who qualified for the Irish Junior Handball Team in November, returned home from the US last week having won the 15 and under US Junior National title. The competitions were held in San Diego and all six team members brought home titles. Darren was given a rousing welcome home at Emyvale leisure centre, hosted by the local GFC and conducted by Monica McKernan. Among those who congratulated him were Ulster Handball Secretary Austin McKenna and Emyvale chairman John Finn.
Offaly: Bernadette reaches final eight of All-Ireland show
Bernadette Spain from Birr will this weekend be taking part in the live All-Ireland Talent Show on RTE after having won her way through a series of auditions since last September. Daughter of GAA man Mick Spain and mother to seven-year-old Mark, Ber works as a physical training instructor for the army in Athlone. She decided to enter the competition after receiving voice training from Ciaran Brady of the Tullamore Academy of Music, and also having gained confidence by joining Birr Choral Society and Birr Church Choir.
Roscommon: Ballaghaderreen singer wins TG4 contest
Eunice Moran from Ballaghaderreen was named the winner of the 2010 TG4 Country Music talent show ‘Glor Tire’. Eunice, who was one of the first ten graduates of the Bachelor of Performance Arts course at Sligo Institute of Technology, was mentored during the contest by Country singer Mike Denver. Eunice was the only contestant on the show from the west of Ireland and she received great support not only from her home county but also from her fellow-students from Sligo. As part of her prize Eunice will be performing on a cruise on the Nile next year.
Sligo: Dredging for Mullaghmore
After concerns were raised by a number of boatmen, including Keith Clark, about a sand bar which has built up at the entrance to the harbour at Mullaghmore, the county council is to carry out dredging at the site. Mr Clark was bringing a man with a broken arm from Inishmurray when his vessel became stuck on the sand bank and a helicopter had to be called to airlift the man to hospital. The council has received a grant of €90,000 to carry out the work, and the dredged sand will be deposited on the upper part of Bunduff Beach.
Tipperary: Fethard is happy, but not Borrisokane
The people of Borrisokane are a touch disenchanted with the world of film, after the location for the shooting of Michael Doorley’s ‘Stella Days’ was moved at the last minute to Fethard. The focal character of the film, played by Martin Sheen, is the parish priest of Borrisokane in the 1950s, Canon Patrick Cahill. To make matters worse, it was a choir from Bohernanave church in Thurles that was hired to represent the Borrisokane choir, while the ceilidh band was brought in from Co. Laois. The story centres on the Borrisokane  cinema, and one of the original projectionists, Tim Heenan, is still living in the town.
Tyrone: Old fort found at river bank
Researchers from the University of Ulster using aerial laser technology have discovered a fort more than four hundred years old on the banks of the River Foyle at Dunnalong, near Strabane. The five-sided fortification was built in 1600 by Sir Henry Docwra and included both a market-place and a brewhouse. It was built as part of the effort to gain control over the Irish chieftains, and the strong-house formerly in the possession of the O’Neills was refortified as part of the construction.
Waterford: Ferrybank man settles in Peru
Having been made redundant in July 2009, Colm O’Neill from Ferrybank decided to take some time to travel to South America and on to Australia and New Zealand. His travels were given a decided fillip when he won €37,000 on the Winning Streak RTE show, having been given a ticket as a leaving present. Colm’s travels stopped in Peru when he met up with a Tipperary man and they decided to open a hostel in Cusco. This is also the nearest town to Machu Pichu and Colm and his three business partners also have a share in a travel company that organises tours to the Inca Trail.
Westmeath: Farewell to two teachers
Current pupils as well as twenty-eight past pupils from each of the sixth classes from St Colman’s National School for the last twenty-seven years attended a surprise Mass in St Paul’s church in Mullingar to honour retiring principal Marie Sullivan. The chief celebrant at the Mass was Bishop Michael Smith, with concelebrants Fathers Sean Henry and Padraig Corcoran. Meanwhile in Milltown vice principal of the National School Rene Seery also retired, after thirty-seven years of service. A Thanksgiving Mass was celebrated in St Matthew’s Church by Very Rev. William Fitzsimons which was attended by hundreds of pupils past and present.
Wexford: The return of the bittern
The bittern, which was believed to have been extinct in this country for more than one hundred and fifty years, has been spotted recently at Lake Tacumshane. In fact three of the birds, members of the heron family, have been spotted at the lake. The return of the birds has caused some excitement among ornithologists, who believe the bitterns flew west to avoid the Arctic conditions on the Continent. Now they are hoping that the birds might once again begin to breed in Ireland, saying that if three have been spotted it is likely there are more actually in the area.
Wicklow: New stadium planned for Rathdrum
Wicklow GAA have plans to develop a €5m state of the art training facility at Ballinakill, Rathdrum, which would be restricted for use by all county teams in hurling and football, from under-age to senior level. Five full-size all-weather pitches, with one an astro turf pitch, a hurling wall, a gymnasium and fitness and training facilities will be included in the complex which, it is hoped, will be completed in two years time. Other proposals by the GAA include a site for a second facility in the east of the county.
Week of January 14
Antrim: Author calls for reopening of historic laneway
Raymond O’Regan, author of “Hidden Belfast”, has called for the opening of the gates which have closed off Sugarhouse Entry in the city since the 1970s. The laneway, located between High Street and Waring Street, was the site of meetings which led to the establishment of the United Irishmen towards the end of the eighteenth century. Mr O’Regan would like to see, at the very least, plaques put up at either end of the laneway to mark its historical significance.
Armagh: Initial approval for Portadown superstore
Asda has been granted initial planning permission for a superstore on derelict ljufand at Edenderry in POrtadown, and now has to negotiate approval for the road infrastructure. The store is hoping that construction can begin soon, with a completion date early next year. If the store does go ahead, it could lead to a development which was first proposed more than ten years ago. This would see a retail park, warehousing and homes on an area stretching from Chambers Park to the banks of the Bann, with a footbridge over the river.
Carlow: Duckett’s Grove to star on US TV
A crew from a US television station have been filming a show destined to be aired on St Patrick’s Day which will bring Duckett’s Grove to an audience of millions. Destination Truth has been searching for evidence of the banshee and among local people who were interviewed for the four-hour programme were local historian Jimmy O’Toole, Duckett’s Grove resident Ellen O’Brien, and Councillor John Pender. Other locations used in the filming of the show were Teach Dolmain in Carlow town and the Mount Wolseley resort.
Cavan: The Dáil for ‘Pothole’ man?
Martin Hannigan, who achieved fame by highlighting the problems of potholes within the county, is considering standing in the forthcoming general election. For a decade Martin used luminous paint gto warn motorists of potholes, a practice he ceased only when taken to court eighteen months ago. He says he has been approached by a number of people suggesting he consider election to the Dáil to tackle the problem of potholes which, in one case, led to an undertaker refusing to drive up a road in Cootehill.
Clare: Reopening of mart confirmed
At a meeting held in the GAA hall in Sixmilebridge last week agreement was reached by representatives from the farming and local communities that the mart at Ballysheen will be purchased from Golden Vale. The cost of the four and a half acre site is set at €300,000. The mart, first opened in 1973 by a group of local businessmen, closed more than a year ago. It was bought by the Golden Vale Co-operative in 1986. The drive to reopen the mart was led by the parish priest of Sixmilebridge, Father Harry Bohan, who was the chief negotiator with Golden Vale.
Cork: Sarina’s unique job leads to call Down Under
Sarina O’Dea has the distinction of being the only female professional race commentator in the country and her unique role has led to an offer to commentate on a race in Australia. Sarina, who lives with her partner Martin McGrath in Carrigtwohill, was asked to do continuity announcing at the local stadium at Curraheen Park ten years ago and her career developed from there. Now she has been invited by the chief executive of Greyhound Racing South Australia to commentate on the sport’s top race, the Adelaide Cup Final.
Derry: Siege remains found under Derry church
Work being carried out at First Derry Presbyterian Church, close to the city walls overlooking the Bogside, has uncovered three skeletal remains which are believed to date from the time of the Siege of Derry. According to Dr David Latimer, the discovery of the graveyard would explain why the land between the church and the Apprentice Boys hall had never been built on if it was known to be a burial ground. The skeletal remains and a number of accompanying artefacts will be photographed and the remains will then be left in their final resting place.
Donegal: Groundbreaking eye surgery for Castlefin couple
Retired garda Tony Canning and his wife Marie have become the first people in the Republic to be fitted with M-plus multifocal lenses. The couple, originally from Leitrim and Cavan, were deemed too old for the more conventional laser eye surgery and had the new procedure carried out at a clinic based at the University of Ulster in Belfast. They have now moved from having thirteen pairs of glasses between them to having no need for glasses at all and the improvement in their eyesight has also, they say, led to a reduction in tension in the house – caused by searching for glasses.
Down: MBE for retiring principal
Stanley Poots, who will have been more than forty years principal of Dromara Primary School when he retires in June, has been awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List. Mr Poots, who began his teaching career in Dromore Central Primary School, is believed to be the longest-serving school principal in the North. His original intention was to stay in Dromara for just a few years, but his involvement in the community led to his deciding to stay. In addition to being the driving force behind the building of a community centre and sports complex, he has played a major role in the local football team.
Dublin: John will host a birthday festival
John Paul Swaine, who started the concept of First Fortnight, a mental health awareness project based on the arts, is to hold a Charity Birthday as he celebrates his birthday this year. A music and arts festival featuring And So I Watch You From Afar and Dark Room Notes among the line-up of bands will take place in the Button Factory in Temple Bar this weekend. There will also be a symposium held during the afternoon which will be addressed by former Meath star Liam Hayes, writer Colm Tóibín and Colm O’Gorman of Amnesty International.
Fermanagh: Bravery award for Belleek man
Gordon Gregg from The Commons in Belleek is to receive a bravery award from the Royal Humane Society after being nominated by the PSNI. Last year the twenty-four-year-old entered the River Erne near Belleek Bridge in a vain attempt to save local farm worker Gordon Brock from Garrison, who was shouting for help. Despite the fact that he was unable to save Mr Brock, Gordon is to be honoured for his heroic efforts. The award, inscribed on vellum, will be signed and approved by Princess Alexandra, the president of the society.
Galway: Unusual dining companions in Tuam
Anne and Gerard Lynch have been putting out leftovers in an old chocolate tin for a stray cat, but they have now found that the cat has been joined by another animal on the look-out for a meal. A fox has been enjoying the curry and lasagne put out, though he first had to put up with the cat jabbing at him until he learnt that he is only allowed the second sitting. The unusual pair are enjoying a nightly feast at Bodane and are unconcerned at members of the Lynch family observing them through the patio door.
Kerry: Sunday was a busy day in the O’Shea household
January 2 was a very busy day in the O’Shea household in Milltown, with the arrival five days late of a third daughter to Mike and Stella. Holly O’Shea was keeping up a family tradition as she is the couple’s third daughter and is also the third to arrive on January 2. Big sister Georgia was celebrating her fourth birthday while Anna turned two on the same day. Mike, who runs O’Neill’s public house in Killorglin, has been searching the internet to see how rare the occurrence is, and found the odds to be half a million to one.
Kildare: Sport and the simple life the key to longevity
Agatha Waters, who celebrated her one hundredth birthday last week, has said her long life is down to a love of sport, the simple life and an interest in current affairs. Born in Bishopsland, Agatha was married to county footballer Peter Waters and they had four children, the late Jean, Tom, Patricia and Jim as well as eleven grandchildren and sixteen great-grandchildren. She was originally a Southwell, and her son Jim now runs Southwell’s Drapery Store in the town. The birthday celebrations took place in The Square in Kildare town
Kilkenny: Marie is Leinster Champion
Marie Dooley from Kilkenny has been named the Leinster Champion in the Slender Pro Active ‘Drop a Dress Size for Christmas’ campaign, which saw the mother of two drop from a size sixteen to a size twelve. Deciding to take up the twelve-week challenge after having dieted unsuccessfully on a number of occasions, Marie was spurred on in her efforts by the chance of winning a holiday to Malta in addition to the title. She is now in contention with other provincial winners for the main prize.
Laois: Hotel to open in former school
The former Patrician College in Ballyfin is to open as an exclusive hotel in May. For the past nine years restoration work has been carried out, though it nearly came to a halt three years ago when the recession hit. However it was decided to continue and now the hotel, with thirteen bedrooms and two suites, a ballroom, and a swimming pool in the basement, already has six bookings. Hotel manager is Aileesh Carew from Ballyadams and all forty staff have been sourced locally.
Leitrim: Centenarian has more than a card from President
While all those reaching their one hundredth birthday receive a greetings card from President Mary McAleese, one Leitrim lady had a personal visit at the Dublin nursing home where she lives. Vera McCarthy, a former County Librarian in Leitrim, celebrated her centenary last week at Our Lady’s Manor in Dalkey where she was joined by her four children, Fr Dermot, Mel, Beth and Michael. Vera was originally from Lawderdale, Fenagh, and is the last surviving member of the Carey family.
Limerick: A third application for Dooradoyle hotel
Two years ago two planning applications were lodged for a hotel on the site of the Unicorn bar in Dooradoyle, but both were subsequently withdrawn. Now a third application has been lodged, by Anne Greene whose husband Bryan’s family owns the Greenhills Hotel on the Ennis Road. The Greenes hope to construct a fifty-bedroom hotel with underground car parking, which will necessitate the demolition of two houses located between their bar and the roundabout adjacent to St Paul’s Church.
Longford: A record-breaking egg at Ballinamuck
What is possibly the world’s largest egg laid by a hen was collected by nine-year-old Cian Thomas in Aughadowry, Ballinamuck last week. Cian went to the henhouse to collect the eggs as usual and found one which was subsequently measured at 9.4cm in height and weighing 200 grammes. On searching the internet his parents, David and Jacqueline, found that the current record-holder had been laid in China two years ago. This egg was also 9.4m in height and weighed 198 grammes. However Jacqueline admitted that their egg was not weighed on digital scales so it might be a shade lighter.
Louth: Céilí House recorded in Carlingford
Last Wednesday evening the RTE programme Céilí House was recorded in McKevitt’s Village Hotel in Carlingford. A number of musicians were gathered together by Gerry O’Connor, the fiddle player from Ravensdale, including Stevie Dunne from Clogherhead, Áine McGeeney and Kevin Shields from Dundalk, piper John McSherry and local fiddle player Donal O’Connor. The programme is due to be broadcast on the last Saturday of the month, and the performers will also be taking part in Ceol Chairlinn, the Traditional music festival which is due to take place on the first weekend in February.
Mayo: Castlebar students take LEGO challenge prize
Six students from St Gerald’s College in Castlebar took part in the 2010 First LEGO League Championship in Galway last weekend and came away with the first prize. Donnacha Barry, Luke Benson, Oisin Kyne, Paul McDonagh, Adrian Murphy and Paul Murray will now be travelling to Loughborough University in Leicester to represent Ireland in the UK and Irish finals of the competition. The First LEGO league challenge involves designing and programming robots to perform a series of set tasks.
Meath: Cian’s drawing was Spurs’ Christmas card
Cian Perdisatt from Windtown, Navan had no idea that his Christmas card design had won a competition set by his favourite football club, Tottenham Hotspur, until he received the card through his front door. The design by the six-year-old was sent out to more than forty thousand households over Christmas and Cian has also won a trip to the club’s training ground. There his original card will be signed by the team. Cian is in senior infants at St Paul’s National School in Navan and he plays soccer with the Parkville underage academy.
Monaghan: Children to learn the art of the seanachai
Children from three primary schools in Castleblayney are to take part in a six-week project designed to foster the traditional art of the storyteller. Fifth and sixth class students in Scoil Mhuire na mBuachaillí, Scoil na gCailiní and the Central School will take part in workshops facilitated by storyteller Susan Minto. Teachers from the three schools, Emma Swinburne, Ciara McBennett and Iris Kirkland, will also be involved in the project, which is co-ordinated by Tommy McGuire, manager of Castleblayney Community Enterprise Centre.
Offaly: Siobhan is dancing her way to stardom
Two years ago when she and her family moved from Manchester to Coolagarry, Walsh Island, Siobhan Phelan had never taken part in Irish dancing, but now she is a contestant on the TV show “Got to Dance”. In the past two years the eight-year-old, daughter of Sinead and Reagan Phelan, has won a number of national titles in Ireland and Britain and also took first place in the European Irish Dancing competition in Malaga last year. Siobhan will appear on the television show on January 23.
Roscommon: Kiltoom to honour Wexford-born folklorist
Wexford man and folklorist James G. Delaney who, with his wife and two children, lived in Kiltoom for more than thirty years, is to be honoured this weekend with the erection of a plaque to mark the tenth anniversary of his death. Mr Delaney was a folklore collector with the Department of Irish Folklore and among those he recorded were John Kenny from Kiltoom, John James Gately from Curragboy, Kieran McManus from Drum and Tom Kelly from Grange. The plaque will be unveiled at his grave before Mass in Kiltoom and this will be followed by a reception in Kiltoom Parish Hall.
Sligo: Two Sligo men are up for a challenge
Two Sligo men, one resident in England, have put themselves forward for a televised challenge. Jude Benson from Mullaghcor, Ballymote has been named as one of the twelve finalists in the farming reality show Feirm Factor on TG4, the first farmer from the county to feature in the show. Meanwhile Paddy Cunningham, originally from Calry and now living in Reading, is taking part in the ITV programme The Biggest Loser which sets out to ensure the participants lose weight, but also offers the incentive of a £25,000 prize fund.
Tipperary: Land donated for Terryglass development
Caroline Haslam, the eldest daughter of the Kent family who have lived in Terryglass since the eighteenth century, has donated thirty feet of land in order to facilitate the development of Terryglass Village Green. The land has been handed over to the trustees of the Terryglass Improvement Association, Mairead Tierney, Joe Hogan, and Declan Whelan. The development of the green will be overseen by local architect Dermot Walsh, Tony Esmond, a landscape consultant, and park ranger Dr Áine Lynch.
Tyrone: Sion Mills seal on road to recovery
A two-month-old seal is recovering in Portaferry after being rescued from a plant hire yard in Sion Mills. It is thought the young grey seal, named Spud by the workers at WT Hire, made its way from the Foyle estuary to the River Mourne, and then negotiated a burn outside the town. Spud was found by proprietor Wesley Hawkes and Nigel Gilchrist and they contacted the Exploris Aquarium where the seal is expected to stay for up to three months while recovering from an infection, before being released.
Waterford: Lotto win for Waterford workers
A group of eight people in a lotto syndicate at Brady’s Quality Foods in Waterford city were unaware that they had had a major win until one of their number happened to be listening to local radio. Joan Brady, a director at the food company, heard on the radio that the ticket had been bought in the Ballybeg area of the city, in the local branch of Tesco. She realised that that was where she had purchased the syndicate’s ticket and now the eight will share €1m from the Christmas Millionaire Raffle Draw.
Westmeath: Everest challenge begins in Westmeath
An unusual fundraising event which will see participants climb to the highest point in each county of Ireland before gradually making their way to the top of higher mountains, culminating in Mount Everest, began in the county last weekend. The 32 Steps for CF challenge began with a comparatively gentle ascent of Mullaghmeen, at 261m, with a start point at Mullaghmeen Forest car park. The challenge is being undertaken by climbers Cian O’Brolchain and Lorna Murphy, led by Ian Taylor, and all proceeds will go to Cystic Fibrosis Ireland.
Wexford: Mark’s guess brings the family a new house
Mark Fitzpatrick made a lucky guess when he entered a competition run by Rosslare Community Development Association, with the result that he, his wife and their five children now have a new house. The three-bedroomed house in Elderwood, Castlebridge, was donated by the Noonan Construction Group as a contribution to the local community as part of a planning application, and people were asked to donate €100 to make ten bids between one cent and €999.99. Mark’s was the highest unique bid, at €983.79.
Wicklow: Opportunist theft in Dunlavin graveyard
What has been described as an opportunist theft which took place in Dunlavin graveyard has left those with loved ones buried there having to bring their own water when they visit the graves. Sponsored and installed four years ago, the converted diesel tank with a twelve hundred litre capacity meant that those visiting the graves did not have to carry their own water for tending to plants around the graves. Now, however, with the tank gone they are back to transporting their own water, though an appeal has gone out to whoever took the tank over the post-Christmas period to return it.
Week of January 20
Antrim: West Belfast church to re-establish community
A new church built on the site of a former church in Whiterock in west Belfast was formally dedicated earlier this week by Church of Ireland Bishop of Drown and Dromore Dr Harold Miller. St Columba’s has been built on the site of a former church dating from 1962 and incorporates a ground floor hall for services and other activities as well a cafe on the first floor. Minister of the new St Columba’s is Rev Dr Chris Eaton, who believes that it will help to re-establish a worshipping community serving the Springmartin and Highfield estates.
Armagh: New website for Richhill Library campaign
The campaigners hoping to prevent the closure of Richhill Library have created both a new website and a Facebook page as part of their efforts, with the website offering the community an online questionnaire. Richhill Improvements Association, the local school and council representatives are working together to prevent the closure of the amenity on the Maynooth Road. Those wishing to complete the questionnaire have been invited to the local Computer Club in the old church hall during the coming week where they will be given assistance. The assistant secretary of the RIA, Myles McCormick, is also the computer club organiser.
Carlow: Cathaoirleach accepts litter award
On behalf of all the residents of Carlow town Walter Lacey, chairman of Carlow Town Council, accepted a special plaque from Dr Tom Cavanagh of Irish Business Against Litter at a ceremony in Dublin. Carlow town was named as the cleanest town in Ireland in the 2010 IBAL survey, beating fifty-three towns and cities around the country. Councillor Lacey was accompanied to the award ceremony by assistant town clerk Seamus de Faoite and litter warden Pat Kehoe. Carlow is now the only town to win the title three times, having previously been declared the tidiest town in 2002 and 2005.
Cavan: Redhills triumphs again
One village in the county continues to figure highly in the anti-litter stakes. For the third time in the past four years the village of Redhills has taken the overall title in the County Litter League, at the same time taking the title of Best Small Village for the fourth time. A presentation was made to the Redhills Tidy Towns Committee under its chairman John Kelly. The title of Cleanest Town in the county went to Bailieborough, while the cleanest large village was deemed to be Arva.
Clare:  Ferry proposed for Ballyvaughan
Tenders are being requested for a feasibility study into the possibility of providing a ferry service between Ballyvaughan and Galway city. At present those living in the village who work in Galway have a 50km commute to work which can, at peak times, take up to two hours. One of those who would benefit from the thirty-minute crossing of the bay is Gwen Ryan, who works at NUI Galway, and she has visited similar services in Donegal and Scotland. The twelve-seater service would take just thirty minutes to make the crossing.
Cork: Dean concerned for view of cathedral
Dean of Cork Nigel Dunne has expressed concern that part of the design for the development of the Beamish and Crawford site will block the view of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. The €150m development on the four-acre site features an events centre, a brewing exhibition centre as well as retail and residential areas. The Dean is concerned about the design of one of the buildings featuring a curved extension over the River Lee near the South Gate Bridge and which would interfere with the view of the cathedral. He has also expressed the wish that the interpretative centre would cover the history of the city as well as its brewing connection.
Derry: Affluence making life difficult for binmen
Refuse lorries in Magherafelt are having their jobs made more difficult by the affluence of the past few years which has led to many households having more than one car parked outside. The cars, parked on both sides of the road, have made it next to impossible for the refuse lorries to reach bins in two areas in particular, Mullaghboy Crescent and the Glenburn estate. Councillor Paul McLean has warned that, if the refuse lorries are experiencing problems, the same will apply to emergency vehicles answering calls to houses on the congested roads.
Donegal: Moville pub takes national award
After a visit to Rosato’s on the Malin Road in Moville by the Sunday World’s Pub Spy, the bar has been named Pub of the Year by the newspaper. Owned by Eddie and Margaret Harkin, the bar was praised for its atmosphere and its cleanliness. The Pub Spy also noted that the barman, as well as serving drinks and food, also directed customers to available accommodation and gave directions to local areas of interest. Eddie put Rosato’s’ success down to the hard work of himself and his wife, as well as all of his staff.
Down: Artist’s work will help Pakistan’s flood victims
An exhibition of a series of paintings of the Newry and Mourne district by local artist Bruno Patron was opened last week at Newry Arts Centre by Mayor Mick Murphy and Joan Smyth, president of the Red Cross. Among the landscapes and buildings depicted by Bruno are the Cathedral, the Town Hall and Bernish Point. The twenty-five paintings are on sale for the next two weeks and all proceeds are to go to the Red Cross Pakistan Floods Appeal.
Dublin: Oldest surviving charity on the move
The oldest surviving charity in Dublin, the Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society, has moved from Lower Leeson Street to Upper Leeson Street as part of a cost-cutting measure. The charity was set up in 1790 in the Ormond Quay area of the city before moving to Palace Street in the middle of the nineteenth century. It remained there until the 1990s when it became clear that renovating the building to meet new legislation was too costly. The charity helps people in temporary financial difficulties, accepting cases referred by social workers.
Fermanagh: Former High Sheriff’s son takes on role
The High Sheriff for the county for the coming year is Enniskillen businessman Terry McCartney, the proprietor of Belmore Court and Motel in the town. Terry is particularly pleased to take up the position as it was previously held by his father, the late Raymond McCartney. He is succeeding Kenny Fisher whose father, Tommy Fisher of Ballinamallard, coincidentally also held the position. An old Portoran, Terry is a committee member and former chairman of the Enniskillen Photographic Society.
Galway: House to be renovated for bats
Work has already begun on the renovation of a house on the outskirts of the Coole and Garyland estate in the south of the county which will include a roost for bats. The house, at a cost of almost €90,000, will be home to the Lesser Horseshoe Bat, a protected species that is extinct in many parts of Europe, whose habitat was threatened by the construction of the next phase of the M18 from Gort to Tuam. This is the second time that a house has been built specifically for this species, with another constructed some years ago close to the Ennis bypass.
Kerry: Papal medal for Shrone parishioner
The Papal medal Bene Merenti has been presented to Nora Mai Daly from Gortdarrig, who has acted as sacristan at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour for the past thirty-two years. Nora Mai was presented with her medal by Bishop of Kerry Bill Murphy. Since 1979 she has helped a number of parish priests in looking after the church, including Fr Patrick Doherty, Fr Dan O’Riordan and Fr Patrick Hogan. It was the current parish priest, Fr Larry Kelly, who told her that she was to receive the medal.
Kildare: Stand House Hotel to be demolished
The Stand House Hotel at Loughbrown on the Curragh, which is owned by the Turf Club, is to be demolished following the granting of planning permission by the county council. No date has yet been set for the demolition of the three-storey hotel, which is to be replaced with a car park with four hundred and thirty spaces to serve the racecourse. Dating from the eighteenth century, the hotel closed just over a year ago with the loss of fifty jobs. In the meantime it has been used by the Defence Forces as an urban environment training area.
Kilkenny: Tea house to become tourist amenity
Having decided that the tea house at Bateman Quay in Kilkenny city is unsuitable for use as public toilets, a museum or gallery, members of Kilkenny Borough Council are now proposing that it be used as a tourist kiosk. The tea house is a protected structure and any works carried out would need the sanction of the Department of the Environment. According to senior engineer Kieran Fitzgerald, the location of the building close to bus and taxi set-down areas would make it particularly suitable as a tourist amenity. He envisaged the tea house being a base for such activities as walking tours and bicycle rental.
Longford: Roy loses seven stone in six months
It was actually a little short of six months when Roy Davis from Longford town achieved a remarkable weight loss of seven stone. So successful was Roy, who owns the Supervalu store in the town, that the Motivation Weight Management Clinic decided he should be the face for a new advertising campaign. He attended the clinic with a friend, hoping to reduce his twenty-three stone to seventeen, and was astounded himself when he managed to lose the extra stone. Now the father of three has had to get used to seeing himself regularly on television.
Louth: Billy has plans for the Fairways
Billy Kelly, who took over the running of the Fairways Hotel on the Dublin Road in Dundalk in June of last year, is planning to construct a new concert dome which will have a seating capacity of five thousand. He has had experience running similar facilities in Blackpool and expects to be able to attract big names such as Kylie Minogue and Westlife to the venue. Since the dome will not be a permanent structure it will not require planning permission, and Billy hopes that construction will begin next month and the dome will be completed within six weeks.
Mayo: Westport woman wows audiences
A thirty-four-year old from Westport has become a sensation on the internet after her appearance in the Sky One show “Got To Dance”. Bridget Clarke, a presenter and researcher at Community Radio Castlebar, has astounded viewers with her unique style of dance. Although she learned Irish dancing while at national school, she has never had any dance lessons but says she just loves to dance. Her family had no idea that Bridget had auditioned for the second series of the show until she told them she was to appear on television. Her ultimate ambition is to become a television presenter.
Meath: Lighting proposed for tower
While the Spire of Loyd in Kells has been closed to the public for the past year due to safety concerns, it will now have a new feature which will brighten up the town’s skyline. Work has been carried out to install architectural lighting on the late eighteenth-century tower, in conjunction with improved safety works, and it is expected to be opened to the public in the near future. When it was originally built, on commonage owned by the local authority, the tower was used to view hunts and horse races.
Monaghan: Medal for Castleblayney firefighter
A firefighter from Castleblayney has become one of the youngest persons in the country to be awarded a long service medal from the fire service. Chuck Callen received a medal for twenty years of service to the Castleblayney Fire Service and was also featured in the National Fire Services Journal to mark his achievement. The thirty-eight-year-old, who is one of the nine members of the town’s fire service, was presented with his medal at an award ceremony at the Red Cow Inn in Dublin.
Offaly: Celebrity gardener to develop Edenderry site
The Edenderry Plaza development, on which work began four years ago but later stopped, is to become the project of celebrity gardener Diarmuid Gavin. The RTE presenter will be inviting members of the local community to assist him in work on the unfinished Edenderry Hotel site. The car park of the unfinished site has filled with water and the site itself has become a magnet, but an unsafe one, for the young people of the area. The site was originally developed by Ger Killally, Richie Connor, Declan Ging and Frank Lawlor.
Roscommon: Three honoured for church work
Three parishioners of St Michael’s Church in Cootehall received a surprise at the end of Sunday Mass last week when parish priest Father Brian Conlon announced that they were to be honoured for their contribution to their parish church and parish life in general over a number of years. Chris Henry, Jim Lynch and Andy Oates were each presented with an engraved crystal crucifix by Father Brian as a token of thanks for their dedication to the church and parish over many years.
Sligo: Conservation plan to be drawn up for old jail
The county council has reached agreement that a conservation programme should be carried out on Sligo Gaol, which in its time held both Michael Davitt and Michael Collins. Opened in 1818, some parts of the complex, including the female wing, the treadmill and part of the boundary wall, were demolished to facilitate the building of a fire station after its closure in 1956. The conservation plan of the protected structure will ensure the retention of the remaining cell blocks, debtors’ prison, lunatic asylum and the governor’s house.
Tyrone: A bid to return to ‘normality’
The first match for the county team was due to take place at Healy Park in Omagh last week as the players, and spectators, attempted to begin a return to normality following the tragic death of Michaela McAreavey. A minute’s silence was to have been observed before the start of the Dr McKenna Cup match against University of Ulster, and assistant manager Tony Donnelly was to take charge of the game. However the venue was one of those deemed unplayable due to frost, and so the team, and their manager, will have a little longer to prepare themselves for getting back into the game.
Waterford: City is subject of BBC radio programme
Last week a BBC Radio 4 programme introduced thousands of listeners to the city of Waterford. The programme followed the arrival of a crew who came to record the visit to the city of Charles Chetvand-Talbot, the 22nd Earl of Shrewsbury and Waterford, on his first visit. While in Waterford he met Mayor Mary Roche and local historian Jack Burchaell, as well as paying a visit to the home of former Waterford Crystal workers John and Tina Wilmot. The Earl has said he would like to return to Waterford for the Tall Ships event in June.
Westmeath: St Patrick’s Committee choose theme
The St Patrick’s Day Parade committee in Mullingar has already drawn up plans for this year’s parade, and the members have chosen as their theme Science and Innovation. This was chosen, according to spokesman Noel O’Callaghan, to represent the solution to the economic situation. They are hoping to link schools with local businesses in the designing and building of floats this year, and the parade will set off from the Green Bridge at four o’clock, though festivities will begin an hour earlier.
Wexford: Fáilte Ireland grant for Ferrycarrig park
A grant of €1,064,000 from Fáilte Ireland has meant that the development of the Ferrycarrig Heritage Park can go ahead, with a completion date of 2013. Craft workers are at present on the site thatching the Neolithic house, made from Irish oak, and working on the ring fort, and some sections are expected to be open as early as April this year. When completed by craft workers from Muintir na Coille it will have a fully interactive centre in the castle with archery and hatchet throwing among the attractions.
Wicklow: Arklow couple collect their cheque
When Adrienne Redmond from Coolgreaney Road in Arklow bought a €6 quick pick Lotto ticket in the town’s branch of Tesco, little did she realise she and her family would be travelling to Dublin to collect a cheque. But that is what happened when she, her husband JP and their three-year-old son Dylan found that her ticket had won the Lotto Plus Two prize of €250,000. The family were joined on their trip to Lotto Headquarters by Adrienne’s mother May Tracey and her brother Paul, as well as JP’s brother Alan.
 Week of January 27
Antrim: Maritime museum opens on Lagan
A six-hundred tonne Dutch barge moored on the River Lagan at Lanyon Quay in Belfast is home to a maritime museum containing thousands of artefacts associated with the city’s maritime heritage, including drawings from Harland and Wolff. Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and the Arts Council, the MV Confiance includes a multi-use heritage and arts space in addition to the exhibition and future plans include the provision of a cafe. The new facility opened to the public last weekend.
Armagh: Chilean miner to visit Craigavon
One of the Chilean miners who were dramatically rescued last October is to visit the county when he addresses the South American Missions Society Ireland at their Friday Night Live gathering in Craigavon Civic Centre in the coming week. Jose Henriquez will tell the story of the miners’ survival and eventual rescue, and he is also due to talk at the Shankill Parish Church. He will be accompanied by his wife Blanca, and Alf Cooper, chaplain to the President of Chile, will be translating for the couple. The event has been organised by Geoff Hamilton.
Carlow: School says farewell to long-serving teacher
A day of celebrations took place recently to mark the retirement of Margaret Keegan, a past pupil of Scoil Mhuire gan Smál in Carlow, who has taught in the school for the past forty years. Principal since 2007, Mrs Keegan received presentations from the children, after which a special Mass was celebrated in Carlow Cathedral. Indicative of the high esteem in which she was held is the fact that she was named Ireland’s Teacher of the Year in 1999, a title for which she was nominated by the parents of her junior infant class. The day concluded with a celebratory meal at the Seven Oaks Hotel.
Cavan: Has anyone seen our charter?
Word has gone out from Cavan Town Council for help in locating the town’s original charter, granted by King James I in 1610 when Cavan was established as a municipal corporation and given the right to hold a market. The town is due to celebrate its four hundredth anniversary this year, but unfortunately the original Cavan Town Charter has been missing for a number of years. It was last seen in the council offices and its present whereabouts are unknown. The members of the Town Council are anxious to have it on exhibition during the anniversary celebrations.
Clare: Council revise plan for Doolin pier
In response to more than sixty objections, including one from world surf champion Mick Fanning, the county council has lodged a revised application for a new pier at Doolin. The surfing community had objected to the original plan, claiming it would affect waves off Crab Island and Doolin Point, and the pier is now to be fifteen metres shorter than originally planned, and located twenty-five metres further away from the waves. The construction must be completed by the end of the year to avail of the €6m funding.
Cork: Paddy is named Person of the Year
At the Fota Island Hotel last Friday Paddy O’Brien, the man behind the national Over 60s talent competition, was named as Cork Person of the Year for 2010. Paddy has been running the talent show in communities all over the country for more than thirty years although his voluntary work stretches back to 1953 when he began helping the elderly in the inner city areas of Cork. Recently retired as regional manager of the Irish Heart Foundation, he was accompanied to the awards ceremony by his sons Ronan and Brian, and his daughter-in-law Susan.
Derry: Joshua to open a hotel – at 16
He may be only sixteen years of age but Joshua Jackson from the Kings Lane estate in Ballykelly is about to embark on his second business venture. Although he has no business background, Joshua already runs a successful public relations company, and he is now planning to open a boutique hotel in Bushmills. The Port Caman House, on the outskirts of the Co. Antrim village, was originally a bed and breakfast establishment, but Joshua hopes to turn it into a five-star boutique hotel with a restaurant. Although adamant that he has had no financial support, Joshua admits to having as his mentor a prominent businessman from the north west.
Donegal: Double recognition for Greencastle centenarian
When John Sweeney of Drumaweir, Greencastle reached his one hundredth birthday last week he not only received birthday greetings from President Mary McAleese, but also from Queen Elizabeth. Up to four years ago John was living in Scotland, where he was born and had lived all his life, and at that time his son Danny persuaded him to move to Ireland and live with himself and his wife Agatha, who has since died. Celebrations took place in the Seán Tí pub in Greencastle where John was joined by relatives and friends from Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall.
Down: Public meeting for canal restoration
Peter Maxwell and Geraldine Foley, inveterate sailors who spent some years navigating the globe in the yacht they built themselves, have now turned their attention to the inland waterways of Ireland. The couple, who now own a river cruiser, have called a meeting in Scarva Visitor Centre for next week to engender interest in the restoration of the Newry Canal. This is one of the last unrestored stretches of Irish waterways and Peter and Geraldine are anxious to see the work carried out so that it will be possible to travel on inland waterways from Newry to Waterford.
Dublin: Swords singer makes bid for Eurovision
Nikki Kavanagh from Swords, a professional singer, is one of five acts who will battle it out on a special edition of The Late Late Show for the prize of representing Ireland in the Eurovision Song Contest. Nikki has already backed Niamh Kavanagh last year and backed Marc Roberts three years ago, and she is a regular singer with the RTE Concert Orchestra. She will be competing against Jedward, The Vard Sisters, Don Mescall and a new band recently signed to EMI Records. Each entrant has a mentor and Nikki is being helped by David Hayes. The contest takes place on February 11.
Fermanagh: Belcoo man on national bowling team
Niall Cox from Belcoo has been selected to represent Ireland at the A International Series bowling competition which will take place in Scotland in March. Niall started hisbowling career at the age of six when his parents bought him a set of mini bowls and he first joined Belcoo bowling club before going on to join Mullaghdun, where he is at present a member. The twenty-five-year-old, who was a member of the first All-Ireland Junior Inter Zone winning team, is now hoping that this competition will lead to a place on the full international team.
Galway: Harbour plan goes on display
The plans for the development of Galway Harbour, which will allow large cruise liners to berth, went on public display last weekend at the Harbour Hotel in the city. The proposed €50m new harbour will extend one kilometre out to sea and will have 660m of quay berth for liners, oil tankers, cargo vessels and fishing vessels. The proposal also includes a marina to provide facilities for more than two hundred leisure craft. According to Councillor Brian Walsh, a former member of Galway Harbour Company, the construction phase alone could provide some five hundred jobs.
Kerry: Brennans to the rescue of Valentia hotel
The Brennan brothers, Francis and John, who have extensive experience in the hospitality business, have come to the rescue of Vincent Kidd and his sister Fiona, who five years ago purchased The Royal Hotel in Knightstown on Valentia Island. Hit by the recession and a failure to secure a bank loan, the pair saw their business dwindling until the Brennans undertook to help them as part of their television programme ‘At Your Service’. Now the Kidds have reopened the hostel, refurbished the hotel and are also catering for weddings.
Kildare: St Brigid’s festival begins
Kildare town will be the centre of festivities to mark St Brigid’s Day, with the Kindling Flames of Hope event running for a week in the town. A walk through Brigid’s Monastic City with Mario Corrigan will set off from the Market Square, while Aras Bhride will be the location for learning how to weave St Brigid’s crosses. The St Brigid’s Eve ritual pilgrimage will take place at St Brigid’s Well, which will also be the setting for the Eucharist on the final day of the festival. This year’s Celtic Lecture will be delivered by Charles Doherty of University College Dublin.
Kilkenny: ‘What did you do in the recession, Daddy?’
Because a Kilmacow man wanted to be able to tell his now four-year-old daughter in years to come that he did take some action in protest at the Government’s handling of the economy, he organised a march. Stephen Tobin was joined by a number of other men walking from Kilmacow to Leinster House to demand an apology from the Government. John Dunphy, Dermot Murray, Ned Murray and Aaron Tobin were in the group who averaged twenty to twenty-five kilometres a day, carrying placards critical of the Government.
Laois: Major award for Mountrath beauty consultant
Pamela Moore from Mountrath has become the only Irish person to receive the Lancome Golden Rose for her work as a beauty consultant at Debenham’s in the Whitewater Shopping Centre. Pamela, the daughter of Mary and William Moore and mother of ten-year-old Dean, is to receive the eighteen carat gold brooch as well as a champagne reception and dinner at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Powerscourt, an overnight stay and a luxury day at the hotel spa. She trained at the Marie Therese School of Complementary Therapies in Portlaoise before joining Lancome four years ago.
Leitrim: New Festival Committee elected
A new Festival Committee has been elected to organise this year’s Dromod Family Festival, following the success of last year’s event. The festival, on the first Sunday in May, is once again being held in Noreen Diffley’s field and among new events this year will be guessing the weight of a bull, a bungee run, and the village’s first ever Dog Show. The festival will be officially launched at the end of February in the Brandy Well and fundraising is due to start in the coming weeks.
Limerick: Teacher on his way to Ghana by motorbike
Damien Ryan from Ashbrooke Garden in Limerick, who teaches at the Sexton Street CBS, is setting off on his own to ride his BMW F650 motorcycle from Limerick to Ghana in order to raise funds for education in the African country. Damien has already raised money to provide books to children in a school in Malawi through his charity Oideachas San Afraic and has now contacted three schools in Ghana which he aims to help with his fundraising activities. In addition to books, he is also hoping to be able to supply the schoolchildren in Ghana with school uniforms.
Longford: Ballymahon Library to open soon
With only a small amount of exterior work still to be completed on the new €1.5m Ballymahon Library it is hoped that it will be opening in the near future. The library is housed in the old courthouse and the interior work has already been completed. In addition to the library the early nineteenth century building also comprises a one-stop-shop and community facility, with the library on the ground floor and the upper floor to be used as a large meeting room or community room.
Louth: Music festival for Carlingford
Next weekend Carlingford will resound to the strains of fiddle, tin whistle and accordion as Ceol Charlinn 2011 takes place in the town. Organised by the local Community Development, St Oliver’s Primary School and the Lough Youth Peace Project, this is the sixth year of the event which features classes held in a number of instruments including the harp and uilleann pipes. There will also be concerts on the Friday and Saturday night, and an ‘In Conversation’ event in The Foy Centre will be led by Fintan Vallely, editor of ‘The Companion to Irish Traditional Music’.
Mayo: Aaron combines study and business
Aaron Joyce from Westport is not only studying for his Leaving Certificate but also runs his own business. During his transition year the seventeen-year-old worked in Market 57, a homeware shop in Westport, and came up with the idea of selling the stock to a wider market within Ireland on the internet. A local homeware supplier provides the stock and Aaron collects a commission on everything he sells online. He set up the business last November and so far it has shown a profit, but now Aaron is hoping to expand to an international market. The company is based over the homeware shop that inspired his business success.
Meath: Clonee actor wins Hollywood role
Sonya Macari from Clonee has landed a role in the American television comedy ‘Chuck’, but she will be speaking with an Italian accent. The twenty-nine-year-old has been in Hollywood for the past two years working towards her big break, and it came with an audition in which she had to read a part in Italian. According to Sonya, the directors didn’t realise she was speaking Italian with an Irish accent and hadn’t realised she was Irish until filming began. The third series of the programme is due to air next month.
Monaghan: Rebecca is a world champion
At just ten years of age a young girl from Castleblayney has become a world champion. Rebecca Sweeney, the daughter of John and Rosaleen Sweeney, travelled to the Line Dancing World Championships in Milan and was placed first in both categories in which she was entered. First dancing six dances in her line, and then eight with a professional partner, Rebecca, who attends the Memphis Belles Line Dancing Club in Carrickmacross, won both contests and was named World Champion in Youth Newcomer.
Offaly: New life for infamous premises
Daingean Reformatory, which earned a poor reputation for the treatment of the boys who were sent there during the last century, is to see a new lease of life. Part of the building is to be handed over to the Daingean Sports Complex Committee by the Office of Public Works and it will be developed as a sporting facility for local children. The committee, under chairman Donal Milne, has been granted a ten-year licence to the premises and it is hoped that its past reputation can be overcome by its future potential.
Roscommon: New hope for Roscommon cinema
With the signing of a twenty-five-year lease with Mid Town Property on a building at the Centre Point Retail Park, it appears that Roscommon town will eventually have its own cinema. The project has been subject to a number of delays but Darren Corcoran of Flix Leisure said it will now definitely be opened this year. It has taken longer than anticipated and he admitted that it had been a mistake to set an opening date which they had subsequently been unable to meet. The company is at present in the process of purchasing state-of-the-art digital equipment for the new facility.
Sligo: Tourism chief calls for resolution of Lissadell dispute
Director of Discover Sligo Keith McNair is calling for an amicable solution to the dispute which closed Lissadell House to the public following a High Court case. Mr McNair, who claims to have the signatures of a thousand Sligo people who support owners Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy, believes an alternative route to give access to the beach could be agreed which would not impinge on the home life of the Walshes and their seven children. He further claims that Lissadell house engendered an input of €20m into the area last year between visitors to the house and the two major concerts held there.
Tipperary: Daughter marks accordionist’s anniversary
The twentieth anniversary of the death of accordionist Paddy O’Brien of Newtown, Nenagh, will be marked in mid-March with a concert in aid of North Tipperary Hospice for Home Care. The gala concert in Portroe Hall is being organised by musician Eileen O’Brien-Minogue from Moanfin, Paddy’s daughter, while a second gathering will take place in Bobby Reidy’s bar in Newtown. At this event All-Ireland ballad singer Nora Butler Swan from Nenagh will launch her CD, ‘My Homelife in Tipperary’. Both she and Eileen O’Brien-Minogue are members of the Bru Boru entertainment group.
Tyrone: Gortin is one venue for annual charity walk
One of the ten venues across the North to be chosen to host the annual Winter Woollie Walks organised by the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund is Gortin Glen Forest Park. The walk is due to take place on the last Saturday in February and participants will be encouraged to raise as much money as possible through sponsorship. The Winter Woollie Walks vary in length from between two and five miles and all money raised in the ten venues will help to provide services and support to young cancer patients under the age of twenty-four, and their families.
Waterford: Waterford to mark first tricolour
The first tricolour was unveiled by Thomas Francis Meagher at 33 The Mall in Waterford City on March 7, 1848, and on March 5 this year, at 18.48, the city will begin to celebrate the event. A function at the House of Waterford Crystal will set the weekend of events in motion, David McWilliams will host an evening of political theatre, while the following day a flag-raising ceremony will be held at The Mall. The commemorative weekend is an initiative of local man Cian Foley and James Doherty, a history enthusiast.
Westmeath: Councillor calls for Moate building to be saved
Councillor Tom Allen has called for action over the courthouse in Moate which, he says, is becoming derelict. Although he admits that there are no funds available to have work carried out on the early nineteenth century building, the councillor, and director of services Barry Kehoe, have urged voluntary groups in the town to consider making use of the courthouse. It has been used for the past while by Moate Boxing Club but they might not be able to continue using it due to a leak in the roof.
Wexford: Longest-running ICA branch also has oldest member
The Oylegate Guild of the Irish Countrywomen’s Association is not only the longest continually running branch in the country, it also boasts the oldest member. Due to celebrate its one hundredth birthday this coming weekend, the branch includes among its members ninety-six-year-old Margaret Quirke, who has had an involvement in the movement since she was aged ten. Up to a few years ago she was also honorary president of Oylegate and held meetings in her own home. The Oylgate ICA Guild will hold its centenary lunch and tea dance in the Talbot Hotel.
Wicklow: Report recommends deer-management project
A report into the numbers of deer in the county has recommended establishing a deer-management project in areas where the deer population is considered unsustainable. Commissioned by deer societies, farmers, foresters and the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the report cites an increase of 175% in red and hybrid deer over a fifty-year period up to 2008, and a 767% increase in Sika deer. In some places the animal density was found to be between 33 and 44 deer per square kilometre, where the European average is ten animals per square kilometre. Ballinastoe and Ashford have been earmarked as pilot deer-management 
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