Greetings & Blessings to all,
We hope you will enjoy these bits and bobs of news  from all over the country. As with the headlines and news on our web site, we purposely avoid murder and mayhem, opting instead for whatever we can find  in the way of Irish traditions, customs and culture. We also try to avoid repeating news we've already published in our daily updates. Here's the URL if you aren't familiar with that feature on the site:
These links are kept for two weeks just in case you can't visit the site every day.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Irish Emigrant - our source for these news items. They have a great site which is well worth visiting:
Meanwhile, on with the county news for each week in in August. 
Please note: If you are a new subscriber, this monthly news update is in addition to our regular newsletter which was sent out earlier today.
Week of August 4
Antrim: Ballycarry girl in Teen Queen contest
Emily Cloke from Ballycarry is so far the only contestant from Northern Ireland to have entered the Miss Teen Queen UK 2011 competition. The sixteen-year-old, who has just completed her GCSEs at Ulidia Integrated College in Carrickfergus, has some modelling experience and featured in an advertisement for the Ulster Bank, but would love to do more modelling. When she is not preparing to be a beauty queen Emily works part-time at a showjumper’s yard, cleaning out the stables.
Armagh: Armagh student on Peru expedition
Megan Doran, a student at Royal School in Armagh, is in the middle of an expedition to Peru which she joined as part of the activities of the combined cadet forces which she joined at school five years ago. The seventeen-year-old, with a small number of other teenagers, is undertaking scientific research, general exploration and activities designed to raise awareness of conservation among the indigenous population of the Amazon Rainforest. Megan is not the only Royal student overseas with the cadet force; Ashley Crawford is in Canada while Robyn Catterall is in Bavaria.
Carlow: Borris on look-out for Jaguar XK
Ever since it was learnt that the winner of last week’s €4.4m lottery had purchased the ticket at O’Shea’s Centra in Borris there has been much speculation as to the identity of the lucky owner. While Michael O’Shea says that his shop does quite a bit of passing trade, everyone is hoping that the winner is a local person. One sure way the residents have to find out is to watch to see if anyone is suddenly driving around in a Jaguar XK convertible worth €150,000, which was also part of last week’s lottery prize.
Cavan: Nathalie brings TV cameras to debs
Nathalie Sharkey has been instrumental in bringing television cameras to the debs night in Drogheda for Loreto College students in Cavan, which will be part of a new series entitled “My Dream Debs”. Nathalie, who has just completed transition year, found the information on Facebook and went to Dublin for an interview. The result is that the cameras will be following her as she prepares for the debs, wearing the dress she bought from America after earning money working in her parents’ shop in Cavan town. She will also be filmed during the course of a normal day when she is hanging out with her friends.
Clare: Record attempt in Doolin next month
On September 18 Christy Healy, a Civil Defence diver from Kilmaley, will attempt to set a new record for the fastest swim of ten kilometres underwater. In attempting the record Christy will be raising money for the Share A Dream Foundation to repay the support his family received while his son Stephen was suffering from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma; he was recently given the all-clear. Christy will begin his record attempt from Crab Island in Doolin, carrying a twelve-litre tank of air and will remain underwater each time the tank is changed.
Cork: Son to swim in father’s memory
One of the participants of last weekend’s Lee River race was Ger Philpott, who wore his father’s Speedos and hat to take part and fulfilled a promise made to his late father. Tadhg Philpott did his first Lee River swim in the late 1930s and was a supporter of its revival six years ago. In preparation for the swim Ger took part in the Great Hudson River Race in New York in May and will also take part in the Liffey River swim in Dublin in September. He is making a documentary of his swims, entitled ‘Three Rivers: One Summer’.
Derry: Spitfire wheel to touch down at Eglinton
The still-inflated wheel of a Spitfire which took off from Eglinton airfield during the Second World War is to make a symbolic touchdown on the runway. The remains of the plane, which crashed into a bog at Moneydarragh on the Inishowen peninsula, were uncovered last month, and the finds included the flying helmet and oxygen mask of the pilot, Roland Wolfe. These, and a number of other items, are now on display at the Tower Museum in Derry. The bringing of the wheel to Eglinton is being organised by aviation enthusiast Jonny McNee, who also led the search for the aircraft.
Donegal: Campaign continues for Donegal rail link
Rev. David Crooks from Carrigans has been campaigning for the reopening of the Galway to Donegal railway line for a number of years and he has now stepped up the campaign. He is seeking a meeting with Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, after having collected ten thousand signatures in support of a line to link the west coast from Cork to Derry. The old line closed in 1976 and Rev Crooks would like to see it once again serving Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Letterkenny and Newtowncunningham. He has ascertained that a number of different European grants are available for such a project.
Down: Trust unveils benches with a difference
The National Trust has installed benches at Castle Ward near Strangford and at Mount Stewart which will not only provide resting places but will also inform. The ‘talking’ benches feature comments from noted personalities including comedian Miranda Hart, cricketer David Gower and broadcaster John Sergeant. The bench at Castle Ward offers comments on wildlife and nature conservation from wildlife broadcaster Brian Black, and there is also a facility for visitors to record their own thoughts on the places they visit.
Dublin: Plan to turn building into stables
David Curley, who has been using his spare time to train people in the care of ponies, has come up with a use for an abandoned building which has become a centre for antisocial behaviour. David is trying to locate the owner of the property in Stephenstown Lane in Balbriggan with a view to turning it into a community stables. The property has been empty for five years and it could provide work on a community employment scheme for local tradesmen if the project went ahead, as it is at present in a very dilapidated state and has been subject to vandalism.
Fermanagh: Kinawley woman rescues  kitten
Chelsea Gilbride from Kinawley was driving towards Reilly’s Cross on the Sligo Road in Enniskillen with her mother, grandmother and sister when she noticed a young girl placing a kitten onto the busy road. Chelsea immediately slammed on the brakes and rescued the kitten, while its owner jumped into her own car and drove off. Chelsea later took the five-week-old kitten, which she named Ryleigh, to the vet for a check before taking it home, where it has joined the family’s other pets including a rescued puppy and rabbit.
Galway: Colm completes his 26-county walk
For a number of years Colm Farrell from Tuam thought he should do something to raise awareness of suicide, but work commitments prevented him from doing so. This year, however, the former publican found the time and set off in May to walk the twenty-six counties of Ireland in aid of the opening of a Pieta House in Tuam. The forty-five-year-old did not once have to pay for accommodation, but was given shelter by guest houses, hotels, hostels and private homes when he explained his mission. Last weekend he arrived home in Tuam, with supporters accompanying him on the final five miles of his marathon journey.
Kerry: Waterville to remember Chaplin
The first Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival will be held in Waterville over the last weekend in August to mark the comedian’s connections with the town where he holidayed with his family fifty years ago. Patron of the festival is Chaplin’s daughter Josephine, who lives in Waterville, and his grandson Arthur Gardin will also be in attendance. Premieres, parades, workshops and 1920s’ parties will feature in the festival, which will also show Chaplin’s film ‘The Circus’ in the big top.
Kildare: County to back Sydney Rose
While Kildare does not have its own Rose in the Rose of Tralee Festival later this month, the county can get behind the Rose from Sydney, who has strong Kildare connections. Caroline Harney is a first cousin of county football star Dermot Earley, with her mother Denise being a sister of the late Gen Dermot Earley of Newbridge. The 27-year-old’s uncle, Paul Earley, was one of the first Gaelic footballers to be recruited to the Australian Football League. Her parents, Denise and Galwayman Joe, emigrated to Australia in the 1970s.
Kilkenny: Dickens show coming to Kilkenny
The owner of Kytler’s Inn in Kilkenny is a direct descendant of Charles Dickens, and she plans to bring her brother’s one-man show on their famous ancestor to the inn. Nicky Flynn has arranged for Gerard Dickens to perform ‘Mr Dickens is Coming’ next Thursday; the show has already played to glowing reviews in America. Next year Nicky and Gerald will be among the guests at Westminster Abbey for a celebration of the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens.
Laois: Patter of tiny feet causing Stradbally mayhem
Residents of Court Square in Stradbally are convinced that it is mice that are causing the noise pollution they have been suffering since mid-May. At that time the renovated Arthouse studio and library was fitted with a sensitive alarm system which is constantly being triggered. According to one local resident the alarm started at 5.45am one Sunday morning and continued until 8.30am. It then started up again just over an hour later and continued for another hour. He and others now believe it is mice inside the building which are triggering the alarm, and County Librarian Gerry Maher is endeavouring to solve the problem.
Leitrim: Dawn Run not just a famous racehorse
For the county’s lady footballers Dawn Run takes on a new meaning this weekend when the inaugural Leitrim 10k Dawn Run/Walk takes place, with proceeds going towards their game against London on Sunday in the TG4 Intermediate Championships. Beginning at six in the morning on Saturday, runners and walkers will leave St Mary’s GAA Clubhouse on the Castlerea road in Carrick-on-Shannon. The final kilometre of the race is a loop close to Tesco and the Aura Leisure Centre and those taking part will then have access to showers and will be served breakfast before the presentation of prizes.
Limerick: Recession hits Limerick landmark
The cost of commercial rates, problems with parking and a decreasing footfall in the city centre have all contributed to the closure of one of Limerick’s first boutique shops. Eve’s Ladies Fashion and Leather Store, on Roches Street, was set up more than seventy years ago by Winifred Casey, grandmother of Michael Murphy who runs it at present with his wife Terry. His parents Eithne and Michael then managed the store before Michael himself took it over; he has worked at the shop for forty years.
Longford: Dan is looking for companions on marathon trek
Dan Magan from Killashee is inviting anyone who wishes to join him as he travels by canoe on a one hundred and forty-seven kilometre voyage on the Royal Canal. The seventeen-year-old student at the Convent of Mercy in Ballymahon has been moved to undertake the challenge to raise funds for the victims of famine in Somalia, and on Monday he will set off from the Royal Canal in Dublin to his destination at Richmond Harbour. He expects to take four days to complete the voyage and his parents, Louise and Dan, plan to accompany him on bicycles. This weekend Dan is holding a fundraiser in Magan’s Bar in Killashee.
Louth: Oarsmen break rowing record
The fifteen crew members of the ‘Oars of Hope’, who set out to raise money by rowing from the Isle of Man to Drogheda, broke a record by completing the voyage in just under twelve hours. Among the crew members was Drogheda postman Stuart Heaslin, who said they were overwhelmed at the hundreds of people who turned out to welcome them to the quays in Drogheda. In addition to a flotilla of boats, the arrival was marked by a fly-past of seven light aircraft from the National Microlight Association of Ireland.
Mayo: From rail line to Greenway
The former railway line from Westport to Achill is now known as the Great Western Greenway and it was officially opened last week by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister of State Michael Ring. The forty-two kilometre Greenway is a track for both cyclists and walkers and one of the first cyclists to use it at the official opening was the Taoiseach himself. He led other cyclists from Westport House to Attireesh where a plaque was unveiled. The Greenway has been in use for more than a year and attracts up to three hundred people a day who walk or cycle along the route beside Clew Bay.
Meath: Councillor proposes enhancing roundabouts
Councillor Frankie Lynch proposed to a recent meeting of the Kells Town Council that the roundabouts at the approaches to the town should be used to entice visitors into the town centre. The councillor’s proposal includes the tidying up of the roundabouts and the installation of a high cross and a replica of St Colmcille’s House. Another suggestion was that Kells should follow the example of Dunshaughlin and encourage local businesses to sponsor a roundabout, with a plaque bearing the name of the sponsor.
Monaghan: Award for Monaghan food producer
Pollocks’ Pickles and Preserves, located at Cornamundy in Monaghan, have been awarded a one-star Gold Great Taste Award for its marmalade. The company was established only last year by Glennys and Meredith Pollock and produces jams, pickles and chutneys using recipes old family recipes. They have already won a number of awards both locally and nationally. Glennys developed an interest in making good food from her parents, Lillian and Bob Magee, who ran a grocers’ shop in Belturbet.
Offaly: Questions asked over Durrow Abbey
Delays in sourcing funding for the construction of a new entrance to Durrow Abbey from the main road have led to no work being carried out on the restoration of the abbey, despite planning permission having been granted nearly five years ago. At that time the county council granted permission for the Office of Public Works to restore the gate lodge for use as a reception centre and to provide a public car park. At a recent council meeting Councillor Tommy McKeigue noted that the church and the High Cross are both locked up although they offer a great opportunity to increase tourism in the area.
Roscommon: Support for present incumbent in Keadue
When President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin were in Keadue to officially open the 33rd O’Carolan Harp Festival, they were confronted by a show of support on the side of a van. Colm O’Donnell jnr, of O’Donnell’s Electrics, had emblazoned the side of his van with the slogan ‘Norris, Me Aras. Mary Please Stay’. The presidential couple were seated on a stage outside St Ronan’s Hall in the village and President McAleese continued to applaud the parade floats as they passed by, though she apparently feigned embarrassment at the compliment.
Sligo: Men to the fore for new Dip
While the men were in a significant minority in the Midsummer Dip in the Nip for the past two years, a new event to be held in September will give them their chance to shine. The September Dip will support Blue September, a new charity to heighten awareness of men’s cancers, and will take place on a beach in the southeast of the country early on the morning of September 25. According to organiser Máire Garvey, those travelling to the venue will be able to enjoy a get-together the night before the event.
Tipperary: New centre for Moycarkey-Borris
Sean Ryan, secretary of the Moycarkey Community/Sports Centre, has welcomed the news that the North Tipperary County Council has agreed to allocate €200,000 for the provision of a new community sports centre on a site at Ballybeg, Littleton. Local fundraising will also be necessary and a concert has already been held, while a fashion show and a sale of work will take place in the coming months. The €1m centre will comprise a sports hall, meeting rooms, a catering area and dressing rooms and will provide a location for the many organisations operating in the area.
Tyrone: Taking to the bog in Dungannon
The Peatlands Park near Dungannon was the setting last weekend for the Bog Snorkelling Championships, organised by Colin Gates. Competitors arrived from all over the country to take part in the annual event, which is now in its seventh year. Contestants have to dive head-first into a water-filled channel in the bog and swim sixty yards without using conventional swimming techniques. This year’s winner came from Co. Armagh, with Jonathan Hilliard from Portadown completing the swim in one minute and thirty-three seconds, the second fastest recorded time.
Waterford: ‘Living history’ remembers Lismore’s famous faces
A new project, a ‘living history’ programme, is underway in Lismore to highlight the many famous people associated with the town. The Lismore Heritage Centre is staging a twenty-minute item each day during the month of August and among the characters to be portrayed are Lady Charlotte Boyle, Fred Astaire and his sister Adele, and Sir Walter Raleigh. The parts are being taken by the youth drama section of Lismore Dramatic Society including Michael O’Hanrahan, Harriet Bennett Lenane, Paul Twomey and Sinead Walsh.
Westmeath: Jim will have a close look at Galway Bay
Jim O’Connor from Athlone will be having a close-up view of Galway Bay later this month when he takes part in the sixth Frances Thornton Memorial Galway Bay Swim. Jim, of O’Connor Memorials in Bonavalley, is undertaking the thirteen kilometre swim for the first time and has been in training for some time, swimming in the Athlone Regional Sports Centre, the lake and the bay itself. He is also hoping to raise at least €1,000 for his chosen charity, Cancer Care West, and has already achieved half that sum.
Wexford: Two RNLI workers honoured
Paul Ironside and Bernie Wickham, who have been associated with the Rosslare RNLI for more than thirty years, both received presentations and tributes from their colleagues to mark their retirement recently. Paul, a member since 1974, was appointed Emergency Mechanic in 1987, while Bernie has spent thirty-seven years as fundraiser for the branch. At the presentation ceremony Paul was joined by his wife Aileen and family, while Bernie’s husband Matt, a former mechanic with the crew, and her family were also present.
Wicklow: Maurice survives more major surgery
A Wicklow town man has had more than his fair share of illnesses and has just received a new kidney. When Maurice Kavanagh was twelve he was diagnosed with cancer, and believes that the chemotherapy he received damaged his heart. Sixteen years ago he underwent a heart transplant and is one of the longest-surviving heart transplant patients. However the anti-rejection tablets he had to take damaged his kidneys, leading to the latest surgery. Maurice, the son of Gretta and Jim Kavanagh, has paid tribute to the support he has received from his family.
Week of August 11
Antrim: Belfast to stage polo tournament
Star polo players from Argentina and France will be joining players from Britain and Ireland at Polo in the City, taking place at the end of the month in the Prince Regent Park in Castlereagh. The event is being held to raise funds for Mencap and, according to Laura McManus, all the funds will go directly to the charity, which helps those with learning difficulties. In addition to the tournament there will be a barbeque and a post-polo party in the park as well as a soiree at Cafe Vaudeville in the city centre.
Armagh: Release of recording by Keady folk legend
Recordings made in the 1950s by renowned folk singer Sarah Makem, the mother of Tommy and Jack Makem, are to be released on CD this year. The recordings were made by a number of people, including Armagh man Sean O’Boyle, in the Makem home in Victoria Street in Keady and Mrs Makem’s recording of ‘As I Roved Out’ was chosen by the BBC as the signature tune for folk music programmes in the 1950s and 1960s. The CD collection will be launched in October at the Tommy Makem Festival in Armagh.
Carlow: It’s curtains for Yvette at the RDS
Yvette Byrne from Ardattin, who graduated in fashion from Griffith College in Dublin in May, stole the show at Ladies’ Day at last week’s Dublin Horse Show when she walked away with the prize. Some four hundred ladies entered for the contest but it was Yvette, in a dress made from curtain material purchased in Hickey’s, who was picked as the winner. She did, however, buy the lace for the top of the dress in Paris. Yvette’s prize is a €10,000 holiday in the wine country of California.
Cavan: New art gallery for Ballinagh
A new exhibition space and art gallery has been established at the former Centra premises on Main Street in Ballinagh, donated by Eamonn Gavin, and it will be the venue for an unofficial Fleadh event. The gallery is to be officially opened this weekend by Judge Seán McBride and the exhibition, entitled ‘A Public Hanging’, features the work of Neil Spears, Kenneth Webb and sculptor Sandra Bell among others. The gallery was the initiative of artist Pamela Mussen, who was disappointed that little was happening in the town during last year’s All-Ireland Fleadh in Cavan.
Clare: Biddy Early’s house is up for sale
The cottage owned by nineteenth century herbalist Biddy Early, the Wise Woman of Clare, at Dromore Hill near Feakle has been put on the market by its present owner, Billy Loughnane. However he is anxious that whoever buys it will respect the heritage aspect of the property, which is now derelict. The hope is that it will be restored as a tourist attraction as it already has a steady stream of visitors every year. The asking price for the cottage is €75,000 and Mayor of Clare Pat Hayes has also expressed the hope that it will become a greater draw for tourists.
Cork: Coolagown gets good report
The report after the initial visit of European Entent Florale judges gave hope to the residents of Coolagown near Fermoy that their village has a good chance of being successful in the competition. Heading the group of visitors was chairperson Clive Addison who raised the European Entente Florale flag before leading the group on a tour of the village and commenting on the work carried out by the Coolagown Development Group over the past twenty years. The village is representing Ireland in the small villages section, with the winners due to be announced next month.
Derry: Memorial garden opened at homeless centre
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness performed the official opening of a garden of remembrance at the House in the Wells hostel in Derry last week. The hostel opened in 1972 and since that time has helped hundreds of homeless men, many of them coping with addictions. It was the idea of residents of the hostel to build the garden in the courtyard to remember their friends who were victims of addiction, and the men themselves carried out the work. Initially funded directly from the community, the centre now receives support from the Housing Executive under the Supporting People programme.
Donegal: Local woman is new Mary
For only the fourth time in the history of the festival a local woman has been named as this year’s Mary from Dungloe. Debbie Rodgers is from Burtonport and she received her crown from last year’s winner, Jemma Ferry from Edinburgh. Joining Debbie on stage for her party piece was her father Joe, who accompanied her rendition of ‘The Water is Wide’ on guitar, and the two were joined by her mother Mary when Debbie was announced as the winner. The twenty-one-year-old has just graduated in English and Music and hopes to teach children with autism.
Down: Bangor Good Samaritan publicly thanked
A pensioner from Bangor who was helped by her very own Good Samaritan has thanked the unnamed man through the pages of a local paper. Isabel Caughey had returned on the train from Belfast after visiting her daughter but missed the last bus to her home in Kilmaine. It was while she was examining bus timetables with a security guard that the Good Samaritan told her he would see she got home safely. Picking up her shopping bag he carried it to a taxi and insisted on paying the fare for the 70-year-old.
Dublin: ‘Homeless’ statues on Dublin visit
A series of ten life-sized statues, which have previously been on show in Denmark, Hungary, Norway and Wales, made their appearance on the streets of Dublin last week. The initiative of Danish organisation UDENFOR, the bronze sculptures are part of an Ending Homelessness Exhibition organised by Focus Ireland. Entitled ‘Out here I survive. In a home I could live’, the series will remain in Dublin for the next two weeks to promote awareness of the problem of homelessness in Ireland; at present more than five thousand people in this country are without a home.
Fermanagh: Friends old and new join centenary celebrations
When Annie Hassard celebrated her one hundredth birthday in Cleenish Parish Hall in Bellanaleck last week she was joined not only by family but also by friends old and new. Annie was particularly pleased to see old friends from the Coranerk, Derrygonnelly and Drumrainey, Culkey areas where she and her late husband, Eddie, had farmed. At the celebration, refreshments were prepared by members of Cleenish and Mullaghdun Mothers’ Union, while charitable donations received in lieu of presents, at Annie’s request, totalled £920.
Galway: McNamaras’ band descends on Loughrea
Last week some three hundred members of the McNamara clan converged on Loughrea for a gathering organised by Tom McNamara, originally from Craughwell but now living in New Zealand. Overseeing the festivities was Bridie Uniacke, who moved from the family base in Ganty to Dunsandle when she married. She has thirteen children, thirty-six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. The man who made the most arduous journey was undoubtedly Marco Grandi, who drove from Budapest with his two children, Elena and Senan; his grandmother was Phil McNamara. All members of the clan have a connection with Michael McNamara, who was born in Ganty in 1934.
Kerry: From milk to lager for Dingle creamery
The Dingle Creamery opened in 1889 and produced milk until the 1970s, but now it is producing another kind of liquid. The plant has been taken over by the Dingle Brewing Company and its first product, Crean’s, was introduced at the Beerfest in Annascaul, the home of Arctic explorer Tom Crean. The lager was the work of consultant brewer Tim O’Rourke and is already available in five pubs in the town, according to Jerry O’Sullivan who is originally from Kildare. By next month he expects the brew to be sold in twenty pubs, including some in Kildare and Ranelagh in Dublin.
Kildare: Newbridge man in kayak adventure
Declan Breen from Newbridge, a member of the Defence Forces who is now confined to a wheelchair following an accident, has undertaken the crossing between Ireland and Scotland in a kayak. Declan was joined by two other kayakers, also affected by spinal injuries, and they left from Groomstown in Co. Down on Monday morning for the forty-kilometre journey to Portpatrick in Scotland. The trio are raising funds for the support services provided by Spinal Injuries Ireland. 
Kilkenny: Amanda catches rare visitor on film
Local photographer Amanda Burke was in the right place at the right time last week to capture an image of a rare visitor to the city. Amanda was crossing John’s Bridge in Kilkenny city where a crowd of people had gathered to watch an otter playing in the River Nore. Amanda was lucky to have her camera with her and she jumped over the wall and ran down to the railings along the bank. There she focused on bubbles in the water until the otter resurfaced, when she was able to get a perfect picture.
Laois: Unique therapy camp  in Stradbally
For the first time in Ireland a horse therapy camp for children with autism took place in Stradbally last week. Founder of the venture Maggie Whelan discovered the therapeutic benefits of working with horses while dealing with her own autistic son, Merck. The three-day camp was held on property owned by David Pennefeather and received help from a number of volunteers and local businesses. The next Horse Camp is to take place in September and Maggie expects other such facilities to be set up across the country.
Leitrim: New Ballinamore school one step closer
A new Community School for Ballinamore appears to have taken one step closer following the announcement from the Department of Education that the school is among a number which are being put out to tender. The present system is unique in that it requires students to move between different campuses for different lessons, and Ballinamore Parents’ Association chairperson Maureen Martin has welcomed the announcement. The new school will be located opposite the Seán O’Heslin football field on the Enniskillen road and will have capacity for four hundred students.
Limerick: Foynes is benefiting from cruise ships
Five cruise liners are scheduled to call into Foynes this summer and they are already boosting the local economy. To date three have made their visits and Margaret O’Shaughnessy of the Foynes Flying Boat Museum reported that up to four hundred visitors from the Adonia visited the museum last week. In addition to the cruise passengers, visitors also arrive in Foynes to view the liners, leading to extra business locally. The suitability of Foynes as a destination for cruise ships has been extensively promoted by Shannon Development in conjunction with the Shannon Foynes Port Company.
Longford: Killoe to hold its own Titanic event
When the one hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is marked next year, the parish of Killoe will be holding its own ceremony. For one of those who lost their lives on the vessel was James Farrell, who ensured that Katie Gilnagh and Katie Mullan from Rhyne escaped in a lifeboat, though Farrell himself lost his life in the tragedy. His actions, however, have been immortalised in films about the Titanic. The memorial plan has been initiated by local man John Devaney who has carried out research into the life of the Clonee native.
Louth: Human wall to encircle Drogheda
On Saturday week a human wall will encircle the town of Drogheda, following the line of the original walls of the town which enclosed forty-six hectares of land and stood six metres high. One of those behind the ‘I Am Wall’ project is Margaret Bannon, director of Droichead Arts Centre and she is hoping that up to two and a half thousand will turn up for the event and will hold hands for the space of one hour. There are plans for the human wall to be filmed from the air so it will be recorded for posterity.
Mayo: A school that would welcome larger classes
One school that hasn’t been worried by the recent announcement of an increase in the pupil-teacher ratio is the national school on Inishturk Island. In fact, according to island development officer Mary Catherine Heanue, the school would welcome such a move. At present St Columba’s has only three pupils, the lowest number ever, and there are fears that it will have to close altogether. To guard against this the community has launched a campaign to attract new people to the island, especially families with young children who could help increase the pupil-teacher ratio.
Meath: It’s dangerous being a bridge in Meath
Two bridges in the county came in for a bit of a bashing recently, though fortunately there were no serious injuries. A bus carrying children who were taking part in the Meath Travellers Workshop Summer Project crashed into a railway bridge at Laytown on their way home to Navan. Meanwhile a truck transporting a digger hit the railway bridge near Castletown on the Kells to Ardee road, with the bridge collapsing onto the truck. The driver was helped from the truck and he, too, escaped serious injury.
Monaghan: Extended clan take fleadh honours
The All-Ireland Fleadh due to take place in Cavan on August 21 will feature an extended family who originally come from Lough Egish. The Senior Band competition in the Ulster Fleadh, held in Dungiven, Co. Derry last month, was won by Banna Ceoil Gaolta, who chose the name since Gaolta translates as ‘relations’. The members all belong to the Geoghegan family and head of the family is Granny Mollie, now ninety-four years of age. The musicians include Lisa, Aileen, Breege and Aoife Geoghegan from Cavan, Sarah and Louise O’Kane from Ballybay, Barry Geoghegan from Lough Egish, Peter and Kate Marquis from Carrickmacross and Michael Lavin from Derry.
Offaly: O’Molloys to gather in Tullamore
Members of the O’Molloy Clan will be meeting this weekend in Tullamore and one of the highlights of the weekend will be the handing over of the Chieftainship by Frances Molloy Berry to a new Chieftain in Charleville Castle. This is the third O’Molloy Clan following the establishment of the O’Molloy Clan Association seven years ago with the aim of promoting the name and the territory of Fireall; the territory extends from Durrow to Eglish on the edge of Birr. Lectures and a guided tour form part of the events, while a Mediaeval Feast will take place in Charleville Castle.
Roscommon: Work on abbey making good progress
Work on the reconstruction of the north wall of Boyle Abbey by the Office of Public Works is progressing well and in the coming week new glass and a timber aisle are to be added. The north arcade and nave wall of the twelfth century Cistercian monastery were found to be unstable and a unique numbering system was devised to ensure that, after the edifice was dismantled and placed in storage, it could be reconstructed  to be exactly in accordance with its original specification.
Sligo: Cork twins to be guests of honour
At the Twinfest due to take place in Keash, Ballymote on Saturday August 20 special guests of honour will be former conjoined twins Hassan and Hussein Benhaffaf from Cork. This is the second year of the Twinfest which encourages twins, triplets and quads to come together for fun and a few competitions such as the youngest twins, the oldest twins, and a twin three-legged race. The event is organised by Patrick Ward and the main recipient of funds raised on the day will be The Meningitis Trust; Patrick lost his five-month-old niece, Katie Garvey, to the illness.
Tipperary: Ten walking trails developed
Ten walking trails, known as The Tipperary Ten, have been developed to take advantage of the increasing interest in walking which is attracting visitors from overseas as well as Ireland. A booklet featuring the walks was launched in Grange village last week and at the launch Con Ryan, one of twelve rural recreation officers, noted that farmers will receive annual payments for maintaining the trails. Among the walks are the Grange Crag Loop near Urlingford and the East Munster Way, from Carrick-on-Suir to Kilsheelan.
Tyrone: Farewell dinner marks teacher’s retirement
A farewell dinner in Corick House in Clogher marked the retirement of Michael Murphy after thirty-eight years teaching at Omagh Academy; for the past twenty-six years he was head of English at the school. In addition to his work in the school, Mr Murphy was director of the Academy Players and was responsible for more than thirty productions over the years. He was also a founder member of the Omagh Inter-Schools English Group and organised overseas visits to Stratford-upon-Avon, Canterbury and London. At the dinner in Corick House Mr Murphy was accompanied by his wife and was presented with a painting of the school by Roy Wilkinson, a former head of art at the Academy.
Waterford: Never underestimate the contents of a handbag
One man in Dungarvan is very grateful that his wife doesn’t regularly clear out her handbag, as she found a two-month old lottery ticket which she had forgotten about. When she checked the numbers she found that they had won €350,000 on the National Lottery and last week found them sipping champagne in the Lottery offices in Dublin as they collected their cheque. The couple, who have a young family, have decided to remain anonymous but it has been revealed that they bought their Quickpick ticket at the Post Office in Dungarvan.
Westmeath: Mullingar man’s financial idea gaining support
Mullingar businessman John MacEvilly has come up with an idea to give a boost to the Irish economy, which has now received the backing of the Town Council and the Chamber of Commerce. Financial adviser John is looking for every Irish person, at home and abroad, to spend €100 on a non-essential product or service made in Ireland. He has chosen September 24 as Shop for Ireland day and Chamber president Pat Whelan is calling on businesses in the town to put together special offers for the day, to increase trade locally.
Wexford: Retiring priest to stay in village
Father John Jordan, who has been suffering from cancer, has decided it is time to retire as parish priest of Oulart, but he has also decided that it is in the village that he would like to spend his final years. Last weekend he celebrated his last Mass as parish priest before handing over to Father Paddy Browne from Enniscorthy. He is also moving from the main parish residence to his new house which is just a short distance away, and will still be available to help out on productions by the local pantomime society.
Wicklow: Thin Lizzy to be remembered in Arklow
The fortieth anniversary of the Thin Lizzy tour which included a live show at the former Centre Ballroom in Arklow bas been marked by the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. The plaque at Coral Leisure, which now stands on the site, was unveiled by Phil Lynott’s mother Philomena last weekend. The event was organised by local man and Thin Lizzy fan Colm Weadick and the plaque itself was engraved by Gorey Stone Art. A commemorative booklet in aid of Arklow Drugs Awareness Week was also launched in Christy’s Lounge followed by live music from tribute band Skid Lizzy.
Week of August 18
Antrim: Ballycastle road defended by residents
A threat to the continued use of Carrickmore Road in Ballycastle has been met with opposition from a number of local people. The developer had plans to place a barrier at one end of the road, which runs past Marconi’s Cottage, a move that has been described by Daniel McLaughlin as being a danger to tourism. He also pointed out that farmers sometimes use the road to access their lands. Also opposed to the measure is long-time resident Danny Bonner, who spoke of the damage already done to the area, when both men addressed Moyle District Council.
Armagh: Retirement leads to closure of Armagh store
The decision by company chairman Mervyn Walker, his wife Ivy and the other directors to retire is to lead to the closure of one of Armagh’s oldest department stores. TJ Walker, on Market Street, originally opened as a general drapery store and the Walkers are pleased that it will first mark its one hundredth anniversary before closure. They are hoping that it will be taken over as a going concern to ensure the jobs of the younger employees although Valerie Watt, who has been with the company for almost thirty years, will also be retiring.
Carlow: Jaguar won’t supply clue to winners
While the people of Borris were hoping to be able to identify the latest lotto winners in the area through their extra prize of a Jaguar XK, the lucky couple have thwarted that plan. Deciding to remain anonymous, the couple say they decided not to take the Jaguar, which is worth an additional €150,000 on top of their Lotto Jackpot of €4,407,601 and so the good people of Borris will have to continue wondering. The two winners were so unsure of their good fortune that they called a relative to come to the house to recheck the numbers.
Cavan: Fleadh parade is a cross-cultural event
The traditional parade at the Fleadh Cheoil in Cavan town was a cross-cultural event this year, featuring as it did three Lambeg drums. The parade last week was led by the Cullybackey Pipe Band and two of the drums were provided by the Orange Order while the third came from the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Armagh. One of the highlights of the Fleadh is the 60th Birthday Comnhaltas Tea Party taking place in the Fleadh Big Top on the Cathedral Road on Friday, featuring Irish-American group Cherish the Ladies.
Clare: Rare catch by New Quay fisherman
On display in Martina Sweeney’s seafood shop in New Quay is a rare blue lobster caught by her husband Gerry off the Clare coast recently. Only one in three million lobsters is born with the genetic defect that gives them their blue colour, which also makes them easy prey and it is very rare to catch one. The unusual catch has its own special display tank in the seafood shop and Gerry and Maura have no intention of either selling it or putting it into the pot with the other lobsters.
Cork: Development Association has plans for Doneraile
The members of the Doneraile Development Association, under the chairmanship of Willie Hallihan, have drawn up plans which will include the addition of restaurants and cafes to Doneraile Court. It is also envisaged that some of the historic gardens should be opened to the public, with the restoration of a five-acre garden which dates back to the seventeenth century. The association will work in conjunction with the Office of Public Works, which at present owns Doneraile Court, and is hoping that visitor numbers will rise from the present 100,000 annual visitors to 300,000.
Derry: Derry celebrates Walled Towns Day
As one of the Walled Towns of Ireland Derry will this weekend be celebrating Irish Walled Towns Day. The events will be centred on the city’s walls and the refurbished Guildhall Square and will include a festival Seafood Market on Saturday while the Walled City Market will take place on Sunday. Local musicians will perform for the crowds and there will also be free tours of the Guildhall. On the Foyle the traditional Foyle punt will feature, while falconry displays, arts and crafts workshops and a climbing wall will also provide entertainment.
Donegal: Paul has an ambulance to give away
Paul Canning from Manorcunningham is in the unusual position of having an ambulance to give away to a worthy recipient. Paul and his wife Vanessa bought the ambulance, with the help of Letterkenny ambulance driver Fergus McCarron, to assist with the transportation of their teenage daughter Vanessa. She was born with brittle bone disease, and her parents used the ambulance to drive her to hospitals in Letterkenny, Dublin and Sheffield. Now, however, the family no longer needs such a large vehicle and they have decided to give it away.
Down: Promise of award leads to weight loss
It was the prospect of mounting the stage in front of all her peers to receive an award that prompted Mary-Claire Crozier from Newry to lose weight. Employed at Ann Summers, she was told by her bosses that she was in line for a manager’s prize at the annual awards, and her initial pleasure turned to depression when she realised she would be on show in front of hundreds of colleagues. At the time Mary-Claire wore a size twenty-two dress and between June of last year and February of this year when the awards took place, she reduced to a size fourteen. Having received her award she has now dropped another dress size and is starting her own slimming group.
Dublin: Pub launches amnesty scheme
A pub in Stoneybatter has launched an amnesty in an attempt to retrieve a number of items stolen from the premises over the past months. Mulligan’s gastropub prides itself on its quirky menus, cutlery and other items, but some, including Scrabble-piece table signs, are so original and attractive that diners have been pocketing them. Now Seaneen Sullivan has placed a box at the end of the bar where items can be returned, and he has made sure that it is out of sight of security cameras.
Fermanagh: Bull goes walkabout on Sligo Road
Local residents of the Sligo Road in Enniskillen were left somewhat bemused as they spent an hour watching the antics of a bull which had escaped from its owner’s trailer. Ray Bell noticed the animal leaving the trailer and heading straight for the house opposite his, where it trampled the garden before pausing briefly at the front door. It was eventually chased for a mile to the Derrylin Road, near the entrance to Tracey Concrete, before being recaptured and returned to the trailer.
Galway: Jenny will follow the trail of the monks
Jenny Beale, who founded Brigit’s Garden in Rosscahill outside Galway, is setting out this weekend on a six hundred mile cycle which will link her present home with her childhood home in West Sussex. In undertaking the sixteen-day journey Jenny will be raising funds both for Brigit’s Garden and for the Chichester Harbour Trust in West Sussex. A group of monks led by Dicul set out from Lough Corrib in the seventh century and founded the only known early Irish monastery on the south coast of England, at Old Bosham.
Kerry: Castlemaine jockey’s invention saves on scars
An invention by jockey Paul Murphy from Castlemaine aims to save many a young jockey from cuts and bruises while training a young horse. Paul has developed a crash-test dummy which will sit on the back of a horse and give the animal the sensation of a person. Made from coiled spring and foam covered with leatherette, Ardill the dummy has two legs which fit into the stirrups and is manufactured at a cost of €669. Paul is hoping that eventually all yards will have an ‘Ardill’ and he had his prototype on display at the Dublin Horse Show last week.
Kildare: Court ruling is good news for Athy teenager
A recent court ruling in the US, that Christian Louboutin could not have exclusive rights to its red-soled shoes, came as good news for Athy teenager Tara Haughton, whose company produces stickers for shoes which give them a designer look. The sixteen-year-old has already exported sixty five thousand pairs of the Rosso Solini sole stickers since she launched the company last November and she is in the process of launching a new product, the shoe tattoo. This comprises a stencil which can be varnished over, giving a totally unique look to a pair of shoes.
Kilkenny: Older vocalists sought for show
Older singers and performers in the Kilkenny city area are being encouraged by Father Willie Purcell to become involved in The Good Old Days show which is taking place in September as part of Positive Ageing Week. Father Purcell is musical director of the event at which the audience will be asked to dress in period costume and to join in the singing at the end of the show in Langton’s Set Theatre. In preparation, a series of musical workshops have begun, taking place in the Ormonde Hotel.
Laois: Laois ram makes record price
At a meeting of the Suffolk sheep breeding society in Scotland a lamb bred and reared on the farm of Dan Tynan from Ardlea just outside Colt brought a record price. The unnamed ram lamb was sold to Welshman Myfyr Evans for a total of €107,582 or £94,000, with the previous record price being 75,000 guineas. Mr Evans had visited Dan Tynan’s farm earlier this year after coming over on a day trip for an agricultural show in Kilkenny. The Ardlea farmer only started his own flock last year, making his achievement even greater.
Leitrim: Official opening of Kiltyclogher play area
The official opening of the enhanced play space in the Fairgreen area of Kiltyclogher village took place last Sunday and performing the opening, as part of the Michael Shanley Traditional Music Weekend, was fiddle player Ben Lennon, while a group of local musicians entertained the crowds with a traditional session. The play space was designed by environmental regeneration charity Groundwork NI and funding was sourced through the Reconciling Communities Through Regeneration Programme.
Limerick: New link for Limerick chain of office
The mayoral chain of Limerick has had a new link added which honours businessman JP McManus, who has raised more than €90m for mid-west charities through his invitational golf pro-am event. The chain, which carries seventy-seven gold links, is almost two hundred years old and most links commemorate former mayors. The latest medallion was crafted by JJ Kenneally and Sons jewellers of Limerick, and was sponsored by Pat O’Sullivan, chairman of Limerick Football Club. It was officially unveiled last week.
Longford: Busy airways this weekend
The airways above Abbeyshrule will be busy this weekend when the airfield will play host to the airshow and people will be able to take up the offer of trial flying lessons from the Aero Club 2000 and Ultraflight. Air displays will be mounted by the Irish Air Corps and aerobatics pilots Eddie Goggins, Dave Bruton and Gerry Humphreys. To mark the seventy-fifth anniversary of Aer Lingus, the aircraft the Iolar will be on display and people will be able to see what it was like flying as a passenger in the early years of commercial flights in this country.
Louth: Local gardens location for film
Listoke Gardens in Drogheda, owned by Patrick and Patricia Barrow, is expecting more than three hundred cast and crew members to arrive for the filming of the €50m budget “Asterix and Obelix: God Save Britannia”. The film, featuring French actor Gerard Depardieu, is the fourth in the series and the makers want the six-acre Edwardian garden to resemble the Queen of England’s garden in Roman times. To this end Patrick and Patricia have been asked to leave the lawns and hedges untended until filming is complete.
Mayo: ‘Quiet Man’ star to visit Cong
Maureen O’Hara, who played the part of Mary Kate Danaher in the 1950 film ‘The Quiet Man’, is coming to Cong at the end of the month for the inaugural Quiet Man Festival. Cong is the village which provided the location for the John Ford film and Ms O’Hara will be hosted by Ashford Castle while she is guest of honour at the festival. Also said to be attending is a daughter of her co-star John Wayne, and the Saturday of the weekend festival has been designated Thornton Family Day. John Wayne’s character was named Seán Thornton and all members of the Thornton clan are encouraged to visit Cong on the day.
Meath: Fr McCullen Park celebrates 40 years
The residents of Fr McCullen Park in Kells last Sunday celebrated the fortieth anniversary of the first families moving into the development on the outskirts of the town. Many of the original families still live there, including James Lee, whose baby Jamie Lee was christened before the celebrations began. A brass band played on the hill, the favourite gathering place for the estate’s children, and an ecumenical prayer service was held. Former residents also attended, including Peter Maguire who came home from Australia for the event and Jamie Lee’s aunt and cousin, Catherine and Saoirse, who travelled from Sweden.
Monaghan: New walking tour established
Last weekend saw the inauguration of the Carrickmacross Walking Tour, an initiative of the local Chamber of Commerce to highlight the town’s heritage. Included in the tour are the Workhouse, the Fever Hospital, Carrickmacross Lace, St Joseph’s Church and the Harry Clarke stained glass windows, St Finbarr’s Church and Essex Castle. Taking just over an hour to complete, the tours will be led by an experienced group of tour guides selected by the Chamber committee and they will continue until the end of October.
Offaly: New martial arts centre for Tullamore
A new martial arts and training centre is to be opened next month in the Tanyard in Tullamore, providing a purpose-built facility for all Martial Arts clubs as well as other organisations. A number of fundraising events have been held to finance the new centre, including a race night in the Wolftrap in Tullamore and, last weekend, a seminar in St Mary’s Youth Centre attended by students and instructors. At this event four different styles of martial arts were taught to participants from all over Ireland.
Roscommon: New community centre for Castlerea
Work is expected to begin in the coming weeks on a new community centre in Castlerea, following the news that funding of €186,000 has been approved. Chairman of Enterprise Castlerea Benny O’Connell paid tribute to John Murphy, who owns the building at the Enterprise Hub in the town. The centre, which will be run by Castlerea Community Centre Ltd, a sub-committee of Enterprise Castlerea, will include a sports hall and new flooring is to be installed, as well as a seated viewing area.
Sligo: Ballymote student is one of the high flyers
Every year a small number of the almost sixty thousand students sitting the Leaving Certificate gain the maximum points of six hundred, and this year one of the group is a student from Coláiste Mhuire in Ballymote. Patrick Doohan achieved seven A1s and one A2 and he was warmly congratulated by school principal Gerry Kielty. Patrick, one of one hundred and forty-one students with the maximum points, is planning to undertake an Arts course at University College Dublin.
Tipperary: Nenagh takes on festive mood
On Saturday the main street in Nenagh was closed as part of the inaugural Bop While You Shop street festival, organised by local councillor Hughie McGrath. The aim of the festival was to bring colour to the town at the same time as boosting the local economy. Louise Morrissey and Marty Daniels were among those who were performing on a stage set up on the street, while Michael Cleary, who recently travelled from Clonmel to Nenagh by go-kart, offered others to chance to take part in a go-kart obstacle course.
Tyrone: Mowing is halted in a Benburb field
Mowing has been interrupted since June in a field belonging to farmer Jody McGrath near Benburb following the discovery of a corncrake in the area. The rare bird was first heard by Jody’s father-in-law John Conlon, who said he hadn’t heard the call of the bird for forty years. The lone male corncrake has attracted attention from officials of the Royal Society for the Protection of birds as well as birdwatchers from Tyrone and adjacent counties who are parking their cars outside the farm each evening to listen for the distinctive call.
Waterford: Goats to star at Harvest Festival
Playing a prominent part in the Waterford Harvest Festival at the beginning of next month will be the herd of Bilberry Goats whose forebears were brought to the county by Huguenots at the end of the seventeenth century. Milk from the goats, which are now cared for by the Bilberry Goat Heritage Trust, is used to produce cheese which will be on offer for tasting during the festival. The milk is also used as the basis for soap for people with skin conditions such as eczema.
Westmeath: Parishioners say goodbye to Father Joe
The people of Multyfarnham held a gathering recently at An Tintáin to say goodbye to Father Joe Walsh who is taking up a ministry in Zimbabwe. Father Joe has been Guardian of Multyfarnham Franciscan Friary for the past six years and has overseen a number of significant changes. These include the sale of the agricultural college’s four-hundred acre farm, the move to the Friary grounds of the Lakelands Area Retreat & Cancer Centre, and the development of an artistic community and residency.
Wexford: Papal medal for Taghmon church stalwart
At a special Mass in St Fintan’s Church in Taghmon last weekend Jack Stafford was presented with a Benemerenti medal for his work over the years for the local church. The eighty-one-year-old is the third parishioner to be so honoured, with Mick Walsh and Mick Waters wearing their medals to the ceremony. Bishop Denis Brennan, who used to be parish priest in Taghmon and knows Jack well, presented him with the papal medal. More than a hundred people were present in the church, including Jack’s daughters Mary and May and his three grandchildren.
Wicklow: Snakes alive – and dead
Two snakes were discovered in the county in recent weeks, though only one of them was alive. Mark Browne from Rathdrum found a dead snake in a box on the coast road about a mile and a half outside Arklow and it was identified as a species of python by Ross Elliott of Rocky’s Pet Shop. Meanwhile the driver of a minibus who stopped for petrol at McCoy’s in Laragh found a snake underneath her vehicle as she was about to leave. This one was alive and it was placed in a container by two young Laragh people. Photographs sent to Dublin Zoo showed that it was a milk snake that had probably escaped from another vehicle stopping to refuel.
Week of August 25
Antrim: Local opinion sees removal of unsightly kiosk
Recently NI Water installed three technical kiosks, at Windslow Heights, Troopers Lane and at the Top Road at Thorndene Park in Carrickfergus. However the residents of the latter location raised objections to the unsightly installation of the green metal box, claiming it was both an eyesore and a traffic hazard. Geoff Jeavons met with an official from NI Water who agreed that the kiosk had been wrongly sited, and arranged for it to be moved to another location on the other side of the road. NI Water also reseeded the spot from which the kiosk was moved, leaving it in its original state.
Armagh: Funding through for transformation of jail
The Heritage Lottery Fund last week confirmed a grant of almost £180,000 which, it is hoped will lead to further funding being released from the Lottery and other sources for the proposed plan for Armagh jail. The developers are the Trevor Osbourne Property Group based in Bath but neither they nor 
Armagh District Council have put a date on when work may begin on the project. Including in the plans are a hotel and spa, retail and residential space and a reconciliation and heritage centre to tell the story of the historic jail.
Carlow: Harriet makes Irish medical history
Harriet Gould from Tomard near Ballinabrannagh made Irish medical history when she recently became the first person in this country to undergo endoscopic heart surgery. Having already had two open heart operations, Harriet had the minimally invasive valve repair procedure in the Blackrock Clinic where cardio-thoracic surgeon Michael Tolan carried out the operation. He had trained for three years in Belgium to acquire the expertise and was assisted by a Belgian surgeon. Harriet is the wife of Arthur Gould and they have three children, Susan, Arthur and Iris.
Cavan: Petition names gathered during Fleadh
The Fleadh in Cavan was not all about music, as members of an action group were out on the streets collecting signatures for an objection to a new Tesco store. The members of Keep Cavan Alive are protesting the proposed Tesco development in the Townparks and Tullacmongan Lower area. The group believes that the expansion of the store is not the problem, rather the fact that it is on the outskirts of the town with the adjoining car park on the far side. This, according to group spokesman, optician Paul Connolly, will ‘kill off a town that’s been here for about seven hundred years”.
Clare: Sixmilebridge mart to reopen this week
A group of farmers and other local people have raised €300,000 to enable the reopening of Sixmilebridge mart, which was closed by owners Golden Vale Marts at the end of 2009. A group of six hundred farmers have become shareholders in the mart, which is based on a four and a half acre site, and the first sale is due to take place on August 27. Manager of the new facility is Seán Ryan of Co. 
Galway, who previously managed Athenry Mart, and sales will be held on Saturdays to suit the number of part-time farmers in the area.
Cork: ‘Missing’ plane had been sold
A couple living in Australia were told that a Soviet biplane on their land in the Mealagh Valley, which they had been intending to turn into a holiday home, had been stolen. It transpired, however, that the same Antonov An-2 aircraft had taken part in two parades, winning first prize in the Bandon Festival fancy dress parade. The plane had been bought in good faith by scrap dealer Andrew Wilson, who sold it on to Robert Bennett, who runs an agri-machinery business. The owners, Les and Deirdre Carter, were delighted it had been found and plan to return to their west Cork home in the near future.
Derry: A different way to read Derry author’s work 
A new children’s book by Derry-based writer and illustrator Trisha Deery is breaking new ground in that it has been turned into an app for the iPhone and iPad. “Let Me See...What Will I Be?” has been published by Dog Ears in Derry in both printed page and digital form and it will be followed by two more of Trisha’s book, both also featuring the character Miss Rosie Red. In addition to being able to read the books from the iPhone or iPad, there is also an option of an auto-play function which will narrate the story.
Donegal: A quartet of centenarians
The county has a quartet of centenarians, with one hundredth birthdays being celebrated in Carrick, Gortahork, Ballybofey and Letterkenny. Bridget Greene from Ardsbeg attended a special Mass in the Church of Christ the King followed by celebrations at Ostan Loch Altan, while Lizzie McNelis was joined by friends and family at the Blue Haven Hotel outside Kilcar for her birthday. Kathleen Dowds, from Ballybofey, heard Mass in her home before adjourning to Jackson's Hotel, and Cissie Sweeney was joined by wellwishers for a special Mass at St Eunan's Nursing Home at Woodlands, outside Letterkenny.
Down: Going the extra mile for a win
It was on the urging of her husband Jarlath that Maire McKibbin from Kilkeel decided to buy another lucky dip ticket in last weekend’s Lotto draw. And it was this ticket, bought at Rafferty’s garage, that brought winnings of £1,134,307 for their family syndicate, comprising six members. The McKibbins heard the good news while holding a charity barbeque in their caravan park for the local lifeboat, and so far the only thing they have bought is a new windscreen for Jarlath’s golf cart. Jarlath and Maire, both past captains of Kilkeel Golf Club, intend to make donations to the Mourne Stimulus Centre and the Southern Area Hospice.
Dublin: Post office to become internet cafe
The former post office in Swords is to become an internet cafe, with the adjoining premises to be used as an arcade. Plaza Leisure Company has been given planning permission to develop the two units at the Plaza Shopping Centre on Forster Way, and seven jobs are to be created in the process. The internet cafe will have space for seventy-eight people while the arcade will accommodate twenty-two. The new facility will be open for twelve hours each day, with the arcade taking up just one fifth of the total floor area.
Fermanagh: Maguiresbridge man on US programme
John Conlon from Maguiresbridge, who is studying to be a primary school teacher at St Mary’s University College in Belfast, has been chosen to spend the next academic year studying business at Albright College in Pennsylvania. John, the son of Ann and the late William Conlon, is one of seventy-five students selected for the Study USA Programme and he will be the first Irish student on the Albright campus in seven years. The twenty-three-year-old intends to take his bodhran with him to introduce his fellow-students to traditional music.
Galway: Claregalway produces three top earners
Three of the top-earning poker players in the country all come from the same County Galway village. Jude Ainsworth, Derek Murray and Fintan Gavin all live in Claregalway and all have won more than €1m playing poker, with Jude Ainsworth being one of the highest earners in the country. He began playing while studying at university in Galway when he organised games with friends, including accountant Derek Murray. The third player, Fintan Gavin, recently won the Pokerstars UK and Ireland Poker Tour Championship in Edinburgh and puts his success down to temperament and mathematical ability.
Kerry: Milltown to hold digging contest
The first ever Irish Hole Digging Championships are due to take place in Milltown next weekend, with a prize fund at the moment standing at €100. A field opposite the local mart has been set aside for the unusual event and contestants will be asked to dig as big a hole as possible in the space of one minute. The contest is being organised by a local committee chaired by Maurice Harmon, and the current record for the deepest hole dug in sixty seconds was set at the annual event in Tokyo at 2.6m.
Kildare: A new view emerges in Kilcullen
The dismantling of the upper part of the wall around Cross and Passion College in Kilcullen has led one local resident to comment that the view has changed from a prison wall to a park. The lower part of the wall has been retained and a wrought iron railing will be placed on it, to the same height as the original stonework, which was put in place in the late nineteenth century. The stone that has been removed will be used in a new Sacred Space meditation and spiritual centre for the college, which is under construction.
Kilkenny: Coon Redevelopment has another venture
The members of the Coon Redevelopment Committee have already provided their village with new footpaths, stone walls, basketball and tennis courts and a playground, and their newest venture will preserve a piece of village history. They intend to provide a building beside the playground to house a butter churning machine and a culm grinder, the latter believed to have been for communal use due to its size, according to committee chairman Seamus Hahessy. All these facilities are provided by voluntary labour and to raise money for completing the work they are holding a Vintage Run on September 18.
Laois: Two rescue swans in Ballyadams
John Oxley from Timahoe and Noel Mortimer from Mountrath stripped off and jumped into Kellyville Lake last week after hearing that a cygnet was caught in the reeds. When the two reached the young bird they found not one but two cygnets entangled in fishing line. One had wire round its beak and, having been unable to feed, was very weak, while the other had wire wrapped around one leg. Noel had the task of keeping the mother of the cygnets at bay as she tried to attack them, while John freed the two birds. After checking them on shore for injuries they were released back on to the lake.
Leitrim: Politicians are behind MBNA workers
Both local TD Frank Feighan and Minister for Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Richard Bruton are working towards a positive outcome of the recent announcement by Bank of America that it was pulling out of the market in the UK and Ireland. Mr Feighan is calling for the Minister and the IDA to come before the Dáil Committee on Jobs, Social Protection and Education to explain the measures they are taking. In the meantime he has welcomed the news that Minister Bruton is meeting the management and staff of MBNA in Carrick-on-Shannon before his visit to America next month to meet Brian Moynihan, the CEO of Bank of America.
Limerick: Maritime Project includes angling tuition
A Maritime Project being run in St Mary’s Park in Limerick is introducing a number of boys and girls between the ages of ten and fourteen to the art of fly fishing. Seanie Quinlivan, a senior member of the Limerick & District Angler Association, supervises the tuition, first in tying flies at King’s Island community centre, then the act of casting, which is practised at Star Rovers soccer ground. The young people are then taken on the project’s boat onto the Shannon where they fish for pike and trout. 
Longford: Bishop visits cathedral work
Last week Bishop Colm O’Reilly visited St Mel’s Cathedral in Longford to oversee the beginning of the next phase of its restoration, involving cleaning, testing for geo thermal heating, the replacement of one column and the installation of steel supports for others. Work is soon to begin on the exterior of the building, supported by the Heritage Council, and repairs are to be carried out on the statues on the front facade. An Open Day will be held in a few weeks for the public to view the fire damage and the restoration work carried out so far.
Louth: Things are on the move at the Barbican
Members of the Killarney Paranormal Society spent a night at the Barbican centre in Drogheda recently and have reported a number of ghostly sightings. Among ‘ghosts’ the members say they saw were two in the Plunkett Studio, named Mary and Arthur, who were accompanied by a child. However it was the auditorium which apparently provided most of the action during the night including a pianist who objected a member of the society playing the piano, and a man sitting towards the back who, when asked to come up on stage, appeared to walk through the seats. Some weeks ago a member of staff at the Barbican reported seeing the apparition of a man in the boardroom.
Mayo: Section of Greenway causing concern
Among those who travelled the forty-three kilometres of the Westport Greenway at the beginning of August was Councillor Brendan Mulroy, who has now called for action to be taken to ensure safety on a two-mile section of the amenity. Both cyclists and walkers have to walk on the main road between Newport and Kilmeena, where there is neither footpath nor hard shoulder, and Mr Mulroy has called for the provision of an emergency cycle lane and an underpass. Funding for the work has been allocated since January and it had been hoped that it would have been completed before the summer.
Meath: Beauparc celebrates 40th anniversary
The dedication of the Church of the Assumption in Beauparc took place forty years ago and the anniversary was celebrated last week with a Mass of Thanksgiving. Concelebrating the Mass were parish priest Father Peter Farrelly, Father Declan Hurley from Navan, and Father Seamus Heaney. This was followed by refreshments and a photographic exhibition in Seneschalstown GFC Centre featuring special occasions in the church over the years. The exhibition is to be transferred to the church hall for a number of weeks to allow all parishioners to enjoy it.
Monaghan: Civic reception for ‘Peace’ cyclists
A group of young cyclists from both sides of the Border were given a joint civic reception hosted by Monaghan Town Council and Monaghan County Council last week. The cyclists were taking part in the Peace Cycle, part of the Peace Through Exercise project and the latest leg saw them arriving at the Monaghan Leisure Centre. The initiative is a joint venture involving Youth Work Ireland, the Dee Street Community Centre in East Belfast and Clones Erne East Partnership and its aim is to foster positive relations between the Catholic and Protestant communities.
Offaly: Tullamore cyclist sets unofficial record
Seamus Buckley from Drumraney, who works at Buckley Cycles in Tullamore, set an unofficial record last month when he and three other men set out to cycle from Land’s End to John O’ Groats. Seamus and his colleagues set out on the nearly one thousand mile trip to raise funds for Irish Guide Dogs and completed the journey in three days. However they had not registered it as a record attempt so it won’t be entered into the record books. Of the four who set off from the north of Scotland, only Seamus and John Behan from Kildare completed the marathon cycle.
Roscommon: Lady Captain’s nieces coming to golf club
Mary Colleary, the Lady Captain of Castlerea Golf Club, decide to use her family connections to bring special visitors to the club this weekend. For Mary is the aunt of twin golfing prodigies Leona and Lisa Maguire from Cavan, both of whom have been members of the teams for the European Solheim Cup, the Irish Ladies’ European team and the Irish World Amateur team. The sixteen-year-olds will give a skills session before playing an eighteen-hole exhibition game and, later in the day, they will present the prizes to the winners of the Men’s and Ladies’ Junior Captain’s prize.
Sligo: Ballygawley has a new ‘mayor’
There were five Ballygawley residents standing for the position of Mayor of the village and last Sunday night at an event in Castle Dargan Hotel Kieran Carroll was elected to the honorary position. The five contestants, Kieran along with Kevin Henry, Fintan McLoughlin, Ernie Martyn and John Gethins, arrived at the event in golf buggies. The evening celebration followed a family fun day and the proceeds will go towards the Ballygawley Community Park which is also receiving funding from the Leader Project.
Tipperary: Scholarship award for James
James Berkery-O’Brien from Lahoma, Nenagh will be heading to England next month when he takes up his place at Bird College in Kent. The college is one of the three top dance colleges in the London area and James has won a full Dance & Drama Award scholarship to the value of £35,000 a year, which will cover his fees. The eighteen-year-old began his ballet career at the Aisling Doherty School of Ballet in Nenagh four years ago and left school two years later to concentrate on a career in dance.
Tyrone: Gortin girl wows the judges
Sixteen-year-old Janet Devlin from Gortin was visibly nervous when she stepped onto the stage in Birmingham to perform in front of thousands of people and the four judges in the X Factor programme. However she was given a standing ovation and has easily made it through to the next round. Janet is the daughter of schoolteacher Aquinas Devlin, who was unable to accompany her, though her mother Patricia and brother Aaron were there to enjoy her success. Janet attends the Much Ado Drama School in Castlederg and recently gained a distinction in her grade five musical theatre exam.
Waterford: Waterford man completes wakeboarding crossing
Among a group of five members of An Garda Síochána who recently travelled by wakeboard from Rosslare to Fishguard was Tramore man David White. The five men broke the world record for the sixty-two mile journey by completing it in five and a half hours, while raising money for Special Olympics Munster; all five have at some time been stationed at Mallow in Co. Cork. Their target amount was between €20,000 and €30,000 and they left sponsorship cards into every Garda station in the country.
Westmeath: From weekly column to book for Gearoid
For twenty-one years Geroid O’Brien has been writing a weekly column in the Westmeath Independent on aspects of the town’s heritage and history. And now the History Press has published a collection of Gearoid’s work in ‘Athlone Miscellany’ which was launched by the newspaper’s editor, Tadhg Carey, at the Aidan Heavey Public Library during the week. This is his sixteenth publication, having produced booklets on John McCormack and on Archbishop Michael J. Curley from Athlone who became Archbishop of Baltimore-Washington.
Wexford: Sean sets off on dream trip
His parents, Eileen and John Dillon, might be a bit nervous about it, but Harpoonstown man Sean Dillon is fulfilling a dream by setting off to travel from the Arctic Circle to the Antarctic on his Honda 90 motorcycle. Sean, who was given a send-off in Mary Barry’s Bar in Kilmore, will first travel to Alaska and head for the Arctic Circle before turning south through Canada, North and South America and finally taking a ferry to Antarctica. He will be travelling alone, with no support team, and will have to carry with him for the year he expects to be away all that he will need in the way of clothes and equipment.
Wicklow: Avondale has new Rose
Karianne Fagan from Barndarrig was crowned as the 2011 Rose of Avondale in the Avondale GAA Complex last weekend, in a contest compered by Oisin Molloy during which she sang a version of Westlife’s ‘The Rose’. The Rose of Avondale Festival also featured road races, a cheese reception in Avondale House and family fun days. Karianne was sponsored for the night by Bellevue Creche and her escort was James Byrne. It was a double first for Barndarrig as the title of Best Escort went to Kevin Cullen, also from the village.

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