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Thursday, 29 October 2009

Antrim: UK award for Carrickfergus medical student

Connor Sweeney from Harwood Park in Carrickfegus has been awarded the Prize in Rheumatology by the Arthritis Research Campaign, a leading   medical research charity based in the UK. The twenty-three-year old was in competition with medical students from all over Britain and he received the award for his “outstanding aptitude and knowledge of musculoskeletal conditions and arthritis”. Now in his sixth year of medical studies at St John's College, Oxford, Connor will be presented with a cash prize of £250 by the Campaign, in addition to a silver medal.

Armagh: Minister opens Blackwatertown facility

Minister for Social Development Margaret Ritchie was in Blackwatertown recently to perform the official opening of the new Bridge Business Park. The new facility, located overlooking the River Blackwater, was completed by the local Regeneation Association in conjunction with a number of bodies including Armagh City and District Council and the International Fund for Ireland. In addtion to the Minister, others to speak at the official opening included Sandy Smith, Joint Director General of the IFI, Armagh mayor Councillor Tom O'Hanlon, and Paul Carr of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment.   

Carlow: Nun swears by ice cream for a long life

Sister Finian Morrissey has obviously proved that the secret to a long life, apart from porridge for breakfast and a deep devotion to God, is a regular scoop of Haagen Daaz Baileys ice cream. Sister Finian, who is one of four children born to the Morrissey family in Graiguenaspideog, celebrated her one hundred and fourth birthday recently in the Riverdale Nursing Home in Tullow where she has lived for the past twelve years. She was presented with a medal from President Mary McAleese by her long time friend and spiritual director Father Edward Whelan.

Cavan: Matthew takes on unusual challenge

For the past week five people have been on public display in a Drogheda shop where they are taking part in the i105-107 challenge, Five In A Bed Initiation, and one of them is Matthew Hudson from Ballyjamesduff. The five are competing for a prize of €4,000 and in order to qualify Matthew had to tackle the Biggest Breakfast in Ireland in the Hard Boiled Egg cafe in Cavan town; he managed three-quarters of it. He also had to get as many cars as possible to honk their horns at the same time. His wife Julia cannot get into Drogheda every day to monitor his progress as she has to mind their small daughter, Kaitlyn, but she has been able to watch the antics of the five on the internet.

Clare: Clare parents do it for themselves

When Howard and Gráinne Flannery were told that their son Conor had cerebral palsy they were first of all angry that there was no immediate help for them and then became determined to do something about it. Joining up with Ann Norton and Frank Cassidy, also from Ennis, they decided to set up their own clinic to provide treatment for children immediately after diagnosis. Howard and Frank set up the Clare Crusaders to run marathons in order to finance the clinic they have set up outside the town. At least three children have achieved walking far earlier than expected and to date the runners and the clinic have raised €789,000.

Cork: Cobh on Queen Mary's itinerary

Last week Cobh was one of the ports of call for the Queen Mary II, which was celebrating its fifth birthday with a maiden Round the British Isles voyage. It is the largest liner ever to visit this country. While the vessel was in Cobh the managing director of the Cunard Line, Peter Shanks, and master of the liner Commodore Bernard Warner, together took part in a ceremony at the Lusitania Memorial. The Lusitania was also a vessel of the Cunard line. The company, which has had a relationship with Cobh stretching back to the nineteenth century, is also celebrating the 170th anniversary of its foundation this year.

Derry: Playwright appears to thank artists

Although he doesn't often attend public engagements, playwright Brian Friel was in Derry last week to receive a picture montage of their murals by the Bogside Artists, Tom and William Kelly and Kevin Hasson. Mr Friel expressed his gratitude to the three artists, whom he has continued to support over the years, and said he believed they were taken very much for granted. His was one of the contributions in the Bogside Artists' book, “The People's Gallery”. The presentation to the Donegal-based playwright was to honour his 80th birthday earlier in the year.


Donegal: Call goes out for Santa's elves

Pat Doherty, who has a number of tourism enterprises on his land at Doagh Island, has advertised for people over the age of sixteen and under fifty-four inches tall to come to take the part of Santa's elves at the annual Christmas village. Pat, whose Santa's island attracts thousands of visitors from Ireland and Scotland each year, has until now taken on children to act as Santa's elves, but this year he thought it would be a good idea to hire small people instead. So far all those who have responded to the advertisement live too far away, but he is optimistic that some adult elves will be on hand to entertain the children.

Down: Temporary road opening will ease Christmas traffic

The Department of Regional Development has arranged for the new flyover at Cloghogue roundabout to be opened in the first week in  December to help cope with the increase in traffic in the run-up to Christmas. The tailbacks on the Dublin road last year were in part caused by people coming from the South to Newry to do their shopping. The announcement of the road opening came at a special meeting of the A1 Beechill to Cloghogue scheme liaison committee. Once Christmas is over, however, the flyover junction will again be closed so that rock cutting work north of Cloghogue can continue.

Dublin: Swimming brings a glow in the bay

Swimmers at the Forty Foot and Killiney Bay have found themselves swimming in a green glow in recent days, but fears that it might be due to radioactivity have been dismissed by marine experts. Instead the effect is caused by plankton which becomes fluorescent when disturbed. One swimmer, Ronan Hayes from Glasthule, described the experience as being like spreading underwater stars each time he moved his arms. It is best observed by watching another swimmer, with the lights appearing in the surrounding ten feet of water when the swimmer moves.

Fermanagh: Donal's catch is a world record

Donal Maguire from Enniskillen took part in the recent three-day Pike Fishing Classic and took the world record by landing the biggest pike. Donal was fishing close to Maguire Castle when he landed the 20lb 11oz pike to take home a prize of £3,600, just beating into second place Glen Hall from Maguiresbridge. Among local winners at the event, which included both boat and bank fishing, was Dwayne Taylor from Ballinamallard who was placed first in the Bank event, and he was also a member of the winning team in the team event, along with John Brazil, George Hunter and Barry Cornyn. 

Galway: Thieves return Liam's bike

Last week someone stole a special bike from outside a Galway city nightclub, a bike which is the only means of independent transport for its owner, Liam Cullinane. Liam contrcted a rare form of meningitis sixteen years ago and has a custom-made bike which has become a familiar sight around the city. The theft was well publicised and obviously appealed to the better nature of those who had taken it, as it was handed in to the gardaí by a group of girls this week. The bike, which had been slightly damaged, was sent for repair to the bike shop on Dominick Street and was soon ready for Liam once again.

Kerry: New sculpture for Tralee

A sculpture of the late Christie Hennessy, commissioned by the town council, is to be erected in the refurbished town square in the next few weeks. The singer-songwriter started his working life as a messenger boy, centred on the square. The sculptor chosen to execute the work from an international competition is Nicholas Dimbleby, brother of broadcasters David and John. The life size bronze sculpture will be entitled The Messenger Boy and will pay tribute not only to Christie Hennessy the singer but also to the man who worked quietly for charity in Tralee.

Kildare: Official opening of Castledermot school

Bishop Eamon Walsh and school principal Brendan Dunne jointly cut the ribbon to mark the official opening of Scoil Diarmada, Castledermot last week. After the launch the school flag was raised by Daniel Flood, Ceri Flynn, Shane Brennan, Adam Hall, Emma Wall, Christopher Adekoya, Shauna Doyle and Aine Donoghue. The school crest and motto were also unveiled, the former by the youngest girl, Sophie McConomy, and the latter by the oldest boy in the school, David Ktosmski. The school principal made a presentation to Bishop Walsh of a bog oak sculpture of a swearing stone, the work of past pupil Emmett Kane.

Kilkenny: Red is in and grey is out at Woodstock

The numbers of red squirrels at the Woodstock arboretum and gardens in Inistioge are on the increase, with several pairs having been spotted there recently. At the same time the grey squirrel population seems to be on the decline, especially noticeable at Castle Park. For the first time in many years grey squirrels were not seen searching for food in Kilkenny city's rubbish bins or around the park. The decline in numbers is believed to be due in part to the presence of pine martens, as the ground-loving grey squrrels are easier to catch than the red squirrels, who spend more time in the trees.

Laois: Portarlington residents see the light

Being unwilling to put up any longer with darkness on their estate, the residents of Pine Villas in Portarlington have taken matters into their own hands and have replaced sixteen street lights. The replacing of the bulbs was organised by the Portarlington Combined Residents' Association, representing those from both sides of the county border, after neither the county council nor Riverdrive Developments had carried out the task when they were approached by the residents. The €800 cost of the replacements has been funded from money given by the residents for the upkeep of their estate.

Leitrim: Awards for Dromahair and Carrick

At this year's Londis Retailing Excellence Awards, held at The Heritage Golf and Spar Resort in Killenard, McGoldrick's Londis in Dromohair came away with two awards. The first was a Gold Retailing Excellence award and the second the Londis Retail Employee of the Year, awarded to Orlene McGoldrick. Meanwhile the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon has once again made the honours list, having become the first hotel in Ireland to be awarded the EU Eco-label “Flower” award for its commitment to the environment. The award was featured in the Georgina Campbell Awards.

Limerick: Four medals for Castletroy butcher

The Munster Finals of the Craft Butchers Speciality Fair, which took place last week in Nenagh, butcher Jim Flavin from Castletroy came away with four medals. Jim, whose premises is on the Dublin road, rears his own produce in Grange and it is the third consecutive year in which he has taken awards. Beating one hundred butchers from across the province, Jim was awarded three gold medals for pork and apple sausages, sun dried tomato flavoured sausages, and traditional sausages. In addition, he received a silver medal for sausages flavoured with chilli and honey.

Longford: Surprise visitor for Mae

Mae Reynolds, who is resident at St Joseph's Hospital in Longford after suffering a stroke, had a surprise visitor recently when her niece Llydia Selby arrived to see her. Llydia is the daughter of Mae's sister Rose who had married an Englishman in Zimbabe; her aunt Irene and uncle Tom also emigrated to Zimbabwe. Mae, originally from Bracklin, Edgeworthstown, was the only member of the O'Reilly family never to travel to Africa and she has not seen her sister for twenty-five years and so she was delighted to meet her niece for the very first time and to have a daily phone call from Rose during the visit.

Louth: Greenhills girls win US competition

Mayor of Drogheda Micheál O'Dowd is to host a civic reception for the ten Transition Year students from Greenhills College who won the Empire City Invitational Trophy in New York last week. The girls first had to win the Irish heat of the contest to qualify, and in New York they had to take on the role of attorney and argue a set case. Among the group were Jessie Taggart, Theresa McKenna and Emily Walker, and Emily brought home an individual prize as Best Attorney. With only a month to prepare for the competition, the students were guided by teachers Edel Ní Sé and Aileen Hanratty.

Mayo: Further crowds expected in Knock

In spite of Archbishop of Tuam Michael Neary saying that the pronouncements should be ignored, Dubliner Joe Coleman's prediction that Our Lady will appear in Knock on Saturday is expected to draw up to 10,000 people to the shrine. Mr Coleman has said the apparition will take palce at the old church at three o'clock on Saturday afternoon. Two weeks ago up to five thousand people gathered at the shrine after Mr Coleman had said Our Lady would appear. Some of those gathered claimed to have seen the sun change colour and dance in the sky.

Meath: Multi-marathons for Gerard

Bettystown man Gerard Fay took part in the Dublin City Marathon on Monday, but his training was rather more intense than many of his fellow-competitors. For Gerard ran the marathon course every day for a week before the main event, his twelfth annual Dublin City Marathon. This year he has completed the Longford marathon, the Great North Run and the Dublin Half Marathon, and this week he has flown to New York to take part in that city's marathon. All of his endeavours raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Association, as he has lost three cousins to the disease.

Monaghan: Summer event leads to hopes of local club

A meeting is to take place next week with a view to setting up a Triathlon Club in Castleblayney. The move follows the success of the Muckno Mania Triathlon, part of the summer festival, which drew a high level of local participation. The meeting in the Enterprise Centre is being organised by the committee of the Muckno Mania Festival. Among local people who took part in the event in July were local businessman Peter Cairns, and old school friends Declan McGuire, Gerry Campbell and Gerry Nolan, who entered the event as a relay team.

Offaly: Tullamore zombies to join worldwide dance

Zombies are invited to gather outside Lee's bar on Church Street in Tullamore on Saturday night to take part in a worldwide performance of the Michael Jackson Thriller dance routine. Last year a total of one hundred and forty-two dancers gathered in Ferbane and Tullamore hopes to beat this county record. Rehearsals have been held in Lee's Bar, where advice has also been given on the making of appropriate costumes, and all proceeds of the event will go to The Carers' Association. A fancy dress party will also be taking place in Lee's to celebrate Hallowe'een.

Roscommon: Singers Festival programme launched

Co-ordinator of the South Roscommon Singers Circle's Singers Festival Declan Coyne lent his farm near Dysart for the launch of the festival's programme this year. He held a barbeque and presented an afternoon of old-fashioned corn-cutting for the singers and musicians who gathered from Roscommon and neighbouring counties. The festival took place over the Bank Holiday weekend in Knockcroghery and one of the highlights was the presentation of the Annie McNulty Award. This year the award, an Irish wool tapestry made by Fran Crowe, was presented to English folksinger Bob Davenport.

Sligo: Sligo restaurant does 'deliveries'

It's official, Laura's fish and chip restaurant in Sligo now does deliveries, following the actions of boss Ger Reidy last week. The Carney man discovered that Oxana Murashkevych was about to give birth in a car outside his restaurant and, with the help of his wife Geraldine and remembering having watched a birth on television, he undertook to help the Ukranian woman. He was also guided by instructions received from the labour ward at Sligo General Hospital and an ambulance crew took over after ten minutes. Later that day Ger visited Oxana and her partner Stan, with their new daughter Mary, in the hospital.

Tipperary: Ignoring local advice brings problems for NRA

The National Roads Authority, at present constructing the M7 between Limerick and Nenagh, has discovered that it is not always wise to ignore local advice. For they have encountered a problem at Drominboy which may affect the projected opening of the remainder of the M7 before the end of the year. It may by necessary to divert traffic to a section of the old N7 between Birdhill and Annacotty, since the route of the new road runs over what local people have described as a 'bottomless' bog. A stretch of about one thousand metres is the cause of the trouble, while other bogland has had steel reinforced concrete piles driven to depths of one hundred feet.

Tyrone: A power station first for Strabane

Strabane is to have a first, with the world's first pure rape seed oil generating power station to be constructed on the Orchard Road Industrial Estate by Back Up Power Europe Ltd. Planning permission has been granted for the station, at which energy will be generated from locally-grown rape seed, and it is expected to provide energy to businesses on the estate including Northbrook call centre. Once construction begins staff at Back Up Power Europe will train local graduates to be proficient in heavy engineering. Any surplus in energy supply will be sold on to the national grid.

Waterford: Ballyduff plays host to trucks

The village of Ballyduff is playing host to more than its fair share of trucks these days, as the drivers are intent on following the directions of their sat navs and are ignoring conventional road signs. The trouble begins at the new roundabout outside Kilmeaden as the sat navs have not been updated with the new road layout. The consequence is that trucks end up on the narrow road outside the school and then have to turn. At least two parked cars have been damaged so far by reversing trucks. A number of councillors have called for better signage to be installed at the roundabout.

Westmeath: Work continues on Hevey Institute

Architectural restoration work is taking place at the Hevey Institute in Mullingar and the wish of Coláiste Mhuire's school principal Joe O'Meara is that one day it will become part of the school once again. Dating from the middle of the nineteenth century, the Institute also features a clock in the front of the belfry which, according to Mr O'Meara, has not been heard to strike in living memory. He is hoping that perhaps a past student can be found who is willing to sponsor the repair of the clock. Phase three is at present in progress, including work on the building's one hundred and three windows.

Wexford: Exciting post for the postman

One postman who is looking forward to being on the receiving end of a delivery is Vincent Kilroy from Rosslare. For Vincent entered a text competition during the Ireland v Italy game and he has won two tickets to the World Cup next year plus €2010 spending money. Vincent is planning to bring his wife Edel on the trip to Johannesburg in July, where they will stay for six nights in a four-star hotel with transport provided between the hotel, the airport and the quarter final match. The couple have four children, Natalie, Hazel, Nicole and Adam.

Wicklow: Restoration hope for Russborough

The demesne of Russborough House might now be in line for restoration following its inclusion in the 2010 World Monuments Watch. Features noted by the World Monuments Watch include the bridge to Lady's Island, the wooden planks of which have either fallen away or are dislodged while the support railing is in a precarious state. The Lime Kiln and the ice house also came in for inspection and Eric Blatchford, chief executive of the Alfred Beit Foundation believes that the estate's inclusion on the list will lead to funding becoming available for restoration work.






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