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Thursday, 25 August 2011

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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