Friday, December 31, 2004

White Christmas:
As every child in the parish was hoping, a white Christmas greeted us in Shannonbridge last Saturday morning, right on queue. About an inch of snow fell which added greatly to the festive atmosphere. Temperatures on Christmas day averaged about 3 or 4 C.

Christmas Shannon Plunge:
The traditional Christmas morning plunge off the Bridge into the Shannon did not take place this year. Colin Killeen blames the CIA - Cold, Injuries and Age! New hardy recruits required for next year please.

S.E. Asia Disaster:
This week's news has been dominated by the awful tsunami disaster in South East Asia, where in excess of 125,000 lives have been lost to date. The worldwide travels of the younger generation from Shannonbridge have certainly given us a heightened awareness of such places abroad. Obviously it will take the affected peoples years to recover. Meanwhile we can help by keeping the victims in our minds and prayers and by donating to one of the many fundraising efforts now getting under way.

Table Quiz for Tsunami Fund:
The proceeds of the table quiz in Killeens, next Wednesday night 5th January, will go towards the Disaster Relief Fund. Starting time 9.45 pm.

Late Jim Farrell:
The death has taken place of Jim Farrell, Rohanstown, Ballinahown. Jim was well known in Shannonbridge, having been a popular member of the staff of the ESB Power Station, for many years. His funeral took place to Clonmacnoise today. May he rest in peace.

Bird Watch:The bird count goes on - the first Goldfinches of the winter arrived on our bird-table this week.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Clonmacnois Parish Newsletter
Sat/Sun 25th /26th Dec 2004 - Christmas/ Holy Family A
Tel (090) 9674125
Fax (090) 9674267

Masses: Mon @ 12 noon; Tues-Fri @ 10am
New Year's Day, next Sat, day of prayer for peace, @ 12 noon
Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €448. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: A.Gunning, M.Kelly
Eucharistic ministers: Group 2
Readers for next Weekend:
Altar Servers for this week: Katie, Mary-Anne, Tara

Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €160. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: B.Boland, A.Kenny
Readers for next Sunday: Alan Kelly
Altar Servers for next Sunday: Group 4
Eucharistic minister for next Sunday: D.McEvoy
New Year 's Day - day of prayer for peace; Mass @ 10.30am
Mass on next Sun for the late Catherine & Edward Corrigan

Table Quiz in Clonfanlough Hall
Tues next, 28th Dec @ 8pm in aid of Christmas Party, which is planned for Sun 9th Jan. Please support.
Gifts Without Cost
Some gifts you can give this Christmas are beyond monetary value:
* Mend a quarrel, dismiss suspicion, tell someone, "I love you."
* Give something away-anonymously.
* Forgive someone who has treated you wrong.
* Turn away wrath with a soft answer.
* Visit someone in a nursing home.
* Apologize if you were wrong.
* Be especially kind to someone with whom you work.
* Give as God gave to you in Christ, without obligation, or announcement, or reservation, or hypocrisy. (C. Swindoll, Growing Strong, pp. 400-1)
Ten Commandments of Home Rule
1. If you sleep on it - make it up.
2. If you wear it - hang it up.
3. If you drop it - pick it up.
4. If you eat out of it - put it in the sink.
5. If you step on it - wipe it off.
6. If you open it - close it.
7. If you empty it - fill it up.
8. If it rings - answer it.
9. If it howls - feed it.
10. If it cries - love it. (The Fight, J. White, IVP, pp. 121ff)
Beannachtaí na Nollag agus Síocháin san Ath Bhliain do gach duine

A special word of thanks to all who contribute to the various collections during the year, and to all who help out in any way in the Church and community. It is much appreciated.

Congratulations & best wishes to Fidelma McManus and Oisín Seale, who were married recently in Shannonbridge Church.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

For the winter solstice on the 21st. of December the weather man obliged with a gloriously sunny morning. Those lucky enough to be at Newgrange were greeted by a spectacular sunrise and the light penetration of the tomb was at its most brilliant. Great pictures in the papers. We are now past the shortest day.
Speaking of the weather man, a really cold snap is coming over Ireland in the next two days, 3 degrees Celsius on Christmas Day - so the prospect of a white christmas looms for the first time in years. We'll keep you posted.

A Poem For Christmas (composed by a local woman - name not known?)

As Christmas falls upon us,
We gather and we pray,
To thank the Lord God above,
For giving us this special day.

Waiting for presents under the tree,
Children are happy and full of glee,
The excitement keeps them up all night,
As the east star shines its light.

Christmas comes just once a year,
Its a time for us to rejoice and cheer,
Our hearts are really full with joy,
As we celebrate the birth of Mary's Boy.

He guides us on the path of life,
Each and every day,
Loving all his people,
Each in the very same way.

Peace on earth to all mankind,
Open your hearts and you shall find,
That Jesus is with us in every way,
Since He was born on that special day.

Kate Thornhill has arrived home for a well earned break after her great work in Africa during the year.

The Shannonbridge library is closd now for Christmas, reopening on 12th January.

Sad news of the death of Damien Kenny, son of Ger and Mary, Lecarrow, Shannonbridge, which occurred in New York last weekend. He was laid to rest in Clonmacnoise yesterday.

Also the death has occurred of Delia Naughton, Ballymacward, mother of Teresa Flannery, Creevagh, Shannonbridge. Funeral is tomorrow Friday 24th.

May hey rest in peace.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Lorraine Mc Kenna from Pottstown sends Christmas greetings to all her friends in Shannonbridge and speaks for many as she welcomes Kate home on Sunday 19th and thanks her for bringing life in Uganda onto our screens. Hopefully Kate will continue to write here.
Lorraine wonders why more business people in Shannonbridge have not come alive on this website and let others know what is to offer in the area. Can you help sell the idea. ?
Yesterday saw the final Christmas Dinner in Shannonbridge Power Plant Canteen. Tom from The Bog Oak organised the food and prepared a top class meal for a great mix of workers and retired staff that attended.
Today is bright and sunny with a wind that is forecast to keep temperatures to 10 C or 50 F.
Jack Quinn wrote some lines on

Frosty Morning

Bare Trees
Fingered by a ghostly hand
Weird cobwebs
Lace the hedges
Crystal sounds
In startling nearness
Cheeks are roughed
By air like wine
And breath takes shape
Like an emerging spirit.

Shannonbridge Library closed last night for a Christmas break
and will reopen on Thursday 13th January at 7 to 9 pm.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Big news in Shannonbridge yesterday was the start of a new layer of tarmac stretching from Darcy's Corner to a line opposite Price's Lane for a start. Looks like a couple of inches of new surface is being added.
Death has occured in Ferbane of Mrs Devery, of Saint Cannock's Terrace and late of the Mill Yard. Mrs Devery was in her ninetees and was mother to Eamon, Padraig, Kieran and Maura. May she rest in peace.
Christmas lights and decorations seem to get bigger and brighter every year and somebody remarked yesterday that two of the brightest lit houses in his area were owned by people that never darken the door of a church.
See where Kerrill has added three local golf clubs as links under the golf section. Hopefully more will be added which may be a help for people holidaying in Shannonbridge and intending to play golf.
Todays weather forecast is for rain in the south east soon clearing and most areas like Shannonbridge will have a dry bright day with temperatures of 10 C or 50 F.
Under Weather Eye in the Irish Times recently Brendan Mc Williams mentioned that the date for D-Day was changed on account of a weather forecast provided by a family from Belmullet in Mayo. They forecast unsuitable weather for the 5th of May and so the invasion was put back to May 6th which worked out suitable as predicted by the Belmullet family.
First photographs of the new baby Aimee Robertson arrived in Shannonbridge yesterday and she is a very alert looking lassie. Colin has promised to scan one on to the Killen Bar section found under entertainment.
It looks like there will be a big gathering for the annual Christmas Dinner hosted by the ESB for the last time tomorrow in Shannonbridge Power Plant as this plant is scheduled for demolition in 2005

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I made it to South Africa in one piece after an 18 hour journey from Windhoek in Namibia where I did some sandboarding in the desert. It was a bit like going down the water tower hill on turf bags in the snow - only it was sand and I was lying on a piece of chip board and it was a whole lot faster (80kph!).
Cape Town is a beautiful city with lots to do, I took a walk up table mountain which is over 1000m high and the views from the top are lovely. I also went down to the waterfront which has a real holiday athmosphere. There are alot of jazz musicians here so Mick and the rest of the jazz crew would love it. I hired a car with some aussies and went to cape point and the cape of good hope for a day. We stopped off in a place called Fish Hoek on the way back for a swim in the ocean. Only later did we find out that a 77 year old woman had been eaten by a shark there last month!
I travelled down the coast to Jeffreys bay, a famous surfing spot. Unfortunately there were no waves but the weather was beautiful and the people were great craic. At the moment I'm in a place called Outshoorn which is famous for its ostrich farms and Cango caves. It's so hot here you could fry an egg on the sand. It was 43 degrees here yesterday. Three ostriches died from the heat and I wasn't too far behind them myself. Today isnt too bad at 36 degrees. I got a tour of an ostrich farm and had a spin on an ostrich which is pretty funny. I have a lift back to Cape Town tomorrow with 2 Germans and then I prepare myself for the journey home. So see you all on Sunday night for a few pints.
See that Roscommon County Council have erected a number of signs on the Ballinasloe approach road to the village and I hear that they are going to erect lighting from Gunning's Hill to the village. Over the years they have laid down a footpath on this stretch and the lighting will be very welcome.
Remember that the Library closes for Christmas on this Thursday 16th December until January 12th, so if you need a top up in your reading material come along on Thursday from 7 to 9 pm.
The Pure Mule film series used every bit of daylight yesterday to get shots of the power plant, a wedding in the church, a cemetery scene with a cemetery erected on Darcy's field beside the old water towrer and some scenes in the Park using Oliver Hilliards house and Martin Duffy's front garden with the power plant in the background. Cousin Vincent Flanagan was around all day as they were using his car for the wedding scene. Many extras from Banagher and Shannonharbour were about. The initial series will be for six episodes and a continuation based on reaction.
P.J.Sheeran from Clonulty Ballydangan has died andwill be buried in Moore cemetery today. Survived by his wife Kathleen and family. May he rest in peace.
Heard a nice story about the late Paud Dunican who was buried yesterday. Seems he undertook a fund raising campaign for Cancer Research and was due to present 50,000 Euro to the fund this week.
News today tells that the Northern Ireland Bank and Northern Bank have been taken over by a group from the north. A Scandanavian bank group in fact.
The south west gales did develop on all coasts. Today will be generally wet and windy with persistent and sometimes heavy rain over Ulster and Connacht that will spread. Some dry intervals with temperatures 10 to 12 C or 50 to 54 F.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Some recent deaths. Last week Tom Fahey, Clonburren passed away and was buried in Clonburren graveyard.
A sister of Tim Devery the accoreon player from Glebe died in Ferbane at the weekend and will be buried in Clonmacnois today after Mass in Clonfinlough.
Paud Dunican late of Pollagh and Ferbane and an ex worker in Ferbane power plant has died in Ferbane and will be buried today after Mass in Ferbane.
Mick Russell, Athlone a brother of Phil Murphy, has died at the weekend. Arrangements later.
A Miss Kelso in Ballinasloe died at the weekend.
Tom Flanagan, relic of Madge and brother of Father Benny has died in Portiuncula.
May the Lord have mercy on their souls.
Good news is that Kate Thornhill is expected home on Sunday 19th December. Kate has been in Uganda since last May apart from a few weeks sightseeing on the way home.
Weather today has a few brigh spells, but overall it will be largely cloudy, with pockets of mist at first. Mostly dry apart from some light rain and drizzle in the far West and North West this afternoon. Highest temperatures 8 to 11 C or 46 to 52 F. with southerly winds gradually freshening.
South West Gales will develop tonight and extend to all coasts and the Irish Sea overnight.
Sports and Padraig Harrington finished second to Tiger Woods in golf. In rugby there were good wins for Leinster and Munster at the weekend.
Lorraine Mc Kenna plans to come back to Shannonbridge soon.
Jack Quinn's -

The Tax Collector

Reckoning day
And Nemesis
With piercing eye
And fixed smile
In mocked fellowship
There's no escape
And net is fast
The fish is caught
The one way out
Is through the pocket.
It was announced last week that the John Player cigarette factory in Dublin will be closing down
In February 2005 with a loss of 90 employees. Manufacturing for the Irish market will be carried out in the parent factory in Nottingham.
Friday was the wedding day of Fidelma Mc Manus, daughter of Eamon and Marie from Laurel Lodge ,
And Oisin Seale from Ballinasloe. The wedding took place in Shannonbridge Church and the reception
Was held in Kinnity Castle. Congratulations to Oisin and Fidelma and hope they enjoy their honeymoon in South Africa and other places.
Last night the Active Retirement Group had their Christmas Dinner and Social in the Bog Oak with a
Large turn out that enjoyed a fine meal and some lively music afterwards.
Yesterday afternoon there was a packed Church in Clonmacnois for the annual ecumenical Carol Singing which was up to its usual high standards and was very enjoyable..
Noticed lights on in the Old Church this morning and was surprized to find a bus reversed into the door
Later and a crowd of cars and vans gathered near the Church with a film set up being prepared. There were some brightly lit boards erected outside the Church and a bunch of ribbons fluttering from over the entrance. Rose Ryan tells us that they are filming a series called "Pure Mule" which is based in an industrial town - Banagher - but using the Shannonbridge Power Plant for the industrial bit. The power plant looked fine this morning with a fine plume of smoke in the morning sun. Seems it is a summer scene they were filming as they asked Thornhills to turn off their Christmas lights. They plan to film a wedding scene at the Church and are moving to Saint Ciaran's Park where they plan to use Oliver Hilliard's house and Martin Duffy's front garden for some scenes that will use the power plant background.
Notice that the river levels have dropped well back making most banksides accessable.
The bird census continues and Starlings and Crows dominated the view this morning when the curtain was drawn. They flew away and some of the Tits and Willy Wags and other birds appeared to feed on the bird feeders. Still on the lookout for the Goldfinch which has not yet made an appearance..

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Local History.
Dont forget to tune in to Midlands 103 on Friday night next from 10.00 to 12.00pm. Local history from around the county will be featured.

Monday, December 06, 2004

On Friday night in the village hall a very enjoyable Christmas Party was held for the Senior folk with a hot meal and a present for everyone and some good music for the night. Well done to everybody for all the work and organization and fundraising.
Few new babies arrived last week. Clare Kennedy had a baby girl Alex in Ballinasloe on Wednesday and returned home on Saturday. Claire is a daughter of Joe and the late Sally Kennedy.
Mike Aine and Neal Robertson collected Aimee in Saint Peterbourg and arrived home to Limerick at the weekend where she has settled in already. Congratulations to both mothers.
There were a couple of local deaths at the weekend including Eileen Cahill, a sister of Brian Cahill's Belmont and Elizabeth Wynne mother of Donal Wynne who is employed with BNM. May the Lord have Mercy on their Souls.
Missed yesterday's Parish Bulletin but I know that there is prayer / meditation in Ard Chiarain on Thursday night at 8 pm. There is an ecumenical carol singing arranged for Clonmacnois on next Sunday.
Padraig Harrington added another second medal to his collection in Hong Kong yesterday.
Weather today - breezy at first with outbreaks of rain extending eastwards across the country. Clearance following from the west, with winds moderating. Highest temperatures 10 to 13 C or 50 to 55 F. but turning cooler later. Tonight will be dry and cold in most areas with frost and fog and a risk of icy patches. Cloud and rain may linger with temperatures +2 to -2 C.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Good to hear that Kate is on her way home. Had a Christmas card from Ciara in Sydney and hope she writes here soon. Anybody else feel like making a fool of themselves contact
Big news for Shannon Airport is Ryanair plans a major expansion there and will put 200 Million into a facility that will have 14 new routes to Britain and Europe flying 1.3 Million passengers in 2005 and two million within five years. See that they are already offering low low giveaways. Will have to get a ball and chain for Colin.
Midland Health Board has allotted 3,500 Euro to Shannonbridge Active Retirement group and 700 Euro to the local Community Services Group.
Noticed a new Catholic newspaper around called The Voice selling at 70 C and looks like a cross breed from The Irish Catholic and The Athlone weekly freebee.
Ritchie Brown got great support last night for the table quiz he organized in aid of Bothar. Some 25 tables took part and Ritchie had about 17 prizes for the raffle ending up with a lunch voucher for four in Brownes in Moate. Moate gave great support and a busload travelled over. Bothar have a website and they send animals to Africa such as a cow at 1800 Euro, a sow at 250, a goat at 300, three hives of bees at 125 and a share in a flock of chickens at 50 Euro. They told us afterwards that they were continuing to send out animals and many farmers were raising a heifer for there cause. Last night over 600 Euro was collected.
The weather - cold and frosty this morning with icy stretches on the road. Fog will slowly lift but may linger in a few places until later. Generally dry with some bright spells. However outbreaks of rain and drizzle will develop in the north. Temperature 4 to 8 C. Some frost tonight. No wonder we talk so much about the weather. Tonight is Library night 7 to 9 pm.
Still no sign of Nancy Magee from San Diego hitting Shannonbridge. Bridie Carry was saying that the Christmas lights in Ballinahowen were beautiful.
The Budget yesterday is described in the papers as calculated and crafty with Election 2007 in mind. Usual hits like petrol, drink and cigarettes were not effected.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Since my last post I've been to see Victoria Falls, it was roasting there, about 37 degrees! The journey to the falls from zanzibar took ages and involved an overnight trip on a ferry, 2 days on a train and a day on the bus. It was all worth it though as the falls are amazing. They are 1700m wide and 108mtrs high. I got a great view of them by taking a microlite flight which lastet 15 minutes. There's not a lot of water going over at the moment but it still looks spectacular. I was lucky enough to meet some local people who took me swimming at the top of the falls. I was swimming in one place called the devils pools where there is just one big rock stopping you from falling 108 metress over the edge. These locals also took me to their village where I sampled their local beer which comes in a 1 litre carton. Its made from millet flour and sorghum, its white in colour and is like drinking watery porridge, disgusting! I stayed a bit too long in the pub here and ended up having to spend the night in a mud hut in the village.
While in Livingstone I stayed in a dorm with an english man who is blind and only has 20% of his hearing but this hasn't stopped him from travelling the world for the last 11 months. I also eventually bumped into a group of Irish people, the first i've met on the trip.
I'm in the Namibian desert at the moment after a 30 hour journey, I had to spend 3 hours sitting on a bench in the back of a truck like Liam Keenas. The rest was in a normal bus which had to go at 80kmph as elephants sometimes come onto the road!
Namibia is way more westernised than anywhere else i've been, its not like being in Africa at all.
Tomorrow I am going out to the sand dunes to do some sandboarding, next stop South Africa, then Ireland!
The table quiz tonight in Killeens at 9.30 is for Bothar , a group that raise money to buy animals such as cows, goats, pigs and fowl that are sent to poor people in Africa.
Today is Budget day in Ireland and it seems that Brian Cowen the Finance Minister has a good few shekels to spread around.
Noticed that this website has had 2272 visitors during the month of November which works out at about 76 each day. If you have a business in the area help the site become moreinteresting by making your site come alive.
The Birdwatch birdcount in gardens has started this week and will continue for thirteen weeks. Martin Burke, Gerry Casey, Mary Killeen and Tony Ellis have taken to the task of recording the numbers of the various birds in their garden. Interested in a record sheet then contact D.Killeen.
Weather forecast today is for fog widespread at first and cloudy and damp misty conditions with temperatures from 6 to 8 C or 43 to 46 F.
Val Joyce played some of the late Frank Ifield's songs last night in tribute including the hit ---"I'll Remember You". Cliff Richards has an unusual song out at the moment. He will find it hard to reach Number One for Christmas.
Finally a poem from Jack Quinn -
The Robin

In Winter's face
A beady eye
On naked bush
In pierced armour
of puffed feathers
With sturdy patience
Awaits uncertain Spring

Surprised to get a letter and photographs from Elisabeth Bock from Vienna. The Bocks were on holiday on the Shannon a couple of months back and took some photographs of Mick and self trying to get the cruiser Zephyr untied and go for a trip to Banagher. Later that night Elizabeth took a great headshot of Louis Darcy and Martin Burke at the grocery counter. She wants us all to visit Vienna. Mentioned the letter to two Austrians working at the power plant and they said that they lived 200 Kilometres from her.
Good to hear that Aine Mike Neal and Colin arrived safely in Russia and have settled into an apartment while they await collection of baby Aimee which will probably take a week.
Arthur Hailey is dead but many of his books are available in the Library on Thursday from 7 to 9pm. This week another box of books were presented by Harry and Anne and included two by Arthur Hailey which the library did not have before.
Have a look at two advertisers on this site. The Fort Restaurant has added some photographs and more menus and information to their site and Ely House guesthouse is a welcome live addition to add to Rachra House and Ashbrook Farm in the B&B accomodation. Anybody else that wants to become alive on this site should contact Kerrill Thornhill.
Maureen Kaylor Killeen has forwarded two old photographs and wonders if there is any family resemblance. Think one of them is like my Uncle Eddie.
Bridie Carry tells us thatcigarette ash will remove hair dye from skin.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Recently a visitor to Clonmacnois was looking for the words of The Dead at Clonmacnois by T.W. Rolleston and I was glad that the team that wrote the Clonmacnois Parish Book for the millenium used it on the inside cover at the back. Of course you remember how it goes ............. In a quiet watered land, a land of roses,
Stands Saint Ciarans city fair,
Good to hear from Father Pete Kenny from Los Angeles on Saturday night. The man is in great form and is even going to come on holiday to Ireland next year.
Saturday night after Mass Fidelma Mc Manus ran through her wedding rehersal. The real Wedding is soon.
Sad news at the weekend was the death of Brid Brady nee Kelly of Rathcabbin and Sky Valley.
Brid was a sister of Shannonbridge man Sean Kelly and she is survived by her husband, son and daughter and her father and about nine brothers and sisters and. Brid was buried this morning.
May she rest in peace.
Irish rugby team had a great win over Argentina on Saturday with Ronan O Gara scoring a dropped goal in the last seconds to win by two points. Score 21 - 19.
Belmont, winners of the Offaly Intermediate hurling this year played Glenmoy, County Kilkenny in the second round of the club championships in Moystown on Saturday but the Kilkenny lads had a five point advantage at the end. Belmont team included three from this parish - Harry Kerins Clonfinlough, and John and Paul Egan from Woodbank. Any other hurlers in the parish want to join them next year ?.
Michael Green is home on holiday from Boston for a few days and is looking for a copy of Flight of The Doves. Says he cannot get a copy in America. And you thought they had everything.
Steve Nell was fishing at the mouth of the Brosna on last Friday and caught a fine 15 Lbs pike using a dead roach as bait. River level has dropped about two inches since Sunday but still lots of flood about. Weather today is forecast for mostly fine with somesunny spells with a southerly breeze giving temperatures of 50 F at best. Guess what but rain promised tonight.
Looking forward to a lecture on early Christian Monastic Site in Rahan which is scheduled for 8 pm tonight in Rahan Hall.
Parish newsletter tells of the Christmas Party planned for Clonfinlough on Sun 9th January.
Also the Annual Carol Service in Clonmacnois on Sunday 12th Dec at 4pm.
Shannonbridge GAA held their AGM yesterday and no doubt you will read about what happened in the GAA icon attached to this web.
Table Quiz this Wednesday in Killeens will be for the Bothar group from Moate who collect money and send cows and goats and hens and so on out to Africa.
Finally a Jack Quinn shortie -

The Robin

In winter's face
A beady eye
On naked bush
In pierced armour
Of puffed feathers
With sturdy patience
Awaits uncertain Spring.

Next time you dine in The Fort Restaurant in Shannonbridge sit back and try to imagine the Sunday night about seventy years ago when a crowd had gathered for the Sunday night dance in Morans Hall as the Fort was called then, and the band consisting of Peter Guinan, Joe Mahon and ? Dooley decided they were not playing that night and went off drinking. Frank Moran solved the problem by asking one of the crowd Pat Gleeson from The Gables if he would provide the music. Pat got his fiddle and proceeded to play for five hours while the crowd danced the night away. Dancing at that time started at 10 pm and ended at 3 am. The admittance charge was 4P and Pat Gleeson earned five shillings or 60 P for his fiddling. Nowadays the Fort has been converted into a popular top class restaurant with Fergal and Linda Moran in charge. See their link on this website.
Great winning picture in this months Inland Waterways News titled "Double Parking" which shows a small cruiser moored alongside a quay wall. On second look you will see a wide old sunken boat lying underneath. The photo by Seamus Costelloe won the champagne dinner for two in the Wineport Lodge in Glasson.
Brendan Mc Williams who writes The Weather Eye on the Irish Independent gives a rhyme to help remember the order of the planets starting nearest the sun. Mary's Violet Eyes Make John Sit Up Nights. The first letters represent Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
The Green Linnet cab service Tel 086 - 1514346 which has been operating in the parish has company with the arrival of Dickies Cabs Tel 087 - 9195216. Wish them well.

Friday, November 26, 2004

The Offaly Independent in their historical round up are publishing pieces from old Dublin newspapers over 200 years ago collected by the late Malachy Moran. A piece from Faulkner's Journal 1804 tells that at noon on the 16th March 1804 the Grand Canal Passage Boat from Dublin arrived at Shannon Harbour. The boat was crowded with ladies and gentlemen of distinction from different parts of the country, andso delighted were the farmers and inhabitants of the district that the people took off the horses and drew the boat to the Shannon where it was moored for a time. Trips were afterwards made on the river and afterwards sailed into the canal and returned to Tullamore.The time occupied in the journey from Shannon Harbour to Tullamore was five hours.
Another piece has the heading 'Bernard Daly marries. From Failkner's Dublin Journal 10th Sept 1805 says Marriage: Bernard Daly, Cloghan, King's County to Miss Molloy, daughter of S.Molloy, Tullamore. ( Daly was eventually to be associated with the Tullamore Distillery ).
The forecast for rain came true last evening with medium showers for a few hours. Today is dry and sunny with temperatures in the mid fifties.
Good turnout of people at the library last evening despite the rain.
See on the local paper that 20Million Euros is the estimated cost for a Tullamore to Mullingar rail link.
Jack Quinn poem on Connemara from Through A Small Window goes -

Wet washed
With fleeting colour
A million walls
Of meaningless stones
The blind face
Of a whitewashed cottage
Turned to the sea
The caoning winds
And yellow gorse
Before the brooding mountain.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Shannonbridge Birdwatch
The annual Birdwatch Ireland survey of the Garden Bird population of Ireland runs from next Monday 29th Nov. 2004 to 21st February 2005 - 13 weeks. They are looking for volunteers to keep a weekly record over that period, to record the numbers in a supplied form and send the completed form to Garden Birdwatch, Birdwatch Ireland by 1st April 2005.
Apart from the fun and educational aspects (ideal for schools as well) this important survey will help to inform and determine Birdwatch Irelands conservation policy.
Forms can be downloaded from where full details are available.
Locally there will be some forms and all instructions (its simple) available in Killeens from Derry.
This morning there was the annual Mass in Shannonbridge for deceased members of the local power plant staff and a good turn out of retired staff and family relations attended. Afterwards there was a welcome cup of tea in the canteen in the plant for a chat and a time to remember.
Tony Farrell attended and was telling us that an ex plant worker - Oliver Keenaghan is recoverering well after a heart bypass operation down in a Cork hospital. Wishing him well.
Had an interesting chat with Mrs Kevin Coleman about a famous band of musicians in the village about sixty years ago. Michael Joe Reid and his sister Mary Margaret and a Tommy Sanders and her late husband Kevin were some of the members. It would be good to hear more about them. She has memories of them playing at a wedding in Brackagh many years ago.
Good turnout for the table quiz last night in aid of funding for the Seniors Christmas Party and over 400 Euro was raised with good scoring all round and two teams tying for first with 68 out of 80 correct.
Good news that the old power plant are donating their web address to this website and thank them very much for same.
Promise of more rain on the weather forecast and it is overcast but mild at present. Notice the flood has risen a fair bit on Darcy's Callow north of the village. Declan and Rose Ryan were telling us last night that the saw the new space station ? passing over on Monday night. They walked up the power station road and it passed over around 18.00 hours as predicted. On their way home they noticed a flock of curlews ? passing in the light from the street light.
Hear that Colin is going to Russia on Monday to help bring home the new baby.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Reports of a very good night last night in Maynooth where about ten people from Shannonbridge and area attented the Cluskey / Hopkins Jazz concert travelling on the new minibus service operating in the village.
The Angling Times paper are running a series of featured articles on fishing locations around Ireland and Banagher is being featured next. Shannonbridge will be featured next March. Anybody wishing to place an advert should telephone 044 (0) 1733465815 immediately to be included in the Banagher issue.
Phonecall last evening from Carmel Bhai Brisbane at 9.30 pm who was calling before going to Mass. She is in great form.
Aine Robertson the niece,part of the group going to New York today and she was delighted with the news yesterday that when she gets home from the states on Monday she will fly to Saint Peterborough in Russia with Michael and Neal to collect Aimee the newest family member.
Hear that Kate is in Zanxibar at present enjoying a break. She is due home around December 19th.
Val Joyce on Late Date last night played Anything Goes which featured the composer George Gerswin on piano and vocals which sounded great.
Weather continues to be overcast and mild but they say that rain is coming.
Got a few old pictures from cousins George and Mary showing a photo of Eddie Murray, a cousin taken at the bridge in the mid forties which was very welcome.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

California calls. First message from Madeleine Toland from San Diego to tell us that her friend Nancy Magee is planning to visit Ireland this week, staying in Dublin for about four days and hitting Shannonbridge for one day or so. Then Ken Smith from Santa Barbara tells us that he has an answer to Gussie Claffey's thermometers. Ken reckons that Gus will have to take his Celsius and Fahrenheit to the Arctic and find a cool spot that will measure - 40 on both instruments. Ken enjoys Kates log of Africa and thinks she should publish the lot in a book later.
Shannonbridge will be well represented in a group of about eight ladies who are heading off to New York tomorrow on a five day shopping and sightseeing trip. They got an unbelievable bargain and hope they enjoy Thanksgiving weekend in America.
Mick Brian and Pat went for a boat trip to Banagher yesterday which was very enjoyable except that they saw one dead swan downstream from the village bridge and a lonesome mate swimming around lost.
Weather is staying mild today and tomorrow - dry and cloudy with sunny breaks and temperatures between 52 and 57 F. Unfortunately the weatherman is promising rain on Thursday.
Came across a small volume of poems published by Jack Quinn Ballinasloe in 1984 titled - 'Through A Small Window' Here is one on
- Clonmacnois -

Cowled monks ethereal
Their chant unheard
In shadowy procession
Sandles soft
On Kieran;s ground
Mute witnessed
By the mellowed stones
Speaking their timelessness
Mortals stand
In trepidation
On the brink
Of centuries.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Friday and Saturday turned out to be very wet and the floods are creeping out on the callows once again. However the wind has gone around and the forecast is for fine dry weather for the week with temperatures in the low fifties. Gus Claffey was asking last night at what temperature reading do Celsius and Fahrenheit have the same value.
Patrick Kenny was telling a weather story from the past. Nearly forty years ago three men were in Shannonbridge for a drink and afterwards when they dropped off one of the trio at his door he invited them in. Television was new at the time and the owner of the house turned on the news and weather as he had a lot of hay cut . Paddy Mc Hugh was the weatherman and he predicted that the heavy rain would continue for the next few days. Our friend went up to the room and brough down the shotgun and shot Paddy Mc Hugh and the television set stone dead.
Martin Burke has started to feed the birds for the winter and has two bird feeders hanging on the clothes line. He reckons that the crows will not be able to get near the feeders.
The new mouse cather was tested out in the warehouse of Shannonbridge Pottery and the bait holder had a tempting array of cheese and chicken and toffee. Too tempting for the cat who smelt it and ate the lot bending the holder as well. Was the cat creating a strike warning.
Workers in Bord na Mona are staging a strike today.
Friday evening came a phone call from Kilconnell asking if Shannonbridge might field a football team to play them in a trophy annual match to be played yesterday as the team scheduled to play them had withdrawn. Shannonbridge were only able to get nine bodies willing to go so had to decline the offer.
Met a man last evening who was driving from Galway to Dublin and had decided to take the easy route by branching off at Ballinasloe for Shannonbridge, Cloghan, Tullamore, Portlaoise and Monestrevon. Wonder is he right.
Oliver Hilliard is taking prunes for his breakfast and they are working. His golf diary data collection is well underway. Yesterday he came up with the suggestion that Shannonbridge should keep in touch with the Uganda Orphanage making use of the links built up by Kate and the community and friends should make an effort to collect funds for the work that goes on. Sounds a good idea from Oliver.
Big crowd at Louis and Mairead Darcy's Station Mass on Friday evening where Father O Hanlon dedicated the house with blessings for the doors, windows, fireplaces and so on. This Thursday the Station Mass is scheduled for Thursday evening at Michael and Anne Andersons on Thursday evening and at Michael and Catherine Healy, Glebe, on Friday evening.
The table quiz this Wednesday night is in aid of this years Christmas Party for the senior folk.
See where this years church envelopes are coming on stream this week and there is an appeal to those who did not contribute last year to make a start this coming year.
Heard that Tom Ryan and John Madden had a narrow escape over the weekend when they went out on a boat at Moystown near Mickies Backwater and their boat overturned. Lucky enough they had a mobile phone to ring for help but they were in the water for nearly two hours clinging onto the boat.
Frank Guinan and Rose Glennon have two tempting weekly lottos on offer at the moment. Frank's Shannonbridge / Doon Jackpot is now 6300Euro while Rose's Moore United Jackpot is now 7,800 Euro. You takes your chances.
The death occured over the weekend of Mrs Naughton, Falty mother of Geraldine Egan. Mick was at the removal in Ballinasloe and later went to visit Mike Ledwith, Kieran Flannery, Willie Gaffey and a brother of the late Father Christy Glynn who are patients there.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Two funerals today. Very well known Ballinasloe pike angler Dan Dowd will be buried today after Mass. Tony Ellis was telling us that Dan once landed a pike weighing 42 Lbs and had it stuffed and was on display.
Philip Mooney from the Horse and Jockey, a brother of the late Jimmie Mooney has died and will be buried today in Moycarney. May they rest in peace.
Down in Kinsale County Cork today Karl Mc Coy will say the words "I Do" to start his married life. Wishing them well.
Val Joyce was playing a comedy version of The Rocky Road To Dublin sung by Des Keogh and Rosaleen Lenihan on Late Date last night and said the two were on stage in America at present and will be back home around Christmas. Gave no details of the show or theatre.
Bridie Green was telling last night that Michael Green is expected home from Boston next week.
Some snow in parts of Ireland yesterday with frost promised last night. Today is living up to the forecast of dry bright and sunny with temperatures of 45F. Tomorrow is expected to have rain and drizzle.
Kate might be interested to hear that Suzie O'Connell, who spent four years in a Moldovan orphanage won the top prize of a car valued 26,000 Euro in the 'Spirit of Ireland' awards is going to donate the prize to abondoned children. Suzie has set up her own charity called 'Outreach Moldova'. She has a '95 Fiat Punto which she will continue to drive.
Some people are talking about going to a Jazz night in Maynooth next Tuesday night. Contact Mick Killeen if interested Tel 090-9674112.
Noticed a large part of the bog past the Briquette factory on the Cloghan / Birr road has been flooded. Looks like it may be a nature reserve for wild fowl or a fish lake.
Good turnout at the Library again last night with some new faces dropping in from 7 to 9 pm.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Its been a mad two weeks of travel so far. The bus journey from Uganda to Kenya was 12 hours over very bumpy roads. I will never complain about the roads in Ireland again. The pot holes here are as big as a bunker on a golf course and the bus driver has to drive on both sides of the road to avoid them.
I went on a 4 day safari in Kenya to lake nakuru and the maasai mara. There were 5 of us on the first day, two Finnish girls, an Israeli couple and me. We were joined on the second day by an excited Japanese couple. They were a great addition as they oooh and aaaah at everything, even at the goats and cows! Saw loads of birds in nakuru. The shores of the lake were pink as there were so many flamingos. There were also storks, pelicans and many other birds. Our jeep broke down in the middle of the park so we all had to get out an push - not very safe in a park with rhinos, hippos, leopards and cheetahs!
The Maasai Mara national reserve is amazing, it s a huge area of about 1500 square kms. Parts of it reminded me of Co. Kerry! Saw loads and loads of wildlife here - elephants, giraffes, lions, buffalo, gazelles, a leopard and a cheetah.
We went to a Maasai village where the men and women danced for us. They got me into the middle of them for a little dance, very embarrassing! They wear a red blanket thing around their shoulders and carry a stick. They have huge holes in their ears which they decorate. The women wear loads of beads.
We got to see inside their houses which are made from branches and cow dung. The roofs are really low, about 4 ft, but the maasai men are all around 6 ft! They live with their calves and kids (goats that is) as well as their children. There is no chimney and no windows so you can't see much and are blinded by the smoke!
The children of maasai move out of home when they are 13, or after they are circumcised. All the teenagers live in the one house! At 15 the boys have to leave the village and live out in the bush for two years until they have killed a lion! They girls get married at around 16 or 17. And of course the men can have more than one wife. The usual dowry paid to the girls family is 10 cows but the man who can jump higher than the other men in the village only has to pay 7 cows! We were shown how to make fire from rubbing two pieces of wood together - cedar wood and a twig from the sand paper tree.
At the moment I'm in Zanzibar on a holiday from my holiday! It is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. There is a huge mix of Arabs, Africans, and Indians here. Zanzibar was a centre of trade for the entire Indian Ocean, trading with slaves, gold and ivory with places as far away as India and Asia. The old centre of Zanzibar is called Stonetown and has loads narrow winding streets so every time you leave your hotel you get lost. I was lucky enough to arrive here on the last day of Ramadan when all the Muslims celebrate so there was a great atmosphere. At the moment I am staying on a beach in the north of the island. My room is 50 meters from a beautiful beach. It's pure luxury after spending 5 months in the school. So I wont waste anymore time inside - I'm off for a swim in the clear blue ocean under the roasting hot sun. Hope ye are all enjoying the Irish weather!
Recent Developments or Where are they now ?
This being the 25th Anniversary of the launch of the Shannonbridge Star in 1979:- plans are underway to contact all contributors to the old Star, with a a view of having a Christmas reunion.
We have already managed to track down Star columnist and agony aunt,-"Dear Fanny".
We were rather surprised to discover that Aunt Fanny is still in business dispensing advice a quarter of a century later.
We enquired if the Celtic Tiger has influenced the problems of recent years and how do they compare with the problems of the early ' 80 - has her counselling technique changed over the years, - and would she consider sharing a sample problem with us on the world wide web.
We also asked if counselling has become more profitable these tiger days ;
The following is the reply we received from Aunt Fanny.
Dear Der,
Thank you for your recent e-mail - Yes, that’s a lovely idea, Ide be delighted to meet all those Star gazers again and take a stroll down memory lane, - Well Der, - a lot of water went under that bridge in Shannonbridge since 1979. - I looked up the Shannonbridge web pages since you contacted me, - wow, what a change ! - the only webs we had in 1979 were cobwebs, and plenty of them, in the Star Office. The only other webs in Shannonbridge at that time were the webbed feet of Thomas Colemans geese and how they crossed the street in single file each morning and evening on their way to and from the river.
I read the reports from your globe trotting girls Ciara, Sarah and Kate, - a cyber café in Uganda, - gosh, there was nt such a thing in the White House the time we were burning the midnight oil in the Star Office.
But you know what Der, - amidst all this tiger progress human nature hasn’t changed one iota, - not even the slightest whit , - Oh the trappings would be different OK, - but basically Im wrestling with the same old chestnuts, - I really have to dig deep for fortitude these days, especially when I come across clients and discover that I counseled their parents a generation ago, sometimes for the self same old problem. This never fails to generate a feeling that one is swimming against the tide or perhaps peeing against the wind, as you might know it better. You ask, has my counseling technique changed over the years :- Yes ; - I would say so ;- I was very motherly in the 80's - Today I am very much more aggressive, - I fight fire with fire, you could say, - I regularly shake clients when Im having one to one consultations. - But all the same Ide like to think Ive still retained a small bit of that old Abraham Lincoln quality ie steel and velvet.
About the profitability of counseling thes days ;- Well Der, - lets say, Im still able to put beans on the table, - but have not been able to mix it with those movers and shakers at the Galway Races. - that’s all Im going to tell you about that, - and tell the truth you didn’t expect much more ;
About having a sample of a modern day problem, - Yes , of course ; - But nothing is simple anymore, I'll have to get client clearance, - This could take me a few days and a brown envelope. Oh, God be with those loose old days Der !
In fact I have the text of a problem here on my desk today, - Now Der its not one that will publish well, - as we used to say back in the Star days, - Because it has only one of the three vital ingredience that we identified as necessary to enable me to give a rasping sermon like reply. But we don’t have to worry about sales anymore and therefore my ethics are no longer torn between commerce and the national interest.
I will forward you a sample when I get the green light.
Thanks again Der,- looking forward to seeing you at Christmas.
Fan -

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Surprized to meet two groups of visitors from America last evening. First group were five people from the California State Univercity Long Beach California who had spent a few hours around Clonmacnois. Told us the reason they were here right now was the cheaper air travel. Just over $400 on the Internet.They are going to have a look at Clononey, Shannonharbour, Banagher, Meelick and the Clonert Trio today.
Couple from Chicago Margaret and Jon are on their fourth visit and they just do a small section each time. They had been in Clonmacnois in 1996 but called in again for a visit. Found both of them reading Irish books - one a sequel to Murphy's Bar. Promised I would look them up if ever I get to Chicago. They even promised to show the brother around the city as well. Jon plays the Bodhran and wafts about some Bodhran player he heard playing on one of his previous visits. He made no effort to join Mark and Colin and Harry who were stringing away at some easy pieces in the bar. They are going to Dublin today for a few days and Colin directed them to O'Donoghues off Merrion Square for music.
Looking at this new mouse catcher last night one person asked why had they to be killed by drowning. He reckoned that the mice should just be caught and released alive in a field or a bog or wherever. Seems that this new catcher would be capable of doing that.
The Active Retirement Group are having a Table Quiz tonight in Killeens at 9.30 for 10 pm.
Weekly library is tomorrow night from 7 to 9 pm in the Health Center.
No word from Kate or Ciara or Niamh this week.
Watched Ireland soccer team win a challenge game against Croatia on TV from Landsdowne Road last evening scoring 1 - 0. Last of their build up challenges before their next European Championship game. Damien Duff got Man of the Match.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Breda Green brought along one of the new Mousemaster catcher kits last evening which at first glance looks like a large round 10 Litre paint container with a lid. The lid turns down to provide an access walkway and at the top there is a sguare piece of plastic leading out to the bait which is on a holder near the center of the opening. This part swivels in the center and has a small weight to keep it on the level until the mouse passes the center. Then it tips over and the mouse falls into the bucket which is half full of water. End of mouse. The square piece of plastic returns to its original position. Keep an eye out for it.
The flood water seems to have receded back from the Callows and I feel there should be excellent pike fishing about.
Oliver Hilliard looks in great form after his visit to Dublin and attended the AGM of Ballinasloe Golf Club last evening. Oliver will be busy for the next few months preparing his Golfers Guide to Open Fixtures in Ireland and this diary usually becomes available in May and contains a list of golf clubs in Ireland that have open fixtures that will allow golfers to play and at a much reduced green fees.
Forecast today is to be mild cloudy and breezy with outbreaks of rain and temperature of 55F.
At Joe Dunican's funeral yesterday his mother in law Mary Glennon nee Hardiman attended.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Forgot to mention some other items about the Isle of Man. Gob ny geay means the mouth or beak of the wind which is very similar to the Irish, says I ? Seems a rough Irish translation would be gub na gaoite. They have a beer on the island called OKELLS which was tested out by Brian and Niall Grenham who gave it a very good rating. £1.90 a pint. In summer their famous steam trains are running and we saw their tracks in many locations.
Heard that Lisa Kelly has arrived home from India after a year touring the world. We missed out on not having her write an odd piece as she went along.
Funeral weekend with Joe Dunican being buried in Moore today. Yesterday Ann Hynes, Belmont wife of Sean Hynes was laid to rest. The death has occured of May Kenny, native of Clonburren who was the eldest of the Kenny family that included the late Michael, Paddy and Bina (nee Quinn). May they rest in peace.
Am thankful for a list of solutions sent on by Lorraine Mc Kenna. I now know how to fix fleas, itch, funny nails, arthritis, grease removal and about three dozen other solutions. Will post a copy of them all for you to see in the library on Thursday night 7 to 9 pm.
Sounded like summer had returned yesterday afternoon hearing Paudge Bennett playing his special type of music for a few hours. Paudge was the entertainment at a surprize birthday party for Tom Mc Evoy from Clonascra for his 70th. Many family and friends and members of the Active Retirement Group came along to wish him well on the occassion. Special guests for Toms Party were his son Des and his wife and child who had travelled from San Francisco.
Good to hear that The Santa Train is back on track again this year and you can travel by train and visit Santa's Festive Station and the children get a present. Running the weekend of December 10th, 11th and 12th 2004 from 4.30 pm on the Clonmacnois and West Offaly Railway.
Tel 090 9674450. e-mail :
Took a hadcold to bed for the day on Saturday and got a message that there was a man in the bar asking for me. Afterwards I found out it was Paul Kerrigan who has written volumes on Martello Fortifications and had I known I would have made the effort to see and thank him for the outline of the Shannonbridge Fortification which he kindly posted to me recently. Apologies.
Mild weather continues again today with sunshine and temperatures in the mid 50 F.
Newsletter this week has notice of a Station Mass on Friday in Louis and Maraid Darcy's home. It also has a contribution from Rev Martin Tierney on The School and Religion which is worth reading by parents especially.
Dan Jack Doheny called in on Friday and was showing Colin one of the new mousetraps that he has for sale called MouseMaster. Colin said it reminded him of one of John Price's inventions many years ago which consisted of a piece of cheese suspended over a bocket of water with a length of timber giving access to the top of the bucket . A straw was attached to the end of the timber to give access to the cheese. When the mouse travelled a distance out along the straw, the weight of the mouse caused the straw to bend down and the mouse fell into the bucket. Perry's Mill in Belmont had something similar with a length of timber on a rat run across a barrel. The timber was finely balanced and on a swivel so that when the rat reached a certain point the timber rotated and heaved its victim into the barrel of water. You can e-mail Dan Jack at for more information and tell him where you heard about it.
Rose was saying that half the packet of The Moore Historical Book left into the Library have been sold already. I have found it very interesting so far and I am hoping that Paddy Kenny will explain some of the background to the 14 verses of the ballad on 'The Parish of Moore' written by Paddy Donoghue and contained in the book.
Lovely postcard from Karen O'Flanagan from Dublin showing Pilgrims at Clonmacnois by George Petrie ( 1790 - 1866 ) of the Irish School.
Late Date radio program on Friday night with Val Joyce was even more special as he featured the voice of Jo Stafford and included about ten of her songs during the two hour show.

Friday, November 12, 2004

The remains of Joe Dunican who died in America are expected to arrive home tomorrow. Burial in Moore tomorrow. See papers.
The Clonfinlough Gun Club had great support for their fund raising table quiz last Wednesday night and Noel Mannion enjoyed the questions especially the geography questions. The Quiz on this coming Wednesday night will be in aid of the Active Retirement Group who have really done great activity in their first year with a number of outings and functions. Contact Kay Fitzpatrick if you would like to join the gang.
That extra hour of night has brought out many more people to the library on Thursday nights from 7 to 9 pm and last night Rose had 300 home made labels ready yo paste onto more books. The teenagers that like horses will just love a collection of books on horses donated by Sheila Ryan.
The old river is easing back down in level with the recent good weather. After a murky start and a shower this morning the sun has broken through and the forecast is for temperature of 12C or 54F.
Sorry to hear of the accidental death of Mark (Pepe) Lyons in Ballinasloe on Wednesday. Mark many years ago lived in a caravan around Shannonbridge during the famous dropout hippie period and was well known. Working on a new building behind Salmons and Gullanes in Ballinasloe erecting guttering it appears that a length of material touched an overhead line and ended his life. May he rest in peace. Two other workmates were injured.
Was part of a group of five relations that flew out to the Isle of Man - or is that Person ? on Wednesday morning for the funeral of Jack Killey who was married to Frances Killeen from Main Street Ballinasloe. Airfares to the IOM are something else. Niall Grenham got on the Internet and the best available was 160 Euro with Manx going out and 55 Euro with Aer Aran for the return journey. Think one of the airlines had a 900 Euro return fare. If you are thinking of going over then shop early on the 'net. The guesthouse owner told us that he gets a £40 sterling return fare to England by doing this. Jack's daughter Emer saved £100 by choosing to fly from Liverpool rather than Manchester.
It was the first time that I attended a cremation. The body was taken from the morgue and arrived for a funeral service in the chapel at 1'00 pm. The clergyman told us that he knew Jack and gave us a brief history of his life in the army during WW2 when he was captured and imprisoned in Colditz for a long time and also in Italy. He receieved shrapnel wounds during the war which remained with him all his life. May he rest in peace.
Met two old friends Derry and Pat who very kindly took us to the funeral in their landrover and also out to a meal on Wednesday night and to the airport yesterday morning. During these trips Derry did a kind of Paddy Kavanagh type tour and showed us the banking area and much of the TT motorbike circuit with the corners and the places on the road where the bikers fly through the air at speeds of over 150 MPH. There is a sign on the roadside that says "Say Hello to The Fairies" which is well obeyed. The island is about 30 miles long by about 20 miles wide. They have their own language which sounds a bit Irish. Was looking out for a Manx cat and when I saw a huge cat spread out in our guesthouse we asked the owners if it was a Manx cat. It turned out to be a wild cat that had settled in with them. The only Manx cats we saw were the souveneir ones at the airport. A meal out in a restaurant in Creg Ay Baa offered a fine range of starters, main courses and desserts and worked out on average at £15.60 sterling each. There are nine golf courses on the island and green fees are about £20 per day on most of the courses.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Friday night saw a great turnout in Cloghan Hall where a fund-raising night was held for Gerry Mc Cabe who was injured when he fell from a building. The popular all girls group The Biddys provided the entertainment and there were bar facilities and an auction. Heard The Biddys sing one of their songs on the radio over the weekend called Four and Nine. Four and nine, take a tip from me, never take a lady out to dine, with nothing in your pocket, but your four and nine etc.
Birthday time in Shannonbridge on Friday night for Declan Kelly's girlfriend Caroline Ryan from Cork went off very well with Declan's mother keeping everyone well fed and Sean Crehan providing the music. Caroline's parents declared they were going to buy a house in Shannonbridge after their first visit.
Saturday morning the remains of Sam Robinson from Banagher was taken from the Priory Nursing Home in Ferbane to Banagher Church for service and burial. A prayer for his soul.
On Saturday afternoon it was good to meet Father Larry English originally from Tullamore and now based in Kilkenny after a lifetimes work in the Philippine Islands with The Mill Hill Fathers. He is a brother of Phil Beary who died recently. Father Larry and some friends visited Clonmacnois where they met a group of Philipinos. So Father Larry went to speak to them and found that they were from a different island and spoke a different dialect.
Yesterday morning at Mass in Clonfinlough there was an enrolment ceremony for children hoping to have their First Communion which is planned for May 2005. Ten children enrolled.
News of the death in Chicago of Joe Dunican who was born in Cloneish and is a brother of Johnny and Brendan. There are arrangements being made to take the body home for burial. May he rest in peace.
Yesterday news of the death of Jack Kiley in the Isle of Man. Jack was married to a cousin of ours Frances Killeen from Main Street Ballinasloe. Burial takes place in Isle of Man on Wednesday. Say a prayer for his soul.
After a mild few weeks with little rain the river level is easing back that little bit. Today is promised mild and misty with temperatures of 50 to 55 F.
Glad to see our Birdwatch Shannonbridge news and to see Louise's thoughts under Entertainment after the Clonmel Song Contest win.
Got the bundle of photographs back from Irishphotosales and was talking to our webmaster about the possibility of setting up a local collection of photographs with this website or a companion site and he said it was possible but it would take time and money. Time is approximately five minutes per photo to scan it in and the money would be for extra space and an ongoing yearly charge for this space of about 200 Euro per year. Still a dream.
Sister Maura from Ard Chiarain tells us that she has a boxfull of books for the library.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Shannonbridge Birdwatch.

The Irish Times will carry a special supplement on birds next Tuesday. Items covered will include migration, the return to Ireland of the Golden Eagle and how to bring birds back in to your garden. There will also be a guide to websites and where to view birds in the 32 counties. A poster showing migration routes is included.

Grants of up to € 1300 pa are proposed in the next REPS 3 scheme for farmers to grow seed for endangered species of birds. It involves mixing tillage crops with linseed, oats or kale which is not harvested, but left in the ground as feed for the birds. Birds like the Yellowhammer, who depend on cereals, are now almost extinct in the west of Ireland.
Heard that the Mass for the dead and the bereaved in Ard Chiarain last night went off very well with a very good attendance.Those attending were asked to write the names of the people they wished remembered on a journal and somebody wrote the name of the mother who was killed in a car crash last week and her young daughter that survived. Father O'Hanlon celebrated.
Good news from the Library that there was a good turnout last night with a few more new members joining up. Another box of books donated by Shannonbridge Pottery.
The Shannonbridge GAA website attached are making an effort to add photographs and more news to their site and if you can help contact Conor Killeen.
Kate's website at last count has 167 photographs in minature form which open up with a click.
Kerrill Thornhill is available to help you set up your webpage on the site.
It would be good to have more facilities come alive and stay alive.
Hope that Louise Killeen will tell us all about the Clonmel National Song Contest 2004 which was held in the White Memorial Theatre in Clonmel last night. Only heard that she won the competition with Mike Thornhill and Colin Killeen playing alongside. Tipperary Crystal presented a lovely vase to the winners to go with the thousand Euros. Check for her comments on her weblink under Entertainment but give her a bit of time. Well done Lou & Crew.
Bought a copy of John Grenham's book on Moore last evening and in the first two pages there is mention of lots of battles in Clonburren, Shannonbridge and Moore or Moytura as it was called when it was linked to Creagh. Also mentioned was the destruction of the wooden bridge at Clonmacnois and Brian Boru and his brother and the Danes and the Clonburren Motte and... that was in the first couple of pages.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Funny thing happened yesterday when I tried to explain the Blog of 11/2/04 appearing 35 times on the screen . Dont know what happened except it is a strange co-incidence that Kate mentioned on October 24th that she has a list of 35 Orphans that are seeking sponsorship. Sponsorship costs very little , if I remember rightly about the price of a Pint of Guinness a week. Wonder had the 35 Orphans anything to do with it.
Kate will tell you more if you are interested. Contact her at this website,
Tuesday night there was a special Mass celebrated in Ferbane for the soul of the late Jimmy Mooney at the request of the Ferbane Bridge Club. Tonight in Ard Chiarain Prayer Centre there is a special Mass at 8 pm for the deceased and bereaved. Consider visiting the Library this evening from 7 to 9 pm and have a look at the new edition of the Moore Parish book by the late John Joe Grenham.
Tonight in the Wolfe Tone Theater in Clonmel Louise takes part in a talent competition with Colin and Mike Thornhill doing the backing bit. This was a competition where to enter you had to send in a recording of your song with 20 Euros entry fee. Ten people have been chosen and each get to sing one song. You can listen to her song on her website under Entertainment on this Shannonbridge site. Hope they do well.
This website would like more people writing on it and Mike Thornhill is going to contact one of the Shannonbridge girls in Japan and one of the boys in Wales has promised to write but hopefully not in Welsh.
Got three lovely photographs from Ken Smith in California yesterday. Also got a message that about a hundred photos of the area that were sent to were collected by Larry Egan from Belmont. No sign of them on their screens as yet. Talked to our webmaster on the possibility of having more photographs available to highlight the area and people.
The Table Quiz last night raised 180 Euro for the annual Seniors Christmas Party.
Some rain during the night but fine and sunny this morning. Rain is forecast for Munster and Connaught. Is that spelt rite. ?

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I left the school yesterday and I'm broken hearted. After spending almost 6 months living with the kids it was very hard to leave them. I can't even describe how I felt - leaving was much harder than I thought it would be I cried the whole way to Kampala. It will be strange to stay somewhere where I can’t hear kids laughing, crying, shouting and playing. They are great kids, really well mannered and they are very good to each other - they are like a big family and always share food or the few sweets they might get. In general all Ugandans are lovely people, very welcoming and friendly.
I left about 10 tin whistles with them which I have been teaching them over the last few months, I hope they continue to play them. It looks a bit weird, an African playing a tin whistle!
Coming out here is something I have always wanted to do and I am so glad I finally got up off my ass and did it. I'd like to thank all of you who worked so hard raising money and all who donated, for giving me the opportunity to help these people - I wouldn’t have been able to do a thing without the support from home. It’s been a once in a life time experience and I’m very glad to have had the chance to come here.
If anyone thinks they would like to come out and volunteer for a while they would be delighted to have you.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Emily Kenny was telling us last evening that as well as the bonfire at Falty Cross there was also a bonfire in Clonburren which was mighty as all the parents dressed up as Witches and Princes and Cowboys and what have you and everyone had great craic. They evenhad their own fireworks display. Good for them.Clonburren and Cappaleitra has developed into a thriving community with almost thirty houses on that circuit around the Esker.
Last night in Lukers Bar there was a competition to measure the longest cock on the day and any shooter that was lucky enough to shoot a pheasant yesterday on the start of the pheasant shooting season brought it along to have it measured. Adain and Jason Kelly produced a pheasant with a tail length of 42 inches.
Ard Chiarain Prayer Centre, Rachrabeg invite everyone to Mass for the deceased and bereaved on Thursday night at 8pm.
The Parish Newsletter tells of a training course in acting for cameras in The Prince of Wales hotel, in Athlone on next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Phone 074 - 9126994.
Mick took Pat and Kay Donegan and Megan Costelloe on a trip downriver throught the floods yesterday and Pat was amazed at the amount of Plover that were flying around. Hope the gamesman ? that shot 16 pheasants yesterday will not hear about them.
Weather today is forecast to be cloudy with short sunny spells and lowest temperature in the Midlands of 50 F. Tomorrow has much the same with temperatures of 57 F.
Conor started a new job yesterday working with some GAA Magazine and was surprized to hear he was home this morning. Apparently his girlfriend's mother was killed last night when her car went off the road near Tuam and Conor did the needful in bringing his girlfriend home.
Hope Kate has a good journey home and looking forward to hearing

Monday, November 01, 2004

Well the party’s over and I’m going home - the kids put on a great show yesterday which lasted for 4 hours and included traditional dancing, poems, songs and plays. It was not just my going away party; it was also speech day for the kids. Their parents come to see the school and to see what the kids have been learning. I can't believe the trouble they went to or the amount of people who turned up. There were loads of parents, villagers, local commissioners and pastors. They even had a big sound system.
They sang lots of goodbye songs which made me cry and then they expected me to get up and give a speech. I'm not great at this at the best of times and when I'm crying I'm a disaster so I mumbled a few words and sat down.
They also had a graduation ceremony for the kids who were graduating from nursery to primary school. They were really cute in their little caps and gowns. There was a photographer there and all the parents wanted a photograph of me with their child so I was like the bishop on confirmation day being dragged all over the place.
I got a pile of presents, as follows: 2 handkerchiefs, 2 big ground mats, 3 mangoes, 4 bunches of bananas, a bag of eggplants, 2 wooden hearts, 3 wall mats, 4 matooke bananas, a tray, a bracelet, 8 paw paws, a beautiful wooden plaque, 2 passion fruits, a pineapple, 7 avocados, some nakatee, 2 tomatoes, a plate, an orange and 56 eggs!!
Today we are eating most of the above.
This week I've had the great job of telling kids and their families that they had a new sponsored. One woman got down on her knees thanking god. She had to pay school fees for 4 kids, and her only income was selling a few vegetables and some fruit. One of her kids got polio as a child and cannot walk so he sits on the ground all day. I also picked my own sponsor child this week which was very hard as I'd love to sponsor them all! Maureen has decided to sponsor the little acrobat over here. Today I came into town early to get him clothes and shoes. I put a pair of runners on him in school, it was really funny as he's so used to no shoes he didn't really know how to walk in them.
Found out more weird stuff this week about peoples names.
If you are a Muslim woman and you have been to Mecca your name changes to Hajat, it changes to Hajj for a Muslim man who has been to Mecca.
If you are a security man you are called Ascario. If you are over 60 you are called Jaja which means grandmother/father.
Also saw more weird stuff being sold on the streets - a grey stone like thing which I found out was actually clay which pregnant women eat!
I am still in masaka at the moment but will be leaving the school in the next day or two, it will break my heart to leave but I'm sure I'll be back to see them all some day.
Next up is Kenya and a safari - so I'll keep ye posted.
Pat Gleeson from The Gables, Moystown celebrated his 91st Birthday last Friday and he was saying that he was the weakest gosson that ever was born and that he was reared on Virol.
It turned out to be a sort of funeral weekend. Starting with a phonecall on Friday night from Michael Scotney in Peterborough to tell us that that wonderful woman who used to visit Ireland with Michael and Audrey - Eileen Walters had been found dead in her sleep in her apartment that morning. Memories of George O Neill taking her out to waltz came to mind.
On Saturday the remains of Annie Kenny late of Cloneish, and sister of Pat Joe,were taken from Dublin after Mass to Clonfad Church for Mass at 3 pm and burial in Moore afterwards.
Saturday evening the remains of Martin Mc Manus from Bermingham and Drum arrived into Drum Church. Martin is a brother of John Mc Manus from Clonburne. Yesterday the remains of Ann Grogan Ferbane were removed from the Priory Nursing Home to Ferbane. She was mother to Maura Sean Leo Tommy Michael and Seamus. May they all rest in peace.
News over the weekend that Bewleys are to close their two Coffee Houses in Dublin sounded like another death in some peoples lives.
Went to Ballinasloe on Saturday for a haircut, peanuts for the birds and called into cousin Eileen. Heard that the Barrett Hardware has been sold. Failed to get my haircut as Joe Keogh had a Sorry sign stuck on his window that he was closed Wednesday to Saturday. Suppose I was lucky enough to get my nuts and also get a lift home with Mark Donegan who was leaving two Dutch friends to the bus. The girl's brother had committed suicide and they found a map of Ireland which he had marked out in red of places that he had planned to visit. Shannonbridge was the last X as he wanted to see where Daithi Rua was born as he had heard Daithi sing a few times.
His sister and her friend decided to do the trip in memory of him and so ended up in Shannonbridge on Thursday evening. Say a prayer for his soul.
News on the paper yesterday of the engagement of our local TD Olwyn Enright from Birr and congratulte her.
Lots of fireworks and bangers last night and Patrick Kenny was telling about the woeful pile of timber that they had collected in Drum for a bonfire but they were having their own bonfire at Falty and good to hear that they were not burning any tyres.
Weather has been mild over the weekend with Saturday like a summers day. Yesterday was good but it got a bit overcast and the hour made a cod of it. Lovely moon in the sky with daytime temperatures in mid 50'ties. Birds are busy eating away and there are some lovely autumn colours around. Went down to the garden nursery in Correen on Saturday and many of the fields along the way are flooded. Mark who runs the nursery tells us that there is great fishing in flood conditions and that he was heading out on Sunday to anchor his boat on the river Suck and catch roach which of course he returns alive. Mark has a wonderful nursery for bedding plants if you are interested. Roadways near Shannonbridge are providing their own speed control with a hefty bumb at Ashbrook house and an uneven area a few hundred yards down the Clonmacnois road that is capable of throwing your car into the drain. Good to hear that Michael Green plans to visit from Boston in November. Ciara and Laura and Kate will be glad to hear that Declan Kelly has become engrossed in your correspondence and is reading the lot at present. The papers every Sunday are trying to out do each other with free CD's and Ireland On Sunday had a free Roddy Doyle book - 'Snapper' as their offering yesterday.


hope all are keeping well on that side of the world. all is well here, weather isn't too fantastic at the moment, it's raining now as speak.
myself and ali went to watch the sunrise last week in one of the parks. the park is up pretty high so it was lovely, a great view of the city and the bridge, all lit up at night, it was fab. we sat waiting for hours and thought it was going to rise just near the bridge when the sky took on a lovely shade of pink, but unfortunately the morning arrived and we couln't see the sun anywhere. it obviously rose behind us where we couldn't see it shaded from the buildings. got some nice photos anyhow. so it didn't really happen as it was supposed to but it was still nice. i'd never watched a sunrise before, i suppose i still haven't really! we, joined by sally, went jet-boating on the harbour the other day. that was just the best craic ever. we got so wet is was deadly. we were given waterproof clothing with hoods but we didn't use the hoods, it's much better craic if ya get wet. so of course our tops underneath got soaked too. we sat in the back where ya get the most water so it was mighty.
we're in for a very busy day at work tomorrow as it's the melbourne cup so that'll be interesting. like kate, we find time is flying by over here, we've already been away for six months and i can't believe i'm working at the harbour view three months already. i was also seven months off the cigarettes saturday (well done me!).
kel from work had a halloween party lastnight, it was really good craic. ended up getting completely soaked at that too, bobbing for apples!
it doesn't feel like such a safe place to live here at the moment. there's a serial rapist in the bondi area, breaking into houses and attacking people. two female backpackers also went missing a few days ago, one of them went missing in the rocks area which is where me and mandy work. the other girl went missing in the wollara/bondi junction area. so obviously living in bondi junction doesn't feel too good at the moment. i just got the bus back from work and was walking here when i saw a poster of the girl who went missing here so it's not very nice.
myself, sarah, hannah and mandy have bought tickets to the dirty dancing musical in december, so we're really looking forward to that. libby from neighbours is supposed to be playing the lead role.
weather permitting, we're hoping to head to summer bay this week which will be nice. myself, hannah and mandy are also going to book a session in the sydney observatory to do some star gazing. i love looking at the stars so i'm really looking forward to that, because living in sydney, you can't see the stars when you look up to the sky at night. the closest thing you get to stars in sydney is when the birds fly around above the harbour bridge at night, eating the moths that fly up to the light. as they're flying around, the light catches their wings and they look like dancing stars. it's so simple but when you look at it it's actually really nice. i was quite captivated by it the first time i saw them. i call them sydney's substitutes.
i can't really think of much else at the moment, so i'll say goodbye for now. until next time - take care.

Friday, October 29, 2004

News of more floods in Clonmel where houses were evacuated and there was a crowd waiting at the new bridge in Enniscorty today waiting for the water to rise and cover it. Heard about a person in one of the seaside towns in County Cork who built a new house on a street that was liable to flood and he decided to raise the floor level by three blocks (about 30"). When the planning authority people saw it they ordered him to knock it down as it was not in keeping with the surrounding street. Some local floods last evening between Belmont and Cloghan. Colin took a photograph of the flood in the callows north of the village near sunset and there was a remarkable golden colour on the grass of a field that has not been used this year. Hope it comes out.
Saw on the papers yesterday that a young Doctor O'Brien from Rosemount has just been awarded 1.2 million euros to research osteoporosis. Initially he qualified as an engineer.
Conor has got a job with a GAA magazine and starts work next week. The old weekly gaa notes for this site are paying off.
Longford and Westmeath are to be rejoined as a four seater constituency for the next election.
Copies of JohnJoe Grenham's book on Moore are now available in the Library. There are some remarkable articles and photographs in the book and there is a fine colour photograph on the front cover of Lamb Island and the homeplace of Michael Mc Cann who wrote O Donnell Abu.
There are books on West Clare Railway and another on Irish Landscapes by Frank Mitchell
now available in the Library and a Book of Quotations that caught my eye as they are all based on the old Brehon Laws.
Finally plenty of rain last evening but today has turned outdry. Martin Burke tells us that the Goldfinches are back in their garden again but he has not started to feed them as yet.
Christmas is coming and the Library will have this years final night on 16th December and will re-open on 13th January. Visit it soon.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Well the count down is on and I only have 3 days left in the school. They have erected a big tent like thing from eucalyptus logs and tarpaulin at the side of the school for the party on Sunday. I'm dreading it as there are a load of parents, local councilors, villagers and friends coming and I’ll probably be crying in front of the whole lot of them.
I have started giving away a lot of my things before I go - when you give a gift to a Ugandan they kneel down in appreciation which is a bit hard to get used to.
I will miss my classes where anything can happen. I’ve often had to chase chickens out of the room or had to avoid lizards that fell into the room from the galvanized roof!
I can't believe I have been here for 5 and a half months, the time went by too fast. For the whole 5 1/2 months I got the same oil soaked dinner twice a day every day. Taking away holidays and weekends that makes for about 300 of the same oily dinners, which makes for a fat Kate! I’ll have to walk the Clonmacnoise road every day when I get home!
I was in the hairdressers again this week to get plaits as they are handy for traveling, it took 5 hours and my head is twice its normal size. Women over here are always grooming themselves and are very interested in their appearance. They think nothing of sitting for 8 or 9 hours in a hairdressers. They always have their nails painted and have the maddest hairstyles! Its only 35cents to get a manicure and pedicure! Getting hair extensions is only 5 euros! They also dress very well and you see a lot of them going around in what look like grad dresses! The older women wear a traditional dress called a Gomez. I got a present of one this week from one of the teachers. It’s a long dress with a square neck and big pointy shoulders; they wear this with a very wide belt. The men’s traditional dress is a cassock, which is like a white habit with a design on the chest.
Laura the medical student was telling about one of her patients this week, a man came in with a massive cut on his head; his nephew had hit him with a machete. Laura said the cut was almost down to the bone from the top of his ear to his neck, the nurses were going to send him down to be stitched, but the man required immediate surgery. He didn’t come to the hospital for a day and a half after it happened, he’s 86 and somehow he survived the whole thing. Its amazing how some of them survive over here. She also met a 104 year old man up there!
Saw some sad and some interesting things on the way to Kampala last week. In one village I saw a beggar woman drinking water from a dirty puddle! Then there is one certain stretch of road where fellas wave huge fish and chickens in front of the car. Lots of people stop to buy them, but instead of putting them into the car they tie them to the front grill. So lots of buses, car and trucks have fish hanging from either the front grill or the wing mirrors – its very strange sight when driving around!
The main fish over here are Tilapia and Nile perch,both are delicious, the only problem is when you order them they come with the head on and the two beady little eyes looking up at you!
I eventually found and purchased two black stones today. I’m told Oliver Darcy wants one for Oliver Hillards brain!
Had an enquiry from Dorothy Guinan in Boston as to how she can purchase a copy of John Joe Grenham's book on Moore, The Customes & Traditons of a Rural Community. Well if you live in America you can order your copy from Mrs Blake, Drumalga Park, Oldtown, Athlone, Ireland at a cost of $25 which includes postage. Shannonbridge people will have the opportunity of buying a copy in the Library in Shannonbridge any Thursday night from 7 to 9 pm. Cost 20 Euros.
Dorothy Guinan tells us that her Grandparents Guinan and Downey were married in Moore Church with Kenny and Naughton as witnesses. Her son has mastered the bagpipes and has promised to play a few tunes on their next visit.
Norman and Mary Smith and their two daughters were regular visitors to Shannonbridge for many years when Norman was coarse fishing. Mary tells us that her daughter Naryse has had a baby girl that was born one day early and weighed 9 Lbs. 13 Ozs. Congratulations to all.
The Wednesday Table Quiz last night in Killeens was in aid of Christmas Lights for the village and about 125 Euros were raised.
The strong winds and rain yesterday hit the south of the country causing flooding and electricity blackouts. Winds reached 80 MPH and about 80 mm of rain fell in parts of the south. Cork City Center was under four feet of water at 6 pm last night. Shannonbridge got off light with more rain and light winds. The river level has risen further with almost all of Darcy's callow upstream from the village now under water. Had three anglers from Sheffield based in Portumna call in to enquire about fishing. They are limited to the floating jetties at Shannonbridge and Clonmacnois, an anchored boat, the canal or lakes such as at Boora.
Report out yesterday says that Ireland's population has increased by one million in thirty years.
The most popular names for babies in 2003 were Sean and Emma and 30 % of last years babies were born to single mothers.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

The newspapers tell that there are 90,000 new customers signing up for new electricity connections this year which gives an idea of the amount of new homes and apartments being created.
The weather forecast for today and into tomorrow is for strong winds from the south reaching up to 80 MPH and bringing flooding and rain. This forecast caused George and Mary Hogarty from the USA , who had been holidaying in the West of Ireland, to change their plans and head straight back to Dublin rather than stop off in Shannonbridge.
The series of Wednesday night Table Quizzes for the winter starts in Killeens tonight with proceeds going to some organization or charity or whatever.
The Ferbane Bridge Club members have organized a special Mass on next Tuesday night 2nd November in Ferbane Church at 7.00 pm in rememberance of the late Jimmy Mooney.
Found a leaflet in the Church on Sunday with what I think is Saint Patrick's Breastplate prayer.
Christ be with me,
Christ within me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me.

Christ beneath and Christ above,
Christ on my right hand,
Christ on my left.
Christ with me waking,
walking and sleeping.

Christ in every heart thinking of me,
Christ in every tongue speaking to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Met a group of eight people spending the weekend on a cruiser and wearing blue jumpers with Crew 2004 Ireland stamped on. They told that two years ago they took part in a scenic trip in Australia as individuals - 2 Swiss, 1 Canadian and 5 Irish. Last weekend they had come together and hired a Silverline cruiser in Banagher and came upstream to Shannonbridge for Saturday night and went to visit Clonmacnois and almost Athlone on Sunday before returning to Shannonbridge on Sunday night. And Sean, Yvonne, Steve, Vicky, Ritchie, Adrian, Niall and Georgina, who nearly crashed the boat, are honest as they came back on Sunday night to pay for sandwiches that they had eaten the night before.
Book Launch of the late John Joe Grenham's work on Moore took place on Sunday evening and a good crowd turned up to enjoy the speeches food music and readings. Copies are available at 20Euro and it tells the customs and traditions of a rural community over many years.
The Goldcrest last week arrived safely home to Joe Burke's house in Ardnagug and Joe introduced it to his feeders which it was glad to use.
Two more gifts of books presented to the Library. One by Mary Duffy of Aughnacabe and Dublin has some lovely hardbacks such as Gone With The Wind. The other books belonged to the late Father Paddy Malone from Clare and were given in by his sister Theresa Breslin. Saw in one of this collection a book on the Famine and an account of a man that had the flesh eaten from his legs and by the expression on his face the people that found him knew that he was alive while the pigs ate his flesh. Read it for yourself. Thursday evening 7 to 9 pm.
This week the Irish Catholic has a review on Listowel and its Vicinity since 1973 by Father Tony Gaughan. The photo featured in the review shows the Pope presenting a gift to Colm O Brien who was Director of the Listowel Singers in Rome in 1989.
Weekend papers told of the death in Listowel of Philomena Beary, nee English from Tullamore, who at one time lived in The Bungalow which later became Grennan's Guesthouse. May she rest in peace.
Donal Kenny from Clonboniff and Rachel Keenaghan from Moate were married in Tubber on Friday and with a group of their friends visited Shannonbridge on Saturday. Rachel should make a great wife as she did a bit of shopping picking up a pan , saucepan, a rat-trap, a plunger for the toilet, washing powder and a packet of currants as a surprize for Donal.
Many natives home for the weekend including Niall Price from Wales who promised he will keep us updated on life in Wales.
River has swollen with a foot rise in 24 Hours over the weekend. The old jetty is flooded and there is a broad band of water out on Darcy's Callow upstream. Brian who lives on the canal barge tells us that each day he records the river level, temperature, wind direction.
Many of Kate's Kids in Uganda have written some very good Thank You letters to people that helped improve their school and orphanage in Uganda and Cary and Kerrill Thornhill have displayed a number of these in Church, shops and pubs around the village and hopefully will be able to slot them in under Kate's corner on the Shannonbridge website. Katongole Joseph and Lwandago Florence wrote the two letters that I saw and both decorated their letters with a selection of drawings.
Jimmy Lawlor and Rose have moved into Shannonbridge from their home in Clondelara and now live at the end of the Cul de Sac across from the Church. Wonder will somebody purchase their old home and renew it ?
Mary Coughlan was telling us yesterday that she is having her home re-thatched at present. Pat and herself were remembering the time when Pat and my mother used to call into Coughlans when they went collecting plums. Where is Annaghmore ? They tell me than when you branch for Belmont at Mullaghature you take the first by road to the left for Annaghamore. Pat remembers families of Robinson, Delaney, Bob Johnson and Coughlans living there then.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

This week I’ve been more like a social worker than a teacher. I spent half the day Tuesday taking photographs and details from 35 kids who need sponsorship. I went out visiting the sick on Wednesday then on Thursday I had to console one kid whose mother beat him. They are really bad for beating kids here; I suppose Ireland was the same fifty years ago. I also took an 18 month old to the hospital as she had ringworm and a bad cough. It was hilarious, everyone was looking and wondering if she was my daughter - a few were brave enough to come up and ask me. Hospital treatment is very cheap over here, it only costs about 1.50 to take a kid to hospital and get whatever medication they need. I also got some malaria tablets for myself which only cost 45cents a pack. They are around 30 euros a pack at home!
I got a load of new toys for the kids last week so for the first time the yard looks like a play ground. Some of the teachers were as excited as the kids about the toys! They had never seen badminton racquets, frisbees or tennis racquets before! I am plagued now every evening with them looking to play.
On Wednesday I went to a place called Mokondo where more Irish nuns live. They run a school and health clinic out there. There are only 3 elderly nuns running it. They provide requirements (uniforms, copies, pens etc.) for 600 children! One of the nuns was telling me about a case where a headmaster of a private school took two of his female p7 students home one weekend. He got both of them pregnant. He was arrested but bribed both the police and the girl’s families. He paid the families 1 million for each of the girls, they are both missing now. He also bribed the police and is now back as headmaster of his school! Sr Josephine is going to try to get a lawyer and get the man to court.
The vegetarians in my family will be disgusted with me as I bought and killed a load of chickens this week so the kids could eat meat. The boarders never get to eat meat, they have posho (like semolina) and beans twice a day every day for the whole term. We had a big feast on Saturday which was very nice. Killing the chickens was gross though. They were telling me how to do it but there is no way I'd touch them. They started running around with no heads on! I can’t believe I haven’t turned vegetarian myself after witnessing the whole thing.
More snake stories - a baby snake was found in one of the lads shoes this week, so they killed it - they have found 3 of them this term, I just hope the mammy dosen't make an appearance.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Looked up the Goldcrest bird last night in the Library and found it to be the smallest bird in Ireland and England. The female has a bright yellow/gold crest on top of its head like our friend of yesterday. The male has an orange crest.They may build a hammock like nest near the ground -say a yard- with plenty of feathers or they may build it high up of the ground. Sometimes it becomes very friendly and other times it becomes quiet distant. Cold weather has a big effect on their survival and many die. They like conifers.
On birds Lorraine from Pottstown tells us that she hangs out suet cakes (fat) with seeds and food in the make up and she has a woeful time keeping the raccoons from getting at the suet.
This is a Bank Holiday weekend and the local ESB / BNM golf society had one of their outings in Ballinasloe golf club yesterday. Sean Kelly won the day with 39 Points.
After more rain the Shannon level has crept up again and there is water bursting the drains in Darcy's callow near the new jetty and Darcy's field behind the Church has a bit of flooding.
Temperatures today were improved and the forecast was for 13 to 15 C or a high of 59F.
See where Kates Walk raised 5900 Euro. Her blog spots to this site are great and hopefully when she leaves there on November 2nd that she will continue to describe other parts of Africa on her way home.
Brian Cahill gave me a lift home from Ferbane last night and I found out that Hiney's corner is now one-way and you have to travel up town past the post office to join the new link road.
Doc and Dick are due home from Cyprus tomorrow and they are enjoying the holiday.