Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Two nephews of Mickie Mac and some family are taking a cruise for a week on the River Shannon commencing July 3rd. John and James Brown intend to stop off in Shannonbridge on their trip and are interested in meeting people that knew their mother the late Margaret Josephine McEvoy and meeting some of the people they met last September when over for Mickie Macs funeral.
They wish to meet people that knew their mother and to see some photos or stories from her childhood or school days.
If you have any stories or photographs or would like to meet James or John please let Derry Killeen know.

Monday, June 28, 2004

At last we have a photo of (auntie) Kate in Uganda. Go to the photo gallery or click here.
Shannonbridge's Fort Restaurant held its first wedding reception at the weekend when it was the venue chosen by John and Mary Mc Gee for a family wedding and everything went very well.
See where Dublin's latest transport system Luas starts on Wednesday with the Green Line running from Saint Stephens Green to Sandyford.Of course the Dubliners have it already christened The Daniel Day.
Mary Burke has a grey swallow visiting her garden and is a bit mad with herself for not backing the winner of the Irish Derby at the weekend which was named Grey Swallow.
There is great interest in Kate in Uganda - do read her lines -
and her brother Mike our webmaster has promised to add some photographs for you to see.
Kerrill Thornhill was on the phone on Friday from Sydney to wish his father well on his retirement and told us he keeps up to date on Irish news with a link to
The death occured at the weekend of Eileen Browne relic of the late Doctor Michael Browne Ballinasloe.May she rest in peace.
Bits of rain falling today but nothing much.
Saturday saw the yearly group of sailing boats moving from Lough Ree above Athlone to Lough Derg with a pit stop in Shannonbridge and an overnight in Banagher.The yearly sailing rally on Lough Ree takes place over the next two weeks.
This weekend there was an annual Canal Rally at Shannonharbour and it was good to see Sean Fitzsimons of Seans Bar and Barge fame stop off in Shannonbridge as he made his way to the rally by road.He looked great after having a lot of leg trouble.
On Friday the death occured of Jimmy Mc Manus of Leitra husband of the late Lizzie and father of the late James Joseph.Regretted by his sons Noel, Sean and Kieran and a wide family.Noticed at the presentation of gifts for the Mass yesterday was included a length of rope which was a reminder of his involvement with some famous Tug O War teams years ago. May he rest in peace.
Saturday the Egan Clan visited the area on their four year cycle
visiting Shannonbrige, Bog Rail Tour and Clonmacnois before visiting an Egan castle near Banagher. Michael Egan, a son of the Clondelara Egans was their guide.Seemed to be a number from America, Australia and other countries represented.
Shannonbridge GAA Notes

Conor Killeen reports

Senior Football Championship

Shannonbridge 2-17
Bracknagh 0-06

It was a case of East versus West of Offaly when Shannonbridge traveled to Muchlagh on Thursday evening last to take on Brachnagh in what turned out to be a one sided affair.

Shannonbridge were always in control of this game with some good long range scores from Eamon and Anthony Kelly settled the Shannonsiders. The bridge finished the first half leading 0-10 to 0-5.

Brachnagh were only able to manage one point in the second half as the Bridge launched attack after attack mostly from Jason Kelly and the speedy Kieran Flannery carrying ball down the Plank.

On the day Harry Kearns kept out any danger in goal and had good defenders to assist such as Colm Kenny and Kieran Flannery.

While at Midfield Eamon Kelly marked his return from injury and caught some great ball in the centre.

Up front Donal Claffey and Fergal McEvoy were very influential.

Team Harry Kearns, Willie Kenna, Jim Killeen, Trevor Mahon, Kieran Flannery, Crow Kenny, Mel Darcy, Conor Killeen, Eamon Kelly, Richie Browne, Donal Claffey, Patjo Kelly, Fergal McEvoy,Anthony Kelly, Jason Kelly, Subs David Corbett and Darren Finn.

Senior League, Two walk over in four weeks

Shannonbridge were awarded a Walk over by Tullamore who were unable to field a team on Sunday last. The Game was to take place at 6 pm yet the Shannonbridge club were only informed of the walk over ten minutes before throw in.

A number of Players had traveled from Dublin and Galway and were very disappointed to hear of this at such a late stage.

This also happened when the Bridge were to play Edenderry four weeks ago in the Senior league again we were informed half an hour before throw in when Players had once again traveled from East and West to play the game.

It seems that if a club has no further involvement in the Championship, players are less likely to attend league games. Clubs should check early in the day or day before to check on players who are available and give clubs adequate notice if they will be unable to fulfill the fixture.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Seems like there are about five or six thousand army and police clustered around Limerick and Dromoland for the Bush visit today.
Somebody mentioned that nearly all the army tanks are down there but are not designed for anti aircraft millile attacks or whatever. Shannonbridge Pottery create lots of souvenirs for the Bunratty Castle shop and Charlie Hoystead is quietly confident that George Bush is being presented with one of them.
The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern will be glad to know that a copy of his daughter's best selling novel has been purchased for Shannonbridge Library.Thursday 7to9pm. Work is ongoing on The Shannonbridge Diner / Takeaway and there is a rumor that it will be opened on next Monday.
Shannonbridge had a big win in football last evening against Daingean.Conor is working for a company that make sportsgear and he was asked to deliver three orders to customers in Offaly. It was a bit embarrassing to find when they opened the package to find that Kinnitty was spelled wrong on the jerseys. Are you interested Kate ?
Talks of a rally of vintage cars calling to Shannonbridge soon organized by newly elected County Councillor Constance Hanniffy.
She will be glad to hear that Saint Callins school in Rashina have won the regional prize in the ESB Primary School Environmental Awareness Awards and also were named by Offaly County Council as one of the County's Green Flag Schools.
Good news for Kate in Uganda.Two readers of this site Lorraine in Pottstown and Ken and Betty are wondering how they can help out with your dream of improving the dormitory in the orphanage.Told them that here in the village any monies collected will be credited to Kates account.Will keep them updated on best way to get the money into Kates account.
Kate's dad Carey Thornhill retires from work today in the local power plant having arrived in the village about forty years ago and sharing what turned out to be his future home with three other single engineers. Maureen Blehein took the singleness of him and this website and lots of other projects in the village are glad she did. Their son Mike set up this site and another son David has put an amount of his time into the running of it.
Kerrill is David's twin and is in Sydney. Aileen is Kates sister and is in Galway.Wishing him well on his retirement. By the way Carey is a whizz kid on computers and may have a look at this site hopefully.
Veteran Disc Jockey Tony Blackburn was suspended for a day from his breakfast show yesterday for defying a radio station's orders not to play Cliff Richards records.Well done Tony and as Cliff would sing Congratulations.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

It looks like Clonmacnois will be one of the principal locations used to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Popes visit to Ireland.Some commentators are wondering if he will come to Ireland again and one of them was mentioning Armagh as one stop. Already a group of Bishops including our own Cahal Daly have formed a working committee to organize the celebrations.
See on the Midland Tribune this week that Tullamore had a celebration to mark the arrival of the Railway 150 years, the Distillery 175 years, and the Grand Canal 200 years ago. A number of people dressed in medieval costume including Catrioa Hilliard - a daughter of Oliver and Margaret Hilliard.Find more under unison webpage.
The national school at Clonmacnois won The Green Flag in a recent competition based on their work for the environment that involved field trips, a clean up day and cleaning out the water chutes after the starlings.They had two recycling projects collecting 20Kg of waste batteries and stamps.They identified two main litter / waste problems generated in the school as A. Lunch Packaging and B. Paper Waste.
They bought a compost bin and encouraged lunch boxes and reusable drink bottles. They got students to use more environmentally friendly lunch packaging in not using cling film or aluminimum foil etc.They used recycable paper and old work books for Junior Art.Response rate was over 90 %. Great praise was awarded to Frank Norton and Margaret Lantry for keeping the school and grounds in tip top condition.
Congratulations and well done everybody.
See a few For sale signs in the area. Noticed a sign on the late George O Neill's house beside the River Blackwater standing on about three acre and four miles from Shannonbridge.Nearer the village and near Gerry Greene's house Coakleys old home has a sign displayed. Just outside at Templedew Hollerans and later the late George Hynes house and gardens are for sale.And there is more.
Kates account of her work in Uganda is attracting great interest and hopefully some money can be transferred into her account for use on her project. There was very good response to the clothes and shoe appeal from Father Charlie Beirne of Mbarara - Uganda and my socks are missing.Keep an eye out for them Kate - there is a hole in one of the heels and they are black.
John Daly was telling us about Rathrobin Castle near Mountbolus which was owned by Danny Scully until his death about twenty years ago.Johnny Mahon bought the farm and castle at that time.The castle had a coffin in the rafters of a loft which had remained untouched for a long time. Johnny decided to remove the coffin and asked the police to attend.Detective John Duncan was a witness as the coffin was taken down and opened. Inside they found an amount of bones and skulls.It is reckoned that the contents belonged to people that died in the fields during the Great Famine of 1845 and that later their skulls and bones were tidied up and placed in the coffin. The mystery is that the coffin was placed in the loft.
The castle is mentioned in the list of castles in Offaly in the Offaly Historical Society webpages and they have not included Rachra Castle.Dont you feel left out.? Dont worry the Four Masters give us a mention around 1557.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

I've just read the local news and am delighted to hear 100 euro has been raised already. 100 goes a long way out here. A child can be sponsored for a year here for just 150, this pays for schooling, their shoes, pens, copies, bags, soap and basic things like that. They never ask for toys as they need clothes instead! A Danish girl came to the school today to meet the kids she sponsors - It was lovely to see.
I am hoping to renovate the dorms here. The girls dorm is very small and dirty. They sleep in bunkbeds 4 people high and some have two to a bed. Their belongings, which arent much, are in suitcases on the floor. The windows are missing alot of panes and alot of the kids dont have mosquito nets so every week someone has malaria. Before I came here I thought Malaria was very serious but they talk about it like we talk about having a cold.
Most of the kids here get up at 5.30 to do chores like wash clothes, sweep or wash floors. I've never seen such hard working people and no one complains. The older kids start school at 6.30 and are in class till 7, they stop for supper and then go back at 8.30 until 10. I dont know how they stay awake.
I am getting a few footballs for the kids today. At the moment they play with a home made ball. It is made from banana fibres and plastic bags and is surprisingly good.
Went to the final of traditional african dancing last saturday. We took 40 minutes of video which i will send home in august with one of the girls. Almost got knocked down on the way home. A bus came ploughing through a crowd of about 50 people walking on the road in the dark. We all had to dive into the ditch. Us three Irish girls were a bit shook getting out of the ditch but all the Africans were laughing at us. It really is survival of the fittest out here, if you dont jump you die!
Got a break from the school last weekend, its hard to stay there 24hours a day 7 days a week. Went to a place called lake nabugabo which is about 12 miles away. It took 45 minutes to get there cause the roads here are terrible. We hired a row boat there which had home made oars and no oar pins so we had to row like Indians. Needless to say we didnt go very far. we pulled up at a half built resort and had a few drinks. The journey back was a bit nervewracking as we weren't too steady in the boat. The beer out here would blow the head off you - its 5.6% and only costs 75cents. So if you are like me you'd be drunk on 2 euro!
I have started to teach the tin whistle in the school and am driven mad with them all shouting "auntie, me auntie" to have a go. They call all the teachers Auntie out here so I have become an Auntie to over 200 kids.
Some of the kids are picking up the tin whistle really quickly while others make a terrible noise. They are teaching me how to play the drum and dance to African music. One of the teachers was showing us how to carry stuff on our heads. He can carry 20 litres of water in jerry can on his head. He'd make a fortune in the circus! So when I come home I'll be able to carry a bucket of water on my head while drumming and dancing to african music! Until next week, bye. Kate
The Paddy Kavanagh guide and bus were in Shannonbridge last evening with a group o The Corbetts from New Jersey near New York.
Mr Corbett was telling us that at one time Eamon De'Velara went to America and raised money for Ireland.He was advised to use legal advise in setting up Bonds as a receipt for monies donated.
He used a young lawyer named Theodore Roosevelt and the bonds were to mature when the last British soldier left Ireland. Corbetts bought some of the Bonds and they have been handed down to the third generation so far. Wonder if our Minister for Finance knows about this.
Another New Jersey visitor to Shannonbridge yesterday was Father Frank Garvey from Cherry Hill who is a cousin of Mrs Eileen Keena. Often wondered how Mrs Keena arrived in Aughnacabe and Pat was telling us that as a young girl of seventeen she started working in the Chipper Keelys in Tullamore. Sonny Keena was in hospital in Tullamore and was related to the Kellys. Every evening Eileen Wynne from Arigna in North Roscommon was asked to take a little treat such as a portion of cake over to Sonny in the hospital.Six months later they were married.And by coincidence yesterday was the anniversary of Sonny's death.May he
rest in peace.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Takeaway remains closed and also the Hairdresser and the boarding rooms over the Takeaway. Mags continues to keep in contact with her regulars by doing housecalls for the moment. Many people have mentioned the loss it is to the community to have these amenities closed.
In addition the Garda Barracks remains unoccupied since last September and the Tourist Information Office has not open.
Visitor to Ashbrook from England was telling us last night that people with a UK address can avoid bank charges when getting Euro out of cash machines anywhere in Europe or Ireland by using a Flex Account from the Nationwide Bank. Sounds like a good idea.
Colin Killeen has started a collection to help Kate with her dreams of improving the dormitory for the children in her school in Uganda.Any tips usually from food customers are placed in a bottle and the total has gone over one hundred Euro already.
Yesterday was a beautiful day for a trip on the river and so Mick Killeen had lots of volunteers for a boat trip to the bends above Clonmacnois. Tom and Margaret Carty and Pat and Mai Duffy and Pat Kay and John Killeen were the crew members and some took there turn at navigating.Margaret Carty told us there was a lot of swans and she saw only two people fishing - a man and a woman at Clonmacnois.There were a number of swans on the river and little river traffic. Margaret saw eleven horses in one field and wondered who owned them. Some refreshments were on board which might account for Mai Duffy deciding to steer a bit to the left.Last night Bridie Carry heard the account of the voyage and wants to be included in the next outing.
Three visitors from Boston staying in the village for two weeks while visiting family tree relations named Kildea also have their names on the waiting list.Kathy Kildea told us that they were here about nine years ago and found some information from the late Father Egan in Taughmaconnell and even more from an ancestor search group in Roscommon town.They like Brendan Shine concerts and know he is married to a Kildea.They were enquiring about Patsy Jacks pub as they had visited it with cousins from Taughmaconnell previously and it is now closed. Some rain today finished off an unusual dry spell and water rationing was being mentioned.

Monday, June 21, 2004

See where Louise has got the master copy of her CD and all it needs now is artwork. packaging and a name. She would welcome any suggestions for a name (keep them kind) and find her under Entertainment local links on the Shannonbridge website.
Looking at Daithi Rua's link it looks like he is busy on the continent at present.Thought he might have been part of the entertainment at the Donegan Clan rally coming up soon.
On Saturday night over 60 people turned up in Crank House Banagher for the Corncrake talk and the visit to the callows afterwards where they heard the bird call. You can listen to a recording of the sound here on this website,
Good to see Richard Reeves here on holiday staying in his favourite guesthouse with John and Vera Carty at Ashbrook. Two years ago Richard had the tragic experience of having his wife Sheila fall in the river and on a checkout in Portiuncula she was moved to Beaumont Hospital in Dublin with a brain tumour.After a few weeks it was decided to fly her home to England and Richard took the car on the ferry. When he arrived home she was dead. You can see her photograph on this website.
Sheila would be pleased that on his first day fishing yesterday Richard landed a variety of fish incuding roach,perch,rudd,tench and hybrids.
Yesterday was Fathers Day here and when cousins John and Kay and Doc and Dick and Sean Cunney arrived to look for Grandfathers grave it seemed a good day for the search. The grave is located in Clonburren graveyard and was part of a discoery trip for the six of us. Take the road from Shannonbridge to Ballinasloe and branch right for Athlone. After three miles you reach the old schoolhouse at Falthy with the soccer pitch.Turn left into America. As you go down the hill past Paddy Kenny's home there should be a stone on the RHS at the bottom of the hill near a famous well.Pass the BNM workshops on the RHS and reach the graveyard on the LHS. We found the upright graveslab under an alder tree with a heavy coat of white lichen. Using grass we made out Groria in Excelsis Deo and further down the stone was John Killian with the different spelling. Afterwards I wondered did anyone say a prayer.
Then we branched across the Esker at the Marian Statue which needs a springclean.Meeting a T junction we turned left to have a look at The Moat on the side of the Esker.Sadly we ommitted to turn into the old Cappaleitra village and see the point of the backwater and the Standing Stones in the field created by the water flow from the Ice Age.Instead we rounded the end of the Esker and took the track down to Devenish Island or as Flann O Brian called it in his tale At Swim Two Birds. Microsoft would translate the Irish title Snaimh Dha Ein .This is where three corncrakes have meet identified but we heard none calling. Must be Fathers Day.We found the repair work on the track carried out by Steve Nell using buckets of stones. Noticed dozens of fabulous wild flowers blooming in the callowland and one tract of grass was cut saved and gone.John and Kaye were amazed at the array of fine house on the circuit and we met three tractors busily cutting hay.Noticed two sandpits eating into the Esher Riada or King Esker so take the trip soon. As we looked downstream Shannonbridge was about two miles away.
How is your Irish ? See where Microsoft has teamed up with Maynooth Limerick and Ulster Univercities and Foras na Gaeilge to develop an Irish language version of the software firms Windows XP operating system, and other software which will see roughly 600,000 words translated. Ta se sinn maith go leoir which means that is very good...I think.
Helpful website for parents and teenagers on depression at
The Shannonbridge Active Retirement group meeting Tuesday morning @10.30am.
Hear a number of people saying they would like to help organize some funding for Kate in Uganda especially seeing what 2000 Euros has done for the school.Kate has plans to improve the kids dormitory.If interested contact Colin Killeen.
Brian O Meara of the barge in The Cut was reminding us yesterday that at least two people have fallen into the river from the old jetty this year. The problem is that the OPW people have stacked a number of floating sections of jetty on the quay which will be used to upgrade the jetty in Clonmacnois in September after the peak season.Contacted the OPW in Athlone today and told them of the accidents.Also suggested that their engineers consider adding floating skirting to the old jetty downstream to make it friendlier for visitors to moor their boats.Tel 090-6494232.
Some results from the weekend. Shannonbridge 3-8 Daingean 0-9.
Roscommon 1-10 Leitrim 0-13 draw. Laois beat Meath by four points.
Donegal beat Tyrone. In hurling Offaly 2-25 Dublin 1-13.
Friday evening an open air Mass was held in Clonmacnois on the feast of The Sacred Heart to enroll about twenty of our youth in the Pioneer movement where they pledged to abstain from drink and drugs until they are eighteen.There was some light rain and it was remarkable to see about 120 people making use of the Mass shelter.On a finer evening half them would have been scattered around the cemetery.
Saturday night someone came looking for six WKD a wicked blue coloured drink.Later I went to the store to top up the shelf and found the cardboard carton with about ten bottles of WKD.As I tried to move the carton a bird flew out and perched about ten feet away.So the carton was replaced and the birds left in peace.
Wondered yesterday if the mother had returned and brough a potato to place alongside the nest.Again the bird flew out so I am assuming that all is well.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Adain Carry was telling us last evening that he is hoping his new home in Raharabeg will be ready for the roof timbers this weekend.The O Briens gave me the impression on Wednesday that they had met Adain but he told me that he only met Dave when he was over some months ago on his discovery walk .Adain is anxious to meet them if possible but generally during the week he is not on the site until about 7.00pm.
The Raharabeg road is being resurfaced this week and Moby promised to take me for a walk there over the weekend.
The local Library would like to see more people using the facility on Thursday night from 7 to 9pm.So give it a go next week.
After an overcast day yesterday the sun is shining today with some wind and not as hot as earlier in the week.Saw Mary giving Pat a bottle of sun protection cream 20 on Wednesday for a lie out in the garden.
The Corncrake people at 0509-51676 tell us that to date 22 corncrakes have been identified located on the Shannon Callows downstream of Athlone.Best local cluster is three around Devenish Island/Mathers callow about two miles upstream of Shannonbridge.We still have only one on Borannagh/Morans Island downstream.They told us that none have been reported along the Suck from Shannonbridge to Ballinasloe and the numbers are much the same as last years.Presume it is male birds they talk about.
Our girls in Sydney and Uganda might like our scone recipe.
Ingredients - 1.5 pounds of self raising flour,6 ounces butter or margarine, 4 ounces sugar, 3 eggs, Buttermik, 6 ounces raisins.
Rub margarine, flour, sugar until it is a fine mixture.Add fruit and mix. Put in eggs and enough buttermilk for a soft mixture. Roll out. Make scones. Bake at 160C for 15 - 20 minutes.
Billy Henshaw from Athlone was playing music in Shannonbridge last night and it brought back memories of the great fiidle player Frank Reid who often weaved some wonderful music on the fiddle with Billy on guitar.When I asked Billy jokinly last night if he had brought Frank along he surprized me by saying that Teddy Quinn was playing the accordeon with him and giving the old song to boot.Teddy is a well known character around Shannonbridge ,working at the building of the original power plant and later working there. Pat reminded me of one night when most people kept cows and our cowshed had a spare stall that was often used at night.One winter night the late Mick Kilmartin from Clonmacnois decided to overnight there and was nicely settled in after midnight with hay for a bed and his overcoat for a blanket when he was joined by a figure in the dark who lay alongside him and started to share the overcoat.No word was spoken but after some time Teddy won out and Mick Kilmartin got up and cycled the four miles home to Shannonbridge.The cowshed and yard are long gone and the two Kelly houses across from the church are where it stood.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Progress on Adain Carry's new bungalow in Ragherabeg is still going well.It is being built on the site of the old O'Brien home.
Yesterday Paddy O Brie and his two sons Dave and Dermot arrived on a visit from Middlesborough and called to see the old home and met Aidan who told them of his plans to renovate the house when he has completed building the new one. Paddy looks in great form and visited the school where John Cooney the teacher showed him where he was first enroled as a pupil.Frank Guinan and Alo Moran came along to meet them.They flew into Dublin and took the bus to Ballinasloe where they are staying and using taxis. Next time they plan to book accommodation from this website.
Paddy told us there were seven O Brien children - Martin died 1971, Ned is in Guernsey, Kieran is in Sheffield, Margaret and Brigid were last heard from in Bristol and Annie married Pat Grenham and now lives in Ahascragh.Her husband Pat died about two years ago.
They are planning on visiting Clonmacnois and visiting the burial place of Paddy's parents and also taking the Bog Train.
Yesterday Paddy brought Dave and Dermot down to the bog where as a youngster he helped cut and save the turf used for heating their home.They also plan on meeting some other people that Paddy knew as a youth.
Looking at some old photo albums we found photographs of Margaret or Maggie and Bridget taken with the late Babs Guinan when they visited some years ago.Also of Ned when he visited from Guernsey.
Dave was the one that recently came on a discovery trip and arrived in Ballinasloe and walked to Ragherabeg retracing the route that his father Paddy used when bringing their cattle to the fairs in Ballinasloe
Morning Ireland this morning had a feature on The Artane .... Band.This year some twenty girls will be joining the boys at the All Ireland Hurling and Football finals in September.The band will now be known as The Artane Band.Cahal the presenter asked some of the girls how they felt playing in front of some 80,000 people and they were remarkably calm and confident.I liked Cahal's finish when he wondered how they would feel if they were asked to play at Portmarnock which is a golf club with only full time male membership.
Yesterday was a bright sunny day and travelling to Portlaoise there was a great display of Alder trees in their white bloom.
The old Irish name for Shannonbridge came to mind which is Rachra Cluain na Fearna which translates into English as The Pass Between the Little Wet Meadows of The Alder Trees.The shortened version of Rachra was used on signposts but then some modern geniouses in the Office of Public Works and the ESB did their own translation and used Droicead = bridge and Sionnaine = Shannon and na = of the. So they put Droicead na Sionnaine and Shannonbridge on their signs.Isnt that something.
hi from sydney!

well job-hunting here in sydney is much harder than we ever dreamed it would be. i must say i had this image of arriving and finding a lovely job straight away! it's been so hard to find work. and because it's winter here at the moment i thought it would make it even easier. i'd hate to imagine what it's like trying to find work in the summertime here, like trying to find a needle in a haystack i expect.
i must say after studying bar service for a year in college before i came over, i was very disappointed to find that it's actually worth nothing to me, it was a complete waste of time. 'cos you have to do a course over here before you can sell alcohol, and even then you're not guaranteed a job afterwards, so i didn't bother doing that. our two housemates did the course and they're still looking for work too.
so after a rather stressful couple of weeks, i finally did get a job, i'm working in ali baba's, it's a lebanese k'bab shop.
he was only able to give me 15-20hrs per week but since my trial, he's agreed to give me more hours so it's good. it's just across from bondi beach so it's pretty nice. it can be pretty boring when it's not busy but i'm just glad to be working again.
sarah got on very well with her temping job, she got an extra weeks work out of it and is now back job-hunting again. i've no doubt she'll get something very soon.
we met up with kerrill thornhill the other weekend who invited us to a party they were having. god, when we saw his house, we realised ours is a bit of dump alright! their house is lovely, and really big. they've got a lovely garden area and sheds and everything!
we went to taranga zoo last week, i was picked out of the crowd on the way and involved in some street entertainment. it was quite amusing to say the least. we got a ferry to the zoo and it really is the best zoo i've ever seen. the animals there have alot more freedom than in any other. you can actually walk around among some of the kangaroos and stuff. it was amazing. we were allowed into the koala enclosure to take photos, we couldn't touch them, but were very tempted to, they looked so cuddly. there were so many animals there that you just wouldn't see anywhere else. and there's a lovely view of the city from there too.
the weather has been pretty good here the sun is shining most days and it's quite warm. where we're living we're shaded by tall buildings though, so it's a little bit cooler here. the other night there was serious thunder and lightening with really heavy rain. it lasted over an hour. we've never seen anything like it. but then it was nice and sunny again the next day.
i bought a guitar yesterday, it was good to start playing again. it's not same as the weekly "sing-along" though!
think that's all from here for the moment, until next time, bye!

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Birdwatch Irelandare having a Corncrake Night in the Crank House Banagher on Saturday June 19th at 9.30pm.After a talk there will be a walk on Tower Callow where you should be able to hear the Corncrake. Tel 0509-51676.
Remember that Father Charlie Beirne will be collecting all types of clean and dry ladies,gents and children's clothing,bed linen,curtains,towels and shoes on Friday 18th June before noon in Shannonbridge Hall carpark and Clonfinlough Church carpark for the Mbarara-Uganda missions.
Are the birds getting fond of the drink ? With the dry weather it helps to leave out vessels of drinking and bathing water for the birds but last evening a bold robin flew into Killeens Bar obviously wanting something stronger.
The Shannonbridge Westlife group continue their grass cutting project on the Ballinasloe approach road and things are looking much better.
New paint work on Lukers old and new pub, on Morans Gala Foodstore and on Richie Browne's Post Office look good. Ritchie has got an attractive mural painted of three people seated on a bench with a man reading a Shannonbrige newspaper.Eyecatching.
Denny Hayes from Kilkenny was on the telephone last evening. Denny once lived in Shannonbridge and worked with the Forestry.
He is in great form again having spent a few weeks in hospital and was talking about some of the people that he knew years ago.Starting at Kinloughs and Morans he came across the river and talked about Beltons and Lukers before we drifted into Rachra Castle and the Mac Coughlans.He mentioned Jack and Mick and Dan Coughlan and Jack Coughlans wife.Not sure if this was the first or second who is Mary Liz Mc Evoy.Promised he will visit Shannonbridge sometime soon.
Kathleen Egan was lucky last night in the Shannonbridge/Doon weekly Lotto winning £2400 with her winning numbers which were 4, 10, 15 and 18. Next week the Jackpot starts again at £1500.
The counting and recounting of votes for the local, european and change to the constitution has finished apart from one area where one of the candidates died and counting was adjourned.
In the Ferbane electoral area there was no change with Connie Hanniffy, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, Tom Feery and Eamon Dooley holding their seats.
Weather was so good yesterday that Dave Kemp had a good excuse for only catching six ounces in ten hours fishing time.Steve Nell was the winner for the day with over five pounds.
The Central Fisheries visited Shannonbridge and looked at the Hot Water Stretch where they plan to carry out some work including the removal of a bed of ash which has lain there for over 18 months.A plan to build a fishermans road to a bankside some few hundred yards downstream of the Hot Water has been put on hold for the present.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Well its another beautiful day here in Uganda so I'm going to make this short and go out to enjoy the sun. I had a great adventure on Saturday when I went to the semifinals of a school festival. The traditional dancing was excellent and I took a short video which Dave will put on the web soon. The journey there was very interesting. The new teacher Emma and I got on the one scooter for part of the journey and almost crashed into the ditch cause it was pissing rain. We then got into a taxi with 6 other people plus the driver. This taxi ran out of petrol at the top of a hill so we had to turn around and freewheel down to a petrol station which didnt have petrol! So we freewheeled down some more till we got to "fill up". They only put about 3 euro a time into the tank so if someone steals the taxi they wont get far. Some of them would rob the eye out of your head over here!
On the Journey back from the festival we got another taxi. This time there were 5 in the back, 2 in the passenger seat and 2 in the drivers seat. So taximan had to drive squashed against the window. I was expecting them to start putting people on the roof!
Went to corpus christy (however you spell it!) mass yesterday which lasted 4 hours. Us three white people had to stand up in the middle of the congregation and wave to everybody. I'll be the holiest person out here if I keep going to all these masses. I hear a priest from Uganda is collecting clothes in the bridge. His parish is about 120km from here so I might get to meet him when he passes through Masaka.
Again a beautiful fine weekend which did not suit the anglers.
Some exciting games with Wexford beating Kilkenny in hurling and Offaly beating Kildare in football. Shannonbridge won a football challenge game against Mountbellew and France beat England in their first game in the European Championship scoring two goals in the final seconds to win 2 - 1.Pauric Harringhton had our hearts in our mouths but missed a putt by a whisker in New York.
Many of the Killeen family were with John Killeen in New Jersey as he celebrated his the 45th anniversary of his ordination.

Next Friday is the Feast of the Sacred Heart and there will be an open air Mass in Clonmacnois at 8.00pm that evening organized by the PTAA. Everybody welcome.

Shannonbridge Community Youth Development Group will commence meetings for the summer term on Friday evening at 7.30pm. An open invitation to young people to join or rejoin.
This may be helpful at a sing-song when the gun is put to your head.Cousin Father John Killeen learned the words from old Jack Grehan in Taughmaconnell many years ago and has used it to effect on many occasions.
It is called The O Song as the chorus and lead in to the next verse is Ooooooooooooooooooooo. Are you ready.? Lets go.

The O Song

My wife's mother
Thats me mother in law
Could it be impossible
She gave me auld jaw.
If she was a woman
Or perhaps she was a man
I would scrape off her ears
With a corned beef can.

Chorus and lead in Oooooooooooo

Up in the mountains
Thats the place to be
Listening to the jackdaws
Singing hallalee.

Chorus and lead in Ooooooooooo

It being a wedding
There was mate galore
And everybody ate
Till their bellies got sore

Chorus and lead in Oooooooooo

Old Jack Mc Guinness
Got as round as an egg
And fell into the corner
And broke his wooden leg.

Chorus and lead in Oooooooooo

As long as I remember
Sure I never will forget
The night that Jack Mc Guinness
Got his cork leg set.

Chorus and lead in Oooooooooo

You can pull in your sail
Or do anything at all
But I defy you tie a knot
On a bulldogs tail.


Friday, June 11, 2004

Hear that Louis Farrelly is looking forward to his Stag Party tonight in Kilkenny.
Interesting group of eight American visitors on the Shannon this week made up of family and friends they hired a cruiser on the Shannon for two weeks and are spending a week in a hotel in Clare to finish off their visit.
Election day today with voting for Offaly County councilors and for Europe and for a constitutional change about citizenship.
Odd showers and a bit of wind with the continuing sunshine.OK.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

A recent article by Vickie Maye in The Irish Independent featured various haunted houses around Ireland. The Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin is featured but the photograph on the haunted Leap Castle near Birr caught my attention.The musician that now owns the castle is aware of the ghosts that roam his home and even his daughters play with them. It appears that at one time forty members of an Irish clan were thrown down a long shaft in the chapel,its sides lined with spikes. The opening was bricked up and the prisoners forgotten for 400 years.It was excavated in the 1920s and four cartloads of human remains were taken away. Then there were the dungeons where men were left to starve in lightless tombs. Visit Leap Castle or find out more in A Haunted Land: Ireland's Ghosts by Bob Curran or Irish Ghost Stories by Padraic O'Farrell.
Martin Coleman and his son Martin are over from Ilkley,Leeds for a few days visit and told us that Michael John is living with his nephew Kevin over in Galway.
Martin Heavey was in the village today and told the story of the man visiting the doctor.
Doctor - The bad news is that you have cancer
Patient - Is that so.
Doctor - Im afraid you also have Alzeimers.
Patient - It might be worse.
Doctor - How do you mean it might be worse ?
Patient - It might have been cancer.
Weather forecast for today was for rain in the Midlands
but have had only a few drops so far.

The Offaly Vocational Education Adult Learning Centre offer a free and confidential service on reading, writing, spelling and maths. Anybody interested should telephone Mary Mc Loughlin in The Adult Learning Centre, Hibernian House,O'Connor Square, Tullamore. Tel 0506 - 52280.Pass this information on to a friend.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Saw Paddy Kavanagh with a group from Kentucky in the village last evening.He played Danny Boy on the piano for them,then sung it and then told them the history of the song.Paddy is a professional guide and well worth hiring for a day or week .
Irelands biggest free paper is called Alive and survives on voluntary subscriptions. This week they have a photo of a ten day old Marmoset clinging to a womans index finger and its tiny. Louis Maher looked at it and said if you had him in your hair you would throw him away.
Good news from Kate and glad she has a few new friends.
Watch out Kate for lookalike Shannonbridge people walking around as on Fri 18th June unwanted clothes and shoes will be collected in Shannonbridge Hall carpark at 12 noon by a Father Charlie Beirne, Mbarara-Uganda.Clothes need to be clean and dry ladies,gents and children's clothing, bed linen, curtains, towels and shoes.
Fishing is in the air this week. Last evening I met a couple who are over househunting. He is a qualified angling coach and they hope to move to Ireland in about three years time. Told them about the cottage on the Cloghan road which has a price tag of over 170,000 Euros. There is also a bungalow for sale in Correen.
Yesterday the three bearded anglers arrived - Dave Kemp, Steve Nell and Frank Seal. No wives just fishing.Planning last night.
Steve Fletcher and pal are catching fish. They use a boat and anchor in a likely looking spot and put one maggot on a hook. If there is no bite after thirty minutes they move.And they caught yesterday.
See that in Vietnam 30,000 fish farms breed 200,000 tonnes of shrimp worth 500 Million Dollars in export.
Mr and Mrs Steed are here and found the access to fish upstream from the new jetty unfriendly with the gap in the first fence too narrow, the ground uneven and no stile or gate on the new boundary fence.Contacted OPW and Shannon Fisheries today.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

I am delighted to say I have been joined by another Irish girl here in the school. She arrived yesterday and will be staying for 2 months. She did some fundraising before she came over and raised 2000 euro. This will pay for a cement floor and windows for all the classrooms. It will also buy desks for all the kids. Work starts next week. I will be taking before and after footage and I'll try to get a few photos to post here.
Another Irish girl started in a school about 5 miles away. Its great to be able to chat away as fast as I like. Its also alot easier to go to town as there are now 3 of us to stare at.
I am slowly getting used to the way of life here. We get up when the cock crows at 6:00! They have lunch at 1 and dont eat again until 9:00pm. They think we are mad in Ireland having dinner around 6 and wonder why we dont wake up hungry in the middle of the night! I am also getting used to the long drop lattrines. There was great excitement yesterday evening when we smoked them to get rid of the cockroaches. This involved setting banana leaves alight and shoving them down the hole. The place was smoking away all night and all the nasty bugs are now gone.
Speaking of bugs, one of the kids came in with a tub of bugs which I thought he was going to play with - I got a bit of a shock when I saw him eating them. They were white ants and alot of kids eat them here. They are also mad for fried grasshoppers. They come with the rain so next time there's rain I have promised to eat some!
I went to a festival on Sunday where they had African singing, poetry, bible reading and traditional dancing. The traditional dancing was excellent. The bible reading was a bit mad and as usual the singing was excellent.
Rose and all the other bird lovers would love it here, there are supposed to be 1000 species of bird in Uganda. The main one you see floating around the sky is the stork, hence all the little black babies.
I was teaching about the family tree in one of my classes and was surprised to learn that Ugandans call their Aunts through marriage their grandmothers, so you can have 10 grandmothers! All very confusing. When they marry its their brothers who give them away not their fathers.
Today I am in town buying some much needed books for the school. They literally have nothing to teach with. We are also going to get some footballs and toys for the kids. I got my hair plaited today and it was the most painful thing I've ever got done. My head is killing me. 3 women were pulling at it for over 4 hours.
I am starting to meet more & more Irish people here. I met a man from Belfast today and in the hospital near me there is an Irish nun. There is also an Irish nurse and her husband from Dublin.
If anyone wants to look at some footage of the kids or the work being done in the schools here there is a website run by a couple from Denmark called Carsten and Ruth. They sold their house in Denmark and moved here with their 3 kids for a year and they have done great work. So check it out at -(click on english version),
Thats all for Today.
Take care
Yesterday while sitting outside on a seat watching the world go by a man sat down beside me and asked if I knew who he was. I was honest and said no. He turned out he was Brendan Coughlan from Eyrecourt, a son of Dan Coughlan. Now hundreds of years ago the Coughlans were one of the chief tribes in County Offaly and owned a number of castles and big houses and lots of land. Cloghan Castle and Rachra Castle were owned by Coughlan and they owned a big house at Charleville about four miles from Shannonbridge.With Cromwell arriving in the sixteenth century one of Cromwells men - Lestrange was given Charleville and Coughlan was told "togo to Hell or to Connaught" He chose what seemed to be the easier option and built his house at the mouth of the River Suck in County Galway about two miles from Shannonbridge.
They were known as the Mac Coughlan and the eldest son was mnown as The Mac - pronounced Mawe.
Now Brendan Coughlan whose mother was Nelly Lucas told me that his late father Dan was the eldest of the family and was The Mac.
Dan Coughlan was born in 1908 and attended school in Shannonbridge and told Brendan that Legs Diamond was in his class.Dan had seven sons and five daughters and his eldest son Donal is now The Mac and he is married and has a son and lives in Conneticut. If you happen to be in Cloghan Castle you will see a potrait of one of the Mac Coughlans on display.
It is said that one of the Mac Coughlans had 40 children.
Brendan had two granduncles in the priesthood and Father Joe Coughlan Kilconnell won a sailing regatta in Shannonbridge in 1919 and while coming upstream with the boat for the race it sank three times. Brendan has the trophy that was awarded that day. His other greatuncle was Father John ? Coughlan stationed in Taughmaconnell and this man kept a number of greyhounds. By coincidence my father used to walk the dogs for this priest.
Over ten days ago Padraic Downey from Ballinasloe was placing signs from Cloghan where he bought a black n white spaniel pup all the way to Ballinasloe where he discovered the pup was missing. On Friday a lady below Clonmacnois rang Padraic to tell him that she had found the dog and arranged to meet him at Clonmacnois school. Padraic says he is thinking of naming the puppy....... Lucky.
Visited Clonifeen graveyard or Teamphal at the weekend.It now has a neat wire fence protecting the ruins of the old church (Teamphal in Irish) and the children's graveyard from the surrounding cattle grazing field. An old style blacksmith's iron gate for access with a gateway leading from the track used by anglers to the Hot Water stretch.Somebody has been busy cutting the weeds and grass and some trees that were planted a few years ago have survived.Thought that a stile alongside the gate at the trackway would be helpful as this gate is locked.
Examined some of the marker stones for the graves but found no inscription. At one time stillborn or unbaptized babies were not allowed to be buried in the normal cemetories and up to the mid sixties they were usually buried at night in such places as Teamphal.
Yesterday Mick Gavin from Belmont took his boat and six Polish workers on a visit to Shannonbridge. Mick was telling us that the six are part of a group of fifteen working for his company in Belmont.Most of their products involve welding such as tankers for slurry and so on. The workshop is on the Belmont Clonmacnois road and their telephone number is 090-6457319. They also have a website
In recent years they have carried out lots of work for Poland and Russia and Mick is fluent in both languages. Recently he has visited China but has yet to master the tongue.Give him time.

Michael Susan Sean and Catherine Burke have returned to England after their weeks visit.Heard that Sean woke up on Monday morning and asked his Daddy if they were going fishing.
Some match results from the weekend. In a soccer friendly Ireland beat Hollland 1 - 0 thanks to a Robbie Keane goal.
In Gaelic Football Westmeath 0 - 14 Dublin 0 - 12
" " " Wexford 0 - 12 Kildare 0 - 10
" " Hurling Waterford 4 - 10 Tipperary 3 - 12
Shannonbridge were beaten in a football challenge against Clara.

Martin Burke has a barrel of water at the bottom of his garden for birds to use for bathing. Yesterday was a humid day and all doors and windows were open but it was a surprise to find that a swallow had flown into the kitchen and landed on the window sill.Darren Finn is a dab hand with the birds so he caught her in his hands and released her.
Heard on the news this morning of the death of journalist Mary Holland aged 69. Mary was credited as the first journalist to highlight Northern Ireland as a political problem and she was to the forefront of the Women's Liberation Movement in the 1960 era.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Sad to hear of the death of the Irish golfer Joe Carr yesterday.May he rest in peace. Avril Doyle visited Shannonbridge last evening with her specially decorated campaign bus seeking support for the European Election shortly.Missed getting either a biro or a peaked cap.
More interesting was the visit of Tony Ellis and two friends and their plans to do some fishing. Later last evening Mike Thornhill our web master was around.
Number of people using the library facility on Thursday evening 7to9 has been disappointing for the past few weeks.Come along next week if you can.
Our overseas friends including Kate Sarah Ciara may wish to look at The Irish Times headlines under that promise a warm and dry holiday weekend. Another website features headlines from The Irish Independent and a lot of local papers on a dropdown menu to be found under
Both La Sainte Union convent in Banagher and Saint Kierans College in Kilkenny announced that they are closing their boarding school sections.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

News of a third dead swan last evening washed up on the Galway bank between Moran's Island and the power plant has been reported to the Wildlife Ranger for our area who is Noel Butler Tel 0509-22512.
Our Westlife group are doing what they said they were going to do and are working away at trimming the grass and shrubs on the embankment on the Ballinasloe approach road and on the sidings.
Again well done to all and if you feel like it join in their effort some evening soon.
Met Ellen Hoffmann and Wilfred Brandt last evening who are having a three weeks cruise on the Shannon and finishing up with one week in Connemara in a village between Clifden and Kylemore.They had their first trip on the Shannon in 1987 and have spent a total of six months cruising here since. They have their favourite mooring places along the way and last night they overnighted in Clonmacnois which is one of their favourites.Today they are paying their first trip to Ballinasloe.They have two bicycles on hire and cycled from Clonmacnois.They mentioned Harry Rowalt who lectures on Flann O Brian in Germany and came here many years ago to discover At Swim Two Birds which is known around here as Devenish Island or Keena's Island.Flann O Brian wrote a master Irish fable about two swans at this island which he named At Swim Two Birds.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Danny Edwards was at Mick Mac's funeral last evening and called to Shannonbridge on his way home.Danny mentioned The Clonmacnois Development Plan which was introduced by the state Minister some months ago in Clonmacnois.At the time it was amusing to hear a Government Minister introduce a plan for Clonmacnois by admitting it was his first time to visit the place.The plan seemed to be based on a study carried out by Doctor Tubridy about 15 or 20 years ago and involved Clonmacnois, The Callows, Mongans Bog, The Quarries and outcrop of rock at Clerhane birds,animals trees grasses insects etc .
The Minister told the gathering that it was planned to get European Status for Clonmacnois making it in the same field as The Pyramids.There was an invitation to contribute to the plan by a certain closing date.
Anyhow Danny Edwards wrote a letter and one of the items he asked for clarification on was "the removal of modern intrusion on the monastic site". It turns out that this means considering the removal of the present oratory and the helicopter pad.
The present oratory was constructed by the Office of Public Works in 1969 to replace an older oratory that was built by permission from the Church Body that owned Clonmacnois cemetery at the time.
In 1979 the helicopter pad was built by the same OPW to facilitate the early morning visit of Pope John Paul at the time. The pope was tracing his religeous roots to 10th century missionaries from Clonmacnois that went to Poland.
Danny promised to come back with more.Are you interested ?

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Hello, Ta me sa cyber cafe here in Masaka on a roasting hot day. I have finally arrived at the school where I will be spending the next 5 months. It is outside a town called Masaka in the south of the country. I was given the grand tour yesterday. Its not a very big school, there are about 300 students, many of whom are orphans and some also have aids. Alot of people died in this area as a result of aids. It is said that aids was first detected in a village not far from here on the shores of lake victoria.
As for the school, the classrooms have no floor just uneven dusty ground, there are windows with no glass and no doors either. The students sit on homemade benches and the only materials available are the blackboard and chalk. Each student has a copy book but they can't afford text books so they copy everything from the board. There is no electricity so one of the students showed me how to use a parafin lamp last night, it gets dark here around 7pm. Washing is done by hand and cooking is done outside using firewood as fuel. The main food is Matooke, which is boiled banana, but not as we know it, its quite nice actually. The other main food is pocho made from maize, its not great. And best of all is they have Irish potatoes so I won't starve.
As for toilet and showers in the school - there are none! The toilets are a sight to behold. They are holes in the ground, along with holes in the walls and doors! There is no such thing as a shower so I have to wash out of a basin, it will all take a bit of getting used to. The school is about half a mile from an Irish run hospital and there is supposed to be an Irish doctor there who I am looking forward to meeting so I dont have to speak broken english. There is also an order of Irish nuns down the road called missionarys of mary or something like that. I am sure I will meet them soon. East africans take their religion very seriously. Last sunday I went to a born again christian service, it lasted 4 hours! Lots of gospel singing and praising the lord, jumping up, whooping and hollering and raising your hands to jesus. There was also some MC Hammer style dancing. It was great to see. I was the only white person in a congregation of about 2000. I was also at a party thrown by a man who owns a chemical products company here, he presented me with a large fairy liquid size bottle of hand wash, there was a photographer who took a photo of the presentation - I just hope it doesnt make the news! Then he made me dance to african music with him in front of about 50 africans, they had a great laugh watching a muzungu dancing.
I have also been to an african wedding. They are the same as home, with the bride dressing in white, then pageboy, bridesmaids etc. There was alot of singing at the reception and no dancing as the electricity went. It is traditional for the new bride to kneel before her husband and offer him food and drink. I'm sure all the Irish lads would love it out here - the women do everything and men can have 3 and more wives.
This Sunday I am being collected at 6am, yes 6am to go to mass! I can't even get up at 12pm at home to run across the road.
I'll post a message again next week. Bye, Kate
Conratulations to Alec Mooney Doon son of Peter and Jane who has been chosen for this years rugby schoolboy trials to be held in Clongowes over three days in August.
The Crompton brothers have just finished their annual fishing holiday on a high note. Yesterday while fishing one of the backwaters of the Shannon Chris had a netful of tench with some in the specimen range ( 6 lbs ) and one big seven pounder. All the fish were in the spawning process.