Tuesday, August 31, 2004

hello again!
well this morning i decided to go to manly as i hadn't been there yet. it's about half an hour away on the ferry. the sun was out so it was quite a nice trip over. when i arrived and left the wharf i couldn't help but smile as i saw a phrase that was part of the town centrepiece. i headed to the left and saw what looked like a little beach, it certainly wasn't doing much to boost the tourism for the area however, with many warning signs about pollution in the water and how it was dangerous to swim there as a result. part of the water was sectioned off with mesh netting, that had quite a build up of dirt. and so i didn't find it surprising that there was nobody here, and even the sands lay empty.
then i saw a signpost for the manly scenic walkway and so i decided to go that way. it was quite nice following a little yellow path all the way, a bit like the wizard of oz. and it was really strange, because as i stepped onto that path, the people and traffic behind me seemed to disappear, and no noise could be heard. on one side of the path, ran houses and apartments, all well decorated with lovely shrubs and colourful flowers. on the other side was the water, slowly flowing in against the rocks.
it was really peaceful along the way, every so often a stranger would pass and smile, it seemed as though they knew this path quite well. it was very different to be somewhere so quiet for a change, so very different to the city, where you push through crowds and constantly get trampled on by high-heels and black suits. i soon realised that i hadn't heard the whizzing sound of a siren since i'd started walking. alot different to being at home, just half an hour away, where sirens are heard so often, that they begin to fade into the background, until they're almost not noticed anymore.
then the road led to another little area of which i can't remember the name. there wasn't much sand here, it was mostly rock. and so there was a swimming pool sectioned off, but it's a bit too near the polluted area if you ask me. i looked down, and the water really didn't seem too hectic. there were a group of maybe 15 people placing wooden frames on the rocks, and the water, examining them closely and taking notes. i've no idea what they were doing but it must be of some importance. i thought maybe they were testing for pollution or something.
towards the end of the path was manly boat shed where numerous boats are floating in the water. lots of white masts pointing to the now cloudy sky. i'd now come to the end of the yellow brick road and so headed back along the way again.
i walked back through the town, which consists mainly of souvenir shops and eateries, which shows that the area is above all, a tourist area. i carried on until i found manly beach. it's quite big, but hasn't got as many surfers as you'd find at bondi. most people seemed to sit on the steps or the wall, looking onto the beach where few people sat scattered in the sand. volleyball, cricket and sand castle making were among the activities being played by different groups of children. i sat for a while, looking out at the waves before heading back for the ferry.
i liked it here, there were lots of people around, but nobody was in a hurry. everyone seemed to be really laid back so very relaxed, and so i believed the words that i had been met by as i entered the town -
"manly... seven miles from sydney, a thousand miles from care."

Monday, August 30, 2004

Congratulations to Cian O'Connor and his horse Waterford Crystal on winning the Olymic Showjumping Championship at The Olympics and collecting a Gold Medal for Ireland. For a change it was nice to hear the Irish Anthem being played and the 24 year old Cian was trying his best to sing the words through his tears of joy.This was Ireland's ninth Gold Medal and a first for our showjumpers.
Yesterday Kerry defeated Derry by 1 - 17 to 1 - 11 to qualify to meet Mayo in this years All Ireland Football final at the end of September. GAA results in Offaly are to be found under www.hoganstand.com/offaly/fixtures
Paul Mc Ginley has worked very hard to earn his place on the Ryder Cup team to play The USA next month and glad that he has suceeded. Well done.
Despite a mixed forecast the weather turned out pretty good over the weekend and is fine today.
The village water supply comes from wells north of Ballinasloe and heavy rain bring a discoloration.The council published a warning on Friday advising users not to drink or wash their teeth with the supply unless it is first boiled.
About fifty cars took part in a Vintage Rally at the weekend. On Saturday they visited Athlone, Knockcrockery,Roscommon and the Old Abbey with lunch in The Abbey Hotel.They returned to Athlone on the other side of Lough Ree stopping at Lanesboro and Glasson. They had a dinner dance in Athlone on Saturday night. Sunday morning they visited Clonmacnois and had lunch in The Fort Restaurant. Everybody that participated was presented with a special gift by Shannonbridge Potteries. Local Councilor Constance Hanniffy was involved in organizing the weekend.
The talk of the week was the visit the Barge 45M which was once a commercial barge on the Shannon and canals and was sunk at Parkers Point on Lough Derg in 1946 and the crew of three men were drowned. David Coote has owned it for about 30 years and it boasts a Bollinger engine which is quite noisy when started. Rachel Leech was visiting Shannonbridge by water at the weekend and was telling us that her first rememberance of Shannonbridge was when she was left behind in Killeens Pub by her parents Joe and Lolo.Lolo was celebrating her birthday at the weekend on their 100 year old barge The Ebennaezer which has a website www.ebennaezer.net
Which Rachel asked to be added to our Links.
Good news from Mike Cunney, da nephew, on Saturday. Mike and Clare have got engaged.
Well this week I'm on my holidays in Kampala. I had planned to go on safari in Kenya for a few days but the ministry for foreign affairs took my passport! So the visa saga continues! On Monday I went to the immigration deptartment to sort out my visa. Here I found out that it actually expired on July 26th! so I have been an illegal immigrant for the last month! They took my passport and application for a special pass so I have to wait two weeks before they get back to me.
I Have just come from the taxi park here in Kampala which is a crazy place. There are big toyota vans everywhere and there's hardly space to walk between them. Somehow everything seems to run smoothly and all taxis get out of the park, eventually. The transport here is desperate and the drivers are nuts. This week there have been 3 bus crashes killing around 20 people and injuring many more! The road to Masaka is one of the most dangerous in the country - a friend was ran off the road in his landrover last week!
On the walk up to the internet cafe here in Kampala I passed a load of women sitting on the footpath selling things from chocolate eclairs and newspapers to coffee beans and twigs!! I asked what these twigs were for and they replied "for eating". After further enquiry I found out both the sticks and the coffee beans are aphrodisiacs. The men chew them during the day as they need to keep all their wives/lovers happy later on!
With all the extra money raised I've decided to plaster the outside of the school and also to build new washrooms. At the moment the kids wash outside in a makeshift room made from galvanise, they dont even have a floor or roof on it!
The dorms are going well and should be finished next week. Then I have to start all over again with the haggling and buying hardware. I might become a forewoman when I come home - I hear Anderson and Darcy are looking for a start!
This week I have been like an official photographer for the pearl of africa choir. They are a group of 21 kids from the 5 different Molly and Paul schools who are leaving Uganda on September 15th for a 6 week tour of the UK and the USA. They do traditional song and dance and they are brilliant. They plan to come to ireland next year so hopefully ye will get a chance to see them.
Thats all for now

Mass yesterday was the months mind Mass for the late Jimmy Mooney and many of his brothers and sisters attended. His brother Christy says he is going to Listowel Races as he has a tip for a horse running there that is expected to win. The new power plant created a diversion by blowing off steam as Father O Hanlon was about to deliver his homily and he thought he would not be heard. He said that the plant people had promised not to blow off during Mass. Almost at once the noise stopped so someone was listening. There was mention of the renovation work being carried out at Saint Ciaran's Well and there is an appeal for the return for the head of a bust that was removed from one of the statue/figures at the well. There is also an appeal for fields for car parking and extra stewards for Pattern Day 19th September. See that as well as the Drum Heritage Group walking to Clonmacnois there is also a couple walking from Knock to Clonmacnois. On 12th September Joan McNevin and Paddy Pender will set out from Knock and make their way on foot to Clonmacnois through Shannonbridge, arriving on 16th Sept. They aim to raise awareness of the issue of homelessness andtheir walk is in aid of the Capuchin Centre for Homeless People.
Best wishes to Tony Fitzpatrick our ex postman who now works as a postman in Dublin and is getting married next Saturday in Dublin.
Good to see Jerry and Marie Malone over for Mark Carty's wedding. Marie is an aunt of Mark.
The O'Neill family are making a visit .Ernie was home from Cairns Australia and has just returned. Francie O Neill is home from Munich and his sister Florence is home from London.
Also home are John and Pat Egan nee Rock and their children Katie Ciara and Noel.

Friday, August 27, 2004

Eilis Mc Evoy is preparing for a sponsored 10mile sponsored run / walk around Galway Bay in aid of the Cancer Care Centre in Inis Aoibheann. Part of the preparation has been carried out in getting sponsors and no doubt will be completed today when she will be attending Mark Carty's wedding. Mark's aunt Marie arrived home yesterday to join Eugene and Tom and Patrick and John Carty for the occasion. Hope they have a wonderful day.
Coincidence but last evening as I was reading Ciara Finn's latest words an Australian family came along. The man and his wife and young girl were on a week's cruise on the Shannon as part of their holiday. The lady read Ciara's beach walk and commented that they live on Bondi beach and had lived on another of the beaches mentioned.
Jim Madigan is cruising on the Shannon and he told us that last evening as he passed Clonmacnois there were very high waves for the river which he estimated to be about three feet.
The owners of the Fernhill House Hotel in Clonakilty County Cork - Theresa and Michael O Neill are taking a break boating on the Shannon and last night they were telling that all the doctors in their area drink Murphys Stout and the reason they believe is because it is not pasteurized. Was disappointed that they had never heard of The Flying 'C' a fishing lure that I believe had its origin in Clonakilty but is now used world wide for salmon trout pike perch and other biting fish.
Numbers using the Library have fallen off considerably for the summer so drop in some Thursday evening from 7 to 9 and have a look at what is on offer.
Few useful telephone numbers - Shannonbridge Tourist Office 090-9674134, Bog Rail Tours - 090-9674114, Clonmcnois Visitor Center 090-9674195 , Clonmacnois Tourist Office 090-9674134.
Ray Walsh has joined the group of archeologists digging at Saint Ciaran's Well in Clonmacnois and Declan Ryan is going to have a look in today. Both Ray and Declan have studied archeology.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hi All,
Just read Derry's post from Tuesday 24th August regarding pictures of Shannonbridge. Often times photographer/ visitor to Shannonbridge Gareth McCormack has some nice pictures of Shannonbridge and Clonmacnois here.
You can click on the links above or type www.garethmccormack.com into your browser and then browse for the pictures in his excellent extensive image library.
Good to see Ciara and Sarah giving us an update on Sydney. Hope Niamh Quinn in Japan will give us a look at life as she sees us over there in the next year. Bridie Carry had some photographs of The Limo in the park taken when it picked up Mary Quinn, Lorraine Kenny and Elizabeth Egan and their partners to take them to the recent Graduation Ball in Tullamore. Bridie also had some photographs taken on the recent outing organized by the Active Retirement Group when they visited Galway. Good to see that Briidie Carry's mother - Great Granny Brennan has arrived for a three week visit and she has a busy schedule prepared visiting friends and relations and attending a number of birthday parties. Mighty woman.
Shannonbridge minor footballers played Shamrocks last evening and had a good win scoring 2 - 15 to 1 - 12.
Heard the good news that Gerry and Mary Kelly from Miller's Pub and Restaurant had their first baby son and will be named Rian. Congratulations.
Looking forward to this years Pattern in Clonmacnois on Sunday 19th September as the Monks from Glenstal will be providing the music and singing for the ceremony to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Papal visit.
Good to hear from Maureen Killeen Taylor in America who is trying to trace family trees.She can trace her own family back to 1870 which is not a bad start.
In golf there is a two pronged tool about two inches long used to repair divots and Oliver Hilliard was showing us his latest addition to his collection last evening. It has an attractive badge for Roscommon Golf Club attached and will join the line up of over 200 that Oliver has collected.
hello from sydney!
well all is going fine here. my job in the pub is going very well, i've settled in nicely and am enjoying it. sarah is getting on great and after a good interview this morning, she's starting teaching tomorrow with children between the ages of 3 and 7. the past few days have seen a big improvement in the weather, and long may it last. the sun is shining and it's so warm. i've decided to dedicate my days off from now on, to going somewhere new. so tuesday i headed down to the harbour, camera in hand and finally took some pictures of the opera house and the bridge (certain people will be delighted to hear!). it was quite a nice day for walking around the harbour, listening to the buskers sounds travelling in the light breeze. today myself and morgan decided to do the walk from bondi beach around the coast to coogee beach. so we headed off early enough. today was even warmer so the bikini top was dusted off and finally put to use. first we walked to bondi beach, deciding that it was just too nice out to take the bus. we took some pictures at bondi beach before starting on the walk. there were quite a few people there and as usual the crashing blue waves were peppered with surfers. we followed the steps down along the beach and were on the path in no time. it was so beautiful, strolling along, up so high and looking dowm, admiring the views of the sea. even the sundrenched rocks that lined the roadside were beautiful. the scenery along the walk was really fantastic, i had a roll of film used up in no time. the road took us first to a beach neither of us had ever heard of, tamarama beach. it was small and really nice, it wasn't spread out, but almost like it had been placed there, with a perimeter that it would never pass. it was nice, there were a few people playing beach volleyball, probably influenced by the olympics, and others just relaxing in the sand. we saw a girl trying to train her dog not to be afraid to enter a little water pool to fetch his ball, so she threw him in, it worked! we sat up on the rocks there for a while watching the surfers below us riding the waves. after a while we headed on again and before long we came to bronte beach. this one was bigger , more scattered, again with some lovely views. we decided it was too good of a chance to pass up and so lay in the sand for a while, determined to start a tan of some sort. it was quite relaxing, listening to the soothing sound of the waves and subconsciously using our hands as egg-timers. morgan's eyes were scanning the sands for toppless sunbathers, he'd seen quite a few along the way, but was somewhat sickened when he saw an old lady swimming topless! before we knew it, time had moved on very quickly and we'd been there for an hour. so it was time to start moving again. this time the road took us to a large, probably the biggest i've ever seen, peaceful cemetry. it was a really nice one, up on a hill overlooking the sea. there were many very old graves and family tombs and we spotted some names of people from cork and limerick. as we left the cemetry, we came across a bowling area. people dressed in white, rolling black balls along the green. it didn't look too exciting. but they seemed to be enjoying it. i'd never seen people play this before, apart from on the television. because we were taking our time, at this stage of the walk we had been out for four hours, and still not reached coogee beach. my arms, shoulders, chest and back had now turned to a fiery red colour too. so we decided to call it a day and catch a bus home. next time we're going to start from coogee beach and walk the other way, so we'll see the scenery from the other side of the walk. if the weather is fine tomorrow we'll hopefully head back to the beach, with a mountain of sun lotion on! well that's all from here for the moment, bye!

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The death occured yesterday in Tullamore hospital of Pat Joe Kenny from Garrymore brother of Kieran, Madge and Agnes. May the Lord have mercy on his soul.
Heather King the archeologist is back in the area and is leading a team carrying out restoration work on Saint Ciaran's Well and surrounds. She is hopeful in getting water back in the well and having work completed in time for the rededication of the Well on Sunday September 19th.
Heather was telling about Con Manning's theory about the Round Towers in Clonmacnois. Seems that O'Rourkes Tower - without roof - was built in the 11th century and was about a third higher originally. It was struck with lightning and badly damaged and much of the top portion either fell or was removed for safety. The stone in the tower was nicely rounded but none of the stone has appeared in churches or walls. So Con reckons that the stone was used in the building of Temple Finian Tower - the one with the roof. This Tower story is one of eleven papers presented for a seminar and now published as Clonmacnoise Studies Volume 2 and is available from bookshops or from Government Publications, Postal Trade Office, Sun Alliance House, Molesworth Street, Dublin 2. Tel 01- 6476835. Cost is 18 Euro. Post free. Very good.
See that the first commercial electricity generated using sea waves has been produced off the Orkney Islands. And in Australia they have plans to use about 50,000 tons of BANANAS that are bruised, pock marked or too small for the making of electricity by fermenting them in vast vats. About 800 householders will be supplied.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Rose Ryan has produced most of the village on a working layout of the houses and it is a very interesting mind game trying to remember who lived in each house or site where a new house has been built. Its only just begun but every enquiry seems to bring back memories of forgotten people and families. For example the portion of the Post Office nearest the church was where a Mary Kenny once lived with a kitchen downstairs and a room upstairs. Pat Killeen remembers that Mary Kenny used to fish every day on a stone as you go into Borrana Callow and almost every day she gave Pat a perch.Mary Kenny was white haired and wore a bonnet and a check apron. The other part of the present Post Office belonged to a Pat Flannery who owned land on the Clonmacnois road. He rode a white horse and was bearded. Pat Burns was the same age as Pat Flannery and lived beside Prices. Pat Burns was crippled with rheumatism and he was a bit jealous to see Pat Flannery riding the white horse. And it goes on hopefully. Is your memory any good ?
Was disappointed to find no photographs of Shannonbridge under www.irishphotoshop.com which is an organization that has invited Tidy Town and others - thats you - to submit photographs to them which will be available for people to view and download free screensavers and computer wallpaper. Our site thought it was great reaching 20,000 total hits yesterday but irishphoto talk about 100,000 hits a month.
Talked to Michael Donegan our former teacher yesterday and asked him to share an odd though with us.

Monday, August 23, 2004

See on the Parish Newsletter that next Saturday night there is an Anniversary Mass for the late Tom Donegan who died on 3rd September 1999. Kathleen was telling last night that Tom first came to Shannonbridge in July 1953 and she came to live here in 1954. Kathleen will be 50years in Shannonbridge on next Friday. See where The Priory Institute are offering a 14 week course, Introduction to Theology starting this September. If interested call 01-4048124 or visit their website:www.prioryinstitute.com
The 'Months Mind' Mass for Jimmy Mooney is on next Sunday.
On Thursday evening in the Library one of the best supporters Bridgie Kitt arrived and we persuaded her to sit a while and got her mind working on who lived where in the different houses from the Church to Nugents Butcher on that side of the street. Very interesting.
To crown it off Declan Ryan read a poem written by our former schoolteacher Michael Donegan.
Wondered what mark we will get in this years Tidy Town competiton as I went around the village collecting some Walk For Kate sponsorship cards. There are still some cards to be returned but the results so far look good and you can see Kates latest letter and accounts under the main page of the Shannonbridge Website. Thought that there was a lot of careless litter around the village. Was glad to see Oliver Hilliard and Joe Kenny houses having trees lawns hedges and overhangs getting a trim. See that the Council have laid down a new concrete top on part of the wide footpath area opposite Darcy's house.
Plenty of rain and broken weather over the weekend but more ble skies are overhead at this time.
Picked up an old book called Awareness written by Mary O Neill and Martina Hogan some years ago that tells lots of County Roscommon history, houses, castles, people, land, bog, hills, eskers, animals,forests,rivers,lakes, fish,insects, birds etc. One part that caught my eye was the date 1111 given as the year when the Irish Catholic Dioceses areas were agreed. Somebody went to Rome at that time and had to walk a hell of a way overland. Lorraine in Pottstown would be delighted with it as many of the castles and old houses mentioned had a connection with The O'Connor clan and that is Lorraine's maiden name.
Heard that the new Power Plant in Lanesboro called Lough Ree Power synchronised to the grid for the first time last Friday and exported some electricity.
Mayo and Fermanagh played in the Football semi final yesterday and scored nine points each. Replay is fixed for next Saturday.
Congratulations to Kieran and Maura Taaffe from Tissaraun on the birth of their first child Patrick.
Trevor and Helen Thacker from Chaise Terrace are here on holiday and were telling us that while visiting their daughter Patricia Birch in Bournemouth she looked up Shannonbridge on her computer and they were delighted to see some familiar faces and bits of information and news. Now they are thinking of getting a computer and linking to the internet.
Good to see Andy Frayne and family over on a camping holiday and full of praise for Holmes Campsite and Caravan Park in Clonfinlough. One of the best they have seen. Also praised the welcome bus service provided by the Green Linnet Peader Guinan.
Regular visiting angler Steve Fletcher has arrived and is staying in Rachra House while another favourite visitor Frank Seal from Sheffield tells us he bought a campervan for £750 and is on a fishing tour and catching lots of fish. Frank is the bearded one that first came with Steve and Liz Nell.
Jennie Robinson tells us that she finds evening Mass in Clonfad very convenient on a Sunday evening at 7pm and she even took a few daughters and in laws along last evening.
Eugene Carty Boston tells us he is enjoying what he calls the wedding holiday as it was based around three weddings. Mark Carty's wedding next weekend is the final one of the three.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

I had just finished a message when the electricity went so I have to start all over again! aaaaggggggg. The electricity goes almost everyday in Masaka. The girls in the internet cafe have to lug this great big generator outside and start it up so it sounds like there is a tractor beside me.
Apart from that all is quiet in the school for once as the kids got their holidays yesterday. Some parents came to collect their kids, one of whom was just 14 when she had her child! Those with no parents go to their aunts, uncles or some relative. The teachers also take some of the kids with them.
This week I have been mostly travelling. I went to Kampala last Sunday night so I could get money for the building on Monday. I stayed in Molly and Pauls with 18 other kids! Went to the Irish embassy the next day to be told to go to the ministry for foreign affairs. The lady there told me I was working illegally for the last 3 months and could have been arrested! I have to apply for a special pass this week in order to extend my visa.
While in Kampala I went to the Ugandan wildlife authority to find out about Gorilla tracking. There are only around 700 mountain gorillas left in the world. You can see them in Uganda, Rwanda or the Congo. As luck would have it there just happened to be a cancellation for Wednesday and I got it for half price! So after rushing back to buy cement and scaffolding, I headed off to Kisoro district in the southwest of the country. The journey took 10 hours and involved 2 mini buses, 2 cars, a big bus and a motorbike. The mini buses pack people in like sardines while the driver of the big bus spends half the journey beeping the horn so that cars, bikes and people get out of his way. They stopped once on the way for 5 minutes and people went running for the bushes and ditches, very funny to watch. The motorbike journey was a bit of a nightmare as I had to go up the side of a stony mountain and the bike was sliding all over the place, it didnt help that the the driver was 18! Anyway I made it alive and got to see the Gorillas. We trecked through the forest for 45 minutes and then came across a huge silverback eating bamboo. There were 11 in the group in total. They are amazing to watch and don't seem to mind humans coming up to have a gawk at them.
I had to stay in a complete kip of a hotel after the trek, but sure what do you expect for 1.50! The gorilla guide stayed in the same place and the two of us got a bus at 5am the next morning! We passed some people planting in fields so I asked him what they were sowing. He just replied "Irish". They call their spuds "Irish Potatoes" over here to distinguish them from sweet potatoes.
Things at the school are flying it, there are 4 builders and one electrician. All thats left to do is pay the bill and there will be light! The dorms will take a bit longer but hopefully will be finished before the kids come back.
Thanks to everyone who took part in the walk last Sunday, i'm glad ye got a good day for it. From what I hear alot of money was raised. A special thanks to the Killeens who have put alot of work into raising money and thanks to Fran who did great by raising 500 euros! I'm looking forward to seeing the photos.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Congratulations to Sheila Ryan and Simon Probin, Gort, on the birth of their first baby boy Jamie who is now three weeks old and a second grandson for Declan and Rose Ryan.
Any outstanding walk cards should be returned as soon as possible.
The Irish Soccer Team played a friendly against Bulgaria in Landsdowne Road last evening and drew 1 - 1. The Irish goal was scored by Andy Reid but Bulgaria got a cracker with about 15 minutes to go and it finished level.
Weatherman has promised plenty of heavy showers today which might suit anglers.
The heavy rain is having its usual clouding and taste effect on the village water supply.T'aint good.
The new power plant continues to test and the discharge water is fed into two huge open tanks to cool before being released into the river. This morning they look like two gigantic Turkish Baths.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Shared a fabulous full rainbow at sunset last evening with Georg Edith and Lorenz Punt from Austria who are enjoying their first holiday in Ireland spending their first week on the Shannon with a hire cruiser and next week they plan to do some sightseeing following a trail advised by a friend. Edith says she loves the flat lands they have seen so far and she is mad about the sea. They have their own Lodge in the mountains which they use for skiing and I promised to get the Shannonbridge Ski Club to call and see them when in their area. Lorenz has just completed his second level schooling and must spend a compulsory year in the army before going to university tell me that the name Punt comes from the Latin for a bridge and not from our old Irish Punt note. They were telling about one of their neighbours called Otzi The Iceman who was discovered mummified high in the Alps and had been there for 5,300 years.
The website irishexaminer.com seems to have an amount of free news available. See where the Irish soccer team play Bulgaria in a friendly this evening in Dublin and there appears to be lots of talent available even though three regular members are out injured.
Sales of lines for Brigie Henson's four poster miniature had a great start raising ?22 on the first day. Lorraine McKenna tells us that the Euro sign appears on her computer as a square.
West Offaly Business and Technology Park is located in The Cow Park Ferbane and they are looking for people to contact them who might like to set up their own business in one of their units in Ferbane. The contact person is Jimmy Keane,Manager Tel 1800 200 946 Email:ferbane@oceanfree.net
Some rain last evening with a downpour in Tullamore. Today is bright and sunny.

John and Jennifer Claffey from Colorado are on their honeymoon in Ireland and stopped off in Shannonbridge last evening. John was showing his new bride where The Claffey Family once lived in Shannonbridge. His grandfather was Mike Claffey who once lived on Prices Lane in what was afterwards turned into a workshop by the late Leslie Price. While living there Mike Claffey built a new house further down Price's Lane near the turn off point for the walk used by Moby on Sunday. The ruins of the house are still standing. The Claffey family moved to Turraun around 1940 and Mike's son Sean emigrated and worked in America but has now returned home and often calls to see old friends in Shannonbridge. John is a son of Sean.
See where Prices Lane is getting a facelift this morning. Glad to see the stone at the corner has not been moved. At the mouth of the road to the power plant a pedestrian crossing and yellow lollypops has been erected and yellow lines have been painted on the road in front of the church.The crossing means one has to walk about ten yards towards the power plant to access it from the river side. The lollypop support on the church side looks to be in an unfriendly position and last week a car was badly damaged when it hit the pole.
Terry Archibald and his wife and the next two generations of Archibalds have been revisiting Shannonbridge for the past few days.Terry and Mary plan to come back in September for their usual fishing holiday. Terry would want to improve as his grandson Bob caught twice as much fish as he did yesterday. His son in law works at websites and computers for a living and threatened to look at this site when he returns home and give us a good look over and maybe ideas.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Kathleen Egan arrived last evening with two Four Poster Beds under her arm. Made by Brigie Henson in Castledaly they are beautiful and are to be raffled to help the Kate in Uganda. They are to be raffled seperately and are on display in Morans and Killeens.Tickets cost one Euro.
Scott and Eileen Fleming and their two boys Connor and Sean from near Chicago called in to Shannonbridge last evening. They have already stayed overnight in Rachra House and Glenderham House.Eileen is a daughter of my late first cousin Sean O Connor and she was telling about the cost of their holiday. The airfares cost over $3000 for the four. Scott was saying that they found food expensive with a visit to Burgerking in Ireland costing twice as much as in America.
Back to flying. Our friend Marie from Cherry Hill departed for the airport in Shannon yesterday morning to be told on arrival that the plane was overbooked. They asked her to stay overnight in an hotel in Limerick and gave her $600 and a First Class seat for this morning. She agreed.
Good to see Birdwatch Shannonbridge back on song. Or do sandmartins sing ? Funny enough but last evening I had plans to visit Grandfather's grave in Clonburren to give it a clean up with Parazone but got waylaid by the cousins above. Thats my excuse. Try and visit the Library this Thursday 7 to 9pm where a great selection of books are waiting to be read.
Lorraine Mc Kenna from Pottstown is an O'Connor and she was wondering what kind of religeon was going to be started in Temple Connor last Sunday. Promised to know when I find out.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Shannonbridge Birdwatch.
Came across a colony of Sand Martins in an old sandpit in Clonburren. There are about eighty nests and a "feeding frenzy" is in full swing at present. The sandpit is just a couple of hundred metres south of the Motte and Bailey and can be viewed from the road-side.
Sand martins are like swallows, but smaller and are brown and white with a short tail. They nest in tunnels hollowed out in sand or earthen banks which are near water. They will also sometimes nest in holes in stone walls; there are some in Athlone Castle and in the lock at Belmont.
Like Swallows and House Martins they are summer visitors from their wintering grounds in Africa.
The sun shone bright on Saturday for the local wedding of Michelle Brennan Shannonbridge and John McHugh from Moore who were married in Shannonbridge Church with Father Paddy Kenny and Father O Hanlon guiding the ceremony. Local photographer Padraig Kilduff was on hand to record the happy event and took the happy couple to Clonmacnois for the main photographs and afterwards to Haydens Hotel for the reception. John has prepared a new home for Michelle and himself in Clonburren and it was good to see so many of their future neighbours at the wedding. Wishing them Long Life and Happiness in their married life.
Football games at the weekend saw Derry end Westmeaths dreams. Saw on the paper where Westmeath Fans had spent €500,000 on support wear caps shirts scarves colours etc. The GAA were whinging that they were not making very much from the sales.
Kerry overcame Dublin in Football. The semi-finals in football line up is Derry v Kerry and Fermanagh v Mayo.
Cork beat Wexford in Hurling and qualify to meet Kilkenny in the All Ireland in early September.
The Galway minor hurlers won a place in the Final.
Papers yesterday were writing about Paul McGinley having to struggle to get into the top twenty finishers in the last major in the USA golf but he played a blinder and finished up just two shots off the winner Vijay Singh. Well done Paul. Now for The Ryder Cup.
The annual Pilgrimage to Knock takes place on Sunday 5th September. Book your seat with Theresa Rohan or Darran Finnerty which are expected to cost €23 each and will include two meals.
There was a meeting in Clonmacnois yesterday at 3.00pm with a view of getting some religion back into Clonmacnois. The group met in Temple Connor.
Sad to hear of a double tragedy on Lough Ree last week when Walter and Ruth Borner who regularly cruised the Shannon on their boat Winkelried were found drowned on Lough Ree.
Walter worked in Swissair before retiring and was a managing editor of The Shell Guide to The Shannon. There were windy conditions at the time. Please pray for their souls.
Saturday night brought a pleasant surprize with the arrival of cousin Frances from The Isle of Man and her daughter Emir who lives in Manchester. Emir was only a child when she last visited 25 years ago and she must be totally confused with relations as there was a get together of The Kilmartins from her Grannies side on Saturday and a bunch from the Killeen side on Sunday. Interesting fare prices. From Manchester to Isle of Man with BA is about £200. From Manchester to Dublin with Ryan Air is £40.They promise to return sooner than 25 years.
Weather has been good recently with the odd shower to relieve the mugginess at times.
Some interesting 1913 plate photos taken around Ireland in the papers at the weekend showind houses and people in the west. Used potatoes on the plates as part of the process.
Yesterday was Walk for Kate in Uganda day and was a great success with people choosing from the six walks offered and others doing their own walk. The first sponsor card given out was issued to Kieran Feeney from Belmont and Kieran arrived at 11.30 am with his card and €40.
Peggy Byrnes and Eilis Mc Evoy choose the three bridges walk with Louise Michelle Rory Collette Mike and Louise Mc M and were first home. Joe and Patricia Kenny choose Correen Wood circuit.John and Julie and the kids are on holiday on the river and are doing the walk on the boat. Moby led about ten of a group including Aishling Egan and her two children three Keena children and yours truly down Prices Lane ,across the Callows and home by the riverside and got a heap of those round sticklebacks in his hair. Prices Lane was the choice of Joan and John Carty,cousin Father John Killeen and Kieran Feeney.
Regular walkers such as Jacinta Kelly Dot Bailey Brid Devine Maureen Kelly and Mary Rafferty set off towards Clonmacnois. Others said they will do their own private walk.
The bearded waiter in The Fort Fran Moran was shorn of his beard by Moyra Guinan in the afternoon and was sponsored to the tune of €411.01
Kate's mother Maureen was busy with her camera and she was talking to Kate on the phone to keep her updated.
Kind offer from Brigie Henson from Castledaly. Brigie makes Four Poster Minature Beds and has
offered three of they via her niece Kathleen Egan to Kate's Uganda Fund. Kathleen has suggested placing one bed on display in Killeens, Morans in Shannonbridge and Rohans of Ballinahowen and have three seperate raffles for the beds with the monies going to the fund.
sarah and our two housemates became stars yesterday when they spent the morning acting as extras for kerrill's movie. unfortunately i was working and couldn't make it. watch out for these girls, their faces could soon hit hollywood!

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Another movie (5Mb) of support from "Home and Away", for those at home for the girl away.
Hi, Well its been a hectic week here. Yesterday I was up bright and early and haggling with the electrician by 8am! The outstanding bill for electricity is 180 euros and the cost of getting reconnected is another 180! I will email the costs home to Dave who will put them on the web. Then at 9am I went to buy materials with the builder and an intreperter. Spent 3 hours haggling in different places for roofing, timber and windows. When they see a muzungu coming they automatically up the price, so its a constant battle to get a fair price for anything. I'm getting good at it though and even managed to get a better price than the builder to transport the goods home. He was told 20,000 and I got it for 10,000! The work has started today and will be completed in 3 weeks. We should have electricity by Wednesday next week. It is going to be strange to be able to walk in and just press a switch. I took all the simple things like electricity and running water for granted at home.
I have started taking some of the boarders into town at weekends as a treat. The town is about 3 miles away and most of them go in only once or twice a year. I usually bring them for lunch where most of them order chicken as they seldom eat meat at the school. They look at the knives, forks and spoons and wonder what to do with them. They always eat with their hands at home and at school. After lunch I take them for icecream. Alot of they have never tasted icecream! They are just as excited by the empty plastic container as the icecream. They also always come knocking at my door for my empty plastic bottles and one lads loves used batteries! I dont know how they'd react if they got a real toy. I'll find out soon though as i'm buying a load of stuff for them in the city on monday.
They've been telling me about local medecines and cures that they use. The aloe vera plant is used to cure Malaria and lots of other stuff. Two of the boys broke bones when they were younger and were brought to healer. He burnt some local medecine, put it on their arm or leg and the boys were cured in a week! Some religions don't go near these healers though as they think they are witch doctors using black majic! They kids find it very funny that if we break a leg we are in plaster for up to 6 weeks. Another strange thing I came across was a 6 fingered man! I met him while out visiting sick people with Sr. Helen a few weeks ago. I Thought I was seeing things but got Emma in to confirm it.
I see from Mick's post that Alf Stewart has sent his support - I'd love to be able to see it but it would take 4 hours to download it on this computer! I'll have to wait till I get home. One of the girls who went home had a video out here which I used around the school. She is making a copy and will send it to Shannonbridge, so ye can get to see what the school is like.
I am picking up a good bit of the local lingo thanks to the kids. The older men and women think it's hilarious that a muzungu can speak Luganda. When shopping for the materials I came across a whole load of auld ones preparing food for an introduction day. An introduction day is when a girl introduces her fiance to her family. It usually takes place a few days before the wedding and they have a big party. These women were amazed that I could greet them in Luganda. They invited me into their yard where they were preparing a load of food for the party. They wanted me to squeeze the matooke for them using banana leaves. There were 4 kids plucking a heap of chickens so there was feathers everywhere. The guts and half formed eggs were in a bowl. They actually boil and eat these! The 21 year old boy in the house wanted me to look for a muzungu wife for him. All the black men would love to marry a white woman but say they are too expensive to keep as they would demand electricity and a house with more than one room! Damn right we would.
On my way here today I was very surprised to hear Mary Black, a womans heart, booming out from one of the shops. It'll probably be the Wolfe tones next week! I Got a message from Carey during the week to say he met a fella in Killeens who is coming out here to work in the Irish Embassy. Small world! I'll be looking him up when he comes out as it's always nice to meet other paddys abroad. I am going to the embassy on monday to get a residency permit as my 3 month holiday visa is almost up, and what a quick 3 months it's been! I see the walk is tomorrow so I wish all the walkers good luck and hope ye get a nice day for it. Enjoy the few beverages in the pub afterwards too. Good luck.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

A message of support from Alf Stewart (of Summer Bay) for Kate in Uganda. This is class!
Heard some interesting bits and pieces about a Father James O Reilly who was Parish Priest in Shannonbridge in the early 1900s. The family of Reids lived in what has been known in recent years as Mary Margarets. Mister Reid used to hunt for rabbits and fish for pike which he sold.
While fishing out on a boat in the winter he was drowned in the bay upstream from the bridge
leaving Ma Reid with a young family. One of her essential assets was a cow and soo n after her husband's death Ma Reid found her cow dead in the field. Crying on her way home she met Father James who asked her what was wrong. She told him about the cow and he asked her to take him to see the cow.When they got to the animal Father James prayed over the beast and blessed it saying Father Son and Holy Ghost. The cow got up and lived for years afterwards.
Once there lived an Anderson man in a house that was later to become Hugh Kelly's Garage.
This Anderson man owned a lot of the good land in the area including The High Field. One year on August 15th he set out with his horses to plough the field and he was struck blind. He was brought to Father James who prayed for him and he got the sight back in one eye.
More recently the late Father Donal O Lehane had an enquiry from doctors in Saint Luke's hospital in Dublin. Apparently one of their patients from Nenagh was very sick with cancer. Some family members came to Clonmacnois and took stones from Father James O Reilly's grave and rubbed them on the man with cancer. He was cured and the doctors in Saint Lukes were seeking information on the priest as they were prepared to put his case to Rome for canonization. His grave is inside the door of The Cathedral and has a graveslab measuring 40 x 30 Inches approx.
Vincent Lennon from the new power plant has handed in a completed sponsorship for Kate in Uganda Walk for which he raised €90.
Ferbane schools held their Graduation Dance last night in the Bridge House Tullamore with The Evergreens providing the dance music. Among those graduating were Lorraine Kenny,Josephine Egan, Lorraine Devery, Mary Quinn and David Corbett.
Czaicki Yanuse from Poland is working on the construction of the new power plant and is a keen fisherman.Recently he caught a fine tench on the Back River that measured 54 Cm.
The Irish Catholic tells us that there is now a book version of the popular website listed under www.sacredspace.ie
Also saw an article on The Irish Catholic by Sean Ryan telling of a Larkin Clan reunion in Portumna recently.The group attended a special Mass in Meelick Church which is Irelands oldest working church and which some of the Larkin forefathers helped to build. They later visited Clonmacnois to visit one of the Larkin Family Grave Slabs which Duchas have verified as authentically dating back to 970 AD

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Some well known visiting faces in the village at the weekend included Michael and Marie Donegan our ex teachers who are on holiday on the river as were Gerry and Immacula Crean.
The Corncrake tally for the Shannon Callows this year was 22 birds which is the same as last year. Before the summer flood two years ago the figure was around 70 birds.
Was asking Michelle Brennan last evening if she was taking part in the Walk for Kate on Sunday and she told me that she was getting married to John Mc Hugh in Shannonbridge Church on Saturday and will miss the walk. Wishing them well on their marriage and reception in Haydens Hotel.
Holidaymaker on a cruiser arrived in last evening looking for relief for a wasp sting and Mary was on hand to recommend Vinegar.
Failte Ireland arrived late last night to take some still photographs and film which may be used in promoting river cruising holidays on the Shannon. Paudge Bennett was providing the music but the producer wanted some more Irish flavour so Lorraine Devery on accordeon, Lorraine Kenny on mandolin and Colin on guitar joined Paudge and played some Irish tunes. Thought that it is no wonder that no serious films have been made in Ireland this year as there were 13 members in the crew last night. Must have been a bad night as about six people enquired about the Moby Killeen Walkin 4 Kate badge but no sponsorship was offered.
Sunny day again today and the river level is low.
Yesterday afternoon some Fishery developement people arrived to look at facilities for coarse fishing in the Shannonbridge area. Matt Nolan, Karon Griffin and two maintenance staff Seamus and P.J. had a look at the area around the power plant. They plan to make the hotwater outlet more friendly for fishing and if possible to develop a track to a bankside some 200 Metres downstream that would allow good access and fishing for about 35 anglers. A plan is to be prepared and may involve ESB, Offaly Council and Shannonand Central Fisheries.
The annual Mass in Cloniffeen and the blessing of the graves was help in glorious sunshine last evening at 7.00pm. Afterwards there was refreshments offered to everyone in the Community Hall. The area around the old church and children's burial ground in Cloniffeen has been fenced off and the grass was like a golf course. A new shelter is in place over the stone altar and seats were placed inside the ruins of the church.While Father Hanlon was blessing the graves a rosary was recited and a few hymns were sung during the Mass. Noticed Gene and Tom and John Carty and their ladies present with Gene just arriving in time from Connemara. The Mooney family had a strong representation as the whole project of getting Cloniffeen to its present state was very much a dream come true for the late Jimmy.
In the Hall I was talking to Finian and Bernie Kenny and their children Jack 7 and Niamh 5years who have been home on holiday from Sydney to take in Louis Farrelly's wedding. They leave Shannonbridge today and Dublin on Thursday planning to be home on Saturday.Told them about Sarah and Ciara and they hope to meet them in Sydney. Hope they have a safe trip.
Kieran Kelly was telling us that what was once the gravestone over a Father Farrell Dufy in the old church is now the new altar in Cloniffeen. Much of the lettering has been worn thin with the traffic over the years.

Monday, August 09, 2004

News today of the death in Tullamore hospital yesterday of Mick Casey from Rhode. Known as the Burly Blacksmith from Rhode he helped Rhode win their first Offaly Championship in 1960 and was on the Offaly team in 1960. Martin Heavey tells us that he never won an All Ireland and is the first of that 1960 Offaly football team to die. He was aged 77 years. Mick Casey was a brother of Paddy Casey who now lives in the USA and Martin says Paddy was the best footballer he ever saw. Mick married Maggie Mc Namee from Rhode a sister of Denny McNamee. May he rest in peace.
Well fair play to Fran for shaving his beard off - Last time I saw him was about 5 months ago and he had a big beard then so i'm sure there is loads to come off. He's off to a good start with 150. I am going to put whatever he raises towards getting electricity for the school. I can't wait to tell the kids, they'll be over the moon and I'm looking forward to getting rid of the candles and lantern.
Thanks to the KVT staff for the tips too. They did well this year - tips weren't like that when I worked there!
I have got someone to do the renovation of the dorms. I met him when I was walking around visiting the kids homes. He is a qualified builder but has been out of work for a long time. He came and had a look at the dorms this week. He has very little english so I had to do all my explaining and haggling through an intrepreter! We are going to extend both the boys and girls dorms. Then we are putting in new windows as the place is very dark. We are also putting up a new roof. All this comes to around 900 euro. 800 has already gone into the renovation of the classrooms.
Found out a few interesting things this weekend from the kids. When twins are born here they are given specific names. When two boys are born the first born is called Wasswa and the second born is Kato. So in our house it would be Wasswa David and Kato Kerrill. (If you ask a Ugandan their name they give their surname first which is really confusing as their names are impossible to remember). If there are girl twins the first born is Babirya and the second is Nakato so there are lots of Wasswa's, Kato's, Babira's and Nakato's. Also, if you are the mother and father of twins your name also changes. The mother becomes Nalongo and the father Salongo. Mad!
Woke last week to the sound of things running in the roof. Rats! Put poison up twice and 6 rats were found dead. Woke last night again to more scratching and running around! I dont mind the lizards, cockroaches and ants in the room but I hate rats. Between waking up in the middle of the night and being woken by a bell at 5.30 i'll be a wreck coming home! I suppose i'll be a wreck anyway as I'm officially old now -turned the big 30 the weekend before the girls left. We celebrated by going to a nightclub in the city. It was more modern than expected with 3 levels and 5 dance floors. There were only 4 white girls in the whole club so we got stared at alot!
We are having a bit of drama in the school at the moment. One of the lads in my class has run away from home. He was seen at the local disco on Saturday night and he's only 12! Another girl in my class has stopped coming to school. She was living with a 20 year old. She's 15. Her parents got the boy arrested.
Theres another 10 year old who the kids think is crazy. His mother left him, his father died and then his guardian died. I'm told he was going to be sacrificed at one stage and that is why he is a bit weird. He wanders off to the town every evening to do acrobatics and make some money. He comes back at night time with pockets full of bottle tops, batteries and empty spray cans! He's the one who is doing the splits upsidedown in the photo gallery.
Well thats just a few of the kids stories, I'm hearing new and unbelievable stuff everyday.
Until next time - keep up the good work.

Friday evening in Clonmacnois turned out to be soething special with Mass in the new cemetery with rosary and the blessing of the graves before the Mass. The crowd of cars using the hearse route seemed to go on and on until all the parking spots were taken. No problem as some kind neighbour just opened an inlet into his hayfield which was soon full. Even more people might have turned up if they had known about it.
This evening there is an open air Mass in Cloiffeen graveyard at 7pm. The access road is on the Cloghan side of the railway turning in right about a mile from Shannonbridge. Road to the fishing at the Hot Water outlet from the power plant.
Noticed Colin last night after last orders take his guitar and play and sing a song for four girls and two men. There is method in his madness as they turned out to be Polish people visiting friends at the power plant and after the song the four Lassies volunteered to help with the clean up.
The Library on Thursday evening 7 to 9pm had a nice surprize when Mary Bermingham from Dublin and Aughnacabe wheeled in a suitcase full of books. Mary and her friend were somewhat surprized at the range of books on offer. Why dont you surprize the Library people by coming along and making use of the books.
The bishops suggest that if you want to help the Sudan Crisis you should put whatever you can in an envelope marked Sudan and place it in the collection at Mass before 22nd August.
The GAA football and hurling championships are now sorting out the men from the boyos. Saturday there were two football quarter finals decided with Mayo beating Tyrone and Fermanagh beating Armagh. Yesterday was the first of the hurling semi finals with Kilkenny beating Waterford.
Two hours heavy rain passed over Shannonbridge early yesterday morning and upset Tullamore Annual Show by arriving there at 11.00 and staying for two hours. The match on television had an effect on the afternoon attendance was down on last year. People abroad might be interested to know that The Dublin Horse Show took place during last week and the major prize was The Aga Khan Cup. Sports writers were commenting that the Irish team were performing so badly that next year they would have to compete prior in order to compete. Red rag to a bull and the Irish Team won this years event. Watch out Athens as in the Nations Cup on Friday two of the three competitors that jumped a record height for Ballsbridge were Irish. Amazing that none of the winning Irish team was riding an Irish horse.
That rain yesterday was the tail end of a hurricane that was dying out and today is promised sunny with temperatures reaching 22C.
Good to hear that Gene Carty is home from Boston and has been attending a wedding over in Connemara before hitting Shannonbridge. See Mark Kelly back in town after his travels. Must corner him for more details. Good to hear that Marie B from Cherry Hill has arrived in Shannon and she is also going to spend some time in Connemara before Shannonbridge.
Dermot Sandra Stacey and Craig Burke have arrived home for a two week holiday. Craig is hell bent on fishing and headed straight for the river.
See where John Paul the Dublin contractor who built the original Power Station at Shannonbridge back in the Sixties has died last week. May he rest in peace.
Michael Green the Irish Lad from Blackwater tells us that there is an interesting site that has a bundle of information and photographs on the Showband Years to be found under www.iangallagher.com/showbanlist.htm Noticed a photograph of parishioner Ciaran Kelly and his Showband. There is an amount of information on Roscommon and Leitrim and have a look at the Parish of Kilronan Newsletter and Activities which seem to be blossoming under the guidance of a great team. Feel that Father Sean Tynan must have a big input into and he had his own connections with The Showband Years when as a fund-raiser he ran "Banquets" in Clononey Castle with dancing to Eamon Robinson and The Evergreens Showband back over thirty years ago.
Meanwhile remember Willie The Scot from a few days ago. Well Willie Cowie told on Friday that he had won the Safe Supervisor of the week on his last week nominated by the ESB and that Willie had nominated Keith Thomas for the safe worker of the week.They both won and Keith got a 20 inch colour television and Willie won a home DVD system. Willie had hoped to win the TV intending to donate it to a local retirement home but alas there was only one TV available.
See where Glendeer Open Farm in Drum Athlone is open Mon - Sat 11am- 6pm and on Sundays 12noon until 6pm. Tel 090 6437147. Website www.glendeer.com
The local Bog Train runs seven days a week and the journey starts on the hour and lasts about 55 minutes.Yesterday Dan and Pamela Drumheller from Washington DC took the trip and when Peter Guinan the train driver stopped to give a demonstration of how the sod peat was taken from the bog in the old fashioned way with a slane, he invited people on the train to try their hand. So Dan volunteered and with an easy approach cut a few sods and pitched them onto the highbank.He was getting better until he missed his footing and fell into the boghole nearly losing his shoe. Dan and Pamela are on a Shannon cruiser holiday for the first time and were telling Louie Darcy of their experience on the Bog Train. Louie summed it up by the old saying -
You can take a man to the bog, but you can't take the bog out of the man.
Visitors to The Fort Restaurant will remember the bearded waiter Fran Moran. Well Fran has decided to do his bit for Kate in Uganda and have a Sponsored Shave the Beard fund raiser for the cause. This was a hasty decision on Friday night but it looks as if he is has been caught as friends threw in over €150 in a few minutes and God knows what more will be added. Well done Fran. Also well done to Ned Hendricks who handed in his completed card with €125 and has gone off with a second card.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Have a look at the gallery on Kates website for ten new photos from Kate in Uganda. Donations are going great, we've now passed the €2000 euro mark!

Friday, August 06, 2004

Good to hear from Kate in Uganda and to see the uptake in the sponsored cards for the walk on Sunday August 15. Wonder what it will clash with ?. This Sunday there is the very big Tullamore Show taking place in Charleville Castle grounds and if you are going there you might like to visit a model aircraft display on their airfield near Boora. Remember some years back when the idea was first mooted that Sam Mc Morris was selling what we thought were shares for an airfield without the model bit.
A popular Scottish worker on the site for the new power plant known to everyone around as Willie took a holiday in Glasgow (Celtic) recently and on his return he was informed that his work had finished and he was asked to report to work at a factory in Clondalkin on Monday.
Wishing him well.
Tony Vahey has returned after a three week holiday in America where he has seven first cousins who took him all over the place. Says he had a wonderful time and his daughter got engaged while he was there.
Yesterday a party of American visitors from Whittier, California stopped of for a visit. Going under the name Park there was Ernie, Kathleen, Rachel, Erik and Vanessa and they were visiting Ireland for the first time. Having seen Dublin Newgrange Giants Causeway Derry Clonmacnois they were heading for Cork today and then back to Dublin. All in seven days. They brought greetings from Eamon and Toni Killeen who are friends and neighbours of the Park family. Seemed a bit queesy about the prospect of kissing The Blarney Stone today and were comparing it with the smoothness of Saint Peter;s knee in Rome which has been rubbed by so many visitors over the years. They were in fear of what had built up on The Blarney Stone with all that kissing. Next trip they say they will not bite off quite so much.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Hi, sorry for not posting in a while but we have been really busy here.
The school has finally been finished and the rooms look great. All classes moved back in this week. There is a massive difference in the rooms and the kids love them. There's no more dust which means no more jiggers in the kids feet. Jiggers are bugs which live in the dust over here - they burrow into your feet where they grow to the size of a pea and have to be removed with a pin. One of the Irish girls here even picked them up, but she's fine now. So its yet another thing for me to watch out for!
Next up for the school is a few coats of paint to make the place look a bit brighter. The school colours just happen to be blue and yellow like the Inagh and Shannonbridge colours, where Emma and I are from, so we'll be painting all the rooms blue and yella!
The girls left for home yesterday. It's very strange being in the school on my own but I'm sure i'll get used to it soon enough. The kids had a party for Emma the day she left with lots of singing and traditional dancing. There were also alot of tears shed. She got loads of presents from the students and parents including eggs, a mat, plates, jugs, fruit, vegetables and even a live chicken! I dont know where they thought she was going to pack it all! Before she left we took a day trip to lake mburo national park which is about an hours drive away. Saw hippos, water buffalo, crocodiles, warthogs and zebra. Emma also fell off a boda boda the week before she left. We got caught in the rain and her bike skidded into a ditch, luckily she wasn't hurt. I'll think twice before heading off in the rain again.
Everyone wanted to meet us before we left including a bishop and the local priest! We visited the priest who asked us to ring the 4 church bells for mass. It went on for about 5 minutes and was extremely loud but great craic - it reminded me of ringing the old church bell with Tom Donegan when we were kids.
We also went to visit some of the childrens homes. Most of them live in two or 3 bedroomed houses built from bricks and mud. Most peope have a pig or goat and alot have chickens. One of the strange things we noticed is that people bury thier dead relatives in their garden! Saw lots of kids out playing, mostly they play football. The younger kids spend their days running around after a bicycle tyre with a stick!
Before Emma left she sponsored a child called Rose. Rose only had one pink dress which she wore to school every day. We called to her house with 3 new dresses and other presents. I never saw a child so grateful and happy. Her mother died a few years ago and her fathers lives elsewhere. She lives with her aunt who also looks after a young boy who is disabled. He spends his day lying in the dirt outside the house.
On Wednesday we went out for a day with a nun called sister Helen Delaney from Wexford who is with the Medical Missionarys of Mary out here. She teaches nutrition to the sick and those caring for the sick. It was a tough day as we saw alot of very ill people, one of whom died shortly after we left. I am hoping to go out with her once a week into the different villages.
A big thanks to Mick, Collie, Louise and Jib for all the work they put in to the website. Thanks to all the fundraisers who are doing a great job. The kids have holidays in two weeks time so we will be starting on the dorms them. I'll keep ye updated on the progress. Bye
The Offaly Independent this week has two pages devoted to Morans Gala Store and The Fort Restaurant. The Gala Store will be officially opened tomorrow and there is a story of the history of the late Frank Moran starting a shop in The Fort in c1919 and later transferring to the shop in the village which has now been enlarged after Maura decided to finish trading as Family Fashions and the popular boutique has now become part of the store. There are some lovely photographs of The Fort and Restaurant and various shots of the Gala Store with Alo, Maura, Fergal, and members of the staff. Wishing them well on their opening.
The Active Retirement Group headed west yesterday with 22 members travelling to Galway, Spiddal and Salthill where they went for a walk along the strand. The day was well arranged with stops for meals and time allowed for shopping. Bridie Carry told us that she saw some prints priced at €18 that she saw in Killarney a few weeks ago for €2.
Pat met some visitors in the church last evening who live on islands off Scotland and are on holiday cruising on the Shannon and say they are really enjoying themselves.
Wish we had more Joan Cartys. Joan took a Kate in Uganda sponsorship walk card on Sunday and told us last night that she had got the card filled with twenty sponsors and would leave in the card. Good to see Brendan Carty and his wife home on holiday and looking well.
Joe Kennedy from Kennedy Motors in Birr was in Shannonbridge with some friends last evening and they were delighted to support Kates Walk. Nice to see that Elan have contributed €100 to the cause. Notice a number of young small birds around and also some starlings and blackbirds.
There is a choir of jackdaws and crows in the area and a few magpies. Our angling visitors tell us that there are a number of cormorants to be seen. Generally they have come inland and seem to be concentrated at Portumna. Surprized that our anglers see them as they( the Cormorants) generally feed at dawn and return to their island on Lough Derg near Portumna.
Talked to Niall Moore the engineer for Waterways Ireland in Portumna and asked them to have a look at the old jetty in Shannonbridge with a view to making it more friendly for visiting cruisers such as adding a few ladders or steps or even better still an attachment of a floating jetty on the edge. Said they will.
Hear that Niamh Quinn has written a few lines from Japan and hopefully she will share her views with this website by getting a password as it says to everyone on the front page.
Great that Ciara Sydney is back in the writing mode and wishing her well in the new job.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Shannonbridge Active Retirement Group are up and away again today after Mass and heading for Connemara.There was a good response and it looks like another full busload. Last night two fishermen from Leeds were wondering if there would be room for them. More anon.
Local angler Gerry Casey and his friend John Gleeson from Tipperary went for a lookabout on a boat on Sunday and found a shoal of rudd which they fished for two hours and caught 40 fish with several rudd weighing 24 ounces and were in prime condition. Location secret.
The two Leeds boys Ron Martin and Geoff Thornton are enjoying catching lots of medium size roach and skimmers and have caught seven bream while fishing in 20 feet of water on the bottom using feeder and caster. Have fished six days on the same swims on the River Suck.
The big hotel boat overnighted in Shannonbridge last night and four of the passengers from Phiadelphia, Steve and Sandy Rossi, Jen Sampson and Janet Niethamer were delighted to hear about Kate in Uganda and sponsored Moby for the walk on August 15. They say it is a great holiday and they spend five days on the Shannon and two days in Dublin.
Missed seeing the famous Irish pianist John O Connor who was holidaying on the river and taking a break from the piano despite a lot of pleading. Good to hear Pat playing the organ and the choir singing on Sunday.
Met a nephew of Father Pete Kenny L.A and Moore who is on holiday in Shannonbridge and using the Cregg House. He was proud to tell me that he was the first baby that Father Pete baptized.
After the thunder on Monday there was a fairly constant dose of rain yesterday but it has cleared off this morning for the Connemara Bus outing.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Shannonbridge GAA Notes

Conor Killeen reports

Sincere Sympathy

Shannonbridge GAA club wish to extend their sincere sympathy to the Mooney family for the recent passing of Jimmy.

Jimmy played a huge part in Shannonbridge GAA club throughout the years, serving in many positions as underage Manager, selector and Medic with Junior and Senior teams and also served as a club official. Jimmy enjoyed a lot of success during his time of involvement.

With a shrewd knowledge of GAA Jimmy was always well up to date on GAA matters and was never too far away in his predictions to an outcome of a game.

As a native of Tipperary, Jimmy was an all- round Sports Man and also was a big fan of Hurling, Horse racing,the card game Bridge and was also a keen Golfer.

He will be dearly missed by his Family and Friends, May he rest in peace.
Sales of Coins for Kate picked up a little over the weekend with Kathryn Schowalter from Wisconsin buying a pack hoping to get a coin with the Irish Wolfhound - the old 6P piece. Was able to oblige her as she has two Irish Wolfhounds as pets. She widshes Kate Good Luck.
John Murphy from Enniscorthy wishes Kate all the best. John is a brother of Eileen from Garbally Jewelers and the cootage at Templedew. Liam Herne from Waterford sends greetings.
Parish Newsletter reminds us that the Blessing of the Graves are on Friday 6th August @ 7pm in the New Cemetery, Clonmacnois.
Also in Mullinakill graveyard, Glebe on Mon 2nd August @ 7.30 pm
And in Cloniffeen on Monday 9th August @ 7pm.
Good to see that ESB and Shannon Fishery are carrying out work at the Hot Water stretch near the power plant in preparation for the new plant coming on load around December. There are still hopes that an access will be completed to allow anglers fish a stretch downstream from the Hotwater outlet.
Fishing reports from two anglers starting their second week fishing the River Suck is that there are plenty of fish around and one angler told me that in a four hour stretch it was a fish a chuck. Mostly good roach, rudd and hybrids. Anglers note that our fishing section on this website has not been updated and more current information is available under www.shannon-fishery-board.ie
A holidaymaker on a boat at the weekend was commenting on Shannonbidge's floating jetty and the need to add extra space. She said that the old jetty needs a good revamping to make it more friendly and useable. It is very obvious each evening as cruisers arrive in the village that the new jetty gets filled first as the boat people can step off their boats at the same level. In contrast the old jetty is at present much higher than the boats arriving and a Superman / woman is required to leap up with the ropes to moor. Will somebody look at the situation ???
Finally a few people have been enquiring about Pat Killeen. After five days in Tullamore hospital she is home now for twelve days and in much better form and eating well. Last night she made an Aunt Louise cake and a couple of Dutch appletarts so her hands are working all right. She continues on an assortment of medicine something like a Smartie pack.
Three motorcycle riders from Derby Trevor Nixon, Steve Burford and Lou Middleton stayed in Shannonbridge overnight last night and brought greeting from six angling friends who stayed in Shannonbridge for their angling holidays about 25 years ago and returned for many a year after.
So greetings to John Sandell, Ian Mc Adam, Derek Spilsbury, David Smith, Derek Cox and Steward Brooks known as "The Swoop" and hope to see you back in Shannonbridge soon.
At Mass on Sunday Father O Hanlon announced that the Pope was not coming to Ireland this year. This means that he will be missing out on the Annual Pattern in Clonmacnois scheduled for 3.00 pm on Sunday the 19th September. This day will be used as the official comemmoration of the Holy Father's visit to Ireland 25 years ago. Arch-bishop Sean Brady and several other bishops are expected to attend. Bishop O Reilly has set up a group of seven priests to organize the event. They would encourage groups to walk to the event and already The Drum Heritage Group have committed themselves to do the burial route from Drum via Ardkeenan ( The hill of crying )where the ancient burial groups caught the first sight of Clonmacnois. When they reached the River Shannon at Nure if it was dark, there was a field there where they would keen or caoin the dead corpse they carried all night before crossing the river in daylight for the burial.
The Drum Parish history book in the Shannonbridge Library has more. Extra carpark space will be required and stewards.
In the GAA world the pairings for the football quarter-finals have been drawn
August 7th Armagh V Fermanagh and Mayo V Tyrone
August 14th Westmeath V Derry and Kerry V Dublin
The hurling is down to the semi-final pairings
August 8th Waterford V Kilkenny
August 15th Wexford V Cork.
At the weekend Dublin beat Roscommon and Tyrone murdered Laois in football.
Kilkenny beat Clare in the hurling replay by 1 - 11 to 0- 9.
Great job carried out to bring all the news on Kate under one icon. My office is next for a blob. Sponsorship cards for the Walk on August 15th are in circulation and please consider sonsorship or better still get a card and come on a walk tailored to suit you. Hear Mother Maureen is setting a strong pace in the sponsorship race with Ned Hendricks off to a great start of over €50 with two weeks to go.
Im betting on our dog Moby who has already got sponsorship for €233 and is chasing Maureen.
No news on how the rest of over fifty cards are going.
hello from sydney!
well i've abandoned my career in the lebanese cuisine and last week made my final k'bab. much to my delight i managed to get a job in a bar. i started with a trial on friday night which went well and i was given the job. its a nice place with a main bar where i was working friday and saturday and the cocktail bar where i was working sunday. tonight i'm on the floor so the work does change around quite a bit. they've also got function rooms and a restaurant area. it's a busy place and there are lots of people working there, all very nice and all fluent english speakers. it's a much different atmosphere to ali baba's! after three months it was just great to be behind the bar again. i was a bit nervous about starting because it is different working over here compared to back home, but it just takes a bit of getting used to. luckily in the cocktail bar they've got cheat sheets to use to make the cocktails and during the day there wasn't exactly a huge demand for them!
unfortunately to work in a licensed premises over here you must complete a seven hour "Responsible Service of Alcohol" course, which i did today. and because they've got poker machines, yesterday i had to complete another seven hour course on the "Responsible Conduct of Gambling". now it's bad enough having to come over and study for two days, feeling like you've somehow time-warped back to college again, but these courses make up the most boring fourteen hours that you will ever spend in your lifetime! i came out yesterday wondering if i'd entered the room with a gambling addiction and went in seeking help. it really felt like a day long session of gamblers anonymous. hardly having any relevance to the law, apart from signs that must be posted in the premises, it was more about the effects on family and friends of problem gambling! common sense was all you need to have for most of it. today's course was pretty much the same with most of the time being spent discussing the signs of a person becomming intoxicated. signs which a ten year old could point out really!
the weather is ok over here, we had some pretty cold weather for a while and some rain, but the sun is back again. well apart from that, there's not much happening here at the moment. until next time - bye!