Monday, November 29, 2004

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

The Robin

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

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

Friday, November 26, 2004

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

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

Thursday, November 25, 2004

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

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

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

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

Monday, November 22, 2004

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

Friday, November 19, 2004

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

Thursday, November 18, 2004

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

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

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

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

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

Monday, November 15, 2004

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

Friday, November 12, 2004

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

Monday, November 08, 2004

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

Friday, November 05, 2004

Shannonbridge Birdwatch.

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

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

Thursday, November 04, 2004

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

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

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

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

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

Monday, November 01, 2004

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


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