Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Day turned out glorious with temperatures of 12C / 54F and Clonmacnois was well worth the visit. Noticed on the way there that the river level had eased back and Brian of The Barge tells us that it is 3.24 Metres this Tuesday. I noticed the Egan headstone was very clear and the Futcher family may be interested in the wording.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on the soul of

Kieran Egan, who died on November 27th 1896, aged 65 years.

And his wife Annie Egan nee Kelly, who died on March 4th 1912, aged 81 years.

Their son Martin Egan died December 7th 1905, aged 48 years.

Ellen Egan, nee Kelly died April 1926.

Glad to hear that the Futcher family in New Jersey have met up with my brother John.

John was on the phone over the Christmas and is happy that the work on the parish center has turned out very well and they used it for evening Mass on Christmas Eve. He reckons that about 85 % of parishioners attend church for Christmas Day.

Back home it was good to see so many people home for the holiday. Chris Price, Paddy Kenny from Sydney, John Hardiman from London, and Brendan Carty from London. Brendan was telling us that he flew over on Saint Stephen’s morning and got the bus to Ballinasloe. He flew Aer Lingus and the flight cost One Euro return with airport taxes costing 30 Euros.

Yesterday Michael Mc Cullagh and his son Damian stopped by after visiting Clonmacnois. Damian told us that he lives in Greece and has a website filled with information about Ballinasloe. It is under www.ballinasloe.org

The official Chamber of Commerce website for Ballinasloe is under www.ballinasloe.com Have a look at both of them.

Michael Mc Cullagh played a great selection of tunes on the piano for a bus load of Dublin people who were staying in The County Arms Hotel in Birr for the Christmas and had just paid a visit to Clonmacnois. I was amazed that for most of the group it was their first time to visit Clonmacnois.

The father of baby Joshua Connolly from Belmont told us yesterday that his daughter is undergoing her operation on January 17th. Say a prayer that it will be a success.

Joe Kennedy from Birr was visiting Shannonbridge today and stopped off in Shannonbridge to bring tidings. Joe is in great form and enjoying the garage business working with his son Michael. His daughter Clare contacted him on the mobile phone and she has promised to make the trip from Shinrone to Shannonbridge.

Today our papers tell us that Roy Keane played his first game for Glasgow Celtic yesterday and got a warm welcome. Former Liverpool player Michael Owen returned to Liverpool after a stint with Real Madrid to a mixed welcome.

George Best grave is still attracting 1000 visitors daily.

Wishing David Fitzpatrick and Dympna Quinn all the best for their wedding day on this Friday. January 30th.

Met Tees Coughlan in the church this morning and asked her if she had any more old sayings. She hit me with a bucket with this one.

“What did one ear say to the other ear”?

“Between you and me we need a haircut”

Point taken as people are startng to say that I look like Charles Laughton. Joe Keogh here I come.

Did I mention that Martha Mc Dermott , Banagher won The Golden Years Festival in Ard Ri Hotel Waterford in a singing competition and won a beautiful Crystal Vase.

Also that Nan Galvin, nee Mulvey died in London recently. Nan was married to the late Jimmy Galvin, Cloniffeen and was a daughter of the late Mr and Mrs Jack Mulvey , who lived across the river at Clonmacnois.`May she rest in peace.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Loren Killeen won 32,000 Euro and a holiday on the Spin the Wheel game show on Saturday night. She qualified for the show when she got three stars on the national scratch card and her name was drawn out. Well done Loren.

Saturday was the wedding day for Martina Ryan, Garrymore and Albert Leonard from The Bottoms. They had their wedding in Cloghan and the reception was held in The Fort Restaurant with celebrations afterwards in John Joe Ryan’s pub – Lukers.

Today Niall Murphy, son of Doctor Gay Murphy and Joan Murphy married his Christy from China in Pullagh Church, with photo session in Clonmacnois and they also held their reception in The Fort. Congratulations to both couples.

The Ballinasloe Trocaire charity group had a bucket collection for the poor recently and the Moore curate Father Ryan was telling us that Archbishop Joseph Cassidy joined the effort and collected 4000 Euro in a few hours. Well done indeed.

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Seamus Mooney on the birth of another boy.

Janey Mac, me shirt is wet was my song yesterday as our electric clothes dryer had broken down. Brian from the barge had a look at it and located a thermostat that had burned out. After telephoning a number of repair people including the main agent, no replacement was available. Then the Golden Pages gave the name Domestic Appliances Service in Letterkenny, Donegal. They had the part and it arrived this morning by post.

I like Val Joyce on the radio at night and his program last night had a real cracker – Frank Sinatra singing "Whatever happened to Christmas" written by Jim Webb.

Our Shannonbridge Carol Singers have been putting in hours of practise under Mary Kelly’s direction and Simon Hines on guitar. They plan to start collecting money for The Offaly Hospice on this Friday night. It is a worthy cause so do your best.

Heard that Clare Kelly from Saint Ciaran’s Park has knitted a wonderful Christmas Crib. So far she has The Holy Family, Three Wise Men, Shepherds and sheep, Donkey, Mr and Mrs Santa Claus and Carol Singers with one that looks like the editor of The Irish Golfer Diary.

Hear everyone talking about the very enjoyable Shannonbridge School Christmas sketches and concert last night.

Had a welcome phone call from Joe Coleman in England who says that his knee is back to normal after an injury. Also had a call from Denny Hayes from Kilkenny, who once lived in Shannonbridge many years ago while working with the Forestry. He is in good form and says that he will not be sending Christmas Cards this year. I know the feeling.

This morning was the winter solstice and we associate it with the rising sun beaming into the chamber room of Newgrange for about ten minutes. Alas the people waiting this morning were disappointed as it was overcast and no sun shone through.

River level has eased back a little and today was mild after some rain during the night.

Must have a word with our editor at Christmas about the possibility of an odd Sudoko game on this site.

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Clonmacnois Parish Newsletter
Sunday 18th Dec 2005 - 4th Sun
Tel (090) 9674125
Fax (090) 9674267
E-mail. Parishnewsletter@eircom.net

Shannonbridge
Masses: Each day @ 10am
Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €468. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: A.Ryan, L.Turley, M.Mitchell
Eucharistic ministers: Group 1
Readers for next Weekend: E.Quinn, P.Duffy
Altar Servers: Darragh, Graham, Megan, Ciara, Amy
Masses for Christmas: Sat eve @ 9pm; Sun @ 12noon

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Clonfanlough
Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €327. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: M.Guinan, A.Guinan
Readers for next Sunday: C.Norton
Altar Servers for next Sunday: Group 3
Eucharistic minister for next Sunday: K.Kelly
Masses for Christmas: Sat eve @ 7pm; Sun @ 10.30am
Mass on next Sun for the late Michael Kelly (Lakefield)

Sacrament of Reconciliation on Mon 19th Dec, in Clonfanlough @ 7,30pm; & Shannonbridge @ 8pm, preceded by a Carol Service.

I will visit the sick & housebound for Christmas next Friday
The Rev Graham Doyle, COI Rector, expresses his gratitude to those who took part in last Sunday's Ecumenical Carol Service in Clonmacnois. The Collection, which goes to a Third World Charity, amounted to €178. Together with his congregation he sends greetings for a happy Christmas & peaceful New Year.
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Offaly Co Childcare Committee Ltd
Will hold a first aid course in Edenderry in Jan 2006. The course will be run over 2 Saturdays and the cost is €15. If you are interested, please contact the above for a booking form as soon as possible. Tel. 0509 - 35878. (Lisa Doyle)
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South Offaly Special Olympics Club
A Special Olympics Club is being formed in the South Offaly area.
Volunteers are needed. If you are interested, please contact Veronica on 087-41723751, or Maria on 087-6980218
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Pope's Message on 11th Dec
The pope encouraged the faithful to continue the custom of setting up the crib at home, as it "can be a simple but effective way of presenting the faith and transmitting it to one's children."
"The crib can help us, in fact, to understand the secret of the true Christmas, because it speaks of humility and the merciful goodness of Christ, who 'though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor,'" noted the pope.
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Questions people ask
Q. Why purple vestments during Advent?
A. We use purple as the colour of penance. Royal purple is associated with kings & emperors. On ancient flags & ensigns it indicated the virtue of temperance. Advent should be a time for self-control and prayerfulness as we prepare to celebrate the coming of the Lord. Christmas is most deeply appreciated by people who know their need of a Saviour. (Fr O’Flynn-Intercom)
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"Nothing is so strong as gentleness, & nothing is so gentle as real strength." (Ralph W. Sockman)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The “You’re A Star” television people contacted Louise Killeen today to tell her that her next appearance on the series will be on Sunday January 15th 2006 which is also her birthday. She has a website www.louisekilleen.com where I am sure she will keep you updated.

After a few overcast days today was sunnier. Temperatures are around 9C / 48F.

The river level on Wednesday was 3.67 Metres and on Thursday it was 3.6 Metres.

It has been holding steady since.

Peter Hines has a birthday cake for his 75th and Brian from the Barge saved some of his portion and put it in a tissue. On enquiry Brian told me that a robin comes into the smoking area beside the pub and the cake was for the robin.

The free monthly newspaper “Alive” is now available on the internet. www.alive.ie

Say a prayer that Roy Keane will get on all right at Glasgow Celtic where he signed in this week.

Everyone is waiting with baited breath to find out how Lorraine Killeen from Shannonbridge Diner fares out on the Spin the Wheel TV game show tonight.

Met an interesting couple from Killaloe early in the week. They had been visiting Clonmacnois with a Scottish friend and had taken lots of photographs of Ciaran’s City Fair in the fog. They were able to show some of them on one of their cameras and they looked great. They promised to forward a selection on a disk which hopefully our editor will make it possible for you to view. When I mentioned that on the previous night Gus Claffey and I had been talking about some of the more famous stones of Clonmacnois, the Scottish man got very interested as he has just completed a book about stones of Scotland. Gus had told me about the Herbal Stone near the tenth century Medical Center, where the monks ground out their herbs and is a cure for warts etc. Also about the Chair Stone which has the way of healing bad backs. There is also a Fertility Stone which was used by ladies having problems with becoming pregnant. Gus said there was always a polished look about this stone and generally it was visited at night time.

It was great to receive a Christmas card from Frater and Gunn. Watty Frater and Jimmy Gunn are two Scottish musicians that for many years came over to Ireland and played music from May to October. Watty and Jimmy were painters by profession and Watty painted for a hobby while Jimmy fished. They have not been over for the past two years.

Jimmy writes to say that Watty fell about four months ago and broke a leg and that they are in good form. Watty is 98 years old.

Tomorrow Peter Hines of Correen and London celebrates his 75th Birthday and in fact he started today. While Bob Galligan and Peter were coming down the River Suck this morning they told us that the water was alive with fish jumping all over the place which they believe were mostly roach. Peter was telling us a story about a lady that used 999 to contact the police to tell them that her house was being robbed. She was told that all of the squad cars were busy at present.

A minute later she rang 999 and told them not to bother coming as she had shot the burglar.

Almost immediately police cars started arriving from every direction. Finding no dead body the policeman asked “Did you not say that you had shot the robber”?

The lady replied “Did you not say that all your cars were busy”?

Speaking of policemen only yesterday a number of people from the area took part as extras in the three part series being filmed around Clonmacnois, Shannonbridge and Banagher. John Price, Tom Mc Evoy were cast as policemen and when they met Garda Aiden Corcoran, who was on duty on location in Banagher, they said that they were some of the Donegal Special Branch. We can give you a sneak preview of what Policeman John Price had to say on camera. “ Look out, Look out, there’s something coming”

The day filming in Shannonbridge has been deferred until a later date.

Good to see Oliver Daly out and about after having a nasty fall from a tractor.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Shannonbridge Community Library.
The Library will be open tonight - (Thursday 15th) and next Thursday (22nd Dec). It will be closed for the Christmas break on 29th Dec and 5th January.

Re-opening on Thursday 12th January. There's an excellent range of books available now, so why not make a New Year's resolution to call in and see for yourself.

A Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for 2006 to all our readers.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Congratulations to Rosaline Glennon who won about 7000 Euros in the Moore Soccer Club Lotto. Rose is a great promoter for this lotto and richly deserves her win.

Heard on the radio that Birdwatch Ireland has birds with sounds for sale. The birds are artificial but the songs have been recorded from the goldfinch, chaffinch or whatever. Best to check their website under www.birdwatchireland.com

Also congratulations to Lorraine Killeen whose name was selected to be a contestant on next week’s Winning Streak scratch card game show where the lowest prize is about 10,000 Euros. Lorraine will be well known from her years in The Shannonside Diner.

John Maloney from Clonfinlough and now living in Navan was telling that on one day recently 1100 salmon were counted as they went upstream on the River Boyne.

I see that Turleys of Raghrabeg and Dublin have a daily one line advert in the newspapers advertising their car-hire in Dublin Airport. You can contact them at www.arguscarhire.com

Brian O’Meara of the Barge tells us that the river level was 3.5 Metres on Friday and is 3.65 Metres this morning. I noticed the area where the swans used some weeks ago is getting larger and two swans were walking out on the floodwater near the floating jetty. Brian rescued an English angler, whose engine had failed on his lake boat. Brian tells us that there are lots of fish jumping around the floating jetty harbour and that one made a splash like a building block had been thrown in.

The Clonmacnois Carol Service took place yesterday in Temple Connor and the church was full of singers and readers. The Rev’d Graham Doyle from Athlone baptised two children before the carol service and Peter Connor was telling that one of the mothers had been married in Temple Connor. Father Frank read the Gospel and gave the final blessing.

Afterwards the congregation were invited back to the visitor center where hot drinks and refreshments were very welcome. Well done to all concerned.

Met a couple today from Abbeyleix who were visiting her mother’s grave in Clonmacnois. She told us that her mother was a Kenny and that either her mother or her grandmother lived for a time in Lysterfield House, Rahara, where my Aunt Mollie Butler lived. I told her about Michael Connaughton working on a family tree and perhaps he has some Kenny data written in.

Weather has been mild the past few days but it gets a little colder after sunset. Temperature around 48 F .

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Clonmacnois Parish Newsletter
Sunday 11th Dec 2005 - 3rd Sun B
Tel (090) 9674125
Fax (090) 9674267
E-mail. Parishnewsletter@eircom.net

Shannonbridge
Masses: Each day @ 10am.
Mass on Tues for the late Denis Lyons
Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €456. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: G.Brennan, D.Deeley, C.Quinn
Eucharistic ministers: Group 4
Readers for next Weekend: C.Mannion, O.Costello
Altar Servers: Brian, RuaidhrĂ­, Ailbhe, Tara, Mary Anne.
Anniversary Mass for Damien Kenny on next Sat eve.
Mass on next Sun for the late Ned Cassidy

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Clonfanlough
Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €167. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: B.Higgins, D.Guinan
Readers for next Sunday: A.Coughlan
Altar Servers for next Sunday: Group 2
Eucharistic minister for next Sunday: P.Darcy
Mass on next Sun for the late Anne Pillion

Sacrament of Reconciliation on Mon 19th Dec, in Clonfanlough @ 7,30pm, & Shannonbridge @ 8pm, preceded by a Carol Service.
Carol Service: in Clonmacnois this Sun @ 4pm. All welcome.
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Questions people ask
Q. Every year I lose the run of myself in Christmas shopping mania.
Have you any suggestions for me?
A. Set yourself a limit; don’t use a credit card, and make a sensible decision to do Christmas shopping on maybe two days and no more. Try to keep Sunday free of shopping. You owe it to yourself and to God to make one day in the week more prayerful and reflective. Most people on your gift list have already more than they need, so why not honour them with a donation in their name to a Third World Charity? (Fr O'Flynn-Intercom)
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Offaly Co Childcare Committee Ltd
Will hold a first aid course in Edenderry in Jan 2006. The course will be run over 2 Saturdays and the cost is €15. If you are interested, please contact the above for a booking form as soon as possible. Tel. 0509 - 35878. (Lisa Doyle)
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South Offaly Special Olympics Club
A Special Olympics Club is being formed in the South Offaly area.
Volunteers are needed. If you are interested, please contact Veronica on 087-41723751, or Maria on 087-6980218
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Single Farm Payment Meeting
Important meeting for farmers to highlight Cross Compliance measures and avoid penalties in single payment. Key Speakers: Tony Mulhearne, dept of Agriculture, & Sean Fallon, Teagasc.
Venue: Highstreet Hall on Mon 12th Dec @ 8pm.
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Table Quiz, Wed 14th Dec
In Killeens. The proceeds will go to the purchase of equipment for the Parish Hall in Shannonbridge
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A special word of thanks & appreciation is due to the kind people who organised & facilitated the recent Christmas Parties in both Shannonbridge & Clonfanlough. It demanded much hard work by many people; but the enjoyment given and shared by the guests is its own reward!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Fishing. Peter one of our local anglers went fishing with his friend Mark a week Sunday. The river level had dropped which allowed them to fish one of their favourite stretches. Mark had a pike that was just under 28 Lbs. Peter was remarking that in a hundred yards of this stretch over the years Mark and himself have landed over 1,000 Lbs of pike.

And what do they do with all the fish. Simple, they put them back alive.

The river level has crept up slightly and there has been some rain in recent days and fog. George Stokes from Stoke is planning to come fishing for a week at the end of May. He has a new song to go with The Fields of Athenry so be warned.

Greetings to Helen and Lou and regret that my e mail is a screw.

Tommy Henshaw, one of The Two Tommies music makers from Athlone has died and was buried yesterday. Tommy wanted no tears to be shed over him but to play some music for him. And this they did as over thirty Henshaw family members and friends gathered in Coosan Church to sing the Mass and his favourite song Athlone Town. Tommy played the Banjo and harmonica and was a member of that same Henshaw Family that play the Midnight Mass in Coosan on Christmas Eve. Some years ago Billy was telling us that they had 27 musicians and singers in the group. Silent Night how are you? May he rest in peace.

Two Spanish visitors in Clonmacnois told that they had come to Ireland with Ryan Air for six days and the return fare was 100 Euros each. They had plans to visit Galway and then do the Ring of Kerry and into Cork before catching their plane in Dublin.

A catchy announcement on the Connacht Tribune tells us that over 50 % of Dioxin Emissions arise from backyard burning. It reminded me of the reply from John Maxwell, a supervisor in Lanesboro Station. One of his crew rushed up to him one Monday morning to tell him that they had unloaded 1032 wagons of peat on the Sunday, which was a new record. Maxwell looked at him and said “ Not good enough”

Good news that Paddy Kenny and family will be coming home from Sydney for Christmas.

More good news is the wedding of Martina Ryan and Albert Leonard sometime before Christmas.

A film which is currently being filmed is making its way west and will reach Shannonbridge around December 16th. They require some extras and if you are interested text Anne at 087 235 8642.

Our editor was telling us about a week ago that he was toying with the idea of having a photograph section on this site where photographs might be shared. Hope he toys a bit more on it. Mass today was for Jack Butler, the late village blacksmith. It would be great to be able to go to this photographic section and see what he looked like for those that never met him.

Also noticed on the Connacht Tribune that the famous Kenny Bookshop in High Street are holding a relocation sale of books and artwork worth 5 Million Euros starting yesterday. Their e-mail is queries@kennys.ie

Josephine Patricia or Tees Coughlan had an interesting rhyme on Tuesday morning that went like this –

A kiss, a smile, a fond goodbye

And he is gone.

A wink, a smile, another boy

So life rolls on.

No man you know

By outward show

Although he may attract

You never know,

What’s in the shell

Until the nut is cracked

Father Peter Kenny has an interesting message on his Christmas card this year.

Hopefully he will send it to info@shannonbridge.net and we can share it.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Two local deaths in the locality last week. Michael Ledwith Coolderry, Creagh, Ballinasloe died on Monday and was buried in Creagh on Wednesday. Michael was husband of Liz and father of Michael.

John Daly of Clononey and Blackwater died on Thursday and was buried in High Street on Saturday. Brother of Tom Daly, Portlaoise and uncle of Oliver and Saran. The priest at Mass reminded us that it was the second death for the Daly Family in a short time as Tom’s daughter had died recently when she fell down a stairs.

May they rest in peace.

The Shannonbridge end of the parish held their Christmas Dinner Dance on Friday night.

The night started at 6.0 pm with Mass in what was the old church and is now the Community Hall.

There was a large turn out to enjoy a tasty seasonal dinner prepared by The Fort Restaurant and served by the Shannonbridge Ladies Group. Afterwards music for dancing and singing was provided by members of the Memphis Band, Some 80 people attended. At the function Tees Coughlan told us that her name is Josephine Patricia and she gave us a lovely four liner –

Hear and See

And say nothing

Eat and drink

And pay nothing.

This was appropriate for the night as the function was sponsored by the Midland Health Board, ESB and Bord na Mona and others.

On Saturday night Bord na Mona held their annual Dinner Dance in Hayden’s Hotel Ballinasloe and 300 guests were expected to attend what is usually a very enjoyable night.

Yesterday Clonfinlough Ladies Club hosted the annual party for senior citizens in Clonfinlough Hall. Again this function started with Mass at 3 pm. afterwards some three score of people enjoyed soup and a main course prepared by Hineys. Ferbane and desserts tea coffee and drinks provided by the Ladies Group. Music was by K.K.Kenny and his group and the crack was mighty right up to 8 pm.

On Saturday someone mentioned that it was the tenth anniversary of that great character Martin Egan, Athlone and Aughnacabe, and it revived many memories of him for many people. Oliver Darcy remembers the day well as he had attended a family wedding with Martin in Birr on the day before he died. Rest in peace dear Martin.

Brian from The Barge says that the river level is 3.42 metres today and has risen in recent days. Saturday the level was 3.25 metres. The weather has been good for the past few days with sunshine during the day and temperature at 10 C / 50 F with light frost at night.

Marie Daly told us that she has bought a pony from Padraig Scanlon.

Attended the annual regional bridge tournament in Mullingar yesterday and was delighted to see a new partnership of Joe Kerins, Birr and Connie Mc Gooey win the day.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Shannonbridge Birdwatch
The annual Bird Watch Ireland survey of garden birds starts again this week and runs until 20th February. This is an enjoyable way to keep track of the various species of birds in your garden during the winter, as well as contributing to an important national survey. All thats involved is to record the bird numbers on a preprinted form, once a week. The completed survey is then sent to Bird Watch Ireland, after 20th Feb. It is then used to compile a census, which helps to track increases, or decline and decide if action needs to be taken.
Still time to get your forms - available from Derry Killeen.
As winter sets in please remember to feed the wildbirds.