Sunday, December 31, 2006

Dated 30th December 2006.

Yesterday our neighbour Brid Fitzpatrick was laid to rest in Gortahork graveyard in the top end of Donegal. Brid was born near the village. It is in a beautiful area and is well worth a visit for a few days. From Shannonbridge the helpful recommend a route from Shannonbridge via Cavan and Enniskillen but the more popular route is via Roscommon Sligo Donegal and Letterkenny.

Liam Keena was telling that Matt Egan, a brother of the Stonecutter Family lived in Ballyshannon where he operated a hotel or guesthouse.

Noticed an article on the newspaper about an interesting website called

Had a phone call this morning from Peter Jordan from England who often came fishing in this area with Peter Green and their wives. Peter is about to retire this year and plans to celebrate the event with a holiday in the Caribbean Islands. Wishing him well in his retirement. Both Peters wish everyone they know a happy new year.

Peter reminded me that our telephone numbers have changed. So any old friends out there wishing to contact someone in this area note that when you get into Ireland the new number for Killeens for example is 090 96 74112. I presume you drop the first 0.

Saturday night was 21st Birthday Party night for Jonathan Slattery and congratulations and best wishes to Jonathan.

Two remarkable semi-final matches in the World Darts Tournament this evening which was shown live on Sky 2. The Dutch thrower Barny Barnesville won his match 6 – 0 and in the following semi-final The Power Taylor won his match 6 – 0. The final is on New Years evening on Sky.

Today was quite calm and two swans out on the floodwater of the callow looked a real picture. Meanwhile about twenty small birds are busy lowering the levels in four peanut feeders. Suddenly they disappeared and the reason was a stray cat helping to clean off a turkey carcase on the shed roof. Briquettes are good for burning or moving cats or both.

Tonight was a lovely moonlit night but a little on the cold side. There was a bright star in the south which may be the weather station that was in the news recently.

Lorraine Mc Kenna sent a card with some photographs taken during her September visit.

Lorraine and Jim also send best wishes to all they know in Shannonbridge which after four visits is just about everyone.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Dated 26th December 2006

Christmas Day and our good neighbour Brid Fitzpatrick died and went back to her God. Brid lived across the street from Killeens bar and has been in poor health for some time. She died in Portiuncula and Brid wished to be buried in her home county Donegal, and so the remains will leave the morgue in Ballinasloe and travel directly to Donegal. May she rest in peace.

Christmas Eve Mass was a special candlelit celebration and the congregation enjoyed the singing and the candlelight and the Mass and the sermon. Father O Hanlon was asked to repeat an old sermon about World War 1 and how on Christmas Eve the soldiers on both sides decided to stop shooting and they began to sing Silent Night. The choir sang and hummed the carol. I thought it would have been an addition if the seven grownups who had been singing Christmas Carols outside the church as the people arrived, had come along and sang the Silent Night in German. Perhaps they will next year. The carol singing was their yearly effort to raise funds for the Hospice people.

News came at Christmas of the death of Scobie Breasley, the jockey, who was aged 92 years.

Scobie was an Australian and in 1964 he won the Irish 2000 Guineas and the English Derby when he rode Santa Claus. In 1958 he partnered Ballymoss to win the Arc de Triomphe which was trained by Vincent O Brien. May he rest in peace.

Bono is to become Sir Bono shortly. His real name is Paul Hewson.

Our Christmas dinner number was reduced by three when a 24 hour bug arrived and hit Mick Mary and Pat. The third course was a surprise e-mail from Mike Thornhill who is currently in South Africa. Our make-do cooks had to ring Niamh in Abbey seeking directions on how to heat the plum pudding. It worked and it was smashin.

On Christmas Eve after Mass I enjoyed some of Maureen Thornhill’s mince pies which are a part of Christmas.

Mark Oberton from Correen was telling us that when the flood was at its height their was two inches of water at his doorstep and the water on the road leading to Correen Ford was up to his knee.

On fishing I read where Nigel Williams who is known to the UK media as ‘’The Pike Ace’’ was stopped at Holyhead ferry port and fined £800 for trying to take 119 live fish into Ireland. He intended using some of them as dead bait for fishing but apparently there is a disease in the carp fish in England and it is not in Ireland.

Irish holly stocks are continuing to be plundered for Christmas decorations and there is an appeal from Crann - the tree people, to report any stripping of holly trees and for landowners to plant more holly trees.

Noticed an article about the privatisation of some hotels in Dublin such as The Burlington and The Westbury. The writer thinks this may be the first step in selling off the hotels for development.

Yesterday TG4 television broadcast a tribute to Michael O Hehir the broadcaster. His radio commentaries on hurling Gaelic football and racing were renowned. When John F Kennedy died he happened to be in America and he was asked to do a five hour commentary on the funeral. Every year he was one of a team of four commentators that covered the English Grand National on radio. His son told that for weeks before the race he used to draw out and colour in the colours that each jockey would be wearing. At one Grand National there was a large pile up at the corner fence after Beechers Brook and one horse jumped clear. Michael immediately recognized it as Finn Avon, a 200 to 1 shot, which went on to win the race. On a Late Late TV program he told Gay Byrne that before the race he was in the jockeys room and he noticed a jockey wearing silks with two black stripes that he did not recognise. He enquired from the jockey who told him that there were two green stripes on the original but the owner did not like them and got them changed to black. Of course they were Finn Avon’s colours.

Finally Patrick Kenny was following ‘the wren’ this morning’ and he told of the three publicans who died and met Saint Peter. Saint Peter asked anyone who had given short measure to take one step forward. Two of the publicans stepped forward.

Then he asked anyone who had wrong changed a customer to take two steps forward. The same two took two steps forward. Saint Peter then told the two that they were going to Hell and he asked them if they would mind bringing that deaf hoor with them.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Yesterday Caroline Mitchell from Clondelara married Bill Loughnane from near Birr. The wedding was held in Shannonbridge Church with Father O Hanlon guiding the ceremony. The reception was held in Kinnity Castle. Caroline is daughter of Tommy and Maureen Mitchell. Tommy is a son of the late ‘Ta Mitchell and Maureen is a daughter of the late Mr and Mrs John Leary. For a number of years Caroline had been a great hostess on the local Bog Rail Tours. Then she worked in Hodson Bay Hotel and later in The Bridge House Tullamore. Congratulations to Bill and Maureen and wishing them well in their married life.

Shannonbridge girl Mary Quinn, daughter of George and Eileen Quinn, celebrates her 21st Birthday today. Congratulations and Best Wishes Mary.

A new underground tunnel serving the Dublin Port opened this week which offers free travel to trucks. There was a bit of timing error and today’s newspapers have photographs of lines of trucks jammed in traffic. Santa promised to sort out the problem.

Burgess of Athlone has a fancy calendar with a ten euro gift voucher attached. They proclaim that they are over 150 years providing quality and service to Athlone and surrounds. See

After a couple of days of foggy weather the sun came out to shine brightly for the winter solstice and no doubt pleased the lucky dozen people waiting in the chamber at Newgrange. For a short time on that morning the suns rays shine along the passageway and light up the centre of the burial chamber.

The Offaly Independent has a lead story telling that the Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore has a waiting list of 575 adults and some 180 children who have been waiting a year for an operation. The hospital hopes that the plan to move to six operating theatres from the current four will ease the backlog situation.

The same paper carries a large colour photograph of some of those that attended last weeks Shannonbridge Active Retirement Group Bash in The Fort. The group were delighted to get a Christmas Card from Tom Mc Evoy in Sydney for their meeting on Tuesday.

That Midnight Mass in Sydney will be coming live from the courtyard of Hyde Park Barracks in Sydney at 11.05 pm Irish time. Bishop Donal Mc Keown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor will be the chief celebrant.

Glad to see that Val Joyce is playing his favourite Christmas selection on radio over the Christmas night on Late Date on RTE One. If you miss it you can pick him up on which has a selection of radio programmes. Gay Byrne and his Sunday Serenade should also be found there.

Almost missed the Christmas Penitential ceremony on Monday evening this week. The carols had been sung but there was an impressive arrangement of candles burning which was put together by Mary Kelly. I choose Father Ryan for confession and the penance he gave me was to spend five minutes thinking about God’s gifts to me.

The nuts in the bird feeders are popular with the little birds and at one time yesterday fourteen of them were trying to feed together. I noticed two willy-wags and one robin feeding on the roof.

Rose and Pat in the Library were delighted that four new children had come along and joined up last night. They are taking a well earned break and hope to reopen on Thursday 19th January from 7 to 9. They wish all the users of the library and all those who helped in donating books, work, time and material a very happy Christmas.

Fog hit London Airport yesterday and a couple in the area today told us that they were 20 hours waiting for their flight.

There is sunshine today but temperatures are down to 8C / 46F.

Recent deaths include Earl Kelly Clonfinlough who died suddenly in Dublin. Son of Kay Kelly and the late Peetie Kelly. Funeral tomorrow in Clonmacnois.

Lil Mc Manus nee Feighery Annaghmore and wife of the late Leo has passed away. Lil will also be buried in Clonmacnois on Saturday.

Carrie Crean Vicarstown, nee O Meara, sister of Brian O Meara from the barge has died and was buried yesterday in Vicarstown.

May they all rest in peace.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

To Deputies Brian Cowan, Tom Parlon, Olwyn Enright.

About four years ago a group of people in Shannonbridge set up a website

For the village – was aimed to provide news of local

happenings for locals, locals living away and for regular visitors to the village.

Under local news the local GAA club, church bulletins, charitable events, library, fishing reports,

Birdlife news, historical information and news items have been added on an ongoing basis under ‘local news’ banner.

For some time we have seen the need for an easy to access photo gallery on site.

This would allow those people visiting the site to have a look at Shannonbridge and what it has to offer. Various photographs might be shared such as scenic shots, people both dead and alive historical photographs, sporting events such as football teams, fish catches, golfing, walkways, places of interest nearby, places to stay etc.

Some months ago our local voluntary webmaster estimated that some 1500 to 2000 Euro would be required to buy sufficient space for photographs. A scanner and an amount of time in setting up this addition would also be required.

And so we contacted a number of bodies in Offaly such as

  1. Leader –Theresa Wynne
  2. Mid Ireland Tourism – Marian Smith
  3. Shannon Development – Thomas O Donald
  4. Offaly Enterprise Board –Sean Ryan

It was a waste of time and phone calls but an education on the difficulty of reaching some of these people – being told that they were at a meeting, would call back etc.

Anyhow the story was either it was not their field, try so and so and so on.

Are these bodies supposed to be a help to voluntary groups.

Seems to me that we will have to raise our own funding.

With Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

Signed Dermot Killeen

Monday, December 18, 2006

Dated Monday 18th December 06

Gay Byrne on his two hour radio programme on Lyric yesterday mentioned two of the most difficult things to do.

  1. Climb a wall that’s leaning towards you.
  2. 2. Kiss a woman that is leaning away from you.

Go try it yourself if you don’t believe him.

What I found difficult yesterday was to find an address for Mick Peake, Mick Baritt / Andy Barton, and Peter Warwick as I have mislaid their contact and just wanted to send Christmas Greetings to them.

Yesterday a Dublin hubby asked the mott what she would like for Christmas.

Any chance of the widow’s pension she replied.

Gay Byrne also had the story of Bishop Empery in mufti going on a visit to Kerry.

He met one of the natives and asked him if there were much Protestants in Kerry.

Our man replied that there would be some but there are much more rabbits.

RTE TV is broadcasting Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve from Sydney in Australia. Keep an eye out for some old faces in the congregation.

Television on Saturday showed Minister Tom Parlon on a visit to the floods at Shannonharbour and Phelim Kerins was in the accompanying group. Phelim was in Shannonbridge yesterday and told us that he had got 62 phone calls since the programme. Today Brian from the barge tells us that the river level has dropped 1.5 inches in 24 hours.

Maybe they have the power after all to be sure.

Tony Ellis was telling yesterday that three Galway coarse anglers were fishing at the harbour marina in Ballinasloe and were catching good roach this size. He also saw a number of anglers fishing on the Grand Canal near Clononey Castle.

Some recent deaths include Jack Nallen, Minella Arms Clonmel and late of Banagher. Jack made a great name for himself with a string of greyhounds called Ollies Pal, Ollies Quare Rebel.

Doctor Pat Corboy, Clara who was renowned for bone ache and arthritis. My brother Jim told us that he also liked shooting and one day he went to shoot opposite Clonmacnois at Kieran Mulveys. The late Kieran did not like Pat Carboy’s attire as he said ‘who is the b*****ks in the white coat’? Sure we will get nothing with him with us.

Pat Daly, Bloomhill, brother of the late Fr. Tommy Daly New Zealand has passed away and was laid to rest in Clonmacnois on Saturday.

Freddie Marsden, drummer with the Gerry and The Pacemakers back in the Sixties has died. The Beatles were guests at his 21st Birthday Party and the group had three songs in a row that went straight to No 1. How Do You Do It, Love Me Do and You’ll Never Walk Alone which was later adopted by Liverpool Soccer Club as their own theme song. May they rest in peace.

On December 15th there was a very enjoyable Glory of Christmas concert held in St. Brendan’s Church in Birr. Carol O Sullivan soprano and John Molloy bass were featured with a local combined choir of 34 ladies and 7 gentlemen. It was great to know many of the carols chosen and they also included selections from some of the musicals. Met an old friend Frank Mulvey of Ballysheil and now Birr. Frank has a hobby of fixing and selling washing machines. Some other faces in the large crowd included Noel Byrne, John Boland, Tony Hogan Eileen Gleeson, Olivia White and our own Michael and Marie Donegan. Michael has just completed his third yearly Birr Revue which is on sale for Christmas.

The following night Thursday was party night for Shannonbridge Active Retirement who went for a meal in The Fort Restaurant with dinner at 8 followed by music and dancing until after midnight with Hugh Collins on guitar guiding a great host of talent. There was a silent collection for the children in Kenya which the group have undertaken to sponsor at their weekly meetings. At present five children are attending secondary school from funds collected.

Ireland continues to go mad with another five people killed in car crashes at the weekend bringing the total to 475 to date.

This morning was very foggy and fog has remained all day.

In rugby over the weekend the Munster, Ulster and Leinster teams were all winners.

In soccer Man U who was 9 points clear leaders starting the week ended Sunday by being defeated by West Ham and they are now only two points ahead of the premiership.

Some babies for Christmas for

Mr and Mrs Liam Fallon – a girl.

Mr and Mrs Adian Carry – a boy.

Mr and Mrs Oisin Seal (Fidelma Mc Manus) – a boy.

Mr and Mrs Seamus Flannery – a girl.

Congratulations to everyone.

The Newsletter has an appeal from the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart in Cork who are looking for discarded mobile phones with batteries – not chargers – which they plan to recycle and use in their work in the Third World countries. Post them to Mobile Phone Recycling, P.O. Box 23, Western Road, Cork. Ireland

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dated 13th December 2006

A friend notified us about an Irish internet for emigrants called Emigrant Online. They claim to be the longest established publishing company in Ireland. One of their regular contributors Cormac Mac Connell was on holiday on the River Shannon in October and one of his pieces is about his visit to Shannonbridge. Check it out on their site which is

The good news in the local papers this week is the appointment of Pat Gallagher, Tullamore as the County Manager for Offaly. About ten years ago he was a Labour T.D. for Laois / Offaly and then decided to give up politics to work in Mullingar. Recently he has been County Manager in County Galway. At one time Shannonbridge was allotted European Funding for a floating jetty. Nothing seemed to be happening so a group from Shannonbridge approached Pat Gallagher at one of his monthly clinics. He explained that it was usual to announce a number of projects but the more important ones only got done. Pat Gallagher took it in hand and got the jetty project moved up the list and the work was done. Congratulations to him on his appointment.

The Offaly GAA has selected Niall Mc Namee as football Player of the Year for 2006.

Rory Hanniffy has been selected as the Player of the Year in hurling.

Last Saturday there was a welcome visit from Ray Cadman from Scotland and Sean Fitzsimons from Athlone. Both were reminiscing about when they first met back in the 60’s and Ray as usual told us when saying farewell that we might never see him again.

An interesting article in this month Irish Messenger tells the story of the well visited website called One lady who worked in a company employing 6000 people often visited the site for a short spell while at work. One day when she tried to login she read the message that told her the site was barred. After some time she went to her supervisor and told her about using the site and her reasons for doing so. The site was restored and made available to the 6,000.

Mary Allen was telling us this morning that one of the OPW men was in Shannonbridge last week and told her that the river level was only six inches short of the record flood. The water has risen a couple of inches since. Brian O Meara on the barge has to walk through floodwater every day and he only has short Wellingtons. At present he is managing to get through on tippie toes. The shower / toilet unit at the jetty is flooded. Yesterday we went to the funeral of Annie Larkin in Clonfert. Annie was a few years short of the century and ran the Clonfert Post Office. Annie was mother of Philip and Padraig Larkin who worked in Shannonbridge power plant. As the flood is across the road at Shannon-harbour we travelled via Cloghan. There is a large flood on the Blackwater and Brosna rivers. When one crosses the bridge at Banagher there is a sea of water on either side. After the funeral one of her neighbours was remembering Annie for her humour. Right to the end when attending a new doctor she always asked ‘Do you think I’m pregnant doctor’? May she rest in peace.

Joe Burke an ESB workmate called in yesterday and he looks right well.

Over 350 people have been killed in accidents on Irish roads this year to date.

Another couple of prayers composed by Sister Estelle Barron –

Lord, sometimes I try to plan my day, forgetting that you – in your Divine Providence, have already planned what is best for me.

Help me this day to submit totally to Your Divine Providence.

Then all will be well.

Lord, help me to realize that there is power in Your Name.

You spoke and the world with all its beauty came to be.

Remind me to call on Your Name in all my needs.

Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Overcast today with temperatures 11 / 52 and more rain promised for the next two days.

Christmas lights have been erected around the green area opposite the church. To put lights across the street would require permission and insurance.

This morning members of the Shannonbridge Active Retirement group completed their six day painting course and will celebrate tomorrow night with a meal in The Old Fort.

Last Sunday there was an enjoyable Ecumenical Carol Service in Temple Connor in Clonmacnois with tea and refreshments in the visitor center afterwards.

Cliff Richards played at The Point in Dublin on Tuesday and Wednesday 4 /5th Dec. to a sell-out audience each night. Cliff started singing in 1960’s in London.

Watch out for Irelands Enya this Christmas with her new musical offering.

The paper tells us that 25 % of Irish prisoners are back within bars within a year.

The recent budget doubled the mortgage interest relief from 8,000 to 16,000 for first time buyers.

Old age pension rise of 16 or 18 Euros per week.

Top tax rate cut 1 %. Tax band widened.

Social welfare increase of 20 Euros per week.

50c added to price of 20 cigarettes.

Extra 10 Euro per child per month, paid maternity leave increased to 26 weeks and unpaid leave increased to 16 weeks.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

GAA News from Conor Killeen

Review of 2006

Shannonbridge GAA club will look back on 2006 as a mixed bag of fortunes and failings. The Senior Footballers managed to maintain their senior status despite a lot of controversy.

The Bridge were narrowly beaten in the first round by St Bridget's who went on to the County semi final and were unlucky to be beaten by eventual County champions Rhode.

Four months later the Blue and Gold were beaten by county finalists Clara, although Shannonbridge were well in control at half time. Shannonbridge were then pitted against St Rynaghs and probably played their poorest Football of the year and were beaten by a last minute goal from Ger Rafferty to send the Bridge into a relegation playoff.

The Bridge managed to beat Edenderry and then had a controversial draw with Doon and then later won the replay which kept the Bridge in Senior Football for 2007.

Shannonbridge can count themselves lucky that they managed to avoid the drop but can take heart that they were only narrowly beaten by Clara and Bridget's.

Many in Offaly might say Shannonbridge are in serious danger of going back intermediate but their is still a firm belief in the club that if we could win the all important first round next year the Shannonsiders are not far off any team in the County.

The west Offaly club had a number of key players that suffered serious injuries and with these Men back next year who knows what could happen.

Our Junior Footballers have also managed to retain their status by staying up in the A grade.

Happy Christmas

Shannonbridge GAA club wish to thank all Officials, Management, Players, our Sponsors (KPW) and supporters of the club for their continued support through the past year and wish all concerned a happy Christmas.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Dated 6th December 2006

Five people from Tuscany in Italy stopped by yesterday after visiting Clonmacnois. They enjoyed their stop at Clonmacnois and were on their way to Galway. They are on a five day visit and Marco Martini one of the group is a fisherman and fishes for carp. Glad to hear that the fish are returned alive. Next time he promised to bring his fishing rods and try his luck in the waters around here.

An obituary appeared on the papers this week for the Welsh rugby player Keith Rowlands 1936 – 2006. It contained a photograph of Keith tackling our own Willie John Mc Bride in a Five Nations match in 1963. May he rest in peace.

The recent strong winds and rain has brought the river level higher and floodwater has appeared in our garden this morning. More strong winds and rain are promised for later in the week.

Charlie Bird the reporter will be in The Oat Gallery on Saturday 9th December at 11.59 a.m. for book signing – ‘This is Charlie Bird ‘

Some interesting dates that were mentioned this week include;

January 6th 1839 – The night of The Big Wind or as it was known in Irish ‘Oiche na Gaoithe Moire ‘

December 6th 1954 – the ‘Irish Army evacuated the families from Clonfert and Garryduff. I heard that most of them were having their dinner as they were prepared for flood conditions by having a floating wooden floor in their kitchens and open fireplaces whereby they were able to add rows of bricks to keep the fire up out of the waters. By co-incidence a Brendan Spellman from Clonfert has his funeral announcement on the paper today. The Spellman family were one of those evacuated in 1954. Rest in Peace.

Met a couple from London today who are planning to return to Ireland and they have bought a new home in Ahascragh. They were telling us that his father used to visit the late Paddy Kenny, Raghrabeg to talk about football as both had immigrated to London.

The annual Mass for deceased members of the Shannonbridge Power Station Staff takes place this evening at 8.00 p.m.

The National Gallery has purchased the historical drawing of Athlone Castle for 30,230 Euros at an auction held in Christies, London

Monday, December 04, 2006

GAA News from Conor Killeen

Shannonbridge AGM

Shannonbridge GAA club held their agm on Friday night last in the dressing rooms. Chairman Tom Moore thanked all officials for their great work during the year and all the players for their commitment in 2006.

Frank Guinan was again singled out for all his tireless work he has done through out the year and for all the lotto tickets he continues to sell.

Tom Moore thanked Ferbane for their continued support in facilitating our underage players that we do have at each level. However Tony Rohan highlighted the fact that there was very little numbers playing at under 16 and minor grades. This is a serious issue for the long term future of the club.

Due to falling population in the parish Shannonbridge has been unable to field their own underage teams but the club will be making a renewed effort to get all underage players in the parish to get football with Ferbane because without the players there is no club.

The club also wished to thank our sponsors Kelly printing works (KPW) in Ballinasloe for their continued support over the years.

Following Officers were elected, Chairman Tom Moore, Secretary Jim Killeen, Treasurer Olive Costello, Vice Chairman Frank Guinan, Assistant Treasurer Kieran Rohan, P.R.O Conor Killeen, assistant P.R.O Jason Mahon, Registrar Declan McEvoy

Best of Luck
Shannonbridge wish Eamon Mahon the best of luck with his role as Manager of Padraig Pearce's Football team across the water in Roscommon.

The former Offaly selector gave the club great assistance this year to help the bridge to stay up senior when his extensive political experience came through in the board room after the Doon game when the Bridge accidentally finished with 16 men

Shannonbridge GAA lotto is now currently at €15,200 at the time of Writing. Long term tickets are available through all officials and Players. The quarterly or yearly tickets may be of particular interest for people who may be living away from the parish and abroad..

Dated 4th December 2006

On Friday night the local ladies organised a Mass, dinner and dance in the village hall for the senior citizens. There was a good turnout for the Mass at 6 PM celebrated by Father O Hanlon with an anointing option afterwards. Then it was down to eating with a fine meal prepared by Fergal Moran and his Fort staff. A Christmas cake cooked by Catherine Curley was sliced and enjoyed with a cup of tea. Santa Claus arrived with a present for everyone and then the tables were put away in readiness for the music and song and dance until the midnight hour. The band played a great selection of hits from the sixties on and several people sang a song or two. My favourite performer was Margaret Kelly.

Well done to Liz Duffy and her merry band for organizing the evening and the preparation of the hall. Bridget Kitt was telling us that John Kelly an uncle of hers was responsible for the beautiful woodwork in the gallery of the old church and it looked very well on Friday night. John Kelly emigrated to America and his son, also a John Kelly was a judge, and he was in charge of the Louise Woodward child case in America. And Bridget’s grandfather was called ….. You guessed it JOHN.

Tom and Margaret Carty were at the party and Margaret had a tip for a horse called Polish Worker in Lingfield which won at 20 to 1. Her selection for Sunday was Killeen in the 2.35 race at Fairyhouse. But gale force wind ( Force 11 ) and rain arrived on Saturday night and the race meeting was abandoned after two races.

In the Leinster club football final played on Sunday Moorefield from Kildare defeated Rhode from Offaly.

Theresa Breslin arrived home from a visit to Australia New Zealand and America in time to partner Ann Mc Guckian in an important annual bridge tournament in Mullingar on Sunday. Well done Theresa and Ann on winning the Gleeson Trophy which qualifies them for the All Ireland.

Some local deaths. Evelyn Egan nee Egan from Five Alley and Clondelara died on Friday and was buried in Clonmacnois on Sunday. Evelyn is a sister of Alice Egan Clondelara.

Joseph Coughlan Eyrecourt was buried in Meelick on Sunday. He is survived by his wife Mary, children, mother Nellie (Lucas) brothers and sisters. Joseph was a son of the late Dan Coughlan.

Kevin Naughton Cappatagle has died. Kevin and his family once lived in Kenny’s old house in Shannonbridge where Jim Rodgers house now stands. During their time in Shannonbridge Kevin worked with Bord na Mona and tragedy befell them when a young son ran out on the street and got hit with a car and died.

News on Sunday of the death of Paddy Kenny brother of Martin and Jack who live in Cappaleitra. Paddy lives over around Clonfert area. May they all rest in peace.

The winds have brought rain and flooding and some fallen trees and branches. No doubt the river will rise further.

Fishing on the stocked trout lake near Cloghan has gone into a closed season for three months.

Ferbane Bridge Club now has their own web page where results and news are posted regularly.

The Sacred Heart Messenger is an interesting monthly publication and they have an offer going at present which you might be interested in. If you subscribe now and get a gift subscription for a friend at HALF PRICE plus a free copy of Living Prayer 2007.

Cost in Ireland and EU countries is 18.60 Euros. For other countries the cost is 22 Euros or $25.60 dollars. This includes postage. You can e-mail

Messenger Publications, 37 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2, Ireland.

Long ago the Messenger was a favourite with the ladies as its distinct red cover was often used as rouge or lipstick.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Eye On The Past

Here is a list of goods and prices from 1931 /32. They are extracts from the Day Book of Killeens Shop, kindly loaned by Derry. Its a facinating insight into the everyday purchases of the time: - candles, flanelette, globes for lamps, cycle outfits for puncture repairs and parafin oil, as well as a total absence of items which are commomplace today - pasta, firelighters, yoghurt etc.
A cwt of cement cost 4/2 (four shilings and two pence), the equivalent of 25 cents in today's money.

1 cwt flour 11/- (eleven shillings)
1 lb butter 1/4. (one shilling and four pence)
2 pk woodbines (in fives) 4d.
2 oz tobacco 1/4.
9 oz wool 4/6.
2 lb bacon 1/8.
1/2 lb tea 1/5
4 lb sugar 1/2.
1 lb rashers 1/-.
1 score eggs 3/-
1 lb sausages 1/2
1/2 lb black pudding 4d.
1 loaf 4d.
1 candle 1d.
Borac powder 2d.
2 lb jam 1/5.
Pk wafer oats 1/3.
1 lb soap 6d.
1 cwt pollard 7/9.
4 yds flanelette 5/-.
Brasso 1/3.
Toothpaste 1/3.
1 ng whiskey 3/4.
Matches 1d.
1 pr socks 2/-
1/4 oz snuff 21/2d.
Vim 10d.
1 gal oil 1/-.
Jeyes Fluid 1/-
1 pr boots 15/-
Pants 8/-.
4 Oranges 10d.
Polish 1d.
1 bottle cod liver oil 2/-.
Mouse trap 2d.
1 lb USA biscuits 1/6.
1 lb bread soda 3d.
4 herrings 8d.
1 box blue 3d.
1 bottle stout 6d.
1/2 lb cocoa 1/1.
2 lb marmalade 1/2.
1 st bran 1/3.
1 cwt corncrake 8/6.
1 pr stockings 1/-.
1 pr socks 1/3.
Globe 6d.
Twig 2/6.
Bucket 1/4.
Saucepan 2/9.
1 lb rice 5d.
Brack 1/-.
Shovel and handle 3/-.
3 stone hayseed 12/-.
Cycle outfit 6d.
Calf mixture 2/5.
Syphon soda 1/-
1/2 stone cruhed flax ?
31/2 lb rape seed 1/9.
1/4 acre spraying 2/2.
1/2 pint malt 6/6/
Bottle sherry 7/6.
1 cwt cement 4/2.
3 lb turnip seed 4/-.
1 overall 7/6.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dated 30th November 2006

Dublin’s Shelburne Hotel is now re-opening in January. The hotel was closed in March 2005 for an 80 Million Euro renovation and extension. The horseshoe bar and staircase have been preserved.

Patrick Kenny was telling a story that was on the national newspapers last week. Apparently a sow broke loose in Carrickmacross town and went on a wander about.

It looked in various shop windows and called into the convent where a nun fed it some bread to prevent it rooting up the plants. Then it went downtown, stopping traffic and finally stopped outside a butcher shop. Two Gardai then took control and walked it back home. A photographer was on the scene and shows the sow and one of the Gardai.

Radio Shannonside ran a competition asking for suggestions as to what the sow said.

Patrick liked a number of them and thought ‘I’m only looking for my roots ‘was one of the better ones.

Patrick reminded us that Mass on the radio Fm102 is broadcast from Moore every weekday at 10.00 AM, on Saturday at 7.00 PM and on Sunday at 11.30 AM.

Back to roots and we heard from Carol Manion who is delighted that the Half-way House at Clerhane was identified. She is also glad that Padraig Turley has a photograph of the house. She would now like to know more about the Clerhane area.

Shannonbridge Festival Committee is to get a grant of 5000 Euros from the Arts Council towards its undertakings in 2007. Last year they organised three outdoor concerts over a weekend with two in Shannonbridge and one in Clonmacnois.

The battle for the takeover of Aer Lingus stepped up this week with Ryanair buying a further 6 % of Aer Lingus shares at a cost of 88Million Euros. This brings Ryanair’s shareholding to 26.2 %.

Alan Freeman well known disc jockey on Radio Luxembourg years ago has died aged 79 years. May he rest in peace.

Forecast was for strong winds tonight but at 1.30 AM there is no sign of them yet.

Next Wednesday evening the annual Mass for ESB deceased staff will be celebrated in Shannonbridge.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dated 28th November 2006

Some sport results from the weekend for overseas friends.

Ireland beat Pacific Islanders 61 – 17 in their last match in Landsdowne Road.

Manchester United and Chelsea played a 1 – 1 draw. Some eight people travelled from Shannonbridge for the match. Four flew and four went by boat.

In Gaelic football St.Brigid's from Roscommon beat Corofin from Galway 1 -10 to 0 – 10 in the clubs championship.

Paidi O Se is to manage the Clare football team in 2007.

The Ferbane Ladies footballers defeated Doon / Shannonbridge.

Lots of windy weather for the weekend and Monday with showers. More showers are promised for the week. The river level has gone up and there is water over the callows.

Today the first goldfinches used the feeders which are a sign that the natural berries have gone scarce.

The barman at Dooley’s Hotel in Birr lives in Creagh and he was telling us last evening that they have four weddings booked between Christmas Day and New Years Day.

The Mill Hill magazine in Freshford Kilkenny has two photographs of Father Paddy Kenny celebrating his Diamond Jubilee. It is a well turned out magazine and they ask anyone wishing to get the magazine to send a subscription to them. No price was mentioned. Sunday and Monday were two funeral days for me. My cousin Bernadette Grenham, Kilgorve, Ballinasloe died on Thursday and was buried in Creagh cemetery after Mass on Sunday. Bernie had suffered with cancer in the past year. She was married to Joe Grenham and for some years they operated the pub in Main Street which is now Declan Egans. A bit of family history there as her father Patrick and my father James J. at one time bought that pub and later my father bought the pub shop in Shannonbridge.

Bernie and Joe had five children – Joan, Oliver, Niall, Brian and John.

Bernie has one sister Frances who lives in the Isle of Man.

On Monday Harold Johnson, Kilclooney and formerly Lissduff was buried after a service in St.Johns Ballinasloe. Harold was married to the late Annie Coughlan, Annaghmore.

They had two children Joseph and Martha. Harold was well known for his involvement with agricultural machinery and wore a hat and glasses. His sister was married to the late Tom O’Neill, Blackwater. May they rest in peace.

The graveyard where Harold Johnston is buried is called Kilclooney. One of the locals told me that the ruined church in the graveyard is Saint Grellan’s Church. Apparently Ballinasloe lies in the parish of Kilclooney and Creagh and the old Creagh church is part of the cemetery at Creagh. Kilclooney is to the left of the Ballinasloe – Ahascragh road and is signposted.

Today I contacted the Enterprise Board in Tullamore regarding this website. For some time it has become obvious that a picture gallery would be very useful on this web. Our webmaster told us some time ago that to buy the required picture space would require a substantial sum alone. Friendly means of putting the photographs on the web would also be required and an amount of work no doubt in setting up the system.

Some of the categories covered might include !. Sport both present and historical relating to the area. 2 – Views of Shannonbridge and the area. 3 – Photographs of people from the area. 4 – An obituary section. 5 – Historical photographs. And others.

Hopefully something will develop and then we can start adding your photographs to share with others.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Northabout -The Shannonbridge Connection

Was at a talk last week given by Jarlath Cunnane, builder and skipper of the polar exploration yacht Northabout. This 47 foot boat, with a 90 hp engine and a crew of eight, over four years from 2001 to 2005, completed the circumnavigation of the polar icecap, a distance of some 20,000 miles. The trip took them through the North West Passage, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific via north of Canada and Alaska. The second leg was east to west along the north Siberian coast and round the top of Norway. Tales of near impassable ice, polar bears and Russian bureauracy abound.

The Shannonbridge connection is that Jarlath Cunnane was a construction manager for contractors John Paul in the building of the power station extension in the late 1970s. He was also in charge of the bridge project in the mid 1980s, the temporary Bailey bridge and the removal of the swing bridge whiich is now on the quay.

The book of the voyage, Northabout, is on sale now, priced €27.50 in hardback and is a great read.
A documentary will be shown on RTE Television around Christmas (possibly St Stephen's Day) so keep an eye out for it.

Dated 23rd November 2006.

The local papers arrive on Wednesday and here are some things they mentioned.

Deputy Tom Parlon highlighted the poor condition of the road to Clonmacnois which he observed during his recent visit. Offaly County Council are to carry out a review of the road immediately with a view to carrying out the necessary repairs.

There is a large picture of Burke’s house in Ferbane shown on the Offaly Independent. It stands on 1.1 acres and has a guide price of 1.25 Million from auctioneers Mollin Estates, Tullamore. View Church Street Ferbane on their site

By coincidence as I wrote the above the seller Patsy Burke and her son called in. They told us that their son Donal plans to be married on 10th February 2007.

Some councillors are predicting that Edenderry will become Offaly’s principal town.

One local paper had a lead story that Bord na Mona are planning to buy the midlands power plants at Lanesboro and Shannonbridge. They already own the plant at Edenderry. There were also indications that Bord na Mona plan to buy AES or Advanced Environmental Solutions which operate a wheelie bin service here and over a wide area. Costing over 50 Million Euros.

Later in the evening the local radio said that the buying of the two power stations was not true.

Al Pacino is visiting Ireland for the first time and is pictured at Ireland’s oldest university Trinity College. He has a great interest in Oscar Wilde.

Temperature on Wednesday was mild with temperatures of 10C/50F. Strong winds promised tonight and at 2.00 AM the promise has started.

First small birds seen using the nut feeders on Wednesday were grey titts.

Cleaning gravestones. Kieran Egan years ago recommended using washing soda. Today’s stone people use parozone. Wet the stone well before applying the parozone and leave to soak overnight. Wash it off the next day with water and a cloth.

Celtic beat Manchester United 1 – 0 in their Tuesday soccer match.

Did you ever wonder who writes some of the great songs and airs? Today on the radio a jazz number was played by Earl Gardner. Afterwards the presenter asked if we knew that he composed this tune. Then he played Misty.

Good news about the photograph of the old ivy covered barrack ruin in Shannonbridge. One of our readers remembered seeing a picture of this barracks used in a historical talk some years ago. The man who gave the talk was Paul Kerrigan and still has the photo.

Some time ago Paul Kerrigan asked me if anybody had a photograph of The Grand Gate which was the main gate on the roadway just past The Fort Restaurant. He would like to get a copy of this as he is a leading expert on Martello Fortifications. Has anybody got a photo before the arch and door was removed ?.

Finally a school rhyme from Joan Carty in memory of geography classes –

Long legged Italy,

Kicked poor Sicily

Out in the Mediterranean Sea,

Sicily got hungry,

And ate a bit of Turkey,

And dipped it in Greece.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Shannonbridge Active Retirement group hold their weekly meeting in the parish hall on Tuesday morning after 10.00 AM Mass. They go through a series of warm up exercises before the meeting and have a welcome cup of tea in the meantime. They continue to support a number of Kenyan children by making a donation each week.

Today the meeting decided to hold their Christmas Dinner in The Fort Restaurant on Thursday 14th December. This is open to people who wish to attend but contact the secretary Pat Keohane beforehand.

Tommy Mc Evoy is a regular attendee at Active Retirement and today he told us that he plans to spend some time in Sydney very soon. So keep an eye out for him all you Sydney / Shannonbridge folk. And how about dropping a line to this website?.

Nobody seems to have a photograph of the old barracks that was burned down around 1923 and the ivy ruins were knocked in the 1970’s as a site for the present barracks.

Had a welcome surprise visit today from long time coarse angler Bill Patton from Preston. Bill was once a regular angler at the Ballinasloe and Athlone fishing festivals. On two occasions he won the Ballinasloe Gala Week. A son of Bill’s is getting married and he was over for the stag night in Dublin at the weekend and decided to revisit this area.

Shannonbridge Pottery is offering a prize of 450 euros worth of their products in a competition which is running on Midlands’s radio this week. A correct answer to any one of five different questions will make you eligible for the grand prize.

Manchester United and Celtic clash in a soccer game tonight.

Mayo footballers have appointed John Morohan as their trainer / manager.

I noticed that Senator Windows have been taken over. One of their 30 branches is in Athlone and a number of people from the parish work for them.

The cold weather continues and maybe it is time to start feeding the little birds with peanuts and fat.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Dated 20th November 2006

The cold weather continued relatively today with a few hours sunshine.

We have two American visitors in the village at present. Philip Montgomery is from Texas and Joseph Julian comes from Louisiana. Joseph would fit in nicely on Eddie Fitzgerald’s Irish Rugby Team. They think that Guinness is a real beer and tastes much better in Ireland. Today they visited some friends in Banagher and discovered Clonmacnois. At present they live in Austria.

Ireland defeated Australia in the rugby match at Landsdowne Road yesterday.

A sister of the late Father John Corkery has passed away. May she rest in peace.

The local supporters club are going to see their favourites Manchester United play in Manchester very soon.

Two Japanese ladies visiting Clonmacnois stopped off in the village today and told us that they will be around for a few days. Pat was reminding me that some years ago a group from Japan spent a time in Clonmacnois taking rubbings from some of the stonework as it closely resembled old Christian stone slabs found in Japan.

I forgot to tell them that Shannonbridge have an interesting selection of products with a Japanese design.

Joe Coleman from Leeds was on the phone last evening catching up on the local hot news.

If you are a golfer you might be interested to hear that Edenderry Golf Club are offering a round of golf and a three course meal on certain days at present for 25 Euros.

Another prayer from Sister Estelle Barron in Tenafly.-

Lord Jesus, in Your Word You say that if we keep your law we are like a ‘tree planted by streams of water’. Help me this day to keep your law - to love my neighbour as You have loved me, give me Your grace this day and I will praise Your Name.

The annual Christmas Party for the Parish Senior s is scheduled for 1st December. Liam Lawton will be performing in Birr that night.

Listened to Gay Byrne yesterday on Lyric Fm and again he presented a great two hour show. He started with Ella Fitzgerald who Mary thought was Mary Lowe of the Clonfinlough family but he saved her for the wind up.

I liked the true story he told about a really wealthy millionaire from California who went on a cruise with his girlfriend and died on the cruise. When his wife heard that he was dead she married her toy boy the next day. Then they decided to go to his funeral in Florida. At that time they had their own Pullman carriage and when they wanted to go somewhere they linked up to the rail network. Which they did.

The man’s family heard of their plan and arranged with the railway company to divert them. So they ended up in Winnetka near Chicago. This led up to Gay playing a tune called ‘Big Noise from Winnetka’ that featured a strummed double base, drums and a voice sound. Somebody listening from Chicago requested a number.

Sunday 3 to 5 pm.

Look out for the ingredients of an Irish Christmas cake from about 1930 on this site soon.

Christmas Baking 1931

While doing a bit of research, reading through a Day Book for the year 1931 from Killeen's shop, kindly loaned by Derry, I found the following:

19th December 1931,
Mrs Mike Claffey, Cleraun,

3lb Currants 1/6d.
2lb Raisins 1/8d.
1.5lb Margarine 1/1.5d.
1/4lb Peel 3d.
2Doz Eggs 3/7d.
1/4stone Flour 5.5d.
2lb Castor Sugar 10d.

So there's the recipe - plenty of time to get the baking done in time for Christmas!
Somehow the two pieces about the Kieran Mannion, Half-way House , Shannonbridge did not get on the website I think. They were dated 16th Nov and they are now posted. Padraig Turley tells us that he has a photograph of the thatched Mannion home. The ruins are still inside the wall before you climb the Clerhane Hill which is two miles from Shannonbridge and Half-way to Clonmacnois.
Over the weekend we got our first real taste of cold weather. A little taste of snow on Saturday which did not last. The old river continued to rise and there is water over much of the callows.
Shannonbridge beat Doon on Saturday in the relegation battle. Edenderry and Doon both drop down to Intermediate next year.
Great to see Padraig Harrington win in Japan .As we say in Japan.- hokrdwen khubdzei mnyofrxs

Wednesday 16th November 2006.

Some good news for the Mannion or Manion lady from America who is seeking her

heritage in Ireland.

You may recall that she was looking for a Kieran Manion, Half Way House, Shannonbridge, County Offaly.

Last Wednesday night at the weekly table quiz I mentioned her search to Gus Claffey.

Gus promised to ask his aunt Rosie Curley if she had ever heard of a half way house.

Tonight Gus told me that he asked Rosie if she had ever heard of a Half Way House in the area. Rosie said that Jimmy Mannion’s was always known as the Half Way House.

He was father to Joe, Brigie, Mary Kate and Jimmy.

Jimmy Mannion had a brother Kieran who went to America. His other brother was Martin whose son Mike lived in Aughnacabe and his family included Michael, living in Banagher, Martin ,living in America and our late postman Kieran Joe who died about 12 years ago.


I think this is the information you were looking for. I wrote about it on our village website under local news some weeks ago. As you will read I misplaced your e-mail but when Gus Claffey came up with the information from his old Auntie I had another search and found it.

God Bless You.

Derry Killeen.

Updated 17th November 2006. See addition after Gus Claffey

During the week a Mannion girl from America called in seeking information on her forefather Kieran Manion, Half Way House, Shannonbridge, County Offaly. This was her second visit in a couple of years.

Kieran was born in 1846 and went to the USA in 1853 when he was seven years old. It appears that the spelling of his name lost an ‘n’ somewhere along the way.

Father Hanlon kindly looked up the baptismal records and the first Kieran Mannion he found around that period was in 1861. Six other Kieran Mannions followed in the next few years.

The Half Way House bit was unknown to anyone I asked. Then we wondered if Mannions who lived at the butt of Mannions Hill half way to Clonmacnois might once have been known as the Half Way House.

That Mannion Family had four children who would all be over 100 years old. There was Joseph, James, Mary Kate and Brigid and all were single. Mary Kate was in America for a long time.

The family were related to Nellie O Grady or Mrs Larkin and she also was in America for a time.

There house was a thatched house at the bottom of Clerhane Hill and known locally as Mannions Hill.

Michael Mannion of Aughnacabe and now Banagher told me that his father Mike Mannion, 102 years if alive, was a first cousin of the four Mannions mentioned above.

Mike Mann ion’s father was Martin Mannion and he lived in the 1800s.

If anybody can throw any light on this please let me know and I will post it.

Sorry but I have mislaid the Mannion ladies e-mail. What’s new says you.

Gus Claffey has come up with some interesting news.

When he asked his Aunt Rosie Curley if she had ever heard of a Half Way House anywhere around, she immediately said that Jimmy Mannions was always known as the Half Way House. Jimmy was father of Joseph, James, Mary Kate and Brigid.

He had a brother Martin Mannion, as above. He also had a brother Kieran who went to America.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Clonmacnois Parish Newsletter
Sunday 19th Nov 2006 - 33rd Sun B
Tel (090) 9674125
Fax (090) 9674267

Masses: Mon @ 10am; Tues @ 8am
Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €457. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: G.Brennan, D.Deeley, C.Quinn
Eucharistic ministers: Group 1
Readers for next Weekend: S.Grennan, S.Quinn
Altar Servers for this week: Megan, Michaela
Christmas Party on Fri 1st Dec @ 6pm, starting with Mass
Mass for the deceased on Mon @ 7pm
Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €247. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: T.Rohan, A.Rohan
Readers for next Sunday: I.McEvoy
Altar Servers for next Sunday: Group 2
Eucharistic minister for next Sunday: K.Kelly

Christmas Party on Sun 26th Nov, starting with Mass @1pm

Meeting of Social Group on Mon eve @ 7.30pm
Meeting of Parish P.C. on Mon @ 8pm in Shannonbridge.
Pastoral Centre, St Mel's College Longford
During Nov & Dec the following courses are available:
Ministry of the Word……..Wed 22nd & 29th Nov @ 8pm
Christmas Reflection………Wed & Thurs 20th & 21st Dec @ 7.30pm
Bible Study Course for 6 Mondays starting on 13th Nov @ 7.30pm
Fr Brian O'Reilly, S.V.D, will give this Course.
If you wish to attend any of these Courses, you are very welcome.
Let me know, or call the Centre on 043-48240

"There are some who desire knowledge merely for its own sake; and that is shameful curiosity. There are others who desire to know in order that they themselves may be known; and that is vanity. Others again, desire knowledge in order to acquire money or preferment by it; that too is a discreditable quest. But there are some who desire knowledge, that they build up the souls of others with it; and that is charity. Others again, desire it that they may themselves be built up thereby; and that is prudence. Of all these types, only the last two put knowledge to the right use."
(St Bernard)
Concert in aid of Cancer Research
Liam Lawton & friends will be in the County Arms Hotel, Birr on Fri 1st Dec. The Concert will start @ 8pm; tickets are €25.00, and may be booked through the Hotel on 057-9120791.
Are you an unattached Catholic?
Seeking new friends or perhaps looking for someone special?
Why not join the Catholic Unattached Directory? It is run by practising Catholics for practising Catholics. For free information pack call 01-2837888, or visit
M.E. Support Group Meeting
Wed 22nd Nov @ 8pm in Shamrock Lodge Hotel, Athlone
Holy Souls Association, with Larry Cummins as speaker,
Sun 19th Nov @ 2.30pm, St Brigid's Church, Clara; Stations of the Cross, Chaplet of Mercy, Confessions. All welcome.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Thursday 16th November 2006

Athlone Town soccer team played their last game in Saint Mel’s Park last weekend.

After 78 years the park is closing and a new 4.5 million Euro park awaits them north of the town.

The Irish Soccer team also played their last international in Lansdowne Road last night .They defeated San Marino 5 – 0.Landstowne was the oldest international soccer stadium in the world.

Cloghan Church celebrated its 150th birthday recently.

On Monday night Tony Kenny, Banagher / Ferbane and Dick Stokes launched their new CD in Hineys in Ferbane. It is called ‘Lift Your Feet Up Higher’. There was good coverage on the local papers and Ollie and Patricia Keenaghan were among those present.

The death has occurred in England of Maureen Sinnott nee Kenny who was a member of the Kenny Family of Clondelara. May she rest in peace.

The annual Mass for deceased members of the Shannonbridge ESB staff will take place on the 6th December at 8.00 pm.

The Senior Citizens Christmas Party will be held in the parish hall on the 1st December.

That well known singer Big Tom of The Mainliners is suffering from a heart attack. Over 25 years ago at Shannonbridge Carnival someone asked him his age. Big Tom reply was

‘my manager says I’m 39’.

News this week of the death of Charlie Iarrobino an American cousin who lived for many years later near Lecarrow. May he rest in peace.

On returning from Galway on Monday I was delighted to see that the floodwater had eased back on the callows. But rain through the day on Tuesday has raised the river level once more.

Thursday the sunshine returned and there was a special Mass for the bereaved of the parish this evening. When in Oughterard I noticed that they were preparing for their annual candlelit Mass for the dead. Candles are given in memory of the dead and the church uses only candlelight during the Mass. Last year there were over 600 candles lit.

On Monday we celebrated my sister Doc’s birthday by attending a Kiri Te Kanawa concert in the Concert Hall in Dublin. She has a marvellous range in her voice but the programme was a wee bit short. Starting at 8pm with a long interval and off the stage after two or three songs the show finished before 10pm.

Last night our neighbouring Parish Priest Joe Cassidy launched a follow up book to These Might Help which was launched in 2000 and gives helpful hints to priests and bishops preparing their sermons. The new book is called These Might Help Too’ and is published by Veritas Press ( ) Archbishop Cassidy dedicated the book to the people and parishioners of Moore. A lifetime friend from Mayo Sean Freyne launched the book. Sean Freyne compared the book to John Mc Gahern’s Memoir.

At the launch I met an old school pal Sean Tully and he told how two of his brothers and himself became grandfathers on the same day. A Father Monaghan from Tuam told us that his father Tom Monaghan was at school in Garbally in the 1950’s.

Joe Cassidy remembered playing golf regularly with Sean Freyne in his youth and reckoned that both were fit to play on the Ryder Cup team. Somehow they were never asked.

The book will make an ideal Christmas present for a clerical friend and their sermons are bound to improve.

Today we got a request looking for a photograph of the old RIC barracks in Shannonbridge that was knocked down in the 1970’s to make way for the present structure. And if anyone has a photograph of Mannions Halfway House which was a thatched house at the butt of Clerhane Hill it would be appreciated. Finally



Grant me a steady hand and watchful eye

That no man shall be hurt when I pass by.

Thou gavest life, and I pray that no act of mine

May take away the gift of Thine.

Shelter those, dear Lord, who bear me company

From the evils of fire and all calamity.

Teach me to use my car for other’s need

Nor miss through love of speed

The beauty of the world, that thus I may

With joy and courtesy go my way.