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.

Wednesday 16th November 2006.

Last weekend I was down in Oughterard with Doc and Dick which was very enjoyable.

On Monday Dick and I went to the village church at 11.00 am to hear a most interesting talk given by John Lonergan, the governor of Mountjoy Jail in Dublin.

His lecture was attended by the secondary pupils from the local schools aged 13 to 18 and by a few adults.

He began by saying he was from Bansha in County Tipperary Where Canon Hayes, the founder of Muintir na Tire was the priest. In 1947 Bansha was chosen as the first parish to be connected to the Rural Electrification in Ireland.

John Lonergan joined the prison service in 1967 and worked for a time in Limerick Prison before moving to Mountjoy

He stressed the sharing / caring need and that prison was not a black and white situation as many people are dumped into prison. Many are poor prisoners and some 96 % come from the lowest economic growth range.

At one time many prisoners were shipped off to Van Dymen’s Land and this transportation stopped in 1853.

There are 3,300 prisoners in Ireland including a number awaiting sentence. Some 100 of those are women and the average age of prisoners is 27 years. At 17 years one can be sent to prison. Life sentence lasts for life. So if you are given parole while serving a life sentence and break the law, you can be put back into prison for life.

The longest serving prisoner in Ireland has served 43 years.

Dublin has a population of one million and 75 % of Dublin prisoners come from six black spots which he named.

The punishment to be sent to prison includes

- A criminal record makes it difficult to travel afterwards.

- Difficult to get a job

- Being locked up 17 hours each day in a small room

- Dining on your own.

He has seen a change in heroin addiction from 6 % going up to 96 % in his time.

Alcohol and drugs contribute greatly why people go to prison.

He told a story about a Mayo farmer who was stopped driving his tractor without a tail-light on the trailer. He was summoned and brought to court. The Judge fined him £5 or two days in prison. The farmer opted for prison. He was taken under custody 160 miles to Dublin and put into Mountjoy. Next day he was released and the state had he give him free transport home again.

Another story about a girl who had seven honours in her final exams. She went on holiday and met a boy who introduced her to heroin and she became addicted.

Sad story about a 55 year old woman who was in Mountjoy on her birthday. The staff got a birthday cake for the woman and when she saw it she burst out crying. When asked why she was crying she said that she never had had a birthday cake before in her life.

John Lonergan finished by asking the students to devote one hour per week to helping somebody in the community.

Monday, November 13, 2006

GAA News from Conor Killeen

Senior Relegation P/O

Shannonbridge Senior Footballers will line out against their neighbors Doon in a relegation play off which will decide who stays in the Senior ranks or who drops to intermediate football for next year.

The sides have already met in a relegation play off this year, which ended in a draw and since then, there has been some controversy and ultimately Edenderry have been relegated to Intermediate Football and either Shannonbridge or Doon will join the reds in the drop depending on the result.

Shannonbridge have a great history of draws with Doon over the years and this will no doubt be a very keenly contested encounter as their is a lot at stake.

The game takes place in O'Connor Park Tullamore this coming Saturday at 2.30. Shannonbidge GAA club know that their loyal supporters will be out in force and get behind their parish team for this game.

First Aid course

A number of people from Shannonbridge parish took part in a first aid course which was held in the health centre on Saturday last.

The group were trained in how to use a defibrillator which was generously given to Shannonnbridge GAA club by the ESB.

The defibrillator is a life saving device which sends electrical shocks to a person in the event of a cardiac arrest.

The club wish to thank all who took part on the day.

Monday, November 06, 2006

During a visit to New Jersey in September / October John took Pat and me to visit our cousin Sister Rosalie in Tenafly. She is in a retirement home for nuns and we met a number of retired Irish nuns. One nun Sister Estelle Barron came alongside us while we were in the chapel and putting a hand on our shoulders she said a prayer which was newly made. I asked her if she made up many prayers and she said she did. Better still she promised to forward them for this website and they arrived in the post this morning.

So here is a sample.-

“Behold. I stand at the door and knock”

and here is a little longer one.-

Lord, this day I turn to You

Knowing that You have planned

All that is to happen.

If I trust completely on You

All will be well.

May Your name be praised

We are in it together.

I think Sister Estelle said she was from The Glens of Aherlow.

One of the people in Saint Mary’s Church in Cherry Hill New Jersey, Kathy Randall gave me a little printed prayer much in the same mode. It goes like this –


Help me to

Remember that

Nothing is

Going to

Happen to me

Today that You

And I together

Can’t handle.

On returning from America I found that my usual way of posting to this site had disappeared. Thanks to Father Frank Hanlon I found the way last night. One entry that starts with…. The funeral took place was written some weeks ago but what the hell.

Lots of news in the papers today about the Ireland versus Australia football match in Croke Park yesterday played under test rules and it appears it was a disaster.

The Fianna Fail Ard Feish at the weekend was also featured and Bertie Ahern came out very well out of it.

Another good fine sunny day today. In the afternoon a P.J. Kehoe from Galway called in and told us that he was in school in Garbally with Jim and John Killeen. He was known as Hocca and his phone number is mka-nddmne. Code using m as 0.

Latest GAA news from Conor Killeen

The Bridge back in the hunt

Shannonbridge senior Footballers were sensationally handed a life line during the past week as the central council of the GAA awarded Shannonbridge a share of the points from the senior relegation game with Doon,which ended in a draw.

The whole controversy began when when Shannonbridge accidentally finished the match with sixteen Men on the field at the end of full time.

The Player in question Jim Killeen who has given magnificent service to Shannonbridge by playing adult Football with the Club for twenty years and also gave his services to the Offaly Senior team, accidentally came back on the field after been substituted in the dying minutes of the game.

An objection was lodged to the County board from Edenderry and subsequently the game was then awarded to Doon. Shannonbridge then lodged an appeal to the Leinster Council who overturned the Offaly County boards decision.

The faithful board then appealed the Leinster Council's decision and went to the Central Council of the GAA. But the verdict was not changed and Shannonbridge were awarded a share of the points from the Doon match.

The club were surprised the length of time the proceedings have gone on and considering the player in question the amount of service he has given to the GAA in Offaly and his club has also served as Secretary for the past number of years with Shannonbridge and with an impeccable record of never having any disciplinary action taken against him in all the years of service to his club and County.

The result now leaves Edenderry resigned to playing intermediate Football for 2007 and either Doon or Shannonbridge to join the reds next season. Now that political wrangling is over we can now get down to eventually finishing this years Senior football championship and let all players have a well deserved break.

Senior Challenge
Shannonbridge recorded a good win over Roscommon intermediate champions Kilmore on Sunday last. The Bridge were best served by Fergal McEvoy and David Corbett on the day.

The funeral took place yesterday of 92 year old Mrs Carey, nee Hogarty from Newtown

Who was an aunt? Of George Hogarty from Texas. The funeral Mass was celebrated in Creagh Church and the burial was in Creagh Cemetery afterwards.

Father Vivian Tuohy in his homily spoke of his memories when he enjoyed brown bread and tea in Mrs Careys. May she rest in peace.

Last evening two of the Cunningham brothers visited Shannonbridge. Father Leo from Mobile Alabama told us that he is 50 years ordained. His brother P.J.Cunningham lives in a retirement complex in Newark New Jersey. P.J. has spent almost fifty years in America and is a retired taxi driver.

Their father was Joe Cunningham a carpenter who had a car for hire and lived in one of the semi detached houses which were knocked last year and replaced by four apartments. Their mother was an O Connor from Clonmacnois (sister of the late Lil O Connor and about seven other siblings) and was a teacher in Clonmacnois School. When a vacancy arose in Ardagh, County Longford, Mrs Cunningham applied and got the teaching post and the family moved to Ardagh where Mrs Cunningham taught school with the late Father John Corker’s father. P.J. has memories of Mr Corkery asking him one day during religion class ‘what was Job famous for’. When P.J. replied that he did not know Mister Corkery thumped him on the chest three times saying ‘PATIENCE PATIENCE PATIENCE’ The family shopped in Frank Gaffneys in Ardagh

Today Tuesday the Shannonbridge Active Retirement group held their weekly meeting after Mass and 16 people attended. After a warm up exercise there was a cup of tea and scones and brown bread and a chat. Some of the items mentioned included the return to their weekly work out fitness programme, a tempting variety of 16 different areas to discover around Ireland with a luxury bus and hotel accommodation in four days.

A series of new computer classes and painting classes and a weekend away also got an airing. If interested come along to next Tuesday morning meeting.

Last weekend it was good to meet Mary, a friend of Carmel Bhai from Brisbane who is on a holiday visit to Ireland and other countries.

Overseas friends will be glad to hear that Munster Leinster and Ulster all won their rugby games last weekend in the Heineken League.

Yesterday I was in Ballinasloe and noticed some fences have been removed and the route pegged out for the new Dublin to Galway road which will cross the Shannonbridge road around Lancasters which is a mile nearer to Ballinasloe than the other plan.

The new hotel complex being built on the by-pass road next to the jetty is being built. There is a high board fence along the roadway and a large colour plan of the complex. It is in a square format with a back entrance from the Poolboy Road. Yesterday the shell of part of the first block was to be seen clearly.

Have you any thing you want to advertise for free on the website?. Our editor has passed along one way of doing this and it will be posted in a separate blob.

Congratulations to Dorothy Devine Shannonbridge who was married in Ballintubber Abbey in Mayo on Friday last. Dorothy will now be a Jennings.

Also Congratulations to Dermot and Roisin Glennon who are celebrating their 40 years of marriage at the moment.

On Friday also the Michael Ward House of Fashion celebrated 30 years in business.

A Wilhelm A Gunster from Germany has kindly forwarded some photographs taken in Shannonbridge during his holiday this year. I explained to Wilhelm that at present our website has not got the capacity for photographs and our web creator reckons that it would cost a deal to buy the space . It would be a showpiece to show off the area and what facilities are available. Some old favourite photos of people, views, historic, sporting and so on might be included to be shared. Wishful thinking but there is some hope of a grant.

Meanwhile Broadband is prepared to provide a service to the area if ten people join. The cost is 40 Euro per month and Kerrill Thornhill has seven names at present.

It was good to see Gary Bird and his friend Tony on a short visit at the end of October and in time for the Galway Races October meeting. Gary is wheelchair bound but full of life and always in good humour.

Last week the Edwards came on a fishing holiday to Shannonbridge. The conditions were not ideal with a good half flood on the river covering the lower jetty. Mark Edwards and his friend Sandra travelled from Spain and linked up with his brother Peter and his son Michael from Walsall. They are friends of George Stokes and Michael told that he first came to Shannonbridge with George Stokes about 15 years ago when he was aged fourteen.

They tried a number of places and struggled until Tony Ellis told them where he had caught fish on the River Suck. Michael had 25 lbs of roach there the next day.

Paul Fitzgerald told us that he killed a wasp on November 4th which gives an indication of the weather last week. Slight frost at night with fog clearing to sunshine and 55 to 60 C temperatures. Many trees have produced flowers and bluebells and daffodils etc were well over ground before the frost came.

A Curley Family called in on Saturday on their way from Ovens in County Cork to visit their families in Ballinasloe. The man told me that his mother was Flynn and a sister of the late Father Hugh Flynn. They know Terry O Driscoll who lived in Shannonbridge for a time and now lives in Ovens. If he has time he might reminisce on happenings in Shannonbridge.

Johnny Duffy from Clondelara and now Cloghan was in Shannonbridge during the week and was remembering the late Jack O Shea from Clonmacnois. One day Jack said to Johnny –

‘Reckon I saw your mother coming in to town this morning on a 26 ‘.

)n Friday Paul Kerrigan, Elphin called in with some fresh prints of the Martello Fortifications at Shannonbridge. Paul is an acknowledged expert on the Martello defences along the river and has written about them and drawn them. It was news to hear that there were two lines of defence. One comprising the Fort Barrack and two hidden cannon over on the right hand side or Macklins. At ground level there was a Caponniere jutting out in the 30 foot gap between two high upright walls and that remains. But about a cannon blast away to the west and roughly about opposite Ard Chiarain was another defence which has now been removed.

It was good to meet a Sweeney Family from Omaha on Friday who are on holiday. They had visited Clonmacnois and as they have a son Brendan they were going to visit Clonfert on their way to Galway. Then they are going to seek relatives in Cork. They had not heard of my friend Kay Kelly in Omaha which is strange.

Today on Lyric FM radio Gay Byrne started a series of two hour programmes and got off to a good start with a Frank Sinatra number. Then he talked about a recording by Mary Lowe, sister of Theresa Lowe and of course the Lowe Family came from Clonfinlough in our parish of Clonmacnois.

Then he began reminiscing about himself and another person learning the piano and one of them did a good take off of Charlie Coons. This Charlie Coons played a series of sell out concerts in a Dublin theatre. Pat was telling me that the late Surgeon Jack Murphy, Ballinasloe used to travel to the Isle of Mann where he got piano lessons from the same Charlie Coon.

It was good he hear Gay play a fabulous selection of old favourites and jazz and blues and what have you. The two hours flew. Catch him next Sunday 3 to 5.

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.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Clonmacnois Parish Newsletter
Sunday 5th Nov 2006 - 31st Sun B
Tel (090) 9674125
Fax (090) 9674267

Masses: Mass or Eucharistic Prayer Service each day @10am
Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €463. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: A.Ryan, L.Turley, M.Mitchell
Eucharistic ministers: Group 3
Readers for next Weekend:
Altar Servers for this week: Ailbhe, Aoife
Mass on next Sun for the late Thomas Rocke
Mass for the deceased on Fri eve @ 7pm;
Last Sunday's Offertory collection: €243. Many Thanks
Church Cleaners: J.Noble, D.Fitzgerald
Readers for next Sunday:
Altar Servers for next Sunday: Group 5
Eucharistic minister for next Sunday: N.Egan
Mass on next Sun for the late Philomena Coolahan

The priests of the Diocese will be attending some Meetings in Knock during this week.

Ard ChiarĂ¡in
Mass for the deceased on Thurs eve @ 8pm. All welcome
Clonfanlough Social Group
Meeting on Mon eve @ 8pm.
Date to remember: Christmas Party in Clonfanlough Hall on Sun 26th Nov @ 1pm.
Active Retirement Association
Meets every Tues after Mass. New members always welcome.
Membership for the year is €8, and is now due.
Contact Kieran Kelly, Pat Keohane or Catherine Curley.
Pastoral Centre, St Mel's College Longford
During Nov & Dec the following courses are available:
Ministry of the Word……..Wed 22nd & 29th Nov @ 8pm
Advent Liturgy……….Tues or Wed 14th or 15th Nov @ 7.30pm
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
Crime Victims Helpline
Are you a victim of crime? 'We offer support & information. For this confidential service call 1850-211407
National Association for Deaf People- (NAD)
Holds an outreach service in Mullingar every Thursday, 10am - 1pm at Presentation House, Harbour St. NAD provides a service to people that are deaf and hard of hearing.
Monster Auction, Community Centre Moate, this Sun @2.30pm.
Offaly Co Childcare Committee Ltd Will host a family fun day in the Millennium Room, Bridge House, Tullamore on Sun 12th Nov, from 3-6pm. Meet Mrs Claus. Story time with Auntie Sue, with fun and games for all the family. Adm is free. Call 057-9135878.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


If anyone reading this from Shannonbridge is interested in receiving broadband speed wireless broadband access (10 times faster than phone dialup). There are current efforts being made to get this service delivered to the village but we require a minimum of 10 people to show interest. The cost will be approximately 40euro a month.

If interested please send an e-mail to