For Newsround items previously featured go to Archive and click on, or scroll down to, Newsround.

Wed. November 22nd 2006

A Traditional Christmas in Ireland

This will be the last Newsround posting for some time as your web host is going on tour to the East coast U.S with Co. Sligo Irish traditional music group Téada. Beginning December 1st venues are: Manchester NH, Worcester MA, Cooperstown NY, Wilmington DE, Waltham MA, and four shows on December 7th and 8th in Washington D.C. The name and theme of the show is 'Christmas in Ireland'. I am looking forward to meeting some SligoHeritage viewers on tour, full details of which may be had at

Don't forget to go to History for "General Michael Corcoran and the Confederate Irish in America’s Civil War" just posted today.

The Big Wave and Surfing in Sligo

When we think of surfing and big waves we automatically think of exotic locations like the Hawaiian Islands or Bondai beach in Australia. Think again! Here in Sligo on the jagged west coast of Ireland huge breakers sweep in from 3,000 miles of wind-savaged Atlantic Ocean. They provide some of the best surfing conditions to be found anywhere in the world. For day to day surfing information have a look at Strandhill Surfing Centre or go to the Links page. This breathtaking picture, published in the Irish Times, was taken a few days ago at a surfing beach close by:

And how it looks from the shore. Pictures to entertain you until your web host returns:









Pics copyright Joe Mc Gowan

Echoes of a Savage Land has been out of print for some time. It is now with the printers and will be available in bookshops and online from December 1st. See Books

November 15th 2006

Thieves pull the plug on Sligo

Gerry McLoughlin of the Sligo Weekender reports that: 'More than 1,000 broadband customers and 300 telephone subscribers in Sligo were without service at the weekend after a robbery at a supermarket. The blackout extended as far north as Letterkenny when a Dublin based gang cut communication cables at the Sligo Gate supermarket, Collooney, in the early hours of Friday morning. The gang cut telephone lines and an ESB fibre optic cable to disable an alarm system at the supermarket shortly before 5am.
The thieves climbed into three manholes outside the Sligo Gate supermarket. Using hacksaws they cut through all communications wires in the manholes. This disabled the alarm on the shutter as they cut a pane of glass in the window and entered the premises. Eircom and ESB engineers were working around the clock at the weekend to restore services to the homes and businesses in the Collooney, Ballisodare and Ballygawley areas.
Among those affected were 1,000 Fastcom wireless broadband customers in the Sligo area. They had service restored at 2pm on Friday. Businesses on other broadband systems in the region were also affected. The gang were inside the store for about an hour but only managed to steal a few hundred euro. It is believed they were not able to penetrate the safe which was their prime objective.
Garda sources told the Weekender they believe this is the same gang who robbed E10,500 from the Kentucky Fried Chicken outlet at Carraroe and E4,500 from the Post Office in Ballinfull in October last year. They also robbed Supermacs in Carrick-on-Shannon and carried away the contents of a heavy safe. The gang have carried out a number of violent robberies in the west of Ireland over the past few years.
A man of few words (except during his objections to the erection of a memorial for Sligo's Constance Markievicz) acting Sligo Superintendent Kevin Ginty confirmed that gardai were investigating the robbery.
He refused to comment any further saying; “It is an on-going investigation like many others”.

Tribunal refuses costs to Nicholson

Former Sligo garda John Nicholson hiding his face as he leaves the tribunal hearing




Former Garda Nicholson who pleaded guilty to uttering forged documents and received the Probation Act in a Sligo District Court in 2002 was refused legal costs by the Morris Tribunal, set up to uncover garda corruption. Justice Frederick Morris found that ex garda Nicholson 'declined to tell the tribunal the full story and remained evasive, telling the tribunal only half-truths about important events'. The Justice said that 'his evidence was tainted by cover-up, evasion and lies'. The Tribunal found that John Nicholson had abused his dead colleague's name, Garda John Keogh, and then tried to hide behind him. Mrs. Kathleen Keogh, widow of John Keogh, and her family received their full costs.


'Civilising' the Gardai

The Gardai, despite strenuous opposition, have been forced to accept a Garda Reserve division. The measure was pushed through by Minister for Justice Michael McDowell. Creation of additional civilian posts within the Garda Siochana are ongoing. RTE Radio 1 'Drivetime' reporter mixed it up a bit on his radio show recently while discussing plans to 'civilianise' the force. Fergal said it was about 'civilising' the force and, realising the mistake, shortly retracted the blooper. Oh, Sigmund, where are you when we need you!

November 8th 2006

Maam Cross Fair Day

The old Ireland is dead and gone — isn't it? No more saving hay with fork and rake, cutting turf with a slean, turf fires, no more old fashioned fairs with hand-slapping bargains and 'luck penny' exchanged on the public street or road.

Well, not quite. If you know where to go you can still catch glimpses of the old ways, not yet extinct. Do you want to buy a Conemara pony, a Jacobs goat, a silky hen, a guinea hen, a duck, goose, or turkey, a hand-crafted basket? Go you then to the Maam Cross Fair in Galway on the first Tuesday after the October Bank holiday next year.

Not just ducks, geese, pups, pigeons or turkeys, but the only native pony breed in Ireland - the Connemara pony - is bought and sold in numbers at the crossroads on this great fair day. It is a traditional event and people come from all over Ireland, and further afield, to buy…to sell…to experience the atmosphere and to experience the day. The traffic can get jammed, it can take 45 minutes getting through Maam Cross on fair day - but who would complain; seeing the sights and hearing the sounds and smelling the smells while inching through Maam Cross on October fair day is a trip through time and a tradition that has lived for much longer than any of us.

Anything can happen there, and does.There was a story about a man who went to the fair in Maam Cross and went in for a drink to start the day. He left the heifer he had for sale on the street. Some time later he re-emerged, a changed man! He was going around the place asking people if they had seen his heifer anywhere. One man eventually got a little fed-up of the enquiries. Giving him a hard look he said sharply “Well, would you know the heifer if you saw her”? The small farmer thought deeply about that question and then replied - “Well…I don’t know if I would…" said he, "but she would know me”!

And so she probably would because in the world of smallholdings and small farms he would have been feeding each animal individually and got to know them personally. That was before the new Ireland of traffic jams and Celtic Tigers arrived. Let the world move on but nothing has changed at Maam Cross for one day of the year at least. Buidheachas le Dia. I hope you enjoy the pictures your web host took for you just last week.


The festival of Oul' Halloweve or Martinmas is next Saturday the 11th of November. For more on this go to Bleeding for St. Martin


November 1st 2006

Thoughts on an Irish Halloween

Not so long ago it was the 'British Empire' that pummeled half the world into submission, starved one half of the Irish people and crucified the other half. Now it's the American Empire that's bombing whole countries to its will and bullying the rest. The Ottomans, the Romans, the British and now the Americans; power and madness: will they never learn? Anne Frank didn't think so. 'I don't believe that the big men, the politicians and the capitalists alone are guilty of war' she wrote in her diary. 'Oh, no, the little man is just as keen, otherwise the people of the world would have risen in revolt long ago! There is an urge and rage in people to destroy, to kill, to murder, and until all mankind, without exception, undergoes a great change, wars will be waged'

There are other more benign ways to control the world — and the Americans are masters at that too! What am I talking about? Well, as it's the Celtic festival of Samhain, now popularly known as Halloween, lets just start with the American led commercialisation of the holiday— a festival that was ancient long before a white foot ever trod American soil. 'It's a bitter irony that this most Irish of festivals, which was

brought to the new world by our dirt-poor emigrants, is now being garishly repackaged, complete with Halloween ghouls, and sold back to us by their offspring', writes Frank Mc Nally in the Irish Times. Yes, repackaged with bits of the customs of other countries, horror films, and 'whatever you're having yourself' thrown in.

What must make it amusing to us Irish is that it is also being sold to the English who scoffed at our customs when they were here. Now in disguise and power-driven by the American multi-nationals they seem as powerless to resist this mixum-gatherum of non-culture as anyone else. There must be a grim satisfaction in seeing our former colonial masters, who once prided themselves on exporting British 'administration' and the 'rule of law' to conquered countries, being forced to celebrate a Celtic day of the dead.

Even the Anglican Bishop of Birmingham has had enough. 'Halloween merchandise creates a climate of fear,' he says. Calling on shops and supermarkets to rethink how they promote Halloween the Right Rev. David Gillett says that 'any sign of the Christian side of Halloween has been overshadowed by the commercialism and the dark and devilish things that seem to mean that Halloween is seen as a celebration of evil.'

Well Rev., everyone likes a good scare, and if your opinion gains ground you're sure going to give a hell of a fright to those who manufacture, promote and sell fake Halloweens.

For the meaning of Samhain and a taste of the old festival go to Halloween on this site

October 25th 2006

Donald Delisle of Canada contacted SligoHeritage with a view to twinning his town, Gaspe, with a town in Co. Sligo. The local paper, The Sligo Champion, expressed an interest and published the appeal last week. The following is an edited extract:

Bonjour: Canadian town wishes to twin with Sligo community

Cap de Rosier: site of the wreck of the Carrick of Whitehaven

A Canadian community where an ill fated Sligo ship sank over 150 years ago is now looking to twin with a town within Co. Sligo. Douglastown in Gaspe are seeking to twin with a Sligo town after the Irish emigrant ship, Carrick Of Whitehaven, sank off Cap des Rosiers on the coast of Quebec in 1847, killing 119 of the 187 passengers onboard, all emigrants from Lord Palmerston’s estate. A monument was erected in 1890 by the Parish of St Patrick’s Montreal honouring the deceased. An Irish flag flies there 365 days a year at the monument site. Later the bell from the ship, which was washed ashore in 1968 became part of the monument.

Further steps are now being made to commemorate the lives and the disaster. Twinning organiser, Donald Delisle said that Sligo seemed the most “logical choice” when the decision was made on twinning the town. “I have very strong connections to Sligo as on my Adams side of the family, two survivors Bridget Healey and Bridget Crummy married in,” he said. “There are a lot of descendants in Quebec which come from Ireland and Sligo and even St Patrick’s Day in Montreal has over 5,000 people attending, the second biggest in the world.”

Mr Delisle explained that on the night of the wreck, a storm had descended on Gaspe, causing the ship’s rigging to freeze. “It was snowing and freezing and all the rigging froze up and they had no control of the ship's steerage. She was driven in by nature’s forces,” he said. He added that the morning after the storm, the first person to come across the tragic scene was Irish priest and Douglastown native, Rev Father Dowling, who is documented to have “found one of the victims in almost pitiable condition, his feet lacerated and bleeding from cuts by the rocks. The good Irish priest, taking the shoes from his own feet, put them on the poor man and, walking barefooted himself, led him to a place of refuge”.

Old photo of Gaspe harbour

At the unveiling of the famine memorial in Sligo in 1998, the date May 19 was chosen to mark the 152nd anniversary of the sinking of Carrick of Whitehaven. Speaker at the event and chairman of the Famine Committee, Sligo historian, Joe McGowan said that during the famine era, “death became a way of life in Sligo. They were so numerous that corpses were carried on special carts day after day to be thrown into mass pauper graves or pits and covered with lime. Let us remember here today those that fled the land in coffin ships, their spirits oppressed but maybe with some hope in their hearts of a new life away from the horror.  Many of them found only a grave in the bottom of the Atlantic. The ocean between here to the Americas is paved with their corpses."

Mr. McGowan added that this opportunity for Sligo to twin with a Canadian town was “fantastic”, with “descendants still there today thinking of Sligo with great affection”. For more information contact Joe McGowan at 087 6674522/ or e-mail: Donald Delisle at

October 18th 2006

Serving garda admits stealing groceries.

Who shall we turn to for protection as corruption and dishonesty continues in our police force. And we only know about the the ones that get caught! In the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court Det. Garda Fahy, Glaslough Co. Monaghan and Det. Garda Donnelly, Cavan are accused of perjury 'in that they knowingly and falsely swore under oath at a trial in the Special Criminal Court in 2001 that notes of an interview they had carried out with Colm Murphy... were accurate and had not been rewritten. The trial will continue for some days.

In Sligo the Weekender reports that, "A serving Sligo garda is due to be sentenced in January after he admitted stealing groceries in the city last year. Jarlath Naughton, of Crozon Crescent, Sligo, who is based in Ballymote, admitted stealing five bottles of Willow Water, two cartons of milk, four toothbrushes, one Gallaghers scone, one Crunchy Bran, one packet of tea bags and three vegetable soups to a total value of E46.51 at Sligo's Tesco store on October 22 last year. He also admitted stealing food to the value of E1.68 at Dunnes Stores, Cranmore, on December 7 last year, contrary to Theft and Fraud Offences Act 2001. The garda pleaded guilty at last week's sitting of the Circuit Court. The case was adjourned for sentencing to January after a number of medical reports were handed into Judge Anthony Kennedy.
Meanwhile another serving garda, James Lavelle, is due to go on trial on charges of theft at the circuit court. Lavelle, of Old Quay Court, Sligo, is charged with stealing E700 from Sally Harte at Sligo Garda Station on August 26 last year. At the sitting of the June circuit court last year, his defending solicitor Gerry McGovern said his client had been reduced to living on E56 per week and was currently suspended from the force.
Mr McGovern's request for a senior counsel for his client was turned down by Judge Anthony Kennedy. He was granted the services of a junior counsel."

Petty crime indeed and perfectly stupid as careers and reputations are ruined. Where are we to turn to for role models though as even our Taoiseach flounders and struggles these days to explain the tens of thousands of pounds he received from 'friends'!

Click here for: Lots of cops: But how safe are we?

Crime or Stamp Collecting as a hobby?

A Ballymote drug dealer, Paul Scanlon, told gardai that he was carrying a knife because he collected them as a hobby. Inspector Gerry Connolly told the court that Scanlon was caught with a knife and a nine bar of cannabis, which translated into 1,400 hand rolled cigarettes at his home in Corhober in November of last year. He had two other knives and three swords in his collection. His solicitor said it could be argued in law that the young man had the knives as 'collectors items'.

Judge McGuinness was unimpressed with the argument and imposed a three months suspended jail sentence for possession of drugs and another three months for possession of the knife. He advised the culprit to take up stamp collecting instead: "It's much less lethal and it won't get you into trouble!"

Ryder Cup hero Darren Clarke is on his way to Sligo

October 11th 2006

The Sligo Weekender reports that: "Ryder Cup hero Darren Clarke is flying in to Sligo next week to officially open a golf course he helped design. Ulsterman Clarke is flying high after his recent success at the Ryder Cup, in which he won all three of the games. He played these on a wave of emotion following the death of his 39-year-old wife Heather from cancer just a few weeks earlier. Interest in his Sligo visit is expected to be immense.
Clarke will arrive on his private jet at Ireland West Airport, Knock, on Monday, October 16. He is expected to hop on a helicopter for a flight to the golf course – located at the Castle Dargan Hotel in Ballygawley – where he will give a press conference at lunchtime. The golfer will then play a number of holes before returning to England later that day.
The course, which Clarke planned with well-known designer Patrick Merrigan, is Sligo’s first resort golf course. It is also the only 18-hole parkland course in the county.

The New Ireland


I don't usually include jokes on this page and perhaps it's more of a magazine format than strictly newsround, but as editor I know you will allow me some latitude.

The best jokes have more than a grain of truth in them. It strikes me that it's not long since the 'Paddies' were the navvies of England and the manual workers of the US and other countries. I went to the US in the early sixties to a land where the American was not prepared to pick up anything heavier than a pen. So the Irish prospered in the trades, as did the Italians and others. Having nothing to go back to at home they were prepared to work, and work hard. To my mind the America of the sixties has now come to Ireland. When they leave, the Irish are now voluntary emigrants. Foreign nationals are prepared to do the work at home that the Irish are not prepared to do. So! Enjoy the joke! While it lasts. And thank you Eileen from the Rebel County.


Sperm Whale

For an update on the sperm whale that was washed up on the shore at Strandhill some time ago, and reported below, go HERE


October 4th 2006

Sex shop boss gives students free condoms

Sligo Institute of Technology students: Jochen Bellm hands over 1,000 condoms to Students Union President Andrew Vallely

It won't be all boring homework for Sligo students as The Sligo Weekender reports that: "Sligo IT students who want to practice safe sex were given an unexpected health bonus from Sligo sex shop owner Jochen Bellm. Mr Bellm promised to donate 1,000 condoms to the returning students at a presentation in the Students Union Office last July. And he kept that promise at a ceremony in the college.

The condoms were handed over to Sligo IT Students Union President Andrew Vallely at the college. The student president said they were delighted to accept the Sligo businessman’s gesture of goodwill to his members. He said: “I know that some people are opposed to this but we are very concerned from a health point of view. “Just before RAG week we have a SHAG or Sexual Health Awareness Group where we point out the dangers of unprotected sex to all our members and it is highly educational...The Students Union distributed a total of 5,000 condoms last year and I presume they were all used. So this is an extra thousand for us so they are all welcome and I have no doubt they will be used.”
Mr Vallely said the college authorities had no problem with the distribution of the condoms. “This is not a licence to be licentious but we are encouraging people to take care of their health. And we are not pressurising anyone to take condoms as it is entirely a matter of choice.

Meanwhile Jochen Bellm said he was not using his donation as a publicity stunt. He said: “Society is all about give and take. I am not looking for anything in return from the students. I am doing a part-time course here myself in retail management. It is just my way of saying thank you to the people of Sligo who give me business. And that is what life should be all about…a bit of give and take.”

Sperm Whale lower jaw recovered

As reported in a previous news item below, the sperm whale washed ashore at Strandhill Co. Sligo was removed, towed to sea and beached on the shore at Inishmurray Island. Pictured are Sligo Heritage office staff and volounteers last Sunday landing part of the lower jaw at Mullaghmore harbour for preservation at a later date. Whale tooth in Peter Murtagh's hand indicates scale.

Sept. 27th 2006

Equinox at Loughcrew


The winter and summer solstice, the equinoxes, these were all of great importance to our remote ancestors, master builders whose very lives depended on the life-giving sun. Enjoy these pictures of the winter equinox at Loughcrew taken on September 22nd last. For more pictures go to

The Drunk and Minister McDowell

If someone is going to get drunk and create havoc then the lawn of 'Mad Dog' McDowell, the Minister for Justice and now Tanaiste, is not the place to do it. Yet that is exactly what skip lorry driver Patrick Hayes did! Michael McDowell 'ranted and raved' to the lorry driver that he had 'made shit' of his driveway with a waste skip, Hayes told a sitting of Dublin District Court. Mc Dowell noticed that Hayes had drink on him and called the gardai. 'He said I had made shit of his driveway and who was going to pay for it,' Hayes said in a statement which was read out in court. After legal argument Patrick Hayes was fined €800.00 and banned from driving for a year.

We still don't know who's going to pay for the damage to the driveway but it's a safe bet that even the Minister for Justice isn't going to extract the money from Patrick Hayes!

Donal O Suilleabhán Freed from Captivity

Following six days in Ethiopian captivity Donal O Suilleabhán has been freed. The Sligo man is an experienced hydrologist. He had just arrived in Ethiopia from Dafur region of Sudan when he was kidnapped by the 'United Western Somali Liberation Front'. For the full story go to the Sligo Weekender

September 20th 2006

Former British Sergeant Major arrested in Sligo

Gerry Mc Laughlin of the Sligo Weekender reports that "A former British army sergeant major was found with a petrol bomb in the boot of his car outside a supermarket in Sligo. William Dundas, 13 Colcreitin, Falkirk , Scotland was arrested by armed Sligo detectives outside the Londis supermarket, Cleveragh while dressed in full British Army uniform and wearing a red beret. He had a six inch knife strapped to the side of his combat trousers and seven other knives hidden in a carrier bag. The knives varied in length from nine inches to five inches. Mr Dundas also had two bottles of Black and White whiskey which he took from Londis supermarket at Cleveragh.

The ex Sergeant major man told gardai when arrested that he had the weapons which also included an air rifle, a petrol bomb and ammunition, for his own protection. He was first spotted by an eyewitness who told Sligo Weekender that the first thing he saw was a man in a red beret and a full military uniform getting out of the car. The eyewitness said: “It was certainly weird to see a fellow in full British Army uniform complete with red beret in the centre of Sligo. I rang the gardai at Sligo station and explained the situation. At first they seemed a bit sceptical. Then I followed him into the supermarket where he was acting very suspicously. Fortunately I met with an off duty ban garda and she alerted her colleagues.

He was a very shifty disturbed looking character. A number of armed detectives then arrived to take him away so obviously they were taking no chances. Inspector Gerry Connolly told the district court that gardai had arrested the man for his own safety as much as anything else. The Inspector said that a weapon and material for making a petrol bomb were found in the boot of the man’s car.

The court heart that William Dundas was a former sergeant major in the British Territorial Army who was in Sligo on a visit when the incidents occurred. The sergeant major has been in jail since he was arrested on August 12. A psychiatric report was produced at last week’s sitting by his defending solicitor. The solicitor said his client was anxious to get some treatment for his “condition” and return to Scotland as soon as possible. Judge Oliver McGuinnes jailed the man for a month on each charge of having knives under the Firearms and Offensive Weapons Act. The judge gave a further one month concurrent jail sentence for stealing the two bottles of Black and White Scotch whiskey. The weapons were confiscated by the court and the sentences back-dated. The judge warned that if there was any repetition of these offences, the maximum sentence would be activated."

Sperm Whale Beached on Inishmurray



The sperm whale that was beached on Culleenamore strand last week has been towed out to Inishmurray Island. For further information go to whale story




September 13th 2006

Hugh Tunney and Classiebawn development

Paddy Joe Gallagher's house with disputed roadway and Classiebawn castle in the distance

Sligo County Council has refused planning permission for the construction of a house on the Classiebawn estate. Hugh Tunney, Classiebawn, Mullaghmore, had sought permission for the construction of a private domestic dwelling house (216 sq.m.), domestic garage, septic tank and percolation area. The proposed development included the demolition of an existing house (pictured left) and associated site works. In refusing planning permission, the planning authority ruled that the subject site was located within the curtilage of Classiebawn Castle which is a protected structure in accordance with Sligo County Development Plan, and also within the designated Sensitive Rural Landscape as per Sligo County Development Plan.

The house that stands now on the site of the proposed development has recently been the subject of legal action by Mr. Tunney who ejected Mr. Paddy Joe Gallagher and his family from possession. It stands at the entrance to a road leading to the sea over which Hugh Tunney claims outright ownership. The claim is hotly disputed by local people who say they have traditional rights of way to the seashore along this avenue and want it kept open.

Sperm Whale beached at Strandhill

Sligo Champion September 13: 'An adult sperm whale stranded on a sand bank at Culleenamore yesterday took its final breath last night. Rescue attempts to save the mammal at Strandhill were halted yesterday afternoon by marine experts after it was realised that the whale had moored itself on the strand to die. Those attending the tragic scene attempted to make the 40 foot whale as comfortable as possible.'

Read the full story here

"Big business" and oil prices: recent Irish Times cartoon

September 6th 2006

Big Ben, Mullaghmore and the Donkey Derby

Not long ago asses were beasts of burden on which moved the commerce of the Irish countryside. Along the stony roads of Ireland they carried turf from the bog, creamery cans to the creamery, produce to market, seaweed from the sea and a myriad of other laborious tasks. In the new Ireland asses too have become gentrified. In Mullaghmore on last Sunday they were turned out in their Sunday best. They were petted, groomed, coaxed and encouraged — and who will argue that this gentle animal has not earned its place in the sun!

Huge crowds, the biggest this summer, converged on the seaside village on last Sunday

to watch the All Ireland Donkey Derby. The big winner was Jim Monteith's Big Ben who hails from Tyrone. The animal was ridden by Andrew Fitzpatrick. A Fermanagh ass, Grey Swallow, owned by David Johnson and ridden by Patrick Doherty was placed second. It was Tyrone again for third place with April Fool, owned by Bertie Adams with Christen Hedrington as jockey.

Enniscrone Sisters bring case to European Court

"Two west Sligo twin sisters have taken a case to the European Court of Human Rights in an on-going dispute over a family home in Kilglass, according to a report in a national newspaper. Elizabeth and Gwen Shannon, from Leaffoney, were served with an eviction notice on behalf of the Sheriff of County Sligo last week.

The ladies, who are both in their 50s, are refusing to move from the property and are claiming squatters rights to the family home in a dispute which dates back to the 1990s. The 54-acre property near the seaside village of Enniscrone could be worth E10 million according to the Irish Independent newspaper article.
Ms Shannon claimed that she and her sister were manhandled during an attempted eviction last week. She told the newspaper that it was like a “scene out of Miami Vice.” She was quoted as saying: “I was grabbed by the shoulders and partially dragged from the house. “It was all very aggressive and intimidating. I kept telling them they were breaking the law and that the case was before the European Court of Human Rights and that I was claiming adverse possession.“We are two women on our own with nobody to protect us. We are under siege and all we can do now is wait for the case to come up in the European Court.”
Ms Shannon said the sheriff, his bailiffs and gardai moved off when the sisters managed to get back into the house. “We are claiming adverse possession of this property and have been here the requisite number of years to prove it,” she was quoted. In April 2000 an ejectment order was granted after a court order was put in place whereby the two sisters were to be given another house of equal dimensions and five acres of land by their brother John, who was left the property by their late mother.
In 2004 the Supreme Court blocked Elizabeth from further access to the courts regarding the property. This order is currently being challenged in the European Court of Human Rights.

Wed. August 30th 2006

Mayor Bloomberg visits Sligo

So! Mayor Bloomberg blew into town — dancers danced, bands played, speechifiers speeched, anti-war demonstrators demonstrated, politicians posed, clowns cavorted— and then the Mayor blew out again. No detail of the visit was missed. When the Mayor visited Mullaneys shop in Sligo town two of his minders did a little shopping of their own. One was overheard urging his companion to purchase a pair of green white and orange boxer shorts on display. "I already have a pair," was the quick reply, "what do you think I'm wearing right now?" Reminds me of the story about the virtuous Irish girl who wore tricoloured knickers because no true-blooded Irishman would take them down. That was long ago of course when virtue was, well, a virtue. As far as we know Bloomberg's minder didn't elaborate on the reason for his choice of underwear.

A poll run by the Sligo Weekender posing the question: "Do you agree with the [anti-war] protest at the Mayor Bloomberg ceremony in Ballymote?" resulted in 66.14% voting 'yes' and 33.86% "no". The ballyhoo has passed, the Corcoran monument remains. The unveiling may have been a great showcase for local politicians but, unfortunately, a great opportunity has been missed. Better any memorial than none, but this bland monument (above) with vague images of men on horseback wearing what looks like baseball caps, tells us nothing about the various aspects of General Michael Corcoran's short but eventful life.

If you would like to know more about General Michael Corcoran visit The WildGeese      

Donkey Derby at Mullaghmore

And, last but not least, if you've got an ass and want to take it for an outing, then Mullaghmore is the place to be. The All Ireland Donkey Derby takes place there next Sunday at 3.00 p.m. Prior to this there will be an ass show (I kid you not), a dog show, music, and various attractions for children. The event will raise funds for a project in Africa sponsored by former Cliffoney priest, Fr. James O'Kane.

Wed. August 23rd 2006


"The Tribunal has been staggered by the amount of indiscipline and insubordiantion it has found in the Garda force." This was the conclusion of Mr. Justice Frederick Morris in his report on the findings of the Tribunal. "Those who are charged with upholding the good order of society are not to be dragged into looking at their vocation as just another way of making money or, worse still, of lazing about and making mischief." A local Sligo Garda was severely dealt with. This report from the Sligo Weekender:


"A highly-respected former Sligo garda has been accused of using the name of a dead colleague to hide his  own involvement in forging  signatures at the Garda station in Teeling Street. Justice Frederick Morris said this was a further example of the 'deceitful and underhand way' that ex-garda John Nicholson (pictured left) dealt with the Tribunal and the Garda inquiry into the subsequent events.
Garda Nicholson told the Tribunal that deceased garda John Keogh gave him forged documents on behalf of Bernard Conlon, although he was not the author of the document; The Justice said: "The fact that Mr Nicholson has abused this man's name in death and tried to hide behind him is disgraceful. His evidence in relation to the late Garda Keogh constitutes an unedifying attempt by him to minimise his guilty knowledge of these certificates. It was a mean-spirited and self-serving  pretence in which he persisted in the face of clear evidence

ex-garda John Nicholson

contradicting his evidence before the tribunal. He repeatedly uses an utterly false and somewhat sanctimonious protest of injured innocence in  the light of the facts known to him. This approach permeates most of Mr Nicholson¹s approach to the Tribunal."
The Justice said he accepted the evidence of Garda Keogh's widow, Kathleen, that John Nicholson refused to reveal the names of the other alleged forgers. The Tribunal was not able to establish the identity of the other individuals.
But Justice Morris described Nicholson's attempts to involve an innocent colleague who wrote out one of the certificates as 'debasing an act of kindness.'
Detective Garda Paul Casey wrote the body of a bogus document because Garda Nicholson suffered from arthritis. "It was credibly represented to him that Garda Nicholson had a crippling pain in his hand on that day and needed help in a routine matter," said the Justice. "But Garda Nicholson attempted to use the hearings of the Tribunal to gain advantage and debase Garda Casey's act of kindness.'
And the Justice rejected pleas on behalf of the ex-garda's health:

"The fact that Mr Nicholson has abused this man's name in death and tried to hide behind him is disgraceful."

"Though some medical evidence was adduced which sought to explain his infirm recollection of events, I am completely satisfied that, far from being unwell, Mr Nicholson was completely unwilling to furnish a full and truthful account of these events on any occasion. He was asked to do so by his solicitor Mr Kilrane,  his colleagues, his superiors, the Keogh family, the Carty team or the Tribunal. Sometimes a partially truthful account would be given, but never the full picture."
Justice Morris said all of this arose because Mr. Nicholson was an "enthusiastic supporter of anything that would assist the gardai in Donegal to pressurise the McBreartys or anyone else thought to be involved in the death of Richie Barron. It was his experience at the time of the arrest of Mark McConnell on June 25, 1997 and what he was told by Sergeant John White about the McBreartys and the robust ways the McBreartys fought back against the district court convictions that convinced him he should help Sergeant White and the Donegal gardai in whatever way he could," said Justice Morris.
Justice Morris also said he was satisfied that both John Nicholson and John White had coached Bernard Conlon on what to say before one of the district court cases in Donegal. The Tribunal also found that the long delay in the internal Garda investigation into the Bernard Conlon saga was not fair to the gardai, the public or Mark McConnell and Michael Peoples, who continue to suffer from this "disgraceful affair."

When the scandal broke garda John Nicholson applied for retirement. It took effect from September 4th, 2002.

Mayor Bloomberg unveils Corcoran Memorial at Ballymote

Crowd gathers at Ballymote for unveiling

The future of Ireland has a lot in common with the history of New York, " which had been built on people putting religious and cultural differences aside to live and work together and placing their faith in democracy," Mr. Bloomberg said at the unveiling. On the issue of the undocumented Irish in the US, he said a significant increase was needed in, "the number of visas we give out to those who want to come to America and making sure that those who are already in America have the opportunity to stay".

Mayor Bloomberg was in Sligo at the invitation of Sligo-Leitrim Fine Gael TD, John Perry. At a breakfast reception in Sligo’s City Hall prior to the unveiling Mr. Bloomberg went on to say: “There is a new story of Ireland and New York. It’s about Irish entrepreneurs and Irish businesses making their mark on Wall Street and in the boardrooms of the world’s most successful enterprises. The US charge d’affaires to Ireland , Jonathan Benton reminded the gathering that President John Kennedy, when he visited Ireland in 1963, presented one of the flags of the 69 th, of which Corcoran was commander, to the Dail. It still hangs there.

Security was very tight as a group of anti-war protestors staged a demonstration near the unveiling site. “Its not just about knowing in your heart that the slaughter of innocents in the Lebanon. Iraq and Palestine is wrong – it’s about expressing these sentiments in public” said Mr Tim Mulcahy, of the Sligo Anti War group... The destruction visited upon Lebanon cannot be justified.  In this context we in Ireland must show the strength of our opposition to those vested interests who have promoted war.

Protesters demonstrate against American foreign policy and Mayor Bloombergs presence

“Mayor Bloomberg has publicly endorsed the Israeli war of aggression and praised President Bush and his cabinet for their continued support of the Israeli regime. It’s important that we express our outrage at the actions of the Israelis and that we demand compliance with international law.  We cannot continue to be among those who have settled for muted criticism of Israel and the U.S.   Ireland should be leading the international response to demand peace with justice in the Middle East,” said Mr Mulcahy.

Present at the ceremony were former EU Commisioner Ray McSharry; his nephew Tom McSharry, Mayor of Sligo; Bishop of Achonry, Dr. Thomas Flynn; Army Chief of Staff, Lieut. General James Sreenan; Garda Chief Supt. Martin McLoughlin; Irish consul, Tim O’Connor; the 58 th infantry reserve; the band of the Army 4 th Wester Command. Michael Flatley was also present where he thrilled the crowd by announcing his engagement to fiancée Niasmh O’Brien. Matt Molloy of the Chieftains played a selection of tunes while the two national anthems were sung by Michael Lang.

 Who was General Michael Corcoran?

Gen. Michael Corcoran

General Michael Corcoran deserves a place in the pantheon of Irish heroes alongside Tone and Emmet, Pearse or Connolly or Sligo's own Constance Markievicz. He was born on September 21, 1827 , at Carrowkeel, Ballymote, to Mary Mc Donagh and Thomas Corcoran. Interestingly he was a descendant on his mother’s side of Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Lucan. His father Thomas Corcoran was a retired half-pay British army officer.

Following his fathers death in 1845 at 59 years of age Michael had to find work. The pension ceased and his widowed mother got nothing. He joined the Revenue Police in 1846 when only 19 and was stationed in Creeslough in Co. Donegal. The Revenue Police was a light infantry unit whose job was essentially to enforce the Revenue laws and stamp out poteen making. They would also have been the eyes and ears of the British establishment in Ireland.

He joins the Ribbonmen

The famine was at it’s height in the winter of 1846-47 and Michael had no stomach for the mass evictions by unscrupulous landlords who used the famine as an opportunity to clear their land. Michael himself was comfortable but starvation and death was everywhere around him. Although many of the police did their duty regardless of the appalling condition of the people, others like Michael engaged in either passive or open resistance to what they saw as a cruel command. He joined an underground organisation known as the Ribbonmen and worked secretly with them against the injustices of the landlords and the authorities for two years. The authorities seem to have become aware of his activities and he resigned abruptly and returned to Carrowkeel for a while. He sailed out of Sligo Bay on the ‘Dromohair’ on the 30 th of August 1839. Accounts are unclear but It seems he was on the run at that time.

For further history on General Michael Corcoran and his rise to fame in the US visit The WildGeese here      





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