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Wednesday 27th June 2007

Sardinia Honours Constance Markievicz

Cagliari area of Sardinia

Compared with other Mediterranean Islands, Sardinia is not a well-known holiday destination for Irish tourists. Yet, Larry Mullin, who sent me this account, relates that 'many of us will remember it from Italia 90 when 'Jack’s army' played England in the Capital – Cagliari. Chelsea fans will be familiar with Gianfranco Zola, the Sardinian-born soccer star and recently the name of Frankie Dettori, the jockey of the Epsom Derby winner Authorized, has made the headlines. His father was born in Sardinia.

What we may not know is that there is a thriving branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann in Sardinia which meets for weekly sessions in an Irish pub in Cagliari. For the last nine years, during the month of May, this branch has been organising an Irish festival called ‘Irlanda in Festa’ to celebrate Irish music and also to remember an historic Irish event or figure. Last year, it being the Beckett centenary, the Irish writer Samuel Beckett was honoured.

Giovanna Licardi (left) with her students. Right: Larry Mullin; kneeling, Italo Siddu. Giovanna works with Italo to organise the festival.

‘Silk Kimonos over Storm-beaten Breasts’.
This year to commemorate the 80th anniversary of her death, the Irish hero Constance Markievicz was chosen. Her work for Irish freedom, for women’s rights and for the poor was highlighted at the festival. Secretary of the Markievicz Committee in Sligo, Larry Mullin, was there and gave an address on Markievicz and her work for women’s equality entitled ‘Silk Kimonos over Storm-beaten Breasts’. The interest in Irish history and particularly in the life of Constance Markievicz among the citizens of Cagliari is very real. Her involvement in politics would have no equal among Italian women who, in fact, didn’t get the vote until 1945. To have a woman as President of their country would be unimaginable in Italy.

l-r: Larry Mullin, Italo Siddu and Ambassador Sean O hUiginn

The driving force behind the Irish festival are two teachers from Cagliari - Italo Siddu and Giovanna Licardi. Both are enthusiastic admirers of Markievicz as well as accomplished performers of traditional Irish music. Italo, a skilled banjo and mandolin player, was converted to Irish music in 1979 when he first heard a record of Planxty. He is also a novelist and is writing a novel on Markievicz at present. A packed concert of Irish music by the well-known traditional duo - Seamus Begley and Jim Murray - brought the festivities to a close.

The Irish Ambassador to Italy - An tUasal Sean O hUiginn - attended the festival and was loud in his praise of the work of Comhaltas in Cagliari in organising the event and promoting interest in Irish music and history in Sardinia.'

Bonefire night

Saturday June 23rd last, eve of the feast of St. John, was Bonefire night. Fires blazed and pillars of smoke spiralled skywards as people all over Co. Sligo celebrated the event. Not much to celebrate weatherwise as it rained most of the time, but not enough to put the fire out, or the spirits of the young ones, who ran around in tshirts while we older souls shivered in anoraks. It's an ancient custom, probably pre-Christian in origin, to celebrate midsummer and the Solstice. Here's a few snippets from the archives as to how it was celebrated in the early 1900s:
(1)"Crops, rye, wheat should be well on before the Bonefire night; potatoes should be moulded and turf half saved.  If the weather breaks on that night it will be a long wet season. Strong reeds were used for torches; a turf on top of a stick made a great light to carry around.  Coals were brought from the nearest house to light the fire."
(2)"A fiddle or melodeon player was always there and people danced till 12 or 1.  Crowds rambled from one fire to another.  On their way home a coal was thrown into the crop field for good luck and a good return of crops.  The belief is that no matter how wild the night the fire never does any harm. People didn’t know the origins, they would only say it was an old custom ‘As long as I mind fires were lit.’: Mairead Ni Ciaran  Derelehan, Co. Sligo 28th Sept. 1942.

Here's how our bonefire looked. Top left picture (background) shows Benbulben mountain in the mist and Classiebawn castle in the right background — and, well then, so you don't believe in dragons? See lower right picture (unretouched) scouts honour!


Wednesday 20th June

Some of you have questioned the use of the word 'Yanks' below. For some reason, unknown to me, Americans have always been historically referred to in Ireland as Yanks. 'We have Yanks coming' meant American relatives on the way to visit their Irish cousins. It was only on emigrating that my American cousins explained to me the difference between Yanks and 'Southerners' and all about the Civil War. Some of them laughingly recalled that when growing up they believed 'DamnYankees' was one word!

Ireland, she is a-changing



Believe it or not, research based on the latest census of Ireland (26 counties)shows that Barroosky, Co. Mayo is the only electoral district left in Ireland where all the inhabitants are Irish. The government is now being asked to encourage more integration, while the National Committee on Racism and Interculturalism wants the Government to introduce housing policies to discourage clustering of ethnic minorities.

The Yanks Again!

"Ripley's Believe it or Not" please copy!:
The Pentagon has admitted that it considered a proposal to love-bomb enemy troops with an aphrodisiac that would turn them gay and encourage uncontrolled sexual activity. Chemical weapons researchers believed that, after being sprayed with the chemical, enemy soldiers would be so busy having sex in mass gay orgies that they would stop fighting.  The Pentagon asked for $7.5 million to develop the 'gay bomb' as a method of developing non-lethal weapons "that will support our men and women in uniform" said a Pentagon spokeswoman. The 'gay bomb' proposal was never carried out she added.
And we wonder could an escaped chemical from a Pentagon lab be, at least partly, to blame for all the 'Gay Pride' marches that we see more and more of lately?

June 14th 2007

Bill Clinton and 'The Monica's'

Tis the season for tourists and the columnist, Nuala O'Faoilean, met a bad tempered American in a sauna lately. He was going to play the golf course in Ballybunion. 'Oh,' says she, 'that's interesting! Bill Clinton played a few rounds there. He's very popular in Ireland, which is more than can be said for your present man. Clinton was a great help in solving our difficulties in Northern Ireland.'
The visitor wasn't impressed.
'Was that a good example Bill Clinton gave?' the man growled, 'to teach the youth of America that there's nothing wrong with oral sex!'
O'Faoilean didn't dare mention that there's a statue of ex-Pres Clinton in Ballybunion erected, ooops, sorry, installed to commemorate his visit. The teenage girls that hang around it are known locally as 'the Monicas'.
Moral? There isn't any. Make up your own.
And why didn't they just name a pub after him (see below) — or are all the pubs in Ballybunion already named after foreign visitors. (Are 'Yanks' foreigners?)

Traditional Singing Festival for Sligo

Exciting times are ahead for Sligo Traditional Singing Circle who will host a weekend of traditional singing in Sligo from the 28th to the 30th of September of this year.This, the inaugural Sligo Singers Festival, will be a weekend of singing workshops, informal singing sessions, audio and video presentations, scholarly talks and a field trip. Most events will take place in Sligo Town.

Sligo Traditional Singing Circle is in existence for many years. They meet at least once a month to sing traditional songs and enjoy themselves generally in a relaxed and friendly setting. No better place to meet than in Durkin’s bar in Ballinacarrow where most of the sessions take place. The purpose of the Singing Circle is to nurture and promote the art of traditional singing in Sligo and surrounding areas. Traditional singing is unaccompanied. The songs have a decidedly Gaelic influence in their shaping and making. Songs are sung in both the English and Irish language. However all are welcome to listen and learn. More details to follow in the coming months.Further information:
085-1745625,   Email: Web:

€100 million Town Centre Plan

Artists impression of new development

The long-running saga surrounding the proposed development of a massive new commercial centre in the Wine Street car park took an unexpected twist recently when fifteen Sligo property owners unveiled ambitious plans for an alternative €100 million development in the centre of Sligo town.  It has the backing of all the property owners in the Wine Street car park and is also being supported by existing traders in the area.
The plan, which incorporates the entire Wine Street car park, envisages major expansions of both the existing Tesco and Pennys stores, a new shopping mall on the existing Brodricks site, linking the car park with O’Connell Street; a food market similar to the acclaimed Old English Market in Cork, and a multi-storey car park with over 700 car parking spaces. It involves a signifcantly enlarged Tesco store of 50,000 sq. meters; a bigger Pennys store of some 60,000 meters, similar to a recently opened store in Ballina which is among the biggest Pennys outlets in Europe; and the recontruction of the current Brodrick’s site to incorporate a shopping mall leading onto O’Connell Street.
The property owners behind the alternative proposal include Tesco, Pennys, Brodricks Ltd., Richard Woodmartin, and the freehold owners of all properties occupied by the Wine Street traders. The group is led by Ray and Eileen Monahan, who have just completed the reconstruction of Johnston Court, which is due to open next August.

June 7th 2007

Sligo men at the Mahon Tribunal

Joe Taylor

The Mahon Tribunal is presently investigating corruption in politics. Currently under the spotlight is our Taoiseach Bertie Ahearn who has recently been returned to office following a General Election. There is a Sligo connection. Star witness now is Sligo man Tom Gilmartin who has a lot to say about strange goings on regarding bribery and bulging brown envelopes. Another Sligo-man, actor Joe Taylor, has found himself in the unusual position of acting out the real-life drama surrounding Mahon Tribunal's leading witness, Tom Gilmartin, for national radio.
'Tom has never lost his accent and being from Sligo has made his accent easy for me to do,” said Joe, who can be heard on the Vincent Browne Show nightly at 10pm on RTE Radio One re-enacting the events of the day. It's very entertaining!
Both Joe and Tom will be present at the Mahon Tribunal when it resumes today. . . in very different roles.

A Fairy Wind

At the launch: Producer and artists of A Fairy Wind

The launch of 'A Fairy Wind' CD went off well last Sunday night at the Beach Hotel, Mullaghmore and into the small hours of Monday morning. It was a great hooley as promised as all of the artists on the cd entertained the audience. A great mix of music for dancing, solo renditions, songs stories and funny monologues. Next time we might make a dvd of the launch to accompany the CD. A Fairy Wind unplugged. Yes it has a certain ring to it. Go to 'Books' for more information.
Look closely at the picture on the cover for a glimpse of the Sidhe barely revealed in the tree trunk. If you want to see more you'll have to buy the CD to see the larger image! Be advised though, the sidhe do not reveal themselves to everyone. The CD is €17.95 — the magic is free!!

SligoHeritage wish to express our condolences to Gerry Regan of TheWildGeese website on the death of his father Gerald: Go nDeanaimh Dia trocaire air an anam uasal.


Even cows have rights at Mullaghmore beach; these bovines are contemplating an early morning swim before the tourists arrive but haven't quite got around to it yet.

Health Board desecrate national monument

Gerry McLaughlin of the Sligo Weekender reports that 'A major row is looming between Sligo General Hospital and conservationists in the north of the city over “incursions” by the Health and Safety Executive on a national monument.The row centres on plans to extend the hospital car park.Over the past two months the HSE has been bulldozing a piece of land close to the historic monument in order to create 75 extra car parking spaces at the hospital.

Brian Scanlon, the Green Party’s candidate in Sligo-North Leitrim at the general election, described the HSE’s actions as an “act of vandalism”. Mr Scanlon slammed the HSE West for the development, which has been ongoing. “This has disturbed the protected wall of Forthill. This was the last stronghold of the forces of King James II. This is an act of vandalism,” he said. “Two or three months ago at the request of Donegal councillor Sean McEniff, the HSE sent in bulldozers to plough up land around the fort for the purpose of extending the car park.“They ploughed up the land around the fort which is a national monument and has an exclusion zone around it.There is a particular area that you can’t enter and the HSE have ploughed on regardless.

“I believe that if they are found to have trespassed on a national monument they are liable to a fine which could be as high as 12 million euro. “There is also a two years jail sentence for culprits. So we are looking at something very serious here. Councillor Sean McEniff, who is also a board member of the HSE, said he had no knowledge of the Forthill monument when he advised Sligo General Hospital to extend its car park. I had no idea about protected structures in that area,” he said. “I was just trying to answer the needs of patients in that area.

Sligo Borough Council have written to the HSE warning them that their development is unauthorised. The HSE have said that they will apply for planning permission to retain what they have done."

Information please

Do you have any information that might help this lady?

Mr. McGowan,
I was wondering if you could/would possibly help me. I am told that I am the biological daughter of a Tommy Yeats/Yates. There is strong evidence that my natural father's roots were of Sligo heritage as well. My grandfather, William J Meehan family is listed in the Garryduff, Templeboy Griffith's Valuation for 1901 and 1911. Yet, I have been unable to find my direct decent to my Yeats line in Sligo. Any help that you could or would provide to me would be appreciated. I have been searching for my first father for about 26 years now without success. He may not want to be found or may not even know about me. I have a website: if you wish to see more pictures of us?
Sligo keeps coming up as my biological land roots.
My bio Aunt tells me that Sligo is beautiful! I have plans of oneday visiting. It is a wish of mine to know if their could be a possibility of Jack Butler Yeats and William B Yeats being an Uncle or Great Grandfather or Grandfather of mine?
Any help that you would provide to me would be appreciated. Even if there isn't a connection, I have to try. I am just too much of a curious george not to try to find out.
Jules aka Mary
ps: I go by Mary because of my now known Meehan relatives. I do hope you understand. I do also doubt that my father lives in Sligo now. He is or probably was in the states. But finding a connection again to Sligo, would be sort of an epiphany for me and be all the more reason to delve into Sligo's history and my family heritage there.

May 30th 2007

The Clint Eastwood Tavern

I am always pleased to hear from SligoHeritage viewers and to know their views. In response to last weeks Newsround Paul Burns sent this:

Hi Joe,
"Everyone to their own taste," said the old lady as she kissed the cow. I was reminded of that old saw when reading your story on the Dervish debacle. We sponsored them here in Tallahassee a few years ago, and they were a great success. Contrary to your own opinion I especially enjoyed Kathy Jordan.

In the Obama piece, you mentioned that pubs may decide to change to his name? Reminds me of the Moon High Cross Tavern in Kildare, very close to the famous and impressive Moon High Cross. When I stopped in a couple of years ago I discovered the name had been changed to the "Clint Eastwood Tavern." When I asked if Clint had purchased the place, I was told no, he just stopped in for a beer. So much for a thousand years of Irish history. Sounds like Tara today.

Regards, Paul

The Ronald Regan Pub

The most conspicuous example of this kind of behaviour was, of course, the furore over Ronald Regans visit to the supposed birthplace of his forbears in Ballyporeen, Co. Tipperary in 1984. Locals turned somersaults in the streets for him and rode asses backwards up and down the Main Street, and yes, changed the name of the local pub to the Ronald Reagan Pub. While the building still stands, the Ronald Reagan Pub has closed and transferred it's fittings and the sign to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Santa Barbara, California. Ballyporeen was home to the Ronald Reagan Visitor Centre. This vistor centre was constructed shortly after Reagan's visit and operated by the Irish Tourist Board but is now closed because of a lack of tourists.

Ah, fame, how fleeting is thy kiss!

General Election Results Sligo

Eamonn Scanlon

John Bromley of the Sligo Weekender was one of the many election watchers over the past weeks. In this weeks Sligo Weekender he recounts that it was Eamon Scanlon, who proved the sensation of last Friday’s general election count in Sligo-North Leitrim. He hoovered up votes all over County Sligo and, most crucially, in neighbouring Leitrim. His impressive poll topping performance stunned not just his political opponents and the pundits, but even his own supporters who could scarcely have anticipated the story that unfolded at the count centre in the Radisson Hotel.

Stunned also must have been running mate Jimmy Devins, who was considered the party’s front runner and who, along with Fine Gael’s John Perry, was unbackable with the bookies last week. Scanlon’s election was not a major surprise but the manner of it certainly was. It had been thought that after outgoing TDs Perry and Devins were elected, he would be scrapping for the third seat along with Fine Gael’s Michael Comiskey and Sean MacManus of Sinn Fein. But instead, it was apparent from early morning, when he was seen to be polling well in the Sligo town boxes, that not only was he going to get in but he was going to walk it. His victory gave Fianna Fail a vital second seat, with Devins getting in ahead of Comiskey without reaching the quota. With fellow town man John Perry coming in behind Scanlon, his victory also gave Ballymote the distinction of being the only town of its size in the country with two TDs.

May 24th 2007 (General Election Day)

Sligo and the Eurovision Song Contest

Greetings and salutations to all my viewers out there, and apologies for lapse in service. SligoHeritage has been a victim of the dreaded hard drive meltdown. The good news is that most of the information has been recovered. (Back up folks, back up your information!! One knows not the minute or the hour) We're not quite back to normal and new configurations will take a bit of getting used to but let's take a look at the news:

While we were out of service Ireland had its worst ever performance in the Eurovision song contest with Kathy Jordan of the group 'Dervish'. John Waters' composition "They Can't Stop The Spring", performed in Helsinki in the Eurovision final on 12 May 2007, finished in last place with five points, all of them from from Albania. Cathy Jordan was a poor choice to begin with. Dervish is a fantastic traditional band but Cathy is a meat and potatoes singer, definitely not world stage material.

Dervish on state visit to the Baltic

No matter! Sandra Coffey of the Sligo Weekender reports that Dervish are back to business this week and are currently on a state visit to Latvia and Lithuania with President Mary McAleese! Group leader and accordian player Shane Mitchell said: “We are really looking forward to this trip. After a few days off, it’s great to be back to what we love doing - playing music and promoting Irish traditional music.” The visit is expected to strengthen political, economic, cultural and educational links between Ireland and the two countries, both of which joined the European Union in 2001.

The President began her trip on Monday with a welcoming ceremony at the Latvian capital Riga. President McAleese met with senior political figures including President Vike-Freiberga, Prime Minister Kalvitis and the Speaker of the Saeima (Parliament). The band will be flying with the President on the government jet for the duration of the trip. They will return with her to Dublin today in time to vote in the general election.

Barack Obama's Irish Roots

Or should that be O'Bama?

The people of Offaly are keeping a close eye on next year's US elections after it was confirmed yesterday that one of the leading candidates for the presidency has roots there. Research has revealed that Barack Obama, an Illinois senator and Democrat hopeful for the 2008 presidential elections, is descended from a shoemaker in Moneygall, Co Offaly.
Previous investigations had indicated that Obama's third great-grandfather on his mother's side, Fulmuth Kearney, had emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1850. Obama's father, Barack Obama snr, was a goat-herder from Kenya, while his mother, Ann Dunham, is from Kansas. The 45-year-old senator was born in Hawaii in 1961.

It emerged yesterday that Stephen Neill, a Church of Ireland rector from Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, had uncovered details which confirm that the man hoping to be the first black president of the United States has roots in Offaly. Canon Neill was able to scour the indexed records at the Templeharry Rectory, which go back as far as 1799, to find that Fulmuth's parents were Joseph and Phoebe. He also found baptismal records of a number of Fulmuth's siblings, which confirm that Joseph Kearney was a shoemaker from Moneygall.

Canon Neill made the discoveries after he was given charge of the records following the death recently of the parishioner who had dealt with them. He began investigating Obama's ancestry after being tipped off by an American genealogist in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Who's willing to bet that there's not pub owners right now in Offally getting ready to change the name of their premises to the 'Barack O'Bama Pub'? Enjoy it while you can Barry: if you lose the election we'll lose interest in you. As President Kennedy said following the Bay of Pigs debacle: 'Success has a thousand fathers, failure is an orphan!'

A Fairy Wind

Your host will be interviewed by Henry Wymbs on his show next Sunday May 27th. Henry might even play a few tracks from the new CD 'A Fairy Wind'. (More info HERE) Henry's 'Irish Eye' programme is broadcast each Sunday afternoon between 2 and 5pm on the FM band. It is networked throughout the south of England and can be found on 95.2 and 104.1fm. It's also online at or berkshire. More information on Henry Wymbs HERE

May 21st 2007

We're sorry but updates to Newsround and SligoHeritage have been suspended due to systems failure. We expect that service will be resumed later this week.

May 3rd 2007

Donegal Copy of Clonmacnoise Cross for Portland, Oregon

A remarkable gathering took place on last Monday at the Craft Centre in Donegal town. It was the unveiling of a copy of the Clonmacnoise 'High Cross of the Scriptures' by Bundoran artist Brendan McGloin. Speaker at the event was the renowned antiquarian, scholar and member and past-President of the Royal Irish Academy, Professor Peter Harbison. Mary Coughlan T.D. and other local officials also attended. The cross was commisioned by the 'Ancient Order of Hibernia' of Portland City, Oregon, USA. Present also was Peter Cullen representing the AOH of Portland.

The cross, (head only pictured left) three years in the making, is a thirteen foot high replica of the famous High Cross at Clonmacnoise. Adressing the crowd Mr. Cullen said that his committee in considering how best to recognise the contribution of the Irish people to the USA and their suffering through the famine and emigration years decided not to use the harrowing scenes common to so many memorials but instead to create something that would be a celebration of Ireland. This 9th century High Cross was unanimously chosen and would be erected at Calvary cemetery near Portland where so many natives of Ireland are laid to rest.

Prof. Peter Harbison (l) Mr. Peter Cullen (r)

St. Ciarán and King Diarmuid
Fr. Liam Hickey in giving the blessing said he was sure that 'the Mother Cross in St. Ciarán's Hermitage in Clonmacnois is aglow in joy with the new arrival... The Cross has welcomed pilgrims on the Slí Mór of Ireland through Clonmacnois for a thousand years or more. Pope John Paul on his visit there said it was an experience that he would never forget. The High Cross,' he continued, 'has a panel of St. Ciarán and King Diarmuid staking the first Church in Clonmacnois in 545 A.D.'

Concluding, he pointed out the Right Hand of God carved under the arm of the Cross and quoted Psalm 117:
"The Lord's Right Hand has Triumphed.
His Right Hand Raised me up.
I shall not die. I shall live."

'May all who look on this High Cross of the Scriptures with eyes of the heart be blessed, and help us make a better world.'

Brother and MC, Francis, presents bouquet to the sculptor, Brendan McGloin (l)

Dog owners warned following Slaughter of Lambs

Eugene Feeney with slaughtered sheep


Irresponsible dog ownership causes stock losses every year. This year is no different and the Sligo Weekender reports that, 'DOG owners have been warned to keep their animals under control and locked in at night following the killing of sheep near Streedagh beach in north Sligo last week. Six lambs belonging to local farmer Eugene Feeney were savaged to death by two dogs,while a number of others were injured in the attack last Wednesday night. The two dogs responsible were captured and put down when they returned again to the field on Thursday morning.

Mr Feeney said there was a problem in the area with people letting dogs run freely in the beach and dunes area and he appealed to people to keep their dogs under control. “People just drive in, open the car door and let them out and away. They should be aware that dogs should be kept on a leash.” Dog warden Anthony McDaniel that: “People need to keep their dogs in at night and have them under control during the day when they are out.”

General Election Ireland
Following weeks of speculation President McAleese has dissolved the 29th Dáil. Polling in the General Election will take place on Thursday 24 May. The new Dáil will meet for the first time on 14 June. There will be 166 members in the new Dáil, including the Ceann Comhairle, Dr Rory O'Hanlon TD, who will be returned unopposed. A total of 3,066,517 electors will be entitled to vote at the election, an increase of 3.86% on the previous general election.

Isn't it interesting that this is one of the most responsible jobs in the country — yet it requires no qualifications whatsoever. Even a plumber has to go to school and serve an apprenticeship before he qualifies!. "Along the way expect lots of faux pas, maverick twists to the course of the campaign, wild unsubstantiated allegations of corruption, fraud and chicanery, oceans of blather, windbaggery and waffle — and almost nothing about anything that matters." So says columnist and political commentator Vincent Browne, and who can disagree! Drive along the road, open a newspaper, turn on a radio or television: it's impossible to get away from the smarmy smiles and bags of promises. SligoHeritage will be a safe haven and an election-free zone for the next three weeks but I will be back with the results after election day.
Meanwhile if you have a leaky pipe don't call a politician!

Beginning with the festival of Bealtaine this is the second quarter season of the old Celtic calendar. For a piece on May customs in Ireland visit HERE and scroll down.

Mohill O’Carolan Celebration May Bank Holiday Weekend
Workshops and music on Saturday May 5th
The National Harp Orchestra directed by Dr. Janet Harbison will give a concert on Sunday 6 th May at 3.00 p.m. on the grounds of Lough Rynn Castle Hotel, Mohill, Co. Leitrim

April 26th 2007

Election Fever Sligo

In Co. Sligo election fever is in the air! The smiling faces of our political hopefuls smile benignly down on us from telephone poles. Which is just as well, we haven't seen their faces since the last election so now at least we're reminded of what they look like! Sly old Bertie is keeping the exact date a closely guarded secret but we know he'll carefully scan the horizon for any pending scandals involving Fianna Fail politicians and brown paper bags before he jumps at just the right moment. Clever old scut, that Bertie! "The most ruthless, the most cunning of them all", Charlie Haughey said. With that angelic face? Never!

Two seats for FF in Roscommon-South Leitrim?

The latest electoral poll in the new Roscommon-South Leitrim constituency shows that Fianna Fail are on course to take two seats. The poll, carried out by the Roscommon Herald newspaper with the Red C group, shows first preference support for outgoing Fine Gael Deputy, Denis Naughton of 27 per cent.
He's followed by Michael Finneran of Fianna Fail on 19 per cent, and Fianna Fail's John Ellis on 18 per cent. The poll predicts that these three will take the seats, with Deputy Ellis narrowly pipping Fine Gael first time runner, Frank Feighan of Boyle, for the final seat. Sinn Fein candidate, Cllr Martin Kenny of County Leitrim, comes in at 9 per cent support in the poll.

Sligo Band 'Dervish' off to the Eurovision Song

Sandra Coffey of the Sligo Weekender reports that Sligo traditional group Dervish will be a given a good luck send-off next week when they appear on The Late Late Show for the final time before heading to the Eurovision Song Contest in Helsinki. They will appear on the television show on Friday May 4 before they head to the Finnish capital the following Monday to prepare for the Eurovision on Saturday, May 12.
The band will perform the song "They Can't Stop the Spring", which is hoped will bring back Eurovision honours after a 10 year break. The song 'They Can’t Stop the Spring' was written by fellow Roscommon natives Tommy Moran and John Waters.
Last week Dervish were in Sligo discussing arrangements and their outfits for the Eurovision.“It is going to be a very busy time for us over the next couple of weeks. But, we are really looking forward to it. It will be a fantastic experience for us and one we will always remember,” said lead singer Cathy Jordan, who lives in Sligo town but is from Scramogue, County Roscommon. A huge Irish delegation will be heading over to Helsinki. Also heading over are members of the band’s family and friends from Sligo.
“People in Roscommon are very excited about their association with the Eurovision this year,” said Cathy. “There will be a send-off for us in my hometown just before we leave.”
As well as preparing for Eurovision, the band is also doing a gig in Belgium between now and their performance in Helsinki.

Roger Casement's betrayal

This interesting article from the pen of Ger Regan of the TheWildGeese:

'Does history record, and do we know, the name of the 12-year-old boy mentioned below, and what he went on to do with his life?

On April 21, 1916, Roger Casement's journey on the German submarine U-19 came to an end. About 2 a.m., Robert Monteith, Daniel Bailey (calling himself Beverly), and Casement climbed into a small boat for the trip to shore. Their boat capsized before they reached Banna Strand, near Tralee. Monteith helped an exhausted Casement to safety on shore. Casement was convinced that the Rising could not work without a large number of German troops, and the best he had been able to obtain was one boatload of arms. Leaving Casement at the ruins of McKenna's Fort, Monteith and Bailey headed for Tralee. About 1:30 p.m., Casement was discovered by two Royal Irish Constabulary officers. He nearly talked his way out of being arrested, but a 12-year-old boy at the scene pointed out a piece of paper Casement had tossed away as the police approached. On that paper was a German code list. As the constable patted the smiling boy on the head, Casement must have felt the British noose tightening around his throat.' (Pic right, Casement's arrest)

Thursday April 12th 2007

Sligo: A woman's world

Is Sligo a woman's world?John Bromley of the Sligo Weekender consulted the oracle and has some good news — or is it bad news! Well, it depends if you're a man or a woman: 'When it comes to finding a marriage partner, women in both Sligo and Leitrim have a bigger choice than men. That’s the good news. The bad news is that they are also more likely to end up widowed, divorced or separated.

Those are the conclusions to be drawn from the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office from 2006 Census. The figures show that in County Sligo single men outnumber single women by 1,624, while in Leitrim the difference is even bigger at 1,880. Even though there are 380 more women than men in Sligo – 30,637 to 30,257 – just about half of the females (15,288) are unmarried compared to 16,946 males.

Winsome... Lose Some
In Leitrim there are 856 more men than women, with 8,410 of the males unmarried compared to just 6,530 females. In Sligo just over a third (23,071) of the total population (60,894) are married, with numbers of men and women roughly similar – 11,593 male to 11,478 female. The situation is much the same in Leitrim, with again just over a third (11,263) of people married out of the 28,950 who live in the county. Also the numbers of married men (5,691) and women (5,572) are similar.
The vast majority of married people in both counties are still in their first marriage. In Sligo just 566 are on a second or subsequent marriage, while the figure is only 376 in Leitrim. In Sligo 449 people are remarried following dissolution of their marriage (either divorce or annulment), compared to 302 in Leitrim.
Indeed when it comes to the other end of a marriage, the figures would indicate that more women than men up on their own. For many that is because they end up outliving their partners. A total of 2,618 women in Sligo are widows, compared to just 689 husbands who have been bereaved. In Leitrim there are 1,394 widows compared to only 314 widowers.
However, when it comes to divorce or separation, women also outnumber men, but not by as much.
Out of a total of 865 divorced people in Sligo , 469 are women, while in Leitrim women make up 239 out of a total of 460. And in Sligo there are 790 women who are separated (including deserted), compared to just 633 men, while in Leitrim there 312 separated woman as against 267 men.

Easter Sunday Rebellion Remembered

In today’s Ireland the poor are continually betrayed by the rich and it is the latter that bear the brunt of Government designed inequity in our taxation, education, health and public transport systems said Galway City councillor, Colette Connolly, when she spoke at the Connolly Forum Annual Easter 1916 Commemoration Ceremony in Sligo on Easter Sunday.  

Led by flag-bearers carrying the Tri-colour and the Plough and the Stars, participants marched from Cairns Drive to the Republican Plot in Sligo cemetery to hear Cllr. Connolly deliver the oration. Cllr. Declan Bree, who presided at the ceremony told those attending “the proclamation of 1916, the founding document of the Irish Republic, set out the vision of an Ireland politically and economically independent, an Ireland in which all the children of the nation would be cherished equally. And for Connolly and the other leaders, an Ireland in which working people would be the masters of their own destiny.  It is against this measure that we must look at the Ireland of today and ask ourselves how far the ideals and values of Easter 1916 have been realised.” 

Delivering the oration Cllr Connolly, said “It gives me no pleasure to say that we live in a society that is far from the socialist ideals of James Connolly. We have a two tier health and education system and an appalling lack of investment in public transport.  The 1916 Proclamation’s ideal of ‘the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland’ has never been achieved.  Our current constitution instead protects the inviolable rights of property owners. 

“In Dublin in the period before the Rising the most appalling conditions prevailed comparable only to Calcutta. There were over 5,000 tenements 1,500 of which were declared inhabitable by the Housing Commission in 1914.  Most of these accommodated 40 people in each house with only one toilet. And it struck me as ironic reading through Connolly’s writings this week to learn that the vast majority of these houses were owned by the Aldermen and Burgesses of Dublin Corporation. Today, you will equally find varying property portfolios amongst some City and County Councillors, T.D.’s and Ministers.  Indeed, one of our Ministers recently declared ownership of 17 houses...  

“It also must be said that Irelands two tier health system is fundamentally unjust and undemocratic and makes a mockery of the principle of cherishing all of the children of the nation equally.   However this is what the free market profit led approach to health favoured by Fianna Fail and the P.D.’s, has delivered for us.

Those are just some reminders, if we need them, of how much remains to be done if we are to realise the ideals of the men and women of 1916.   That is why for us the narrow definition of freedom which for many does not go beyond the slogan of a united Ireland is unacceptable.” Cllr Connolly said.  Mr John Dunne, Chairman of the Connolly Forum, read the 1916 Proclamation.    Following the oration as a lone piper played a lament, Ms Brenda Barr, laid a wreath on behalf of the Executive of the Connolly Forum.    The ceremony concluded with the National Anthem.

Countess Markievicz: The People's Patriot
A wreath was laid at the Markievicz Memorial in Rathcormack and her part in the Easter Rising remembered. Her part in Easter Week 1916 was rcalled, and poetry by Padraig Pearse and Con's sister Eva Gore-Booth recited. The ceremony ended with a minute's silence.

The youngest member of the group and the oldest, Piarras Gilligan and Matilda McGowan-Gluck, lay a wreath at the Markievicz Memorial

Your webmaster will be away next week so Newsround will not be updated until the following week

Thursday April 5th 2007

Ireland's richest men

Sean Quinn

Four Irish men have made the Forbes richest people in the world list. Fermanagh based businessman Sean Quinn, who recently purchased the Bupa health insurance company, was 292nd in the list with a fortune of $4.5 billion. John Dorrance III who lives in Dublin comes in at 2.6 billion. Independent News and Media Chairman Tony O'Reilly comes 562nd in the list with $1.4 billion, while financier Dermot Desmond, who has a fortune of $1 billion, comes 746th.

Great wealth has not turned Sean Quinn's head. He still rambles over to the neighbours for a friendly game of cards and — would you believe it — doesn't own a mobile phone!

Yeats landscape sells

Jack Yeats

A 1943 landscape by Jack Yeats Falling Water (11inches X 16) made the top price of €97,500.00 recently at Morgan O'Driscoll's sale of Irish art in Cork. The painting was sold at Christies Irish sale in London last year for €59,000.00. It was entered in a Dublin sale in November but withdrawn when it didn't make the reserve of €80,000.00.


Commemmorating the Easter Rebellion

The Easter lily

SligoHeritage welcomes the news that the Irish Government plan to have an official commemoration of the Easter Rising again this year in Dublin on the 8th of April. Assemble at 1.30pm at the Garden of Remembrance. The main speaker for the Commemoration will be Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

The Easter lily was much in evidence lately as the Sinn Fein delegation wore it in their lapels at events surrounding the recent historic meeting between their party and Ian Paisley. Sinn Fein are to be congratulated on keeping faith in wearing the lily which commemmorates the momentous events of Easter 1916. The lily is not a party political emblem and can be worn by people of all political affiliations. SligoHeritage hopes we don't have to wait until Sinn Fein get into power in the South before wearing it is encouraged here.

Details of the Sligo commemorations:

Wreath laying and poetry recital at Markievicz Memorial, Rathcormack at 3.00 on Easter Sunday


  EASTER SUNDAY (8th April) At 12 Noon

Speaker: Cllr. Colette Connolly (Galway) Assemble Cairns Drive at 11.50.a.m.

'The Mother'

I do not grudge them: Lord, I do not grudge
My two strong sons that I have seen go out
To break their strength and die, they and a few,
In bloody protest for a glorious thing,
They shall be spoken of among their people,
The generations shall remember them,
And call them blessed;
But I will speak their names to my own heart
In the long nights;
The little names that were familiar once
Round my dead hearth.
Lord, thou art hard on mothers:
We suffer in their coming and their going;
And tho' I grudge them not, I weary, weary
Of the long sorrow--And yet I have my joy:
My sons were faithful, and they fought.
Padraig Pearse, written for his mother  5 hours before his execution , May 3 , 1916

Click here to read of Constance Markievicz's part in the Easter Rising Solicitor Damien Tansey refused right of audience by Judge

A solicitor was refused a right of audience at the local District Court by Judge Oliver McGuinness who had fined the same legal representative for contempt over ten years ago. Almost eleven years ago during the hearing of a civil case at the court, Judge McGuinness fined Mr. Tansey £2 for contempt.
When Mr. Damien Tansey, Solicitor told the court he appeared on behalf of a defendant who was charged with the theft of €11.58 worth of goods from Tesco, Judge McGuinness told him:
“I won’t give you a right of audience in this court. I’ll deal with one of your assistants.”
The Judge then put the case back for a second calling and Mr. Tansey left the courtroom without making any comment. When the case was called again, a solicitor from Mr. Tansey’s office, Ms. Caroline McLoughlin, appeared for the defendant.
She told Judge McGuinness that Mr. Tansey wished to protest at his exclusion from the court. The defendant then proceeded to plead guilty to the charge after Garda Martin McCabe gave evidence of arrest, charge and caution and the facts of the case were outlined by inspector Gerry Connolly. Ms. McLoughlin then applied for an adjournment of the case but Judge McGuinness pointed out that the defendant had pleaded guilty. He asked if the defendant had any excuse and she replied that she had been under stress at the time.

Judge McGuinness then struck out the charge.

Tansey appeals to higher court
Leave to judicially review the decision was granted yesterday by Justice Peter Charleton in the High Court in Dublin yesterday. Gerard Hogan SC said there was no legal basis whereby a duly qualified solicitor would be refused right of audience by any judge in any court in the land. Mr Hogan, said it amounted to unconstitutional interference with the right of an accused person before the courts to have a lawyer of their own choosing represent them.

Mr. Tansey claimed Judge McGuinness had spoken in an arrogant and officious manner that had not invited or brooked debate or submission. "The decision is an attack on my entitlement to the exercise of my profession. . . I withdrew from the court and arranged for Caroline McLoughlin to appear. . .," Mr Tansey said. Judge Charleton granted Mr Tansey leave to judicially review the decision for the purpose of quashing it and also gave him leave to seek a declaration that the decision was unlawful and court orders requiring Judge McGuinness to hear Mr Tansey in any future proceedings.

More on Damien Tansey on 'Rate your Solicitor' HERE

(For news items December 13th 2006 to March 30th 2007 go HERE)









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