Newsround Miscellany

To keep up with Sligo Heritage click on these links:

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Joe Mc Gowan

Mullaghmore Residents Page

View this video recently released by Wild West Irish Tours:

"Gathering 2013" Video with Cathy Jordan!

May 24th 2012

Beltane - The Fire Festival
The Celtic Festival of Beltane (Beltain, Beltainne, Beltaine, Bealtaine) is a Cross Quarter Day, half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. While the Beltane Festival is now associated with May 1st, the actual astronomical date is a number of days later, for 2012 the date is May 5th. More HERE

May 2nd 2012

Bealtaine: Mary or Baal?: For May/Bealtaine story go HERE

April 14th 2012

For 'Mission to Gaza' album go to FB Sligo Heritage page HERE with more pics HERE

April 4th 2012

Brilliant sunshine last week, hailstones today! Must be the Reewoge Days.

What are they? Scroll down this page to find out!

March 6th 2012

A Fireside Story of how St. Patrick Banished the last Serpent

This is the month when we celebrate the bringing of Christianity to Ireland by St. Patrick. For most people now it has little religious significance at all and indeed in many places, including Ireland, it is nothing more than a pagan bachanaal, or an instument by which we can coax more tourist dollars, or yen, or whatever you have in your pocket, to Ireland.

Let's go back to more innocent times then and find out how St. Patrick, having banished all the snakes out of Ireland, outwitted one last obdurate, wily old serpent. The story is ancient and was told around Sligo firesides up to the middle of the last century. A nice one to tell to your children:

Civility costs nothing!

"St. Patrick by the power of God drove all the snakes out of Ireland. Those that could not be driven out were allowed to stay but they had to submit to being turned into conger eels having all the poison washed out of them.
There was one big wise old snake of which St. Patrick could not get the better. He could neither lead, drive nor coax him and, mind you, he was in quite a pucker about it!
Following many sleepless nights Patrick hit on a plan. He got a big box, and with great ceremony placed it in front of his altar on top of Croagh Patrick mountain. The old snake was not far away and, half in and half out of his hole, kept an eye on the saint out of the corner of his eye. You see he didn't want to give Patrick the satisfaction of knowing that he was worried and so pretended not to notice what was going on. Still, after a while curiosity got the better of him and:
"What are you going to do with that box, Pat," says he.
You see by this time the two were on first name terms, or at least the old serpent thought they were. The two had been adversaries for a long time and the snake, while he would never admit it, had a sneaking regard for St. Patrick and his abilities
"That's my business", answered the saint abruptly.
"Civility costs nothing" replied the snake sharply, quite offended by Patrick's rebuff. "It's not much of a box anyway when all's said and done."
"It's big enough to hold you, you old bag of bones", said Patrick taunting his slithery opponent.
"That's a lie for you," said the snake taking the bait, "The half of me wouldn't fit into it.

A dangerous wager
The saint didn't bat an eye: "That's as it may be", he answered as mild as milk, "but I'll bet you a bottle of poteen it would hold you with no trouble at all!"
"Done with you", said the serpent, "but you're not to try any tricks with the crook of your staff if I come out of here!"
"Honour bright", said the saint and put the staff away behind a rock.
The serpent came out of his hole and began slithering into the box swelling himself to twice his natural size till the box was full. A good bit of the end of his tail was still sticking out and he was quite pleased with himself to have won the bet.
"There now for you Pat, I knew I would win, now what do you think of that."
With that St. Patrick slammed down the heavy lid of the box all of a sudden. The snake didn't have time to get out of the way or out of the box so he whipped his tail in afraid it would be snapped off. In two seconds flat the saint had the key turned in the lock, lifted the box to his shoulder and with a mighty heave flung it out into the Atlantic.

And that is how the last serpent in Ireland was outwitted by St. Patrick!"

Tobair Phadhraig, Corbeg, Sligo/Leitrim border 2007: St. Patrick's Day is celebrated in the ancient manner in some few places still.

February 4th 2012

I would like to share with Sligo Heritage readers the following email from Green Mountain school in Vermont USA and wish to thank Regina for writing to us:

Hello There Mr. McGowan!
I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you, on behalf of myself and my students, for your page ( . A couple of my students landed on it while doing research on the beautiful country of Ireland. We found some of the material on your page extremely helpful and I didn't think it would hurt to pass along their positive feedback! :)

My students asked that I pass along to you another resource we have found helpful during class research,

We thought this article had a ton of great information and would make a great addition to the other resources on your page. I also thought this might serve as a wonderful example of how reaching out to others on the web is a great way to share helpful information and resources! I think they would be thrilled to see their recommendation up on your site! If it's not possible, I understand, but you don't know unless your ask, right? :)
Thank you so much for your time!

Best Wishes,
Regina Michaels

February 1st 2012

Imbolc has been celebrated since ancient times, it's a Cross Quarter Day, midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, this year it falls on the February 4th. The ancient Celts celebrated The Goddess Brigid at Imbolc which in Christian times became St. Brigid's Day. At the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara the rising sun at Imbolc and Samhain illuminates the chamber. With the conservation works at the Mound of the Hostages it may not be possible to get near the entrance this Imbolc.

More information HERE

January 3rd 2012

For pictures of some of the traditional Christmas festivities with the Mummers go to the Mullaghmore Facebook page HERE

Have you visited Sligo Heritage's Facebook page yet? Go HERE

Good sources for Sligo news:

December 15th 2011
A very Happy Christmas and New Year to all my Sligo Heritage readers. Nollaig Shona agus athblian shuaimhneach. I hope you will continue to find this site useful for items of history and heritage in 2012.

Two seasonal pages of Irish customs:


November 25th 2011

Michael & Trish Waugh with 'The Screaming Orphans Showband' from Bundoran, Co. Donegal



Many thanks to all the Irish Americans I met at the Maryland Irish Festival. What a great weekend!
A special thanks to Stacey Guerin, festival organiser, for the invitation and to Michael and Trish Waugh of Wild West Irish Tours for facilitating.
The Screaming Orphans (pictured) have a big following in the USA. Trish and Mike (2nd and 4th from left) are big fans!


Halloween 2011

In the U.S:
Coming your way.

Your web host will be lecturing on Irish traditions and customs at the Maryland Irish Festival on the weekend of November 11th. More: click HERE You will also find me at the Wild West Tours stand with Michael and Trish.

For Sligo Champion article click HERE

Or follow us on Facebook HERE

Free gift: I will bring a free gift from Ireland to the first five people who email Sligo Heritage HERE to tell me that they read about it on this page and are coming to the festival! :)

In Ireland: Come on over to the Ballintogher Festival for a talk on Irish traditions and customs. It's on Wednesday November 2nd 8.00 pm. Come and tell us about how you used to spend Halloween long ago. Click HERE for more information

September 2011

Cult of the Undead; Irish burial rituals; Skeletons with stones in their mouth revealed. Go HERE

Sunset on the Bunduf Lake, Co. Sligo.

Saturday July 23rd 2011

Famine bones found

A report in a Canadian newspaper reveals that bones have been found on Cap-des-Rosiers, site of an 1847 wreck that took the lives of a shipload of men, women and children fleeing famine and destitution in Sligo. Accounts have recorded the fate of the doomed ship, the Carricks, and its victims’ burial in a grave close by. But archeologists say the location has never been pinpointed precisely.

The prospect of unlocking the secret of the bones’ past has roiled emotions among descendants of the wreck’s survivors, some of whom still live only a short drive from where their ancestors first came ashore. The Carricks left Sligo, Ireland, with almost 200 passengers and crew, completing the transatlantic voyage before foundering off Cap-des-Rosiers. Accounts vary, but most report the deaths of as many as 120 passengers. The dead – weakened by cold, hunger and exhaustion – were said to be strewn along the beach the following day, then buried, anonymously, in a common grave nearby.

Some years ago Sligo Famine Commemoratio Committee were informed that the wreck of the Carrick was still to be found on the North shore where it had drifted after the shipwreck. Following an investigation by archaeologists from the Canadian Parks Department and the Canadian ambassador to Ireland this was found not to be the case. However the bell from the ship forms part of a monument at Gaspe.

For more information from the Canadian newspaper that reported the discovery click HERE

Damien Tansey sues website
High profile Sligo solicitor Damien Tansey has brought a defamation action over comments posted about him on the website Damien Tansey, a partner in the firm Callan Tansey Solicitors, is suing John Gill, Drumline, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare, and Ans Vogelaar, Bohea, Liscarney, Westport, Co Mayo, in their alleged capacity as operators of the website. He is also suing Dotster Inc, a US-based firm, over allegedly providing internet services to the other defendants, including hosting the website.

In an affidavit, Mr Tansey said the website, which is widely read among legal consumers, had published material false and defamatory of him since July 2007. Mr Tansey said the words published on the site wrongly meant he had committed criminal acts, engaged in dishonest appropriation of clients’ property, lied to clients, engaged in corrupt conduct, engaged in unprofessional conduct and failed to act in accordance with the highest standards. As a result, his character, reputation and business had been “greatly injured”, resulting in him suffering embarrassment, loss and damage, he said.

Mr. Gill intends to defend the action. He is a brave man as Mr. Tansey isn't short of a few bob!
The National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) has added Mr. Tansey's company to a panel for the provision of legal services to the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA). The list of 64 firms includes some of the largest and best-known in the State. Sligo firms, Callan Tansey and Hegarty Armstrong have been appointed to the prestigious post. It has been estimated the Nama process will involve expenditure on professional fees and expenses of €2.6 billion over the coming 10 years. Legal, property valuation and accountancy professionals will be consulted as part of the process.

Nice work if you can get it! What do you think? See the controversial website HERE

Tuesday July 19th

Breaking news: The Sligo based Nigerian Asylum seeker and her two daughters Naomi and Jemima were deported this morning. They were detained at about 1.30 am this morning in Sligo and put on a flight from Dublin Airport at 5.30am.
The Minister for Justice says he's disappointed following court proceedings which confirmed Pamela Izevbekhai substantially misled many of those people who publicly expressed concern about her alleged circumstances. Ms Izevbekhai had been seeking asylum in Ireland as she claimed if she returned to Nigeria her daughters would face female circumcision. However it emerged that documents she used to claim her first daughter had died in Nigeria as a result of this procedure were forgeries.

Prior to this In December 2008, the now Justice Minister Alan Shatter had lobbied for her to stay in the country. However in a statement to Ocean FM News this afternoon the Minister says "he is disappointed that it is clear from court proceedings in which Ms. Izevbekhai had been engaged and the court judgments - in particular the most recent judgment from the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg - which confirms that she substantially misled many of those people who publically expressed concern about her alleged circumstances".
The Department of Justice say it estimates its total costs in its legal cases involving Ms. Izevbekhai would be approximately 370 thousand euro.

Friday July 15th 2011

Dolphin sightings have become more numerous off the coast of Sligo this year. In one case it has been reported by wildlife experts that they spotted a pod of over a thousand feeding off the south coast. The Irish Whale and Dolphin group reported 14 new dolphin sightings around Irish waters in the last week.

Man's best friend?

Dolphins have long been known as man's friend and a grieving Irish mother has described how the actions of a pod of dolphins helped her come to terms with the tragic death of her son in an accident in Australia.
Donegal man Shaun McBride drowned in the Western Australian town of Dampier two weeks ago when scaffolding collapsed into the water beneath him. Shaun, in his late 20s, was dismantling scaffolding on the wharf on East Intercourse Island. He had only emigrated to Australia six weeks earlier. Police divers discovered his body surrounded by a pod of dolphins after the accident with one dolphin attempting to use his nose to push the body to the surface. A police spokesman said that "there was one dolphin that was using its nose to try to lift the body up to the surface but it wasn’t able to do so because the body was caught up in the scaffolding.

"a hint of mischievous camaraderie"

Having myself had a close encounter with dolphins in Sligo Bay some years ago I describe it in the book 'A Bitter Wind":
..."On one wild and storm-tossed day crewman, Pádraic Callery and I released two young dolphins caught in our salmon drift net.  Being air-breathing mammals they drown just like humans.  Disentangling them we stroked their soft, silky skin in admiration before returning them to the sea.  That was to become one of the best fishing days we ever experienced.  Within an hour we pulled salmon from the meshes as fast as we could go along the net.  To this day Pádraic swears it was the dolphins, grateful for their freedom that rounded up the salmon and drove them into the net.  Perhaps it was!  There’s a hint of mischievous camaraderie when man and dolphin meet..." 

Do polar bears have Irish ancestry?
Yes it's true! A recovery of bones from a cave at Benbulben in Co. Sligo has led to the discovery that polar

bears are of Irish descent. DNA from bones recovered in 1997 in the Poll na mBear cave is among the genetic material of over 240 bears used in research which has determined that polar bears are descendents of the now extinct Irish brown bear. The bears would then cross-breed, which is said to be common at times of environmental stress.

Scientists claim the paths of Irish and Arctic bears would have merged during the last ice age more than 11,000 years ago. The western seaboard near the cave would then have been covered by 500 metres of ice and an ice shelf of up to 40 kilometres extending out into the Atlantic.

Last Aer Arann flights next Thursday

The last Aer Arann flights in and out of Sligo Regional will happen next Thursday the 21st of July. Last January the Government annouced that funding for the Aer Arann flight from Sligo to Dublin would cease this month. The decision to cease the funding was based on the findings of a "Value for Money Review of Exchequer Expenditure on the Regional Airports Programme" which was undertaken in late 2009.

Joe Corcoran, Manager of Sligo Regional Airport said that on account of this there will be jobs cuts. It's expected these cuts will be made on a phased basis. The present PSO contract for Sligo provides for two daily return flights, currently operated by Aer Arann, between Sligo and Dublin.

No sympathy from Ryanair
Ryanair’s Stephen McNamara said: “It is no surprise that Aer Arann has decided to close its subsidised routes from Sligo, Knock and Galway to Dublin the minute the subsidies ran out. Irish taxpayers have wasted more than €100m in subsidy payments, principally to Aer Arann, over recent years and not one of these Aer Arann routes will survive one day after these enormous subsidies run out.The future of Irish aviation and tourism depends on bringing passengers and visitors to the main and regional airports on viable routes from the UK and Continental Europe.

Friday July 1st 2011

Izevbekhai loses her appeal

Pamela Izevbekhai has lost her appeal at the European Court of Human Rights to stay in Ireland
A Nigerian woman staying in Sligo, she has fought a six year legal battle to stay here. She was scheduled for deportation in 2005, but she lodged an appeal against the order, arguing her two daughters would be subjected to 'female genital mutilation' if returned to Nigeria.. It emerged that the documents which formed the basis of her claims were forgeries. The documents were supposed to prove that her first child had died as a result of female circumcision.

"privileged social and financial status"
She is once again facing deportation, after the Court found she had enjoyed a privileged social and financial status in Nigeria. It also found that she and her husband could protect their children in Nigeria as they owned a five-bedroom villa, with the use of three cars. The Court found Pamela's husband has considerable financial resources, and could relocate the family to parts of Nigeria where female circumcision is less common.

During her five year battle to avoid deportation, four different legal teams have represented her and the State's defence is believed to have cost, to date, a six-figure sum. This effectively means that there is no further legal challenges. Minister of Justice, Alan Shatter will not comment on the case until he receives the official report from his officials.

Picture and previous report go HERE and scroll down

Disgraced priest to marry divorcee

Fr. Sean Page with his bride to be

Fr Sean Page who disappeared from Sligo after his affair with a married mother of seven children was uncovered 11 years ago is to marry a twice divorced mother of five in a Protestant church in Manchester next August. Page, who has never returned to Sligo since abandoning his role as curate in the town centre St. Anne's parish, told The Sligo Champion: "I have rebuilt my life from the bottom up. I have beaten alcohol and depression. I am in a good place and I am about to marry the woman I love".

The 53-year-old, who now works as a social services worker in Manchester, is to marry 47-year-old divorcee, Clarice Young, a mother of five grown up children whom he met on an internet dating site. In his first interview since leaving Sligo in 2000 after a year-long affair with a local married woman broke up, Mr. Page described how his drinking – already a problem during his priesthood in Sligo – had spiralled out of control in the years following his move to England, resulting in him losing a succession of jobs.

Sean Page met his wife to be on an internet dating site about eighteen months ago. Clarice Young (47) has been twice divoced and is the mother of five grown up children.

Thursday June 23rd

Hugh Tunney Dead

Hugh Tunney, owner of Classiebawn Castle, (former home of Louis Mountbatten) in Mullaghmore has died.
The former owner of the Gresham Hotel, Sachs Hotel and Tunney Meats died last Monday Hospital aged 83. Mr Tunney, originally from Co Tyrone became an apprentice butcher at the age of 14 and made his fortune in meat packing and smuggling in Monaghan and the UK. Retiring from business he spent most of his time at Classibawn where he had leased the castle and estate from Mountbatten since the early 70s. He eventually bought the estate.

Genealogy Roadshow
Do you think you're related to someone famous? The Genealogy Roadshow is hosted by Derek Mooney helping ordinary people find extraordinary stories from their family history.Do you have a family connection to a historical figure? You tell this group the story and they'll search for the evidence. Contact Sligo Heritage or email:

Nigerian brothel keeper refused bail

A Nigerian woman charged with directing prostitution, running brothels and trafficking an asylum seeker into the State has been refused bail by the High Court. Mr Justice George Birmingham refused to grant bail to Charity Ajayioba (35), of no fixed abode.

Ms Ajayioba is facing charges of running a brothel in Sligo, four counts of directing prostitution at four addresses in Sligo and Longford, two counts of brothel-keeping in Sligo and a charge of trafficking a woman into the State at Dublin airport to seek asylum.

The DPP opposed her application for bail on grounds including that she represented a flight risk and might not appear at her trial. Det Garda Sgt Frank McGrath told the court it was the State’s claim that Ms Ajayioba had lived at different addresses, used different names and had control of bank accounts through which substantial amounts of cash had passed.  He said that a deportation order was made against her in 2009 when she had failed to report to the Garda National Immigration Bureau as required. In reply Ms Ajayioba She did not turn up at the immigration bureau because she did not want to be deported.

Widow of Sligo soldier awarded €300,000 euro

THE WIDOW and family of a young Sligo soldier, who died with two others when a landmine exploded beside their truck in south Lebanon more than 20 years ago, has secured €300,000 damages in settlement of their High Court action against the State. Gráinne Armstrong, Oakfield Crescent, Sligo, had, on behalf of herself and family, sued the State and Minister for Defence arising from the death of her husband, Pte Mannix Armstrong, on March 21st, 1989. Pte Thomas Walsh and Cpl Fintan Heneghan also died in the incident.

On service with UNIFIL
Patricia Dillon SC, for Ms Armstrong, said her client’s husband was a member of the United Nations peacekeeping forces (Unifil) serving in Lebanon at the time of the explosion. He was required to operate in a Unifil truck in an area where there was an ever-present danger of landmines and other obstacles. It was claimed the State defendants had a duty to take all reasonable precautions for the safety of Pte Armstrong while he was engaged in his duties. It was claimed the defendants failed to monitor or search for landmines ahead of the truck and failed to equip it with any device for remote-sensing of mines.

No negligence
It was also alleged the defendants failed to instruct or warn Pte Armstrong and the commander of the patrol that no mine search had been made on the route of the truck before the incident. The court was told that a UN board of inquiry had found there was no negligence and the landmine involved had been laid the previous night. The Minister for Defence had authorised a separate inquiry for some time in the future, it was stated.

Ms Dillon said, if the case had gone to a full hearing, there would be certain evidential difficulties. The event had happened in a theatre of war in which there was extensive use of landmines. The plaintiff’s case was that the truck went down the same road every day and it became a “sitting target”. There was also a view in South Lebanon that the Irish had been involved in some form of collusion and retaliation should have been expected, Ms Dillon said.

Settlement approved
Ms Justice Mary Irvine said that in a wartime situation, it was a difficult case and she believed the offer that was made simply could not be turned down. These were very “hard, sad cases” and she had no difficulty in approving the settlement.

Tweedledum blames Tweedledee

Tweedledum says
Independent Sligo County Councillor Michael Clarke says that Senator Susan O'Keeffe should honor commitments she made to the public before the general election. He says the comments Susan O'Keeffe made on Ocean Fm are 'disingenuous in the extreme'.

Tweedledee says
Today marks the Governments 100th day in office and the deadline for the restoration of Breast Cancer Services to Sligo General Hospital. In a statement issued this morning Sligo Senator Susan O'Keeffe has denied that she is distancing herself from commitments she gave to the public before the general election. However, she refused to give a time frame as to when the cancer services will be returned.

Tweedledum says

Councillor Clarke says the promise made before the election have now not been delivered on. Speaking to Ocean Fm news, he says she should resign her seat as a matter of principle.

Monday June 6th 2011

'The Civil War of 1812': How Madison (and His Irish Allies) Nearly Squandered the Gains of 1776": this new book recommended by WGT.

John Perry under pressure

Fine Gael Junior Minister John Perry got himself into big bother during an interview on Ocean FM when questioned about the return of cancer services to Sligo on the 'North West today' programme. The usually unflappable John with a ready answer for all awkward questions fell prey to presenter Niall Delaney following Perry's comments that a press conference will be held on the 17th of June to indicate the current situation with the restoration of breast cancer services to Sligo General Hospital.

Minister John Perry

Tell them nothing
When pressed on the issue-the Minister refused to outline what would be announced during the conference other than to say that the conference will look at what "can" happen with services at the facility.
During a discussion on the future of cancer services in the northwest, the Sligo-Leitrim TD was played a clip from an interview he gave during the election campaign.
“We’re very clear on this,” he said in the recording. “In the first programme for government, within the first 100 days, the satellite facility will be restored at Sligo General Hospital.”
Reacting to the clip, the Minister said all the facts would be made available at a press conference on June 17th. When pressed for clarification on the nature of the press conference, the Minster accused the presenter Niall Delaney of having “an agenda”.

“I’m not going to tell you this morning, to be honest, you can be assured of that,” Mr Perry said. “Because if I made one statement, you’ll interpret it quite differently.”
After Delaney again asked for a direct answer on whether cancer services would be restored or not, Mr Perry repeated that the details would be made available at a press conference in June before hanging up.
“You don’t expect anyone to hang up on you,” Delaney said afterwards. “If I’d said something personal or something you’d half understand it . . . but I was just pressing him.”

Sligo: pre-election agenda
A pre-election promise was also made by the Labour party that they would restore Sligo General as a 9th centre of excellence. Labour Senator Susan O'Keeffe says now she is not aware of any announcement regarding the restoration of breast Cancer Services to Sligo General Hospital on the 17th of June. However Senator O' Keefe says they are in 'a different situation now' that they are in coalition with the Fine Gael Party and says plans to create the hospital as a centre of excellence are not in the programme for Government.

Promise, promises
The question is: does anyone believe the promises of a politician during an election campaign? Did Minister Perry lie when he promised the restoration of cancer services to Sligo? Does any politician lie? Will the cancer services be restored to Sligo and Sligo General Hospital be made one of the 'centres of excellence'? Does anyone believe there is any such thing as a 'centre of excellence' or is it just a fabrication of the spin doctors for the great unwashed out here.

Of one thing we can be certain: You can't fool all of the people all of the time. Sligo Heritage will eat this page if cancer services are restored to Sligo and Sligo made a 'centre of excellence'!

The Queen's visit

Queen Elizabeth of GB

The Queen has come and gone and Sligo got the usual mention on foot of the Mountbatten connection. The war between the UK and the Republic of Ireland has been concluded we are told and put away by the ceremonial visit of Her Majesty to the Garden of Remembrance. It seems the British have finally conceded defeat in that matter. At least that is what we were told repeatedly and authoritatively during the visit. Fintan O'Toole of the ‘official newspaper’ of the State told us so on Radio Eireann where he indicated that had she only come earlier, things would have been settled earlier.

What war was that?
What war was it that the visit symbolised the end of? The war between Britain and Ireland fought in Northern Ireland in which the fighting was brought to an end by the Good Friday Armistice of 1998, it seems. So the Provos must have been acting on the authority of the Dublin Governments, pursuant to Articles 2 & 3 of the Constitution!! Otherwise we must confess to a profound misunderstanding of the history of the past forty years. We were misled by appearances into thinking that Dublin Governments sided with Britain in that war. The Provos were harrassed and imprisoned by Dublin Governments during that war, and wild allegations were made about them. And, when Britain eventually made peace with the Provos, and made a tacit admission of blame for the war by opening the prisons, Dublin found it very hard to do likewise.

Isn't politics confusing?
(with thanks to Joe Keenan of Irish Political Review)

The gravy train

Three former senators are in line to receive more than €200,000 each in retirement benefits over the next 13 months. New figures show outgoing Seanad members are entitled to receive more than €2 million in pension and termination payments.
The highest pension entitlements are due to Ivor Callely, (the man who couldn't remember where he lived, at least when it came to claiming travel expenses) who is entitled to receive almost €229,000 in payments over the next year because at 52 years old he qualifies for a pension. According to the Oireachtas guidelines, Mr Callelly is entitled to receive over €55,000 in termination payments, including a “termination lump sum” equating to two months’ salary; a further “pension lump sum” of just under €160,000; and a further pension payment of €13,638 arising from his time as a junior minister.

ex Senator Geraldine Feeney (pic: Sligo Today )

All three entitlements are payable in the 13 months after retirement. Thereafter Mr Callely is entitled to an annual pension of over €63,000. An attempt was made to contact Mr Callely by e-mail for comment on these figures as phone numbers for the former senator either rang out or were no longer in use. However, he did not respond.

22 former Senators from across the country will receive a combined total of over €2million in entitlements within the next 13 months. According to a break down of all of the former Upper House representatives entitlements in the Irish Times, Sligo politician Geraldine Feeney's entitlements will be €80,000 within the next 13 months through a termination payment and pension lump sum. The former Fianna Fail Senator will receive an annual pension of just over €14,000.

Failed politician and outgoing former Leitrim Senator John Ellis is entitled to a total of E215,000 within the first year of his retirement and an annual pension of E49,935.

What a racket!

Saturday May 14th 2011

Queen Fever hits Mullaghmore

Once again Mullaghmore is propelled into the headlines by media speculation that Queen Elizabeth might visit Mullaghmore and Classiebawn Castle where her uncle Lord Mountbatten was assassinated in 1979. Camera crews have once again descended on the village to interview locals, newspapers are filling column inches and Sligo's Mayor, Matt Lyons, has got in on the act by blaming Mullaghmore for the fall in tourism to the area. "Mullaghmore attracted a lot of English people prior to Lord Mountbatten's murder. It took years and years for that to recover and it hasn't really recovered," he has stated. It was picked up by the BBC who carried the headline: 'Sligo's Mayor Blames Mullaghmore Bombing for Tourism Loss'.

If Mullaghmore has achieved a certain notoriety it is not the making of the residents of the village but the repeated visitations by the media whose only morbid interest is to fill column inches or to make TV documentaries. As a resident of Mullaghmore I call on Matt Lyons and the media to leave us alone to get on with our lives and not be repeatedly reminded of this unfortunate incident that happened thirty-two years ago. It happened, we have paid our respects, time to move on.

Mayor Matt Lyons making a presentation

To respond to Matt Lyons' assertion is possibly to dignify his nonsense with a credibility it doesn't deserve. Nevertheless if he would take the trouble to come to Mullaghmore in the summertime he will find that it is impossible to move around the village because of holidaymaker congestion: people, cars, campers, boats, caravans and the usual paraphernalia of a tourism resort. Tourism in Mullaghmore, in common with other seaside places and businesses in general, is affected by the current recession and the vagaries of Irish weather. If anything is going to further depress tourism in Sligo it is Mayor Lyons kind of ill-founded balderdash.

Time for the Mayor to think positive and instead of blaming others to take some responsibility for himself and constructive measures to improve business in general, and tourism in Sligo in particular.  

This letter to the media sums up Mayor Lyons devotion to business in Sligo:
"What a clown we have for mayor! The Mayor talks about tourism concerns but that doesn't stop him shopping for his booze across the border in asda! I used to feel guilty about cross border shopping until two weeks ago. I got in the queue in asda and who should be in front of me but the mayor of Sligo buying whiskey: you couldn't make it up!

Old Irish proverb: Cur síoda ar an gabhair, is gabhair i gconai é (Put silk on a goat, it's always a goat).

Millie Bruce

Millie Bruce from Banffshire, Scotland is a regular visitor to Sligo Heritage.  Having a college degree in Traditional Medicine from the University of Glasgow she asked me if I would be interested in posting the following article on cardiovascular health.  Although this is outside our usual remit we agreed, so herewith an abridged version of the article:

Cardiovascular disease

For women and men of any age, coronary disease can be the number 1 killer. It kills lots more people than ALL forms of tumors combined. If you are black or over sixty five, your chance of a heart attack is higher, but it is an equal opportunity destroyer. Any person, everywhere, anytime may have a cardiac event.

Myth #1: Solely older people need to be concerned about their cardiovascular system. 
The things that can provoke a heart attack build-up as time passes. To be a couch-potato, boredom eating and also not exercising tend to be really bad habits that can begin in when we are children. More and more doctors are starting to see patients of heart attacks in their twenty's and thirty's instead of sufferers mostly in their 50's and 60's.
Getting fit and keeping the appropriate body weight will not make you proof against heart attacks. However, both exercising regularly and having the right body weight helps. You still must check your high cholesterol and blood pressure. A good blood cholesterol (or lipid profile) number is less than 200. A very good blood pressure is 120/80.

Myth #2: I'd feel unwell if I had high blood pressure levels or high cholesterol levels.
They call these, "silent killers" basically because they exhibit NO signs. 30 % of all older people have high blood pressure. Of those, one-third have no idea they already have it. High cholesterol levels is a measure of the fats carried by your blood stream. Fats can be dropped anywhere in your entire body, but tend to congregate around internal organs, including your heart. This predisposition may run in family members. So, even if you are at a good body weight and don't smoke cigarettes, have your cholesterol levels and blood pressure checked frequently. One time isn't adequate

Myth #3: Both males and females DON'T experience the same signals.
Women and men CAN have precisely the same signs, however they generally do not. Women have a propensity to develop the subtler warning signs though males usually experience the form of strokes you watch in the movies. But, either gender CAN have any signs or symptoms. These subtler signs or symptoms, along with jaw achiness, nausea, shortness of breath and excessive weakness, have a tendency to get defined away. "My jaw hurt simply because my lunch time sandwich was on whole-grain bread and I needed to chew very hard," or , while clutching their stomach, "I probably should not have had that additional piece of pizza." "Half of women have no chest pain after all," declares Kathy Magliato, a heart specialist at California's St. John's Health Center. Put all the little symptoms together and listen to your physique.
Keep in mind, both men and women could experience the"grab-your-chest-and-fall-down-gasping" kind of cardiac arrest, however that isn't the only way.

Myth #4: If my blood glucose level is under control, Being diabetic will not be a heart threat.
While continuing to keep your blood sugar level with a regular range (80ml-120ml) keeps you healthier, just having the additional glucose in your system takes its toll on arterial blood vessels. You'll need doing exercises and eating healthier to help control your type 2 diabetes, bear in mind to check your blood pressure level and cholesterol, too.

Myth #5: My health care provider would order exams if I were vulnerable to heart disease.
From time to time, most people ignore to inform the physician about the little aches we're feeling. The doctors, with no knowledge of some of the things we consider as insignificant, could pass over heart checks. "Mammograms and Colonoscopies are normally prescribed by doctors," says Merdod Ghafouri, a cardiologist at Inova Fairfax Clinic in the state of Virginia, "and are very important, but heart scans aren't routinely done." A cardiac scan can diagnose plaque build-up inside the arteries even before you know you've got a problem.

Do you have the engine oil pressure and transmission fluid inspected in your vehicle? Have other preventive protection done? Doesn't your only heart ought to have as much consideration as your car?

Saturday 30th April 2011

May Eve/Bealtaine



Today is May eve or the eve of the Festival of Bealtaine. So what does that mean to you? 'What is he talking about', I hear you say. Well, didn't I tell you all about it way back in May 1996! But you weren't listening, were you? Okay then, go HERE and scroll down the page to refresh your memory. It's a lovely old custom so why don't you go out this year, pick some mayflowers (marsh marigold) and decorate your house. It will make your house look better and the spirits very happy.


Frank Finn
Sligo Heritage notes with great sadness the death of Frank Finn at age 57. A noted singer, songwriter and comunity activist, he contributed this very fine article to Sligo Heritage back in 2008. Click HERE

Constance Markievicz

Target used in practise by Constance Markievicz

Sligo's Markievicz Memorial Committee was the successful bidder last week at Mealy's auction for this target used in practice by Constance Markievicz and signed by her. The card used at 25 yards distance was probably used in the grounds of Joseph Plunketts house in Larkfield, Kimmage where some of the Volunteers gathered before the Easter Rising to practise their shooting skills.
Markievicz was second in command at the Citizen Army post in St. Stephens Green during the Easter Rising. Having a guide price of €400 to €600 it sold for €1,600.
A .32 Calibre Smith & Weston revolver given by Countess Markievicz to Seamus Babington of the 3rd Tipperary Brigade, I.R.A. sold for €7,500 which was too deep for the pockets of Sligo Museum. A total of 29 Michael Collins prison letters sold for €202,000.00. Once again Sligo was outbid when a letter from Collins to his sister Hannie in London sold for over €8,000.00.

Thieves target graveyards
Ghoulish thieves have taken to robbing cars parked at graveyards when the occupants are preoccupied with visiting the graves of their loved ones. Ahamlish graveyard in North Sligo has been hit frequently. The modus operandi is to smash the rear window and then steal whatever can be found. Other graveyards in the county have been similarly hit including the graveyard where Yeats is buried in Drumcliffe. Most people know from which section of society the people who carry out these despicable acts come from, but prosecutions can only come from the perpetrators being caught and brought to court. Meanwhile gardai warn people to lock their valuables in the boot where they cannot be seen.

The changing face of Ireland

This Polska Strefa (below) is one of the many foreign shops in Sligo. No matter where you go in Ireland now, on the street, in the shops, in your hotel, you will see many skin colours, nationalities and languages.
On a recent visit to the Irish speaking Tory Island I was surprised to see that the priest there was Nigerian, and indeed, give him his due, he had the cúpla focail.
I am reminded of the 'pennies for black babies' that the nuns made us bring into school long ago. And mind you the pennies were scarce back then. The wheel has turned and now those that the Irish missionaries brought religion to have come back to bring it to us.

Seems our pennies were well spent then!

A home for losers
There were celebrations last night when two more Sligo politicians were elected to take their seats on the gravy train, otherwise known as the 24th Seanad (Irish Senate).

Senator Marc MacSharry, a sitting Fianna Fáil senator, was re-elected. Also Fine Gael Sligo County Councillor Imelda Henry was elected to her first position on the national stage. How they managed to get elected on industrial panels, when neither of them has ever run a successful business, must join the great mysteries of Irish politics. Both candidates failed to get elected in general elections previously but have now managed to scramble in the back door. And it's all perfectly legal!

Would electing such people have anything to do with the state of the Irish economy at the moment I wonder?

Friday April 15th

County manager Hubert Kearns gets the shove
At its meeting this month the members of Sligo County Council unanimously supported a motion tabled by Cllr Declan Bree welcoming the commitment in the Programme for Government to abolish the position of County Manager. The commitment states ‘We will abolish the position of County Manager and replace it with that of Chief Executive, with a limited range of executive functions.’ Cllr Bree said that the primary function of the Chief Executive will be to facilitate the implementation of democratically decided policy.

“The fact is that elected councillors in Ireland have very little power,'Cllr Bree stated. 'In recent years elected councillors have lost powers over road plans, waste management plans, waste charges, and many planning functions. Even the decisive role which councils once had over their Annual Budget and over County Development Plans has been greatly diminished. I believe that the powers and authority of local councils should come from the people. This means that the will of the elected representatives of the people, should, subject to law, take precedence in the conduct of the Council’s business.” Cllr Bree said.

This must come as a great victory for Declan Bree as there has been a running battle between the two men since Cllr. Bree exposed a decision by the manager to fund the building of a bridge by a private contracter. See heading under 'Council waste' below.

Mark Hannon, a tribute

Mark Hannon pictured in the early '50s with the first Massey Ferguson Model T30 tractor in Sligo. It was the beginning of the end of the colourful era of the horse and plough.

‘…Each man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind.  Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.’ 
With the passing of Mark Hannon on March 14th 2011 in the Galway Clinic, the people of North Sligo have lost not just a dear friend but, as his life was so interwoven with that of his neighbours and community, we have also lost a part of ourselves. 
Mark was born in Creevymore, Cliffoney, Co. Sligo on the 26th of December 1928 to Tom and Josephine Hannon.  His earliest education was at Cliffoney N.S. following which he attended Summerhill College in Sligo.  The teacher there, recognising his love for the land, advised his parents that he should take up farming as a career.  Consequently he attended Mellow’s Agricultural College in Athenry Co. Galway from where he graduated with honours.  

With the experience gained at Mellows Mark's love of farming became infused with an in depth knowledge of farming methods and practices and the skills essential to the progressive farmer of his day.  Developing his dairy herd at a time of great change in Ireland he joined the NFA in its early years becoming a leader and an inspiration in the farming community.  In 1966 he led a protest, walking in company with others all the way to Dublin to agitate for a better deal for farmers.  An expert ploughman he won several trophies at county and national competitions.  As a member of the 5th Field Signal Company of the local FCA he gave service to his country while winning the All

Ireland individual rifle marksman championship in 1962 and again in 1964.  He was a member of the group that won the group championship in 1963.
Work or leisure Mark excelled in any endeavour to which he turned his hand. His recounting of a funny incident that happened locally provided many of the necessary ingredients for London based filmmaker Shay Leonard to secure for Mark a leading role in the award winning movie To Catch a Crow.  A stylish ballroom dancer Mark was one of Joe Dolan’s greatest fans.  It would be understandable to think that all these activities left room for little else but in a packed life he also found time to be an avid fan of Sligo Rovers.  His friends say that ‘he never missed a game’.   A lover of all sports he was also a supporter of Sligo GAA.  

During a lifetime of great achievement it may well be said that his greatest attainment, and the attribute for which he will most fondly be remembered, was as a neighbour and friend always willing to give a helping hand to young and old.  His favourite saying and life’s motto was: ‘there’s always a solution to every problem, you just have to find it’.  As each one of us meet the daily challenges that come our way we may do well to remember his advice.  

Go nDeanaimh Dia trócaire air a anam uasal 

Political shenanigans
Three FF Cllr’s appointed to state boards are expected to remain as FG admits it can’t honour promise to purge boards. The government admitted last night that it can’t remove people –including three Councillors from the North West region from state boards. It comes despite a Fine Gael pre-election pledge to replace the membership of all boards within six months of taking office. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has accused the last Government of making appointments based on 'blatant cronyism'.

Three Councillors from the North West region were appointed to state boards in the last few months of Fianna Fails term in office.  Even after Fianna Fail's political meltdown on election day February 25th FF ministers were still making appointments. Fianna Fail Donegal County Councillor Brendan Byrne was appointed by the former Tanaiste Mary Coughlan to the board of the Higher Education Authority.  Donegal Fianna Fail Councillor David Alcorn was selected to sit on the National Roads Authority and last December Leitrim based Fianna Fail County Councillor Mary Bohan was appointed to the Board of the Health and Safety Authority. Sliding in under the wire on February 28th was retired politician Ray Mc Sharry appointed to the governing body of Sligo IT.

It looks likely that these boards will stay as they are, and the appointments made in the last months of office by Fianna Fail and the Greens in government can not be changed.

Nice dying kick from the 'Soldiers of Destiny' then! Isn't democracy great?

Friday April 1st 2011

The Reewoge Days

March, we are told 'comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb’. April encourages us gently outdoors where moss-ridden lawns, that all winter we could ignore, face us with accusing scruffiness. Dandelions defiantly dance a bright yellow dance where, with the help of Roundup and Hytrol, we fought and defeated them last Summer.

But what, I hear you say, of the Riabhóg Days? Is that another pile of superstition that in these modern times has bitten the dust? Emulating the old cow of folklore, we kick up our heels, put the winter woolies in mothballs, mow the lawns, pull down the winter barriers and WHAM, just when we think global warming isn't such a bad thing after all, the gods sent the Riabhóg Days shouting in off the Atlantic.

What! You never heard of the Riabhóg Days? Well, in olden times the Bó Riabhac (brindled cow) kicked her heels up at the end of March. Mocking the waning month she bragged that she had lived through the winter and now that March had fled, times of plenty were here and nothing could kill her. After a while of listening to this March got fed up, borrowed a few days off April and finished off the cheeky cow. Since then these days of unseasonal bad weather are remembered as ‘Laethanta na Bó Riabhac’, the ‘days of the brindled cow’.

Perhaps after Wednesday night's storm March may not need to borrow days this year!

In England where they never heard of this feisty old milk bucket they say that:

'March borrows time from April

Three days, and they are ill.

The first is frost, the second snow,

The third as cold is it can blow.'

Natural gas in Sligo?

Licences to explore an area in Lough Allen where it is thought there may be large reserves of natural gas have been granted to two companies. The Lough Allen Natural Gas Company (Langco) and Australian-based Tamboran Resources have been given onshore petroleum licences to explore the area which takes in parts of Sligo, Leitrim, Roscommon, Cavan and Fermanagh. The area to be explored is known to geologists as the northwest carboniferous basin.
The news will be welcomed by many who sought to have a spur from the controversial Corrib Gas depot in Mayo built to provide natural gas to Sligo and Donegal. A delegation of politicians and local business people had their hopes dashed last year when the outgoing government ruled the cost of the connection at €35m too high and 'shelved' the idea.

The licence will allow the companies to undertake shallow drilling to a depth of 200m (650ft) and carry out technical studies to ascertain whether the gas is commercially viable. If initial studies prove successful, the companies will have first option on a more expensive exploration licence which would be a step closer to extracting gas. Langco believes there is 9.4 trillion cubic sq ft of gas or the energy equivalent of 1.5 billion barrels of oil in the area. This has a notional value of €94 billion at existing prices and could be considerably more by the time gas could be extracted from the ground.

Although objectors will emerge it is unlikely that a repetition of the Shell debacle in Mayo would be allowed to develop in Sligo as valuable lessons have been learned. Langco's managing director, Dr Martin Keeley, cautioned against premature expectations. He said the only thing certain was that there was gas present as successive studies had shown. But they were a long way off from knowing whether it was worth extracting.

Lissadell House row rumbles on
Lissadell's owners, barristers Constance Cassidy and Edward Walsh, are appealing the High Court

The Cassidy Walshes

judgement delivered last December by Mr Justice Bryan McMahon after a 58-day hearing. After the High Court ruling affirmed the existence of public rights of way over the 410-acre estate Sligo County Council issued a statement saying that, "Sligo County Council is pleased with the decision of the High Court. It is in the interests of all concerned that the issue of public rights of way at Lissadell has been determined."
A spokesman for the county council has confirmed the appeal: "The decision of the High Court in relation to the rights of way at Lissadell has been appealed by the Walsh-Cassidys. The appeal will be fully contested by Sligo County Council, and the council will be seeking to have the judge's decision varied where he restricted access to daylight hours only,".

Right of way limited to daylight hours only
It is understood that the council will be seeking to overturn the "daylight hours" restriction to allow 24-hour-a-day access for members of the public. Most people did not understand that the decision to uphold the rights of way was for daylight hours only. Another part of their appeal may focus on restrictions on access for vehicles into the estate contained in Mr Justice McMahon's judgement. More than 50 witnesses, including historians, cartographers and archivists, local residents and council officials gave evidence during the original high court action.

Most of the staff who were working at the estate have now been laid off, with just essential workers remaining. The Supreme Court case will last at least a week and will involve intense and expensive preparation by lawyers from both sides. The owners of Lissadell declined to comment on the forthcoming appeal but it is understood that they will be launching a wide-ranging action which would seek to overturn the original High Court judgement in its entirety.

Angry reaction
Ms Cassidy and Mr Walsh purchased the property for €4m in 2003 and spent a further €9.5m restoring the house and gardens. They reacted angrily to the High Court decision by erecting extensive barriers and 'no trespass' signs on the property (see photo below). At present they owe nearly €6m in legal bills and costs associated with last year's case which was one of the lengthiest ever heard in the High Court for some years.

The Scottish Connection
From Friday April May 7th to May 8th Sligo Field Club are hosting a conference on: "Celebrating Sligo: The Scottish Connection". More information HERE

Wednesday March 17th

St. Patrick's Day
Happy St. Patrick's Day to all Sligo Heritage fans. Lá Fheile Phadhraig shona gach duine. Bain tríall ar beagán Gaeilge an seachtmhain seo! Show your pride in being Irish this week by speaking a little bit of Irish even if, like me, it is imperfect and only a few words.

Solar alignments
At the 5000 year old Loughcrew megalithic Cairn T, the rising sun on the mornings around the equinox illuminates the passage and chamber. Cairn T will be open from 6:15am on Sunday the 20th of March, Monday the 21st March and Tuesday the 22nd March. For more information click HERE

Races for the Senate
Fianna Fail leader Micheál Martin has issued a list of 10 Fianna Fáil candidates for the Senate (Seanad Eireann) and is asking councillors to give them priority in the forthcoming Seanad elections. The list includes two former Senators from the North West region: former Senator Marc MacSharry and Donegal Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill, who were unsuccessful in last November’s bye election. Sligo/North Leitrim Senator’s Geraldine Feeney and Pascal Mooney will still go forward as well.
Micheal Martin is giving his special imprimatur to Marc MacSharry and Brian Ó Domhnaill.

Micheal Martin's plans to get younger candidates into the Seanad suffered a blow after it emerged that four other candidates were being nominated by Fianna Fail party members. The four senators, Sligo's Eamon Scanlon, Ned O'Sullivan, Martin Brady and Diarmuid Wilson are remaining quiet on their plans on whether to go forward or not for the moment. Scanlon says he has a 'gruelling campaign' ahead if he decides to run.

Chancers and brass necks
Editorial comment: What an undignified dogfight! Isn't it ironic that some of these men, Marc McSharry and Eamon Scanlon included, who ran for election to Dail Eireann recently and were turned down by the voters are now chancing their arm at getting into office by the back door even though they have been rejected at the polls.

First requirement of a politician: brass neck!

Tuesday March 1st 2011

Election Free Zone
As promised Sligo Heritage website has been an election free zone for the past few weeks. Although allergic to politician's promises and false dawns we should not stick our heads in the sand and as predicted below now report that our Tweedeldums have been replaced by a fresh new crop of Tweedledees.
But enough of the cynicism, valid as it may be, our revolution was a bloodless one and Fianna Fail has been decimated.
Sligo/North Leitrim now has no Fianna Fail TDs as Eamonn Scanlon has lost his seat and Marc McSharry failed to gain the seat abdicated by Jimmy Devins. The results are as follows:
John Perry, Fine Gael, with 8663 (19.5%) first preference votes.
Tony McLoughlin, Fine Gael, with 7715 (17.4%) first preference votes.
Michael Colreavy, Sinn Fein, with 5911 (143.3%) first preference votes.

In Michael Colreavy, County Leitrim has it's first TD elected since the controversial decision to split the county into two for electoral purposes. It's the first Sinn Fein success in the Sligo-Leitrim region since 1957
The other new face is Fine Gael councillor, Tony McLoughlin, who was elected along with his running mate, the outgoing Deputy John Perry. Bearing out the old adage of 'if at first you don't succeed', Cllr McLoughlin has been elected a full 30 years since he first stood for the Dail.

A Retirement home?
A race for seats in that lucrative retirement home for unsuccessful TD hopefuls, otherwise known as the Senate, will now ensue. Marc Mac Sharry will be endeavouring to regain his seat there. He could be joined by Eamon Scanlon who held a senate seat for five years until he was elected a TD in 2007. Susan O'Keeffe, although as yet not declaring her intentions and Fine Gael's Michael Comisky (Leitrim) may well yet be rewarded for their efforts with a seat.
So we didn't vote for them but we're still stuck with them. Isn't democracy great!
The Senate, as part of FG's policy, is supposed to be abolished during their term of office. Promises, promises! We'll believe it when we see it.

Council waste

Glasshouse hotel under construction

Sligo County Manager, Hubert Kearns, has confirmed that the 'mystery person' attending meetings of the Borough Council in recent months is a Wicklow based consultant who has been hired by him to observe and record any inappropriate or bullying behaviour at the meetings. It was further revealed that the mystery person is being paid €800, excluding VAT, per meeting. Independent Councillor Declan Bree has called for an end to secrecy surounding this waste of money scandal and has called for all minutes and reports submitted to the County Manager to be circulated to council members and to the media. His call was backed unanimously by all members of the Council.
It is suggested that the hiring may be a vindictive move by the County manager to get back at Cllr. Bree for exposing the scandal of allocating Council money (one and a half million euro) to build a bridge for a private contracter following the building of the Glasshouse Hotel.

Wednesday February 21st

Historic banner unveiled in Keash, Co. Sligo HERE

Sligo town 1963 (co urtesy Sligo Champion)

Monday February 14th
Big Wave Mullaghmore Tow-in Surf event.

Irelands first ever Tow in surf event was held yesterday Sunday the 13th February in Epic 15 to 20 foot faces. Surfers often complain about conditions at surf events but this event had a 3 month waiting period to ensure good waves. Despite great swells over the last 2 weeks event organiser Paul O’Kane waited and waited for the right tides wind and swell to combine
... Click HERE

Friday February 11th:
Bloomberg and the drunken Irish. Is he just telling the truth as our Jewish neighbours see us? Should we take his comments seriously?: Click HERE for the story:

Sunday Feb 6th 2011

Article on Sligo artist Patrick Collins: In the mid-1980s, when he had belatedly gained widespread acceptance as an artist, Patrick Collins’s work changed direction quite dramatically and set opinion almost universally against him...: Click HERE

Latest on Lissadell

Sligo County Council has been awarded its Legal costs in relation to the Lissadell High Court case. Mr. Justice Bryan McMahon ruled that a stay was placed on costs, on the undertaking that the owners will endeavor to expedite any appeal to the Supreme Court.
Solicitors for the owners Edward Walsh and Constance Cassidy indicated in court today that they would be appealing the decision to the Supreme Court. A decision on exactly how much the local authority will be awarded will be made in the coming weeks. The cost of the court case overall is estimated to be in the region of €6 million euro.

The court was told that Sligo County Council had made several attempt, in correspondence with the couple, to resolve the litigation which, the council's barrister said, the council could not afford.

More on this HERE

A gentle reminder: If you have read this far and haven't yet donated please go to top of page and donate. It's easier than voting, way cheaper than the Lissadell bill and much more rewarding! Thank you!

Election Fever?

Unless you have been on a space ship that has lost it's way in a galaxy that is not ours, or you are deep in a Rip Van Winkle slumber, you can't help but notice that we are full tilt on election footing here in Ireland at the moment. Yes! There is every possibility we will change Tweedeldum for Tweedledee. Tweedledum had become drunk with power and corruption so now various Tweedledees promise us they have a panacea for all the ills that beset us. Isn't democracy great!
Sligo Heritage has just erected razor wire and bought a very, very cross dog. So all you jolly, jolly canvassers out there holding out the hope of a Nirvana right on the horizon, be warned! This web host has seen too any false dawns on said horizon, and the doggie is, not alone very hungry, but also very anti social. He doesn't like visitors, especially those that come around only once every four or five years!

Eamon Scanlon to pull out of election

There is increasing speculation today that Sligo North Leitrim Fianna Fail Deputy, Eamon Scanlon, (left, in apron) may be about to pull out of the General Election campaign. Ocean FM reported yesterday that Fianna Fail headquarters in Dublin want a one-candidate strategy in the constituency, despite the fact that two candidates were selected at the convention last Thursday. Needless to say we here at Sligo Heritage are devastated at the news! Aren't we?

Deputy Scanlon has been unavailable for comment on the matter today, but there are widespread reports that he has been asked to stand aside for the election, and allow Senator Marc MacSharry be the only Fianna Fail candidate. (Yes, this is the same Marc McSharry that doesn't know which side of our national flag is up or down! Click HERE and scroll down)
The Fianna Fail press office have denied this so we'll have to wait and see.
Already, Fianna Fail candidates in some constituencies have withdrawn their name as election candidates, following intervention by party headquarters, with Noel O'Flynn stepping aside for Billy Kelleher in one of the Cork constituencies.

Friday January 28th

Imbolc has been celebrated since ancient times, it's a Cross Quarter Day, midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, this year it falls on the February 4th. The ancient Celts celebrated The Goddess Brigid at Imbolc which in Christian times became St. Brigid's Day. More information HERE

Friday January 14th 2011

Another dropout from the 'Soldiers of Destiny'!

Another bailout by a Government Deputy leaving the sinking Fianna Fail ship: Sligo's representative, Deputy Jimmy Devin's, confirmed yesterday that he will step down before the next General Election.  He claims that the big disappointment in his political career is the transfer of Cancer Services from Sligo General Hospital to Galway University Hospital.  Speaking with the local radio station, Ocean FM, he proclaimed himself satisfied that he had done all he could to retain cancer services at the hospital.

Sligo's Cancer services
The local cancer services lobby group disagree and say Deputy Devins could have done more. The group who campaigned vigorously for the retention of Breast Cancer Services at Sligo GeneralHospital says Deputy Jimmy Devins paid lip service only to the cause. Deirdre O' Sullivan says he put the party’s interest ahead of his constituents at a number of critical points on the debate. Had been commited enough he could have forced the Government to change their decision.
Regardless of who runs for Sligo North Leitrim in the next election, the group say they will be reminding the electorate that a Fianna Fail led Government made the decision to remove the services. Member of the 'Save our Cancer Services', Deirdre O Sullivan, say Deputy Devins did little to help their campaign.

Lisadell House: Sligo's Colditz?

Having lost their High Court case the Cassidy/Walshes of Lissadell House are determined not to leave the field gracefully. In a fit of seeming pique by the court decision, the owners of Lissadell House have erected barriers wrapped in barbed wire with 'Private Property' signs attached around the stately home, and the nearby coach house. They say they will put more permanent security measures in place soon prompting local people to dub the house 'Colditz'.

Lissadell owners lost their court case

The owners of the house and estate, barristers Eddie Walsh and Constance Cassidy recently lost a court case they had taken against Sligo County Council over the establishment of rights-of-way through the estate. One of those rights-of-way goes beside the house, which has prompted the owners to install interim security measures. This maintains the right of way, which they are legally obliged to do, but does not allow access to the house.
Just hours after the result of the court case was announced on December 20, the gates in the estate were opened up, but it wasn't until the beginning of this month that the barriers were put in place. Eddie Walsh told the national media that the measures were temporary and that more permanent security would be put in place around the house and the coach house soon.

More on Lissadell HERE and HERE

Born of Sligo parents the story of John Healy is a fascinating one. Click HERE

December 29th 2010

Update on Lissadell court judgement

The owners of Lissadell house in Sligo are to appeal to the Supreme Court against the High Court ruling (below) that local people are entitled to use rights of way on the estate. Senior counsel Eddie Walsh and his wife Constance Cassidy, who bought the house for €4 million seven years ago, said after the judgment: ‘‘We had a dream for Lissadell. The dream is dead." according to a report in The Sunday Business Post.

In a recent lengthy statement Eddie Walsh concluded that:
‘‘...We have also landscaped the grass verges, but the avenues were not, of course, built for the traffic of today. Cars driving over these drains, and over the grass verges will commit trespass, but realistically, how can this be policed? I believe we are compelled to appeal." 

December 20th 2010

Breaking news 1.00 pm: The Cassidy Walshes have lost their court case taken against Sligo County Council to have the roads and rights of way to the seashore closed. Local residents are ecstatic. More news later.

More 6 pm: Following a protracted legal battle, the High Court has ruled that public rights of way do

Right of way must now be re-opened

exist at the historic Lissadell estate in Sligo. The owners of Constance Markievicz’s former home were trying to stop the public from using four routes through the property. The costs of this 58-day legal battle are believed to outstrip the €4m paid for Lisadell by barristers Constance Cassidy and Edward Walsh in 2003. The couple invested a further €9.5m restoring the ancestral home of the Gore Booth family which is a significant tourist attraction in the area.

Last year they brought proceedings against Sligo County Council challenging a council resolution calling for the preservation of four public rights of way on the private estate. Today the High Court found long use by the public inferred that these rights of way do exist, but only during daylight hours. In a lengthy judgment Mr Justice Bryan McMahon also urged the public to exercise their rights in a way that is sensitive to the owners.

For more go HERE

Don't miss the livesteam Winter Solstice sunrise Click HERE

The Banks
Last Wednesday I stopped into my local AIB bank to pick up a 2011 calendar as is normal for bank customers this time of year. I also planned to voice my concern at media reports of senior bank personnel awarding themselves bonuses amounting to 40 million euro — and that's on top of their obscenely high salaries. Bonuses for what? Incompetence and greed?

On reaching the counter imagine my consternation on being told there was no money for calendars this year! Recession and all that, you see! Well I needn't tell you this news was like a red rag to a bull and I told this bank official in no uncertain terms what I thought of AIB, its policies and its bank robbing officials. 'Nuff said!

Changing Times
On the way home I reflected on changing times. As a youngster growing up on a small farm in Sligo we didn't need banks, or whether we did or not we didn't have them anyway. We had no money to put in, nor the wherewithal to repay if we ever took a grand notion to take money out. The only bank in our vocabulary was a turf bank on the Cloonerco bogs where we got our years supply of fuel. Money banks were just not a part of our lives and anyway even if they were, the closest one was in Sligo town, sixteen miles away. A formidable journey at that time that was undertaken maybe once or at most twice in a year.

Christmas Trees and Christmas Turkeys
Neither did we have lights for Christmas trees, in fact we didn't even have Christmas trees. Never heard of them! And even if we had trees or lights there was no place to plug them in as neither did we have electricity, running water or indoor toilets. For decoration we had holly with its bright green leaves and red berries strung over windows, pictures and on the dresser — and we thought it very pleasing indeed.

Yes, you will be surprised to hear, we did have turkeys. We reared them and then sold them for the Christmas market in Kinlough or Grange and had chicken or duck for our own Christmas dinner: some poor unfortunate fowl that wasn't laying that my mother had her eye on for awhile. There was plenty of them about the farmyard — but not for long.

I could go on, but this job doesn't pay very well and I have other things to do. The question is this: considering all of these things, where we were, where we are now, and no matter how bad things are at the present time, should I be grateful?

I don't know, I haven't worked that one out yet. What do you think? Click HERE

President Nixon's dislike of the Irish — and Jews — and Italians

Newly released White House tapes reveal former president Richard Nixon’s distaste for Jews, blacks, Irish and Italians. The recordings and papers recorded by a secret taping system were used as evidence in the Watergate scandal a year later. The footage shows Nixon speaking to a senior advisor in February 1973. According to reports in the New York Times, Nixon says that he had no prejudice but, “I've just recognized that, you know, all people have certain traits ... The Jews have certain trait. “The Irish have certain – for example, the Irish can't drink. What you always have to remember with the Irish is they get mean. Virtually every Irish I've known gets mean when he drinks. Particularly the real Irish."

Following this he turns on Italian-Americans. He said “The Italians, of course, those people course don't have their heads screwed on tight ... They are wonderful people, but ..." At this point his voice trails off and then he turns his attention to the Jews. He said “The Jews are just a very aggressive and abrasive and obnoxious personality."

What is it with these people!
He said “What it is, is it's the insecurity ... It's the latent insecurity. Most Jewish people are insecure. And that's why they have to prove things."In another recording Nixon and Kissinger both made it clear that they would not help Jews to escape persecution in the Soviet Union or immigrate to America. Kissinger said, "The emigration of Jews from the Soviet Union is not an objective of American foreign policy ... And if they put Jews into gas chambers in the Soviet Union, it is not an American concern. Maybe a humanitarian concern." Nixon responded, “I know ... We can't blow up the world because of it.

We are not told if Nixon would intervene in the event of the Irish being forced into gas chambers or faced with another famine Holocaust. We may suppose not!

New blood: Pearse Doherty

There's new and young blood in the Dail! Donegal man Pearse Doherty (pictured below), elected TD for South Donegal in a recent by-election, is like a chill wind blowing the cobwebs off old, cosy concensus heads in the musty chambers. He was elected after taking the Government to court over its refusal to hold a by-election in his constituency. When he stood up to make his maiden speech most of the TDs left the chamber before he had even begun to speak. It came across as a display of contempt for the new T.D. and whatever he might have to say. It cast him in the roll of underdog and undoubtedly made those still watching feel for the new man.

Interesting to see a man demand a pay cut so forcefully.
If the snub from the chamber bothered him, it didn’t show. Blasting the recent budget was the main theme of the speech, highlighting how the across the board cuts were a case of the less well off having to pick up a disproportionately large part of the tab.
“Not one penny from a gross TD’s salary is going to be reduced,” he blasted. “How do you think that the people listening to this at home or travelling from work can understand that a TD on over €92,000 per year shouldn’t take a pay cut but someone on social welfare or someone who is working and who has a disabled child or who is on disability benefit needs to take a 4 per cent reduction. Is that fair? Is that fair An Taoiseach?”
It was interesting to see a man demand a pay cut so forcefully. He didn’t have a particularly polished delivery and stammered over the occasional word, but it almost made his case more forceful. He hadn’t taken public speaking lessons or pored over this speech with an expensively assembled team of PR people.
One of the news corepondents who witnessed his maiden speech reported that although he was no fan of Sinn Féin, even their most harsh of critics would admit that his anger over the inherent unfairness of the whole economic crisis and the Government’s response to it was exactly in sync with the public mood.
Cowen, at some point during the speech, also decided to up and leave, leaving his fellow FF T.D. Mary Coughlan to become the focus of Pearse’s fury. When she attempted to challenge his point about the lack of any cuts for TDs he snapped back, “Mary, you’re on a lot more than that, so you should keep your mouth closed for just a couple of seconds.”
When he was told that people in the house should be addressed by their office, he added, “Minister Mary Coughlan should keep her mouth closed when I’m speaking because she’s on a lot more than the €92,000.”

Mary Coughlan reduced to heckling
Doherty slammed the “gombeen” horse trading that had seen the Government buy the backing of Independent TDs by promising developments in their constituencies and he even offered alternatives – like spreading the pain over six years and introducing things like a wealth tax.
Mary Coughlan was reduced to heckling and attempting to interrupt his speech before finally slumping into her seat, wearing a face like a slapped child.
It wasn’t just what he was saying that made the newcomer stand out. He looked far younger than anyone in the chamber and he spoke with an energy and passion that died a long time ago in most of the greying politicians of the other parties – and even of his own.
Sinn Féin is not short of enemies in this state, and the entrenched parties will be severely wary of this new upstart and the party’s surge in support. The wagons are already beginning to circle and Sinn Féin is being locked out whenever possible.

Summerhill College
An ex student of Summerhill College, Sligo, now resident in Canada, sent me these interesting reflections on his time at the college:
"Great article on your History section, Joe, Dec 6 and the Signing of the Treaty. I have read this so many times and keep coming back to it. Another reminder yesterday was Dec. 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, patron Saint of Summerhill College. In my time the dear priests, including the Dean, served roast beef to the lads on this day. It was the only day of the year they took any real interest in the College, the majority awaiting their call to a curacy or even better, a Parish.

Don't get me started on Summerhill. I hated the damn place! At the outset all subjects were in Irish and while I love Greek and Latin, in particular the associated history, it was damn hard picking it up in another language. I was a day pupil and we were generally treated as second class, which is fair enough when you think it out. If one did not play Gaelic, that was the clincher, you were out of favour for sure.

Not surprisingly when we graduated there was no guidance whatever as to one's future. Unless you were inclined toward a vocation or teaching, that was the end. In so saying I did have a request from Father McDermott (one of our teachers) for my story abroad some 12 months after I emigrated. I responded by return but it was never published and I heard nothing more."

Do you have a story about your school years at Summerhill, or any other alma mater. If you do, send it to us by clicking HERE

A very Happy Christmas and New Year to all Sligo Heritage fans. Thank you for your support during the year. Nollaig shona agus Athblían faoi mhaise Daoibh go léir.

An Gal Gréine

December 6th 2010

This letter from the Imperial War Museum is the latest response on the campaign to return the Na Fianna banner, An Gal Gréine, to Ireland. For more on this go HERE and scroll down

Wednesday December 1st 2010













Sligo, like the rest of Ireland, is currently in the grip of an unseasonal freeze-up. Freezing conditions from 3 to 10 below zero are being experienced in Sligo and all along the west coast with the East coast being worst hit.

Although called upon to assist, both Sligo and Leitrim County Councils do not envisage the need at the present time for the defence forces to be called in. Members have been deployed to Galway, Athlone and parts of Dublin to help out with clearing footpaths and walkways. Sligo County Council says they have the situation under control with six gritters regularly treating roads and have 1500 tonnes of salt in reserve.
Senior Engineer Tom Brennan says their plan is working well and insists it is not possible to turn their attention to salting all footpaths and all roads everywhere.

Saturday November 20th 2010

Graham Greene Art Treasures sold

A Horseman enters a Town at Night

Two paintings by Jack B Yeats, which were in the collection of British novelist Graham Greene, were sold at auction a few days ago. At a Christie’s auction of 20th century British and Irish Art, A Horseman Enters a Town at Night made £349,250 (€412,000). The oil-on-canvas measuring 24in x 36in (61cm x 91cm) was painted by Yeats, then aged 77, in 1948 and acquired by Greene for his Paris apartment 60 years ago. It had never been seen in public. A spokeswoman for Christie’s said it had been acquired by a European private buyer on the phone.


Man in a Room Thinking

A second smaller painting titled Man In A Room Thinking sold for £66,050 – above its estimate of £30,000-£50,000. This painting too painting was bought anonymously. The highest price paid for a Yeats painting was in 1999 when Sotheby’s in London sold The Wild Ones for over £1.2 million.

The paintings at Christie’s yesterday were sold by descendants of Greene, who died in 1991. He was one of Britain’s best-known novelists, with best-sellers including BrightonRock and Our Man in Havana. Jack Yeats had many writer admirers including Beckett and James Joyce both of whom owned Yeats paintings.

Cautious welcome to possibility of Tesco Manorhamilton store

From the headlines in the papers it seems like Ireland is going bankrupt, but the multinationals are not a bit concerned — neither it seems is that ubiquitous character the 'man in the street'. Tesco opened three stores in Ireland last week and are still forging ahead. The nearest store to us in Swinford Co. Mayo is choc-a-bloc with shoppers with a full parking lot and long lines at the checkout desks.

Tesco in Leitrim?
The Cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council has given a cautious welcome to Tesco Ireland’s planning application for a store in Manorhamilton. Fine Gael Councillor Frank Dolan’s comments come as the supermarket group has re-applied for permission after an Bord Pleanala upheld an appeal and refused to give the go ahead over a year ago. Councillor Dolan said a new store would create jobs in both construction and retail, attract more people to the town and stem the flow of cross border shoppers.
Being a cute politician with a view to re-election he hedged his bets by saying that he hoped it would not have a negative impact on the local retailers in the town. That way he cannot be accused of being against 'progress', nor can the retailers nail him on being in favour of introducing competition.

My bet is on Frank being re-elected next time around because a cute politician really can fool most of the people most of the time.

Sligo man convicted of rape

A Sligo man has been convicted of raping and sexually assaulting his teenage daughter. The Central Criminal Court jury found the 46-year-old man guilty of rape on a date between April and June 2006 and one count of sexual assault on a date between March and June 2006. The man, who can not be named for legal reasons, had pleaded not guilty to one count of rape and four counts of sexual assault on dates between September 2005 and June 2006. The girl was aged between 14 and 15 at the time of the offences.

Ms Justice Dunne ordered the man be registered as a sex offender and ordered the preparation of a victim impact report. She set a sentence date of December 8 next. During the trial the now 19-year-old woman gave evidence via video link. On one occasion she said her father told her that he would give her money the next day if she let him do what he wanted to do. She said the assaults happened “not every night but most nights”. She told told Ms Isobel Kennedy SC, prosecuting, that her father raped her when she was 15 years old. She said she felt dirty, upset and confused afterwards. The woman told Ms Kennedy that on a later occasion she called her father “a pervert” and he kicked her in the face.

Physically and mentally scarred

The woman agreed with defence counsel, Mr Kenneth Fogarty SC, during cross examination, that her father had told her he was sorry he ever hit her following an argument. She agreed she was upset and the comment was hurtful.
“Me and dad had a love-hate relationship, I reminded him of himself,” she said.
When asked why she did not cry out during the alleged rape she said: “When you are brought up with a man like dad you are physically and mentally scared of him.”

The accused man, giving evidence on his own behalf, told Mr Fogarty that his daughter “makes up stories on a regular basis about a lot of people”. He told Mr Fogarty that when, in October 2007, he was arrested and questioned on the rape allegation he was “shocked” and broke down crying when he was put into a cell. He said he told gardaí he had not been getting on with his daughter. He said “there had been lots of shenanigans, a catalogue of things from previous weeks”. He told Mr Fogarty that at about 11am, when the rape was alleged to have taken place, his routine would have meant he was out of the house going about his business.

Sentencing in December
Mr Fogarty asked him what he had to say about the allegation that he had sexually abused his daughter while her sister slept in the same room. “That‘s untrue, I would never do anything like that,” he replied. The accused man told gardaí when he was being interviewed that his daughter was a “compulsive liar” and was always causing trouble.

Miss Justice Elizabeth Dunne thanked the jury of four women and eight men for their attention to the case and excused them from further service for five years. Miss Justice Dunne ordered the man be registered as a sex offender and ordered the preparation of a victim impact report. She set a sentence date of December 8th next.

For Newsround articles immediately preceding this go HERE



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