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Paul Healy

Paul Healy

‘The post office is very much a social hub’




My Christmas Week…with Mary Delaney, Ballygar Post Office



There will be a great atmosphere here during Christmas Week – and some last-minute panic buying – but it’s actually busier in the two weeks beforehand. That’s because people are posting Christmas cards and are anxious to get them away. Of course sending Christmas cards isn’t quite as popular as in the past, but I find the older generation, in particular, are continuing the tradition. People still like to send and receive cards.

  Another reason why we’re busy in the two weeks before Christmas Week is because of social welfare payments. People received their Christmas Bonus last week, and they’ll be paid a week in advance before Christmas. So it’s been quite a hectic period. 

  Christmas Week itself will be less busy, but there will still be activity. The post office is now a really good option for Christmas presents. We have people in buying One4all Gift cards, phone credit, prize bonds, iTunes (as gifts). So typically, there would be a lot of people in over the last few days before Christmas, buying presents, or maybe the last few ‘stragglers’ sending something in the post. People need to be mindful of the deadlines for Christmas post…for the USA it was the 10th of December, for Europe it’s the 18th, and for Ireland itself, it’s the 20th.

  I always find that people are in good humour when they call into the post office during Christmas Week. Well, they’re almost always in good humour throughout the year, but at this time of year you have the Christmas atmosphere and the spirit of goodwill. Obviously the odd person might be flustered on Christmas Eve when they pop in for a last-minute gift, but that’s all part of the atmosphere!

  I’ve been postmistress here since 1994. I’m a native of Menlough, now living in Ballinamore Bridge. I love my work. My colleague here is Catherine. We enjoy meeting our customers. There has been a lot of talk about post offices being social hubs and how they need to be retained. Obviously I strongly agree with that. The post office is very much a social hub, we see that particularly with older people. They will stay around and chat to friends, often it’s the only time they’ve met anyone all week.

  We’ll take a ‘half-day’ on Christmas Eve and then we have a break until we re-open on Friday (28th). I’m looking forward to the break. I’ll spend time with family and take the opportunity to visit some neighbours and friends. In the meantime, as I head into my 25th year here, I’d like to thank all our customers for their valued custom and wish everyone a very Happy Christmas!


Mary Delaney is the postmistress in Ballygar Post office.


* In conversation with PAUL HEALY






Launch of Rural Design Guidelines for County Roscommon



Roscommon County Council recently launched County Roscommon Rural Design Guidelines. The aim of the guidelines is to help people who are about to make a planning application for a new house as well as those who wish to extend an existing dwelling.

  The guidelines show the importance of good siting and sensitive rural housing design when building in the countryside. They also highlight the benefit of appropriate design in relation to issues of siting, orientation, local materials and building elements.

  The Rural Design Guidelines outline how a design project should be approached in preparation for a pre-planning meeting and the submission of a planning application. It provides a step by step approach on site selection, site layout, size of house and energy efficiency.

  Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Ivan Connaughton formally launched the County Roscommon Rural Design Guidelines at Aras an Chontae, Roscommon.

  The guidelines will be available to view at all library branches in the county and to purchase in Newsround, Roscommon; Cruachan Ai Visitor Centre, Rathcroghan; Una Bhan Craft Shop, Boyle, as well as the Planning Office, Aras an Chontae, Roscommon and all Roscommon County Council Area Offices. The guidelines will also be available to view and download on the Roscommon County Council Website www.roscommoncoco.ie.


Creggs Rugby: Now for the walkway…



These are exciting times at Creggs Rugby Club, that great sporting entity which is now facilitating huge playing numbers (senior and underage) – and developing state-of-the-art facilities. 

 A 24-12 win over Monivea last weekend continued the great momentum for the 1sts on the field. After winning promotion last season, Creggs are now second in the table! And with a game in hand on leaders, Connemara.

  Another milestone this weekend when Cerggs will commence training on their new 3G pitch (8 pm, Friday).

  Club President Padraic Deane updated the Roscommon People: “Busy times! Things are going well, but we’re not pausing for breath. The seniors are second in the table, our youth rugby is flying. We started girls’ youth rugby this year. The U-14s have won all their games so far and the U-16s will commence playing in January”.

  With the new 3G/4G pitch development complete, Creggs Rugby are now working on a walkway around the perimeter of their four pitches. Fully-lit and tarmacadamed, this walkway will be a wonderful walking option for people in the area, all year round, as well as a big asset on match days. (This project received some LEADER support this week).

  “It will further underline our status as a family club” Padraic explained. Weather-permitting, the walking track will be ready in February!



Festive dining made simple by Mary Gleeson




It’s a simple fact that one of the most enjoyable parts of the festive season, after family and friends, is the FOOD and the Gleesons Restaurant and Rooms are lucky enough to have their very own foodie, Mary Gleeson that knows exactly how to add the cherry on top of the Christmas season.

“Christmas is all about the 3 F’s in my opinion,” Mary Gleeson explains, ‘Family, Friends and Food and there is nothing more to love than getting the gang together with a big feast.”

Always happy to share her cooking tips and share the love of food, Mary is sharing her favourite festive recipes over the Christmas season to help you create beautiful festive Red Cabbage with Pomegranate Juice that you’ll add to your family’s festive traditions.

Want to leave the cooking to Gleesons? Book your festive lunch or festive dinner with choice of set festive menu for €26.50 or buffet menu from €12.50 by calling 090 662 6954 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

All the recipes are on Gleesons Facebook page and on their website, gleesonstownhouse.com.

Mary’s Red Cabbage with Pomegranate Juice


• 2 x 15ml vegetable oil

• 1 red onion, peeled & halved

• 1 tablespoon sea salt

• 2 red apples

• 1 head of red cabbage

• 3 tablespoons of soft dark brown sugar

• 2 tablespoons of allspice

• 750ml pomegranate juice


1.            Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan or casserole.

2.            Add sliced onion to the pan with salt.

3.            Fry for 5 minutes until the onion softens.

4.            Quarter the apples, do not peel, chop roughly, add to the onions and cook for 5 minutes.

5.            Finely shred the cabbage and add to the pan stirring carefully.

6.            Add brown sugar, all spice and pomegranate.

7.            Bring to the boil, stir and turn down the heat, put on the lid and cook very gently for 2 – 3 hours.

8.            This dish can be cooked up to 2 days in advance and reheats very well on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes.