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Fashion Show next Thursday in aid of Hospice services



Roscommon’s next top models will converge on the Abbey Hotel next Thursday evening as part of a Bank of Ireland sponsored fundraiser in aid of Mayo/Roscommon Hospice, following the official launch of the event on Tuesday evening.

  Speaking on Tuesday, Roscommon manager Kevin McStay told those gathered that it was “a lovely honour” to be asked to officially launch the “very important” fundraiser before joking about another recent guest of honour appearance at the Roscommon Lamb Festival launch.

  “I thought I had finished with all of the strange launches! I do know more about fashion than I do about lambs. Well with seven sisters, a wife and three daughters I certainly know the cost of fashion!”

  The Ballina native went on to praise the work of the Hospice in both Mayo and Roscommon.

  “The Mayo/Roscommon Hospice is a magnificent organisation and we don’t say that often enough,” he said, before highlighting the “incredible” attention his own father had received prior to his death.

  Next Thursday’s Fashion Show at the Abbey Hotel promises to be a fantastic night in aid of a very worthy cause and organisers were delighted to announce at Tuesday’s launch that internationally renowned Irish designer, Catriona Hanly, would be showcasing her ‘Jewell’ collection of handcrafted statement pieces at the event.

  Some tickets are still available for the show, priced at €10 and available from Bank of Ireland branches across Co. Roscommon.

Gerry Jago: ‘This is no word of a loy!’


Gerry Jago. Is there anything he hasn’t done? The former Lord Mayor of Kilnamanagh came up in conversation with John and Paul Curley out in Carntleva on Wednesday afternoon.

  “Sure Gerry’s one of yours,” they told me.

  “He hitched a lift out in 2002 with a fella from Sligo. He borrowed a loy and ending up winning the loy ploughing competition!”

  Later that afternoon I had my fellow Dub and loy enthusiast in the car. We were bound for Gerry Browne’s house. God love him.

  Dublin Gerry told me about how he came to get involved in the 2002 Junior Loy Competition.

  “I wasn’t down here that long, I was hitching and a guy called George Hunter from Sligo picked me up and he was heading to the ploughing out in Four Roads. I went along.

  “We got there and he was taking these yokes out of the back of the car and I asked him what they were.

  “He said ‘Why don’t you enter the loy ploughing? It’ll cost you a tenner to go in and watch but if you enter the competition you’ll get in free and they’ll give you a dinner.’

  “So I was put into the Junior Loy and I was up against this little young fella who must have been about 11-years-old – it was great craic!”

  Gerry said he finished second and was asked to make a speech.

  “I got up and gave an Oscars speech. I thanked everyone, my mother, my granny, everyone!”

  Loy superstardom quickly followed and soon he was called up to represent Roscommon.

  “I entered the following year again because I liked it. I won and went on to represent Roscommon on the national stage where I came sixth. I would have won it but I hurt my back! (laughs)

  “I became a bit of a celebrity, TV3 came down and they did a big piece on me and the Tallaght Echo did a big page on it with the headline ‘The Merry Ploughboy’. I was on a farming programme on RTÉ too”.

  Gerry gave up the loys but said he will always be grateful to the ploughing association for the way they welcomed him, they even made a presentation to him on his 60th birthday.

  Nowadays, 70-year-old Gerry is happy enough just being a spectator but he’ll always be remembered in Four Roads for his impromptu loy match of 2002.


Another warm welcome from the Curleys in Carntleva



This is not the Curley family’s first Roscommon Ploughing Championships. In fact, the family from Carntleva in Four Roads hosted the return of the county championships following the Foot and Mouth Crisis of 2001. John Curley remembers that day very well.

  “It was an extremely warm day on the 7th of April in 2002, it was 18 degrees and the land was very, very dry.

  “There were lots of men, women and children and the children were rolling in the grass sunburnt, which was extremely unusual for the time of year!

  “There was a huge display of trade stands, machinery, vintage, and lots of other arts and crafts as well on the day. It was a wonderful day to be at and it was an honour to be hosting it,” he told the Roscommon People earlier this week.

  The organisers were forced to cancel the 2001 instalment of the popular event and while it was an inconvenience, John said the cancellation merely added to the build-up for 2002.

  “We had all the preparations done so we had and then we had to pull it a couple of weeks beforehand but it gave all the more time to get another event in and all the more excited about it.

  “There was a big build-up to it with the preparations for the following year and setting up all the marquees and the people with the loys making their ridges – that was something I hadn’t ever seen before!

  “Gerry Browne had a garden on the day. (I thought)…it was unbelievable what could be produced from a very small piece of ground; potatoes, carrots, and all the veg lasted a long, long time and I was damn glad to have it! I continued on doing it right up until last year myself, there was huge interest in it on the day”.

  Proving that hosting the Roscommon Ploughing Championships is a team effort, John’s son Paul will once again be on hand to help out following his sterling work in 2002.

  “There was something for everyone in 2002, even bouncing castles and slides for children,” he said before hinting at some of the hard work that comes with hosting the event: “I was involved in every single bit of it, getting the gateways ready, putting down the sand, marking out the field”.

  Looking ahead to this year’s event and the return of the Ploughing Championships to the Curleys’ land for the first time in 16 years, John was confident the venue would be a success yet again.

  “The site is very suitable because it’s running by the main road and there’s an adjacent road running on the other side so there’s actually two sides of the field on the roadside.

  “It’s extremely good dry land and very suitable for ploughing. There’s also ample parking and ample space which is very important for this type of event. The roads of course are very suitable for people coming to the event; it’s quite a central location.

  “There was a massive crowd in 2002 and of course like everything else, weather is a major factor. For families to come along to an event like that you need a nice day and there are an awful lot of attractions for families who do come along on the day.

  “This is a great lift for communities, it’s a parish and a county event where everyone gets behind the wheel and it’s a bit of a lift for the area,” he said.

  On Sunday week the Roscommon Ploughing Championships will return to the lands of John and Mary Curley in Carntleva. While they can’t guarantee another warm day like April 7th 2002, they can guarantee another warm welcome for everyone attending the 2018 event.

Strokestown’s all set for 20th International Poetry Festival



The 20th Strokestown Poetry Festival will take place from Thursday, May 3rd to Monday, May 7th with a whole host of local and international poets set to take part.

  The festival’s first director and one of its driving forces, Merrily Harpur, believes Strokestown is the perfect venue for this unique event.

  “When in 1997 Pat Compton suggested a new festival for Strokestown, the idea of poetry leaped immediately to mind – because Strokestown is like a poem: small, compact but harmoniously-designed. Its geography, at the meeting of the east and west of the country, and its glorious jewel in the form of Strokestown Park House – the most atmospheric of venues for poetry – made it a natural place of pilgrimage for poets and writers from the outset,” she said.

  Merrily added that the festival was founded upon certain principles, to which it remains true twenty years on.

  “Firstly it would make the best contemporary poetry accessible to all – and thus all events in the festival were free; secondly it would enrich impoverished poets, offering large cash prizes in its competitions; thirdly it would cherish its attending poets, inviting them to read a selection from their work and not just their short-listed poem; and finally – and perhaps most importantly for the high reputation of the Strokestown prizes – there would be no filtering committee, all the judges would read all the poems”.

  Fellow festival committee member, Margaret Hickey, recalled the year Seamus Heaney paid a visit to Strokestown.

  “When Seamus Heaney came to the festival in 2006, he found himself, along with his wife Marie, joining in the cráic and the ceól, too, in Anthony Beirne’s”.

  She described the list of “eminent guest poets and judges” who she said: “could stand as a list of the very finest poets in these islands”.

  Margaret also paid tribute to those who have continued to support the festival over the past twenty years.

  “There are more members of Aosdána who have fond allegiance to the Strokestown Poetry Festival than you could shake a stick at, and their loyal support, plus the generosity of Jim Callery, who allows access to Strokestown House so freely, add greatly to the success of this niche celebration of the finest in literature”.

  So, as Strokestown prepares for the 20th edition of this wonderful festival of verse, Merrily, Margaret and the rest of the Strokestown Poetry Festival committee invite everyone to the town from May 3rd to 7th to see what all the fuss is about!

‘Darkness Into Light’ Walks – countdown



‘Darkness Into Light’ Walks will be held in a number of locations in the region in the early hours of 12th of May next.

  Committee members and others associated with the walks recently attended a countywide launch in Gleeson’s in Roscommon. All proceeds will go to Pieta House for its work on suicide prevention. 

  The Roscommon Town Darkness into Light Committee would like to remind readers that the Walk in the county town is taking place on the 12th May 2018 from the Roscommon Convent Gym, starting at 4.15 am.  

  The committee said: “From this year onwards, you may only register online at www.darknessintolight.ie for this event. Once you register, your t-shirt will be posted out to you.

  “You can register online on Saturday, 21st of April 2018 at Gleeson’s Townhouse from 10 am to 5 pm. A debit/credit card and email address are necessary for registration”.

  All support at all locations will be greatly appreciated.

Tips for choosing the right dog for your family



Summer’s on the way, and this often means thoughts of adding a new addition of the four-legged variety to your family! But be realistic; if you’re contemplating becoming a doggy parent, make sure you’re fully aware of the responsibilities and consequences that come with this decision.

  You see, it’s likely that you, mam/dad, will be the primary carer for this bundle of energy that’ll  require training and understanding when he/she chews Barbie’s head off, poos in grandad’s slippers, runs off with Nana’s false teeth and drags mammy’s expensive dress through the house. 

Here are just some things you should consider:

Adopt, don’t shop: Offer a forever home to one of the wonderful rescue dogs who’re desperate to be part of your family.

Decide what type, size and breed of dog you want: Is it a lap dog that’s easy to carry around, or is dad the macho man who wants a larger breed?  Maybe you’re divided? No problem, opt for a medium-sized dog like a Beagle, a Cocker Spaniel or a Cairn Terrier, etc.

Puppy v adult: A puppy requires training and socialising, especially during the first six months of his/her life. Do you have the patience for this? Are you prepared for little puddles around the house and chewed furniture? Also, if your puppy is a cross-breed, are you prepared for the fact he/she may grow up to be an entirely different looking dog?

  An adult dog is always a good choice because you get an idea of their energy levels and temperament when you visit the shelter. In short, what you see is what you get. However, adult dogs don’t equal trained dogs, so expect some degree of training to be involved.

Older dogs: Seniors are often left on the shelf and need love just as much as cute puppies. They make wonderful companions, especially if you’re looking for a dog with low energy levels. However, with senior dogs come some health problems and this can be costly.

Remember: Whichever breed you opt for, your dog will require annual boosters, regular flea and worming treatments, food, leads, collars, kennelling if you’re on holiday, pet insurance, a license, treats, toys and beds, etc. Taking into account all of these, an animal who’s properly taken care of, makes regular trips to the vet, leading to a healthy life for approximately 15 plus years, could potentially cost as much as €30,000! Too much? Don’t get a dog! That said, kids and dogs go hand in hand and I think most readers will agree that children raised with pets make for more humane and compassionate adults; and having a loving four-legged friend creates a unique bond that’ll last a lifetime. In addition, I believe a pet will create empathy and raise a child’s self-esteem, providing unconditional love and stability in a sometimes unstable world because no matter what else goes on in a child’s life, a dog still needs walking, feeding and grooming and this keeps the entire family in a routine.

  However, the key to enjoying the most satisfying relationship with your pet is choosing one that suits your family’s lifestyle. Remember, this is Roscommon, not a Disney movie, meaning not all dogs are like Lassie!


‘Castles in Communities’ short films launch


Last summer, a group of 75 students and academic staff from American colleges arrived in Ballintubber to stay and work for a month-long archaeological field study of Ballintubber Castle, as part of the Castles in Communities project. This was the third year that the project had taken place in Ballintubber and to celebrate and document the study, the Community and Enterprise Department of Roscommon County Council commissioned a series of short films about this wonderfully unique project under the banner of Real Roscommon.

  During the month of July, film producers MIMAR Media spent time with the students, staff and locals, to document how this small community in Roscommon have reached out and opened their village and way of life to overseas visitors for a whole month.

  The short films capture a flavour of why this Castles in Communities project in Ballintubber works and document the build-up to the project; the various events planned; the work of the students and staff on the project; the reactions of the locals and the parting thoughts of the students.

  The films are titled: ‘A Castle in our Community’, ‘Having a Ball in Tubber’, ‘Not your Bog Standard day’ and ‘Heritage Tour’. The films will be launched by the Community of Ballintubber in the Old School House this Friday (20th) at 8.30 pm, by Roscommon County Council CEO Eugene Cummins and all are welcome!

  Following the official launch of the films, they will be available to view on the www.ballintubbervillage.com website and on various social media outlets such as Roscommon.ie and Roscommon County Council Facebook Pages.


Ros Talent wants you!


The Roscommon Lamb Festival in conjunction with Foróige and Ros FM are on the search for talented young people to take part in ‘Ros Talent’.

  If you are a singer, dancer, musician, comedian or have a unique talent, get in touch with Bridget Giblin on 087-6760317 or Gerry Jago on 087-6446019.

  Heats will take place at The Quad followed by the final in The Square during Roscommon Lamb Festival on Friday, May 4th.



‘Titanic’ starts in Castlerea on Wednesday



The eagerly-awaited Castlerea Musical Society’s 50th anniversary production takes to the stage from next Wednesday night (18th of April).

  This year Castlerea Musical Society presents ‘Titanic The Musical’.
The show will be staged in The Hub, Castlerea from Wednesday, April 18th to Saturday, April 21st 2018 (at 8 pm nightly). Booking online at www.castlereamusicalsociety.com/tickets
(see page 33).




Launch of ‘Ballinturly: The story of a Roscommon Townland and its People’


Athleague/Fuerty Heritage Group recently hosted the launch of local author Ann Treacy’s book ‘Ballinturly: The story of a Roscommon Townland and its People’ at the Angling & Heritage Centre, Athleague.

  This book charts the story of those who made their home in the townland through the centuries:  of lives caught up in the many conflicts that played out in the area, enduring penal laws, adapting to landlord rule, suffering through famine times, exodus almost to the extinction of its population, to the tranquillity of the townland today.

  It includes reference to neighbouring townland of Correal & Cloonyourish, interesting aspects of early mapping, arrival of Charles Coote, linen production, the Great Famine and the War of Independence.

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