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New-look Roscommon Arts Centre officially opened



Josepha Madigan TD, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, officially opened the newly-extended and refurbished Roscommon Arts Centre on Friday morning. There was a large crowd present as the new building was unveiled to the public, after almost a year-long programme of work.

  Funded by Roscommon County Council and part-funded by The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, the re-development and extension to the centre includes two new purpose-built spaces (a gallery and a workshop space), an extension to both the foyer and backstage areas, and the re-development of the existing gallery space into two artist studios, while making the building fully accessible to people with disabilities for the first time.

  Minister Madigan paid tribute to all assocaited with the project. Addressing guests on Friday morning, the Minister said: “The Department recognises the importance that regional venues such as Roscommon Arts Centre make locally and the capital investment made in this project by the Department reflects this. The new extension to Roscommon Arts Centre addresses all the accessibility issues that existed with the original gallery and workshop spaces and improves the overall visitor experience”.

  Acknowledging the ongoing support which Roscommon Arts Centre receives from Roscommon County Council, the Minister continued: “As demonstrated by this re-development, there is a strong commitment from both the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Roscommon County Council to support the continued development of the arts infrastructure at a local level”.

  She went on to say: “This purpose-built gallery and workshop space, together with the new artist studios, also clearly demonstrates the commitment that exists within Roscommon County Council to supporting artists –  there are now more spaces than ever locally in which artists can develop and present work and I look forward to watching how this develops in the future”.

  Chief Executive of Roscommon County Council Eugene Cummins, who also spoke at Friday’s event, said: “The extension marks the beginning of an exciting new era at Roscommon Arts Centre. I know for many years, there have been calls for a better gallery space in Roscommon and I am delighted that we have finally delivered on this”.

  He continued: “This building is for the people of Roscommon and I hope that whether they be young or old; performer, participant or audience member, they enjoy their visit here and are proud to call Roscommon Arts Centre their own”.



Gatehouse set for album launch




Since the release of their critically acclaimed solo album ‘Tus Nua’ in 2016, Roscommon based traditional band Gatehouse has gone from strength to strength. Receiving a 5 star review from The Irish Times, the album was described as ‘an unerring gem’.

  On this, their second record, ‘Heather Down The Moor’, they have presented more intricate arrangements and augmented their attention to detail whilst supplementing their core sound with additional instruments, layers and colours all guided by the hand of co-producer Donal O’Connor.

  Band members John and Jacinta McEvoy, Rachel Garvey and John Wynne are steeped in traditional music and it’s no surprise that they are sought after to teach and mentor younger musicians at various summer schools all over the country.

  This new album features new tune compositions from the band’s fiddler John McEvoy which were created especially for this record. Gatehouse have also assembled some of Ireland’s finest musicians to perform on this album including John Joe Kelly, Alan Kelly, Michael McCague and Conor and Paddy McEvoy.

  Gatehouse will launch the album ‘Heather Down The Moor’ with a live performance on Friday, June 21st at 8 pm in Roscommon Arts Centre. Tickets are €15/€12 and are on sale now from the arts centre box office on 090-6625824 and from www.roscommonartscentre.ie

Be a Summer Star at your local library!




Libraries across Roscommon are inviting children to join in the fun at their local library this summer with the launch of Summer Stars. Children can register at their local library in Ballaghaderreen, Boyle, Castlerea, Elphin, Roscommon and Strokestown and on the Mobile Library. Summer Stars is an exciting reading based programme for children which is available free of charge in public libraries.

  Starting on Saturday, June 15th and running until the end of August, children are encouraged to register for free at their local library to join the reading adventure. There are rewards along the way for the children as they borrow and read books over the course of the summer. A grande finale event will take place in October where children will be awarded with medal and certificates.

  This year there are some extra special prizes this year and these will be presented at the awards event; a bicycle chosen to suit the winner with the guidance of Roscommon Sports Partnership and two €100 sports shop vouchers. Roscommon Sports Partnership are also offering the winner and their family free cycling safety lessons.

  County Librarian, Sandra Turner, has said: “Summer Stars is another initiative implemented by Roscommon County Library that supports literacy and makes reading enjoyable and accessible for children. It gives the whole family a chance to explore the full range of events and facilities which are available in their local library, such as story time sessions, children’s activities, access to talking books and games, computers and Internet access, and of course books for all ages and abilities”. She also acknowledged and thanked Roscommon Sports Partnership for their assistance.

  The mobile library will be in Strokestown Park House on Saturday, June 15th as part of the Cruinniú na nÓg celebrations. Membership of the library is free of charge and users can borrow up to twelve items at a time.

  Details about library locations, mobile library routes and library opening hours are available online at www.roscommoncoco.ie/en/Services/Community/Library


Roscommon winners at Energia Family Business Awards




There were two Roscommon winners at the inaugural Energia Family Business Awards held at the Mansion House in Dublin.

  Oliver Carty Pork and Bacon took home the silver award for Family Food/Drink Producer of the Year while P&G Cards were crowned Wholesale Family Business of the Year.

  The Energia Family Business Awards celebrate the efforts of family-run businesses in shaping the Irish business landscape. The awards have recognised businesses across the island of all shapes and sizes, with over 200 entries received for its inaugural year, and over 18 well deserving winners crowned at the ceremony, including winners from Roscommon. The awards saw strong representation from different industries nationwide and demonstrate the tenacity of Irish family business.

  Judges this year included JJ O’Connell, National Director and Co-Chair of Family Business Ireland, Mark Christal, Manager of the Regions and Entrepreneurship division of Enterprise Ireland, and Glyn Roberts, CEO of Retail NI (among others).   

  Commenting on the awards, Alan Mulcahy, Head of Sales at Energia said: “It’s fantastic to celebrate the success of family businesses across the island. The range of business sectors represented in the award submissions shows our economy is diverse and fit for the future. At Energia, we partner with businesses all across the island of Ireland and are committed to the communities they serve.

Congratulations to all who entered and well done to the winners”.

Our carefully curated gift guide for your deserving dad




In case you forgot (!), Father’s Day, which usually falls on the third Sunday of June, (this year that’s Sunday 16th), is now upon us. Therefore, if you’re looking for inspiration regarding ways in which you could honour he-who-has-been-a-special-guiding-light-in-our-lives, but find you’re coming up with nothing, don’t fret. You’re in luck, because your favourite family newspaper has, once again, gone on a crusade, done the leg-work and come up with our carefully curated gift guide to help you present your deserving dad with the perfect pressie. No need for thanks folks, sure it’s the least we could do for your darling Papa Bear!

Jammies: He may do comfort, but who says he can’t do style. So, this year, throw out the old man’s well-worn onesie and introduce dad to Roscommon’s latest range of luxury loungewear. Trust us, if daddy plans to spend this Father’s Day relaxing in front of the telly, isn’t it best for everyone that he doesn’t do it in his stretchy t-shirt, boxers and smelly socks. After all, daddy does need to look respectable when he opens the door to your mates!

  Outdoor dining: Gentlemen, choose your weapons…it’s time to grill! If you’ve got a dad who is serious about his outdoor dining, (relax, the weather will pick up), then why not give him the tools of his trade. We’re sure he’d love some sauces, marinades, rubs, spices and dips. However, the old grill sergeant will definitely keep you in his will if you get him tongs, thermometers, a knife sharpener, an apron and a new cook book to help him whip up his own unique ‘signature dad’ feast at your next family barbie!

  For the dad who says, ‘sure I don’t need anything,’ why not get him a gift voucher for his favourite book shop, or for a round of golf. Then again, if he loves his gadgets, why not consider a gift he’d never get for himself…a luxurious smartwatch!

  If dad loves his face furniture, but mam hates the way he gets his food caught in it, grab him a beard grooming kit. To get the big boss started, give him a voucher for his local barber shop and let the professionals school him in the use of beard oil, balm, wax, trimmers, and any other hacks he’ll need to know to help keep those unruly whiskers in shape. We’re sure mam will thank you for turning your dishevelled dad into a sexy dapper dude!

  If dad’s heading off on holidays this summer, why not give the man who often sacrifices style for practicality and durability, a trendy cabin bag. As a surprise, pack it full of useful holiday goodies such as a portable phone charger, Bluetooth headphones, a travel pillow and his favourite author’s latest novel to read by the pool!


Nursing Homes Week begins on Monday!




Annual event runs from 10th to 16th



County Roscommon nursing homes are preparing to celebrate Nursing Homes Week 2019. Residents, their family and friends, staff and wider communities will participate in the annual week of celebrations that will run from Monday, June 10th to Sunday 16th. Nursing homes across the country are hosting events to celebrate the positivity of nursing home care.

  Celebrations will include family days, barbeques, parties, live music, dance, games, arts activities and a host of other events. Art is a central theme in the Nursing Homes Week 2019 celebrations. ‘In Residence’ is an initiative that will run in tandem with the week. It will see nursing homes hosting very special exhibitions of artworks created by residents.

  Tadhg Daly, NHI CEO states: “Our nursing homes are homes to extraordinary people in our communities. Nursing Homes Week provides opportunity to celebrate the remarkable people who live within them and the people who dedicate themselves to providing them with excellent care.

  “We should acclaim residents in our nursing homes who have and continue to make tremendous contributions to society. These people have tremendous knowledge and wisdom for us to learn from. They inspire those around them and bring tremendous happiness and warmth to peoples’ lives. Staff in our nursing homes provide these people with fantastic care, support and assurance, enhancing the lives of these people entrusted in their care.

  “This year we are delighted to celebrate the integral role that art fulfils within nursing homes in providing residents with therapeutic care and joyous activity. ‘In Residence’ will see nursing homes across the country hosting art exhibitions of resident artworks during the week. This will bring together truly remarkable and very special creations for visitors to the nursing homes in communities across Ireland to observe and admire”.

  Nursing Homes Ireland represents over 300 private and voluntary nursing homes in communities across Ireland.



Solstice Choir in Roxboro NS Astroturf fundraiser



Roscommon Solstice Choir, with the support of the children of Roxboro NS, will stage a concert in Kilbride Community Centre on Friday, June 14th at 8 pm.

  This is one of the four seasonal concerts by the choir and the only one in this area of Roscommon. The Solstice Choir are renowned for their outstanding performances and have attracted large crowds to many venues throughout the county and beyond.

  Performing with the Solstice Choir is the choir of Roxboro NS, who are preparing diligently to entertain the audience. The proceeds of the night will go to the provision of an AstroTurf at Roxboro NS and it is hoped that this can be completed this autumn. The families and staff have been hugely enthusiastic about this pitch and have been extraordinarily generous in their contributions to fund the project.

  A large crowd is expected at the concert so patrons are advised to get their tickets early. They may be obtained by contacting Roxboro NS on 090-6625703.

Ballaghaderreen Men’s Shed celebrates Men’s Health Week



As part of Men’s Health Week, which takes place from June 10th to 16th, Ballaghaderreen Men’s Shed is celebrating and acknowledging that men’s health matters with a series of events.

  On Tuesday, June 11th at 9 pm, solicitor Kenneth McDonnell (BL) will host a talk in Ballaghaderreen Men’s Shed.

  Wednesday, June 12th will see another ‘Shed Talk’, this time by James Geraghty from Molloy’s Chemist at 9 pm.

  On Thursday, June 13th a 5K walk will take place from the Men’s Shed at 7 pm and this will be followed by a BBQ with salads provided by the shed’s community garden. 

  This Men’s Health Week, Ballaghaderreen Men’s Shed stands shoulder to shoulder and you are invited to join them for a series of free talks. Bring a friend!

Cancer survivor Sandra raises over €14k for Vita House



Sandra Dolan has raised the grand total of €14,070 for Roscommon Cancer Support Services at Vita House in Roscommon town following her coffee morning and raffle fundraising efforts in Lecarrow last month.

  The Tonlagee, Cloverhill woman was just 43 in October 2017 when she discovered a lump that would change her life forever. Within weeks, the busy mother of two young children was diagnosed with breast cancer and left to face a gruelling treatment plan in Portiuncula and The Galway Clinic.

  “I found a lump in October 2017 and I went (to the doctor) straight away with it because I just didn’t like the feel of it. So I went in and was diagnosed with breast cancer in early November 2017,” she said.

  The months that followed were spent receiving treatment in Ballinasloe and Galway. The normal demands of everyday life were forced to take a back seat to Sandra’s new reality; bouts of chemotherapy and radiotherapy sandwiched between two surgeries.

  Sandra, who works for the HSE in Roscommon University Hospital, came to rely on Roscommon Cancer Support Services at Vita House during the traumatic ordeal.

  “I went from being like everybody else; working every day and busy with the kids, running and racing around, and next thing you’re hit with this bombshell. It’s like a rollercoaster; you just get on and one thing happens after another. You just can’t can’t catch your breath at all.

  “My mother had passed away a year before I was diagnosed with cancer and I had been trying to get her into Vita House. I thought it would really do her good. I tried a few times but she just didn’t want to attend. But when I got sick I just thought ‘Oh my God I have to go in now’. I came in (to Vita House) and I met Naomi, the counsellor, and the therapists. At the time there was a monthly Cancer Support meeting so it was just fantastic,” she said.

  Sandra is eternally grateful to her family, friends and wonderful neighbours for their support during her darkest days. She also paid tribute to Vita House for giving her another outlet.

  “Everyone says the same thing when you’re going through cancer: ‘Oh be positive, be positive’. Of course you have to be positive but when you’re feeling like crap it’s not always easy. Vita House was somewhere safe where if you did feel like crap it was grand. There was no expectation so you didn’t have to be like ‘Oh I’m great’. Even though you’re going through chemo and have no hair! I found the support unbelievable because it’s so easy to get down during treatment”.

  The diagnosis was also difficult on her husband James as well as for her daughter Rachel and son Robbie, who were just twelve and nine at the time.

  “I had been my mother’s carer and you think that’s bad but when it’s yourself and you have young kids it’s just devastating. You want to have the least effect on them as you can. I suppose they were at an age when they’re trying to find their feet and now they have all this going on. It was brutal,” she said.

  It wasn’t the Dolans’ first experience of the devastating effects of the disease, and it was following the death of James’ sister earlier this year that Sandra decided she would raise funds and awareness of cancer support services.

  “My sister-in-law passed away from cancer in March, aged 55, and we had her Mass and then there was a fundraiser down in Fourmilehouse for Vita House. We went to the Mass and then went across to the fundraiser and I was just thinking of the amount of women I knew who were sick. I told my husband James that this was something I could do and that evening I enquired about booking the community centre in Lecarrow for our tea/coffee morning and raffle”.

  Neighbours Marie and Seán Mahon sponsored the printing of tickets before they were sold to “anyone who stood still long enough”, according to Sandra. It was a huge effort from family, friends and work colleagues and €6,000 was lodged with Vita House even before the fundraiser in Lecarrow.

  “I’m so grateful to everyone who helped raise money, whether they sold or bought tickets, baked or helped out on the day. People are so good and there were so many who would come up to me and offered help,” she said.

  Sandra said she would recommend the cancer support services at Vita House and she was also keen to highlight the range of wigs available at Galaxy Hair and Beauty in Roscommon town for those who lose their hair during treatment.

  “Cancer is widespread, there’s nobody safe from it. Everybody has someone close to them who has suffered from it. I was aware of the cancer support services at Vita House because my mother was so sick and I felt had to raise awareness of it for other people coming down the line,” she said.




Fair and Festival time in Athleague!



The 8th annual Athleague Fair & Festival returns this June Bank Holiday weekend (Saturday, June 1st to Monday, June 3rd).

  There are a whole host of events taking place throughout the weekend…


Saturday, June 1st

The Suck Valley Way Quilt Exhibition will open at 10 am on Saturday at the Suck Valley Way Visitor Centre and continue each day from 10 am to 5 pm.

  Later on Sunday evening there will be the 3rd annual Sheep Race will take place at 7.30 pm, in conjunction with Athleague Hurling Club with total prize money of €1,400 up for grabs!

  This promises to be a great night of fun and entertainment and will take place outside Bridge House with lots of prizes on the night and music in Hamrock’s by Steve Reilly.


Sunday, June 2nd

Sunday will kick off with a Fair and Festival Celebration Mass at 10 am in St. Patrick’s Church, Athleague.

  A 5K/10K Run/Walk will take place from 11 am with registration in Athleague Community Centre. All proceeds will go towards Athleague/Tremane underage football Féile teams.

  For more information, contact Kevin McGeeney on 087-9848702 or Darren Daly on 087-9744745.

  The Ballyleague Model Railway Exhibition will take place in Athleague Community Centre from 12 pm to 5 pm on Sunday while a local history exhibition will run from 1 pm to 6 pm in conjunction with the Athleague/Fuerty Heritage Group.

  At 2 pm on Sunday it’s Soap Box Derby time! Run in conjunction with Tremane Hurling Club, the second annual Soap Box Derby will take place outside Hamrock’s Bar at 2 pm. Check out the Athleague Fair and Festival Facebook page for rules and other information.

  First prize this year is €1,000 in cash while the runners-up will receive €500 (sponsored by Callington), third place will pocket €250 (sponsored by Class Grass) and the fourth prize of €100 (sponsored by Centrepoint Autos) will go to the Best Themed Car. For more information, contact Henry on 087-7531730 or Martin on 087-8125154.

  Sunday will come to a close with a Party in the Park from 6 pm. Visitors can enjoy a delicious lamb BBQ in a unique setting with food served from 6 pm to 8 pm.

  Dance the rest of the night away with the Odd Socks band while there will also be face painting and a bouncy castle for children.

  Admission is €10 for adults, €5 for children and €25 for families (2 adults and 2 kids). Children under 5 go free.


Monday, June 3rd


The Bank Holiday Monday sees the return of the Traditional Fair Day from 11 am to 4 pm. Soak up the old-world atmosphere with horses and livestock, Red Mills Dog Show, (Registration from 12.30, judging from 1.30pm); crafts fair, old photographic exhibition and many other attractions. There will also be a bouncy castle and water zorbing for younger visitors to enjoy.

  Mullens’ Family Funfair will also be in attendance throughout what promises to be another fun weekend for the whole family to enjoy this June Bank Holiday in Athleague!



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