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Lights, camera, action! Shoebox Appeal launch



The launch of this year’s Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal at Hannon’s Hotel last Saturday was an overwhelming success according to coordinator Emma Clapison.

  “We have been inundated in just 24 hours with offers of help, interest from prospective volunteers and requests for leaflets. In fact, just over 1,500 leaflets were taken on the day along with over hundreds of our ready wrapped shoeboxes (prepared over the last few weeks by our volunteers) to help people get started,” she said.

  TV3 were there on the day as well as members of Team Hope Ireland and local volunteers. Entertainment was provided by Roscommon Solstice Choir and the Roscommon Community College Choir while former Roscommon Rose Aisling McNeill joined current Roscommon Rose Deirdre Cribbin in supporting this year’s appeal.

  Emma paid a special tribute to local volunteers, who would once again be instrumental in making the annual appeal a success.

  “We have a very loyal and dedicated team of volunteers - many of whom have been involved behind the scenes at the warehouse for a long time. For their previous and continued support a huge thank you! I’d also like to say a personal thank you to the volunteer event team who not only ensured that Saturday morning ran seamlessly but who have been hugely involved in the planning of this launch over the four months

  “We are very much looking forward to welcoming the new volunteers who have registered to get involved this year!”

  Anyone wishing to get information can look on the Team Hope Ireland website: www.teamhope.ie. Or they can look on our Facebook Page - Team Hope Roscommon: Christmas Shoebox Appeal. They can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact the Coordinator Emma Clapison on 087-3179370.



Gaels growth on and off the field - 'The Kube' this Saturday night!



Teresa Hession took over as chairperson of Roscommon Gaels this year at a very busy time for the club. The Gaels field teams at all levels and across all codes and the club is currently raising funds for the construction of new dressing rooms in Lisnamult.

  Despite the hard work off the field, Teresa says it is still very important for the club that their flagship team is appearing in the county final.

  “We are all really looking forward to the final, it is where we want the lads to be. We came very close to getting there a few times but this year we got over the line (reached the final) with hard work, dedication and a great management team.

  “This team has matured – having been successful minors and U-21s – and it took us a while to get it together but it happened for us this year.”

  The Gaels chairperson was quick to highlight the wonderful support the club receives from businesses in the town.

  “This is a very big club and we have a lot of teams in all codes – which is hard to manage – but the club is really developing. Lisnamult is developing well too. We are fundraising at the moment. The business community in the town have got behind us, which is great. We have hundreds of kids playing and we have mentors at all levels and we have been in quite a few county finals this year so it’s all very positive.”

  This weekend promises to be a huge one for the county town club with a major fundraiser due to take place on the eve of the biggest game of the year. Teresa is hoping the Gaels make it a weekend to remember.

  “We have a major fundraiser, ‘The Kube’, here in the Hyde Centre the night before the county final so hopefully the place will be heaving on Saturday night.  “Then on Sunday, it would of course be fantastic to win the county final. We are going in as underdogs and we have to accept that. Brigid’s are such a successful team and we have to respect them. However, we are not there to make up the numbers and we are there to take this across the line.”


Memories of football in the county town



My first memory of the GAA was being brought to underage training and matches by my late father. We trained in St. Coman’s Park or sometimes on the CBS field. We changed into our football gear inside the wall or under the ditch. Hours upon hours were spent every week playing and going to matches. It was a fantastic time.

  We had an U-12 street league that captured the imagination of the whole town at the time. There were hundreds of people at those games and the excitement was palpable. To us, winning one of those games was akin to winning the Sam Maguire Cup. It’s where our passion for Gaelic football was nurtured.

  My father, Seamus senior, was also a team mentor so we travelled around the county to various club games and learned about the rivalries with the other clubs. Then on Sundays we would be off to see Roscommon playing. Put simply, the GAA was our life growing up in Roscommon town.

  As Roscommon Gaels prepare to compete in Sunday’s county senior final, I wonder what my father would have made out of the modern-day GAA. He was chairman of the Roscommon Gaels club when he passed away at the ridiculously young age of 45. He had so much more to give. All I know for certain is that he would be a very proud man to see the club that he helped to get on the road being so vibrant and competing at the top level today.

   Indeed, as a former secretary, PRO, team manager, etc., myself, it wasn’t all plain sailing over the years; there were times when we struggled to keep the GAA show on the road in the county town. It was only for the massive work of a few people that the club stayed afloat at one stage. But people like Jimmy Menton kept the flag flying against the odds. There were others too, but I have never come across anyone with the passion that Jimmy had for his beloved Gaels club. Now there are plenty of people prepared to help out with the club and it is great to see it.

   Name-checking people who have been integral parts of the Gaels club over the years is always a dangerous thing to do. There are many people whom I worked alongside when I was involved, people who kept the club going when there was little or no interest in it. A lot of those people are still around and they will be delighted that the Gaels are back challenging for the Fahey Cup.

   Looking back, the Gaels were a fantastic team in the 1970s. An All-Ireland final appearance in 1976 was the highlight of that era. To lose that match to a St. Vincent’s team who were one of the strongest ever seen at club level was certainly no disgrace.

   As the 1970s came to a close, Clann na nGael came with a team that were to go on and dominate Roscommon football for 15 years, but at the start of that era Roscommon Gaels could always cause a shock. Our rivalry with Clann was intense, to say the least. I especially remember great wins in 1978 and 1980 against the odds.

  I wasn’t much of a footballer myself but both my brothers – Frank and Declan – featured prominently over the years, winning medals at all levels with the club, and indeed Declan helps out with the Gaels senior team today.

  It is incredible to report that the Gaels did not appear in a county senior final between 1980 and 1992 (when we were beaten by Strokestown after a replay) and that it took until 1994 for the club to win the title again. But after that we had some wonderful players (including today’s senior manager Liam McNeill) who went on to win five titles in a decade. Indeed that Gaels team were unlucky not to win a Connacht club title. But the club fell back again, and this Sunday they are back in a final after a 13-year wait. It’s a long time, too long really.

   But it is a different Gaels club now. There are plenty of people helping out in the background with underage teams at all levels. New facilities are being developed at Lisnamult and there are great people running the show. It’s a far cry from the days when there would be three or four of us at meetings trying to keep things going.

   As the Gaels take the field on Sunday I will be thinking about all the people who have worked so hard for the club over many years and who have slipped into the shadows but who are very proud Gaels men and women. This county final day is just as much for them as for anyone else. Then there are all those who were great Gaels people and who have passed away in recent years, most of whom have been laid to rest in St. Coman’s Cemetery. Just across the boundary wall at Dr. Hyde Park, my father will do his utmost to see the purple and gold over the line on Sunday. If Brigid’s win, then the Gaels will wish them the best of luck. May the best horse jump the ditch.
































Fuerty Fair – 400 years of tradition!


Fuerty is a picturesque village; a quiet and relaxing place in the central plains of Ireland, having a world-renowned porter house ‘Daltons’ of the ‘talking dog fame.’  This quaint old pub is in the shadow of centuries-old oak and beech trees, where upon elevated ground stands ruins of an ancient Abbey with its lofty tower from which radiates a mystique of our ancient past. This is the ancient site of the Fair of Fuerty.

  Fuerty Fair was established in the early 1600’s when Charles Coote was granted a 4,000 acre estate, and also obtained a patent to hold fairs in Fuerty – which was an extravagant affair held twice a year on St. James’s Day (July 25th) and St. Martin’s Day (November 11th).

  Over the centuries, the fair contributed immensely to the daily life of this rural parish in its continuous relenting battle to keep farm and family afloat, keeping the dreaded rents paid and starvation from their door. In those days, farming life was a tough existence, but through determination and perseverance farming families managed to keep the show on the road.

  The fair was the highlight of the year, the old, thatched cottages in the vicinity gleaming in their new coat of whitewash; the streets were swept; the potholes filled; truly no effort was spared to impress.

  As dawn broke, the entire population of the parish were on the move; men, women and children – all destined to experience this momentous occasion. The Fair Green and the entire village would be thronged. 

  From the early hours all roads leading and passing through Fuerty village would be entirely blockaded by rickety carts, gigs, side-cars, horses, colts, mules and asses, all followed in rapid succession by screaming children, heckling women all carrying something, hens, ducks and others perhaps struggling with a stubborn pig as they led it along with a straw rope. Along with them too was the farmer – oblivious to the cavalcade in his almost impossible task to keep his livestock from separation and getting lost among the throng.

  Stalls would be pitched on every available spot; the hawkers and peddlers would be selling everything from a needle to an anchor. And at every corner, a cheap-jack selling second-hand clothing, who was never without customers. The cobbler and blacksmiths had a runaway trade.

  The women all covered in black shawls, bare-footed, ranting in the old Gaelic tongue, sold homemade butter by the lump, eggs by the dozen, piglets by the litter and baby lambs, which inevitably brought many a tear from the children in parting with their loving pet and dear friend. 

  The astute gentleman selling crockery caused many a gasp when he tossed the delph cups high in the air, and without fail, caught it on a saucer as it tumbled towards the ground.

  Fairs were renowned as an important meeting place in the rural countryside – it brought together people from all parts and from very different rural backgrounds.

  The fair has long been the meeting place for the travelling community. They were always open to embrace the newly-evicted families and give them shelter within their primitive tents of animal hides stitched together and supported by flexible poles stuck in the roadside mud. This ramshackle home became the sales pitch for the travelling tin-smith, while his children sold sweeping brushes created from birch and mountain heather.

  The travelling families down through the years were largely accepted as an integral part of the Fuerty experience; the women whistling and singing Gaelic laments of the past, all echoing a passion and a heart filled desire for old Ireland’s freedom. The lone piper and blind beggar all added to the charm.

  The local schools closed down for the fair days, the children of all ages would become transfixed by the multitude of amusements on offer. The ‘Trick-o-the-Loop’ and the ‘Three-card-Trick’ proved very amusing, and men had a field day, making the fair day a very memorable occasion and a welcome break from their daily drudgery. 

  When the wheeling and dealing was over, friends and relatives usually adjourned to the nearby pub to drink to each other’s health.

  As the day led to night, and despite the hustle and bustle, any farmer that found himself a bit under the weather, would never forget his purchase wrapped up in brown paper. Horse carts, side cars, traps were all yoked up for the long journey home under the watchful eye of the old peeler, while another waiting in the bushes to ambush those without lights on their carts.

  Despite the encroachment of modernity, and the ever-evolving attempt to replace communal family participation with new technology and virtual communication devices, the fair continues despite this technological onslaught where apples became tablets and bird’s twitter becomes tweets. Our keeping with heritage and tradition ensures our FAIR continues and will survive for the next 400 years. As the fair celebrates its 400th anniversary, it promises to be a wonderful event for young and old alike.


Charity event at Kilronan Castle



Ladies, gather up all your friends, add a splash of pink to your outfit and make your way to Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa on Sunday, 22nd of October 2017 for the annual Toe2Toe Makeover. 

  This is the 4th year that Kilronan Castle have hosted this fabulous event with proceeds in aid of The Irish Cancer Society Action Breast Cancer.

  It promises to be an enjoyable afternoon where ladies will enjoy pink champagne & canape arrival reception and a delicious 3-course luncheon prepared by Head Chef David Porter and his team. In addition to that there will be invaluable information from The Irish Cancer Society, demonstrations and practical advice from the hair and beauty experts followed by an amazing fashion show parading the top styles and trends from the leading fashion designers and shops.

  The lovely Síle Seoige will be the celebrity MC on the day and on hand to offer top style and fashion tips herself!

  Get your tickets now by visiting www.kilronancastle.ie or call 071-9618000.



Feighan hails Boyle man Paul on Emmy nod


Senator Frank Feighan right, has congratulated fellow Boyle native Paul Young whose animation studio Cartoon Saloon has just been nominated for an Emmy for their Irish children’s TV series, Puffin Rock.

  “This nomination is another recognition of Cartoon Saloon’s huge standing within the industry internationally.

  “Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon is already a twice Academy Award and BAFTA nominated animation studio which was co-founded by Paul Young, who is company CEO.

  “Now, the company’s very successful Puffin Rock series is among the nominations for the International Emmy Kids Awards.

   “I wish Paul and the Cartoon Saloon team the very best of luck at the International Emmy Kids Awards, which will be presented in Cannes in April 2018.”

Tourism branding boost for Midlands



Minister Denis Naughten has confirmed that funding has been allocated for the development of a Lakelands tourism brand to promote the midlands counties to both national and international tourists.

  “The development of a tourism brand for the Lakelands will be part of a €33m investment in new tourism products, which delivers on a commitment I sought and obtained, along with my colleague Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, in the Programme for Partnership Government,” explained Minister Naughten.

  The funding commitments were confirmed by Minister for Tourism Shane Ross in the Dáil.

  The existing Capital Plan for 2016-2022 provides an allocation of almost €126m for tourism product development. Fáilte Ireland’s Tourism Investment Strategy 2016-2022 lays out the funding streams and delivery mechanisms for this allocation.

  “The promotion of the midland counties as the Lakeland region now puts our area on a similar standing to the Wild Atlantic Way and the Ancient East,” claimed Minister Naughten, who also thanked

Minister for Finance Paschal Donoghue.


People Watching - October 20th

Five locals receive Girl Guides’ highest award

Five Roscommon teenagers received Irish Girl Guides’ highest award – the Trail Blazer National Guide Award – at a special ceremony on Saturday last.

  Alana Corcoran, Danielle Croghan, Leah Daly, Sarah Hand and Katie Hennessy of Rosmote Girl Guides were among 107 girls from around the country to blaze a trail to Croke Park with their proud families and Guide leaders to celebrate reaching the pinnacle of Guiding.

   Each Girl Guide received a Trail Blazer gold pin and a National Guide Award certificate from Irish Girl Guides (IGG) President Maureen Dillon and IGG Chief Commissioner Helen Concannon.

Ladies’ Football table quiz in Kilbride on Friday

The new ladies’ football development committee are running a table quiz in Kilbride Community Centre on Friday, the 20th of October, at 8 pm in aid of the Roscommon Ladies Football Development Fund.

  We would ask that this be supported by all players involved in all three squads and their clubs.


Historic Fair of Fuerty is on this Sunday!



The Fair Of Fuerty, taking place this Sunday, 22nd of October, is now in its 400th year. The Fair will be held on Sunday at the Fair Green (at Dalton’s Pub) in Fuerty, four miles outside Roscommon town.

  The organisers have a great line-up for the day and night, a schedule that will suit young and old.

  This year they are once again creating that old-style atmosphere typical of fair days gone by, featuring horses, donkeys, livestock, pigs and fowl and a large selections of shop stalls.

  There will be food and a seated area and entertainment for all. The entertainment will include a Western-style party. The marquees will ensure that guests will remain dry if the weather conditions aren’t favourable.

  Speaking to the Roscommon People, the organisers said: “Once again this year we want to make this a non-expensive experience for families. Admission is free for everyone. We have a kids’ marquee with free face-painting, free pinita and free competition games with prizes. We also have our Western-style party in the marquee with Romeo the Bull (see how long you can stay on) and music all day and night in Dalton’s pub.”

  There will be prizes for best dressed Cowgirl and Cowboy. There will also be prizes for best turned out Horse/Pony of the fair and best turned out rider. There will also be fascinating free displays from a Traditional Tinsmith and old-style Farrier.

  It promises be a wonderful day in the great tradition of the Fair of Fuerty – don’t miss it!



We found love in a Holy Place!


Couple met, got engaged and married in Lourdes!


Dorothy and Paul Coyle sit giggling in their spacious kitchen just outside Roscommon town. They’re slowly leafing through two wedding albums. Smiling, glamorous people look out from the pages as the newly-weds reminisce about how they first met.

  It all began in a Basilica in Lourdes after Dorothy and Paul had travelled to France in 2006 as part of the Elphin Diocesan Lourdes Pilgrimage.

  Dorothy, who was born with Spina Bifida and is confined to a wheelchair, was there with her sister Bridget, while Paul, who eventually worked as a Brancardier, was there with his mother.

  Dorothy takes up the story.

  “My sister Bridget was doing a reading at Mass and so was Paul.”

  “I got caught that time!” laughs Paul.

  Following the readings, Bridget brought Paul over to meet her sister.

  Asked whether there was an initial ‘wow factor’, Dorothy and Paul laugh.

   “No,” she says.

  Love works in mysterious ways.

  It may not have been love at first sight, but a friendship blossomed during the remainder of the Pilgrimage.

  “You gravitate towards certain people. There are usually about 300 people on the Pilgrimage but you might gravitate towards ten or twelve. It wasn’t intentional, we just got talking,” says Dorothy.

  The pilgrims returned to Roscommon but an act of kindness kept them in touch, as Paul explains.

  “There was a young Brazilian girl called Victoria and she kept us in touch.”

  Victoria, who is blind, was a neighbour of Paul’s in Weekfield near Ballyleague and Dorothy and Paul had decided to see if there was anything they could do to help the young woman.

  “Victoria was in the group that year and Paul was watching out for her,” says Dorothy.

  According to Paul, his kindness in France was mirrored by Dorothy back on Irish soil.

   “I remember Dorothy asking ‘should we try and do something to see if we can help her?’

  “She went straight on the computer the night we all came home looking for details about how we could help Victoria. That kept us in touch and we got to know each other and then of course feelings came into it.”

  While Dorothy checked online for ways to help the young woman, something else clicked.

  “We were looking up doctors and things like that to see if there was anything we could do. At the same time I was looking at Paul and the way he was looking out for her and I thought to myself how nice he was. I knew he was genuine.”

  A mutual attraction had developed but both had erected walls that would need to come down before any courtship could commence.  

  Paul provided an honest assessment on how the relationship progressed.

  “I knew for a long time that she was, how do you put it, interested? I wasn’t letting on for the simple reason that I hadn’t gone out with anyone in 17 years.

  “It took me a long time to get used to the kindness that was being shown to me. It did take me a while.”

  “I kept chipping away at him,” laughs Dorothy.

  “She never backed off!” comes the riposte.

  They’re now both laughing across the table before Paul finishes his train of thought. “I was just glad I met her,” he says.

  A Lourdes Pilgrimage in 2006 may have been the first face-to-face meeting but they had been on each other’s radar for a while.

  It was through Paul’s job in SuperValu that the now happily married couple almost had their first “confrontation.”

  “Dorothy used to give a book of tickets to a mutual friend of ours who also worked in SuperValu and this person would sell the tickets. Of course, I was also selling these tickets and she was losing customers…little did I know at the time that she was selling tickets for Dorothy!”

  Dorothy hadn’t forgotten.

  “That’s how I knew his name for a few years before we met. My friend told me that there was a certain gentleman on the staff in there and he was getting to people before her with the tickets!”

  All was forgiven however following their personal conclave in the Basilica in 2006. They started dating in 2011 and Roscommon town was the setting for their first official date or Italian restaurant, La Trattoria, to be precise. “Natural” is the word used to describe the evening as wry smiles are exchanged.

  It was unexpected, as love often is, and Dorothy was slightly bowled over by this turn of events.

  She explained how a romantic relationship was something she hadn’t experienced before.

  “It was new to me because I never knew what it was like to have a boyfriend before and I was kind of cagey. Afraid of being rejected, let’s say, like if I said too much or too little or whatever. I didn’t know that that was normal. I don’t know…maybe I’m over-compensating for my disability. I suppose it’s a shield that I’ve built around myself.”

  The couple went from strength to strength over the next few years and in 2015, marriage was discussed.

  They travelled to Lourdes with the Pilgrimage that year and while a Lourdes engagement had been mentioned, it still came as a shock to Dorothy.

  “It was still a surprise because you talk about that stuff but it seems out there,” she gestures to a distant point out the window.

  “We had planned to get engaged in the Rosary Basilica where we met,” says Paul, “but there was a Mass going on at the time so I said to myself ‘Leave it for a while and we’ll come back’.

  “We went around the corner to St. Bernadette’s Altar and I proposed to her there,” he adds.

  “I was so shocked,” Dorothy interjects.

 Paul continues: “We sat down at the seat at St. Bernadette’s Altar, which is outside...”

  “Yeah, then he starts mooching in his pocket,” adds Dorothy to more laughter.

  There were tears on their return to the rest of the group. Friends had been “egging them on” throughout the courtship.

  “They were all very happy for us,” says Paul.

  The happy couple enjoyed a civil ceremony in the Abbey Hotel with their family and friends on June 23rd of this year before returning to Lourdes for a wedding ceremony on August 29th. They are deeply grateful to family and friends for making both days so special and to organisers such as Dorothy’s sister Bridget, Abbey Hotel wedding co-ordinator Lisa Mullally, Anya Grealy and the staff at the Abbey Hotel as well as Molloy’s for the beautiful wedding cake and all those involved in the Lourdes ceremony too.

  “We had two weddings,” beams Dorothy, “We’re like the Kardashians!”

  Two weddings also meant two honeymoons and the Coyles spent theirs in Galway and Westport before returning home to live together on the outskirts of the county town.

  “Most people have second honeymoons after 40 years of marriage, we had our second honeymoon within two months!” Dorothy’s smiling again before her voice takes on a more serious tone.

  “I found my second half.”

  As for her other half…“I know she’s my wife,” says Paul “but she’s a great friend and great companion too.”

  Shy glances are exchanged and it’s clear that walls have come tumbling down in the eleven years since they first met. Theirs is a house of warmth and understanding, a relationship based on seeing and appreciating each other’s strengths.

  Through readings at the Rosary Basilica in Lourdes and turf wars in SuperValu over tickets, it has become clear that what was meant for both Dorothy and Paul hasn’t been allowed to pass either of them by. He describes his wife as having “a heart of gold” but it was Paul Coyle’s kind and selfless nature that sparked a friendship, which eventually led to evenings spent laughing and smiling at each other across their kitchen table.










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