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Aidan’s memories of rugby’s origins in Roscommon



Well-known Roscommon town businessman, Aidan Farrell, is very involved in rugby in both Creggs and CBS. He is also on the executive of the Connacht Schools Rugby Branch and his four sons have represented Creggs and CBS at various levels…including Michael, who captained the school’s junior side in 2014, and current prop Tom.

  Earlier this week, Aidan looked back on how he first became involved in the game in a county which has traditionally been considered a Gaelic football stronghold.

  “CBS is my alma mater and a great man who is recently deceased, Gerry O’Dwyer, arrived from Navan with his family to work at Roscommon County Council and he came with rugby heritage.

  “Creggs RFC was only in its infancy and Gerry started junior rugby and they dragged lads out from town to play. There was no ‘Green’ back then and we played up behind the Church in Kilbegnet. That was a team that won Connacht U-16 and U-18 cups.

  “Before that, I can go back to when there was Community Games rugby in Barry Molloy’s field and current Cork City manager Johnny Caulfield played down by the castle in the early ‘70s. That was the first rugby I saw in Roscommon before Gerry O’Dwyer and Albert Looby Snr. started ferrying lads out to Creggs and coaching,” he said.

  Next Wednesday, Roscommon CBS will be hoping to add yet another page of folklore to a story which began all those years ago on makeshift playing fields in Kilbegnet and Roscommon town.


‘Best Managed’ award for King & Moffat


Roscommon-based company King & Moffatt Building Services has been named as a Deloitte Best Managed Company at the annual awards gala in Dublin, held in association with Bank of Ireland.

  The company was awarded this designation following a detailed qualification and judging process that evaluates the entire management team and business strategy in some of Ireland’s top privately owned businesses, looking beyond financial performance at criteria such as operational excellence, strategic planning, governance and talent strategy.

  The company re-qualifies to join a network of 136 companies which were awarded the status of Best Managed this year.


‘Friends of Edenville House’ Coffee Morning on Saturday



Roscommon Town Team will host a ‘Friends of Edenville House’ Coffee Morning on Saturday, 9th of March at 11 am in Gleeson’s Restaurant & Rooms​. This is a great opportunity to re-imagine Edenville House (Black’s House).

  Edenville House has an incredible history. It was built in 1702 as a military cavalry barracks. Most of the building dates to a redevelopment in the 1750s. It was used as a Barracks until 1869 and there are some associated outbuildings on the site. It became a private house in 1907 – ‘Black’s House’. The building was purchased by Roscommon County Council in the 1990’s.

  This impressive former Cavalry Barracks situated beside Roscommon Railway Station offers huge potential to Roscommon Town and environs.

  Roscommon Town Team is interested to hear the community’s ideas for the future  of Edenville House – could it be used for cultural, creative, artistic, heritage or tourism purposes?

  All are welcome to attend the Friends of Edenville House Coffee Morning on Saturday, 9th of March at 11 am in Gleeson’s.


The St Patrick’s St Barry’s Way Pilgrimage




Conscious of recent adverse publicity for the area, ‘Is this Rooskey’s response?’ asks
Sean Browne, who says he has been working
 on a major new agri-tourism initiative in the
general Rooskey area for a number of years…


A Rooskey-based man who says he has been working on a potential major new agri-tourism project for that area has organised a Pageant which will take place on St. Patrick’s Day. It is a forerunner, he says, to a major new agri-tourism initiative for the area.

  Mr. Sean Browne, whose forebears were from Derrymoylan, says he has been working on this project for a number of years, carrying out preliminary research and mapping in the Rooskey, Kilbarry, Tarmonbarry area. A few years ago he submitted the project and a proposal for financing it to Roscommon LEADER. He subsequently withdrew it temporarily for “personal reasons”. Mr. Browne says that LEADER expressed enthusiasm for his project at the time – and regret at his withdrawing of the plan.

  Speaking this week, Mr. Browne said: “It is interesting that just in the last month or so, LEADER is embarked on conducting a major Feasibility Study on a ‘mega’ tourism project, based on the same ideas. A guru is always understood in his own home patch!”

  Mr. Browne is now proceeding to launch the Rooskey/Kilbarry element of this project on, as he puts it, “entirely the right day, at entirely the right time, at entirely the right place – St. Patrick’s Day, at 8 am, at the point of entry to the Ancient St. Patrick’s Way at CLOONAWFUIL (Clun an Phoill), Rooskey”.

  In a press statement, he outlined: “The launch will take the form of a marvellously rumbustious pageant, to commutate and honour the conversion of the great St. Barry to the New Christian Faith. The pageant features dancing, traditional music and songs, performed by local and ‘imported’ musicians on a range of instruments, in the old pagan style, with very comic pagan rituals…and then in the more gentle style of the Christians.

  “The Great Barry, a Prince of the Ui Bruin in Leitrim (The Greatest of Our Own) enters in the person of an arrogant Druid mounted on a white steed (Each bán), and preaches to the assembled throng his Pagan Message.

  “Meanwhile the humble handmaiden of Patrick approaches him timidly and timorously and proffers to him the vellum book of the Christian Scripture. The poor damn Druid, of course, cannot read, but listens nevertheless to Patrick’s handmaiden, for she is beautiful. The Great Man doffs his pagan Raiment, dismounts his steed and becomes prostrate on the damp grass of New Rooskey. The handmaiden forthwith baptises him with Barntown spring water.  

  “The humble Barry will then proceed with symbolic passion on the ancient Patrick’s Way. The music and dancing and the Ritual will change perceptibly to the softer and more beautiful melodies of the New Religion and of Traditional Gaelic Ireland and its famous Monasteries.

  “The Troop and the ‘Plain Folk’ will proceed in solemn procession to the Sacred site of the Ancient Monastery in Kilbarry Cemetery, where Prayers and Thoughts of a Universal Nature, inspired by Religion and Faith, will be recited”.

  The proceedings will end with a traditional reciting of a Decade of the Holy Rosary, followed by a rendering of hymns of the Gaelic Christian Tradition and reflecting the theme of the morning’s proceedings.

People Platform - March 8th




‘Catastrophic decision’ on new roadway


Appeal for immediate action


Hyde Court,


Dear Sir,

Recently Roscommon county has been awarded the unique privilege of a new National Primary Road, the route to be designed, selected and constructed under the management of Transport Infrastructure Ireland (T.I.I.)/National Roads Office and Roscommon County Council. This new roadway of 33.4 kilometres is to replace the existing N5 from Scramogue to Ballaghaderreen which is deemed dangerous and not suitable for purpose.

  This being a new road, it should traverse the most suitable route to service the areas of population and commercial activity and give the safest and shortest connectivity to these areas in County Roscommon, i.e. Roscommon Town, Castlerea and Ballaghaderreen. For the transient users from Scramogue to Ballaghaderreen the selected new route makes little difference as all the proposed routes are approximately the same length.

  Initially there were several proposed routes, north and south of Tulsk. A selected route south of Tulsk would take the new roadway near the centre of population and commercial activity and eliminate the dangerous, unsuitable access roads each side of Tulsk on the N61.

  Unfortunately the route selected by the powers that be for the new roadway was on north of Tulsk.

  I objected to An Bord Pleanala to this selected route on the basis of:

  1. Safety: Because the main purpose of the new roadway was that of safety, this selected route committed its users accessing it from the N61 to further danger by still having to use the road from Clashaganny to Tulsk, a four-kilometre stretch of road with a series of curves, no hard shoulder and its laneways barely accommodating to converging heavy vehicles. This section of the N61 is more dangerous than any part of the N5 it is replacing and is not fit for purpose.

  Also from Tulsk crossroads to the new proposed N61 roundabout approaching Shankill crossroad, a stretch of road of five kilometres is mainly a boggy, undulating road with bordering water drains and no hard shoulder is totally unfit for heavy traffic and not fit for purpose. These two dangerous sections of the N61 acting as a connection road to the new N5 completely contradict the safety element as the reason for the new N5.

  2. Pollution: To access the new roadway from the N61 gives a longer driving distance on unsuitable roads under restrained driving conditions which causes more air and noise pollution.

  3. Cost: In time, these two dangerous unsuitable sections of the N61 will have to be upgraded to acceptable standards, so adding to the long-term costs to be paid for by the taxpayer.

  Also, extra cost will be borne by the road user in accessing the route selected north of Tulsk. Over time the cost will be enormous.

  An Bord Pleanala approved the route as selected by Transport Infrastructure Ireland, giving these bland, questionable reasons – “shorter journeys”, “reduction in traffic hazard” “improved connectivity, reduction in noise and air pollution” and “overall amenity”. None of these reasons apply to connectivity users from the N61 and in my view they are invalid. These connectivity users are subjected to a longer journey of approximately ten kilometres, subject to increased pollution of all types on a section of the N61 that is totally unfit for purpose and more dangerous than any section of the present N5 which is the subject of replacement.

  Instead of people accessing this new N5 road from the N61 being accommodated in a positive way by this new road, the opposite is the case. They are disadvantaged by being subjected to a more dangerous, longer journey at more cost and in an unhealthy state – causing more pollution.

  The only way that this catastrophic decision by the powers that be can be reviewed and reversed is by High Court action or political interjection at the highest level. Due to time constraints, this must be done immediately. I appeal to all concerned – political, commercial and the ordinary citizen – to take immediate action so that you and future generations of Roscommon people are accommodated in a safe, convenient and proper manner.

Brendan White

How I found what I was looking for…



Co. Roscommon

Dear Editor,

On market day in the town square, family, relatives and friends would pop in for a chat. Some would bring four or five eggs, each individually wrapped in newspaper. One of them always brought an apple tart from Halfpenny Johnny’s shop.

  The delicate would sit close to the range, whilst the busier would stand against the kitchen dresser, and all would talk simultaneously across different topics.

  Whenever St. Patrick’s Day was on the horizon, someone would invariably hark back to the year that the shamrock and palm were worn on the same day – Palm Sunday was also St. Patrick’s Day.

  Over the years I must have asked hundreds of elderly people if they remembered or heard of that day of joint symbols. None had ever heard it mentioned.

  Long before searching on Google became the norm, the charity shops became my only resource. I knew that a priest’s breviary contained a calendar of important moving Holy days.

  Following many months of scanning charity shop book-racks, I at last located an old breviary. I had found what I was seeking – Palm Sunday fell on the 17th of March, St. Patrick’s Day, 1940.

Yours sincerely,

Denis Hurley

Takes issue with Frank on criticism of Shane Ross


Castlerea Road,


Dear Editor,

I read Frank Brandon’s column (issue 22nd of February) regarding the issue of unaccompanied learner drivers, and was truly amazed that he was critical of Minister Shane Ross, who is trying to improve driving safety standards for the whole population. 

  Unlicensed people behind the wheel are not exclusive to the rural areas of Ireland. And whilst the new penalties may be causing great inconvenience, most people in this situation have been driving for many years without bothering to take a test. We should be encouraging all new drivers to take their test as soon as possible, and helping older people to do the same.

  None of our five children were allowed unaccompanied behind the wheel until they had passed their test – no matter how much inconvenience that rule caused at the time.

  Following Frank’s logic, none of us should have to take a test at all, making fools out of those of us who go to the great expense of doing so. A driving licence is exactly what it says, it is not a right.

  As for the comments regarding drink-driving limits, get real Frank, please – this is 2019. A car, or any vehicle, is a lethal machine.  Oh, don’t forget your own Editor who allowed an article on tyre safety in the same edition. Perhaps he could be criticised in next week’s edition of the newspaper?

  Adhering to rules is part of living in a civilised society. We should be backing the Minister for his brave stand regarding the driving situation.

  Soon, taking and passing your driving test will become a normal, acceptable fact of life. The days when rules were flouted for the personal gain of the individual will be laughed about and disappear into folklore…hopefully, along with drivers under the influence of drink or drugs and columnists who think that any of these behaviours merit a mention, let alone encouragement under the pretence of being unique.

Yours sincerely, 

Helen Southern

Suspected arson attacks


Co. Roscommon

Dear Editor,

Well done on speaking out on page one of Roscommon People (15 February last) against the thuggery that has taken place in Rooskey recently. We, the people of Roscommon, need to stand up and make it known that these criminals do not represent us.

Yours sincerely,

James Daly



Dubs’ boss pays tribute to Liam Gilmartin


Dublin manager, Jim Gavin, who was a neighbour of the late Liam Gilmartin in Raheny, paid a very generous tribute to the Roscommon legend who passed away last weekend.

  “Liam spent a good part of his life in Dublin.  He was a member of An Garda Siochana and I knew him well. He was a lovely man. I want to extend my condolences to the Gilmartin family and to Roscommon GAA on their loss. He was one of the outstanding players of his time. My father often spoke about Liam and that great Roscommon team.

  “Liam will be very fondly remembered in Dublin and we will probably even claim him as a Dub in some respects as he was over 50 years in the Capital and I want to remember him here today.

  “It’s a sad weekend for his family but we can also celebrate his achievements and the achievements of Roscommon in the 1940s. I never saw him play but as I said, I heard my father talk about him many times.

  “It was nice that the two teams he most loved – Roscommon and Dublin – played each other the day after he passed on and I’m sure Liam is looking down on us and I think he would have enjoyed that game. It was a fitting tribute to him and the legacy that he left behind,” Mr. Gavin concluded.



Local students in All Ireland Bake-Off


Best of luck to students from Mean Scoil Muire Gan Smál, Co. Roscommon who will take part in the senior final of the CEIST All Ireland Bake-Off this Friday, 8th of March.

  Odlum’s Catherine Leyden and Great British Bake-Off contestant Imelda McCarron will judge the competition.

  Students are set to battle it out to be crowned Ireland’s ‘Best Student Baker’ in the annual competition which is organised with the support of Odlums, Ireland’s favourite home-baking brand.

  The ‘CEIST All Ireland Bake-Off’ final will take place on Friday, March 8th in Ardscoil na Trionóide in Athy, Co. Kildare. We wish our local bakers the very best of luck!


‘An Evening with Percy French’ – this Sunday night!





‘An Evening with Percy French’ will be presented by the County Leitrim Percy French Society in Tawyntaskin Community Centre, Boyle on this Sunday night, March 10th, from 8 pm.

  For one night only the public will have the opportunity to travel back in time and spend a delightful evening listening to the music and songs of one of the most accomplished composers this country has produced.

  Percy French was born in Clooneyquin, Co. Roscommon on the 1st of May 1854 and died on the 24th of January 1920. During his lifetime he composed over 200 songs as well as having a prolific output in visual art.

  The show is presented in a fun-loving and good-humoured way, with audience participation welcomed and encouraged.

  Proceeds in aid of Tawnytaskin Community Centre. Tickets from 086-8130005 or on the door on the night (admission is €10).

Aidan’s working towards a ‘magical’ career



Aidan Murphy cuts an impressive figure as he puts an aqua aerobics class through their paces at the Hodson Bay Leisure Centre. The down to earth 27-year-old from Athlone is a popular member of staff at the hotel. 

  There are, in fact, no obvious signs that the gym instructor is part of a secretive society and is hoping to make a career using sleight of hand. For, you see, Aidan is a member of the Society of Irish Magicians.

  “I was always really into magic from a very young age but I starting getting into it properly when I was in secondary school. I figured little bits out from Keith Barry’s TV show and started practicing, mostly card tricks,” he said as he sipped a cappuccino at the Hodson Bay Hotel recently.

  “Every day in school at the back of class and I’d be trying tricks on teachers and friends too. Because magic wasn’t on TV as much or because it wasn’t as big among my friends, some people used to look at me as if I was a nerd or something!”

  Magic has experienced something of a rebirth and performers like Keith Barry, Dynamo and America’s Got Talent winner, Shin Lim, have shown how it can draw huge TV audiences.

  It’s all down to magic’s ‘cool factor’ and shows like Britain and America’s Got Talent and movies like Harry Potter have helped to propel it back into popular culture.

  But how does one get started on the Irish magic circuit? Aidan said it began when he was studying sports management in Athlone.

  “When I went to AIT a friend of my brother’s asked me to enter a competition in Mullingar called ‘Stars of the Bars’. I had never performed on stage. I was nervous, but when it came to the shows I was okay, because I’ve always just really wanted to perform magic”.

  Aidan won the competition outright and invested the prize money into his first magic show for kids. This is in turn led to wedding gigs.

  “As the guests arrive there’s about a two-hour lapse before the meal. I mingle with the guests…doing different genres of magic including mind reading, cards, a little bit of comedy and some close-up illusions. The second slot is after the main course and I make my way around tables performing.

  “It’s about entertaining people as much as the magic so I’m constantly working on how to hold an audience’s attention,” he said.

  The Athlone magician also performs regularly on cruise ships around the world. His corporate gigs have also brought him face to face with some very important people.

  “I was performing at the Aviva Stadium and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was a guest speaker at the event. I performed for two hours at the drinks reception. I heard the Taoiseach had arrived but wasn’t going to be at the drinks reception so I waited around for two hours to perform for him”.

  Aidan’s persistence obviously paid off because two days later he received a letter from Mr. Varadkar’s office inviting him to perform at the Presidential Dinner the following Saturday.

  Looking ahead, what is Aidan hoping to achieve in terms of a career in magic and entertainment?

  “I just want to be working full-time; I don’t necessarily want fame but I want to be busy performing and known around the area for doing what I’m doing.

  “Every year gets busier; when I started I was only doing a couple of weddings but I have 39 weddings booked this year. I’ve a lot of corporate events lined up and I’ve just performed at a Supermac’s event. I’ll be flying over to London for a gig in May too which came from a gig in Dublin. So it progresses through word of mouth and also on Facebook and Instagram where I’m always looking to reach larger audiences. It’s all about developing the performance and reaching and holding the audience,” he concluded.

The business of giving…NCBI Charity Shop





Storm Erik had brought hailstones to Roscommon town just minutes after I stepped out to buy a coffee and a newspaper. I was walking down Church Street at the time so decided to duck into the National Council for the Blind charity shop.

  In the midst of all the racks of clothing and shelves of bric-a-brac, a woman stood behind the till. She told me her name was Helen Jollivet and that she had moved to Ireland in 2016 from Zimbabwe.

  “Why Ireland?” I asked.

  “Well, we had been here before when my husband played golf for Zimbabwe,” she said. “We love the place”.

  Helen’s husband Mike had been a police officer in Rhodesia, later Zimbabwe. They left the African country because it was becoming too dangerous for them to live there.

  “There were more and more attacks. I don’t think it was really down to race, I just think that the people were getting desperate because they needed money because there was no work,” Helen said.

  She showed me around and praised not only the work of the charity but also the generosity of the people of Roscommon and volunteers like Catherine Brennan, Erika Klemparova, Helena Clarke and Eileen Newland, whom she described as her “right hand”.

  “Before I started here I had to do a training course in Dublin and I just couldn’t get over the work they (NCBI) were doing. A full-time job came up and so now I’m here and I love it.

  “We would have a good turnover of stock. The people here are fantastic with their donations of clothes, shoes, bags, handbags, scarves, jewellery,” she said.

  Helen continued: “A lot of people, when they’re moving house, leave a lot of things in the loft so when people move in they put it in boxes and bring it to us. We get pictures, paintings…that horse picture is very unusual…”

  The picture was black and white but in pristine condition and captioned ‘The Roberts Cup, Colombo 1917. Won by Argonaut’. Helen said it had arrived in a box of donations.

  “There’s everything from potato mashers to…well a woman is coming in later today with a three-piece suite and a couch that can be folded out into a bed”.

  Among the dozens of items of jewellery, Helen singled out a glass ornament in the shape of a double bass musical instrument and speculated that it had been presented as an award at one time.

  There were countless other items in the store too including a computer desk, a box of card tricks, a CD holder in the shape of a saxophone and a practically new men’s suit which was showcased in the window as part of the Valentine’s display in place at the time of my visit.

  Helen said the shop has regular customers as well as donors. One man, who collects all types of cameras, calls regularly to check up on the latest arrivals.

  “We hold on to any cameras or camera equipment that comes in for him. He’ll have a look at whatever we have and if he doesn’t want it then he can at least advise us on the cost,” Helen said before a woman arrived to browse through the hidden gems on offer and we had to say goodbye.

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