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Jimmy Osmond tells the People about his Irish tour tribute to Andy Williams








Following a fantastic Roscommon summer, what’s next? Well, as the frantic covering of school books has been completed, the uniforms have been ironed and the kiddies, having returned to school, are getting back into a routine, it’s time for us grown-ups to enjoy the magic that is autumn.

  Now I don’t know about you readers, but autumn usually involves a fair bit of reflection on my part, and there’s nothing I love more than sitting in my window, glass of Merlot in hand, and, through the soft, glorious light of a Roscommon skyline, reflecting on times past. Well that’s exactly what happened to me last week when, out of the blue, I was offered an exclusive interview with one of my ‘teen-hood’ idols, Jimmy Osmond. Okay, to be honest, his big bro Donny was the object of my stalkings, sorry affections, (they never proved a thing), and, as I’d already netted the exclusive with my heartthrob (it’s a ‘70s term, ask yer mammy), when he played Dublin’s Point Theatre in the noughties, it was with absolute delight that I was honoured to accept Jimmy’s kind invitation to chat about his new venture – where he pays tribute to his ‘buddy’ and mentor, the late, great Mr. Andy Williams.

  So, on behalf of you, our lovely readers, many of whom I’ve no doubt will be keen to attend either of Jimmy’s walk-down-memory-lane type shows, I bit the bullet and dialled his ‘cell phone’ in Utah, USA. Yep, hubby will be so thrilled when the bill arrives! (At this point I’ll add, in accordance with GDPR guidelines, that I deleted his number following our chat…but you still have mine Jimmy, so, call me!).

  Of course, the more mature Rossies among you will remember little Jimmy Osmond as the baby of the all-singing, all-dancing (squeaky clean, with molars to die for), Osmond family whose ‘scouse’ themed, albeit cheesy little ditty ‘Long Haired Lover from Liverpool,’ was a huge chart success back in 1972, claiming the coveted Christmas number one slot. Now 55 years old and celebrating over 50 years in showbiz, Jimmy is as bubbly and friendly as ever. 

  “I never grew up. I’m still little Jimmy Osmond, it’s so much fun to do what you love for so many years. It’s not like work!” says the pop idol who credits Williams himself with providing him with the inspiration to take this new show ‘Moon River and Me,’ on the road.  

  “Actually there was a DVD due to be released before Andy passed away. He wanted to be remembered for his music and he picked his favourite songs and the people he performed them with, and I first performed with Andy on his show at age three. My brothers were discovered by Walt Disney and Andy and his dad saw them and invited them to be on his show and I joined them all when I was three, and it’s been a fairytale ride ever since. I just love what I do”. 

  It was following Andy’s death (in 2012), that Jimmy, determined to maintain his good friend’s legacy, was delighted to be given the Williams’ family’s blessing to showcase their legendary father’s long and illustrious career through this colourful, interactive production.  

  “His children here in the States gave me the rights to Andy’s footage. I bring a big digital screen along with me too, and it shows some of Andy’s friends – which included Elvis and the Kennedys –people don’t actually get it until you show them on the screen”.

  Osmond is hoping to appeal to a cross-section of fans, from more mature ones like me who’ll remember him from the decade that fashion forgot, (aka the ‘70s), to youngsters who’ll recognise him from certain reality TV shows.

  “People remember me,” says Jimmy with what sounds like sincere shock and modesty, adding: “They remember me from the olden days and younger ones know me from I’m a Celebrity get me out of Here!, and from playing Teen Angel on stage in Grease, and Billy Flynn in Chicago, and it’s so great to make that connection”. 

  Relaxing into our cosy little chat, and settling into my best diplomatic envoy role of always promoting fabulous Roscommon, I felt it my duty to turn the topic towards our fair county and asked Jimmy if himself and wife Michelle had ever visited here?

  “No, but I’d love to visit next time I’m in Ireland if everyone’s as friendly as you. I’ve been to Dublin and Belfast and I drove around a little, but I look forward to visiting Roscommon soon. I have never performed there. I’d like to get over and perform there,” enthuses Jimmy after I tell him what a wonderful facility we have in our Roscommon Arts Centre. 

  The dad of four, who is an advocate for children’s literacy in the US, also tells me his daughter Sophia (24) will be making the journey to our Emerald Isle to join him on stage.

  “Sophia, who is beautiful like her mother, has recorded with me in the past, and she is the only family member coming with me on this occasion”. 

  Explaining how he proudly once “gigged” with Frank Sinatra, Jimmy reveals how he also had the pleasure or performing a duet with the crooner’s eldest daughter, Nancy.

  “I sang ‘Something Stupid’ with Nancy and my daughter Sophia and I recorded it years later. We played it for Nancy and she loved it, so we put it on the album”.

  As well as daughter Sophia, Jimmy and Michele have three other children; Zack, Arthur and Bella, who all share their Utah home with the family’s “two sheep and a Maltese puppy”.

  An award-winning producer for the BBC, PBS, ABC and The Disney Channel), the devout Mormon is the ‘owner’ of what was the biggest selling single of the year, (in 1972), spending a staggering 27 weeks in the charts, catapulting the then little Jimmy O into the Guinness Book of Records as being the youngest person ever to top the UK charts, (a record, I believe, he still holds today)!

  We wish Jimmy well on his tour and we’re sure Roscommon show-goers who make the trip to either Limerick or Dublin will be left screaming for more.



A weekend of conflicting emotions




First of all…I didn’t go. I was covering GAA matches on Saturday and Sunday, and even if that wasn’t the case, I probably wouldn’t have gone anyway. In 1979 we left Roscommon at 2 am to go to Ballybrit Racecourse to see John Paul 11 – but then again almost everyone in the country went to see him all those years ago.

  I did watch as much of the visit as I could. As will be the case for many people, there are a range of conflicting emotions to deal with as I look back on what was a very important weekend for our country and for the Catholic Church in particular.

  On a human level, Pope Francis comes across as a humble, caring and pleasant man. He seemed relaxed and ‘at home’ as he met with so many people and attended so many different events. However, the Ireland that he visited last weekend is a totally different country to the one that John Paul 11 visited in 1979.

  There is a huge cohort of our population who are very angry and disillusioned with the Church and with what they got away with in this country and indeed all over the world for many decades. These people feel that Pope Francis did not go far enough at the weekend in his various speeches about Church scandals. The Pope apologised a number of times, but, in the eyes of many, he made no commitment to any action or redress. It’s easy to understand the anger and resentment of people who were abused. People who were scandalised and abused want all those who were responsible for cover-ups in the Church to be sacked – and who can blame them?

  It’s hard to believe that Pope Francis never heard of the Magdalene Laundries or indeed of the Tuam Babies scandal. Is it that the Pope is so protected in the Vatican that a lot of these horrible stories have been kept from him? If that is the case, then there needs to be a root and branch clear-out at the very top in Rome. Pope Francis needs to know and understand what happened in these truly horrific cases.

  Last week I attempted to read the Special Prosecutor’s Report in Pennsylvania into child sexual abuse in the Church there over many decades. I defy anyone reading this article to read that recently-published report and not get physically sick. The levels of depravity which were perpetrated by members of the clergy on innocent children is beyond any kind of explanation. It was vile and stomach-churning. Anyone who covered this abuse up is equally as guilty as the disgusting deviants that carried it out.

  The worrying thing about all this is that there is much more to come. Wait until they get to Central and South America, and to Africa too. The Church is facing decades more of these allegations. But if it faces up to the problem with truth and action, then most fair-minded people will give Church leaders credit. This Pope and future Popes will have to deal with this issue for many years to come because it is not going to go away.

  Having said all of the above, I am very conscious of the hundreds of thousands of people who derived great spiritual comfort and joy from the visit of Pope Francis. So what if there were only 150,000 people at the Mass on Sunday. I spoke to many who attended the various events in Croke Park, Knock and the Phoenix Park. They really enjoyed their day and the experience, and who are the media or anyone else to scoff at them? The excitement etched on the faces of the people in Knock as they waited in the cold rain for a glimpse of Pope Francis is something that I will always remember. Whether some people like it or not, there are still many devout Catholics in our country, and they deserve respect too. The Church is about the people and their faith in God.

  It is also a fact that there are many great priests (and clergy generally) who continue to carry out fantastic work on behalf of their communities throughout Ireland and the world. It is such a pity that their great work has been overshadowed by the curse of abuse and corruption. Last weekend was a great cause for celebration for them too.

  There were many memorable moments captured by RTE’s excellent coverage. The visit of the Pope to Brother Kevin Crowley’s soup kitchen in Dublin, the selfie taken by a young member of the travelling community in Croke Park, the Pope signing a Mayo football jersey, and his obvious joy at meeting ordinary people at all the events he attended was remarkable.

  The visit was very well organised. Well done to everyone concerned. A huge logistical operation, it went off very well. I know it cost over €30 million, but it brought the eyes of the world on our small country. I’m glad Pope Francis saw fit to visit Ireland. It has generated a lot of debate about who we are as a people and where we are going. That in itself is a good thing.

  It’s odds-on that I will not be around when the next Pope chooses to visit us here. So I wish Pope Francis well in the tough job that he has on his hands.

  I wonder if he has lifted the curse from the Mayo footballers? Now that would be a miracle!












































































































‘I had no interest in Knock…yet I became emotional watching this piece of history’




Despite the fact that I had no interest in making a pilgrimage to see Pope Francis during his whistle-stop visit to our neighbouring County Mayo, I did have the telly on, because I do believe I was witnessing a piece of history. I must say that our lovely neighbours at Knock did themselves and the rest of the country proud. Well done to each and every single one of you. Comhghairdeas libh!

  I will admit though, much to my darling atheist hubby’s concern, as I was dipping in and out of the live Knock coverage, out of the blue, I suddenly burst into tears – as, once the official greetings were over, I saw Pope Francis walk towards the waiting crowd and instantly make a beeline for a darling little boy who was sitting in a wheelchair. 

  I don’t know what came over me, maybe it’s menopause, but, that gentle action alone, along with reports that the CEO of the Catholic Church broke into Spanish and labelled those who cover up abuse as “caca” – which the very polite translator interpreted for us as “filth you would see in the toilet” – kind of served as make or break moments for me. And, yeah, he’s right, they are pieces of s**t, but not only those who cover up abuse, those who perpetrate it are impacted with excrement too!

  However, maybe my minor emotional meltdown was born out of memories of when, as a young girl, I sang at the Galway youth mass with my folk group for Pope John Paul 11’s visit. By coincidence, this group once included Tony Walsh, that piece of scum we now know as the convicted paedophile priest; described in the Murphy Report as someone who is ‘always going to be dangerous,’ and who ‘could not be let near schools, children, confession, etc’.

  Or perhaps it was my darling dad’s phone call telling me he was holding his Pope John Paul 11 commemorative medal given to him by Aer Lingus when he was part of the elite crew tasked with  maintaining the 1979 Papal aircraft. Either way,  the occasion got to me; and I now genuinely hope Francis is the man to draw that line, introduce reform and win back this country’s faith in the ‘institution’ of the Church. While I believe His Holiness has the power, I’d question if he has the grit? You see, we’re a different Ireland now; a resilient Ireland; an Ireland no longer afraid to speak out and challenge the Church; and speak out we did last weekend; telling Francis his expressions of regret, welcome though they are, will never remove the torment experienced by abuse survivors, nor will they fix the physical, psychological and spiritual damage perpetrated by his peers. 

  And while I’m aware we cannot hold one man responsible for the sins of the Church, I’m hoping this Bishop of Rome, who spoke to Ireland with a softness and an uncharacteristic vulgarity when empathising with survivors of clerical sex abuse, and who happily posed for a selfie with a young girl, will be the one to turn Ireland, and all of her generations, back towards her faith.


Mike Denver set for Abbey Race Dance




The Race Dance returns to the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon town next Monday (September 3rd) with a special double bill of music from 9 pm.

  There will be live dancing in the Abbey’s fabulous Ballroom from 10.30 pm with Irish Country music star Mike Denver and his band.

  Entertainment at the Roscommon town venue begins at 9 pm with live music in the bar from Seán Brennan. It’s a night of live music not to be missed!


See you at Roscommon Races on Monday!



Roscommon Racecourse stages its penultimate fixture of the year next Monday (September 3rd) with the first race off at 4.35 pm.

  The committee would like to thank the EBF, who are kindly sponsoring three races on the evening.

  In a statement, the committee said: “The good weather has been a help and a hindrance this summer and while it has been welcomed by tourists and racegoers alike, it was hard work getting enough water on the track to ensure nice ground.

  “The fast ground has held a lot of trainers up and there is an army of horses to run, as they have been waiting for kind ground. With that in mind, we’d anticipate that some good horses will run at Roscommon that evening.

  “The top yards were well represented here last week and we’d imagine that it will be more of the same here for our next fixture”.

  Overall it’s been a great year at Lenabane, as the committee acknowledges.

  “We’d like to thank our loyal racegoers who have turned up in their droves here all year. We would also like to thanks our sponsors, many of whom are local to the racecourse.

  “Hopefully we’ll have some good weather, as that always makes an evening at the races much more enjoyable”. 

  There’s a special admission price of €10 for adults and €5 for OAPs/students. Also, attractive discounts on group bookings. Free admission in for children U-16.
  The Ros Special for €35 includes admission, a racecard, a two-course meal and a €10 betting voucher. There’s also a free bets competition on the racecard.
  Follow the Roscommon Racecourse on Facebook or log onto roscommonracecourse.ie for updates.

Ciarán Rosney for Elphin Show finale


Country music star Ciarán Rosney is set to perform at An Bóthar Rua this Saturday night (September 1st) as the curtain comes down on the 41st Elphin Agricultural Show.

  The Offaly native, who made his debut on the big band dance circuit in March of this year, released his new single ‘Remember Who You Are’ on July 27th and has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the industry.

  His new single is of course a follow-up to the smash hit single ‘Found’, which hit number one spot in Ireland. This was Ciarán’s second chart-topper following the success of his debut single ‘Hold Whatcha Got’. His third single, ‘Remember Who You Are’, is sure to be another crowd pleaser both on radio and on dance floors around the country.

  So, head along to An Bóthar Rua in Elphin this Saturday night as one of country music’s hottest properties performs chart-topping hits from 10 pm until late.

PJ Hernon CD launch


One of traditional music’s best-known accordion players has revisited one of his old recordings. PJ Hernon, veteran of the stage and studio, has remastered and reissued his album ‘The First House in Connacht’ which was originally brought out on cassette in 1984.

  The Connemara native has been resident in Gurteen, Co. Sligo for many years and has close associations with the Coleman Music Centre as well as with lots of the musical projects worked on there since its establishment.

  PJ’s remastered album is now available on CD and Noel Grogan from MidWest Radio will launch the CD this Thursday (30th) in Spells Bar, Ballaghaderreen at 9.30 pm. There will be a live music performance on the night from PJ Hernon and his many guests.


Great reviews for Boyle actor


Decadent Theatre Company from Galway is presenting Martin McDonagh’s play ‘A Skull in Connemara’ in The Olympia until Saturday, September 1st. The lead actor is Pat Shortt. There is a Roscommon connection through Boyle actor, Jarlath Tivnan.

  While Pat Shortt may be one of the country’s finest and unsung actors (see ‘Garage’) the tremendously energetic performance of Jarlath Tivnan has been exciting critics.

  While praising Pat Shortt’s restrained performance, the theatre critic of The Irish Times wrote: “…however, it is Tivnan who steals the show with his explosive energy as Martin, swinging between baffled simplicity and psychopathy as he drives the plot on. Scene Three, in which he and Mick smash the skulls of the recently exhumed, is performed with an irreverent joy that you will, surely, never see anywhere else again”.

  So, if you are from Boyle or its surrounds and live in the capital, a visit to this production is worthy of consideration – and maybe tell your friends too!

Eimear's Rose Diary: ‘An amazing experience!’


While I was disappointed not to have made it through to the Rose TV Show on Monday and Tuesday, my International Rose of Tralee Festival was an absolutely amazing experience!

  And what about our Escort of the Year Paul Clabby? He was the life and soul of the party and totally deserved his win. The announcement on Monday lifted everybody and the committee and Yvonne Donoghue (Chairperson Roscommon Rose Centre) certainly deserved something back.

  As for me, the whole experience was surreal! From the moment we landed at The Glenroyal Hotel in Kildare last Wednesday, we have been treated like royalty. Crowds have welcomed us with open arms and the goodwill of people has really shone through!

Wednesday, August 15th

Arriving at the Rose Hotel was definitely one of the highlights of the week. There had been great excitement on the bus when we started seeing signs for Tralee.

  When we arrived at the hotel our families and the Escorts were there and it was quite emotional. I cried, not because I hadn’t seen my family in two days, but because they’re such a big part of the whole Rose journey.

  Later that evening we went to the greyhounds where there were so many young girls looking for photographs. They looked at us as if we were fairytale princesses! It was a lovely feeling but you had to pinch yourself!

Thursday, August 16th

We spent Thursday visiting various places around Kerry and the welcome we got was unbelievable. And the food! Everywhere we went the food was amazing – I don’t know how we fit into our dresses afterwards! (Laughs).

  The people were lovely and they were so honoured to have us there. We felt honoured to be there too.

Friday, August 17th

I don’t know if I can describe the Rose Dome – it’s like being in a magical ball for a few hours. Everyone was amazing, the service was unbelievable and so too was the food! It was great to have our families there too. Just an unbelievable experience!

Saturday, August 18th

The announcement was made on Saturday as to who would take part in the TV Show so that was hard for everyone. I was obviously disappointed not to make it because everyone wanted to be on TV. When I was at home I was told not to worry about not making the TV part because I’d be so caught up in the whole experience and that was true. I wish people could have been here to see what goes on away from the TV because that’s just a tiny part of the whole experience. I was disappointed initially but got over it quickly and enjoyed more wonderful visits that afternoon. Now I’m just really excited about the year ahead!

Sunday, August 19th

We had a photoshoot on the beach at 8 am on Sunday and while we had been dreading the thought of it at first, we had a lovely morning and ended up in the sea in our dresses!

  Later that night we had another parade and once again the crowds were amazing. Just when you thought there was no one left to see us!


Monday and Tuesday, 20th and 21st

I really enjoyed being front row in the Dome on both nights. It’s been a big year of change for the festival and it’s been quite diverse. It was just magic. I really believe it’s a hidden gem and that there are people who don’t know about it. It is absolutely unbelievable the amount of work that goes into it from the committee and the people of Tralee.


Delight at Leaving Certificate results in Ballygar!




Emma O’Malley, the Principal of Colaiste Mhuire in Ballygar, has expressed her delight at the Leaving Certificate results achieved by students at the school.

  “Over 30% of our students obtained over 500 points and there were many outstanding individual results” she told the Roscommon People.

  “Often headlines and statistics do not do justice to the achievements of individual students who have overcome challenges with grit and determination. Overall, we are very proud of all our students. They have continued the academic tradition that is to the fore in the school.

  “I would like to acknowledge the commitment and hard work of our staff and students to achieve such great success. This year we celebrate our 70th year in providing secondary education. We continuously strive for excellence in teaching and learning”.

  Ms. O’Malley said that she is proud of each and every Leaving Cert student and wishes all of them every success as they take their next steps.


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