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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.

The business of sport...with Club Rossie

 

 

Clara Hester is 23-years-old, from Roscommon town, and is currently studying for a Masters Degree in journalism in DCU. She is also part of the voluntary Club Rossie marketing team alongside David Leydon and Colm Beirne. Social media plays a huge part when it comes to promoting the group’s work as was evident during last year’s Win a House in Dublin campaign.

  Clara said proper use of the major social media platforms can also be extremely beneficial to local businesses.

  “Club Rossie has a really big following on all four major platforms. We have Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook. We try to make it very community-based so we have a lot of interaction with people with feedback from games. It’s really immersive compared with the official Roscommon GAA platforms which tend to focus on information about games.

  “We actively promote our business members as part of the business package. Members will get a promotional post and we will promote any offers you have on. When a team comes to Roscommon we’ll have tweets saying ‘check out this business if you want to eat’ for example. It’s good promotion and shows that we appreciate their support,” she said.

  Content is king of course and Club Rossie’s social media coverage is constantly being tweaked in order to provide an immersive match-day experience for Roscommon supporters all over the world.

   “In the past year we’ve tried to up the amount of content from matches but because it is a volunteer organisation you don’t get to every game.

  “A lot of our followers are abroad and they write to us asking about attendance, what the atmosphere is like, and who’s playing and so on. There are three of us on the marketing committee (Clara, David Leydon and Colm Beirne) but this year we are hoping to add two more, Eugene Pettit from Clann na nGael and Aileen Dowd from Roscommon Gaels.

  “Video is important because attention spans have declined and when people see a big load of text they just aren’t going to read it. It’s all about that immediate reaction too when players are coming off the pitch. It just adds a bit of personality and atmosphere to the coverage.

  “That’s the thing about social media, it’s very instantaneous, and so you don’t have to wait to watch The Sunday Game any more!”

  Clara was thrown in at the deep end last year when asked to interview players post-match. She made her debut following the National Football League Division Two win over Clare last year, interviewing Tadgh O’Rourke!

  Off the field, more and more local businesses are using social media to get their message across and Clara said the Club Rossie business members receive great support in this regard.

  “Social media is a relatively new thing and a lot of businesses are still trying to get their heads around it in a way. I think they can underestimate the power of it. When we have visiting teams coming to town it is a huge thing for businesses to be able to put their message out there and let people know they’re there.

  “It’s an attraction for them to become a business member because they have that to fall back on. They might not have a social media manager or they may not know how to get that message out there in the right way in terms of tagging or timing of social media posts,” she said.

  The use of social media presents its own challenges however, but Clara believes that it’s all about consistency.

  “The challenge for us is to keep the message the same across all our platforms. There’s a danger the message can become muddled so our aim is create a real clean-cut output with everyone promoting the same thing.

  “The team is super with Dave who is a head of business and Colm Beirne who was PRO for Roscommon GAA for a number of years. They really know their stuff and they’ve taken me under their wing,” she said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Sin City to Boyle: Patrick Street Tattoos

 

 

 

 

From the outside, the Patrick Street Tattoo Company in Boyle looks like any other business, but once inside the door you are immersed in a completely different world, one with US license plates and Joe Kearney’s art adorning the walls.

  Galway natives, Joe and Aethel, had spent ten years in the US before moving to Boyle in 2016 and opening the business in March of last year. Tattooist Joe had learned his trade at Irish Ink in Galway before moving to Las Vegas where he worked in a number of tattoo parlours, most notably ‘Pussycat’ and the Hells Angel-owned ‘Pricks’.

  Joe had left Galway in 2006 when he was offered a job at a tattoo parlour in Las Vegas, Nevada.

  “It was exciting because in America everyone wants bigger and brighter tattoos so there’s a lot more freedom as an artist. People in Ireland were a little more conservative back then.

  “The first tattoo I remember doing was a pitbull on a guy’s leg in Las Vegas. It was his dog and he was chatting to me during it and the banter out of him was so different to what I had experienced in Galway,” Joe said, before Aethel reminded him of yet another ‘quirky’ character.

  “What about the tattoos you did for the girl who was a pimp? She’d have all her girls come in and you’d have to tattoo her name on them,” she said.

  Joe had initially travelled to Las Vegas for a holiday and Aethel later joined him. Homesickness was never far away however and returning to Ireland was always on the cards.

  “I was there about six months and I got a job working for the Hell’s Angels in ‘Pricks’. That was a culture shock for sure. The owner of the shop was a Hell’s Angel and all the guys that worked in his club used to hang around there all the time. They were sound enough.

  “I tattooed a couple of them, I did a Celtic cross on one of them and a fireman’s cross on another”.

  Members of the notorious biker gang weren’t the only ones with an interest in ink in Nevada however.

  “When I worked at Pussycat a lot of the local police, guys who were undercover in the gang and narcotics units, used to come in and get tattooed but they couldn’t go to Pricks when I moved there – for obvious reasons – so I’d have to tattoo them at the house,” Joe said.

  There were other tough customers too...

  “I worked on a guy for nine hours in one day,” he began.

  “Which is completely unheard of,” Aethel interjected.

  Joe continued: “We were moving to Alaska so I said we could do two sessions but they were going to be long. He was insistent on getting a sleeve. We did two nine-hour sessions and I was a bit doubtful if he would be able to stick it but he did!”

  Joe and Aethel have a number of visible tattoos. Joe also lifted up his t-shirt to show off a tattoo of the ‘Welcome to Las Vegas’ sign on his stomach.

  “I told one of the lads I was working with that I was thinking of getting the sign tattooed on my stomach so he left me thinking about it for a few weeks and then we just sat down and did it,” he explained.

  So when it comes to tattoos where does Joe draw the line?

  “There have been a couple of times when people came in looking for tattoos that ethically I couldn’t do. I had a guy in Alaska who came in looking for a swastika on his arm. He went from tattooist to tattooist and everyone said no,” Joe said.

  Sinister at times in the States, but back home in Boyle it’s a more light-hearted affair, according to Joe.

  “A fella rang us and said he just wanted to get a name done. He came in and told us he lost a bet with his friend and he had to get his friend’s name tattooed on his arse. First name on one cheek and last name on the other.

  “I tried to talk him out of if but he was adamant and said that there was a €1,000 forfeit so he had to get it done. So I tattooed his buddy’s name on his arse!”

  On a serious note, things have been going well since the grand opening in 2018, and the Patrick Street Tattoo Company celebrates a year in business on March 6th.

  “I’m getting a lot of business from the surrounding towns, including Ballaghaderreen, Carrick, and Castlerea, so it’s worked out well,” Joe said.

  Aethel added that they have received great support from the people of Boyle, and that many local people she encounters are fascinated by the business.

  Joe has been kept busy since opening with appointments and walk-ins during the week. Both he and Aethel have been delighted with the support from other local businesses in the area and said they were looking forward to celebrating further milestones in the years ahead.

 

Top award for Castlemine Farm

 

 

 

From 5* hotels to B&Bs and from cafés to country houses, the winners of the 2019 Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards in association with Fáilte Ireland were announced last week.

  Roscommon’s Castlemine Farm won the overall award in the ‘Meats Category’ while Gleeson’s Townhouse received a Highly Commended accolade on the day (see page 27 of this supplement).

  Now in their third year, the Irish Breakfast Awards celebrate Ireland’s leading hospitality establishments and the people who strive to make the first meal of the day a particularly special experience for visitors and regulars alike. 

 

Kevin Myers' talk at Castlecoote House

 

Well-known journalist Kevin Myers will give a series of three talks at Castlecoote House, Castlecoote, Co. Roscommon entitled ‘No Right to Be Right; No Right to be Wrong; The Fictions of Freedom in the 2lst Century’ on Tuesday, March 21st, Tuesday, April 16th and Tuesday, May 14th. Each talk begins at 7.30 pm followed by questions and answers. Tickets are €15 per evening. See www.castlecootehouse.com for more information.

 

 

Important Easter Parade meeting

  

A new Roscommon Easter Parade committee has been formed – and the public are being urged to attend a meeting next week to help with the 2019 event. That meeting will be held on Tuesday night, 5th of March (9 pm) in Murray’s Bar in Castle Street. The newly-elected committee is urging people to attend in order to ensure that the parade goes ahead this year. 

  The 2019 committee is made up of – Chairperson Larry Brennan; Secretary JJ Cattigan; Joint Treasurers Patricia Mullaney and Caitlin McConn; PRO Larry Brennan (assisted by Deirdre Kelly) and further committee members – Micheal Curley, Adrian Murray, James McNamara, Liam Finneran, Paul Carthy, Orla Healy, Mary Regan.

  The next meeting is on Tuesday, 5th March at 9 pm in Murray’s Bar, Castle Street, Roscommon. Everyone interested in the parade going ahead please attend. Thank you to the outgoing committee for all their hard work and dedication in making the parade a huge success over the years.

 

Pilgrimage from Knock to Medjugorje

 

 

There will be a one-week Pilgrimage from Knock Airport to Medjugorje beginning on September 25th, with Spiritual Director, Fr. Dixy Faber. The cost is €725, and includes accommodation beside church, breakfast and evening meals, travel insurance, flights and transfers. Places are limited.

  A deposit of €100 is required to secure a seat. Please contact Detta Molloy at 086-8197111 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

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