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A very Irish Halloween

Once upon a time in Ireland, All Hallows Eve was a pagan festival that celebrated the souls of the dead. Families would traditionally share barmbrack, bob for apples, carve Jack O’Lanterns from turnips and start a bonfire. These days, we smather ourselves in €2 face paint and head out to transform yet another traditional feast day into an annual piss-up.

  Fret not, however, for our Irish culture has entitled us to the most unique of Halloween costumes. Or so we think. Here are the top five Irish personalities you will see on the streets this Saturday night:

5. Bono

Leather jacket and tinted sunglasses are an absolute must. Slick back your hair and rock day-old stubble. Carry a charity tin around for the night and shake it, asking for regular donations while blaming people for Bloody Sunday. If anyone tries to initiate conversation, tilt your head back and scream ‘Wooooah oohh ohhh’ at the top of your lungs. Sneak copies of U2 CDs into every handbag you see.

4. Conor McGregor

Easily the top young lad choice. You even have clothing options; either etch an elaborate tattoo on your bare chest or don a pinstriped three-piece suit. Caveman beard and hipster man-bun are essential. You must adopt a cocky swagger for the evening and repeat to everyone that you are here not to take part, but to take over. Challenge people to shot-drinking challenges and gloat with your hands over your head whenever you win.

3. Father Ted

A classic. Powder and a priest’s collar will help you achieve the illusion and if you can rope in a Dougal sidekick, a ‘Down With This Sort of Thing’ placard would be perfection. Alternative props might include a whistle, a Golden Cleric, or a bottle of Dreamy Sleepy Nighty Snoozy Snooze. Spend the night refusing cups of tea and trying to get on the television.

2. Hector Ó hEochagáin

Sure look it don’t ya just need a ginger wig and any clothes at all, sure you’re not fussy. Speak a cúpla focail because the teanga is alive and well in the Wesht so it is and we’re all mighty. Hup ya boyo and you’re away! Mad craic altogether.

1. Nidge

Wear a zippie of some sort but include a crown to add a sense of occasion. Scribble King Nidge in marker on the back of your Nikes. Assume a look of general menace for the night, constantly telling your friends “I’ll sort it, Trish, alright?” If anyone suspects you’re a real criminal, just reassure them that you’re only here to update your Bebo page.

  An honourable mention goes to Aengus Mac Grianna. All you need is a compact mirror and to look truly shocked if anyone glances in your direction. ‘WHAT?!’ Happy Halloween, folks!


Comfy by name, comfy by nature

The Comfy Café in the heart of Roscommon town combines a funky interior with an eclectic menu sprinkled with good coffee. One step inside the Main Street premises will prove that it does exactly what it says on the tin.

  Many Roscommon folk as well as tourists like myself have passed through the doors and taken a seat in the warm and welcoming café and frequent return trips usually follow.

  Daire and Oonagh Stephens, brother and sister team from the town, have run the establishment for the past two and a half years with the help of their experienced culinary team – Monika, Olivia, Niamh, Grace, Aga, Arletta, Selina and Ruth.

  “I went from being my own boss to having seven or eight bosses”, jokes Daire.

  The former tiling contracter is a long way from the building sites of Dublin, but seems comfortable in his current surroundings.

  “Myself and Oonagh come from construction backgrounds, although Oonagh had been doing farmer’s markets on the side and when it came to it she was the perfect choice for a business partner.”

  Running a busy café is not everyone’s cup of tea, but Daire insists the little things are the most important. “Customer service is so important, the girls are brilliant when it comes to the customers and that’s what brings people back.”

  The staff is indeed friendly but the food and coffee are also a big plus which is vital in such a competitive business.

  “There are quite a few places in Roscommon now, so you have to be top of your game, and we strive to offer a consistent menu with great food and coffee”, Daire added.

  A new addition in the last couple of weeks has been the take-away window at the front of the store. Perfect for those busy lunch-breaks or early mornings for New York style take-out coffee and food on the go.

  “You don’t really get an hour for lunch anymore so hopefully this will allow people to grab something even if they’re busy,” Daire said, just as a coffee was handed through the window.

  If you fancy a coffee or a bite to eat whether in a rush or with time to spare, Daire, Oonagh and their welcoming staff are on hand to help, sitting nice and comfortable in Main Street.


Nuture’s Best Créche awarded top marks

Nurture’s Best Créche – twice awarded ‘Centre of Excellence’ status – has also been awarded top marks in the ‘Gold Standard Framework for Créches’.

It is one of only ten créches nationwide from the large Quality Assurance Pilot Programme who achieved the highest-level validation in all 75 areas examined.

They provide a full range of childcare, full and part-time, ECCE free pre-school year and an after-school club, where the children enjoy fun-filled days with fun educational opportunities, including music, yoga, French, art, sports and much more to keep their minds and bodies actively developing.

They have spacious rooms, a large playground with its safety surface and covered outdoor space for outdoor play on rainy days. They have their pet rabbit, Belle, and their flower and vegetable sections to keep them busy.

Children are also introduced to sports at a young age. They all love the weekly harbour walks down by the marina, observing the boats, Shannon and wildlife.


Fun Filled Days The programme is very much child-led and often includes parents and families becoming involved in projects the children have shown interest in.

They also have themed sessions each day and a visit from a professional, such as a doctor or member of the gardaí.

During Music Week, they had musicians playing in each room. Fun outings also feature theatre, art exhibitions, pet shop, heritage visits etc. OUR


Their staff are all qualified, experienced and friendly. Staff training is of great importance to them and all their staff have childcare qualifications and occupational first aid training to complement our strong Professional Development Policy.

Four of our team have visited Italy for training in the world-renowned Reggio Emilia pre-school methods.

MONTESSORI - ‘Excellent Pre-School Year’

They have a fantastic pre-school year, which gives children a headstart before entering the primary school system.

In the world renowned Montessori system, the children learn in a structured, theme-based environment, using books, art, music and lots of imagination and topics are chosen considering the interests of the children.

The children are encouraged to explore and understand themselves and the world around them while also learning language and maths, as well as practical life skills and cultural awareness.

The Montessori method greatly encourages children to develop a strong sense of individuality, responsibility and promotes their natural strengths. Montessori is a daily three-hour session, which runs during school terms. Children already in our care usually attend Montessori after age three at a greatly reduced rate.


Nutrition is of great importance and our chef serves freshly cooked food from our worldwide menu. Lots of fruit and veg and children are introduced to cous cous, houmous and many flavours and textures.

The crèche have been delighted to see many ‘fussy’ eaters broaden their palettes over the years.


We provide Childcare for Parents on all Training Schemes and will shortly be able to take Children for Parents in the Back to Work Schemes. Why not come and have a look around and see all we have to offer - call Anne Marie on 086 103 7806.

Connacht Early Childhood Educators lobby for better support

After years of lobbying by the Childcare Sector, Budget 2016 has finally brought some much-needed initial investment to families and the childcare sector.

Nurture’s Best Créche, as one of the founding members of the Connacht Early Childhood Educators Group, has been at the forefront of this.

Caroilin Callery, the owner of Nurture’s Best Créche, and her Connacht colleagues have met with a number of Ministers, key politicians and representative groups several times over the past three years.

Details have yet to be released but in relation to the second free pre-school year, many parents have asked whether children over the age of three years and two months can be enrolled this year and avail of the second year next year also. The answer is yes, but parents are advised to do so quickly.

They can also enter under Late Entrants at any time but the earlier the better for the child.

Early Childhood Ireland confirmed: “Children who were aged between three years and two months and four years and seven months in September this year are eligible for late entry into this year’s ECCE programme and also able to continue in the programme in September 2016 – once they are not older than five years and six months at the end of the current pre-school year.”

Nurture’s Best welcomes the investment, as a first step in what they believe must be a five-year programme to create a viable infrastructure that is accessible, affordable and sustainable.

They especially welcome the allocation for children with special needs as they have seen how early intervention makes such a difference to children who need extra support.

There are still many areas still to be addressed and these include: family support for those struggling with under-3s childcare costs and the lack of respect from Government for the childcare workforce evidenced in low levels of capitation in current schemes, low wages in the sector, no allowance for non-contact time, etc.

As members of Connacht Childhood Educators Group, they intend to keep lobbying strongly to ensure the best supports for children, parents, families and their staff.

Roscommon Arts Centre autumn schedule continues

It’s a jam packed theatre programme at Roscommon Arts Centre this autumn and with many familiar plays popping up, it’s refreshing to see some new pieces of theatre in the mix also.  

  November sees two theatre companies make their Arts Centre debuts with two excellent new pieces of writing.

  A relatively new theatre company, Sundays Child Theatre Company, who are making a name for themselves, with two awards from the Dublin Fringe Festival in the last two years, bring their production ‘My Name is Saoirse’ to the stage on Thursday, November 5.

  It’s a coming-of-age story with a great performance. In it we meet Saoirse, who lives with her father and her brother and who looks painfully like her dead mother. Siobhán lives across the road with her five sisters and the “fiery jealousy” that comes with a house full of women. Eva O’Connor portrays both girls – one with a steady flow, the other in bursts of colourful caricature – with plenty of humour and tenderness in a coming-of-age story set in 1980s Limerick.

  On Tuesday, November 17, one of the country’s top theatre companies Rough Magic take to the stage with their latest production ‘How To Keep An Alien’. Audiences are just loving Sonya Kelly in this show, which won Best Production at the 2014 Dublin Fringe Festival and wowed audiences at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

  This is the show about a couple who fall in love but need to convince the Government to let one of them stay in the country, aka the Alien! Join Sonya’s madcap odyssey from the stony townlands of Offaly to the leafy depths of the Queensland bush.

Booking now at Roscommon Arts Centre on (09066)25824 or log onto www.roscommonartscentre.ie.





Roscommon actor scoops IFTA

Roscommon actor Enda Oates was celebrating last week after he scooped an Irish Film and Television Award for ‘Best Male Actor’ in a soap or comedy for his role as painter and decorator Pete Ferguson in Fair City.

  The former Roscommon CBS student, who has also appeared in Glenroe, The Clinic and movie Ordinary Decent Criminal will feature in the Roscommon People next week.

  Meanwhile, veteran Fair City star Tom Jordan has revealed he chose to move from Dublin to Co Roscommon as he no longer felt safe in the city where he was born.

  “The lifestyle has changed, the manner in which people communicate is so different than in the country when you’re constantly seeing your neighbours and talking to them, and they all know your name,” he said.


Motivation Clinic host fundraising Pamper Night

The Motivation Clinic in Athlone hosted a fundraising Pamper Night on Wednesday, October 21, which raised over €400 for Breast Cancer Research.  

  There were plenty of free treatments on offer on the night, including massage, manicures, dream analysis, Bowen and Reiki treatments.

  The clinic’s consultants also carried out free health checks, with body analysis, BMI and blood pressure tests.

  Supporting the event and providing the therapies and treatments were Olwyn O’Sullivan, of Athlone Holistic Therapies, Denise Christie and Ruth Kemple, of Health and Harmony Loughrea, Paul Gill Hypnotherapy and Caroline Shiel Beautician, of Abbeyleix.

  The clinic would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to all the therapists who kindly gave up their time for the evening.

  They would also like to thank everyone who attended on the night and donated so generously.

  Additionally, they would like to thank those who phoned to offer their good wishes for the evening and sent in donations.

  There was a monster raffle on the night and over 20 prizes had been very kindly contributed by many local businesses.

  If you would like to learn more about the Motivation Weight Management Programme or book an assessment consultation, please call the clinic on 090-6479748.

Elphin Features in SiarScéal Festival this November

The Splendiferous Tale of Ferdinand Fox, an illustrated book of children’s verse by Rose Morris, writer from Elphin, will launch her book on Thursday, November 5, at 6 pm in Roscommon Library.

  She was the overall winner of last year’s Hanna Greally Literary Awards and this publishing deal was her prize.

  Retired teacher from the Abbeycarton NS, Elphin, 70 of the Abbeycartron students are taking part in this year’s Hanna Greally Literary Competition and also providing the musical entertainment for the official day’s proceedings on November 6.

  An exciting programme of literary events will happen at the official launch of SiarScéal Festival Friday, November 6, at 10 am, presided over by the Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Paddy Kilduff, accompanied by county librarian  Richie Farrell. 

  The Hanna Greally Literary Awards follow, with a cash prize of €200, and trophies for local, national and international entries, which include The Ger Hanily Memorial Cup for the remit with the ‘best sense of place’. 

  ‘Centenary in Reflection’ is this year’s theme and all entries, including school entries, will be considered for the SiarScéal Hanna Greally Literary Journal, which will be published April 2016.

  Leitrim Poet Mary Guckian is the adjudicator for this year’s competition.                                                   

  Sligo author Mary Branley will be facilitating a workshop on how to ‘Make Your Own Book’ at 12.30 pm downstairs in the Library.  She is director/writer with Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership.

  She is also a teacher and winner of prestigious awards, such as the National Libraries Bursary for Tyrone Guthrie Centre and Sligo County Council Residency at Tyrone Guthrie Centre. Many of her poetry collections, such as A Foot on the Tide, have been published.

  A informative session on ‘Writing and Publishing in the Information Age’ will also take pace at 2 pm. 

  This will look at both the challenges and the opportunities that modern publishing and communication technology present to authors of all genres, interested in writing to and for a public audience with Oscar Duggan.

  The afternoon’s events will conclude with an Open Mike.  Further details on SiarScéal Website:  www.siarsceal.com.  Refreshments served.

Grehan Sisters presented with Annie McNulty Award

It was a wonderful night of entertainment on Thursday, October 22, at Hannon’s Hotel in Roscommon town as the evergreen Grehan Sisters were presented with the Roscommon People-sponsored Annie McNulty Award.

  The sisters from Boyle were in fine voice as they performed songs from their unique repertoire while regaling the audience with tales from Boyle and beyond.

  With Vincent Pierce hosting and equally brilliant performances from Gatehouse, Donal O’Connor, Frank Brennan and Johnny Johnstone, the large turnout certainly got their money’s worth.

  But the stars of the show were no doubt Frances, Helen and Marie, and the talented Grehan siblings provided not only music, but plenty of laughs too.

  This special night also marked the launch of the South Roscommon Singers Festival, which entertained audiences from Roscommon town to Lecarrow over the weekend before wrapping up in PJ’s in Castlecoote on Tuesday evening, October 27.


Halloween entertainment at JJ Harlows

The Rusty Jacks will bring their unique twist of blues from America’s Deep South to Roscommon town this Halloween night. There will also be fancy dress on the night so get creative and get down to JJ’s to enjoy  music from the lads including tracks from latest album, Holler ‘n Howl.

  On Sunday night, Ciarán, Conor and Gary will be performing so come along enjoy the music and enjoy our wide choice of craft beers.


Kilronan Castle event raises over €5,000

Over 350 ladies attended one of the most glamorous events to hit the northwest of Ireland this year on Saturday, 10th October at Kilronan Castle, Ballyfarnan.

  They came from far and wide to support The Irish Cancer Society and in particular Action Breast Cancer.

  The Grand Ballroom was elegantly decorated with lavish floral displays by La Belle Fleur, Chair Covers By Anne Hurrell & Pink Cupcakes donated by Cannaboe Confectionary.

  The event began with pink champagne & canapés for all of the beautiful ladies, followed by a delicious four-course Luncheon prepared by Kilronan Castle’s Executive Head Chef Rossario Dias.

  Christina Regan from The Irish Cancer Society, a guest speaker at the event, made a very positive and uplifting speech before lunch began.

  Sile Seoige was an incredible host, entertaining the ladies with information on BIOTECH Elemis Facials & The Flawless Fuchsia make-up range which is now available at Kilronan Castle Spa.

  After lunch Sile Seoige delivered an excellent Fashion Show by Catwalk Modelling Agency, with participants including Allure Accessories of Sligo, Borne Clothing, Carrick-on-Shannon, Marian’s of Boyle, Olivia Danielle, Athlone and Beverly Hills of Castlebar.

  There were some amazing prizes raffled on the day, from overnight stay at Lough Rynn Castle Estate & Gardens to Elemis Gift Sets worth over €350.

  Grafters Hair Company donated a discount voucher for everyone in attendance and Lorraine from Allure donated a Guess handbag as a spot prize. Highlights of the day were captured by photographer Frances Muldoon.

  Sales & Marketing Manager Samantha Keeling says “I am so proud of the team here at Kilronan Castle Estate & Spa, they all worked extremely hard to make the day the huge success it was.

  “With over 350 ladies in attendance, who may I say all looked truly beautiful on the day, we are absolutely delighted with the €5,280 raised for such a great cause as The Irish Cancer Society and in particular Action Breast Cancer. We were overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity and I want to extend our thanks to all parties who supported and participated on the day.”



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