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Exciting line-up for major festival in Ballaghaderreen

Top speakers for Hyde Conference

It’s all system go for the Lake and Legends Solas Festival in Ballaghaderreen from Friday, July 17, to Sunday, July 19.

Succeeding the extremely popular Solas Festival, this second edition of this event includes events and activities to suit all ages and interests.

There are two days of free art workshops, on Monday, July 13, and Tuesday, 14, being run in conjunction with the Douglas Hyde Conference and Roscommon County Council. These workshops are open to those aged between eight and 14 years.

For further details or to book a place, please contact 094-9862565 or on Facebook at ‘Ballaghaderreen Lakes and Legends’.

Meanwhile, a list of very experienced and informed speakers are lined up to address the Douglas Hyde Conference at the BMW Assembly on The Square, Ballaghaderreen, on Thursday, July 16.

This one-day conference will be convened and chaired by poet and teacher Michael O’Dea. This annual event honours the first President of Ireland, who was from Co. Roscommon. The conference will be officially opened by Cllr. Paddy Kilduff, the Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council.

Discussing Ireland West Airport Knock

The strategic importance of Ireland West Airport Knock will be one of the key topics discussed at a major regional development conference being held in conjunction with the annual Lake and Legends Solas Festival.

Joe Gilmore, the managing director of the airport, will discuss the airport’s significance at the conference in the Northern & Western Regional Assembly Offices, Ballaghaderreen, on Friday, July 17 (1.30-5 pm).

The conference will be chaired by Ballaghaderreen native Patsy McGarry. For more, call 087-2435011.

A truly amazing year for sporting and academic achievement at Kilteevan NS

Truly amazing is the only way to describe the success achieved by Kilteevan National School this year.

It has been a remarkable year for sporting and academic achievement. Just before the summer break Kilteevan NS were crowned the Two-Teacher 7-a-side County Gaelic Football and Soccer champions defeating a very tough Granlahan NS in both finals. The previous week they were declared Division 2 Cumann na mBunscol Hurling champions, defeating Four Roads in a remarkable final in Oran GAA grounds.

The dream of securing a treble of sporting victories was achieved much to the excitement of the school and local community where the celebrations were evident.

First Oran GAA grounds was the venue for the Division Two Hurling Final against Four Roads. Leading from the start and displaying great hurling skills, Kilteevan NS secured a great victory.

They were declared Division 2 Cumann na mBunscol Hurling champions, under the management of Vincent Pierse and Seamus Corcoran. St. Faithleach’s GAA grounds was the venue for the Gaelic Football final with parents, past-pupils and members of the local community in attendance showing their support for the Kilteevan children.

It was a nail-biting final with Granlahan NS leading from the outset and with four minutes to play Kilteevan NS were seven points down. They had a mammoth task. Showing great determination, team spirit and self-belief they fought back to a one-point game. With the clock ticking and time nearly up, one last chance came the way of Liam Egan and he finished it into the back of the net. With time up, the whistle blew and to everyone’s amazement Kilteevan had done it and were crowned champions.

The team were coached by Sean Mooney, Mrs Lynch and Shane Gilleran. With the sporting treble within their grasp Kilteevan NS lined out for their third final in little over a week in the County Soccer grounds Lecarrow.

Playing a well-prepared and very skilful Granlahan NS securing a victory was no easy task. Granlahan NS took a 1-0 lead into the half-time break.

However with both teams displaying great skill and determination Kilteevan NS continued the drama and never-say-die spirit of the previous week. Two late, dramatic and well-deserved goals saw the scoreline at the final whistle 2-1 to Kilteevan NS. The dream of a sporting treble became a reality as Kilteevan NS were crowned Two Teacher 7-a-side Soccer Champions.

The soccer team were trained by Anthony Owens and Andy Thubron. Success was not confined to team sports.

On an individual level Liam Egan secured victory in the Cumann na mBunscol Connacht U-13 40x20 Singles Handball Championship.Michael Corcoran won the U-15 Connacht Schools Golf Championship.

Earlier in the year Kilteevan NS proved their sporting talents were not just limited to the field by winning the County Cumann na mBunscol Sports Quiz. Following a tie-breaker round and with five out of five questions correct Kilteevan NS were declared Cumann na mBunscol County Sports Quiz champions. It was their hard work and genuine love and passion for all things sport that secured them the victory.

The Sports Quiz team was Liam Egan, Michael Corcoran, Callum Coughlan and Robert Owens. Also proving their outstanding general knowledge abilities the School Quiz Team secured first place in the U-13 Credit Union Quiz (Roscommon Chapter) and finished in second place in the Library Quiz.

The quiz team members were Sophie Coen, Liam Egan, Niall Brennan, Callum Coughlan and Robert Owens. The school also participated in the Sci-Fest in the CBS where they were awarded Best Display and received the 2nd Overall award in their Science project.

With all the outstanding Sporting Achievements of 2015 it was essential to culminate the year with a presentation night to celebrate what was an unbelievable year of success. This night highlighted the participation and success of all the children in the various sporting events. I

t also gave the children an opportunity to meet three inspirational Roscommon Sports personalities Diarmuid Murtagh, Naos Connaughton and Liam Kilcline who also presented them with their gaelic football and hurling medals. Andy Thubron presented the soccer medals. .

‘In Western Alzheimers a hug and a smile was always very important’

25 years on – and needed more than ever

The Western Alzheimers Foundation, which covers Mayo, Roscommon and Galway is 25 years old this year. The man who set it up all those years ago is John Grant.

John lives in Claremorris but is a man who has plenty of Roscommon roots. The organisation now has care facilities in Ballindine, Co. Mayo and in Athenry, Co. Galway – and there are plans for further facilities in Mayo and in Roscommon.

The head office of Western Alzheimers is in Ballindine and there are offices in Roscommon town and in Galway. John Grant was the CEO of Western Alzheimers until his retirement earlier this year. The new CEO is the joint manager of the Mayo football team, Pat Holmes.

As the Irish population lives longer, Alzheimers and Dementia are going to become even more common and the demand for services will increase.

In fact County Roscommon has the highest incidence of Alzheimers disease in the country pet head of population. John Grant is married to Maura and they have three grown-up children. Last week Seamus Duke met with John Grant to find out how he started Western Alzheimers and to hear about its development.

‘Roscommon has highest incidence of Alzheimers in country’

Recently retired but still passionate on the subject, John Grant reflects on 25 years of Western Alzheimers

SD: So, how did Western Alzheimers get started?

JG: My wife’s father developed Alzheimers in 1980. When he was diagnosed with it we – or anyone else – hadn’t a clue about it. There was no information about it either. The family looked after him at home and I saw how hard that was. There was no help for them, in how to look after him. My wife’s mother looked after her husband and it was very hard going (for her). I thought that I would try to do something about it.

SD: What did you do in response?

JG: In October 1990, I saw a programme about Alzheimers on UTV and after that I decided to hold a public meeting in Claremorris. It was absolutely packed with people. So we decided to hold a meeting once a month after that and it was extraordinary just how little people knew about this disease and how common it was.

Everyone who was looking after someone thought it was just them that was affected and they never realised that there were so many people suffering. There was a lack of information. People might think at some stage that their loved ones might be getting better, but in reality they do not get better.

In fact they get worse as time goes on. We held those meetings for two years and then we started in Castlerea. Then we started meetings in all three counties – Roscommon, Mayo and Galway. People came together and chatted about their problems. It was a great start.

Then the whole notion of having time for themselves away from the caring came up time and time again. It was a big problem, because most Alzheimers’ patients need 24/7 care. We looked at different aspects of all that.

In 1994 we looked at day care, which was not an option at the time, because there was not near as many patients as there are now. We looked at respite care, but we had no money, or at least only very limited funds that we had from fund-raising.

We then got a FAS scheme going, firstly in Mayo and then in Roscommon and Galway, and I must say that the late Sean Doherty TD was very helpful to us in getting that going. So that was the start of the in-home support.

Then in 1996 two people from the health board came to me and said ‘if you want to set up respite care we will back you with funds’. They wanted me to do a feasibility study or rent a house immediately. I took the option of renting a house and we did that in Claremorris.

We had three people to start with. The whole idea of respite care was new to people. In fact the first person we had in for respite care was a lady from Roscommon and she sent her mother in. We started with a ‘five days and nights’ service and it quickly went to seven days and nights a week.

The one thing that we stressed was that the people who came into us for care were all individuals. They all have their own personalities and their own way of going on.

SD: What is the biggest problem that people face when they are caring for someone with Alzheimers?

JG: Time is the biggest problem. It is a ‘24 hour a day seven days a week’ job. You might be caring for someone that you have been married to for 40 years or more and you are watching them deteriorate and at a stage they will not even know who you are. That can be very hard on people.

For instance we had a man from Roscommon whose wife was showing him their wedding album, and while he recognised some of the people in the album, he didn’t recognise his wife sitting there beside him. He knew who his wife was in the album but he couldn’t relate that to the woman sitting beside him showing him this album. It can be very sad that way.

SD: So you have great respect for carers?

JG: Yes definitely. They do this job 24 hours a day seven days a week, often without any pay at all. At times where there is a big family frequently I see that they all have their say but often it is left to one person to do the caring – and that is stressful. But there are fantastic people out there.

SD: How did the organisation expand?

JG: We were very short of funding…in 1996 we decided we would have to expand and build our own unit.

Dr Tom Moffat was junior minister for health at the time and I said to him that if he could get us 150,000 pounds we would build. In fact he got us a grant of 192,000, which was great.

We opened the facility in Ballindine in 1999 and it cost us 450,000 pounds – and we had it all paid off within two years. We were worried at the time about whether or not we’d be able to fill it…now it is not nearly big enough with the big increase in the number of patients with Alzheimers.

We started giving respite to 12 people at any one time and it might be for a day or two or a week or even two weeks. If there was a family wedding or event like that it would be ideal.

SD: How was/is the organisation funded?

JG: We got a yearly grant from the Government but it was not nearly enough to keep the show on the road…fund-raising was always vital and we were on the road day and night over the three counties raising money all the time. It had to be done.

I loved going around meeting people. We met so many very generous people over the years who ran functions and fundraisers for us to keep it going. I have attended a lot of functions over the years and I enjoyed every one.

SD: Why did you retire?

JG: Well, I was at it 25 years but I found that the huge amount of new regulations and rules and standards was hard to deal with for me.

It’s not that we were doing anything wrong but there seems to be more emphasis on the filling of forms now than (on) care and this organisation is all about care as far as I am concerned. I know that bodies like HIQA are care-orientated too but everything is so rigidly enforced now.

The whole scene has changed really and I was working at it for 25 years and I have three grandchildren now and I’m nearly pension age so it was nearly time to stop. The one thing that we were always in Western Alzheimers was people-centered and a hug and a smile was always very important.

We set up an ethos of care that is copied in a lot of places now and I find that the rules and regulations that might apply in a normal nursing home may not be suitable for the treatment of Alzheimers patients. I got frustrated by it in the last couple of years. I was lying awake at night worrying about it and at my stage of life it’s not worth it really, so I decided I’d step back.

SD: Tell me about the services that Western Alzheimers have in County Roscommon specifically.

JG: We have an in-home support service in Roscommon and we have an office in Roscommon town and the ladies there, Noleen and Deirdre, go out and meet people and assess the needs of the patients.

We have a lot of people who use the home in Ballindine. Roscommon has the highest incidence of Alzheimers per head of population in the country and the numbers are going to grow and grow as people live longer.

SD: So what would you like to do now that you are retired?

JG: I’d like to get back to chatting to carers at meetings – I would like to be out doing information meetings for people. A lot of people hear from their doctor that their loved one is suffering from Alzheimers but they don’t know where to go.

I have accrued a lot of knowledge over the years and I’d like to share that with people. I know what it’s like to be a carer and I understand what they are going through. My advice to people who are worried about Alzheimers is that they are doing so without any reason.

People think that if they forget a few things in everyday life that they are in bother (i.e. may have early onset of Alzheimers) but I always say at meetings that if they remembered to come to the meeting and turned up at the right time and went to the right place and knew how to get home then they are alright.

People worry too much about Alzheimers. It’s not about forgetting where you left your keys. If you are putting on your clothes back to front or putting your shoes into the fridge then you are in bother and need help. Everyone is so busy now that it is hard to be remembering everything, but again (failing to remember things here and there) is not Alzheimers.


26 racecourses in 24 hours!

Former amateur jockey Peter O’Reilly took part in a unique fundraising initiative for ‘Irish Injured Jockeys’ on Sunday, June 21 – which saw him ride at all 26 Irish racecourses within 24 hours.

  Peter began his day at Downpatrick Racecourse, Co. Down, at 5.48 am. He travelled south, then east, completing the remarkable feat at Dundalk Racecourse, Co. Louth. He travelled to each venue by helicopter.

  This fundraiser was a fantastic spectacle, in aid of a great cause, and Roscommon Racecourse was included in the trip.

  Peter said: “Irish Injured Jockeys is a fantastic charity that requires much-needed funds in order to support injured riders as and when they need it.

  “I hope that my fundraising efforts will contribute greatly to this fund, which is very close to my heart.”

  To donate to this cause, via mycharity.ie, visit the ‘Donate and Support’ section on the Irish Injured Jockeys website www.irishinjuredjockeys.com or call 052-6184342.


Successsful Midsummer's Day with the Stars

The stars – and the fans ­– were out in force at Roscommon Racecourse on Sunday when a very successful ‘Midsummer’s Day with the Stars’ concert was staged.

  Thousands of revellers were present from around lunchtime for a concert which continued until just after 7 pm.

  Sixteen stars, including Nathan Carter, Mike Denver and Jimmy Buckley, entertained the fans.

  Pleasant weather conditions and excellent facilities for young and old added to the atmosphere.

  Promoter Joe Finnegan thanked all who helped make the event such a success – not least the enthusiastic fans!

Scouting success story


“Not everyone is into sport, even though I’m mad into it myself!”

  So said Evonne McLoughlin when she spoke to the Roscommon People recently about the remarkably successful birth of a Scouts movement in the general Kilglass/Tarmonbarry area.

  Evonne and Bryan McLoughlin from Kilglass are the couple who kick-started this good news story.

  They felt that more activities and support was needed for young children in the area. Not everyone is ‘into’ sport, as Evonne puts it – and setting up a Scouts presence in the area was seen as something worth trying.

  The initial exploratory meeting took place in early 2014, and now, after much hard work and volunteering, almost fifty children attended a Scouts Investiture just over a week ago.

  Once they’d had the initial idea, Bryan and Evonne McLoughlin received assistance from Noel Leahy, the Scouting Support Officer in Connacht; County Chairman Charlie Gibbons; Michelle O’Donnell from Ballinamore and Tom Gill from Ballyboro Scouts.

  A public meeting was held in February 2014 in Kilglass GAA Clubhouse to try to establish the level of interest in the parish and beyond regarding setting up a Scout Group. At this meeting the need for volunteers was also emphasised.

  There was a positive response and the decision was taken to proceed. Training for leaders commenced in May 2014 and a Leader Skills Training Day took place in Lough Keel, Forest Park, Boyle.

  On Tuesday, September 30th, 2014 the first ever Scout Group commenced in Kilglass/Tarmonbarry area at Tommy Gaffney’s Shannon River Adventure Centre in Drumminamore.

  Since then, the new Scouts have met on a weekly basis and been on several exciting trips in the locality.

  The Kilglass/Tarmonbarry Scouts group is divided into three age categories – Beaver Scouts: 6-8 years; Cub Scouts: 9-11 years; Scouts: 12-15 years.  

  Activities include camp, games, stories, songs and skills. Badges are given to encourage participation in activities and to recognise individual achievements.

  They meet at the Shannon River Adventure Centre for an hour and a half every Tuesday evening (from 6.30 pm).

  “It’s a big commitment, but it’s very rewarding” says Evonne McLoughlin, who added that the relatively new group would welcome a helping hand from new volunteers.

  Anyone interested in joining up as a volunteer (or in enquiring about enlisting a child) should contact Bryan McLoughlin on 086-4107196 (or any of the other leaders).

  Meanwhile, imagine the sense of joy and celebration on Friday, June 19 last when up to 50 Scouts (as well as leaders) attended an Investiture ceremony.

  Truly a good news story! 

Launch of Rooskey Heritage Festival

The inaugural Rooskey Heritage Festival will be held in the village from Friday, July 24, to Sunday, July 26, with an array of different events included.

  The festival was launched last Friday night in Rooskey Community Centre, where a large crowd of residents, community activists and local politicians gathered to lend their support to the event. 

  As Geraldine Moran, the assistant secretary of the organising committee, told the attendance, Rooskey is one of many villages that has been affected very adversely by the recession.

  While it was once a thriving village, she said, the past decade or so has seen a lot of negative developments, such as the closure of a local hotel and factory, and the Dublin-Sligo bypass being developed.

  This festival is a positive initiative, she said, designed to showcase the village to locals and tourists. Numerous water activities, music, heritage, food and craft events will be held over the course of the weekend.

  Local Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice, speaking at the launch, said that such events were crucial in keeping rural Ireland afloat.

  “We have to try to keep rural Ireland alive,” he said. “If we come together as a community, we can achieve an awful lot.

  “Show off your area. We have a lot to show in rural Ireland for tourism. Smile and be friendly on the weekend. That is very important.”

  The Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, Cllr. Paddy Kilduff, emphasised the positive aspects of Rooskey.

  “This is a very picturesque village,” he said. “You are lucky at the moment that you have a garda station, hairdresser, barber, shops and pubs.

  “Many villages haven’t that. This is a very active village.”


The driving lesson


The hour had come. The grace period was well and truly over, and it was time to bite the bullet. My destiny had arrived in the form of a Toyota Yaris emblazoned with School of Motoring.

  Thankfully, my instructor turns out to be an affable gentleman and after the niceties and preliminaries have been exchanged, he lets me take the wheel. Look at me all grown up! No matter that I’m sweating like Peter Kay at the Apollo, I can do this!

  Suddenly, an elderly lady appears on the road. I scream inwardly. I am gently encouraged to ease on the brakes so as not to kill the old dear. We do another loop of the housing estate and encounter the same woman. Evidently, she has an issue with footpaths. She angrily signals for me to pass by before resuming her position on the road. I’m so grateful she ignored the LEARNER DRIVER signs plastered all over the car and found the time in her day to give me a heart attack.

  The ordeal is not over. I meet a car coming towards me in a tight space with parked cars either side. Mercifully, he reverses and allows me to pass with all the finesse of a goat behind the wheel. He must have smelt the fear emitting from my pores.

  Given that this first venture was pretty nerve-racking, surely my practise session with SO will be a breeze? Or so I believe until I sit into the driver seat. When did this car become a military tank? I cannot see ANYTHING. Turn on the ignition, he says. I turn on the engine. Much to my surprise, these are not the same thing. R Kelly’s lyrical explanation of the remix to the ignition has proven somewhat useless in this instance.

SO: “Mind that hedge there.”

Me: “What hedge?!”

SO: “The one you’re about to drive into.”

  This is a disaster. If I am unable to see blatantly visible shrubbery, what about kittens? And infants?! Granted, you rarely see a crawling baby let loose in a church car park, but you never know.

  Conk. Conk. Conk. This is not a practise car. This is his baby, and if scratch it, I’m as good as single. I’m wearing out the clutch I know he needs to replace. I’m guzzling the diesel he just bought. The tension is palpable. His mouth says “Drive on, you’re improving!” but his eyes say “Please get as far away from my car as physically possible, you treacherous wench.”

  Move into third gear, he says. I go to fifth for the craic. Not good for the car, it seems. Nothing I do is ever good enough for the car. I think me and the car are headed for Splitsville.

After a solid hour, I have successfully managed to start and stop the vehicle without dire consequence and our relationship has remained intact. For now. Sure didn’t Romeo and Juliet actually part ways due to her inability to perform hill starts and manoeuvre the Jack Lynch Tunnel?

Síle is Celebrity Judge for SuperValu Ladies Day

Prize fund of almost €3,000 on Monday July 6

TV and radio presenter Síle Seoige will be the celebrity judge at the SuperValu Ladies Day at Roscommon Racecourse on Monday July 6th. Six SuperValu shops in the region have come together to sponsor the annual Ladies Day event that attracts large crowds every year.

The winner of the best dressed competition will walk away with a top prize of €2,000, while the nine runners-up will each receive €100.

Judge Síle Seoige explained what she will be looking for from the entrants. “I love colour so I will definitely be on the lookout for bright summery outfits that really catch the eye or a timeless, classic outfit with a splash of colour.

The most important thing to remember is to wear something that suits your body shape and your colouring. Accessories are really important too when it comes to finishing off your look and a hat or a headpiece really is a must.

” Shane Fleming, SuperValu, Roscommon said: “SuperValu shops enjoy a close relationship with our communities and as Roscommon Racecourse has built up such a strong bond with the local public, our sponsorship of SuperValu Ladies Day was an obvious fit.

With almost €3,000 on offer, we are hoping for a huge turnout of elegant ladies on July 6th, vying to win the cash prizes.”

The seven-race flat card goes to post at approx. 5.45 pm.

Roscommon Racecourse is ready for Ireland’s biggest country music event!

Join the stars this Sunday!

Final preparations are underway for the ‘Midsummer’s Day with the Stars’ which will be staged at the Lenebane Racetrack in Roscommon town this weekend.

  Thousands are expected to attend the event which will kick off at 1.30 pm this Sunday afternoon.

  The show, which is the biggest of its kind in Ireland, will see 16 of the country’s top entertainers perform on a magnificent stage which includes two giant video screens.

  Event organisers have confirmed to the Roscommon People that full bar and catering facilities will be available on-site.

  It is expected that many visitors from across the country and from Europe will avail of the overnight camping facilities. The site will also include ample free car parking for cars and buses.

  Once again this year the show will have a strong family theme with a special children’s play area on site and all children under 12 accompanied by an adult will be admitted free.

  Patrons are being advised to purchase their tickets in advance even though it is expected that some will be available at the main gate on the day (these will be sold on a first-come first-served basis).

  Locally in Roscommon tickets can be purchased in ETL Roscommon town, Cahill’s SuperValue in Castlerea, Towey’s in Ballaghaderreen, McDonagh’s Topaz in Boyle, Cullen’s Topaz in Lanesborough and Mulvey’s in Carrick-on-Shannon.

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