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Victoria donates hair to charity!




Seven-year-old Victoria Gasenko from Ballymoe got a haircut with a difference recently as she donated her long, lovely locks to the charity Rapunzel.

  People supporting the charity by donating their hair need to have hair which is 14 inches or longer when it is straightened before it is cut and used to make wigs.

  Victoria’s mum Olga is very proud of her daughter’s decision to give her hair to those who need it.

  “Victoria is giving back to someone who needs it, which is great. We found out about the Rapunzel Foundation through Facebook. I didn’t know a lot about them but we looked them up and Victoria decided to donate. Someone will benefit from this, which is the most important thing”.

  The Rapunzel Foundation is a charity that aims to improve the lives of those living with hair loss through fund-raising as well as through hair donations. They help children and teenagers suffering with alopecia, which is the medical term for hair loss.

  Olga says her daughter was worried about having 14 inches of her hair cut off. However, they say that the hairdressers in Galaxy Hair & Beauty  in Roscommon town did an excellent job.

  “Victoria always liked her hair long. We didn’t have a plan to donate hair initially, but when we got more information on the charity then she decided to do it. The hairdressers did a very good job as they said it was their first time to see such long hair!”

  After Victoria’s hair was removed, it was placed in an envelope and sent to the charity to be used in suction wigs for people suffering with alopecia.  

  While her daughter’s hair is now much shorter, Olga is relieved that there is less work for her to do with Victoria’s hair in the mornings!

  “With the ‘old’ hair, it was some job in the morning trying to get her ready for school. It’s much easier now! Hopefully the hair Victoria donated will help someone”.



LEO Roscommon projects aided by €2.5m fund



Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys TD has announced the results of the new €2.5 million Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Competitive Fund.

  Sixteen projects have received funding. Among those receiving funding is LEO Roscommon who is collaborating on two projects with the Local Enterprise Offices from Leitrim, Longford, Cavan, Mayo and Sligo. 

  The projects are: A mobile fabrication Laboratory for SMEs, enterprise hubs and schools to access digital technologies and design methodologies to increase innovation, develop products and increase skills – €141,340 has been awarded; A project to address the challenges of moving micro enterprises to more sustainable and lower carbon operations. It aims to intensively engage with micro-enterprises to develop a tailored Carbon Impact Assessment which will identify opportunities to both increase competitiveness and introduce new processes and technologies, thus driving innovation – €210,466 has been awarded.

  Applications were open to individual LEOs; collaborative projects between two or more LEOs; and LEOs working with other local groups like Chambers, Community Enterprise Centres, Education or Training Bodies, Local Authorities or colleges.




A weekend of entertainment for children




This weekend, the Lollipops Children’s Festival gets underway at Roscommon Arts Centre.

  Alongside a programme of workshops, there will be two exceptional theatre performances for young audiences and an opportunity to meet author and illustrator Peter Donnelly.

  On Saturday afternoon Andy Manley and Ian Cameron will perform ‘Stick by Me’ in a show suitable for the whole family.

  ‘Stick by Me’ is a non-verbal, physical performance that explores the limits of friendship and boundaries with hilarious and moving consequences. Andy plays a theatrical game – a metaphor for the rules young children have to navigate in life. His playful performance creates a special experience for the audience.

  On Sunday, Naomi Draper’s ‘Visual Wonders’ workshop takes place. This is followed by an interactive workshop and reading by Peter Donnelly, the author of ‘The President’ book series. He will be reading from his latest book, ‘The President’s Surprise’.

  In the afternoon, the focus shifts to children aged seven years and older as the Graffitti Theatre Company perform ‘This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing’.

  This tells the story of triplet sisters who are left in the forest by their woodcutter father.  

  Twenty years later, after travelling the globe, fighting vikings, crossing oceans and achieving greatness, the three meet once more.

  An intriguing adventure for young audiences, tickets for this and all other Lollipops adventures are now on sale at Roscommon Arts Centre’s box office on 090-6625824.  

  Information on all events is available online at roscommonartscentre.ie.


Roscommon Drama Group for All-Ireland One Act Drama Festival




Roscommon Drama Group have entered the All-Ireland One Act Drama Festival after last year’s multi-award winning entry, ‘The Stanley Parkers’, proved to be successful.

  Mary Cox will direct this year’s play, ‘27 Wagons Full of Cotton’ by Tennessee Williams, with this staging of the play featuring Bernie Maher as Flora, Con Connolly as her husband Jake, and Tom Holian as Vicarrio.

  The All-Ireland finals take place in Cork during December and the journey to reach that stage starts in Ballina on Sunday, 3rd of November when this play wil be performed.  

  There will be a performance in Cavan town on Sunday, 10th of November before the group travel to Kiltimagh one week later. The Roscommon Drama Group will perform in Doonbeg on Monday, the 18th of November while they will visit Tubbercurry on Friday, 22nd of November and Manorhamlton two days after that.

  There will be a ground-breaking performance of the play in the Roscommon Arts Centre on Friday, 18th of October when the Lunchtime Theatre visit Roscommon before going on tour. Food, supplied by Molloy’s Bakery, will be served from 12.30 pm and the play will start at 1.10 pm.

  This is a first for drama in Roscommon and there are limited places available. Tickets, costing €16, including lunch, or €10 for the play only, are available from Roscommon Arts Centre at 090-6625824. Tickets are selling fast for this special occasion and booking is advised.

  The club is also producing a three-act play, ‘Forbidden Fruit’, by local writer Tom Costello. The play is a historical drama based on the Talbot family of Mount Talbot and will be staged in the Roscommon Arts Centre at the end of November. The play has recently been cast and rehearsals have started.



2019 Fair of Fuerty promises fun for all!




The 2019 Fair of Fuerty, which takes place this Sunday, 13th of October, promises to be one of the best ever held!

  In addition to all the traditional attractions that ensure this famous fair is always memorable, there are new innovations this year – and increased prize-money!

  It’s over a century since the first Fair of Fuerty was held – and in the subsequent decades, this event has had a special place in the hearts of generations of people in the local community.

  Fuerty is a picturesque, thriving and close-knit area where positive community spirit is very prevalent. This year the organising committee have pulled out all the stops to ensure that the 2019 Fair will be particularly entertaining, family-friendly and enjoyable. They’ve been busy planning an exciting schedule of events for this Sunday. The committee’s focus has been on staying true to the ethos of the traditional fair while adding further variety to the day’s attractions.

  Joe Dolan, of the organising committee, said: “I’d like to thank everyone on the committee for all their hard work. We are really looking forward to Sunday. Hopefully everyone will come along and enjoy the fair. I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank our generous sponsors and indeed to thank everyone who has helped in any way. Here’s to a great event in Fuerty this Sunday”.

  Please note that admission to Fuerty Fair this Sunday is FREE and entertainment for kids is FREE. Food will be served throughout the day. It promises to be a great day’s entertainment!




Renowned Irish Pianist returns to Arts Centre




One of Ireland’s most successful musicians will be performing in Roscommon Arts Centre on Friday, October 11th.

  Finghin Collins is celebrating the 20th anniversary of being awarded first prize in the prestigious Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland. The pianist will perform sonatas by Mozart and Schubert along with extracts from the Ros Tapestry Suite.

  Born in Dublin, following initial lessons with his sister Mary, he studied piano at the Royal Irish Academy of Music with critically acclaimed pianist John O’Conor. Finghin also studied at the Geneva Conservatoire with Dominique Merlet.

  Winner of the RTÉ Musician of the Future Competition in 1994 and the Classical Category at the National Entertainment Awards in Ireland in 1998, he went on to take first prize at the Clara Haskil International Piano Competition in Switzerland in 1999.

  Since then he has continued to enjoy a flourishing international career that takes him all over Europe and the United States, as well as to the Far East and Australia.

  In October 2017, the National University of Ireland conferred on him an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Music, and in the same year he celebrated his 40th birthday with a solo recital at the National Concert Hall in Dublin.

  Finghin always enjoys a warm reception in Roscommon, where he has a loyal following. This is a great opportunity to see one of Ireland’s finest pianists perform. Tickets are priced at just €15 and are now on sale at box office on 090-6625824.

Ring launches Athleague Development Plan




Michael Ring, the Minister for Rural and Community Development, visited Athleague recently to launch the Athleague 2020 Local Area Development Plan.

  The Plan, which sets out a shared vision for the area, was compiled by local voluntary groups, led by an umbrella group, Athleague 2020. It sets out a number of goals for Athleague, focussing on four main aspects of development: physical infrastructure improvements; developing business opportunities; capitalising on the tourism potential of the area; and community engagement.

  Minister Ring praised the plan and its ‘authors’. He stressed that the Government is committed to rural Ireland.

  While there was no commitment given on the day on future funding support for the project, in a press statement issued later to the Roscommon People, Senator Hopkins said: “A significant amount of work has been completed on improving the streetscape in Athleague. This was made possible through funding of €100,000 last year, approved by Minister Ring under the Town and Village Renewal Scheme along with assistance from Roscommon County Council.

  “These future plans will require further funding and I will continue to work closely with the community, Roscommon County Council and Minister Ring to help secure these projects”.

  At the recent launch, held in Athleague Community Centre, Ann Conneally and Mike Hourigan gave a detailed presentation of the Athleague 2020 Local Area Development Plan, highlighting the great tourism potential of the area.

  The plan also focuses on supporting farmers and maintaining the agricultural tradition that exists in the area.

  Local politicians commended the plan and offered their full support.


Elphin man in fundraising Mount Everest project


Ryan Duarte from Elphin recently completed a fundraising climb to Mount Everest Base Camp in aid of the Meningitis Research Foundation. 

  Ryan is pictured with his best friend Eoin Commins and two local Sherpas at the base camp on the day of completing the trek. 

  Elphin Karate Club, instructors and students have offered their congratulations to Ryan, an instructor with the club.

  “This was a great undertaking for all concerned and on behalf of Ryan, the club would like to say a huge thanks to everyone who supported him in his fundraising campaign for this very worthy cause”.

Food Festival celebrates wonderful produce from ‘Lough Ree hinterland’



The Taste of the Lakelands Festival Committee has confirmed that the Food Festival will take place this year in St. Mary’s Hall, Lanesborough, Co. Longford on Sunday, 13th of October (10 am to 5 pm).  

  The festival, which was a tremendous success over the last three years, celebrates the wonderful food produce from the Lough Ree hinterland. The committee hope to have over 40 food producers offering samples of their produce and sharing food preparation and cookery tips! This year’s festival will also see several high quality local crafts people display their work.

  In addition, a key attraction will be cookery demonstrations from local chefs David Porter from Kilronan Castle, Fiona Egan from Coughlan Farm & Cookery School, Daniel Skukalek from The Nine Arches Restaurant, Alison Crean from the Abbey Hotel in Roscommon, Owen Atkinson from Viewmount House in Longford, as well as well-renowned local chefs Stephen Dowd and Margaret Sexton. You are guaranteed to leave happy, well fed, and ready to experiment in the kitchen.

  There will be face-painting for the children on the day and Dolan Foods will provide free ice cream, so this will be a day for all the family to enjoy.

  This event is supported by Local Enterprise Office Roscommon, Roscommon County Council, Local Enterprise Office Longford, Longford County Council, Fáilte Ireland and Taste of the Islands.

  Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you are interested in displaying and selling your food or craft products at this year’s festival.

  Visit: www.tasteofthelakelands.ie for details on this year’s festival and like our facebook page https://www.facebook.com/tasteofthelakelands2019/ to keep updated.


From Boyle to Lourdes: schoolgirls’ epic trip recalled




The extraordinary journey taken by two schoolgirls from Boyle in Co. Roscommon to Lourdes over 125 years ago is recalled in a new book by bestselling author Colm Keane and his wife, former RTÉ newsreader Una O’Hagan.

  ‘The Village of Bernadette: Lourdes, Stories, Miracles and Cures – The Irish Connection’ is a new book which includes many fascinating tales about the renowned place of worship. One of those stories relates to the visit to Lourdes by two young girls from Boyle, named Mary Anne and Bridget.

  The girls set off on their journey in 1893 having been chosen from a class of 38 to travel to Lourdes, where the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared on multiple occasions in 1858.

  Stephen Bonsal, a 28-year-old American journalist who interviewed the Roscommon girls when they visited the shrine, reported that they had travelled over with the aim of bringing back jugs of holy water, along with “great bundles of rosaries, chaplets, and beads that had been blessed by the priest of the grotto”.

  In an article published in The Century Magazine in March 1894, Bonsal marvelled at how the girls had managed to – eventually – make it to Lourdes. 

  According to his account, the girls got lost and zigzagged their way to south-west France. Instead of heading south from Paris, they took a train in the opposite direction, to Brussels. From there, they headed to Bordeaux, pointed themselves in the direction of the Pyrenees, and eventually, with much good fortune, arrived at Lourdes. 

  “How these pilgrims from Boyle ever did reach Lourdes still remains a mystery to me,” wrote Bonsal. He said that the girls had experienced some “misadventures” in Paris, where they “nearly cried their eyes out” .

  Their worst misfortune came when they took the express train from Paris to Brussels instead of the ‘rapide’ for Bordeaux. Eventually, they arrived at Lourdes with “a crowd of pilgrims”.

  Bonsal wrote: “Early in the morning and late in the evening I saw them drawing water from the miracle spring and carrying it up the hillside and into the city in earthenware jars. In their lodgings they had placed a score or more of mammoth milk cans in which they intended to transport the waters back to Boyle. It was weary, slow work”.  

  One afternoon, Bonsal spotted in the newspaper La Croix that the Second Home Rule Bill had passed in the House of Commons.  

  “We made merry as best we might in the shadow of the holy places,” he recalled. “But on the part of the colleens the gaiety was forced and far from real. Tears came into their eyes as they thought of what they were missing”.

  He recalled that Bridget said: “There will be many a bonfire around Boyle tonight”.

  The girls “disappeared from view following their meeting with Bonsal,” authors Colm Keane and Una O’Hagan write in their book, adding: “Hopefully, they had an easier, smoother, more direct journey home, via Paris and not via Brussels or some other city east of the Volga!”

  St. Bernadette’s impoverished childhood, her work as a shepherdess, visions of Our Lady, harsh treatment as a nun, and tragic death at the age of 35 are recalled in the book.

  Numerous Irish miracles and cures at Lourdes are recollected. Recoveries from cancer, epilepsy, lung problems, skin disease, pain, paralysis and physical disability are included.

  John F. Kennedy, Grace Kelly, Brendan Behan and Seamus Heaney are among the millions who have visited the shrine. You can read their stories, along with those of other Irish pilgrims in ‘The Village of Bernadette: Lourdes, Stories, Miracles and Cures – The Irish Connection’.  


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