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Paddy Joe’s ‘Boys Town’ link revealed!




It was revealed at last Saturday’s Town Team Genealogy, Local and Family History Conference at Hannon’s Hotel that Roscommon GAA fanatic and local barber, Paddy Joe Burke, is a descendent of Fr. Edward J. Flanagan of Boys Town fame.

  The links were discovered following painstaking genealogy research carried out by Mary Leyden and Eilish Feeley ahead of the ‘Who Do You Think He Is?’ event which took place during the conference.

  Organiser and speaker on the night, Mary Leyden, said Paddy Joe had been aware of the link, which is on his mother’s side of the family.

  “Paddy Joe knew a lot about his family history thanks to his father and grandfather. He was a brave man to take part but there wasn’t a single skeleton in the closet!

  “The most interesting link was to Fr. Flanagan of Boys Town fame in the United States. There was a definite DNA link; Paddy  Joe’s grandmother was Larkin and Fr. Flanagan’s mother was Nora Larkin and they were from the Leabeg area near the village of Ballymoe,” she said.

  While Paddy Joe is undoubtedly Primrose and Blue through and through, the research did suggest a tinge of Maroon and White in his bloodline!

  Mary said: “Paddy Joe’s a true Rossie to the core but there is also a slight touch of East Galway!”

  The inaugural Roscommon Town Team’s Genealogy, Local and Family History Conference featured talks from Mary Leyden, Marian Harlow, Eilish Feeley and Mary Timoney on topics including ‘Researching Living Relatives’, ‘Your Town History’, ‘Sources for Genealogy and Local History and ‘Graveyards – A Source for Local and Family History’. 


‘Sister Act’ rehearsals to begin in Boyle





Rehearsals for Boyle Musical Society’s production of ‘Sister Act’ will commence at 8 pm next Monday (September 2nd) in St. Joseph’s Hall, Boyle.

  A warm welcome is extended to all new, former and existing members to join up for twelve fun-filled, action-packed weeks of music, singing, drama, dancing, comedy and lots more. Musical Director Anne and Director/Choreographer Vivienne will be there to outline the show to everybody, so go along and join the fun!

  Rehearsals will continue on Monday and Thursday evenings. It is hoped to have the principal parts in the show cast by late September, so the musical society is really hoping for a big turnout at the first rehearsal.

  ‘Sister Act’ is based on the 1992 film, which starred Whoopi Goldberg and follows the fortunes and misfortunes of nightclub singer, Deloris Van Cartier, who ends up in a convent, hiding from gangsters and the police. While there, she gets involved with the local choir and sets about bringing in some much needed donations for the convent.

  With music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater and songs like ‘Raise Your Voice’, ‘Take Me To Heaven’, ‘Sunday Morning Fever’ and ‘Do The Sacred Mass’, you can expect some serious hand clapping, foot stomping, God fearing, Gospel and Soul!

  ‘Sister Act’ is Boyle Musical Society’s 36th annual show and it will be staged over four nights in St. Joseph’s Hall, from Wednesday, November 20th to Saturday, November 23rd.

  For more details on Boyle Musical Society, please visit www.boylemusicalsociety.com, follow BMS on Facebook and check the Roscommon People for updates.

Plenty to sing and dance about at the arts centre!





Roscommon Arts Centre has just launched its autumn/winter programme and it certainly does not disappoint! With the new building now open, patrons can look forward to an extended programme of events that includes a host of classes in the new workshop space.

  From Beat Buddy Babies weekly music sessions for very little ones to sean nos dancing after school with the brilliantly talented All-Ireland champion dancer Eimear Mulvey and not forgetting our Songbirds and Elderberries classes for older people, Roscommon Arts Centre has something lined up for all ages.

  For those working, there are also evening classes as Julie Sharkey returns with another season of Adult Acting Classes and we dip our tow into the world of musical theatre with new classes for both adults and children this October using “The Greatest Showman” for inspiration.

  The new gallery space continues to feature work by Roscommon artists as the WAR exhibition continues into October. Xnthony makes a welcome return to the centre with his exhibition ‘Very Famous Art to Colour In’ and Susan Mannion, who was awarded the Roscommon Visual Artists Forum Award for 2019, brings the visual art programme for 2019 to a close with her exhibition ‘Water Memory’ which opens at the end of November.

  In September there is a celebration of Roscommon writers (Heartland Writers) with an afternoon of workshops and a Literary Miscellany featuring Jane Clarke, Brian Leyden and Michael O’Dea.

  To be expected, there is an abundance of performances that promise great nights of entertainment, including the return of the Roscommon Drama Group, the students from the Roscommon Community College and the Acorn Players. The Lollipops Children’s Festival pops up in October and with Jon Kenny, Conal Gallen and some of the stars of Fair City and The Young Offenders en route to Roscommon, it promises to be a busy season.

  Musical highlights include the return of Slow Moving Clouds, the band who performed live on stage as part of Teach Damhsa’s enchanting ‘Swan Lake’ production; ‘Gentle on my Mind’, The Glen Campbell Story, an evening with Finghin Collins, The Dublin Gospel Choir and the renowned Altan.

  The theatre programme for the season includes two antartic expeditions as Tom Crean: Antartic Explorer and Blue Raincoat’s Shackleton both grace the stage, while comedian Katherine Lynch joins Young Offenders star Shane Casey on stage in Madhouse. Fregoli Theatre Company who have been in residence at the centre over the summer months, will share a new work in progress I Salute Magpies with audiences this September, before returning later in the season with their full-scale shows The Fregoli Heart Project.

  December’s programme is decidedly festive with everything from Santa Babies to Lygo Theatre’s Heart of Winter for young audiences and Xnthony’s Xmas show, packed full of shenanigans.  

  Details of all performances, workshops and visual art events are contained in the new autumn/winter brochure which is now in circulation, so if you haven’t yet picked up your season brochure, don’t delay and do so today! Programme details and booking for most events can also be found at: www.roscommonartscentre.ie and at the box office on 090-6625824.


Free historical talk on origins of Athlone Castle


Athlone Arts and Tourism will host a free talk on ‘The History of Athlone Castle’ by Dr. Rory Sherlock at Luan Gallery this Saturday (August 31st) at 7 pm.

  Dr. Sherlock is an archaeologist and architectural historian and author of the beautifully illustrated guidebook to Athlone Castle, first published in 2016. He completed a programme of doctoral research on the social environment of Irish tower houses at NUI Galway in 2008. He is the founder and director of the Galway Archaeological Field School, which conducts on-going research into late medieval settlement in Ireland while training students in survey and excavation techniques. He is also the author of many papers on late medieval architecture in Ireland and has given papers on the subject to conferences at home and abroad.

  Dr. Sherlock’s talk, which forms part of Athlone Castle Medieval Fair, will explore the early Gaelic activity on the site, building of the Royal castle in 1210 and the evolution of the monument over the centuries. The castle was much bigger than many people realise and it played an important role in the politics of the region for hundreds of years, until it was severely damaged in the Williamite siege of 1691.

  The talk will take place at 7 pm this Saturday. Admission to the talk is free, but places are limited – advanced booking is advised. Contact Athlone Castle on 090-6442130 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

€40,000 prize money for 42nd Elphin Show





There was a good attendance at the launch of the annual Elphin Agricultural Show which took place at An Bóthar Rua last Thursday night. The 42nd installment of the show will take place on the grounds of Elphin Mart on Saturday, August 31st with €40,000 in prize money up for grabs.

  Speaking at last Thursday’s launch, Chairman Tommy Gormley welcomed those in attendance including local public representatives, Deputy Eugene Murphy and Cllrs. Valerie Beirne and Joe Murphy.

  “I welcome the elected representatives, elected councillors for the area, representatives from the cattle breed societies, our loyal sponsors, Vice-Chairman John McDermott, Secretary Clare Connellan and assistants Michelle Shiel, Carmel Beirne, Anne Gormley and Pauline Jackson,” he said.

 Mr. Gormley also welcomed Show President Cyril McDermott and “hard-working” committee members, stewards and members of the public before providing an outline of Saturday’s programme.

  This year’s Elphin Show will feature an All-Ireland competition for Pedigree Charolais Baby Calf with a prize fund of €1,500; All-Ireland Baby Beef Heifer with a prize fund of €2,500; All-Ireland Commercial Breeding Heifer un-haltered with €1,500 in prizes as well as the Midland & Western Charolais Calf Final (€1,500) and the Limousin Anglo Irish Youth Finals.

  There will also be the All-Ireland Pony Mare and Foal Championship with a prize fund of €500 and the Elphin Show Mare and Foal Championship (€500).

  Away from the livestock, there are All-Ireland Championships for Treacle Bread, Muffins, Jam, Jack Russells, Puppies and Duck or Drake.

  Meanwhile, the Horse section has 16 classes. Cattle classes include six Angus classes, five Shorthorn classes, five Hereford classes, five Simmental classes, and eleven in the Charolais.

  Commenting on the Limousin Anglo Irish Youth Finals, Mr. Gormley said: “The finals of this annual competition rotates between the five competing teams: Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. It is a great way to increase young members’ knowledge and skills while also giving them the opportunity to visit new areas and make new friends”.

  There are also 20 Sheep classes this Saturday and five classes for Goats. The turf section features three classes, and the Flower section has twelve, while the Farm Produce section has 22 including the Best Scarecrow (sponsored by John Ames Power Washing Services).

  This year’s Show sees the return of popular sections including Cookery, Poultry, Dogs, Adult Art and Handcrafts.

  Mr. Gormley described it as a varied programme which featured several new classes.

  “It’s wide and varied and we hope we have something of interest for everyone - young and old – to make it a great family day out. We finish the night with Sean Fahy in An Bóthar Rua, where the raffle will be held,” he said.

  First prize in this year’s raffle is a weanling heifer, second prize is a one-night stay with breakfast and evening meal at Kilronan Castle, third prize is €100 and winners of fourth and fifth prizes receive €50.

  “Again, we’d like to thank all the sponsors of the show, especially our main sponsors Noel Sweeney and family; Elphin Mart, Fearna Nursing Home; the Callery family; the hard-working committee; stewards; Elphin Mart Manager, Gerry Connellan and his staff; Claire Connellan, Secretary; An Bóthar Rua for providing their premises and offering refreshments.

  “We would also like to acknowledge a grant from the Department of Agriculture administered through the Irish Shows Association to the value of €5,000 and Roscommon County Council for their support,” he said.  


Acrobatic artistry at the arts centre





‘How to Square a Circle’ comes to town



Former Roscommon and Elphin footballer, and Cyr wheel artist, Ronan Brady, was hard at work with performing partner, hoop artist, Aisling Ní Cheallaigh, when I called to the Roscommon Arts Centre on Monday afternoon.

  The pair were busy rehearsing for their show ‘How to Square a Circle’, which takes the stage at the Roscommon Arts Centre on Thursday, August 29th at 8 pm.

  Ronan is no stranger to performing in Roscommon and famously appeared prior to the Connacht Senior Football Championship Semi-Final between Roscommon and Leitrim in 2017.

  However, while Ronan and Dubliner Aisling performed ‘How to Square a Circle’ in Athlone last year, this is the first time the show will be staged in Co. Roscommon.

  The show has been described as ‘Irish Circus’ and features hand-to-hand acrobatics, trapeze, Ronan’s Cyr Wheel, Aisling’s Hoop artistry and a mixture of dance and story-telling.

  Former teacher Ronan, who was a semi-finalist on Ireland’s Got Talent in 2018, is delighted to be bringing the show to his native county.

  “Averyl (Dooher) and Dympna (Cribbin) gave us the run of the place about a month back and have also given us the place for two weeks this month in order to get the show sorted. They’ve really supported us and it’s great to be performing in a local venue and when we’re applying to the Arts Council for funding it’s great to get the backing of theatres and established art centres like Roscommon. I’m particularly chuffed to be bringing this show to Roscommon town!”

  Hoop artist Aisling Ní Cheallaigh studied medieval history in Trinity College and is a self-confessed maths ‘nerd’. It was Aisling who came up with the name ‘How to Square a Circle’

  “We are really excited to be able to tour the show because when we made it we weren’t sure whether it would get to go anywhere again. The reception last year in places like the Dean Crowe in Athlone was really good,” she said.

  For Ronan and Aisling, this is clearly a labour of love, though Ronan believes it’s not always perceived as serious work.

  “It’s a bit of a novelty at the start and unfortunately sometimes it continues as a novelty. There’s this notion that I’ve run away with the circus and while it’s a cool line, the term suggests you’re running away from something. That’s not the case; it’s the same as a freelance salesperson or anything else. Sometimes you’re all over the country with work,” he said.

  “You’re definitely not in it for the money anyway…” Aisling interjects.

  Ronan continues: “It’s such a slog and we wouldn’t be doing this if they Arts Council didn’t fund the tour”.

  Aisling adds: “And if Roscommon Arts Centre didn’t help us out and give us this space and support our application”.

  The training and rehearsals certainly aren’t for the faint-hearted. Aisling said that each session begins with an hour-long warm-up followed by another hour of conditioning and training.

  “Our schedule here is 9 am to 11 am is training skills and then from 11 until 5.30 pm we will be working with a director. Then we warm down for half an hour and then when we’ve finished that there will be meetings and organising until about 9 pm,” she said.

  So what can the Roscommon Arts Centre audience expect next Thursday?

  “This will be like Irish Circus, which is story-telling and spectacle in one,” Aisling said.

  Ronan added: “Images and videos tell a certain amount but there’s nothing as impressive as seeing this in the flesh. You know that someone might do a handstand for example but when you’re actually there and they’re doing a handstand it’s something else.

  “We want to tell a story and we’ll use our physical vocabulary to tell that story. You’ll come away with so much more than seeing ‘cool tricks’,” he said, before Aisling had the final word…“You’ll get the ‘cool tricks’ and a story!”

  Tickets for this one-of-a-kind show are on sale now from the Roscommon Arts Centre box office on 090-6625824 or at www.roscommonartscentre.ie.



A day of ‘Automotive Strokestown Park House





Ireland’s newest car show will debut at Strokestown Park House, Co. Roscommon on Sunday, August 25th. Roscommon Sports & Classic Car Club in conjunction with Strokestown Park House & Gardens will hold their day of ‘Automotive History’ to showcase the progression of the motor vehicle from the 1920s to the current day and all are welcome on the day. The show opens at 12 pm and will run until 4 pm. Registration takes place from 11.30 am on the day.

  There promises to be something for everyone, with sports and classic cars, tractors and bikes from the 1920s right up to the 1980s. Entry to the show will be free for exhibitors and visitors alike.

  Highlights on the day will include some of Ireland’s rarest Mercedes cars including a 1933 Mercedes 200 convertible; an original Roscommon registered 1955 190sl; a 1959 220s convertible and 1963 230sl pagoda. Other confirmed cars include a 1926 Buick; a mk1 Renault 5 Turbo; Ferraris; DeLoreans; Triumphs; BMWs; Austins; MGs; Toyotas and more.

  All owners of vintage and classic cars and retro cars, bikes and tractors are invited to come and show off their pride and joy in a fabulous setting. There will be €500 in prizes for best in class in the various categories. 

  This event is sponsored by Norio’s Takeaway and proceeds will go to support Blood Bike West and Cuisle Accessible Holiday Resort. 

  Blood Bike West is an all-volunteer charitable organisation providing out of-hours transport of urgent and emergency medical supplies, such as samples, equipment, scan discs, human milk and documentation. Their free, fully donation-funded service links hospitals, hospices, clinics, care homes, and laboratories, contributing to patient care in the West of Ireland.  

  Cuisle is Ireland’s Premier Wheelchair Accessible Respite Resort and is located right here in County Roscommon.

  Representatives from Blood Bike West and Cuisle will be on-site to gather funds throughout the day.

  The organisers look forward to welcoming everyone to the beautiful surrounds of Strokestown House and Gardens for what promises to be a great day!

  For further details contact event organiser Noel Simpson on 087-2304960 and follow Roscommon Sports & Classic Car Club on Facebook.

Australian resident representing Roscommon in Miss Ireland





Australian resident Luchia Noyes will be Roscommon’s representative in the upcoming Miss Ireland competition, which takes place in Dublin on September 14th.

  Twenty-seven-year-old Luchia, who works in Sydney for an Irish TV and Film company, will fly the flag for Roscommon due to her connections to the Finnerty family located in the Tulsk area.

  Her grand-aunt Mary O’Dwyer of Kilkenny married Tom Finnerty, and they raised a family in Roscommon. Tom passed some years ago, while Mary resides in the Sacred Heart Hospital in Roscommon.

  Luchia has frequented Roscommon on numerous occasions and is looking to drum up some support for the county for the upcoming event. She divides her time between Australia and County Clare and revealed her plan is to return home in the next few years.

  The inspiration behind her entering the competition is to create awareness for the mental health campaign which she has embarked on for suicide prevention, something which she says is very close to her heart.

  “The reason I want to enter Miss Ireland is to try and create more awareness around suicide prevention. Not only does it continue to be a big problem in Ireland but also in Australia with all the ex-pats,” she explains.

  “I have lost some really good friends to suicide in recent years so it is certainly an issue which is really close to my heart,” she added.

  The main focus of her campaign is to add to the important work being carried out by Pieta House in Ireland, but also the Black Dog Institute in Sydney. She has already organised a major fundraising event while in Sydney, with 35 well-known rugby players involved.

  She says she is really looking forward to the event, and hopes to do the county proud.

  “I can’t wait for the event and I hope I can drum up a bit of support from the people of Roscommon as well,” she added.

  Luchia has also set up a GoFundMe campaign page, www.gofundme.com/suicideprevention-campaign039, so if you would like to support her in her exploits you can log on and donate using the link above.


Family Fun Day at Portrun this Sunday!




Event is part of National Heritage Week


As part of National Heritage Week, Portrun Development Association is holding a Family Fun Day from 1.30 pm to 6 pm at the Portrunny shoreline on Sunday, August 25th. Activities start at 1.30 pm with a sponsored 5km walk (Cost is €10 for individuals and €15 per family), which is suitable for all with an option to extend the walk to take in the Portrunny Heritage Trail (maps provided).

  Other activities on the day will include a talk by environmentalist, Billy Flynn, who will speak about biodiversity. On the day there will also be an opportunity to cruise on a Viking ship (preferably pre-booked through East West Travel. Cost €15); take to the water with Splash and Dash Kayaking, and there will also be music and free activities for children throughout.

  ‘Finders and Seekers’ will also allow visitors young and young at heart to find out more about local wildlife and the ecosystem as they explore the shore. Participants will be encouraged to draw what they find using the kit provided.

  Portrun Development Association PRO, Cora Mugan, says the event will highlight the beautiful surrounds of Portrun.

  “Portrun is used in all sorts of weather and it appeals to everyone. The shoreline is quite safe and sheltered and can still be accessed by bigger boats. There are lovely scenic views and it’s been said that it’s like having the lakes of Killarney on our doorstep but we don’t even realise it,” she said.

  Secretary of the committee, Stephanie O’Connor Shaw, said that Sunday’s event would go towards the ongoing work carried out by the hard-working development committee in the area.

  “We are hoping that the money raised will go towards match-funding for activities and developing the area as well as administration costs for the next year,” she said.

  There will be plenty of attractions on offer for the whole family this Sunday with entertainment provided by Knockcroghery’s Ukephoric, St. Dominic’s GAA adult Scór, local traditional musician John Wynne and story-teller Tommy Murray.

  For more information about Sunday’s Family Fun Day as part of National Heritage Week, check out www.portrun.ie and Portrun Roscommon Facebook page. All are welcome.


My helpful productivity hacks for planning ahead



As the summer draws to an end, parents right across Roscommon are busy preparing their home for the back to school season. So, between covering books and ironing school uniforms, sorting out bedtime schedules, planning healthy lunches, and possibly organising responsible childcare facilities, we thought we’d try to provide you with what we like to call our helpful productivity hacks to assist you when planning ahead.

Here they are ...

Label everything: Between the journey to school, the classroom activities and the school yard fun and games, things are bound to go missing, or at least, get misplaced, so pop a colourful label onto everything your child owns.

Do a weekly meal prep: If you’ve got the time, try to set aside a few hours to prep and freeze meals on a Sunday. This will do two things, one, give you more time during the week and two, (while we all enjoy our chips, curries and pizzas), planning in this way will prevent you relying too much on take away food.

Keep a Diary: Now, while it may sound a bit regimental, popping a weekly wall planner on the wall and colour coding everyone’s daily schedules, whether this is a game of footie, a dance class or a music lesson, will definitely generate you an A+! You see, a planner will not only remind you where you’ve got to be at any given time, it’ll also help you organise your shopping list, as in do you need to buy snacks to keep them going during soccer/basketball practice etc.,

Post it: I’m a huge fan of post-it notes and regularly write orders, sorry reminders on them before popping them on the fridge door under a magnet. Annoys the hell out of hubby, but it works for me!

Organise your bathroom: It may sound silly, but by streamlining your bathroom products such as shampoo, shower gel, clean towels, toothpaste and make-up etc., into easy to grab areas,  you can save yourself valuable minutes during the morning rush to get the kids to school and yourself to work.

Create a utility space: Clear out a corner in the hall or under the stairs and hang shelves and coat hooks where everyone can disrobe, dump their school bags/laptops and hop into their slippers the minute they enter the house. This will do two things, one, it’ll keep your floors clean and clutter free and two, it’ll provide a central ‘go-to’ area for storage meaning everyone knows where everything is kept.

The car: Provide car seat pocket storage organisers and tell passengers to use them for rubbish and empty water bottles etc., Speaking of your car, as you’re likely to be the unofficial family taxi for the next academic year, consider booking your motor in for a service this weekend.

And finally: This may sound overly organised, but, as I’m someone whom, due to the demands of my job, I absolutely had to stick to strict deadlines while taking care of a family, (and a dog), so I bought a beautiful (and very useful) kitchen cart in my local DIY shop. I parked it in my extension, loaded it with clean mugs, a coffee maker, bottles of water, healthy snacks and a bowl of fresh fruit each evening, so that, come the morning, in the event we were running a bit late, the kids had a ‘grab and go’ selection of nutritious items on hand.  Seriously, I’m wasted here folks…I could give Rachel Allen a run for her money!


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