Green Around the World
THE world's most famous landmarks will go green next month to mark St. Patrick's Day.
Niagara Falls, the TV tower in Berlin's Alexanderplatz, the London Eye and Table Mountain in South Africa are among some of the well-known sites that will be lit up on March 17.
Tourism Ireland said the celebrations were part of a promotional drive to grow overseas tourism.
Niall Gibbons, the body's chief executive, said more than 70 million people around the world claim links with the island of Ireland.
"St. Patrick's Day is a truly unique opportunity to reconnect them with their heritage and to showcase our wonderful tourism offering to a huge global audience," he said.
"People across the world instantly identify St. Patrick's Day with Ireland, and that heightened profile allows us to put the Ireland holiday experience in the spotlight -- from London to Sydney and Stockholm to New York."
The Sky Tower in Auckland will be the first building to turn green when it reaches midnight, followed by the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai and landmarks across Europe and the U.S., including the Empire State Building and the White House fountain.
Celebrations will span Great Britain, mainland Europe, North America, Australia, as well as developing markets such as China, India and South Africa -- with an advert for Ireland shown on Times Square, which could be seen by up to 1.5 million New Yorkers.
Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar said St. Patrick's Day provides a unique shop window for Ireland around the world, for Irish tourism and for trade and investment.
A four-day festival will also be staged in Dublin, featuring an outdoor ceili, traditional music concerns, and a St. Patrick's Day parade through the capital.
The Belfast Telegraph
SOMETHING very spooky is happening in Limerick’s 200-year-old Milk Market.
Strange, glowing lights have been captured on one of the market’s 15 CCTV cameras, which some believe are ghostly spirits, or orbs, and which management have described as something that “defies logic.”
The footage emerged when staff handed over tapes from CCTV cameras to Gardai (police) after the market was broken into in the early hours of Friday, January 27.
When staff studied the footage, strange luminous lights were clearly visible from 4 a.m. on one particular camera, camera six, which is located in the arch above the main gate into the market, which itself has original stone work from when it was built in 1792 by the Perry family.
For more than an hour -- and right up until the second that the break-in occurs -- the lights are plainly visible on the cameras, jetting in and out of the shot, changing speeds and moving in irregular directions.
“We have looked at the footage. It defies logic. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to it. We have looked at it and it leaves us baffled, very baffled,” Milk Market manager David O’Brien said.
“I am not somebody who goes down the road of thinking it is hocus pocus stuff, but everybody who has seen the footage is mesmerized by it.”
A local fortune teller who does readings in the Milk Market believes the light in the footage is an “orb.”
“I have seen the footage and it looks like an orb, which are spirits,” said Tina Scully.
“In the manifestation of a spirit, they begin first as an orb. There is a long history attached to the market. It has a Famine history and workhouses and a lot of bad things went on there. Souls can get trapped like a time warp between worlds, they can’t pass from one to another.
“There are energies in the market. I am absolutely convinced of that,” she added.
A local security guard who has stayed overnight in the market when concerts have taken place concurred that he had seen “moving lights” which “freaked” him out.
“I was getting a feeling that someone was watching me. I just saw a bright light in the corner, constantly moving, on the left hand side, over towards the gate,” said the guard, who did not wish to be named.
Ghost Hunt Ireland, which carries out paranormal investigations, are said to be keen to come down and carry out a study of the premises.
There has been some kind of functioning market on the site of the Milk Market for more than 500 years, but it was in the late 18th century that it was officially established.
It was redeveloped to the tune of €2 million and reopened in June 2010 as a modern, all-weather facility under a 1.8 ton, half acre canopy, or “Ireland’s largest tent” as architect Michael Healy has described it.
Broadband for Schools
THERE has been a huge welcome to the news that all second level schools in Leitrim will have high speed broadband installed this year.
This is part of a national program to install broadband in every second level school in Ireland by 2014 which has been jointly announced by the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources and the Department of Education.
Leitrim is one of 14 counties in which every school will have high speed broadband installed in 2012 as these counties currently have the lowest average broadband speeds for schools.
Deputy Tony McLoughlin said, “I am delighted that Leitrim has been selected to have the high speed broadband installed in its second level schools this year. We have always been last in the queue when it comes to broadband so I am glad that this government is doing something to redress the balance.
“High speed broadband will help modernize the teaching and learning processes within schools in our county and will open up the schools to the rest of the world.”
The Irish Rural Link (IRL) says the new broadband will strengthen a school’s ability to ensure that students are equipped with the skills necessary to compete in a work force that will be under considerable pressure to cope with the challenges of Ireland’s economic recovery.
Seamus Boland of IRL said, “The roll out needs to be matched with the provision of computers and other necessary technology to students so that they can maximize the benefits of this program.”
THE armed thugs who forced an ambulance crew to abandon their distressed patient and flee for their own safety could have been facing a murder charge if the local man had died, it has been claimed.
Appalled Antrim community reps have united to condemn the disturbing incident, which occurred on Fountain Hill in the early hours of a recent Saturday -- and all agree that their shocking disregard for the man's safety has further tarnished the town's reputation.
The emergency services raced to the scene shortly after 3:30 a.m. following reports that a man had collapsed, but seconds after they began administering medical assistance they heard a roar in the distance and the sound of running feet.
Looking further along Fountain Hill, they observed two men brandishing iron bars who were running towards them issuing a tirade of abuse and threats.
The paramedics -- a man and a woman -- attempted to calm this unwanted attention by calling out to the men and telling them they were ambulance crew dealing with a medical emergency.
Instead, this seemed to incense them further, leading to another terrifying volley of invective.
As the men got closer the paramedics were forced to hastily withdraw from the scene, leaving their patient at the mercy of the mob.
Once safely in their vehicle the police were alerted to the disturbance and the man was ferried to Antrim Hospital, where he received treatment for abdominal pain.
Who Wants to Work?
THE social welfare system needs to be overhauled to incentivize people to return to the workplace, according to Boyle councilor Frank Geelan.
Geelan raised the issue at the February meeting of the town council when he noted that six recent vacancies in Boyle only attracted 28 applicants.
He said that it was well known that there were 1,050 people on the live register in the town, and he questioned the low level of applicants for the six positions.
“There were 16 applicants for five jobs and 12 applicants for one job. Where are all of the other people?” he asked.
Councilor Clifford noted that many of the training courses being offered were not being matched to the needs of applicants or the prospect of future employment.
But Councilor Jan Flanagan said that the system was “wrong” and that there was very little incentive for some social welfare recipients to go out and get a job because it would not be worth their while.