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"We hope to continue to have activity-based and educational aspects. We never envisage having the bumper cars type of thing here," he added.

Mr Coyle said that 2011 had been an "amazing year" at Tayto Park. "When we opened, we thought we would be employing up to 60 people at peak time, but we actually had 127 working here during the peak period and we have 44 full-time at the moment," he said.

Tayto Park attracted 300,000 visitors last year, the first full year of its operation and its owner is hoping to increase that by a further 200,000 next summer.
(Source: Offaly Express)


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There were heartbreaking scenes in Carrick-on-Shannon last Friday as thousands turned out to pay their respects to local student Andrew Dolan who was tragically killed in an unprovoked assault in Mullingar.

Parish Priest of Carrick-on-Shannon Fr Frank Garvey described 20-year-old Mr Dolan as a naturally quiet young man who never raised his voice in anger.

“How utterly unthinkable that he should be the victim of such an unprovoked and vicious assault,” Fr Garvey told the thousands of mourners who gathered at St Mary’s Church to support Andrew’s parents Joe and Rosie and his brothers Jack and Gavin.

The priest told the congregation that everyone who respected the “precious, fragile gift of life” was asking why. “Why do so many people think it is no longer safe to walk the towns and cities of our country especially at weekends? Why can young people not go out and enjoy themselves celebrating with their friends, without the menace of an unwarranted attack from those who seem intent on random acts of violence?” he asked.

Mourners heard that the last thing his father said to him when he dropped him to a train on December 22nd last was “mind yourself Andy and be careful”.

Joe Dolan told his 20-year-old son that another young man had recently been assaulted in Carrick-on-Shannon and was fighting for his life in Beaumont Hospital.
(Source: The Roscommon Herald)


Chris O'Dowd returned to his native Boyle to begin filming for a new television series and also to celebrate his recently announced engagement to TV presenter, Dawn Porter with family and friends.

It was Chris's first trip home to Boyle since his St. Stephen's Day proposal to Ms. Porter and the star of British sitcom, The IT Crowd and who also starred in Hollywood films, Gulliver's Travels and Bridesmaids was back at work last week, filming around the streets and roads he grew up in.

The new six-part comedy series 'Moone Boy'' is co-written by Chris and Nick Vincent Murphy and is expected to air on Sky next summer.

Set in the 1980s, 'Moone Boy' tells the story of 11- year- old Martin Moone, who conjures up a 35-yearold bearded man, Sean Murphy, played by O'Dowd, as his imaginary friend.

Ms Porter returned to London last week while Chris threw himself into the project which has been greeted with much excitement in the town. Householders received a letter from the production company during the week, warning them in advance of what to expect during filming and giving them a schedule of the locations that would be used all last week and what traffic restrictions to expect.

'Moone Boy' is based loosely on the actor's own experience of growing up in Boyle and he insisted that part of it would be filmed in the town.

"It was essential really, it wouldn't have made sense for me to do it otherwise," he said.

Mrs Moone will be played by Deirdre O'kane while Dublin actor Peter Mcdonald plays the role of the 11-year-old's dad.

Mr O'Dowd's father, Sean, is an extra in the series, which will feature a lot of local faces. It won't be the first time he has acted, he has previously appeared in local pantomimes and plays.
(Source: The Sligo Champion)


There is good news for residents and business people in Thurles last week with the decision of the Town Council not to increase the commercial rate, parking charges, burial ground charges or any other rates for the coming year.

The annual Estimates of Expenditure and Income were adopted by the elected representatives at the meeting last Monday night and the charges are being maintained at 2011 levels despite the fact that the Local Government Fund has been cut by some 9%, or 70,000 Euro. The Budget as presented by Town Clerk Mr Michael Ryan (pictured), and Town Manager Mr Matt Shortt, got the support of eight of the members with Cllr David Doran deciding not to vote for it in protest at 10,000 Euro being included for members conference expenses.
(Source: Tipperary Star)