News from Ireland - news from around the 32 counties



The mother of an Antrim woman who flew the nest to pursue a high-flying career in a top London law firm has bravely spoken of her “complete and utter devastation” following her daughter's sudden death.

Tracey McGuckin was enjoying a night out with friends in one of the capital's karaoke bars two weekends ago, but it all ended in tragedy when she stepped out into the street – and into the path of a car which was hurtling past.

The ambitious 29-year-old, who had dreamed of becoming a lawyer from her early days at Antrim Primary School, quietly slipped away on that busy city street. Her family, so many miles away, had no idea that their lives were about to change forever.
[Source: Antrim Guardian]


Historic Killeavy Castle and estate, nestled in an area of outstanding beauty, has been put on the market for almost $1.6 million.

The 200-year-old castle has lately been the focus of a restoration campaign, spearheaded by local art student, Deaglan Mulgrew. Deaglan had spoken to The Examiner in recent months about his concerns for the building and set up a series of meetings to discuss restoring the castle to its former glory.

Bell’s Castle, as it is also known, has been part of south Armagh’s heritage since the first half of the 19th century, having been built by the Foxall family and subsequently owned by the Bell family until the death of Maureen Bell in 2000.
[Source: Examiner Newspaper]


A long-lost letter has sparked an American man to track down his Carlow pen-pal from days of yore.

Mark Lobes, a teacher from Lockport, Illinois stumbled across an old letter written in the 1980s by a girl named Karen from Carlow Town while cleaning his house, and now he hopes to track her down.

His quest to discover his pen-pal, to whom he wrote while he was in first grade and attending St. Joseph’s School in Downers Grove, Illinois, began after he found an old letter and picture of her in a previously forgotten-about box.

Curiosity getting the better of him, Mark set about e-mailing Scoil Mhuire gan Smál – where Karen went to school – in the hope that they could provide him with more information.

His aim, he says, is to respond to the final letter she sent on February 28, 1985.
[Source: Carlow Nationalist]


An Oireachtas committee has vowed to visit the earmarked frack-zones in the Lough Allen basin after a “thought-provoking and insightful” discussion of the potential environmental implications at a meeting last Wednesday.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications heard from policymakers, experts and a campaigning group on the possible environmental implications of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as a means of exploration in Ireland.
[Source: The Anglo Celt]


Further developing Clare’s gastronomic potential will see more money coming into and staying in the county, according to one of Ireland’s top food writers.

The Irish Food Guide was published last week and more than 50 Clare businesses feature in the 2012 publication, compiled by John and Sally McKenna.

Clare is “right up there with the best” and is the “template” for other counties to follow, John McKenna told The Clare Champion.

“Clare is right up there with the best. It is as simple as that. This is the 10th edition of the book. When you look back and see the development of Clare, it is very interesting. It is the perfect example of what you need for a good food jigsaw. It has strength and depth. What you have in Connemara, for example, is lots of excellent destinations but no infrastructure. It has a few salmon smokers and a few people doing seaweed but it has no growers, no cheese makers, no strong artisan brands. It is a busy tourist destination but it is ultimately, as a tourist destination, a failure. What happens in Connemara is that the money comes in and goes right out again. The money is not spent on Connemara food, because it doesn’t exist.”
[Source: Clare Champion]


Providence Resources said last Wednesday that the amount of oil that can be recovered from a huge oil field off the Cork coast is much greater than was previously thought.

The company announced that two new technical studies found that about 280 million barrels could be recovered from the Barryroe field, 30 miles off the Cork coast. At the moment Ireland imports all of its oil.

The amount of money generated by the find will depend on the market value at the time of extraction and on licensing arrangements.

Providence Chief Executive Tony O'Reilly, Jr. hailed it as the beginning of an Irish oil industry. He described the find as a huge success story, after decades of exploration around the Irish coast.
[Source: Cork Independent]