Weekly news from around the 32 counties of Ireland


Mining was on the minds and in the hearts of many who attended the second annual Castlecomer Writers and Arts Festival last weekend. In addition to marking the 40th anniversary of the Deerpark mine closure, there was a sense of mining local gems of creative talent in the form of poets, painters, pottery-makers and others involved in the arts. From Friday to Sunday, the town was abuzz with writing workshops, a rare book sale, open-mic session and children’s activities, and at the heart of the festival were the three nightly performances of In the Blood in the Community Hall.

(Source: The Kilkenny People)



A young Timahoe woman Paula Quigley was among ten volunteers who worked with Serve, the development and volunteering organization, on the island of Cebu in Philippines for six weeks during the summer months. Paula was involved with the Badjao Water Tribe school. This project enabled the volunteers to interact with children through fun interactive lesson plans. She also worked with Akap Bata, which is a non-governmental organization that is campaigning for the passing of the anti-child pornography bill through the Philippines’ House of Parliament. Paula assisted in the construction of furniture for the day care centers and in the distribution of meals to young children and worked in the Akap Bata-run primary education facilities.

(Source: The Laois Nationalist)



Nearly 80% of approved claims totaling €6,501,401, made under the Nursing Home Repayment Scheme in Co Leitrim, have been paid out according to figures revealed at the recent meeting of the HSE West. A total of 652 claims were received in Co Leitrim under the repayment scheme, however 252 of these applications (38.7%) were rejected. Offers of repayment were made in nearly 60 per cent of cases and, to date, nearly 80% of payments had been made with the average payment coming in at around €21,177.

(Source: The Leitrim Observer)



A controversial new book on Limerick hurling in which County Board officials are referred to as "scumbags" by a former team manager is to be launched this week by county hurling sponsor JP McManus, who has given millions to the GAA in Limerick. The new book reveals how a post-match drinking session in Charleville by members of the senior hurling panel was the catalyst that led to the end of goalkeeper Joe Quaid's senior hurling career. It also contains trenchant criticism of members of the County Board, most notably by former manager Tom Ryan who derides board members as "scumbags" and former All Star hurler Gary Kirby, who believes the board wanted to get rid of himself and Richie Bennis after the defeat to Kilkenny in the 2007 All Ireland final.


(Source: The Limerick Leader)



Longford man, Bobby Fox has reached new heights in his career as a performer, having landed the lead role in the International hit musical, Jersey Boys. The musical, which is currently running in Melbourne, Australia, tells the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, a band that had 27 top 30 hits in the USA. Bobby performs the role of Frankie Valli.

"This is the first lead role I've had in a musical. It is the role to rule them all, as far as I'm concerned," says Bobby. "It takes my talent and really stretches it. It is a very challenging role."

(Source: The Longford Leader)



Drogheda born teacher Niall Boyle has stormed into the Irish top 25 with his latest song 'Generation Game' and that's after just two weeks in the charts. And that sees him soar above such names as Lady GaGa, Kings of Leon and JLS. The song moved up 20 places inside seven days and looks set to make his album, also Generation Game, one of the foremost Irish albums of recent times. It features 10 original tracks, including one dedicated to his late father, called Union Man. The majority of the tracks are described as 'soulful, piano-driven songs' and the album was recorded and produced by Dave McCune and mastered by Grammy Award winner Bob Kratz in the USA. It's his first album in seven years and is self financed.

(Source: The Drogheda Independent)



Well-known Westport Leisure Park employee Stephen Cowley was the clear winner of the competition to find Westport’s Smartest Mover. The online poll run by The Mayo News in conjunction with Iompar Mhaigh Eo triggered a huge response with close to 1,000 votes coming in prior to the competition closing. Cowley was the clear winner and takes away the inaugural title, which seeks to honor the person that voters felt was Westport’s best user of sustainable transport. It took place as part of European Mobility Week. The 33-year old duty manager polled a perfectly round tally of 500 votes - a massive 56% of the total vote. Cowley, a native of Newport but living in Westport for some years, has never owned a car and gets around mainly on his bike. He’s a familiar sight arriving for Westport United training at The Point on his two-wheeler and he regularly travels home to Newport on the bike.