House prices have risen for the first time in two years, it emerged last Friday. The latest findings from the Nationwide House Price Survey also show local property prices grew by 9.7% during the last quarter — the best in the UK. South West England was second to the province at 4.9%. However, this boost for the local market was tempered by the news that Northern Ireland prices were down year-on-year by 8% — in stark contrast to the 50% increases seen at the height of the boom in 2007.

(Source: The Belfast Telegraph)      



Two local musical personalities, each of the highest distinction in their own field, were specially honored at the Tommy Makem festival of Song. Billy Finnegan of Wood Road, Meigh and Joanne Quigley, a native of Camlough were guests of honor at the event in the Armagh City Hotel last week. A formal cultural and commercial link between Armagh and  Milwaukee, USA was created at the event and two of the senior Milwaukee Executives were present.

(Source: The Examiner)


The creation of 60 new jobs in the county has been put down to the change in shopping trends during the current recession. Shoppers who are flocking to Aldi stores throughout the country have led to a bigger demand for Codd Mushrooms, which are produced and manufactured in Tullow.
And that means that Codd’s has to take on 60 new staff to keep up with demand for its products. This will be music to the ears of the 31 people who lost their jobs in the Tullow area during the month of July. As part of its expansion plan, Codd Mushrooms is currently in the process of constructing a new 7,000 square meter production facility at a cost of €2.5 million.

(Source: The Carlow Nationalist)


The Israeli ambassador to Ireland Zion Evrony visited Cavan last week on a nationwide tour to learn more about this country, to promote tourism to Israel and also develop Irish/Israeli relations. In terms of "misinformation" about Israel and its policies, Mr. Evrony hit out at comedian Tommy Tiernan for "anti-semitic" remarks that did nothing for relations between Ireland and Israel. Referring to the Catholic faith of the Irish, Mr. Evrony emphasized the potential to encourage more visitors to the Holy Land in Israel. He pointed out that religious tourism by Irish people to Cyprus averages 70,000 a year, compared to just 7,000 for Israel. "Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Nicossia," said the ambassador.

(Source: The Anglo Celt)


The promoters of Pol an Ionain cave in north Clare, which contains reputedly the largest free-hanging stalactite in the world, last Thursday secured planning permission for a visitor center at the site. An Bord Pleanála last Thursday gave the plan the go-ahead in the face of opposition from An Taisce, the Pol an Ionain Action Group and the nearby rival cave, Ailwee Cave. Three years ago, the cave owners, John and Helen Browne, opened the cave to allow the public to view the 23ft-long stalactite after a 16-year long planning battle. However, the permission by An Bord Pleanála precluded any visitor center and the public has been bused to the cave site through a park-and-ride system. The Brownes, however, earlier this year, lodged plans for the visitor center and a car park for 30 cars after claiming that the enterprise is not viable into the future by relying on a park-and-ride system. Clare County Council gave the proposal the go-ahead.

(Source: The Irish Times)


Images of County Cork will be broadcast to an audience of approximately 200 million across China next month, after one of the country's cable TV networks, The Travel Channel, filmed on location here last week. Organized by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Fáilte Ireland, the TV crew captured footage at the Jameson Experience in Midleton, at Cobh, the 17th century Charles Fort in Kinsale and at Blarney Castle. The Travel Channel is a cable TV network in China, featuring travel-related documentaries and shows from around the world with an incredible audience of approximately 200 million viewers. "We are absolutely delighted that the Travel Channel has chosen to film in Cork," said Susan Li of Tourism Ireland China. "This is a tremendous opportunity to highlight and showcase some of the very best of this part of the island to a massive audience”.

(Source: The Corkman)


The grandson of a well-known Derry man has been killed in a tragic accident in Canada.

17 years-old Ciaran Fagan, grandson of Patsy Fagan, was killed along with his best friend Shawn McLaughlin (18) when they were struck by an SUV as they left a party in the early hours of Saturday morning last in Brantford, Canada. Another girl who was involved in the crash remains in a critical condition at hospital. Earlier last week Patsy Fagan, former manager of Superfare, traveled to Canada with several other family members to be with his son Eugene (Ciaran's father) who emigrated almost 30 years ago.

(Source: The Derry Journal)


A woman who found a large black spider in her Donegal home has said she has been terrified by the experience and cannot sleep since the discovering it in a bunch of bananas. The spider described as large, jet-black and with very thick legs, emerged from a bunch of bananas in the kitchen of Jan Crawford's home in Manorcunningham on Friday last. As far as Jan is concerned the spider, which she said moved very fast, is still in the bin. Despite making phone calls to the Gardaí, the Health Service Executive and Donegal County Council, she does not know what to do about it.

(Source: Donegal Democrat)


Veteran politician Eddie McGrady has thrown his hat into the ring to contest his Westminster seat aged 74. Despite many believing Mr. McGrady would step down after a record 22 years as South Down’s only MP, he has shunned retirement in favor of seeking re-election – albeit after much consideration, he admits. Describing it as a great honor to represent and serve his constituency throughout the years, Mr. McGrady believes he can continue to make a difference in the House of Commons. "It has been a great honor to serve the people of Down as councilor, assembly member and Member of Parliament and I can confirm that I will once again be seeking my party's nomination for the upcoming Westminster election," Mr. McGrady confirmed.

(Source: The Down Democrat)


Irish X Factor fans are tuning in like never before as they forego expensive nights out in favor of home entertainment. According to the latest official figures a whopping 657,000 viewers tuned in to watch the weekly series; 336,000 on Saturday night last and 321,000 watched last Sunday's repeat. A spokesperson for TV3 said: "The station is absolutely delighted with the ratings for the X Factor. The inclusion of several Irish contenders in this year's series, such as Dublin twins John and Edward Grimes (17), is believed to have helped to contribute to the impressive ratings.

(Source: The Evening Herald)


More than 2,000 letters were presented to the Catholic Council for Maintained Schools office in Enniskillen on Monday last in a bid to keep St. Mary's High School in Brollagh, open. The response represents a 400% increase on the first consultation held last autumn. A group of pupils and parents representing the school, gathered at the office to send a strong message in support of the school's long-term future. Earlier this month, the school had received a huge boost with the largest enrolment of first year pupils in many years. The consultation outcome will now be studied by CCMS and, later, the Western Education and Library Board (WELB). Seamus Kelm, chairman of the Parents Action's Group which has led the campaign to keep the school afloat, said those who responded with forward looking ideas had to be commended.

(Source: The Fermanagh Herald)


Cystic Fibrosis sufferers in Galway received a great boost last Wednesday, when three new rooms specifically tailored to patients with the condition are handed over to University Hospital Galway. The three rooms have been tailored to the needs of adult CF patients in the region and are finished to a high standard, with infection control measures and en-suite bathrooms to minimize risk of cross contamination from other patients. The €350,000 project was carried out by the Galway Cystic Fibrosis Hospital Project and was funded largely by local donations to the association.

(Source: Galway Independent)


Killarney’s Paul Nagle has been crowned a world motorsport champion. The Fossa man is a codriver for Kris Meeke in the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), and the Irish duo clinched the world driver’s title on Sunday last after they won the Sanremo Rally in Italy.

A superb performance by Meeke and Nagle saw them come back from fourth place to win the rally by 15.7 seconds from Luca Rossetti. This victory was enough to hand the Irish paring an unassailable 11-point lead in the championship with just one round of the IRC left, and considering that this is the duo’s first season competing in this competition, their feat is all the more incredible.

(Source: The Kingdom)


A Naas teacher has been nominated for the Irish Language Book of the Year award. Siobhain Grogan, who lives with her family in the town and teaches in a local secondary school, has been nominated for her children’s book, Cén t-am é?, which was released earlier this year.

Cén t-am é? is an interactive book that helps very young children to learn to read the time in a fun and colorful way, and is great whether you’re a regular Irish speaker or you want to teach your child more about the language. The award is supported by Foras na Gaeilge and administered by Oireachtas na Gaeilge.

(Source: The Kildare Nationalist)


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.

(Source: Mayo News)


Nurses at Our Lady's Hospital in Navan have warned that patients' lives will be at risk this winter because the staff are overworked and "at breaking point". The Irish Nurses' Organization (INO) said that Meath's health services are "cracking under the strain of bed closures and a staffing embargo" and they have not ruled out industrial action if serious changes are not made to current issues at the hospital.

(Source: The Meath Chronicle)


A Monaghan town boozer that is renowned as one of the county’s best venues for live music has been voted Ulster’s top pub.
McKenna’s, on Dublin Street, was this week named as one of the four provincial winners in the Bulmers Light Platinum Best Local Awards 2009. The Monaghan town establishment will now compete for the title of best local in reland.
Established in 1936 by Peter McKenna, and currently owned by Peter’s son Seamie, McKenna’s has hosted some of Ireland’s brightest musical talents over the years. Owner Seamie said that he was “delighted” by this latest accolade. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted with this, as it was voted for by the customers – that’s how we won it“.

(Source: The Monaghan Post)


Research undertaken by an interagency group in the midlands has found that only a minority of Travelers engage in violent conflict and feuding and there is clear evidence that Travelers want to find a way out and break the cycle. The Interagency group presented the findings of the research and launched the Traveler Conflict Strategy for the Midlands at a seminar in Tullamore on Monday last. The Midlands Traveler Conflict & Mediation Initiative has been developed through Interagency co-operation in Laois, Offaly, Longford and Westmeath.

(Source: The Offaly Express)



Major archaeological discoveries have been unearthed at Baslick Cemetery in the parish of Tulsk recently. Among the discoveries at the cemetery, thought to be one of the oldest Christian cemeteries in Western Europe, are an eleventh century arch inserted in the old parish church. Also discovered in the vicinity is an Ogham Stone, which it is thought to have originally marked the site of a very early royal Abbott from this period. This newly discovered Ogham stone now means that Tulsk parish is home to three of the six ogham stones located in the province of Connacht, making the parish of Tulsk a hugely important archaeological center in Ireland.

(Source: The Roscommon Herald)


A €5 million state-of-the art 80 bed nursing home is to be built at Knappagh Road, creating up to 100 badly needed health care jobs. Shafin Developments Ltd, the construction company owned by Westlife singer, Shane Filan and his brother, Finbarr, will apply to Sligo Borough Council for planning permission for the ambitious project within the next two weeks. They hope to begin construction on the 3-storey over basement building at the rear of Lisroyan House in the middle of next year and to be ready to open the facility by the summer of 2011. Located within the curtilage of Lisroyan House, a Protected Structure, the proposed nursing home will be among the most modern of its type in the country. Lisroyan House is not located within the development site and there are no works proposed to it.

(Source: The Sligo Champion)


Thurles Waste management company, Acorn Recycling Ltd. celebrated the 'turning of the sod' on the construction of the most advanced composting facility which will be located in Littleton at a cost of €7 million - the only one of it's kind in Ireland. A member of the Arlo Group with head quarters in Archerstown, Acorn recycling's state-of-the-art facility – Agri - environmental business- will create over 30 jobs with significant spin offs to the local economy and will provide opportunities for local tradesmen, farmers, transport businesses and logistics providers. The sod was turned on the facility at the 90 acre site in Littleton last week by Tipperary hurling star Eoin Kelly and Independent Deputy Michael Lowry in the presence of guests and Arlo Group Directors Liam and Donal Kearney.

(Source: The Tipperary Star)


A yearlong manhunt, which extended right across Europe for a Tyrone fugitive sex offender from Aughnacloy, has ended at a farm pit in County Cavan. Ernest George Finlay, 54,was found hiding in a vehicle inspection pit at a Cootehill farm on Tuesday last. The convicted rapist was arrested by gardai for failing to notify the authorities of his movement to the Republic. Gardai had picked up the trail after Finlay returned from Bulgaria, where the PSNI had been seeking his extradition.

(Source: The Tyrone Times)


Over a hundred workers left Waterford Crystal for the last time last Friday as their employment in one of the world’s most famous factory’s came to an end. The workers had been retained in the factory after a large number of employees became redundant at the start of the year, a move that sparked an eight-week sit-in in the factory. A number of employees were kept on for three months and others for a period of six months, which ceased on Friday last. Now all that remains of the factory is the gallery, which continues to employ 27 staff.

(Source: Waterford News & Star)


At a meeting of the Westmeath VEC last Monday, Chief Executive Officer Gearóid Ó Brádaigh announced his decision to retire after 13 years at the helm of the body. The man who won the landmark court case regarding the right of the VEC to grant enrolment as they chose, Mr. Ó'Brádaigh paid tribute to all of the committee members and indeed his loyal and proficient staff, saying it was his privilege to serve them. In response to his announcement, Vice Chairman Cllr. Dan McCarthy said he felt the loss of Gearóid, a native of Dublin and graduate of Trinity College, would be absolutely enormous, saying it simply wasn't possible to quantify the contribution he had made to Westmeath VEC and education in the county over the years.

(Source: The Westmeath Examiner)


County Wexford Tourism Board is expected to lose its three employees and its tourist office in Kilrane due to the withdrawal of Government funding at the end of this year. Two members of Wexford County Council – newly elected Fine Gael members Jim Allen and Jim Moore – sit on the board of County Wexford Tourism Board and are expected to make the case to the local authority. 'County Wexford Tourism started in 1996 as a voluntary organization to market and represent the biggest industry in Co. Wexford – tourism,' said Mr. Flynn.

(Source: The Wexford People)


Fears are growing that garda stations in Rathdrum, Ashford, Roundwood, Aughrim, Avoca and Shillelagh could face closure if recommendations made in the Bord Snip report are implemented by the Government. The report advises the closure of nearly 300 rural garda stations across the country in order to help save €5.3 billion in Government spending. This would leave stations in Rathdrum, Ashford, Roundwood, Aughrim, Avoca and Shillelagh vulnerable if the Government decide to act on the report's recommendations. Councilor Jimmy O'Shaughnessy, who sits on the Joint Policing Committee, said that garda stations in rural locations are an important part of the fabric of country living.

(Source: The Wicklow People)