Huge congrats to the Ballinasloe U-13 Chess team, who came away with a gold in the Galway County final of Community Games.
In round one, they defeated last year’s winners Knocknacarra 3.5 to 1.5, and won their semi-final against Clarinbridge and the final against Castlegar by the same scoreline. The team is Luke Feehily, Aoife Castle, Abdullah Shadid, Cormac Gillepsie, Eoin Coleman, Fionnan Darcy and Terry McGowan.
The U-16 side were runners-up in Galway, defeating Athenry 4-1 in the semi final, but losing to last year’s national champions, Claregalway, in the final. The team was; Conor Coleman, Odhran Dooley, Hugh Killeen, Jack Mitchell, Lorcan Darcy and Sarah Jane Ruane.
In the Junior club competitions, the Junior A competition was won by Luke Feehily, with Aoife Castle runner up. The Junior B was won by Fionn Lyons with Cian Madden runner up; and the Junior C was won by Liam Martin with Barry McGowan runner up.
In the Adult club, the last round of the leagues saw both Ballinasloe teams gaining promotion. The A team defeated Royal Lopez from Meath 5.5 – 0.5 to come in as runners-up and confirm their promotion to Division 2 for next season. The B team saw off Naomh Barrog from Killester 3 – 2 and are promoted to Division 4 next season.
The club senior competition has seen Kenneth Higgins defeat club number on Tommy Dunne in the final round for overall victory, Tommy coming in second and Shane Bleahene third with Benjamin Castle winning the grading prize.
In the Rapid play competition, Tommy Dunne won the cup with Kenneth Higgins second. The Shield was won by Seán Guinan from Johnny Dunne and the Plate was won by Aoife Castle from Abdullah Shadid.
One of Ireland’s premier events the Ennis Open took place recently with Johnny Dunne joint winner of the U-14 section.
Visit Ballinasloe Chess Club on their Facebook page
The Ballinasloe Eagles Special Olympics Golf team had a successful day at the Connacht Special Olympics competition played at Tuam Golf Club on Thursday June 11, winning two gold, one silver and one bronze medal.
The competition format was foursomes with each athlete accompanied by a golfer, success was just reward for the effort made preparing the team. All the golfers are special members of Ballinasloe Golf Club who are supportive and delighted with their success. The team is coached by dedicated club members who give of their time preparing this talented group for competitions.
The Ballinasloe Eagles members were Thomas Dillon (gold), Derek Kelly (gold), John Loughnane (bronze) and Patrick McDermott (silver) and their playing partners were Willie Ward (who played with Patrick), Cora Kenny (John), Helen Carrigg (Thomas) and Áine Lyons (Derek).
The Eagles Special Olympics was set up in 2003 to cater for local athletes with special needs – there are over 35 members in the club who are primarily involved in swimming, horse-riding, golf and bocce.
Well done to all the cast and crew of Addams Family - The Musical on winning 4 awards at the Annual Association of Musical Societies (AIMS) Awards in Killarney on June 14th 2015.
Take a look at Ballinasloe Musical Society bringing the house down in the Town Hall Theatre earlier this year ;-)
Addams Family Musical cast member Brian Derrane – who played the much-loved comedic Uncle Fester – reflects on the Addams Family experience…..
”Now that the dust has settled after bringing the house down (literally), in The Addams Family Musical, it’s time to reflect on the week just gone.
I begin with our fabulous and hard working committee (many of whom took to the stage). Your courage in choosing the show has to be admired as is your commitment and work rate. Thanks for all you have done. Without you there is no show or opportunity for us thespians, old and new, to tread the boards.
Our patrons sponsors and paying audiences deserve special mention as their continued support is vital for the financial success of the society and ensures it’s annual viability and continued existence.
To Kasia, Greg and all other photographers thanks for recording events for posterity. (Anyone who got photos taken by family and friends should tag the Musical Society facebook page in order that all photos are centrally available for download.)
What an honour it was to share the Ballinasloe stage with such a cast and crew.
From start to finish the stage crew gave us seamless scene changes and treated the packed audiences to some very special – special effects. Congrats to our set designers, painters and construction crew for giving us such a setting for the show.
Thanks also to our props dept for procuring props ensuring we had all we needed as we stepped out on stage.
We are also very blessed with our make up artists and helpers. All our volunteers gave of their time freely and their work is far from unnoticed and is certainly very much appreciated. (Particular mention to Denise and Richenda who had to keep topping up my make up between scenes throughout the shows run)
This show was stunningly visual and the hard work and miles travelled to secure costumes has to be commended.
Every musical needs a cast of many and what a group of talented people we have in the town and it’s environs.
From the oldest to the youngest, the smallest to the tallest, those of slightness and those of girth – we gathered a cast of principals and chorus of which the town should be proud. Thanks In particular to the cast members who had distances to travel. Your attendance, commitment and contribution was inspiring.
The chorus line was a fabulous mixture of age, youth, and experience. They performed with energy and enthusiasm and enhanced every scene they entered.
Gomez, our slick head of the family performed, with guise, pose and posture and delivered a beautiful cocktail of comic suaveness and toneful singing.
His beautiful wife Morticia kept the pace moving swiftly with deftly delivered lines, wonderful singing and memorable leggy dancing.
The young love interest of Wednesday and Lucas was beautifully played and Wednesdays songs were powerfully and spine chillingly delivered.
The youthful Pugsley was a treat to behold and listen to. His masochistic screams are forever etched in the psyche.
The wordless Lurch entertained with every entry and exit and his towering presence throughout and his haunting song at the shows conclusion are quite unforgettable.
Grandma’s was a study of comic genius and timing, and left many 90 year old hotties in the audience baying for more.
Mal and Alice were far from normal and treated us to some wonderful comic interludes with Alice sensuously delivering an audience favourite in the middle of the banquet scene.
We were treated to some beautiful music, lighting and sound throughout the week. Congratulations to our orchestra, sound and lights. Your contributions added significantly to the show.
Our wonderfully talented production team of Paul Norton, Shane Farrell , and Sarah Griffin teased every last move, note and step from each and every member of the cast in rehearsals that were always energetic and fun. They inspired and motivated us with their words of encouragement and direction.
To the casting triumvirate…… Thank you for casting me In the role of Fester. It was a peach of a role to get and I hope I did it justice. I very much appreciate the opportunity afforded me and the confidence you instilled with your words of encouragement.
A special word of thanks go to our fabulously receptive audiences. Your support, laughter and kind words of congratulations mean so much to all on stage. We fed voraciously off your reactions nightly which helped enhance our performances and contributed to our mutual enjoyment.
Finally a huge thank you to my wife Carol and daughter Lorna. Your continued love, support and understanding for my time-consuming hobby is very much appreciatd.
By Brian Derrane.
A big thank you to everyone who attended the Ballinasloe World War One Heritage Group "1914 to 1918 Remembered" night on May 29th which took place in Gullane's Hotel. Your presence along with the good will of all those who took part was phenomenal and made it the very special event it was.
A big thank you to Kevin Murray and Mike Riddell for this superb video production of the event (click on image)
Some photos from the night including some of the certificates received by local schools for their excellent project work:
As part of 1914-1918 Remembered Douglas Rafter and Gerry Devlin visited Gaelscoil Uí Cheithearnaigh with their School Roadshow. They were very well received by Muinteoir Fiona and her class and a very enjoyable visit was had by all!
By Zara Hill
Local publican Marina Downey bought the bar – formerly known as The Coachman – in 2000, at a time when the building was owned by Max and Peggy Wong and run by Jimmy The Hat. This September she looks forward to celebrating 15 years in business.
Marina, who formerly worked with An POST, has made many changes to the building and its purpose over the years and is really looking forward to the milestone in September saying; ‘’who’d have believed it.’’ Her most recent innovation – the creation of a comfortable lounge/restaurant area has added a new look to the venue and through hard work, she has built up a thriving food business. Downey’s offers the ‘’legendary Downey’s Breakfast” as described by Marina herself - from 9am each day.
The much loved restaurant also provides a daily lunch menu – with sandwiches, homemade soups, wraps, Paninis and low calorie options to choose from. According to Marina, ‘’Downey’s is famous for hosting a good party. We cater for all Parties from Christenings to First Communions, Confirmations, 18th’s, 21st’s etc. Our private function room - separate to the rest of the pub – is also available to book for private parties.’’ Due to financial pressures of the past few years Marina has noticed ‘’a steady decline in people’s spending power’’. She also recognises that nowadays families prefer to cater for some of their functions at home. Seeing this pattern, Marina has now diversified her business to include home catering packages in order to meet these preferences.
‘’2015 has been particularly busy for this part of our business’’, remarked Marina who has proven that no job is too much. ‘’We provide a full service which includes banqueting tables, crockery, cutlery and bain-maries. One of our biggest events was to cater for a wedding in Cloghan Castle just outside of Gort. We provided a Wedding Banquet for 115 people with full bar services and a Barbecue for the day after.’’
At present Marina employs 11 people, all from the locality. She has had many students work with her during their School and College years and they have passed on to other jobs some as far away as Abu Dhabi, while others have built up their own very successful businesses locally but all have been part of the Downey’s Bar Family down through the years. Of all the members of her trusty team she acknowledges the late Tommy McDonnell who gave Downey’s many years of loyal service.
By Ken Kelly
After a few years travelling around in a van, selling nuts, bolts and welding equipment, John Burke Industrial Factors, in the village of Aughrim, is now one of the biggest suppliers of agri/industrial/DIY tools, equipment and farm supplies in the West of Ireland. The Ballinasloe born businessman will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of his Aughrim business, on 5th and 6th June with demonstrations and massive price cuts on all products.
Special demonstrators from such world class names as Hitachi, Jefferson, Milwaukee, Hawk, Elora, Britool, Sykes Pichawant, Gates and Sparex will be on hand to give advice on both days (Friday from 12 noon to 9 pm and on Saturday from 9 am to 5 pm).
John Burke left the Square D Plant in Ballinasloe to learn his trade in the PMPA Stores in Loughrea and later in Bord ná Mona at their Attymon and Blackwater centres. Then in 1987 he branched out on his own, selling nuts, bolts, tools and welding equipment from his travelling van before opening his first Tool and Fastner Centre beside the family home in Mackney, Ballinasloe in 1990.
Five years later John purchased the wellestablished bar, grocery and hardware business of Keary’s in Aughrim which is now a desirable venue for anybody looking for top quality tools and accessories by the world’s leading brands in the hardware and agri business. He also serves the community with a postal agency, daily and national newspapers, stationery items, large grocery and has a varied selection of wines on offer. In total seven people are employed at John Burke’s in Aughrim, with the help of his kin Shane, Robert, Alan and Laura.
It is blessed with a double entrance: one from the village and the other off the Ballinasloe-Loughrea road, where motorists can fill up with petrol, diesel and oils. John also has a large fuel depot and offers a free delivery of gas, coal, briquettes and logs in the area. John’s first outlet in Mackney is now a Curiosity Shop, selling brick-abrac, second-hand furniture and fuel supplies. And now he has plans to extend it, but wouldn’t reveal for what use. “We are inviting everyone to our open days on June 5th and 6th. We will have a marquee, plenty of entertainment, refreshments and demonstrations of tools and machinery over both days” said John
By Zara Hill
Located in the historic village of Aughrim – the site of the famous Battle of 1691, Valerie’s bar and restaurant is steeped with tradition and this year celebrates ten years in business. Originally from Creagh, Valerie Seale has run a very successful bar, restaurant and hostel since purchasing the pub from Freddie Hynes in 2005.
The venue boasts a traditional and welcoming space with a front bar and a traditional open fire – a feature that sets the perfect scene for the many lively trad sessions that take place there. Breakfast and lunch is served daily in the large and newly refurbished lounge area. The venue also boasts a dance floor which caters for music and functions at weekends. In addition to the busy bar and restaurant, Valerie runs a small hostel which sleeps approximately 10 people. Valerie describes her business as ‘‘homely, with a lovely friendly atmosphere.’’
Offering good wholesome food daily at reasonable prices, Valerie has built up a great local trade over the years and has become known especially for her Bacon and Cabbage and Guinness Beef Stew – sticking to its great Irish tradition. Currently employing 12 staff, Valerie’s of Aughrim were the main sponsors of the Cappatagle Hurling Team last year and Valerie is delighted to be the main sponsor again this year.
Looking forward to celebrating ten years in business as part of the Aughrim Village Festival on June 6, Valerie claims that she owes her success to her wonderful staff and family. The hard working owner remarked; ‘’happy staff is a good business and my staff are like my family.’’ She also owes a huge amount of her success to Tomas Gullane who gave her ‘’the best education ever’’ when she worked in the hotel for ten years. Valerie is also grateful to her brothers Oisin and Tomas, sister’s Aisling and Sinéad and parents Paddy and Mary for all their support.
The pub is open from 10 every morning. Food is served 10 to 5 daily, with Sunday Lunch served from 10 to 4.30pm. Music and Entertainment every Saturday night, with Trad/Sing a long Sessions on Sunday nights – especially as Valerie herself is such a talented musician as well ! For more details, contact Valerie on 090 9673734/ 086 2830673. You can also email email@example.com or visit the website: www.valeries.ie
By Zara Hill
An investment of €5.7 million towards the improvement of water services in Ballinasloe town as part of a major Galway project by Irish Water has begun. Works began on Contract 1 in mid May with the old N6 heading from the Health Centre towards Garbally Gates, as part of a major long awaited water services upgrade being carried out in the town by Irish Water. ‘’This important work will improve water services infrastructure in the area through the Ballinasloe Water Services Upgrade and Galway Water main Rehabilitation Project’’, according to Senior Resident Engineer with Galway County Council, Seán Whelan.
For the local area, this €5.7million project–including design costs, land acquisition and site investigation involves two main elements including: water main rehabilitation and sewer network upgrade works. It is hoped that completion of this project will benefit the community in a number of ways by:
1. Reducing disruptions to water supply
2. Improving water quality by removing old cast iron mains
3. Reducing leakage in the network
4. Reducing maintenance and operating costs
5. Removing old service lines
6. Increasing the ability to provide for future population growth in the area
7. Improving the water quality in the River Suck by removing some of the combined storm overflows
8. Improving road safety by installing new gullies and enhancing road drainage.
A traffic management plan is in place as the works continue under the Ward & Burke Construction Company of Kilcolgan - along the N6 and a letter was issued to all homes affected by the works along Brackernagh in midMay, including an emergency contact number for any queries about traffic management or disruption. Since late May there has also been a road closure in place along Jubilee Street and the bottom of St. Michael’s Square. The road is closed in phases to allow the works to take place. As stated in the letter issued to occupants by Ward & Burke Construction Limited, ‘’work will be carried out on a phased basis, followed by connections to individual properties which will improve the services to these properties.’’
Additionally, residents have been informed that ‘’periodically, there will be disruption to customer water supply’’, and ‘’the bulk of these works will be completed over a six to seven month duration.’’ Senior Engineer Seán Whelan has explained that ‘’the section of road from the Health Centre out to Garbally Gates will be fully reinstated and upgraded early next year, once this work is completed.’’ Commenting on the project, Seán Corrigan, Regional Information Officer at Irish Water said; ‘’this project will bring great benefits to the people of Ballinasloe. It will provide an improved water supply to homes and businesses in the town and will improve the town’s capacity to grow in the future.’’ The Emergency Number of the Coordinator of the Phase 1 Declan Garvey is 086 0267035.
By Zara Hill
Located in the Market Square, the popular traditional music hotspot “An Táin” - recently welcomed its new manager, Tom Costello. Tom from Ardcarne in Creagh is well known in GAA circles and is also heavily involved with drama, both in Moore/Clonfad Drama Society and in Relays. Having previously worked in the pub scene in Donegal, Tom is delighted with the opportunity to work in An Táin. ‘’I’m really excited about my new role. Although I’m still finding my feet, I’m relishing the challenge to build on An Táin’s fantastic reputation.’’
The pub opened in 1998 and since then has developed a solid name for its unique character and warm, friendly atmosphere. ‘’People can enjoy a drink, meet a friend, host a party upstairs or enjoy one of the many regular traditional music sessions during the week.’ added the local stage man. A proud supporter of local talent, Tom hopes to keep the traditional music scene alive in the pub with trad evenings and weekend sessions filling up his calendar for the summer. Speaking of the traditional scene, Tom remarked; ‘’it embraces people from all age groups and walks of life and attracts patrons from the town and surrounding areas’’.
An Táin employs twelve local people, between full and part-time staff and is well known for catering all major sporting events, boasting seven large television screens together with an exemplary surround sound system. ‘’Traditional music and good craic have long been synonymous with the pub’’, explained the new manager who hopes this will continue long into the future. ‘’We have regular slots on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and we welcome and encourage anybody who has a song to sing, yarn to tell or a tune to play to come in and join us. We are fortunate to have the internationally renowned fiddle player Gerry Harrington here to perform with our regular group every Wednesday night, while some of the local musicians will join Bobby Kilkenny and Frank Hession on the first Thursday of every month commencing on June 4 for a cracking trad session.’’
New band on the block – ‘’Transessiun’’ – made up of five highly talented fifth year students from Garbally College will also be playing in the bar every Friday night. There is a lot for customers to look forward to including live music on Saturday nights, the launch of the ‘’An Táin Cocktail Menu’’ over the June Bank Holiday Weekend and the renaming of the upstairs bar, which is to be decided through a Facebook competition in early June with a number of great prizes up for grabs. Tom welcomes the opportunity to work with community groups or organisations that wish to organise fund raising events. The pub in conjunction with the GAA club and Galway East Life Support is launching ‘’An Táin’s Got Talent’’ in June with a prize fund of €1,000. For more information on An Táin’s new party package, upcoming events and more follow ‘’An Táin Bar’’ on Facebook.
Good news for the town centre with the opening of Clothes for Cash -marking the fifth new business premises on Dunlo St. in 18 months. Previously a well-known motor part shop (Kelso’s), Clothes for Cash is in a prime location and business man Gary Dineen is grateful to see other shop owners are ‘’encouraging and positive’’ at the opening of a new shop on Dunlo Street. Gary established Clothes for Cash. ie four years ago. The business initially started by buying second hand clothes from door to door.
After this, Gary began to attend clothes drives held by schools and clubs to raise funds and bought the second hand clothes in this way. Seeing the business off to a successful start, Gary was always looking for ways to expand the business even further. His most recent expansion has been the opening of his first store in the town centre. ‘’I saw an opening in the market in the recession for people to recycle their unwanted clothes and make money at the same time’’, remarked Gary. Reigning from The Kingdom of Kerry, father of two Gary Dinneen hopes to create two full time jobs for the area with the establishment of his new business, Clothes for Cash.
Clothes collected are graded and exported to Eastern Europe and Africa. According to Gary, who has become an expert in the field, ‘’seventy percent of the world population wear second hand clothing. It feels good to know that these clothes will be worn again and re-used instead of ending up in our landfills.’’ ‘’I enjoy the local curiosity and explaining how the whole system works. Our shop is unique in that we pay the customer rather than the customer paying us. I am very thankful for all the well wishes and kind gestures and I hope that the people of Ballinasloe and surrounding area will continue to support me and help my business grow.’’
‘’The Clothes for Cash process is very easy. You bring in your unwanted clothing, we weigh it and then we pay you 50 cent per kg. For example, a 10kg bag is worth €5’’, explained Gary. The store accepts; clean, dry and reusable clothes, paired shoes, trainers (tied), curtains, handbags, belts and bedding. Dirty, torn or wet clothing is not accepted as well as duvets and pillows. Opening hours are 10am – 5pm Monday to Saturday
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