The Pulse Club in conjunction with Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre (BACD) hosted a very successful business networking event on Thursday, 5 December at the Shearwater Hotel, Ballinasloe.
The event saw many businesses coming together to showcase their products and services to all in attendance. The evening was a great launch pad to step beyond regular networks and create new synergies, collaborations and promising friendships within the community. Exhibitors expressed delight in being part of the positive movement happening in Ballinasloe.
Special guest speakers, Sean Gallagher and Eleanor McEvoy of TV’s Dragons Den along with local businessman Pat McDonagh of Supermac’s entertained the room with their inspiring stories on their own journeys of entrepreneurship.
Sean Gallagher stated, “it’s all about coming together - working together to grow your business by collaborating with others. It takes optimism and self-belief - belief in your own idea”.
“Change is something we must stop fearing, accept change as the new normal and you will never fear change again," was the advice from Eleanor McEvoy. Eleanor shared her challenges and key takeaways from starting to selling her various businesses.
Pat McDonagh shared his inspiring story of how an idea can grow and flourish with the right combination of skillset and mindset. Pat also expressed how wonderful it was to see so many new start-ups in Ballinasloe. “If you’re waiting for someone else to do it for you it will never happen”, says Pat.
The evening was facilitated by Brian King who highlighted all the great progress and business momentum taking place around the town – with a great foundation and scope for more to come.
The evening concluded with questions and answers from the audience, where business enthusiasts took the opportunity to question and gain valuable insights from our speakers that they could take away and apply to their own business.
The event would not have been possible without the continued support of our local
Without our sponsors, events like ‘Vision For Growth’ are just not possible.
Parting words from Sean Gallagher was to “stay focused and take the risks, be courageous, demand more and make Ballinasloe the place it’s capable of becoming”.
About The Pulse Club
The Pulse Club was officially launched on the 8th January 2019 and is an initiative of the Ballinasloe Area Community Development. The Club is a resource for entrepreneurs from all business types offering mentoring, support and local network in the town centre of Ballinasloe. As part of The Pulse Club you will have access to a wide variety of targeted workshops. Becoming a member means you will have access to mentoring from experienced professionals to help you grow and succeed in your business by objectively supporting and advising you.
B’sloe Panto are busy putting their own twist on another classic fairy tale, with their 11th annual production of “Rapunzel” set to run in the Town Hall Theatre. This year’s cast features an assortment of Panto staples along with a number of new faces. Following her brilliant performance as Princess Jasmine in last year’s show, Zara Campbell, a 6th year student in Ardscoil Mhuire, is taking on the role of the lass with the luscious locks - Rapunzel. Emma Greally plays the wicked Gothel. She is assisted in her shenanigans by Buboe, played by Panto first timer Tom Cahill. Mike O’Reilly and Kayleigh Holohan take on the roles of Rapunzel’s parents. This is Kayleigh’s first time taking on a principal role in the Panto having been a member of the chorus for a number of previous productions.
Other members of the royal court include Harold, the court jester; and Dame Trott, the King’s cook, played by Panto regulars Pat Vaughan and Louise McEvoy respectively. Gothel enlists the help of two thieves, Quinn and Doyle, played by Ciarán Smyth and Enda McGrath, in her evil quest to take over the kingdom. Aiden Shortall, another Panto newbie, takes on the role of Crevice, the leader of a group of ruffians, who make Rapunzel’s life very difficult. The rest of the rowdy bunch is made up of kids who have taken part in the Panto chorus groups for many years including Koby Campbell, Donal Byrnes, Patrick Hanrahan, Clodagh Dooley, Poppy Farrell, Lily Kearns and Aoife Shortall. Narrating the entire tale, and trying her best to help when she can, is the Fairy, played by 1st year Ardscoil Mhuire student Abaigh Hardiman. Abaigh is no stranger to the Panto stage having taken part since she was six years old and who filled in as So-Shy in a number of last year’s shows.
This year’s production team is made up of some very talented individuals. Ria Purcell, who has been involved with Panto for a number of years now will be choreographing the entire cast of “Rapunzel”. Ria is a very experienced performer and choreographer having worked as a professional singer and dancer in Greece for 10 years before moving home in 2016 to set up her own dance academy, Milkshake Dance & Performance Academy. She has been very busy since the end of September rehearsing several dances with over 180 kids and young people. The accomplished Louise McEvoy, who has directed numerous plays, musicals and pantomimes all over the midlands, takes the helm as director for this year’s show. And last but not least the production crew is rounded off by the extremely talented musical direction of John Roe who is delighted to be working with the Panto cast and crew once again.
The show runs from December 9th to 15th, nightly at 7.30pm with two fancy dress matinees on Saturday and Sunday (December 14th and 15th respectively) at 2.30pm, where both children and adults alike are invited to come in outfits, fit for the Panto stage with prizes for the best dressed! Tickets are available online and from the Panto booking office at J&S Photos on Society Street, drop in or call 090 963 1566 to get yours. They will also be available on the door; however pre-booking is advised.
Originally born and reared in Strokestown, author Eoghan Egan worked in Athlone while his wife worked in Porticuncula. They both love the countryside, so they decided to move to Ballydangan, halfway between both towns. Over the years they've changed jobs, but Ballydangan still remains home.
is new novel, “Hiding in Plain Sight” is being published this January. High art and low morals collide when graduate Sharona Waters discovers a multi-million euro art scam in play. She delves in, unwittingly putting herself on a direct trajectory with danger as the killer accelerates his murder spree. When Sharona gets drawn into the killer’s orbit, she peels away his public persona and exposes the psychopath underneath. Suddenly, the small town has no hiding place.
Eoghan’s work has previously been shortlisted for the 2018 Bridport Short Story Prize and Listowel’s 2019 Bryan McMahon Short Story Award Competition. In March 2019, Eoghan won the Litopia’s prestigious Pop-Up Submission. He graduated as a computer programmer but quickly found his way into sales. His forte is managing field-based sales teams and customer service - listening gives him lots of ideas for writing plot lines, and he uses driving time to think out storylines and airports to sometimes observe human behaviour. He is also a graduate of Maynooth University’s Creative Writing Curriculum, and Curtis Brown’s Edit & Pitch Your Novel Course, Eoghan divides his time between Roscommon, Dublin and Southern Italy.
While he hasn’t transitioned into the author role on a full time basis yet, Eoghan’s aim is to become a full-time writer. “As lifestyles change, so do people's careers. The days of acquiring a permanent and pensionable position and staying until retirement, are long gone. As we live and work longer, many people are having success in two, three or more different careers throughout their working life.” He has always written short stories and began writing novels ten years ago. “Once my writing garnered attention and won some awards, I knew it was a journey I had to take and complete. (The journey took seven years... much longer than I'd expected)" he muses.
About his writing, he said: “Wherever I am, I write. Every day. Usually early mornings, but frequently late at night. It might be a hundred words or a thousand, or just the bare bones of an idea... sometimes a casual conversation can trigger inspiration. I'll make a note and write up a rough draft later” states Eoghan. “The real writing begins in Ballydangan. All my notes / ideas are taken back there each weekend and turned into a readable format. My library is there. My study... my quiet time. Ballydangan is the only place I can really concentrate, focus and write, surrounded by my books”, explains Eoghan.
This year’s annual exhibition of Gables Art Group features around 100 artworks and highlights the talents of the locals, providing an ideal opportunity for members to show and sell their work. So if you’re looking for a Christmas gift for someone special or a little treat for yourself then why not pop along - it is on display in the Church Gallery of the Ballinasloe Library and running until 1pm on Saturday, 7th December.
The exhibition has a wide range of acrylic, watercolour and oil paintings on show all by local artists. The 29 years old Art Group continues to encourage and support over 40 artists in all mediums in the classes run by Jackie Eastwood and Maura Warde. The classes, which are very social and fun, provide a friendly and welcoming environment to develop the creative flair whether as a beginner or more experienced painter.
Chairperson and long-time member of Gables, Geraldine Kelly said: “This year’s Gables exhibition is no exception in highlighting the fantastic work of our artists. We hope as many people will take the time to come along and see the artwork which is very encouraging for our members. We look forward to a busy and creative 2020”.
A widely respected gentleman and a true sportsman, the passing of former school principal saddened an entire community
The sudden passing of Albie Flanagan, Upper Brackernagh, Ballinasloe came as a great shock, not alone in his adopted town but also in South Roscommon where he was born, the eldest of three children. A widely respected gentleman and a true sportsman, he endeared himself to many with his ever friendly positive disposition and courteous attitude to all and sundry. Albie Flanagan was born in Knockcroghery, Roscommon on 4th January 1935 and as a youngster played both hurling and football and wore the county minor jersey in hurling. After completing his secondary education, Albie trained as a teacher in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra and after qualifying started his teaching career for a brief sojourn in Co. Monaghan before making his way back to Co. Roscommon where he taught in a number of schools and even spent some time teaching in Clashaganny National School, the same school that both his grandparents and his uncle had taught at years previously.
Following his marriage to Eileen Duffy in 1961, they both moved to Ontario, Canada where Albie worked as a teacher and Eileen as a midwife. They returned to Ireland after five years. Both their daughters Maureen and Adrienne were born in Canada followed by their three sons John, Brendan and Alfred once they had settled back in Ireland. Albie taught in Tiaquin NS near Athenry before becoming Principal of St. Grellan’s Boy’s National School in Ballinasloe in 1970 where he spent many happy days until his retirement in 1998. There he was held in the highest esteem by both his colleagues and the hundreds of boys under his supervision, always approachable and understanding.
Walking and golfing were two of Albie’s most favourite pastimes and he enjoyed both right up until his untimely death. He was never happier than when organizing a game with his many golfing buddies, his son and sons in law and was delighted when some of his grandchildren also showed an interest in the game. He held the honour of Club President in Ballinasloe Golf Club in 1989. This was a great recognition for a man that always captured an audience when relating his own experiences be they to do with travel, teaching or sporting pursuits. Eleven years ago the late Mr. Flanagan lost his eldest son John after a short illness. A few years later his wife Eileen became ill and the family witnessed their Dad’s enduring love as he became her carer, right up to her passing just five months ago.
A year ago he had to cope with the horrific death of his daughter Maureen in a traffic accident. His faith remained strong and he displayed amazing strength and support for his family during the saddest of times . Former pupils, teachers and sporting rivals were among the large numbers that came to pay their respects at Albie’s reposal, mass and burial. Present and former teachers as well as officers and members of the local golf club formed guards of honour in a final farewell to a true gentleman, an exceptionally-loved family man and a true “Rossie.” The late Mr. Flanagan is survived by his daughter Adrienne, sons Brendan and Alfred, sister Maimie, brother Val and many more relatives and friends.
Sr. Seraphina was born in Castlebar on 5th April 1927 and was baptised Annie Teresa. She was the second eldest in a family of three sisters and two brothers. A Mayo woman, through and through, she became a member of the Congregation in August 1945 and did her nursing studies in St. Luke’s Hospital, Guilford, Surrey. It was there she met her life-long friend and esteemed colleague, Sr. Madeleine, who had come from Penang, Malaysia, to peruse her nurse studies. Little did they know they were destined to work together for very many years in the Madonna School of Nursing attached to Portiuncula Hospital. A hospital official told the “Surrey Advertiser” in an article that appeared 67 years ago that Sr. Seraphina was “one of the most brilliant trainees to pass through the Training School in Guilford.”
She was described in Portiuncula as “a conscientious and exacting teacher and she demanded the best from her students. She had the ability to clarify difficult information in simple, intelligible language. She saw the greatest potential in every student, she had their welfare at heart and was always aware that she was preparing them for the sacred duty of caring for the sick.” Sr. Seraphina had a great yearning to go to Africa to work for the poor and sick, so after 29 years as Principal of the Nurse Training School she left for Zimbabwe in 1983, where she worked for six years. On her return to Ireland she pursued a Diploma in Religious Studies in Dundalk and after a year came back to Portiuncula to do some part-time teaching. Many of her past students at the College came from all over Ireland and abroad, as did representatives of Portiuncula Hospital, to bid farewell to a nun that will be remembered for “a good life lived in a spirit of compassion, generosity, kindness and love.”
A group of 28 past pupils of the 1969 Leaving Cert Class met in Garbally College this Autumn. Unfortunately in the preparatory work it was found that 9 of the classmates have passed away. May they rest in peace. When the group assembled in Garbally at 2pm on the 18th of Oct. some time was spent on who could recognise who! The current President Fr. Colm Allman, who co-incidentally departed Garbally for Maynooth College in 1964, the year this class first entered the College, gave a warm welcome. He celebrated mass and afterwards a number of past pupils said that he gave the crew a lot to chew on. He also gave a brief history of the Clancarty Mansion and of the wonderful art work in the house made by renowned Irish Sculptor, Albert Power.
After receiving refreshments, kindly provided by Fr. Colm, the past students got the opportunity to see where most of them had spent 5 years and former dayboys got to see places they had never seen during their time at secondary school. It was a 50 plus years flashback. The past pupils then motored to Gullane’s Hotel for an evening meal. Just prior to dinner they were met by Bishop Kirby, who started teaching in Garbally in 1963. The “students” were amazed at his memory and very much appreciated his effort to meet them. During and after a first class meal the rest of the evening was spent “ar bhóithrín na smaointe” going back over the years at school and of course what people did since. Occupations undertaken were as varied as the personalities present. Most are now retired but they had solicitors, nurses, printers, tax and business consultants, bankers, teachers, computer experts, Gardaí, financial controllers, General Managers, Arts promoters, farmers and business owners among the troop. The excitement of the day left most wishing to meet up again - ach beidh le feiceáil!
As the Rugby season gets into full swing, 2019 draws to a close. It’s been an eventful year at the club with everything from a Ministerial visit to a rip-roaring Barn Dance. The 2018/19 season ended with success across the board that resulted in a huge haul of silverware including league and cup doubles in both boys and girls sections. Credit must go to the players, coaches and parents for their work and support throughout the year. Connacht Rugby President Mossy Moran officially opened the AstroTurf at their end of season night.
The facilities in the club are as good if not better than you’ll find in Connacht and beyond and are often complimented by visiting teams. 2019 saw another addition to the club facilities, the 3G floodlit AstroTurf pitch. It was the brainchild of previous committees down through the years but this year saw the fruits of their labour. With rugby being a winter sport, training sessions often fall foul inclement weather but not any longer. It will also be available for hire to other local sports groups who wish to use it.
The AGM was well attended and saw the election of a new committee and the selection of the new Club President. Tom Waters took up the mantle from Tom Horkan who served the club as President for the previous two seasons. Summer brought the sunshine thankfully and of course the Summer Camp. Over 100 children enjoyed a week of rugby and fun under the guidance of the coaches which culminated in the visit of new Connacht signing John Porch, having coached the kids in various sports. Summer also brought success with the mixed tag rugby side representing Ballinasloe and winning the All-Ireland Community Games Final. The success within the club was reflected on the Provincial and International scene with players being called up to represent the Province and Country in all grades. These successes are due in no small part to the high standard and dedicated coaches within the club. It also had the pleasure of hosting Minister of State Mr. Brendan Griffin and Senator Maura Hopkins who paid a visit to the club grounds to view the new AstroTurf which was part funded by his department as part of the Sports Capital Grant Scheme. They also toured the facilities and were well satisfied that the money was put to good use.
The club had a sombre time over the summer with the sad and sudden passing of two club stalwarts, Sean Brookes and Tom Purcell. Both men were long time members of the club from playing, coaching, committee members and club Presidents. They will be sorely missed within the club, the wider community and their families. Fundraising is an integral part of the club and is needed on an ongoing basis to fund club activities. This year was no exception with a table quiz, Last Person Standing, Golf Classic, bag packing, fashion show. This year had the addition of a monster Barn Dance which was held in September in partnership with the Musical Society and it was a fantastic night. This Christmastime the Club will hopefully host the annual Sean Flynn Cup Challenge at 2.00 pm on Stephen’s Day and there will be revelry till late for locals and exiles alike. For further updates on Club Activities see their Facebook Page – Ballinasloe Rugby Club
Good news for Ballinasloe AFC this season, who have received a grant of €27,000 for upgrading of floodlighting and the AstroTurf pitch at their grounds at Curragh, Brackernagh. This allocation was one of 31 successful applications from the Dept of Sports Capital totalling €930,000 in Roscommon/Galway.
The club’s first team (adults) have reached the closing stages of the FAI Junior Cup, the largest Junior soccer competition in Europe, after beating top Junior club MCR of Sligo. In the open draw stage the town have been drawn away to Waterford Premier League side Villa FC - the match is being held on December first. A previous encounter in the latter stages of this competition in the 2016/17 season saw Villa knock the town out on penalties, but with the management team of Petie Keighrey and Mark Duffy this year things might look up for the club in the closing stages of this most prestigious of tournaments.
The first team are also currently placed second in the Roscommon and District Soccer League Premier Division after a very good run of form over the last number of weeks. More good news is coming from the U13 team managed by Sonya Dowd and Shane Fallon - they have reached the last 64 of the national competition in the Schoolboys FAI Cup where they will meet Westport United of Mayo in the Curragh Grounds in their hometown.
Club Chairperson Jobe Kelly stated that the club are extremely proud that Ashley Walsh, as the club’s representative, had won the Queen of the Fair and on behalf of everyone at the club wished her all the very best in the Galway Rose competition and in carrying out her various official functions for the remaining 11 months.
Ballinasloe Tennis Club has just received a Sports Capital Grant of €29,000 (out of €50,000 applied for) which, along with funds already held by the club from fundraising and membership over the last few years, will be used for essential ground works including drainage, access road and gates, fencing off the site from the running track, and building of two new courts beside the track in Brackernagh.
The Club have had a busy year, despite leaving their long-term home to allow the Rugby Club to develop their new all-weather pitch. With activities all throughout the summer, the club also participated in the Midland League men's competition and held a Halloween Camp over the recent mid-term break. Further fundraising may be required to complete this first phase, which the club plans to have completed by Spring 2020. Any contractor interested in quoting for the preliminary works should contact the club at the email address below.
This will be the first phase of an ambitious development proposed for the site in the Sports Hub in Brackernagh - a multi-purpose indoor Sports and Community Centre that, in addition to tennis, will cater for handball, basketball, netball, futsal, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, bowls, yoga, pilates and other sports and activities not already catered for in the town. The club sees the facility providing a safe and welcoming environment with a range of activities for everyone, including teenagers, special needs, minority and disadvantaged groups and local residents, who all currently have very limited places to go to.
A leading firm of sports architects, Cummins & Voortman Ltd. has been commissioned to prepare plans for the building and site. The club and architect Robert Cummin recently presented their vision for the development to local councillors, TDs and other interested parties.
They will shortly be meeting the council for further discussions. In the meantime, the club is continuing with fundraising and have just launched their new EuroMillionsPlus Syndicate – if you’d like to have four entries in both draws every week for a whole year and support the Tennis Club for only €30, please contact any of the committee members. The club would also be delighted to hear from anyone interested in playing tennis, or anyone who is interested or can help with the new development or fundraising in any way.
For more details of club activities please see their facebook page or email email@example.com or call: Sarah 087 680 0598 (Junior and Coaching queries), Garry 085 112 4197, Joe 087 252 1424, Louise 087 135 3751, Ellie 087 411 5599, Kevin 087 621 9905 or Declan 087 915 9771.
If you have you any news - email us!