09 July 2008


Portumna Tidy Towns
Tennis Club
Pride Of Place
Acoustic Nation
Portumna Court House
Walking Tours of Portumna
Pioneer Tour Woodford and Looscaun
Woodford Library
Social Services Draw
Main Street Footpaths
New Car Park
Dog Night


Portumna Tidy Towns
Adjudication time for Tidy Towns has arrived with the adjudicators now travelling nationwide to mark each applicant town. Portumna Tidy Towns committee is holding a Public meeting in the Social Centre of Portumna Retirement Village on Wednesday 16th of July at 8pm. All are welcome and your support would be greatly appreciated. Portumna Tidy Towns are now developing their three year strategic plan to ensure that Portumna continues to look its best and to increase our score in the Tidy Towns competition. Tidy Towns volunteers meet every week as follows and new members are always welcome; Location - The Square/Church Area Times - Wednesday Evening – 7.30pm Saturday Evening - 6.00pm Location - The Play Ground/Amenity Area Time - Saturday Morning - 9.45 pm

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Tennis Club
A meeting took place on the 30th of June 2008 with the Directors of the Development Company with Johanna Burke (Chairperson) and Marie Gunning (Secretary) presiding. The purpose of the meeting was to reinvigorate the Tennis Club that existed some years ago. There was a large group in attendance reflecting quite an amount of interest in this project. After the general meeting a Tennis Committee was formed with the objective of upgrading the existing facility at St. Joseph’s Road to enable tennis to thrive in the community once again. It was decided at the meeting that a family could join for 25 Euros and single membership would amount to ten Euros. For this project to come to fruition, it is important that the committee get as many members as possible to justify capital investment in this project. If you would like to become a member and get the Club up and running again, contact Mrs Eileen Smyth, Bridge Road (Treasurer), Paul Royston (Chairman) or James Coughlan (Secretary). The following Committee members were elected Committee Members: Johanna Burke, Mary Burke,Fr. Brendan Lawless, Ben Hynes, Keith Finnerty, Fidelma Gordon, Bryan Gordon, Mary Lynch. The next meeting will take place on the 21st of July at 9.00 p.m. with the venue to be advised.

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Pride Of Place
Pride of Place is an all-island competition to recognise and celebrate the vital contributions that community groups make to society. The common thread is the impact and difference these activities have made in peoples' lives. Last Thursday was D-day for Portumna in the second round the Pride of Place competition, having successfully been chosen to represent Co.Galway in it's population category. The new "Sign Out" Youth Cafe was the venue where local voluntary groups and clubs had displays on view and representatives attending. Muirne Goode chaired the morning's presentations where Teresa Dermody, Project Co-Ordinator with Na Calai CDP gave an overview of the many ongoing projects which the CDP is involved with, highlighting the fact that the CDP is a springboard for new groups and catalyst of new projects. The next speaker, Ursula Mooney of Portumna's SE Galway IRD spoke of the programmes in operation from their offices from Tourist Information to Rural transport and with particular emphasis on the restoration of Portumna Workhouse. Next, Noelle Lynskey of Portumna Arts Group gave an overview of the Arts events/groups in the area- from Youth Theatre to Portumna's Pen Pushers, Portumna Players to the Camera Club, (to mention but a few), the adjudicators Tom Dowling & Allison Boyle from Co.Meath, were greatly impressed with the energy & vitality in the room. Then, on behalf of all the local Youth organisations, local GAA star, Leo Smith gave his perspective as a Portumna person, growing up and now returning to live in Portumna. He spoke about our active Scouts, Youth Club, the GAA, Soccer & Rugby clubs and the Junior Golfers to mention a few of the clubs and groups. involved in Youth activities. All were welcomed to the "Sign Out" Youth Cafe and the astro-turf pitch under construction, by Susan Royston, project co-ordinator and Mairead Felle spoke on behalf of the youth committee. The background of the community involvement and voluntary genoristy, the future hopes and plans for the project and the great pride that this new venture is now up and running was outlined. After a refreshing cup of tea and goodies from the Country Market & a short film on Portumna, the judges were chauffeured to various sites by Tony Williams in the Portumna Retirement Village's bus, accompanied by Shane O’hEeihir of Galway County Council and John Glennon, our Community Warden. The next port of call was "Acorn to Oak" where Lisa O'Brien gave the judges a tour of the new creche and childcare facility. Next, Kieran Hickland of An Gairdin awakened the senses with a guided walk through the scent infused crops of An Gairdin including a visit to a new recycled building nearing completion on site. Another walk through the Castle Gardens and a chat with Mary Lowry who presented strawberries and flowers from the garden left the judges in no doubt that Portumna is a place to be very proud of. Then, Portumna Day Care Centre, where Anna Callinan welcomed all with music, poetry and the Stack Of Barley-all while the dinner was on the table! A quick wave to the Fire Engine and the new Rescue Boat, a drive to Portumna Forest Park where the special needs walk was highlighted and the judges were presented with a Memory Pack. This contained brochures, write-ups and any information about all the groups in the area who are dedicated to the many groups in the town and area. The organisers would like to thank all who, at short notice, gave their time & energy to this event. The All-Ireland winners will be announced in November at a prize-giving ceremony in Waterford when President Mary McAleese will present the awards.

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Acoustic Nation
The newly formed Acoustic Nation offers a breath of fresh air to the Irish music scene. The four piece band from Portumna Co. Galway consists of Brian Whelan (drums and vocals) Pat Moroney (bass and vocals) Mark O Reilly (guitar and vocals) and Barry Conboy (lead guitar). The band takes the listener on an atmospheric musical journey of acoustic songs, taking classic memories such as Michael Jackson’s, Billy Jean and Steve Winwood’s Valarie. Acoustic Nation puts their own original stamp on these tunes, giving them warm friendly sound of acoustic strings and harmonies. For those who like to sit back, relax and connect with music, unforgettable sounds from crowed house, Oasis, O.M.C, Sterophonics and One Republic are all included. Acoustic Nation offers a really enjoyable night’s entertainment and a set that you just can’t help but sing along too. Acoustic Nation plays Curra West Balinakill on Sunday 13th july at 7pm and plays the Clonwyn House Portumna on Thursday 17th July with a polish support act Poiter wolf at 9.30pm. Admission is free to both venues.

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Portumna Court House
The monthly court sittings that were held in Portumna for the last Century and a half have now been moved to Loughrea. The Court services who are responsible for the upkeep and maintence of the courthouses in Ireland have decided to let the magnificent building in the middle of Portumna Town fall in to such a state that even the rats have pulled out, it’s a pity because it has been an integral part of the daily life of Portumna for over 150 years, also the Tidy towns committee are doing such a wonderful job at the moment a structure that is let go into a bad state of repair does not help. In February 1999 the following statement was made by Mr John O Donoghue the then Minister for Justice in reply to a question from Mr Ulock Burke Galway East TD. “I have appointed an architect to carry out a feasibility study on how to proceed with the refurbishment of Portumna courthouse. This has now been completed and is under consideration at present. No work has been undertaken as yet. It is not possible at this early stage to provide a timescale for the work to commence, given the nature of the planning, consultation and tendering processes. However, I can assure the Deputy that I am committed to refurbishing Portumna courthouse as quickly as possible to provide modern court facilities to all court users in the Portumna area.” Portumna Court House was built on Clonfert Avenue in 1847, the Architecture is in the classical style, there is a preservation order on the building which gives it heritage status. The courts were held in the building every month up until the early 90s, since then the court sat in the local Community Hall which is adjacent to the Courthouse on the third Thursday of the month. The last family to act as caretakers of the building were Mary and Tim Forde, they came to Portumna in 1947 and were married six months earlier. Tim was originally from Eyrecourt and his wife came from the “Green Door” a townsland just outside Portumna, she was a sister of the late Billy and John Kinahan and Pat who now lives in London. Tim and Mary lived there up to the time of their deaths, their Daughter Marion remained on and reared her family there, they moved out 9 years ago and the building has remained empty since then. The building should be taken over by the local Business Interests or a state body that will give it a transfusion and put some life back into it. The geographical location of the building within the Town makes it ideal for several uses, such as a Tourist Office, Heritage centre, a Health Centre, Public Offices the list is endless.

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Walking Tours of Portumna
Take an audio walking tour Portumna Architectural Walking Tour The English language audio-narrative to accompany this tour can be downloaded from www.galwayeast.com/wayfinding. This audio tour narrated by Dr Peter Harbison (Brother of John Harbison retired State Pathologist) describes in detail each of the sites featured in this tour, and can be listened to on your PC, or on an MP3 player while walking the tour. There are 5 other Walking Tours in this series: Athenry Ballinasloe, Loughrea, Gort, and Tuam. See also our Ecclesiastical Driving Tour for a comprehensive tour of the main religious sites in Galway East. For more information on any of the places described in walking tour download, or for general information on Galway East, contact Galway East Tourism www.galwayeast.com Listen to the story of Portumna.

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Pioneer Tour Woodford and Looscaun
Pioneer Tour to Family Life Museum, Castlebar, Achill and Ballina on Thursday July 10th. Bus leaving Looscaun at 7.40am, Powers Cross at 7.45amand Woodford at 7.50am. Everyone welcome Adults €20, Students €15. Names to Teresa Ryan, Margaret Power or Mary Gorman. Limited Places available

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Woodford Library
The Summer Reading Scheme for children will commence at the start of July, and run over the summer holidays until the end of August. Children will be asked to read 6 books over the summer from designated age categories, 5-7, 8-10, and 11+ years, and to draw pictures or to write short reviews of the stories. Those who complete this scheme will receive a certificate at an awards party in the library in September. For further details contact Woodford Branch Library on 090-9749200.

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Social Services Draw
Results of the first silver circle draw held last weekend-€150 Sheila Touhy, €50 Patricia Claffey, Mary Hanley, €25 Jim Hynes, and Angela Lyons. Congratulations to all winners.

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Main Street Footpaths
Councillor Burke welcomes funding for the replacement of the paths on St. Brendans street which are in a deplorable state. The council office intends to start the work in the coming weeks.

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New Car Park
Councillor Burke has asked the Senior Council Engineer Michael Dolly to come up with proposals for a new Car Park in Portumna as the lack of adequate parking is causing serious bottlenecks in the town especially on Friday’s. A number of sites are presently being investigated and Mr Dolly is to report back to the Loughrea Area councillors within the next month.

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Dog Night
Five local lads are holding a dog night at Galway Race track next Saturday night 12th July in order to raise funds for the Niall Mellon Fund. A bus will leave the square at 6pm and it is free to all ticket holders, the five lads are Brothers Ivan and David Canning, Father and Son John Keane Jnr and John Keane Snr, and finally Darragh Glynn.

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