09 December 2009

Santa Arrives in Portumna
Safe Tractor Skills for Teenagers
Portumna & District Credit Union Ltd - Poster Competition 2009
Christmas Day Swim
Blood Transfusion Service
Portumna Community School News
Portumna Library Book Week
Furry Village in The Shannon Oaks Hotel & Country Club on New Year’s Eve
Portumna Bridge Club
Portumna Country Market
Portumna Players - 'The Mai'
Afternoon Tea Dance

Santa Arrives in Portumna
The highlight of Chrismas in Portumna (apart from the big day itself, of course) was the arrival of Santa at Portumna Castle last Sunday. The Castle was magnificently decorated both inside and out. The magic started with the long avenue leading to the Castle being lit up on both sides with flickering candles, culminating with a fire juggler in the middle of the courtyard. Inside, every inch of the Castle was a magical wonderland of snow, lit up trees, piles of wrapped presents, lights, icicles, as well as displays of art and letters from children in schools in and around Portumna. There were lots of activities for all the kids – Christmassy stories in a special ice cave in one of the turrets, letter writing with Mrs Clause to Santa for all those children who hadn’t got their requests in yet, as well as face painting, card making, and dancing to the music provided by the resident DJ! The Portumna Choir also sang a selection of traditional carols. The main attraction was Santa himself, who arrived at 5.00. About 400 kids got to see him in a special log cabin grotto specially made in one of the turrets of the castle, and the children even got a small gift as a small taster of what is to come on Christmas day itself. Santa then turned on the magnificent tree in the Castle, which magically and simulteously switched on the splendid lights and trees in Portumna town itself!

The event was a huge success, with over a thousand people coming along, one of the biggest crowds to visit the Castle ever. People came from far and near, with many new visitors to town from Loughrea, Birr, Banagher, and elsewhere. Special thanks must go to Liam Keane, caretaker of the Castle, who unstintingly supported the Events Committee in preparing the Castle, and to Marie Gibbs and to the OPW for providing the venue. Special thanks must also go to the students from Portumna Community School who helped out enormously in running the activities. Photos of the Castle and Santa’s arrival will be posted on www.portumna.net. The event, sponsored entirely by local businesses and people, and organised by a committee of volunteers, brought the entire community together in a fabulous venue for some fun and much needed festive cheer.


Safe Tractor Skills for Teenagers
With the ever increasing numbers of Farm Accidents in our rural community, Sign Out Youth Co in association with the Farm Relief Services are offering a one day Safe Tractor Skills for Teenagers on Saturday 23rd January '10. The aim of this workshop is to create safety awareness amongst teenagers working with tractors. The Garda Traffic Corp will also be in attendance on the day. The training programme is designed for the use of tractor/machinery within the farm.

The day will run from 9.30am to 3.30pm commencing in Sign Out Youth Cafe with a presentation and discussion on farm safety, safety checks and safe driving. Followed by a practical driving session in a specially prepared course, taking in reversing, hitching tractors to other implements, PTO safety, operating trailed machinery, setting up a good driving position and safe driving. This workshop is open to members and non members of Sign Out Youth Cafe, both male and female, between the ages of 14 and 17 years. The workshop is part funded by the HSE and Galway Rural Development and is offered at a cost of €20 to each participant. A Certificate will be presented at the end of the day. Places are limited to 15, full payment to either Susan Royston @ Sign Out Youth Cafe, St Brigids Road, Portumna or Tim Walsh, Patrick Street. For further information contact 087 6779267.


Portumna & District Credit Union Ltd - Poster Competition 2009
Portumna Credit Union again sponsored the local Poster Competition which is run in conjunction with the Irish League of Credit Unions. There were a large number of entries from all the schools in the area and the results are as follows: 7 years and under - 1st Amber Jerome St Brendan’s National School Portumna, 2nd Roisin Donoghue, St Feichins National School Abbey, 3rd Sarah Hassett, St Brendans National School Portumna. 8 to 10 years of age - 1st Morgan Walsh, St Brendnas NS, Grainne Donogbue St Feichins NS Abbey, 11 to 13 year of age - 1st Eoin McEvoy Raheen National School, 2nd Hazel Treacy St Brendans NS, 3rd Melissa Moloney/Gunter Semjounus St Brendans NS. Special Category 8-10 years - 1st Kevin Lyons St Brendans NS. 11-13 years 1st Bridget Ward/ Clint Ward St Brendans NS, 2nd Mateus Kasprzak St Brendans NS, 3rd James Donoghue St Brendans NS.


Christmas Day Swim
The annual Christmas day swim at the swimming area, Lough Derg, Portumna at 12noon. This year’s swim is in aid of providing a heart defibrillator for Portumna Town, which will be located in the front entrance of O'Meara's Supervalu by Spring 2010. Sponsorship cards available from Curley's Pub, Hayes Pub, O'Meara's Super Value, Members of Portumna Red Cross and the Shannon Oaks Hotel Leisure Centre, Portumna. Please help your community and support this worthy cause.


Blood Transfusion Service
The Irish blood transfusion board wish to thank all the donors who donated blood in 2009 and hopefully will continue to do so into 2010. The blood clinic will be in the Shannon Oaks Hotel on Wednesday 16th December from 3.00pm to 4.45pm & 7.00pm to 9.30pm. The board wish all their donors a happy and safe Christmas. Please support.


Portumna Community School News
Xmas Factor Final - Latest News!: It is with great excitment that we announce Portumna Community School’s very first Xmas Factor Final will be held on Wednesday afternoon, 16th December – classes will be rearranged to ensure mimimum loss of class time. Fifteen acts are working hard practicing and preparing to make it an amazing show. They will perform for the whole school and battle it out to claim the top prize of Winner of Xmas Factor 2009! There are many surprises in store for students and staff with special guest appearances along with a judging panel that bears a remarkable resemblance to some very famous people!! We are asking everyone to give €3 to attend the show – some of this money will cover the running costs and the rest will be donated to local charities who need a lot of help in these difficult times. The €3 will be collected from each student during Tutor class on Wed. (9th) by the Prefects. We are asking students to support the finalists in their own year group to make the event an enjoyable experience and celebration of our school’s creativity and talent in the run up to Christmas. To add some colour on the day, don’t forget your Santa hat!

School Debate: This Thursday 10th Dec, three TY students – Mary Cleary, Aoife O’Hara and Ciara Kennedy – will take part in the Mental Health Ireland Public Speaking competition. This will take place in Loughrea and the topics being discussed are Bullying, Depression and the importance of Positive Mental Health in Young People. Good luck girls. Also hard luck to the debating team who were up against a very strong Birr side on Tuesday night. The next debate is in January.

Operation Christmas Child: Portumna Community School students have been busy recently with the Operation Christmas Child project where shoe boxes are decorated and filled with Christmas presents for children in Romanian orphanages.


Portumna Library Book Week
Teresa Tierney and Louise Harte have over the last number of years run a very successful book week, it is very important to get children into the habit of reading books at an early age as this will stay with them for the remainder of their lives. As always the book week at Portumna Library was very successful. The Table Quiz and Jenga Competition proved to be very popular again this year. The wonderful art that is on display is thanks to the local schools and children who participated. Prize giving was held in the library last week and would not have been possible only for the generous sponsorship of the following: Enda Burke Property Partners, Ann Marie Walker (Accountants), Donie O Meara Supervalu, Tory Nicholson (Veterinary), Gene McEntee (Butchers), Thorntons (Sports), Henry Mullen, Credit Union, Mary Keary (The Boathouse), Joe Tierney(Cakes). A big thank you also goes to our wonderful volunteers for overseeing the Table Quiz, Craft Workshops, Storytelling and Fancy Dress. These include, Liz Hussey, Marie Gibbs, Sally Gibbs, Micheal Ryan, Nora Mannion, Valerie Cunningham and Marie Conneely. As usual Hayley Alduous did a brilliant job of the Teddy Bear's Picnic and kept all the children entertained. A final thank you goes to Jim Hynes for his wonderful photography. The art will be on display for another few weeks so feel free to come and admire it.


Furry Village in The Shannon Oaks Hotel & Country Club on New Year’s Eve
Popular Galway band Furry Village have just announced that they will be performing at Portumna’s Shannon Oaks Hotel & Country Club on New Year’s Eve. Lead by Gerald Fahy of Ballinakill, the group were formed in 1994 and continue to be one of the most dynamic bands in Ireland today. The band offers an eclectic mix of Irish traditional melodies and Eastern influences with pulsating percussion. A master on the Uilleann pipes, Fahy's music has been covered by world orchestras and featured in Micheal Flatley's Feet of Flames tour. The group has also performed at the popular Milwaukee Irish Fest. In what is expected to be a sell-out New Year’s Eve concert, tickets go on sale from 15th December from hotel reception. For further information call the Shannon Oaks on (090) 974 1777.


Portumna Bridge Club
Portumna 79 Bridge Club, Results: - 1st. Geraldine Canning Elizabeth Ryan, 2nd.Sheila Dillon Patricia Blehein, Gross, Patricia Eames Patsy Hanbury, 3rd. Martin Quinn Conor Finch, 4th Nora Flanagan Maryrose Cormican.

Portumna Contract Bridge Club, Sponsored By Lady’s Day , Results:- 1st. Charlie Mullin, 2nd. Margie Mullin, 3rd. Patsy Hanbury, 4th. Lorna Stoddard, 5th. Tony Ryan, 6th Joan Ryan, 7th Elizabeth Ryan, 8th Patricia Eames, 9th Fr.Finneran.


Portumna Country Market
Bumper Christmas Markets being held on Fridays 11th & 18th.Large Selection of Christmas Cakes, Puddings, Mince Pies, Crafts & Gifts. Last Market Friday 18th December. Town Hall 8.30am-12.30pm


Portumna Players - 'The Mai'
The Portumna Players are staging Marina Carrs “The Mai” Friday 11th, Saturday 12th, Friday 18th and Sunday 20th December at 8.30pm in Portumna Town Hall. More information at: www.portumna.net/players


Afternoon Tea Dance
The Town Hall Committee are holding an Afternoon Tea Dance this Sunday from 3pm to 6pm with live music by Richie Burke and Pat Conlon. Tea and Sandwiches will be served.


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