03 November 2010

Barney O'Reilly - Plaque Unveiling & Tree Planting
South East Galway Diaspora Pilot Project
Portumna Christmas Events
Portumna Rugby Club
Portumna Bridge Club
Portumna Community School Reunion
International Schools Mass Choir
An Gairdin - Growing in Polytunnels with Dolores Keegan
Portumna and District Mental Health Association - Thank You
Portumna Pen Pushers
Little People of Ireland
Portumna Town F.C.
Shannonside Community Group Computer Classes

Barney O'Reilly - Plaque Unveiling & Tree Planting
There was a well-deserved turnout at the swim area in Portumna last Sunday as they paid homage to Mr Barney O Reilly for his lifetime dedication to teaching children how to swim in Portumna and other areas. Despite the bad weather earlier the afternoon was very pleasant for the unveiling of the plaque in his honour, an Oak tree was also planted beside the plinth. Barney received the Life Govoner Medal and Award from Mr John Nolan IWS. We wish Barney and his wife Maureen all the best for the future.


South East Galway Diaspora Pilot Project
Back in August this year, the Department of Foreign Affairs announced a grant award to an initiative born out of discussions at the Global Irish Economic Forum in Farmleigh last year. Very little information was publicly available until now but on Thursday night last, the South East Galway Diaspora Pilot Project "Ireland Reaching Out", was officially launched in Loughrea. Large numbers gathered in The Lough Rea Hotel for an in-depth and informative evening to explain exactly what the project entails. David McWilliams, the well-know economist and broadcaster, who also chaired the Farmleigh initiative and who has been central to the development of the project, was present to formally launch it.

Loughrea-based businessman, Mike Feerick, the 'brains' behind the proposal, opened proceedings with a presentation about an innovative idea he had to harness Ireland's diaspora throughout the world. The idea was simple: instead of waiting for Irish emigrants to return to Ireland themselves, we go the other way and invite them back to their ancestral places of origin.

He outlined that the project, which has attracted government and private funding, will focus on a number of parishes in south east Galway. 30 local parishes around Loughrea, Gort and Portumna have been invited to participate in the initial pilot project. It will require the voluntary efforts of the local people to gather emigrant information pertaining to each parish. It is intended that primary and secondary schools in the area will also engage in the collation of this information. This information is then input into an online database that is being developed at present. The site will have a specific section for each parish and contain details about its inhabitants, past and present including who they were, where they went and where they and their descendents are now.

When emigrants have been identified, initial contact will be made with them by way of a formal letter from the 'Ireland Reaching Out Project'. The main task of the project is to invite these emigrants back and organise a 'Week of Welcomes' in each parish next year. A range of activities will be organised that will give them a strong sense of the history, heritage and culture of their place of origin.

Mr. Feerick went on to explain that by inviting these people into our parishes, the local economy will benefit significantly. The visitors will stay in their parishes of origin; they will dine in the restaurants of the region, socialise in the local public houses and visit local attractions. As a result of creating this connection, the likelihood of them returning is greatly increased and the parish has pro-actively used the resources around them to benefit their community.

Further down the line, it is envisaged that a number of enterprising members of this local diaspora be identified who can be buyers, advisers, investors and influencers for the benefit of the locality.

The evening continued with the introduction of the other people involved in the project. John Joe Conwell will act as Parish Liaison Officer attending meetings in the parishes and assisting communities in organising their records and database. Dolores O'Shea has been appointed as Project Administrator and is the main contact for day-to-day queries as well as liaising with the technical teams and parish groups.

The guest speaker of the night was David McWilliams, the PRO for the project, who explained how his interest was sparked when Mike Feerick approached him directly after the Farmleigh conference in 2009. He was hugely attracted to the 'Micro-Diaspora' approach he said. Following Farmleigh, he had the opportunity to put his name to many of the resulting projects but the Ireland Reaching Out idea was the standout idea. He especially liked that the idea enabled people at parish level to become involved in improving the economic welfare of their own parishes and communities, and encouraged everyone to play his or her part in ensuring the success of the project.

The evening's proceedings were brought to a close with a number of encouraging messages and a lively question and answer session. Ms. Bridie Willers, Chairperson of the Loughrea Electoral Area, Ms. Martina Moloney, Galway County Manager and Ms. Marie Mannion, Galway Heritage Officer enthusiastically addressed the meeting. All three emphasised the importance of the initiative to the region and offered their full support.

Mike Feerick brought the evening to a conclusion by thanking the other members of the newly formed advisory board setup to oversee the project which will have charitable status. These include Loughrea businessman Gerard McInerney, local historian Michael Fahy, Dr. Willie Golden, Dean of the Cairns Business School at NUIG, international entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Xing, Bill Liao as well as Mr. Paul Michels, a successful US Irish-American businessman.

Further information on the project available from info@irelandxo.com or Tel.085-1925466.


Portumna Christmas Events
The Portumna Christmas Lights Committee would like to remind everyone again of the forthcoming events in Portumna Castle, on Saturday 4 December 2010. Once again, the Castle will become a winter wonderland with a Santa's Grotto, story telling, letter writing, face painting, and more, with all the lights in the town being switched on by the big man himself during the day.

Tickets will be going on sale at Portumna Post Office during the second week of November, and will give everyone their own half-hour time slot to visit Santa, with a full hour afterwards to partake in all the other activities. This way, the organisers are planning to avoid the crush and the queues of last year, and allow everyone to plan their day. All new presents for the kids are being made by Santa's Elves as well! The Committee are also looking into what else they may be able to organise for the town for that day.

Don't forget that the lights themselves will also be going up in the town at the end of November, so those with high vehicles or high loads should take extra care when going through the town. Watch this space for more details about all these events in the coming weeks!


Portumna Rugby Club
Portumna Rugby Club recently held their annual Fashion Show in the Shannon Oaks Hotel. It was a wonderful night as usual with nearly 300 guests in attendance. There was cheese and wine on arrival followed by a night of great fashion, with a typical sprinkling of rugby club devilment and a finale that wowed the crowd.

There were lots of weak legs in the audience as four tuxedoed "Michael Baloobas" smoozed their way though the crowd while giving a breathtaking rendition of "I just haven't met you yet", take a bow Michael Goode, Johnny Smith, James McGrath and Ronan Moore.

There was even time for the inaugural monthly draw for the new "16th Man" Supporters Club, where Dermot Brien won €150. People can still join this members club for €10 per month, which includes a free polo shirt, entry into the monthly draw as well as a host of other benefits.


Portumna Bridge Club
Free Sub Competition Results - Wednesday 27/10/2010
1st Patricia Eames & Patsy Hanbury Gross: Elizabeth Ryan & Geraldine Canning.


Portumna Community School Reunion
Twenty Year Reunion for Portumna Community school for Leaving Cert Year of 1990 including Transition year students who were in the Leaving Cert class of 1991. This will be held in the Shannon Oaks Hotel on Saturday 27th of November at 8 pm. For further details Contact Miriam Lynch-Mullery on 087 9750262 or Fiona O'Meara-Duggan on 087 6632920.


International Schools Mass Choir
The Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland raised the roof of the Oriental Arts Theatre, one of the most prestigious venues in Shanghai, with an energetic and inspiring performance of their unique repertoire of traditional and contemporary Irish music. What made this event particularly special was that the inclusive ethos of the CBOI caught the imagination of many International Schools here and for the first time ever in Shanghai a mass choir of over 300 school children from countries as diverse as Korea, Germany, USA and of course China was assembled to accompany the orchestra.

The choir included Tiernan Murphy, from Woodford, (remember him he competed in the final of the All China Story Telling Competition held in Hangzhou last August) who was delighted to introduce his school friends to the power and passion of Irish music. The concert concluded with an emotional and stirring rendition of "Ireland's Call", the audience responding with cheers and a well-deserved standing ovation.


An Gairdin - Growing in Polytunnels with Dolores Keegan
Saturday 13th Nov 10am-4.00pm - This day covers all aspects of tunnel growing including: choosing and erecting a tunnel, choosing suitable varieties of plants for tunnels, designing a yearly crop plan, maintaining healthy plants, irrigation, etc. Contact An Gairdin on 090 9741689 or angairdin1@gmail.com.


Portumna and District Mental Health Association - Thank You
The Portumna and District Mental Health Association would like to thank everybody for their generous sponsorship and support during Mental Health Week. Those who sponsored raffle prizes for the draw, all who attended the Coffee Morning in Alor Sar and everybody who supported the table quiz night in the Boathouse. A big thank you to Fergal, Mike and Derek who made the night a great success.


Portumna Pen Pushers
At a recent launch in Dublin by Bill Hughes, two local members of Portumna Pen Pushers had work featured in the Irish Hospice "Thank You Book". Submissions were invited for personal 'Thank You' messages and a selection are included in the Thank You Book, including one from Mary Rourke and Noelle Lynskey. Other writers include Pat Ingoldsby, Christy Moore, Seamus Heaney, Brian Kennedy, Maeve Binchy and Sebastian Barry.

The book is a fund raising project for the Irish Hospice and will be on sale nationwide for €17.99. It makes a perfect gift for people as it serves as a journal to write one's personal daily thank you's and messages of gratitude. So look out for this beautiful presentation and support The Irish Hospice Foundation. Go raibh mile maith agat.


Little People of Ireland
This weekend saw families travel from Ireland to the Little People of Ireland Annual Convention in Co. Meath. The group is for children and adults with restricted growth conditions and their families. The weekend consisted of workshops, information sessions, presentations and family activities.

Galway Girl, Sinead Keon, presented a cheque for €6554 raised by the Woodford/Looscaun Vintage club tractor run.


Portumna Town F.C.
The Club have a limited number of adult tickets available for the forthcoming Ireland v Norway match in the Aviva Stadium on November 17th @ €40 each. Please contact Dave on 087 983 7366 if anyone requires tickets.


Shannonside Community Group Computer Classes
Shannonside Community Group in conjunction with Galway Vec will be again running computer classes. Beginners, Improvers and Advanced Classes commencing in Shragh Hall, Looscaun two nights and two mornings a week for four weeks.

Night times: 8.45 pm to 10.30pm Beginning Mon. Nov. 8th 2010. Advanced classes Monday & Wednesday Nights. Beginners Tuesday & Thursday Mornings and Nights. Improvers Monday and Wed morning. Morning times 10.30am to 12.30am. Limited numbers. For more details please ring 087-9923610.


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