12 January 2011

Ireland Reaching Out
Portumna Players Present 'The Two Loves of Gabriel Foley'
The Big Freeze
Karate Camp
Rathcabbin Players Stage 'The Year Of The Hiker'
Killimor Camogie Club
79 Bridge Club
An Gairdin Organic Gardening Course
Portumna Camogie Club
Portumna and District Active Retirement Association
Portumna GAA Club
Computer Courses at IRD Centre
GAA Star Visits Portumna For Charity
Portumna Bingo in aid of Acorn To Oak
Circuit Training
Portumna Golf Club
Letter from Shanghai

Ireland Reaching Out
A meeting on the progress of the "Ireland Reaching Out" project in the Portumna, Gortunumera and Boula areas took place on Monday night in the Shannon Oaks Hotel. The pilot project was launched on 28th October last in Loughrea by broadcaster and economist David McWilliams and is officially sponsored and funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs. The programme will enable parish communities to reconnect with those who have left the area and their descendants worldwide and bring social, cultural and economic benefit to the area of south-east Galway. The economic benefits will not be limited to increased tourism revenue for local communities alone but also will be harnessed through the creation and expansion of their communities online. The south-east Galway pilot project will culminate in a Week of Welcomes planned for late June 2011.

After a comprehensive update on the progress of the South-East Galway pilot project to date, plans for early 2011 were discussed. Outlining the priorities and focus for the next few weeks, the group is concentrating on the key tasks of where to find out who left, where they went, where they and their descendants are today and how can we contact them. Because of the difficult weather conditions in recent weeks, it was acknowledged that some catching up needed to be done. The next meeting takes place on Monday, 17th January at 8pm in the Shannon Oaks. To get involved, just come along to the meeting. Information available under (085) 1925466 or info@irelandxo.com.


Portumna Players Present 'The Two Loves of Gabriel Foley'
Last month we had to defer staging of the Play "The Two Loves of Gabriel Foley" by Jimmy Keary, however, rehearsals are well under way for a re-schedule of this three act comedy and will be staged over two weekends commencing Friday 14th. January, Satunday 16th. January and the following weekend, Friday 21st. January and Sunday 23rd. January. There will be no Saturday performances. Curtain up at 8.30. Admission €10-00 and concessions.

Portumna Players would like to thank Justin Madden who came to our rescue in the Loft and Town Hall during the big freeze last month. The loft suffered minor damage but all is back on track now.


The Big Freeze
Like the rest of the country, Portumna had its fair share of mishaps, with frozen pipes, water shortages but it was also a time for rallying around and the heart of the community came out in force to assist. A big thank you to the loca (Portumna)l Galway County Council, who were on hand right through Christmas to help and assist and repair any leaks which were reported. It certainly ensured that the town had its supply back as soon as was possible.


Karate Camp
ONAKAI (The Official National Amateur Karate Association of Ireland) once again held its weekend training Camp at the Shannon Oaks Hotel, Portumna as it proved to be the ideal location for such an event. The four main Karate styles of Shotokan, Shito Ryu, Kenpo and Wado Ryu were well represented. Athletes from Ireland and England with many of the National Kata and Kumite squad members attended availing of the opportunity to train for upcoming competitions both at home and abroad. Four of ONAKAI`S National Coaches, Michael Hogan and Marie Dolphin (Kata Coaches), Paul Brennan and Oliver Carolan (Kumite Coaches) were on hand to put the athletes through some rigorous training over the three days.


Rathcabbin Players Stage 'The Year Of The Hiker'
Rathcabbin Players will stage another John B. Keane classic 'The Year Of The Hiker' in Rathcabbin Hall from January 20th, to the 23rd. and again the following week-end the 28th. to 30th. incl. Booking essential and will open from Monday January 10th. 5 to 8p.m. daily. Don't miss out on this great play. Looking forward to meeting you all once again.


Killimor Camogie Club
Killimor Camogie Club wishes to sincerely thank all those who supported their Christmas Raffle. Winners: Hamper- Marie Duane, Sheerwater Sea Spa Treatment- Ronan Hynes, Meadow Court Meal Voucher- John Barns, Bottle of Brandy- John McEvoy.

The senior team preparations and training continue for the All Ireland Senior Club Camogie semifinal which will be played in Killimor on 06th Feb against Oulart the Ballagh, Wexford.


79 Bridge Club
79 Bridge Club Results Wed 5th January 2011-01-06: 1st Bridget Breretor & Tony Ryan, 2nd Marian Molloy & Joan Ryan, Gross Kaye Duddy & Fr Finnerton


An Gairdin Organic Gardening Course
The 2011 Organic Gardening Course is beginning in Mid-February. This very popular course runs each year for one day per month for 9 months. It takes the participants through the entire growing season. The course covers all aspects of Organic Gardening. Fetac Certification optional. Book Early!

Contact An Gairdin on 090 9741689 or angairdin1@gmail.com www.angairdin.com


Portumna Camogie Club
The Portumna camogie club held their AGM in the club house on Wednesday 15th December. The following officers were elected for 2011, President Marie Hogan, Chairperson Deirdre Mitchell, Assistant chairperson was not filled on the night, secretary/PRO Caroline Canning, assistant secretary Emma O'Brien, and joint treasurers Mary Lynch and Christina Greenwood. THe following are the respective team managers; U18 and intermediate Johnny Keane, U16 Ann Rutledge, U14 Emma O'Brien, U12 Deirdre Mitchell, and U8 and U10 Padraig Lohan. The camoige club would like to thank all sponsors for 2010 and all who attended the AGM, and every success for 2011.

Juvenille Party Night: A party night will be held on Friday 28th January from 6.30 to 9.30 in Town hall for all Juvenille players. All U8,10,12, 13 14,16 players, parents and guardians welcome.


Portumna and District Active Retirement Association
Happy New Year to all our members and just to let you all know we are back in action on the 13th of January. We hope to have an early start at 7 o'clock starting with a warm up session, and the main business at 8 o'clock. This is to facilitate the safety of our members who may have to travel a distance and with icy conditions on our roads at this time of the year. On the 20th January we hope to have a speaker. Hoping you are full of new ideas and a big thank you to all our members who made 2010 such an active ,and enjoyable year.


Portumna GAA Club
Lotto: There was no winner of last Saturday nights lotto jackpot worth 2000 euros. The numbers drawn were 8 13 15 25. No one matched three numbers donation to Social Services and St Dympnas.

AGM: The clubs A.G.M. will take place this Friday night 14th January in the Shannon Oaks Hotel at 7:30pm.

Engagements: Congratulations to Leo Smith and Elinor Cunningham and to Garret Heagney and Patrice Murray who recently got engaged.


Computer Courses at IRD Centre
Two courses will start soon at the IRD Centre in Portumna. The first course is Practical Computers for Absolute Beginners. Participants will learn how to use the Internet, e-mail and Skype, which allows you to chat on camera with friends and relatives. This course will also cover digital cameras and computers. The course will take place on Mondays from 7.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will run for eight weeks, starting on Monday, 31st January.

The second course is Intermediate Computers, certified to FETAC Level 4. Participants should have a basic knowledge of computers. Course content includes word processing, internet, e-mail, theory and file management. This course will take place on Tuesdays from 7.30 p.m. to 10 p.m. and will run for ten weeks, starting on Tuesday, 1st February.

Both courses are held in the IRD Training Centre in Abbey Street, where the emphasis is on providing a relaxed and friendly learning environment. For further information or to book: tel: 090-9741867.


GAA Star Visits Portumna For Charity
GAA Star, Sean Og Hailpin, will be coming to 'Picture This', Clonfert Ave., Portumna on Saturday, 15th January, 2011. Come along to pose with the star and get his autograph. Signed photos will be available on the day. All proceeds will go to Volunteer ECO Students Abroad which is a volunteer organisation helping countries such as Fiji, South Africa and the Ecuador. Sean Og will arrive at 11am, as an added bonus you can buy a line in the store and be in for a raffle to win a Fuji Digital Camera, a case and 2 GB memory card. The raffle will take place on the day, Sean Og will pull the lucky ticket.


Portumna Bingo in aid of Acorn To Oak
Acorn to Oak-is state of the art childcare facility! Facilitating babies from 3 months. Breakfast Club, Baby Room, Wobblers, Little Einstein's, Montessori and Whiz Kids After School Club! Call us or pop in to view our facility. Due to cut backs in Government funding the committee of Acorn run a weekly Bingo session on Saturday nights at 8pm in the Town Hall, this is in order to bridge the fund gap. They started 2 weeks ago and it is going very well, to make it viable they need more people to come along and play, it is an enjoyable nights entertainment and it is for a good cause.


Circuit Training
Circuit training resumes on thursday evenings in Portumna Town Hall for 2011 with a beginners class at 6.30pm followed by classes at 7.30pm and 8.45pm. Any queries contact Stephen on 086-6039235.


Portumna Golf Club
Due to the frosty weather, the course was closed over the Christmas period. It is hoped that the course will be open in the coming week. The Captains and Presidents Drive in will take place on Sunday 6th February more details later.


Letter from Shanghai
Greetings from Shanghai! We are all starting to shiver here as the mercury drops but it is almost tropical compared to the terrible weather you have experienced in Ireland. My wife's family spent Christmas at our house in Woodford despite the fact that the water pipe had frozen. We are so lucky to have such fantastic neighbours who provided the grateful visitors with enough water to see them through. We love having friends and family come and visit our home in Woodford as they always enjoy themselves.

Here in Shanghai we have already started counting down the days to our big summer holiday when we get to spend five or six weeks in Woodford and even more importantly get to spend time with "the cousins". All manner of plans are being made, cúl camp, swim school in Portumna Baths, camping at Kinvarra, walks in the forests, spotting deer, hare, wild goats, Galway for the races, Dublin for the horse show, all in all we have great time but most important of all is catching up with family and friends. One thing I did want to mention, as many of you will know from Tiernan's success in the All China Storytelling Competition that both my boys when asked are very proud to say they are from Woodford. I heard a few people say that they might not "be from Woodford" as they were not born and bred there. This may be true but while they were born in England they are not English and while they live in China they are not Chinese so Woodford it is and long may it be so.

On the subject of China I thought that some of you might be interested in knowing what it is like to live and work here in Shanghai. It's such a big subject that I thought I would break it down a bit and cover one subject in each Shanghai Diary (that's if Jim asks me to write another one). This time I thought I'd cover my favourite subject, the people, and next time the subject I'm most often asked about, the food.

The people here are amazing and quite like the Irish. They are very warm and welcoming, have a great sense of humour which is self depreciating, very family orientated, nosey (one of the first questions you get asked is how much do you earn!), they always ask you if you would like a cup of tea and talk about the weather all the time. Unfortunately to realise this you have to speak Chinese (or more correctly Mandarin as there are numerous different "Chinese" languages) but despite the reputation it is NOT a very difficult language to learn the basics of (it does become very complex when you want to become fluent) and the people here are very forgiving of our mangling of the tones, very encouraging and very surprised that we can speak any Mandarin at all. Which leads me to a soap box issue, why is Mandarin not mandatory in Irish Schools? If we want to to give our kids the best possible chance for their future (and let's face it their "now" is pretty bleak) then we should be encouraging and supporting them to speak to the 1.5bn people who live in the country that is currently the 2nd biggest economy in the world and will soon be the biggest. Imagine how difficult it would have been for Irish people to succeed in the US in the 19th and 20th Century if we did not speak any English. Well the same goes for China. If we want to do business here we better start learning the language and fast.

Anyway, back to the people. There can't be many cities of 22 million people in the world where you can walk down any street, at any time of day or night and feel safe. Shanghai is such a city of contrasts, the city slickers in their Ferraris, Porches and Maseratis and the great hordes (including me) on their bicycles. It is New York on speed, everything available 24/7, everything progressing 24/7 fuelled by an enormous migrant workforce who demolish, excavate, build, clean, repair and generally keep everything going (sound familiar?). Impossible to prepare yourself for (all our visitors spend the first few days pretty speechless) Shanghai is an experience more then it is a city. Just as well we have Woodford to escape to and recharge our batteries!

Anyway on a final note I see that Portumna is hoping to resurrect it's St Patrick's Parade. I really hope you manage to do that, perhaps you can partner with Shanghai where this year the St Patrick's Parade will be part of the largest street festival in China - Féile Shanghai. Féile Shanghai is now in it's fifth year and the local government have given us Shanghai's premier street, Nanjing Road (think Fifth Avenue New York) to celebrate all things Irish. We will be showcasing the best of Irish talent and entertaining the locals. I'll keep you up to date on progress!

Eoin Murphy


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