06 April 2011

Seamus O'Kelly Players Loughrea - "The Year of the Hiker"
The Castles of Lough Derg - A Pictorial Survey
Portumna's Mike Denver & The Band
Christchurch after the Earthquake
Portumna Arts Group
Portumna Bridge Club
Gortanumera Group Water Scheme
Art Exhibition at Portumna Library
'Wonderful Pistachios' Team Announced For An Post Rás
Table Quiz - 'Cope with Friends' Fundraiser
Children's Art Exhibition
Davitts Camogie Club
Good Friday Table Quiz - Sign Out Youth Project Fundraiser
Fashion Show
Portumna Parent and Toddler Group
Portumna Bingo
Portumna & District Active Retirement Association
Portumna Thinking Caps?
Portumna Junior Golf
Sunflower Chernobyl Appeal - Charity Walk
Galway Rose

Seamus O'Kelly Players Loughrea - "The Year of the Hiker"
The Seumas O Kelly Players Loughrea, are Staging the Classic John B Keane, "The Year of the Hiker" in the Lough Rea Hotel & Spa, on Friday 22nd, Saturday 23rd, & Sunday 24th April at 8:30pm.

We are Currently offering a Great Group Discount for Groups of 10 or more, at a Very Special Discount of €8 per Ticket. Normal Price on the Door of €12.50.

We are also selling Tickets in advance at Digi Photo Bride Street Loughrea, and at The Lough Rea Hotel & Spa, at the discounted Rate of €10.

If you would like to Avail of this very Special Group Discount, and have your Tickets Reserved for you at Reception. Contact Martin Wade on: 087 7996020 or Wadiemartin@gmail.com


The Castles of Lough Derg - A Pictorial Survey
The Inland Waterways of Ireland, Lough Derg Branch, are pleased to announce the presentation of The Castles of Lough Derg - a pictorial survey by Patrick Larkin in The Shannon Oaks Hotel, Portumna on Saturday, 9th April 2011 @ 8:00PM. All are welcome to attend.

Castles of Lough Derg is an illustrated survey of the medieval and later fortifications in and around Lough Derg; encompassing the lakeside shorelines of counties Tipperary, Clare and Galway. The castles, ruins and sites will be located; their builders identified and dated; and their remains revealed. Their various purposes and their historical context will be explored.

Following the information presentation on Saturday night, a visit to Old Castle, Terryglass and Clondegoff castles will be held on Sunday,10th. Anyone interested should meet at the Castle Harbour, Portumna, at 1:00pm ( a packed lunch, if required should be brought ). Subject to conditions, the visits may be by boat or by people's own car.

Patrick Larkin is a Galway native and a chartered chemist who graduated from University College Galway with a B.Sc. degree. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Chemistry of Ireland and of the Royal Society of Chemistry. He has completed post-graduate diplomas in Applied Finance, Systems Analysis, Quality Management and in Archaeology. He presently works as a consultant in the fields of Quality Management and Validation Systems for the pharmaceutical and medical device industrial manufacturing sector. An officer of the GAHS, he is also a member of Clans of Ireland, the Southeast Galway Archaeological Society, the Inland Waterways Association of Ireland (Lough Derg branch) and the Castles Study Group.


Portumna's Mike Denver & The Band
Like every small town in Ireland, Portumna was no different when it came to local band heroes, the swinging 60s having become synonymous with all new exciting radical events, including music which continued to develop in the 70s, 80s and 90s. We saw many showbands and ballad groups pop up overnight. They were all longing for their 15 minutes of fame, some lasted, some did not, not even the 15 minutes. The Beatles and Elvis were making a name for themslves and they portrayed an image and lifestyle that lads in the West of Ireland could only dream about, dream they did, they were all local heroes that filled dancehalls in the North and South of Ireland.

One of the success stories was the Conquerors, still going strong after 40 years, the line up may have changed slightly but the quality is still there. The tradition of producing good musicians and singers in and around the parish of Portumna has continued through from the Conquerors. Now a new face has arrived onto the stage in the shape of Mike Denver. Mike started his working life as a Plumber with James Likely, however he always wanted to sing. His mother Roisin came from Ballyshannon, Co. Donegal in the early 1970s to work in the then Westpark Hotel. While working there she met and fell in love with her future husband, local man, Sean Fallon. Roisins love of music rubbed off on Mike, they played and sang together for a number of years , eventually Mike went solo career and has not looked back since. He is now one of Irelands top Country Artists.

At the moment Mike is on a tour of both Ireland and England with sold out concerts and dances everywhere. The dancing scene is great for us explains Mike and we love to see the floor packed with people having a great time but we often get asked by people - "when are you in our area in concert again". Lots of people love the dancing but there are a lot of folk who prefer the concert atmosphere and look out for our Tour each year which normally begins Jan / Feb time. The concerts are great and I really look forward to them, the key ingredient is entertainment and it's amazing to hear the reaction from the audience in a concert setting. A lot of effort and work goes into our show, I may be the guy at the front singing the songs but the band, the lighting and sound crews create the perfect setting. "I'm the lucky guy who gets the applause".

The new Album just released is called "Tradition". "It is the type of album I have wanted to record for some time, traditional country music with some of Irelands top traditional musicians and the reaction to it in shops and on Radio has been fantastic. The new Single from the album is called "Paddy" and it has been a great success for us. The video for the song was shot in the Workhouse, Portumna last December during the bad weather. You can view it on YouTube - "Mike Denver Paddy".

The show includes some tracks from the new album and all our most requested recordings, also some country favourites, Irish ballads and a few surprises!. This year on his Concert Tour, Mike has reunited one of Irelands most famous Duet Stars "Ray Lynam & Philomena Begley" who have come together especially for the tour. "When you hear them sing it is just wonderful. They used be referred to as being simply divine and in rehearsals I am just amazed to hear their voices together again, singing all those great songs which they recorded".

Mike Denver's first professional Gig was in The Park House Hotel, Edgeworthstown, Saturday 11th January 2003 with his full band, not a full house but boy has he moved forward since then. His first Album was recorded in early 2003 "Wings to Fly" which included tracks "You're my Best Friend", Johnny Cash's "Cry Cry Cry" and "It's a Dream Come Through". This Album was recorded in Tony Maher's Studio in Headford and also featured ace guitarist Frankie Colohan.

To date Mike has recorded 8 Albums namely "Wings to Fly", "Love to live", "Messenger Boy", "Christmas Country", "Galway Boy" "Seasons in the Sun". "Got a Funny Feeling" and "Thank God for the Radio". Mike has released three DVD'S one of which is "The Essential Galway Boy" which was released in 2006.

The future looks good for Mike Denver and the Denver Band. He never forgot where he came from and is still very close to his parents Sean and Roisin. They were a great support from day one. "When I started out they gave me the money to do my first recording, to buy gear, clothes and to do the PR stuff, they always believed in me which gave me the confidence to keep going".


Christchurch after the Earthquake
Stephen Hardman's Mother, Sheila Starr was from Portumna - Stephen now lives in Christchurch New Zealand. He and his wife Clare, children Thomas, Joseph & daughter Jessica, along with some friends moved to New Zealand in 2003 and set up a micro brewery and restaurant called The Twisted Hop. This is their story...

When we moved to Christchurch, we knew that New Zealand was an earthquake zone but never thought that we'd be caught up in one!

The Hardman family moved from Enfield, North London in February 2003. The South Island's wide-open spaces, friendly people and a quieter pace of life were a great attraction. Whilst there had been earthquakes in other parts of the country, there hadn't been a significant earthquake in Christchurch since 1888. Therefore, not in living memory.

The first quake was centred 40km west of the city. At M7.1 it was, strong, shocking and caused significant damage in parts of the city. However, there were no fatalities and few injuries because it happened in the middle of the night. In fact, for most people, life returned to normal after only a week or two. Our city centre Brewpub and most schools re-opened after a week. Seismologist's advised that there would be aftershocks for up to two or three years and that they could be as high as 1.0MM below the original. Between September 4th and February 22nd, there had been approximately 5,000 aftershocks.

The very shallow, M6.3 quake occurred close to the city about six months later, at lunchtime on Tuesday 22nd February. Approximately, 180 died as a result of being in or near collapsed buildings, or even walking in the hills and being hit by falling rocks. It's effects on us were vastly different from the first quake. We were all in different places. Stephen was at work, Clare was at home and the three kids were at school.

Stephen was sitting at his desk in an old, single storey, brick building, when the quake struck at 12.51pm. He felt huge upward pressure from below the floor - the building seemed to lift up. His reaction was to run from the office, through the hall and out of the building. He stopped to help a member of staff who was hysterical. About 15 seconds later the shaking stopped and they tried to leave the building. The external door was difficult to open because the parapet wall had fallen in front of it. He quickly realised that he could easily have been under the rubble had he not stopped to assist the member of staff. The scene outside was of fallen masonry and bricks – the smell and taste of dust was in the air. The normally quiet street was full of people looking shocked, traumatized, and in a high state of anxiety and wondering what would happen next? Large after shocks continued and as the ground continued to move, being surrounded by 3 and 4 storey, 110 year old, brick buildings was very unnerving. Stephen went to assess injuries and damage in the bar. Most of the customers remained inside the bar which had been significantly earthquake strengthened. Cell phones were ringing and calls being made. A short while later, the cell phone network was over loaded. Whilst there were no injuries in the neighbouring buildings, we later heard that the CTV building, only 200 metres away had collapsed killing many and a couple, sitting in a parked car just around the corner of the bar, had been killed by a falling parapet wall.

At school, Joseph, 13 was in his drama class at 12.51pm, acting out a scene. When the earthquake struck, 15 or so boys, all ran for the door. Realising that there would not be enough space for everyone in the doorway, he lay on the ground and waited until it was over. The teachers handled the evacuation drill ensuring every boy was accounted for. No juniors were allowed to leave the school without being accompanied by an adult. Later, he got a lift home with a friend.

Thomas, 17 was trying to save his work on the computer when his teacher told him and all the other students to leave. Having lost the computer files, he was allowed to leave school on his own. He arrived home with liquefaction mud up the front and back of his blazer, having cycled much of the 9kms through mud!

The bell had just rung for lunch and Jessica, 15 was packing up her bag when the quake hit. Seeing that the classroom doorway was packed like sardines with 8/9 girls, Jessica took cover under a table. As soon as possible, everyone ran to the playing field together in class groups. Because the phone lines were down or overloaded, it was not possible to contact Mum and Dad. Furthermore, the roads were gridlocked and the buses were not running. This resulted in Jessica arriving home at 6.30pm.

Clare was at home and just leaving the living room when without warning the 2metre high sliding doors to the garden behind her shook violently and she instinctively tried to move away from them afraid they would shatter. Unable to stay upright, the whole house now moving and contents being flung out of cupboards, she was thrown sideways to the floor. When the shaking stopped maybe 20 seconds later, she and the dog, Alfie ran from the house. Knowing her elderly neighbour Margaret was alone, she shouted to her across the fence and could hear her calling. She found Margaret in her vegetable garden thrown to the ground and fortunately unhurt. All the neighbours gathered in the street feeling much safer away from buildings. As the strong after shocks continued they took comfort staying together. Later when she returned to the house, Clare noticed the microwave on the kitchen floor thrown from it's housing by the force of the quake right to the place where she often stood when cooking and realised then how lucky she had been.

Our families experience is typical of many. We count ourselves very fortunate to have come through this unscathed. Life changing events like an earthquake make communities stronger – and this definitely is the case in Christchurch NZ. For up to the minute information about this ongoing event, go to http://www.geonet.org.nz/index.html

We're all fine though the quake and aftershocks have caused many deaths, injuries & loss of homes/businesses. The kids have all returned to school after three weeks absence. The boys school is also being used by another school. One using the buildings from 7.50am thru lunchtime. The other from lunchtime thru late afternoon. Nine Schools need to be rebuilt. The bar is in the Red Zone and we are not allowed to enter this area. Don't know when we'll be allowed in! We evacuated at 1pm - food was left all over the Kitchen. Two bellies of pork had just been taken out of the oven - so, now there's bound to be a severe maggot & rodent infestation. The building may be saved...it may be demolished. We will not know for some time yet - if it is OK we may not be allowed to return because neighbouring properties are unsafe and due for demolition.

Either way, we're unable to do anything for weeks, probably months!


Portumna Arts Group
Peregrine Reading: Together with The Irish Writers' Centre, Portumna Arts Group will host a Peregrine Reading in the Shannon Oaks Hotel at 7.30pm on Thursday May 5th featuring three Irish writers. Alex Barclay is a Dublin based crime writer. She won the Ireland AM Crime Fiction Award at the Irish Book Awards for her third novel, Blood Runs Cold. Kevin Barry, a Limerick writer of short stories has been awarded The Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. The final writer will feature John Connolly, Dublin based crime writer whose famous Charlie Parker is the detective in his numerous novels. All readers, writers and crime solvers are welcome to come along and listen to each award-winning writer followed by a discussion. Admission €5. It is an ideal opportunity to meet the authors in the flesh and a pleasure to have a reading on our doorstep.

Lines Learned By Heart: In September's Shorelines Arts Festival, Sept 22nd-25th, a unique event will take place in Portumna in honour of the local much-loved gentleman Nicholas Treacy who passed away in November last. In his lifetime, Nicholas learned hundreds of poems and recited them frequently at many readings, occasions and visits. He loved words and in particular rhyme and stories recited in verse. To revitalise this dying art of learning by heart and to honour his memory, the Maple Poetry Group will present the Nicholas Treacy Perpetual Memorial Prize to the winner of "Lines Learned By Heart at Shorelines". So get out the poetry books and learn a recitation written pre 1935 and enter in the challenge.


Portumna Bridge Club
The Joan Ryan 2011 President Prize Winners: 1st Kaye Duddy & Fr Finneran, 2nd Mary Jo Kelly & Eileen Smith, Gross Elizabeth Ryan & Geraldine Canning, 3rd Bridget Brereton & Michael Tarpey, 4th Patricia Eames & Patsy Hanbury, 5th Charlie & Margie Mullen, 6th Mary Rose Cormican & Nora Flanagan, 1st Session Frances Mc Crory & Mary Connolly, 2nd Session Noreen Murphy & Pat Flanagan


Gortanumera Group Water Scheme
Final Reminder to subscribers! Any outstanding payments are now due. Thanks to the many subscribers who are fully paid up, the Scheme's pipework is now complete. Water is filling those pipes. Anyone seeking a new (or extra) connection now has this last chance to avail of a subsidised connection. Connections will be finalised in the coming week. Payments to the Treasurer.


Art Exhibition at Portumna Library
Portumna Library hosted an exhibition by Fiona Flaherty and Johnny Hession on Wednesday 23rd March. Fiona works in the medium of paint and her interest lies in exploring female identity through objects, the body and the imagination. There was a large attendance at the official opening of the exhibition. Fiona Flaherty was born in 1986 and grew up in the small village of Ahascragh. After completing a Fetac course in Childcare in 2005 she realised she had a keen interest in art & craft and decided to pursue this. She then went on to complete a Fetac course in Art & Design in Moate Business College in 2008. During her studies in Moate, as part of the E.U. Leonardo programme she was chosen to fulfill three weeks work experience in Barcelona, Spain. Fiona is now in 3rd Year in Cluain Mhuire, G.M.I.T. studying Art & Design, specialising in paint but also working with a wide range of materials. She lives and commutes from Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.


'Wonderful Pistachios' Team Announced For An Post Rás
A week after the announcement that the Australian Drapac Professional team and the New Zealand national squad will be competing in this year's An Post Rás, the third international team has been confirmed for the world-ranked event.

The Los Angeles-based Wonderful Pistachios pro squad will travel from the US for the Sunday May 22nd start of the race, and is determined to ride well. Team director Josh Horowitz competed in the event ten years ago and said that he is very much looking forward to bringing his riders to the well-known contest. "In 2001, the Rás was my first international racing experience as a neo pro and to this day it is still my favourite stage race," he enthused. "I really like this race for the Wonderful Pistachios team because our roster consists of strong, gritty riders who will excel at the kind of in-the-gutter, on-the-rivet riding that the Rás has to offer. I think they will bring a lot of energy and excitement to the race."

The lineup is yet to be finalised but Horowitz names the two leaders of the team. "Tom Faiers raced the Pro Tour last year with Footon Cervetto and brings a wealth of talent and experience to the squad," he said. "Neil Coleman is a two time UK national time trial champion and at 6'4" he can not be missed in the pack." Faiers' entry into international racing is particularly interesting. At 18 years of age, the-then triathlete went to a training camp in Murcia in order to improve his cycling fitness. One day while out training, he met Spanish professionals Alejandro Valverde and Luis Leon Sanchez, and impressed them by staying with them in the hills. They encouraged him to compete in Spain, and so he moved to the country. He raced with the Footon-Servetto ProTour team last season but didn't compete much due to heart irregularities. These have now been corrected and he is raring to prove what he can do.

Horowitz will choose the remainder of the five man line-up from a list of eight riders. These include the sprinter Sterling Magnell, a former Rock Racing rider who won the 2008 Downers Avenue Classic Criterium, the all-rounder Alexi Martinez, a past under 23 winner of the Valley of the Sun race, former BMX national champion Eric Bennett and Mount Hamilton Classic winner Taylor Bertrand Barrett. The line-up will be finalised closer to the eight-day event.

Race director Dermot Dignam is looking forward to seeing the team racing on Irish roads. "Ten years after Josh took part in the race, it's great to see him return with his own team. There will be a large number of overseas squads and this one will add to the international flavour of the 2011 event. Horowitz says that the team is determined to do well. "I am incredibly grateful to the race organizers for extending us this invitation," he said. "We are a new team and unproven at the international level but I think as the season progresses we are going to attract a lot of fans."

The 2011 An Post Rás will begin in Dunboyne on Sunday May 22nd and will feature stage finishes in Portumna, Kilrush, Castleisland, Castletownbere, Blarney, Tramore, Kildare and Skerries. The tough route includes 29 categorised climbs, of which three are first category ascents, plus eight days of racing and a total of 1247 kilometres. It is the first edition to be sponsored by An Post. More strong teams will be announced in the near future.


Table Quiz - 'Cope with Friends' Fundraiser
"Cope with Friends" Carers Support Group are holding a table quiz in The Boathouse on Friday night at 9pm sharp. Proceeds in aid of "Cope with Friends" Carers Support Group and Portumna Social Services. "Cope with Friends" is a support group for people who are carers of people suffering from mental health problems, Your support will be greatly appreciated.


Children's Art Exhibition
Portumna library is hosting a children's art exhibition of creations by the students of Ute Duggan, "Bramble Art" from 13th - 22nd April. All welcome.


Davitts Camogie Club
As a fundraiser, Davitts will gladly dispose of your old car/machinery batteries. You can drop them into the following places: Lyons Garage Shragh, Declan Burke Abbey, Tony Hodgins Tynagh. Davitts will also hold a fundraising quiz for their Feile team in Holohans, Abbey on Wednesday 13th April at 9pm. Also don't forget that we wil be collecting bags of old, unwanted clothers, shoes, bedlinen etc at the club house in Duniry on Saturday 16th April between 10am-12pm. All support is greatly appreciated.


Good Friday Table Quiz - Sign Out Youth Project Fundraiser
This year the Good Friday Table Quiz will take place in Portumna Town Hall for all quiz enthusiasts. Lots of prizes and novelty rounds on the night. Tables of 4 Adults €40. Students €20. All proceeds will go to the development of Portumna Sign Out Youth Project.


Fashion Show
Portumna Camogie club is organising a Fashion show in the Shannon Oaks hotel on April the 14th starting at 8 sharp.Lots of ladies fashion also the award winning designer Marion Murphy Cooney will be showing her wear on the night.


Portumna Parent and Toddler Group
The Portumna Parent and Toddler Group meet every Wednesday 10 - 12am in Portumna Town Hall. Come and join us for a coffee and chat while the children play! contact Karen 087 6685644.


Portumna Bingo
Bingo this Saturday night at 8.30pm!!! Jackpot €2,150.00!!!!

Bingo Bonanza on 16th April, lots of prizes to be won!!!


Portumna & District Active Retirement Association
Two upcoming dates for your diary, on Thursday the 7th April we will have a quiz night and on the following Thursday 14th we have a very special speaker Margaret Burke a qualified Fashion Consultant will give a talk and illustrate her talents as a Style Coach. Non members are welcome to join us on both nights.


Portumna Thinking Caps?
Have a good idea for Portumna? Something to help increase business, tourism, culture, anything else you can think of? Want to help get Portumna out of the recession? Ever thought of a good idea but weren't sure who to contact about it? Why not come to Shannon Oaks Hotel on Wednesday 13th April at 8:00pm for a very informal meeting and air your thoughts and views to see if there are others thinking the same you are and that you could link up with.

The meeting will allow a space for people to propose ideas and ventures - or simply listen to others proposing ideas and ventures - all with the intent of coming up with ideas (novel or otherwise) to get Portumna moving again. Whether you're in business, culture groups, sports clubs, community groups, or just have an idea that you'd like to see come to fruition, come along and share it.

For more information, contact Mark Conroy on 087 3689507 or Jim Hynes on 087 6411711.


Portumna Junior Golf
This year the Junior Convenors at Portumna Golf Club are building up the very successful Golf Academy from scratch. In order to be included in this new venture there is a registration afternoon on Tuesday 19th April from 5pm to 8pm in the clubhouse. If you have a child, boy or girl that may have an interest in playing golf come along that evening and learn more. Juniors still attanding National School can now join for €50. For more info contact 09097 41059 ext 1


Sunflower Chernobyl Appeal - Charity Walk
Sunflower Chernobyl Appeal, are inviting everyone to join them on a sponsored charity from Portumna to Killimor on next Sunday 10th April the walk begins at 2pm at the square in Portumna. Sponsorship cards available from John Rock 087 9102000. The monies raised will go for special needs of abandoned Chidren in Belarus.


Galway Rose
Martha Gorman was chosen as the Portumna Rose to go forward to the Galway Rose final which was held in the Shearwater Hotel over the weekend. Unfortunately she did not win however she did an excellent job in promoting herself and Portumna we wish her all the best whatever path she chooses on life.

John O Meara won the Galway escort, he is the son of local business man and Lord Mayor of Portumna Donie O Meara and Marie. We wish him well.


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