04 August 2015

The Olive Aughty Cycle
Portumna GAA
Book Now for Shorelines Events
Tennis Club Competition
Rural Transport Programme
The Story of One Workhouse Girl

The Olive Aughty Cycle
Plans are almost complete for the much anticipated Portumna Cycling Club event on Sunday 9 August to raise much needed funds for Olive Shaughnessy and her family. A large number of cyclists are expected to participate, so early registration in the Engine Room on Clonfert Avenue, Portumna, is essential. The centre will be in operation from 7.30 a.m. onwards. The cyclists then proceed to the town square from where each of the three cycles will commence.
The 100k cycle (€25), led out by Mark Rohan, the para-Olympian hero, leaves at 9.00 a.m. sharp and heads out the Woodford road through Ballyshrule, Abbey, Ballinakill and Derrybrien before turning a sharp left at Ballyturin where a food stop is located. The route then joins the Gort/Feakle road and follows the road through the villages of Killanena, Feakle, Scarriff, Mountshannon and Whitegate before returning to Portumna. There are some spectacular views along this route with Ballyturin Lake, Lough Cutra, Lough Greaney and Lough Derg being particularly prominent on a fine day.
Those undertaking the 50k route (€20) leave Portumna promptly at 9.15 a.m. and go through the village of Tynagh. A left turn outside this village followed by a right one at Duniry takes the cyclists past Finnerty’s Mill and onto the Loughrea/Woodford road. A left turn here brings them to a pit stop at Donnelly’s public house in Kylebrack. The cycle then proceeds through the town of Woodford and returns to Portumna via Power’s Cross and Ballyshrule.
The 15k cycle (€15) begins at 9.30 and travels along the Tynagh road and stops briefly at McDonagh’s Pub in Kilcorban. It then passes through the village of Killeen, takes a left onto the Abbey/Portumna road and returns to the town.
This is a great opportunity for the people of Portumna and surrounding areas to turn out in force in the town square to give the cyclists a rousing send off and support this most deserving fundraising cause. Supporters are also planning to assemble at Kilcorban and Tynagh to demonstrate their strong community spirit. If you would like to become involved in the fundraising initiative or simply volunteer on the day please contact The Hub, Main Street, Portumna, or phone Anne Rabbitte on 087 242 2704.
Later on Sunday evening a happy hour will be held in O’Meara’s, Portumna, between 6 and 7 o’clock. All cyclists, volunteers and supporters are invited to come along and join in this special event.


Portumna GAA
There was no winner of last weekend's lotto jackpot worth €7200. The numbers drawn were 2, 3, 9, 13. Three people matched three numbers. Next weekend's lotto is worth €7300.
Best of luck to Joe Keane, Ronan O Meara & Johnny Kelly who are members of the Galway Intermediate panel and management who play Cork in the All Ireland final on Saturday next.


Book Now for Shorelines Events
From this week, tickets are on sale online as well as from Hayes & Hayes Pharmacy and The Beehive Restaurant for the headline events at Shorelines Arts Festival, Sept 17th-20th. As the events take place in the intimate seating of the Church of Ireland, you are encouraged to buy early to avoid disappointment. The bookings are for author, Joseph O’Connor (Thursday, Sept 17th), The Lost Brothers in concert (Friday, Sept 18th), Singer, Mary Coughlan (Saturday, Sept 19th), Live Recording of RTE Sunday Miscellany (Sunday, Sept 20th) and Fishamble, the New Play Company with the drama Underneath (Sunday, Sept 20th). Further details are on the Shorelines website.
Booking is also recommended for the workshop in prose writing with John MacKenna on Friday, Sept 18th. John, a well known voice on radio is a writer of short stories, plays, novels and poetry and he brings his personal touch to his workshop “Finding the Storyteller” where adults explore character creation and the stories revealed.
On Saturday, Sept 19th, poet Grace Wells will facilitate an ambulant poetry workshop on the theme “The Real World”. Using the real world as inspiration, the settings of Portumna streets and An Gáirdín will be explored and used to inspire the writing. Booking essential : €10 ; call Mary 086 366 3439.
Childrens’ writing workshops with Betsy Cornwell will take place in St. Brendan’s National School and booking for this in early September with school teachers.
For MineVention fans, book your place now for anyone (age: 4 plus) for one of the two planned Mine Craft Workshops on Saturday, September 19th. Each workshop will include Kids 4 Bricks, X-Boxes, Arts & Crafts and Tips ‘n’ Tricks with YouTubers. Booking is essential with Lisa on 087 6407966 (€10).
The annual Literary Brunch will be held on Saturday Sept 19th 11.30 am in Le Bouchon Restaurant. Book your place (€15) with Shane on 087 296 6767. The guest readers for this year include Grace Wells, Louis dePaor and Anne Marie Kennedy as well as music from Séan Coyne.
For all information and the unfolding programme, check out www.shorelinesartsfestival.com or follow the festival on www.facebook.com/shorelinesartsfestival.


Tennis Club Competition
Portumna Lawn Tennis Club will host their first competition this coming week. Confines to club members, teams of 4 players will play in the Summer Cup Team Competition. The final will take place at 8pm on Sunday 9 Aug and all are welcome to drop by the club and enjoy the fun and excitement.
Hayes & Hayes Pharmacy sponsors the competition and the club is delighted at the response with six teams playing in this round robin mixed competition. This follows on from the success for club members taking part in the Midland League, Nenagh Open and Birr Open. The night will also mark the official 'Turning on of the Lights' on the two courts and the committee are thrilled to see the courts actively used and encourage all interested in playing to contact 087 390 6067.


Rural Transport Programme
The National Transport Authority has recently taken over the management of the Rural Transport Programme. There is a new Transport Co-ordination Unit for County Galway. The new Local Link office is located in Barrack St. Loughrea, tel: 091-842384. All services previously managed by South East Galway IRD remain the same.


The Story of One Workhouse Girl
Eliza Dooly was one of more than 4000 orphan girls who were sent from the workhouses of Ireland to Australia from 1848 to 1850. Her life will be celebrated in a new book by an Australia author, Jonathon Fairall, who accompanied by his wife, was in the Workhouse in Portumna last month researching Eliza's history in Ireland and her time in the workhouse in Birr. It's a personal story. He is married to Wendy, Eliza's great great granddaughter.
Eliza's parents, Michael and Bridget, lived in Kilcorman during the 1830s. They raised nine children. Surviving records show that Michael was a landless labourer. He was one of that great mass of impoverished peasants who lived a hand-to-mouth existence during the Great Famine.
The family ended up in Birr workhouse. Although surviving records are incomplete, it seems likely that both Michael and Bridget succumbed to the diseases that were epidemic in the workhouses. It is also unlikely that their two youngest children, who were two and three, survived. Their two eldest, Catherine and Eliza, plus their cousin, Ellen, were among some 30 girls at the Birr workhouse who were selected for the Earl Grey scheme, an emigration scheme, assisted by the Australian government.
The new colonies in Australia were chronically short of women. The workhouses in Ireland had large numbers of orphaned females. Grey, the secretary of state for the colonies, saw an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Between 1848 and 1850, 4,175 female orphans were shipped out to Australia.
The three Dooleys from Birr workhouse were sent to Sydney Cove. When the girls got off the boat, they were taken to Hyde Park Barracks, which until a few months earlier had been home to several hundred transported convicts. The girls were interviewed by employment agents and put to work almost immediately. Eliza was sent to the little town of Maitland where she worked as a nursemaid and then up-country, to a farm outside the village of Uralla. located in the middle of the then booming gold fields.
Five years later, Eliza met and married John Blanch. They opened an inn, where they sold food and drink to the miners. While they were never especially wealthy, it is unlikely Eliza was ever hungry again. She raised twelve children and lived until 1912, long enough to have her photograph taken. It is on display, as part of the permanent exhibition by Birr Photography Group in the Irish Workhouse Centre, Portumna, which is open 7 days a week until 31st October. www.irishworkhousecentre.ie – Guided tours daily. A real story in a real workhouse!


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