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Drama Group’s ‘Wagons’ roll on All-Ireland finals



Members of Roscommon Drama Group will be making their way to Clonakilty in Co. Cork in early December after their play ’27 Wagons Full of Cotton’ impressed the adjudicators in the latest legs of their One-Act Drama Festival tour.

  The drama group’s version of the Tennessee Williams play impressed the Kiltimagh adjudicator, Iggy Bowens, on Sunday, November 10th whose Confined Section award catapulted them into fifth place in the league table with five plays set to qualify for Clonakilty. He also awarded Mary Cox the Best Producer Award and Bernie Maher Best Actress.

  From the drama group’s point of view, this was the perfect response to what had been a very disappoining result at the Cavan Festival the previous weekend.

  In Doonbeg, Co. Clare on Monday, November 11th, the drama group registered their third win on the road with another cleen sweep. Adjudicator Tom Byrne presented the group with the Best Play award, Mary Cox with Best Director, Bernie Maher with Best Actress to Bernie Maher, and Tom Holian with Best Actor.

  In Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo on November 15th, the play finished second, sealing the group’s place in the All-Ireland finals. On the production side the play also received the Adjudicator’s Award for sound and lighting.

  In the the final performance on the circuit in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim last Sunday, Bernie Maher won another Best Actress Award and unusually the Best Director to Mary Cox but the play, somehow, was unplaced.

  Ahead of the All-Ireland finals in Clonakilty on the weekend of December 6th to 8th, the group will give a performance in the Roscommon Arts Centre at 8 pm next Tuesday (December 3rd), supported by The Roscommon Ukulele Collective.  

  Do try to catch this history making play as Roscommon Drama Group go forth to their first All-Ireland One Act Finals.

  Roscommon Drama Group also stages its major three-act autumn production this weekend entitled  ‘Forbidden Fruit’ by local playwright Tom Costello and featuring a large local cast. The group would like to thank the many local businesses for their sponsorship throughout the year.





People of Roscommon provide hope for children in need



Over 4,000 Christmas shoeboxes, which contained items sent to children affected by poverty, left from Roscommon bound for Southeast Europe last Friday (November 22nd), as part of the Team Hope Christmas Shoebox Appeal.

  ‘Team Hope’ is an Irish, Christian development organisation which works to help children affected by poverty in Africa and Eastern Europe. The charity runs the Christmas shoebox appeal annually with people across Ireland placing items in a shoebox and donating them to those in need. In Roscommon, 4,059 shoeboxes were sent to Kosovo, a country that is among the poorest in Europe.

  Knockcroghery resident, Junior De Larina, was the main co-ordinator involved in organising the distribution of the shoeboxes from Roscommon. He was delighted with the large number of donations and praised the 38 people who helped organise the shoeboxes in order to ensure that they could be shipped out to Kosovo on time.

  “I came in late to the role of co-ordinator. In spite of this we had quite a good response. I had helped organise the shoeboxes in Donegal in the past but it is a tough challenge. It is a big operation as we have to make sure the shoeboxes can pass through customs and there is the paperwork to look after also,” he said.

  Junior, who has lived in Knockcroghery for eight years and has also resided in Donegal after emigrating from Brazil in 2003, believes ‘Team Hope’s Christmas Shoebox Appeal’ is an initiative worth supporting.

  “Nobody gets paid to do this. We do it because we believe in giving hope to children in need. The children in Kosovo and in other poorer countries possibly won’t celebrate Christmas. I know people who work in receiving and distributing the shoeboxes and they have said that the children get very excited and it gives them hope”.

  Junior is grateful for all the shoeboxes that were donated by the people of Roscommon.

  “I am amazed at the generosity of the Irish and especially the Roscommon people. Some of the boxes were so well put together. The shoebox represents much more than a box of goodies. It warms my heart to see the generosity of the people who send us these shoeboxes,” he said.



Satara – celebrating 25 years in style!



Offaly native, Josephine Somers, opened a ladies’ fashion boutique called ‘Wide Variety’ on November 4th 1994 in the Stonecourt Centre in Roscommon town. The business moved a number of times in the intervening period before finding its current home in the Harrison Centre around 15 years ago, and rebranding as Satara in 2012.

  Josephine explained the inspiration behind setting up her business in Roscommon town.

  “The main reason I got started is that I developed a thyroid problem, which is a medical problem, and a couple of other things, which resulted in me gaining quite a lot of weight. I was a bit embarrassed going into shops to look for larger-sized clothes because I had always been used to being very slim. It occurred to me that there were very few shops that catered for bigger sizes and I thought it would be an idea to open one”.

  Josephine didn’t come from a fashion background and instead had worked primarily in IT after leaving school.

  “I started off very small, where John Earley’s front office is now (Stonecourt). I was there for a year and a half before I moved further down the town (Goff Street) and then back up to the Stonecourt before finally settling here about fifteen years ago,” she said.

  Josephine counts herself very lucky that she received such a warm welcome in Roscommon town from both fellow business people and local customers, who took her boutique to their hearts.

  “I am so lucky that our customers have remained so loyal throughout the years. Even back when I first started people were so supportive of me. They were brilliant,” she said.

  Josephine and her family once ran a grocery shop in Kiltoom but as Wide Variety grew they left that business and relocated to Ballymurray.

  The name Wide Variety was suggested by Josephine’s brother, John, while she was visiting him at his home during a buying trip to London. But following an appearance on Feargal Quinn’s Retail Therapy on RTÉ in 2012, it was decided to change the name to Satara.

  “We got a call asking us would we like to go on the Feargal Quinn’s Retail Therapy programme and we said that we would. We had six months of filming and then we decided to relaunch the shop as ‘Satara’ after a major revamp. It was a great experience. Feargal was such a lovely man, he’d really put you at ease. He was excellent,” she said.

  Satara is now a bright and welcoming boutique which wouldn’t be out of place on the high street of a big city. Josephine prides herself on the store’s welcoming atmosphere. There are four other members of staff, all from the locality: her daughter Siobhán Gannon, as well as Siobhan Martin, Sandy Gately and Frances Fallon.

  “I’m absolutely blessed with my staff, they’re all so lovely and everyone gets on really well together. It’s like a family and everyone is willing to help each other out.

  “They’re great at keeping everything running smoothly and creating a lovely atmosphere in the shop. I wouldn’t have many things I’d be fussy on, but one of them is tidiness. I absolutely hate to see the shop a mess. Everybody – customers included – wants to see it tidy! If you’ve hangers all over the place or clothes hanging off a rail, it affects the whole atmosphere”.

  Satara has certainly found a home in the Harrison Centre and Josephine really appreciates the togetherness that exists among businesses there.

  “It’s lovely here; it’s like a little family and we all get on really well and support each other,” she said, before highlighting the variety of shops, eateries and services the centre has to offer.

  As Satara celebrates 25 years in business this Friday night it will offer Josephine and her staff an opportunity to say thank you to the boutique’s many loyal customers.

  Josephine said: “I know I wouldn’t be still here if my customers weren’t loyal to me and if they didn’t keep coming back again and again. A lot of people tell me that they like the great service here and that’s something that we do try very hard to provide. There’s always somebody to help them…or leave them alone, whichever they prefer!

  “The loyalty of our customers is so important and very much appreciated. Hopefully they’ll keep coming to us and we’ll still be here in another 25 years!”

New era for Paddy Finn’s as Claudia takes reins!







Official opening this weekend


The renowned Paddy Finn’s Bar in Kilteevan is under new management and will host an official opening this weekend! The new proprietor of Paddy Finn’s, a beautiful bar and lounge which is located two miles from Roscommon Town, is Derrane native Claudia Gormley.

  Claudia had been working in the premises in recent years, when it was run by Eoghan and Karol Brennan. She has now decided to lease the state-of-the-art public house and is very much looking forward to her new venture.

  This weekend, official opening celebrations will be held in Paddy Finn’s, starting on Friday evening and running through to Sunday night.

  There will be live music all weekend, with the official opening taking place on Saturday night. It promises to be a great weekend at Paddy Finn’s as Claudia kicks off a new chapter in the history of this very popular character property.

  Claudia is no stranger to the pub trade, having pulled her first pints as a very young girl! She recalls helping out in her late grandfather’s landmark pub in Derrane. Her grandfather was James Gormley and his pub was known as ‘Jas Gormley’s’. She also helped out in her late aunt’s pub, John’s of Doughill. Her aunt, Marlene Walshe, passed away earlier this year (RIP). Claudia has also worked in a number of bars in Roscommon Town.

  Claudia is a member of a very well known and respected local family. Native of Derrane (in the parish of Kilbride), she is a daughter of Seamus and Bernie Gormley.

  Well-known as an activist in agricultural show circles, Claudia was recently elected to the Board of the ISA (Irish Shows Association) for the Western Region, becoming the first Roscommon person to hold that position since the late Joe Murphy did. Claudia is a long-time and valued member of Roscommon Agricultural Show Committee.

  Claudia has been delighted with the support she has received since taking over Paddy Finn’s.

  “This is a really nice area. Kilteevan has so much going for it. There are excellent facilities here and a great community spirit. I would like to see Paddy Finn’s continue to play a central role in the community. St. Joseph’s GAA Club is a very important presence in the area. We also have the very popular Cloonlarge Loop Walk. Kilteevan is a place with a great heritage”.

  As for Paddy Finn’s itself, Claudia has been working there for a few years, and is now enjoying her new role as landlady!

  “I love it…the locals are very nice! There’s always a great atmosphere in the bar, and the banter is always good!”

  Claudia would like to thank the people of Kilteevan for their great support. Everyone is invited to the official opening celebrations. It promises to be a great weekend!

Black Friday shopping bonanza in Roscommon!


County Roscommon is set for yet another ‘Black Friday’ on November 29th with shops and businesses throughout the county offering massive discounts on stock and services as part of the annual pre-Christmas sales bonanza.

  Until just a few years ago, Black Friday was a tradition reserved for the United States of America and scenes of wild hysteria were commonplace as shoppers braved the crowds to grab themselves a festive bargain.

  Thankfully, Black Friday shopping in Roscommon is a much more peaceful affair and shoppers can take full advantage of the major discounts on offer at local businesses without the near-riot atmosphere associated with the event in the States!

  A number of shops in Roscommon have been advertising Black Friday deals for the last few weeks. Local boutiques and clothing stores as well as pharmacies and car dealerships are among those ready to give their customers early Christmas presents.

  Meanwhile, electronic stores, both in Roscommon and further afield, have been synonymous with the event ever since its inception and there are usually exceptional deals to be had on flatscreen TVs, laptops, household appliances and other electrical goods.

  So, don’t miss out this Black Friday and shop local in order to take advantage of the great pre-Christmas deals on offer in businesses across the county!


Christmas Craft and Food Fair in Castlerea


Following on from Castlerea’s very successful Craft and Food Fair last year, this year’s event is taking place in The Hub, Castlerea, on Sunday, December 1st from 10 am to 4 pm, with over 70 stands.

  There promises to be an amazing array of hand-crafted gifts on offer including woodcraft, knitting and crochet, Tombola, jewellery, candles, toiletries, selections of hampers and flower arrangements and much, much more – everything you would like and expect to see will be there!

  The Irish Girl Guides and Scouts will have stands on the day, as will Castlerea Men’s Shed. There will also be a variety of food outlets with local bakery, Benny’s Deli, launching its Chrismas range of festive food.

  Fierce Fun Faces, a popular and talented face-painting outfit, will be on hand to brighten up children’s faces. They will also have their ever-popular glitter tattoos for older children.

  There will be exhibitors from the locality and surrounding environs on the day so come along and support local crafters and food producers!

  There will also be a cookery demonstration which is free of charge. Refreshments will be available. Cllr. Paschal Fitzmaurice, Cathaoirleach of Roscommon County Council, will be MC on the day.


Cinderella takes the stage in Longford




When you think of Christmas you think of family, festive fun, Santa Claus and of course the Panto!

  It’s been a Christmas tradition in Ireland for years to make an annual trip to a Dublin Panto in The Olympia, Gaiety, Tivoli, Helix and other venues. But this year you can add Longford to your Panto options as Cinderella takes to the stage in St. Mel’s College ‪from December 23rd to January 5th.‬ Starring X Factor’s Mary Byrne as The Fairy Godmother, this promises to be a spectacularly fun Panto for all the family!

  Cinderella is produced by Stray Cat Productions, which includes Paul Hennessy and Tracey Carty from Evolution Stage School. Gerry McCann brings his 14 years’ experience as stage manager of The Tivoli (Cheerios) Panto to the table with Pat McElwain directing. The script is written by the very talented Los Angeles based, Leixlip native Karl Harpur. He also writes for The Helix and UCH Limerick Pantos. Tracey will be choreographer with Paul taking on the musical director roll.

  St. Mel’s will be transformed with state-of-the-art staging, lighting, and sound. It’s a traditional style Panto based on the Cinderella plot that everyone is familiar with. It’s hilarious and will having you laughing loudly!

  Lots of local talent will be on display playing lead roles including: Longford’s Leia Victory as Cinderella, Davy Flaherty as an Ugly Sister, Valerie Nolan as The Evil Stepmother, Iarlaith O’Rourke as Dandini and Conor McLoughlin  as Herald. Another local girl, Aishling Farrell, will also play Cinderella for a number of performances.

  Other leading roles will be played by the extremely talented Damien Douglas as Buttons, Colin Flynn as an Ugly Sister and Cathal Mongey as The Prince. They will be joined by a 50-strong chorus and dance troupe made up of kids and adults from Evolution Stage School Roscommon, Longford and Carrick-on-Shannon.

  The Panto will also have a knock-on effect for the local economy with large numbers of visitors to Longford town and surrounding areas over the Christmas holiday period. This will be great for local restaurants, shops and accommodation.

  An A4 programme will be on sale during the Panto run and some ad space is available. €100 for a full page or €60 for a half page. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if interested.

  Longford’s Traditional Panto ‘Cinderella’ is proudly supported by Longford Tourism and The Longford Arms Hotel.

  Cinderella tickets are already selling fast with some shows almost sold out. Tickets available from www.stagestubs.com with group rates available by emailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Check out our Facebook and Instagram pages ‘Longford’s Traditional Panto’ for updates and remember to shop local!

Roscommon Hospital receives Irish Heart Foundation award




Roscommon University Hospital received a gold Irish Heart Foundation’s Happy Heart Healthy Eating award at the Irish Heart Foundation Active@Work Awards in the Gibson Hotel, Dublin on Tuesday, November 19th.

  RUH was presented with the award for prioritising their employees’ heart health by offering healthier eating options in the workplace.

  The Active@Work Award aims to get employees more active on a continuous basis, rather than just organising a once-off activity event, and promotes a culture of physical activity and long-term sustainable programmes.

  Presenting the awards alongside Karl Henry, health and fitness expert, broadcaster and author, Tim Collins, CEO of the Irish Heart Foundation, said: “A great way to tackle heart disease and stroke is through workplace wellbeing initiatives such as healthier food promotion, provision in the workplace and sustainable physical activity programmes.

  “The Irish Heart Foundation is delighted to recognise each of these companies for creating a culture of health and wellbeing and positively influencing people’s cardiovascular health by providing a long-term sustainable programme that demonstrates commitment to the organisation’s most important asset, its employees”.

Love Shines a Light in Ballintubber!



Community spirit will be on display once again this Christmas in Ballintubber as committee members and locals alike prepare to light the ‘Let Love Shine a Light’ tree in aid of Mayo/Roscommon Hospice this Sunday evening (December 1st) at 6 pm.

  This is the third year of the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice fundraiser in Ballintubber and the tree, which is located on the grounds of St. Bride’s Church, is the perfect way to remember a loved one at Christmas.

  ‘Let Love Shine a Light’ cards are available to purchase this Sunday and from then on until Christmas in the local post office, Kenny’s shop or from any of the committee members.

  So why not give the gift of love this Christmas and support the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice by sponsoring a light on the Tree of Light in Ballintubber? You can purchase a light for a friend, family member, or in memory of a loved one. You will receive a special card that you can send them to let them know that you’re thinking of them. The card can be used as an alternative to a Christmas card or as a memento of your thoughts at Christmas.

  The special lights can be sponsored for the living and the deceased and will shine on the tree in the church grounds at Ballintubber throughout the Christmas period. The cards are available from Joan Healy on 086-3175801 and Marie Finan on 087-9402036 and Eileen Kenny on 087-2308895. Lights can be purchased right up until Christmas Eve.

  There will be a special Mass in St. Bride’s Church on Monday, January 6th at 8 pm to remember all those named on our tree locally.  

  In the past two years the ‘Let Love Shine a Light’ committee in Ballintubber has raised a sum of €3,585 and with your support can help the Mayo/Roscommon Hospice with their new unit, plans of which were unveiled recently. Your support would be gratefully appreciated once again this Christmas.


The big Christmas Lights switch-on is this Sunday!



Roscommon town’s Christmas lights will shine brightly from Sunday, November the 24th with the ‘switch-on’ set for 5 pm in the Town Square. Santa has agreed to travel to Roscommon once again to perform the formal duties!

  Roscommon Christmas Light Committee have been busy over the past number of weeks, checking lights, doing repairs and putting up the lights on Sunday mornings.

  The committee endeavours to add a few new features every year and Dermot Hughes (Chairperson) of the Light Committee said that a few new features will be on show this year.     

  Dermot urges the public to turn out again in big numbers this year to show their support for the volunteers who make Roscommon the envy of many other towns.

  Members of Roscommon Chamber will again provide hot chocolate on Main Street, Roscommon Town before the ‘switch-on’.  Molloy’s Artisan Bakery, Gleeson’s Townhouse, Rogue & Co., The Good Place, Comfy Café, Regan’s Restaurant, Jackson’s Restaurant and Peppermill Restaurant have come together to provide a little treat for young and old.

  Don’t forget your coat and festive hat on the night…


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