Clowns to the left of me, award winners to my right…

Sunday & Monday

Great community spirit was in evidence again over the weekend as succesful Easter Parades were held in Roscommon and Strokestown, and Castlecoote hosted a hugely entertaining County Fleadh.

  I didn’t get to Strokestown but the reports are all positive; the town once again hosted a colourful and successful parade.

  Good weather was a bonus for everyone in Castlecoote/Fuerty where a very hard-working committee (under auspices of Athleague CCE branch) had pulled out all the stops in the build-up to the area hosting the County Fleadh for the first time.  

  As expected, the event was a massive success, as Dan Dooner reports on page 15 of this week’s issue (photos on pages 8 & 15).

  I did attend the Roscommon Easter Parade and there was a terrific atmosphere and a huge crowd.

  A great many of the 50-plus floats/entrants could have won prizes but only five could be chosen and those winners were as follows – Best Commercial: Service Matters; Best Voluntary/Community: Roscommon Show; Most Entertaining: Roscommon Fire Service; Judges’ Special Award: McDermott’s Darts’ team, Castleplunkett; Overall winner: Class Grass (‘The Field’).

  Congratulations to all the wonderful volunteers involved in the various successful Easter Weekend events.

  By the way, Donald Trump remains a firm parade favourite. He featured in a number of floats, and was accompanied in one of them by what we can pretty safey conclude was a group of ‘Mexicans’ (every possible stereotype was included!).

It was all good fun!

Every day…

We had a peek, as we are inclined to do, at the most recent of those ‘Rich List’ features that the Sunday newspapers are so fond of.

  And, sure enough, a few very successful locals featured in the Sunday Independent ‘Top 300 in Ireland’ list.

   The Comer brothers from Glenamaddy started out as plasterers and are now big developers who are worth an estimated €1.05 billion!

  Declan Ganley, who was raised in the same neck of the woods as the Comers, is now worth an estimated €250m. Why bother going on Tonight with Vincent Browne?

  Aidan Heavey, from Castlerea, is worth about €63m – Aidan is the founder of Tullow Oil.

  Having exited Nama, Sean Mulryan, the Oran-born Rossie, is “very active on the Irish property market again.” He paid off debts of around €3bn and, according to the paper, is still worth about €50m.

  Owen Killian, from South Roscommon, recently stepped down as head of food giant Aryzta – his wealth is also estimated to be around €50m.

  That’s all the locals we could find on the list – needless to say there’s lots of Mayo multimillionaires!

  If you are a local multimillionaire and have inadvertently been omitted from this list, just send your details, scribbled across a number of €500 notes, to the Roscommon People – and we’ll update readers next week.

He’s done state some service: Vote for Jim!

I was delighted to hear the news that Jim Callery, right,  of Strokestown House (and Famine Museum) renown had been chosen for a major European Award.

  Jim has always been a good friend of the Roscommon media and, more importantly, of the wider community. What he and others have achieved in Strokestown over the decades is simply phenomenal and will impact positively long into the future. 

  When a cousin of mine from London and some friends of his visited Roscommon a few years ago, I brought them to Strokestown Famine Museum. Two thoughts stayed with me after the visit: (A) How fascinated they were by the famine museum and (B) the sense that many of us in Roscommon almost certainly don’t fully appreciate how remarkable and truly historic a place it is. If you haven’t visited, you have to put that right this summer! Jim Callery is a Roscommon hero and a man who has done the Irish State some service.

  He has not only been chosen for a coveted Europa Nostra Award, he is also a nominee for the Public Choice Award 2017.  Readers can vote for Jim (there is also the chance to win a trip for two to Finland!). You can cast your vote by visiting (voting closes on the 3rd of May).

Clowning around…

This week’s ‘Random imposter near the office’ award was won on Tuesday.

  The ‘Different ways to stress a parent’ award had already been won minutes earlier, when I was asked by one of our daughters if I could collect her from home and bring her to the train, which, needless to say, was already about to leave the station.

  So I popped out of the office in the hope that there would be no traffic hold-ups in Abbey Street.  

  Good start: I had a clear view left and right. No lorries, no men with drills…no deliveries…

  There was no sign of T. Hill either…the legendary painter had been working halfway up Abbey Street on Monday (it’s always a pleasure to meet ‘T’).

  Then, what seemed like a perfectly normal landscape, changed just a little. All of a sudden a clown arrived on the scene…a clown, in full clown garb, cycling a very low, very colourful ‘clown’s bike’. He arrived from the direction of the old Tax Office. 

  I looked at him just as he approached our office. The clown cycled in a very leisurely manner on his tiny bike, looking around him like any other tourist might marvel at our delightful Abbey Street.

  This whirlwind of colours – clown and bike – continued its way up the street. As clowns go, he was acting quite normally.

  ‘How are ye?’ he shouted into Igoe’s Butchers, as he passed. 

  Then he looked at me and said ‘How are ye? to which, oddly enough, I replied ‘How are ye?’

  With that, he was gone, peddling into the distance, and I still don’t know whether the low-key, low-cycling clown was advertising the circus or escaping from it.