While it certainly hasn’t been all plain sailing in 2022, it’s important to remember that ‘Good News’ is never far away. This year has seen its fair share of highlights in Roscommon and while we couldn’t possibly include everything, Dan Dooner takes a look back at some of the moments that made us smile…
O’Rourke sisters’ Freedom of Roscommon
It has been another remarkable year for the boxing O’Rourke sisters from Tarmon, Castlerea, as Lisa became a world champion in Istanbul in May before Aoife claimed her second European title in Montenegro in October.
Both girls were awarded the Freedom of Roscommon earlier this month by Roscommon County Council, following in the footsteps of the late, great Dermot Earley, former President Mary McAleese and her husband Martin, the late acclaimed artist Brian O’Doherty, businessman Jim Callery, singer Brendan Shine, and actor Chris O’Dowd.
Roscommon Royalty status confirmed for the O’Rourkes!
Further progress on Hospice unit
The new Roscommon Hospice was officially launched by Minister Stephen Donnelly in November of last year and is expected to be fully operational in 2023. In September, members of the public joined Mayo Roscommon Hospice board members and CEO Martina Jennings for a coffee morning at the €6.3 million facility. Those present were offered tours of the bright, modern unit, which was made possible thanks to the generous fundraising efforts of the people of Roscommon and Mayo.
Local response to war in Ukraine
The Government’s handling of those seeking shelter in Ireland is a hot topic at the moment but there can be no doubt as to the generous and welcoming spirit of Roscommon people following the arrival of those fleeing the war in Ukraine this year.
Volunteers from the local community rallied together in March to prepare the former Cuisle Holiday Centre in Donamon for Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion as Roscommon once again extended a hand of welcome to those in need.
Hopefully the New Year will bring much needed Government support and acknowledgement for communities in Roscommon such as Ballaghaderreen which has been extending that hand of welcome for the past number of years.
New-look Square completed
While the new-look Square in Roscommon has divided opinion since it was completed in the early part of this year, there’s no doubt that it has and will be a welcome addition when it comes to public events. This year’s Christmas Markets were a hit and there are plans to install a cover over seated areas in the New Year. The Square, which is part of a wider Public Realm Enhancement project for the county town, would be the perfect venue for a post-Connacht final homecoming next year!
Roscommon Rose blooms in Tralee
While she may not have captured the International Rose of Tralee title at the Kerry Sports Academy in August, Roscommon Rose Bernie Ryan certainly captured the hearts of many viewers following her live interview with presenter Dáithí Ó Sé.
Westmeath Rose Rachel Duffy was announced as the deserving winner but nurse Bernie certainly wasn’t too far away after receiving widespread praise for her sense of humour and for demonstrating CPR in the ‘talent’ section of her interview.
Bernie will marry her very patient fiancé and Kilbride footballer John Donnelly later this month at Kilronan Castle. #GodBlessJohn
A new dawn after Covid-19 restrictions
Pandemic restrictions such as Covid-19 passes (remember them?), social distancing, earlier closing times, 50 per cent capacity, facemasks, and the closure of nightclubs were lifted entirely this year leading to increased optimism among members of the public as well as the long-suffering business community. The virus hasn’t gone away, as evidenced by a recent winter spike, but it seems we have certainly learned to live with it in 2022. The last two years, while incredibly difficult, have served to remind of us of the important things in life. Let the greatest gift this year be time spent in the company of loved ones.
Ella’s Toy Show surprise!
Brave Ella Donlon from Roscommon town was given a wonderful Christmas surprise ahead of this year’s Late Late Toy Show when presenter Ryan Tubridy and her favourite band Picture This paid her a visit at Ronald McDonald house.
Ella had been in Crumlin Children’s Hospital receiving treatment for Gastroparesis related dysmotility and digestive issues for the last year and a half but thankfully returned home just in time for Christmas.