Sun shines on ‘festival season’



Festival season in County Roscommon and surrounding areas is, if Maria Bailey will forgive the expression, in full swing – and the weather’s being kind too.

  We went to Rooskey on Sunday, where the local Heritage Festival was easing towards a successful finale. This year, our friends in Rooskey went for a week-long festival. The event attracted great crowds and provided lots of entertainment.

  Indeed the sight of cars lining both sides of the village street on Sunday was a reminder of times past, when Rooskey’s famous (now sadly idle) bacon factory was in its prime.

  But Rooskey is bouncing back from the setbacks of recent years (closure of the factory, village being bypassed, the recession, downturn of the angling industry and so on). It was nice to see that a new café has opened beside the former Crew’s Inn pub. The new business (formerly Eileen’s Hairdressers) was bustling on Sunday!

  We decided to stay in Rooskey on Sunday evening…along with many more Rooskey-ites who had returned to the village for the festival. There was a great buzz in the village, as there was most evenings last week.

  Meanwhile, festival fever continues throughout the area. The Boyle Arts Festival has once again been a great success. The O’Carolan Harp Festival is taking place over the coming days and is well worth checking out.

  Castlerea Rose Festival kicked off with a colourful opening parade last Sunday, and I know that committee chairperson John Mulligan and his colleagues have a great schedule lined up.

  Last Sunday’s annual Family Day at Donamon Castle was once again a great success. What a wonderful annual event this is. We were sorry to miss it. The great Danny Burke was MC. Well done to Sean Beirne and his committee colleagues.

  Meanwhile, the Ballintubber Heritage Weekend took place last weekend, and was one of the highlights of the month-long celebrations there. We sent photographer Michael McCormack along to the Mock Wedding which was held in Kenny’s – and judging by his photos, it seems to have been a brilliant evening’s entertainment!

  Meanwhile, the nationally renowned Ballygar Carnival starts today (Thursday, August 1st). This year’s gala event is a very special one, as it’s the 75th annual Ballygar Carnival. It promises to be a great family-oriented celebration.  

  These great communal events showcase the wonderful spirit in our communities and also have the effect of lifting the mood – and boosting local businesses. They are also great examples of the magnificent voluntary sector in our midst. Here’s hoping the sun keeps shining on ‘festival season’.


‘Mystery music men’ revealed…almost


A number of readers have recently got in touch with us here in the Roscommon People in relation to our request for information on this photograph.

  A reader had previously submitted the photograph and explained that it was from “a calendar of ‘The Times Showband’, which was picked up at a dance in the Casino Ballroom in Castlerea in 1977”. Our correspondent wondered if any of our readers recognised this band and its members.

  One reader, Mike Lannon, of Swarbriggs, a shoe shop in Mullingar, called in identifying some of the showband members featured in the photograph. In the background, second from the left, is Des Doherty, and third from the left, Vinnie Baker. In the foreground, on extreme left is Billy Whyte, and second from the left is Greg Donnelly. The reader also mentioned Johnny Dellaman, Mullingar, as manager.

  Another reader, Martina Murray, Four Roads, also got in contact after sending on the photograph to her uncle, Kieran Sullivan – living in London but originally from Banagher, Co. Offaly – who is “an avid music fan and has a vast knowledge of showbands!” He identified the band in question as former members of the The Drifters. Back row left is Jimmy Horan, Mullingar, bass guitarist. Beside him, once again identified was Des Doherty, also known as The Doc, who played the keyboards. He also identified the man furthest right as Joey Gilhenny, playing the trombone, and mentioned a man named Donal Aughey who was the drummer of this band but isn’t pictured in the photo. 

  Thanks to all those readers who got in touch in order to help us to identify our mystery music men. One member still remains unidentified, however, so any further information about the group would be welcome. (Further responses to the Roscommon People at Abbey Street, Roscommon, email: