Since 1902

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Family fun guaranteed at Waterford Country Fair, June 11, 2017


Make-A-Wish fundraiser to help grant wishes for children



Fearless jousting knights on horseback, stunning birds of prey and artisan food and crafts from the four corners of Ireland are just some of the countless attractions expected to spur thousands to attend this year’s Waterford Country Fair, a fun-filled, family-focused fundraiser on Sunday, June 11, which this year will help grant wishes to children with cystic fibrosis through Make-A-Wish Ireland


The third annual Waterford Country Fair is a unique chance for everyone to embrace all that is exciting, fascinating and captivating about country life and living this summer in the extensive grounds of stunning Curraghmore House and Gardens in Portlaw, Co. Waterford.


Shuttle busses are planned from Waterford city and it is hoped that families walking or cycling along the stunning new Waterford Greenway will also make the short journey to Curraghmore for what the organisers promise will be their best Country Fair yet.


Funds raised go to Make-A-Wish Ireland, a children’s charity which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions and gives them hope, strength and joy. Make-A-Wish CEO Susan O’Dwyer, says, “We are delighted to be the charity chosen by the Waterford Country Fair committee this year and look forward to holding a fundraising collection at this great family event.


“We recently granted our 2000th wish and since we receive no government funding, we rely on the generosity of the general public to help us to continue to grant wishes to children living with life-threatening illnesses.”


The day-long event starts from 10am and includes jousting, sheep dog trials, poultry displays, falconry, dressage, side saddle and pony club games qualifiers for the Royal Dublin Horse Show. 

Gundog guru, Keith Matthews, makes his first appearance and Fair-goers will also have a chance to try their hand at fly fishing, archery and so much more, Committee Chairperson, Jo Breheny, explained.


“We’ve delighted to have the jousters back – they were a huge hit last year and they really add to the sense of occasion on what is always a fantastic family day out. We’re thrilled to link up with Make-A-Wish, a charity that does so much good work.


“Our event is very much the Bloom for Country Living. All of the popular attractions are back, such as live music, beekeeping and a “living” medieval village which will quite literally take visitors back in time to experience medieval life in Ireland,” Jo explained.



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Too much, or too little, Animo TV want to hear from you!


Are you always tired, but find yourself awake all night? Can you exist on hardly any sleep? Is your child having sleeping problems that you just can’t seem to solve? Is your partner’s chronic snoring keeping you awake all night… every night? Are you a shift-worker who struggles to catch up on sleep? Or would you like to take part in a fascinating sleep experiment?


“Awake – The Science of Sleep” is a new documentary for RTÉ One, which takes a snapshot of our sleeping patterns as a nation. From new parents to shift workers – we want to represent all of the issues people have with their sleep.


If you think you have an undiagnosed problem or want help from Irelands top sleep experts please get in touch!


If you would like to participate in this series, please email with your name and contact details for more information.

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Books HD

Put down your phone for World Book Day!

Reading beats social media, TV and sport as the most relaxing and guilt-free way to spend leisure time.

This World Book Day, March 2nd, sees the release of Ireland’s largest contemporary review of reading habits. Irish bookseller Dubray surveyed over 800 people to learn more about their attitudes and habits when it comes to reading and how they have changed in recent years.

Bookseller Dubray was keen to understand how people like to spend their precious free time, and how books measured up to other means of entertainment – and was pleasantly surprised by the results.

The survey revealed that reading is an entirely guilt free process, with 0% feeling it was a waste of time, and that it is the best way to unwind, with 52% of people feeling more relaxed after reading. 25% say they put down their book in a better mood, and 14% feel better informed.

Social media is the big rival for readers’ time, with 41% of respondents saying that it keeps them from their books.

However, a staggering 61% of respondents said that after an hour on social media they felt guilty that they had been wasting their time. Only 1% said that they found time on social media relaxing. Interestingly 17% of respondents said that they felt better informed after an hour of social media, possibly reflecting the increased use of Twitter and Facebook as sources of news.

Of the other pastimes, Sport ranked well in the guilt-free stakes, with only 1% feeling it wasn’t a good use of their time and 19% finding it relaxing. 19% also found TV relaxing, but with a higher guilt-ratio, also of 19%.

Time spent reading had increased for more readers than not over the last year, which is reflected in the 9% increase in book volume sales reported by Nielsen in 2016. Book clubs, discovering new genres, and a conscious attempt to avoid the distraction of the smartphone were among the most popular motivators. Interestingly several readers cited ill health or depression as a reason for more reading, reflecting the importance of reading for solace and distraction. Of those who were reading less, work, study, children and social media were the most frequently cited reasons.

Dubray MD Maria Dickenson said, “As booksellers we know better than most the benefits of burying yourself in a good book, but with this survey we are delighted to be able to prove them! Books are the best way to relax and unwind, and this World Book Day we invite people to put down their phones and indulge in that guilt-free pleasure”.

Other findings of interest in The Dubray Book Report include:

  • Bookshops are places of great temptation: 46% of respondents say that they always leave a bookshop with the book they wanted – and a few more!
  • The frequency of reading: 84% of readers pick up a book every day. 43% read ‘whenever I can’ and 37% in bed before going to sleep.
  • The influence of family on reading habits: 73% of respondents were inspired to read by parents.
  • The importance of friends: Recommendations by friends beat newspaper reviews, author interviews, book awards and social media as the primary influence over reading choices.

Dubray is a family owned chain of eight bookshops, known for its recommendations and range. Founded in Bray in 1973, it has stores in Grafton St, Galway, Kilkenny, and across South Dublin.

World Book Day is a partnership of publishers, booksellers and interested parties who work together to promote books and reading for the personal enrichment and enjoyment of all.  A main aim of World Book Day in the UK and Ireland is to encourage children to explore the pleasures of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own.


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July 14th – 21st 2017 Bantry, West Cork.

Colm Tóibín, Anne Enright, Mike McCormack, Sara Baume and Alissa Nutting are just some of the guests announced for the renowned West Cork Literary Festival, which runs in venues all over Bantry, West Cork, from July 14th to 21st. Poetry is again well represented with the new Ireland Chair of Poetry 2016-2019, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Paula Meehan, former Ireland Chair of Poetry (2013-2016), and former editor of Poetry Ireland Vona Groarke.


Dame Marina Warner will read from her short stories inspired by fairy tales, legends and mythology. Cork author Billy O’Callaghan, recently a Costa Short Story runner-up for The Boatman, will read from his first novel The Dead House, due to be published later this year and Dermot Bolger will read from his latest novel The Lonely Sea and Sky. Visiting from the UK, Ian McGuire and Jon McGregor, both long listed for the Booker Prize, will join us for the festival; as will Sarah Perry, whose novel The Essex Serpent is the Waterstones Book of the Year 2016. Brendan Barrington, editor at Penguin Ireland, and of the Dublin Review, will be attending the festival as Editor in Residence.


Since the Festival’s inception in the late 1990s workshops have been at its heart, encouraging both novice and experienced writers. Alissa Nutting, Dean Bakopoulos, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, Vona Groarke, Lara Marlowe, Dave Lordan, John Spillane, and Phoebe Smith are amongst those facilitating workshops. From Writing a Novel to Investigative Reporting Techniques, Playwriting to Poetry, there is a workshop to suit every aspiring, or established writer, looking to spend time in beautiful Bantry honing their craft.


2017 will see a plethora of new novels being published: Carol Drinkwater returns to Bantry this year to read from The Lost Girl and Lisa McInerney will read from The Blood Miracles.


The Children’s Festival remains as popular as ever with events this year featuring Jan Carson, PJ Lynch, Laureate na nÓg, Ireland’s laureate for children’s literature, The Book Clinic, and many more special events.



The West Cork Literary Festival runs from July 14th to 21st and is generously supported by The Arts Council, Cork County Library and Arts Service and Fáilte Ireland. Booking on, Telephone: 027 52788/9 LoCall: 1850 788 789.

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One of the most beautiful trails to walk in the country is the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail; this 61km trail extends from the village of Balla in central Mayo to the beautiful village of Murrisk which is nestled at the foot of Croagh Patrick. The trail which is an accredited National Way Marked Way passes through deciduous woodland and across rolling fields and raised bog.

On the weekend of March 10th, 11th and 12th we at the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail are having our annual walking festival, this year we are in conjunction with Mayo Roscommon Hospice who will receive all proceeds, cost is €20 for 1 day and €50 for all 3.


Walkers can register online at

Route & Distance

Friday 10th March – Balla to Ballintubber (20 km).
Registration 9.00am in Balla Community Centre.
Meeting point is the car park in front of Corley’s Pub, Ballintubber at 8.30 am sharp
(everyone will be transported to the starting point in Balla).

Saturday 11th March – Ballintubber to Aughagower (21km).
Registration 9.00am in Corley’s Pub Ballintubber
Meeting point is Aughagower Village at 8.30 am, parking at church.
(everyone will be transported to Ballintubber by bus)

Sunday 12th March Aughagower to Murrisk (21km).
Registration 9.00am Aughagower Community Centre Tea/Coffee.
Meeting Point Murrisk, Campbells Pub. 8.30am sharp, transport to Aughagower.


 For further information contact the Croagh Patrick Heritage Trail office at 094 9030687 or email there are also details on our website


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By Kevin Jenkinson

THE ANCIENT Rathcroghan site in Roscommon is on course to becoming a major international attraction with renewed plans to add it to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The old capital of Connacht, where kings and queens were inaugurated, was one of six ancient royal sites represented at a meeting with government officials on January 18 in Dublin – aimed at getting them onto the prestigious list after a seven year delay.

The Rathcroghan complex in Tulsk – the largely unexcavated “Tara of the West” rich with ancient tombs and other monuments – is part of a “serial nomination” for The Royal Sites of Ireland.

rathcroganArchaeologist Daniel Curley, 28, who was one of the people at the meeting representing Rathcroghan, where he manages its popular visitor centre and tours, said they last met in 2015 and that progress was finally made, seven years since the group application was made in 2010.

He said: “This is a viable way of engendering a pride in our county and our past, which would also have untold social value.

“The often-cited example of the change in employment numbers at Brú na Bóinne before and after UNESCO World Heritage status highlights how beneficial a deliberate focus on heritage and cultural tourism can have on rural areas.

“The research benefits that this would bring to Rathcroghan alone would aid us in further developing our understanding of this royal site and its place in Ireland’s illustrious past”.

He said the meeting was with officials from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht and that they agreed to meet again on Tuesday, April 11 at the Hill of Uisneach, Co. Westmeath. 

He said they are sending a “technical evaluation” to international peers to review and there will also be a public consultation process so that the opinions of the affected local communities can be heard.

The five sites in the nomination made by the Irish government are Rathcroghan; The Rock of Cashel, Co. Tipperary; Dún Ailinne, Co. Kildare; the Hill of Uisneach, and Tara in Co. Meath.

Britain’s Department for Culture Media and Sport applied for the Navan Fort site in Co. Armagh and were also represented at the meeting of the ‘Royal Sites Steering Group’ in the department’s Dublin city offices.

A spokesperson from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht said the purpose of the recent meeting was “to review and advance progress on an application to UNESCO to have Ireland’s Royal Sites inscribed on the World Heritage List”.

Mr Curley had sought a detailed plan with positive measures that would ensure that communities and landowners are key stakeholders.

He added: “There are many benefits that UNESCO World Heritage Status could bring to all areas affected, including tourism and employment.

“Leadership is needed to see this through”.

There are currently just two Irish sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, Brú na Bóinne since 1993, which includes the Newgrange passage tomb, and the island of Skellig Michael off the Co. Kerry coast since 1996.

Northern Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction, Giant’s Causeway in Co.Antrim, was added to the list in 1986.

Countries that have more historic sites on the UNESCO list than Ireland include Britain (30), the USA (23), Netherlands (10), Denmark (8), Finland (7), Germany (41), Spain (45), Israel (9), Lebanon (5) Iran (21), Iraq (5) Panama (5) and Malta (3).

The Royal Sites of Ireland make up one serial nomination on UNESCO’s “tentative”or provisional list, which includes six other applications for Ireland.

The other Irish nominations are The Burren in Co. Clare; The Céide Fields and North West Mayo Boglands; The Western Stone Forts (Dún Aonghusa, Cahercommaun, Caherconree, Benagh and Staigue); the monastic city of Clonmacnoise and it’s cultural landscape in counties Offaly, Roscommon and Westmeath; Early Monastic sites (Clonmacnoise, Durrow, Glendalough, Inis Cealtra, Kells and Monasterboice); the Historic City of Dublin.

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Celtic spring

St. Brigid’s Day on February 1st was one of the most important days of the year for our ancestors as it marked the beginning of Celtic spring and a season of new hope and growth. This spring, the Museum of Country Life is encouraging people to learn more about the ways in which this feast day was celebrated in times gone by. From festive meals of potatoes and butter to straw crosses, Biddy Boys and Brídeógs, there are many fascinating St. Brigid’s Day traditions to explore. Visit the galleries at the Museum of Country Life to view objects, photographs and archival footage related to the customs of this day in the lives of our ancestors.


Biddy Boys workshop

The Museum of Country Life is hosting a free workshop on Sunday, January 29, from 2.30 to 4.30pm, to share the traditional straw crafts associated with St. Brigid. Expert straw craftsman Pat Broderick, of Iniscross Crafts, Limerick, will give a demonstration on the much-loved tradition of making St. Brigid’s Crosses as well as the skills involved in making a Biddy Boys straw hat.

The Biddy Boys traditionally called from home to home on the feast day of St. Brigid each February 1. They dressed in tall straw hats and carried an effigy of St. Brigid, seeking money and food to throw a party in her honour. The workshop is suitable for adults and children, aged seven plus. No booking required. Learn more at


Crafty afternoon

The talented Connacht Textile Crafters return to the Museum of Country Life to share their many skills and varied crafts at a special ‘show and tell’ event on Saturday, January 28, from 11.30am to 3.30pm. Find out more about a range of contemporary and traditional textile crafts. No booking required for this free event. Suitable for all ages.


Viking silver

A temporary exhibition exploring our Viking past in the west of Ireland continues at the Museum of Country Life this January.

The Hoard and the Sword exhibition includes a display of rare Viking silver artefacts and lots of interesting information about Mayo’s Viking heritage. Artefacts include an impressive hoard of silver Viking armlets found in Kilmeena in 1939 and a Viking warrior sword dredged from the River Moy in 1963. The exhibition is suitable for adults and children. Admission to the galleries is free.


The National Museum of Ireland – Country Life, Turlough Park, Castlebar, is open Tuesday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm, and Sundays from 2 to 5pm. Closed Mondays. Admission free.


FURTHER INFORMATION: Frances Toner, Marketing Executive, National Museum of Ireland – Country Life. Telephone (094) 9031773 or email

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The organisers Lil Fitzpatrick  (0207-251-0870) and Denis Costelloe (08960-308886)  regret that the Annual Social due to be held on Sunday February 5th has had to be postponed this year, due to circumstances  beyond. There was a notice on this event on the Letters Page of the New Year Annual.

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dermot-oleary1One of Britain’s biggest stars, X Factor host Dermot O’Leary, is appealing for people to back the London Irish Centre’s special Christmas appeal for vulnerable members of the Irish community in the city.

O’Leary, whose full name is Sean Dermot Fintan Michael Gerard O’Leary, Jr. was born to Wexford-born parents Sean and Marie. He wears his Irish heritage with pride and is an avid supporter of the Wexford hurling team and Irish soccer team and more recently he has become the patron of the London Irish Centre.

‘It’s a big honour for me to be patron of the London Irish Centre. I’m very proud of my Irish heritage, my parents were part of the post war generation of immigrants who came to London to find a new life, so the London Irish community is one that is very close to my heart. We want and need the Irish community to support this important work for the Irish in most need.’

While there are no shortage of success stories of the Irish in London, there are also many who emigrated who find themselves lonely and vulnerable, especially during the Christmas period. Social isolation, mental health problems, addiction, family breakdown and homelessness are among the many issues faced by some emigrants, with older people being particularly vulnerable. 

For over 60 years the London Irish Centre, located in the heart of Camden, has offered a safe and warm sanctuary for many of these people. It provides a diverse range of community services, cultural programmes, advice services, and outreach activities. The centre also organises social activities and journeys to Ireland for long-term emigrants, some of whom haven’t been home in decades.

The London Irish Centre is appealing for much needed funds to continue this work while also reminding people to consider contacting any overseas relatives they may not have heard from in years.

Christmas can be a particularly difficult time for many emigrants and this issue hit the headlines in 2013 when 85 year old emigrant James Gray from Cork placed an ad in the Irish Post looking for companionship at Christmas. After his ad went viral online James was eventually inundated with invites from throughout the UK and Ireland.  (Reference: )

‘For most of us, Christmas means friends and family, presents and looking forward to a great New Year.  But, for many vulnerable Irish people in London, it means loneliness, a long hard winter and, and with ongoing welfare cuts, a grim time in 2017. This appeal helps us to provide support and advice services to those in most need.’   
Seán Kennedy, CEO London Irish Centre

The LIC is asking for donations through JustGiving online at or go to For those in Britain or Northern Ireland you can text Text LICC40 and the amount to 70070. E.g. Send ‘LICC40 £20’ to 70070.

As part of the seasonal campaign, there will a special Irish community gathering and Christmas carol session at the London Irish Centre on Dec 12th at 7pm. Expect carols, live music and community.

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Brand New Retro

Irish Pop Culture 1950-1980

An exhibition at the Little Museum of Dublin, October 6th 2016 – January 8 2017

It was the cult publishing sensation of 2015. And now it’s back… as an exhibition. The Little Museum is proud to present Brand New Retro, a colourful and candid celebration of pop culture in Ireland.

Featuring hundreds of images, articles and advertisements on subjects such like fashion, music, nightlife, lifestyle and youth culture, Brand New Retro shines a box of mobile disco lights on how Irish people lived and loved from the optimistic days of the late 1950s to the (slightly more bleak ones of) the 1980s. The exhibition is accompanied by a specially-commissioned essay by Pat McCabe, the iconic Irish novelist.

Culled from Brian’s McMahon’s ever-growing collection of vintage Irish magazines, and featuring household names like Johnny Logan, Gay Byrne and the Miami Showband, this brilliant new show reveals a traditional land wrestling with the inevitable attraction to modern life.

McMahon’s career started a hundred yards from the Little Museum in 1979, when his band, The Scheme, supported U2 in the Dandelion Market. Now the curator of award-winning website, McMahon brings the cream of his collection to this show, including many new discoveries. “I’m really excited,” he says, “about sharing the jewels of this archive with the people of Ireland.”

Little Museum curator Simon O’Connor says, “This incredible collection shows us a pre-internet Ireland, another world where men had unfeasibly thick heads of hair and people took pills to put on weight. It captures a nation trying to burst its way into the modern world, a society that is picking up the radio signals of American and British pop culture and transforming itself accordingly.”

Brand New Retro will be opened on October 5th by author Pat McCabe, and will run in the Ireland Funds Gallery at the Little Museum until January 8th 2017.

For photographs and interviews, please contact Simon O’Connor on 01 661 1000 or email