Saturday, December 27, 2008


A quickie news update! I'm over home for Xmas, got a wee bit of internet access using the sister's laptop.

Donegal Woman helps out Homeless Irish in Manchester:

Man's body found on Bundoran beach:

Friday, December 19, 2008

Time to promote the town a wee bit! If your shopping make sure you check out Donegal Town shops for locally made goods and try and help support Donegal and the North West. Also, the Craft Village always has some good and interesting crafts people selling locally made goods.

And if you don't find anything you like, pop in say hello to Johnny McCabe and ask him when Pavesi's next gig is. And then stop over at Tom's Aroma Coffee shop and have a really great slice of Orange Cake and a cuppa tae or coffee (their Americano coffee's really good). Now don't all rush out there at the same time, as I plan to drop in there on Tuesday or Wednesday, if you see me say hello, just leave me a feckin' piece of Orange cake would ye.

As I'll be at home you not going to see much activity on the blog as I'll be busy enjoying a Donegal Christmas and won't be on the inner-tubes or interweaves or what it's called. ;)

So, ho, ho, ho, and a Merry, Safe, Enjoyable, Happy, Fulfilling, Sound, Mighty, Great Craic, Fantastic, Christmas and New Year's to you.


PS: Speaking of shops, anyone know of a better listing of Donegal Town shops that the 3 I linked to in the first line?


First the good, or nicer news! :) The first solar power public street lights in Donegal are being testing in
The pilot scheme includes 15 solar panel lights on the N56 at Meenacuing in Gweedore and lighting on a section of the N13 Derry to Letterkenny route.

And remember Alan Doherty from Letterkenny, born without a chin whom had a new chin created for him in NYC? Well his doctors are going to reveal how they did it:
On Friday, a team of surgeons, headed by Dr Elliot Rose, at the world-famous Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York will explain to the world's media how they constructed and shaped a chin for Alan.

Alan, who still speaks through a voicebox operated via a keyboard, hopes to return with his mum to join the rest of their family at home in Letterkenny, Co Donegal, for Christmas.

Numerous acts of wanton vandalism in Ballyshannon:
Residents in the Cluain Barron, Erne Dale Heights and Park View areas of Ballyshannon are being held to ransom, by a bunch of reckless vandals, who have no respect for people or property, according to a Ballyshannon Town councillor.
Thousands of euros worth of damage was caused over the weekend when black and red spray cans were used to deface the local Gaelscoil, walls, sides of houses, cars and even iron gates ...

On a positive note, the Church that was vandalised in St. Johnston has received numerous offers of support and assistance:
A Presbyterian church in St Johnston, County Donegal, has been inundated with offers of support after its hall was attacked last week.

And some petrol station somewhere in the county may have been pumping petrol that's not petrol!
“This was a brand new Suzuki Swift that I had taken for test drive. I was coming back from Derry and stopped at a petrol station in Donegal to fill it up with €20 worth of fuel before returning it to the garage. They were certainly not pleased to see it coming back to Sligo on the back of a lorry.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Missing Trawler Found!

Some good news for Christmas, a fishing trawler that was reported missing after it left Killybegs and didn't show up Rossaveal in Co. Galway has been found!
A trawler and three crew at the centre of an intensive search off the west coast have arrived at Rossaveal Harbour in Co Galway.

The crew told the Coast Guard the vessel had developed a problem with its fuel system, and had drifted without power for 24 hours.

They said they managed to restart the engine shortly before the boat was found by rescue services yesterday ...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Winter views.

Winter is here! And here's a view out near Barnes of the Loweymore River:

Lonely Barnes Tree

Water from Lough Derg destined for Dublin?

Jeannie sent me on this, in Dublin's quest for more drinking water as in some years time there will be critical shortages. Dublin had been considering tapping the Shannon for future supplies, and then Lough Ree. Now they're considering Lough Dearg, not the one on the Shannon, but the one in Donegal:
A final decision has yet to be taken but the extraction and storage of water from Lough Derg for use in the capital came up trumps on three of the six criteria examined. It is also considered that the infrastructure involved would have no significant impact on habitats in the area. I suspect that local interests might not agree although nobody doubts that water for Dublin and its inhabitants has to be found somewhere.

Had anyone heard anything about this?

Thanks to Pitmatic for the pic! :)
Lough Derg Cross of Saint Patrick Island

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Santas protest the state of roads around Adara:
SANTA'S helpers used every mode of transport imaginable to highlight the difficulties their boss will face to deliver presents in a coastal town.

The surface of the six kilometres stretch of road from Ardaghy to Ardara in west Donegal is so poor that strangers turn around, believing they have taken a wrong turn, according to the Ardara Parish Council.

New "World Class" Breast check center to open at Letterkenny hospital in 2 weeks:
A Donegal cancer group says it’s hopeful that Breast Check will be rolled out in the county early next year. However, Donegal Action for Cancer Care (DACC) believes local people are fortunate to have world class expertise on hand at Letterkenny General Hospital’s new Breast Care Unit, which officially opens in a fortnight.
Speaking to the Letterkenny Post, DACC Chair, Betty Holmes also expressed disappointment at the withdrawal of funding for the Action Cancer Mammography service in Belfast, which women from across Donegal have been availing of for the past year.

And the Pork contamination issue has affected jobs in Glenties. I'm not sure from the article what the long term prospects for the owners and employees at the factory there, but maybe we should think of getting a nice Donegal Ham to eat on Boxing Day:
All 30 factory floor workers at Glenside Bacon in Glenties in Donegal were on protective notice by yesterday evening.

Director John Molloy said his business faced ruin if he was forced to dispose of over 10,000 hams in storage.

Pig farmers in the northwest were thrown a small lifeline with news that a processor in the North was back in business. Donegal farmer, PJ McMonagle, said the reopening of Grant's factory, which has a large number of suppliers south of the Border, would get the ball rolling again ...

An arson attack at St. Johnston's Presbyterian church's community hall leads to €30,000 in damages when the chair-lift for wheel-chair users was set on fire:
A PRESBYTERIAN church faces a repair bill of up to €30,000 after a weekend arson attack on its community hall. Vandals set fire to a disabled chair-lift at the hall in the village of St Johnston in Co Donegal.Local church member Ian McCracken said he did not believe the attack was sectarian. "I think it was vandalism but unfortunately the vandalism seems to us to be a bit more directed towards Protestant property

The fellas who did that deserve lumps of coal for Christmas.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Miller's Hill Development!

Looks like Michael Kelly's development on Miller's Hill (behind the car park) is really taking a chunk out of Miller's Hill. Anyone remember sledging down the hill in the winter-time (on fertlizer bags)?

Thanks to Mark Fearon Photographer on Flickr for the pic:

Big hole in Donegal

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Fears of heroin in rural areas with Killybegs being mentioned as a "hot" spot:
A brief survey by the Sunday Independent last week indicated that north Donegal appears to be one of the few places that heroin had not taken hold ... Fishing towns and villages are being hit by the drug, as young men involved in the fishing industry, from Killybegs in Donegal to Duncannon in Wexford, appear particularly badly affected.

Fear-mongering or a real problem?

Donegal man to try and live without money for a year:
Starting tomorrow, Boyle, now living in Bristol, plans to "put his potatoes where his mouth is" and become the ultimate "freeconomist", living entirely off the land and the waste products of society. Fuelled by unshakeable idealism - and his conviction that money really is the root of all evil, or at least the root cause of the profligate wastefulness of society - Boyle is determined to complete this seemingly impossible experiment.

Financial regulator says YOU could save up to 400e on your house insurance:
Consumers can save up to €400 a year by shopping around for home insurance, according to the latest cost comparison from the Financial Regulator.

Homeowners can also avail of a wide range of discounts on insurance by providing as much information as possible, the regulator has advised.

Mary O’Dea, consumer director, said consumers may not be aware of the range of discounts available from some companies. These include discounts: for having no previous claims, or being claims-free for five years; if someone over 50 is living in the house; for non-smokers; having an alarm; and having home and motor insurance with the same company.

Go to for more details, and the Irish Times has more coverage

The HSE had provided funding that was used to pay for screening with a Belfast based charity. This has been pulled and will be replaced with a service called BreastCheck later in 2009.

... " We provided additional appointments over and above our appointments to Northern Ireland women – our core service users - to assist the HSE to meet the needs of some Donegal women as an interim arrangement. We appreciate that news that the service has been withdrawn by the HSE will come as a disappointment to many women in Donegal."
Local TD Joe McHugh said this was just another example of the promised 'integrated health service' between North and South simply not happening.
He commented: "Action Cancer provided a service for women, irrespective of age. It was a great service in that the strategy was based on early detection. BreastCheck is to be rolled out next year but unless you are a woman aged between 40-54 you will not be screened. There will be many women outside this age group who will be very concerned about this decision."

More coverage from the Irish Times.

And more on the budget crunch stuff, 2 Coast Guard stations will not be closed:
Malin Head and Valentia Coast Guard stations have been saved from threatened closure.
More from the Indo:
Fianna Fáil TD Cecilia Keaveney campaigned to keep the coastguard station open.

She said: "The people recognised how important this facility was, and it was terribly important as a signal from the government as to whether there was a future for Inishowen and the wider Donegal area.

"If they were going to close down something because it was impossible to upgrade it then that was going to be a terribly bad sign for our infrastructure."

And Arranmore's lifeboat station celebrated 150 years of service:
The crew of the Arranmore lifeboat spent Saturday out at sea on a training exercise and at 6am yesterday morning they responded to a medical emergency, fetching a doctor from the mainland to attend to a sick person on the island.

But by yesterday afternoon it was the turn of the 560 islanders to show up and demonstrate their appreciation for the voluntary service, which was established on the island in 1883 with funding from a Dublin clergyman who requested that a lifeboat station be established on the coast of Donegal.

Last year the boat was launched 51 times and 55 lives were saved making it the busiest lifeboat station in Ireland.

Monday, December 08, 2008


OK, first a funny news story for a change! A Donegal man got in trouble in Oz, he and a friend were at a car race, enjoyed a few beers, and took the pace car for a spin around the track! :)
A 24-year-old Donegal man will front court on December 16 charged with driving under the influence of alcohol after he and a friend, also believed to be from Donegal, took a joyride in a pace car at a recent harness racing meeting in the town of Williams, Western Australia.

The two men were believed to be heavily inebriated when they took it upon themselves to run onto the track and commandeer the pace car which they then proceeded to take twice around the track while waving at the crowd.

“These two guys were at the races and they had a skinful of drink on them when they thought it would be a good idea to take the pace car for a spin for a laugh.

Everyone's shopping across the border, Derry loves it, Donegal shopkeepers feel like they've gotten a lump of coal for Christmas:
Derry's City Centre manager Sean Trainor said that one in five visitors were coming from from Donegal and further afield. He added: "This is expected to rise to one in four in the coming weeks. The strong exchange rate is expected to continue and businesses are cashing in on that at the moment.

RGDATA, THE group representing family-owned grocery stores, has sought an emergency meeting with Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan over sharp falls in its members' business caused by cross-Border shopping, writes Paul Cullen , Consumer Affairs Correspondent

It says retailers in Border counties in the Republic are facing a crisis because shoppers have taken their custom northwards, lured by the promise of cheaper prices. Shops in towns close to the Border have lost up to half their business, it claims.

... "Retailers in Border areas feel that the Government has one hand extended seeking extra taxes, levies and higher rates, while the other hand is throttling their ability to compete with businesses just 10 miles up the road due to Government-imposed tax increases."

Bernard Farren, a convenience store owner in Buncrana, Co Donegal, told The Irish Times that west Donegal was decimated by the flow of shoppers spending their money in Derry and Coleraine.

"Big stores in Letterkenny are so empty, they've become frightening places," he said. It was "absurd" that the Government was increasing the VAT rate when consumers were retreating from spending. "Then there is the added attraction of retailers discounting early with some products down by 40 per cent, making the city an even bigger attraction to bargain hunters."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

The Medical Hall

Great pic from Mark Thompson, on Flickr, of the tile outside the Central Hotel. Back when the Central was a Chemist?

Donegal Town 1
Originally uploaded by Mark Thompson Design

Saturday, December 06, 2008

It's that time of year

It's winter!

Frozen Bog Puddle

Update on the Astoria Ballroom Fire

The Donegal Post report that Gardaí suspect someone start the fire and say they are close to finding out whom are a groups of "youths" are who were seen acting suspiciously just before the fire started:
Gardai are closing in on louts suspected of causing a €1.5 million blaze that destroyed the old Astoria ballroom in Bundoran – one of the best-known dance halls during Ireland’s showband era.
A number of people have been questioned and gardai said yesterday(Tues) that they are “following a definite line if inquiry.”
Two firemen, Damon Fergus and Tommy Hourihan, were treated in hospital for minor burns suffered while fighting flames which leaped more than 30 feet into the air.
Fireman from Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal town and Belleek took several hours to bring the blaze under control. Flames re-ignited in the smouldering and had to be damped down again on Sunday evening. Garda forensic experts have examined the scene.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The roads are wile bad! Updated

If your driving be careful, there seems to be a load of black ice on the roads:

And with many collisions, and cars just going off the roads:

And a bad, bad accident in the Gap in the (Friday) morning:

Update from RTE, a 24 year old was killed in the accident:

News, and Xmas lights! :)

Christine has great pics of the Xmas lights on the Diamond, and of the big demonstration in town the other day:

News coverage of the demonstration from various news sources:
More than 6,000 teachers, parents and pupils marched through the town on Saturday in support of the campaign against what successive speakers called "draconian measures" recently announced by the Government.

Protesters, including dozens of retired teachers, marched past Tánaiste Mary Coughlan's main constituency office on their way to the town-centre rally in The Diamond. They carried hundreds of banner proclaiming "Hands off class size" and "Don't make children pay" ...

Former minister of state Pat the Cope Gallagher, the Tánaiste's Fianna Fáil Donegal South West constituency colleague, was among the marchers but he didn't join the platform party.

He said: "I want to gauge the level of concerns and bring that back to the Minister for Education. I feel it's the very best I owe my constituents. I want him to know how the cuts are affecting people."

More coverage at:
'We as a society are not prepared to sacrifice our children's Education because of the greed of developers during the Celtic Tiger years'
A massive crowd of between 7 and 10,000 people marched through the streets of the town against the cuts which include the pupil/teacher ratio being increased,book grants axed, and substitution cover for teachers being abolished. The effect of these cuts will mean further hardship for pupils and also for families already under pressure from the economic downturn.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Christmasy Stuff!

A list of a heap of Christmasy things to do around Donegal this year:

Pablo the eskimo (an expensive Christmas oranment) was stolen from Bundoran, but the theives had a change of heart and returned it. A case of goodwill after a bad deed, or scared the Gardai were closing in?
... Pablo the painter and worth €3,000, with Santa Park boss Michelle Wilmot in Bundoran, Co Donegal. Pablo was recovered shortly before midnight on Thursday following a phone call by one of its "kidnappers" to Michelle at her home in Bundoran.

She followed the caller's directions and found Pablo, covered with waterproof wrapping, near public toilets at St Aidan's Catholic Church, five kilometres away in Kinlough, Co Leitrim.

His left hand was broken and lay alongside him in the package, but Michelle said it was possible to repair the figure.

The discovery ended a five-day search for Pablo after youths broke into the Bundoran Santa Park, and took the eskimo away from the toy he was painting in a scene along with three other helpers at the entrance to the Santa grotto.

"The thieves must have felt the heat was on after all the publicity. I got the call from a man -- he sounded quite young -- and he told me where to go. I told him I was glad they were returning the figure and I hoped they realised that what they did was very wrong.

"There was a message with Pablo saying they were mortified by what they did, that it was a drunken prank that got out of control. They offered to make a donation to the charity which benefits from the park, Irish Autism Action," said Michelle ...

News! Updated!

Donegal man wins the Polar Express Half Marathon:
It is minus 15 degrees. The snow on the ice cap is 75cm thick and the hills are agony. This is Greenland. This is torturous. Conor McLaughlin had begun training for the Polar Circle Half Marathon back in May. The 30-year-old had been running for about six years and had decided to up the ante somewhat.
Update: He's from Inver:
When Inver man Conor McLaughlin began his training for the Polar Circle Half Marathon back in May, nothing could have prepared him for what lay in store when he eventually landed in Greenland.
Well done Conor! :)

People are surging across the border to buy petrol:
A strong euro has sent motorists flocking to petrol stations on the Strabane side of the border, with some pumps recording a massive 500 percent increase in sales over the past month.

For the first time in almost a decade, fuel traders in the north are competing with their southern rivals and are once again enticing punters away from forecourts across the border.

The Travellers Rest Petrol Station at Lifford Road dropped its prices to just 85.9p per litre of petrol, up to ten pence cheaper than some parts of Donegal. The price compares favourably even to retail giants such as Asda who announced a cut in prices to 90.0p per litre.

More about rebuilding railways in Donegal:
In 2007, Donegal County Council allocated a small budget to allow preliminary investigations into the possibility of extending Ireland's train network to Tyrone and Donegal to begin.

Following that initial probe, the Council is now hoping to establish a feasibility study and eventually a business plan with a view to attracting funding for the ambitious project. Recently they began lobbying local authorities for £30,000 each to put the feasibility study together.

Dinny was "kicked" out of the Dail for protesting the closure of the Army barracks in the Northern part of the County:
Dinny McGinley (FG, Donegal South-West) furiously accused Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea of trying to play politics with the Army and repeatedly demanded that he prove whether he is "a man or a mouse", by visiting the barracks in Rockhill and Lifford, two of the four barracks in the Border area to be closed, involving the transfer of 650 troops.
More from the Letterkenny Post:

Eirgrid is planning on improving the electrical infrastructure of the county with a new 100KM power line:
EIRGRID IS to lodge a planning application within two weeks for a new high-voltage power line in Co Donegal.

The 100km line from south of Killybegs to Letterkenny is one of a series of regional upgrades for which EirGrid is to seek planning permission over coming years as part of its strategy to double the capacity of its network.

The Donegal Post has much more details:
The Y-shaped connection – running 66 kilometres towards Letterkenny and 33 kms on the Glenties-Gweedore spur - is one of a series of regional upgrades for which EirGrid is to seek planning permission over coming years as part of its strategy to double the capacity of its network.
At 110KV, the proposed new line is one of the lower capacity lines ESB/Eirgrid are hoping to install. There are already two 110KV lines linking the northwest to Northern Ireland - one from Letterkenny to Strabane and one from Corraclassy, Co Cavan, to Enniskillen.
ESB/Eirgrid says the line, to be carried from Binbane on seven-metre high wooden poles and steel pylons, will provide extra capacity in the northwest and facilitate domestic and local development in County Donegal ...
The new planning bid follows rejection of another application six years ago.
That proposal was turned down following objections by the Alternative To Pylons(ATP) lobby group.
The group said it is renewing its objections to the Glenties-Gweedore spur in the new application but not to the line to Letterkenny. Members of the group last night(Tues) quizzed ESB/Eirgrid staff who made a presentation to locals in Dore Community Centre.
ATP spokesperson Deirdre Brennan said: “The ESB and Eirgrid have been running to An Bord Pleanala seeking advice on their plans. It’s like the Bord was being used as a consultant. “We’re only now getting to see the proposal but so far as ATP is concerned it’s more of the same old same old.”
She claimed the spur to Glenties and Gweedore will create major environmental damage which could be avoided if the line was installed underground.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Astoria in Bundoran is gone!

I saw this earlier in the week but didn't have time to post it, but Sean sent it on to me so I thought I'd better post it! The old Astoria Ballroom in Bundoran burned down over the weekend. The Garda think it might have been started and are looking for youth seen acting "suspiciously" nearby shortly before the fire started. Many, many, many, bands or showbands played there over the years, and Meatloaf played there on his first trip to Bundoran in 1990 (he came back this year and played in a big tent off Astoria Road).

I'm sure many's of you auld ones have memories of going clubbing there! I'd never been there meself, actually I don't think I've ever been out in Bundoran? I guess I should rectify that at some point.

Garda probe after famous dancehall gutted in blaze:
GARDAI are investigating the cause of two weekend fires, one of which destroyed one of the country's best-known dancehalls.

The Old Astoria Ballroom in Bundoran, Co Donegal, which is owned by well-known hotelier and football manager Brian McEniff, was gutted by the blaze ... two firemen were treated in hospital for minor burns suffered while fighting flames, which at one stage were leaping 30 feet into the air.

Fireman from Bundoran, Ballyshannon, Donegal town and from across the border in Belleek, Co Fermanagh, took several hours to bring the blaze under control after it broke out shortly before 11.20pm on Saturday night.... The fire was reported by revellers on their way home from nearby pubs when they saw smoke pouring from beneath the doors of the famous dancehall which had been closed since 2006.

A spokesman for Bundoran fire service said that by the time the first crew arrived in less than six minutes "the whole building was ablaze".

Gardai are investigating reports that some youths were seen acting suspiciously near the building a short time before the blaze was reported. Owner Brian McEniff, manager of Donegal's 1992 All Ireland GAA champions, said: "Gardai ordered a number of youths away from the area the night before and some more were reported in the vicinity not long before the fire."

More from the BBC:
And the Irish Times:
Gardai are investigating reports that youths were seen acting suspiciously near the building a short time before the fire broke out. The building had been closed since 2006 when part of it was used as a bar.

Anyone got any tails or stories to tell about the Astoria or going to the Astoria? Or anyone got any pics I can post?

Irish Showbands has an old pic of it, looks like it might have been a postcard?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

The Town as seen from The Old Castle

When I was home in September I stopped into The Castle to say hello to Christina. And I took a few pics while I was there!

First one is looking onto the Diamond:

Next is looking out the back toward the Post Office and The Gap:

And one taken from the Castle Grounds onto Bridge Street:

And not forgetting one of the Castle:

As you can see the weather was pretty good, it was sunny most of the time I was home. There were a few wee showers, but nothing major until I headed up to Dublin where it was just bucking lashing.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


So how's the form? I've been away most of the week and haven't been able to post or rely to comments. The last few postings are ones I had pre-scheduled to post whilst I was away.

Aways, it's time for the news! But, we'll start with a pic as there's not much good news! Here's a great pic of snow up around Buncrana, taken by Lepper on Flickr.

Buncrana from Sorn

A Donegal company is selling plastic kerb-stones made from recycled milk cartons, which Northern Ireland authorities are interested in using as paint doesn't stick to them and they can be easily cleaned:
A new plastic kerbstone could have the age-old problem of tribal pavement painting finally licked ... But an eco-friendly kerb could put paid to the practice. Party colours don't stick to the paint-resistant plastic... so the pavements remain staunchly neutral.

The Roads Service in Northern Ireland organised a trial of the new plastic in Lisburn but there has been no decision as yet about using it. However, 15 councils in the Republic of Ireland have started installing the new kerbs. In Donegal, the stones went down in the village of Falcarragh this week. Buncrana is soon to follow suit.

Durakerb chief David O'Neill who has the licence for all of Ireland said his company offered an eco-friendly alternative to concrete stones.

An interesting article about Letterkenny, that it's now classed as a "Gateway" town, it's future, and the future of the North-West:
Over the last 10 years Letterkenny has changed beyond recognition and the town is now regarded as the commercial centre of Donegal and the North West...
The population of Letterkenny is now around 20,000. It has grown at a rate of 22%, completely outstripping the national average of only 7%, and the population figures are predicted to increase even more in the next 10 years ...

However, the developments that take place over the next decade will have to take account of this growing young population to provide services that will take Letterkenny into the future posing great challenges for government, councils and planners...

As the only cross-border gateway it was hoped that further investment would follow and that the region would finally see some of the balanced regional development that ministers tell us is needed.

However, its gone quiet on that front, money that may have been coming has been deferred, and in this serious recession the fear is that Letterkenny and Co Donegal are again left behind in terms of motorways, metro and rail by comparison with the “main” cities.

And shoppers are surging across the border, so many, that some Donegal bank branches are running out of Sterling, and Donegal shopkeepers are worried and scared:
The deluge of shoppers crossing the border for cheap food and Christmas gifts has become so intense Irish banks are running out of sterling.

In the border town of Buncrana in Co Donegal, just eight kilometres from Derry, branches of the Bank of Ireland and AIB Bank are struggling to keep up with the increased demand for the British currency in recent weeks ... Donegal town mayor Ernan McGettigan said the best they could do to counteract the trend was to try and get people to think about local jobs.

Across the border, Peter Beckett, the general manager of ASDA in Enniskillen, said his business was experiencing an unprecedented upsurge in customers from the Republic.

And you know what Ernie, your right, a 6.5% VAT difference makes it's much harder to compete with shops in NI.

And local politicians are to meet with the government about the loss and potential loss of council jobs:
Representatives of Donegal Co. Council are to request a meeting with Finance Minister, Brian Lenihan, and Environment Minister, John Gormley, over the threat to 238 Donegal Co. Council jobs.
Almost one fifth of the council’s workforce could be shed as part of the biggest ever cost-saving programme in the history of the local authority.
However, while news of the job cuts provoked outrage last week, the Co. Manager, Mr. Michael McLoone stressed that as far back as last July he had warned council members of impending cut-backs following an announcement by the Department of the Environment that it was seeking a 3% reduction in local authority pay-roll costs.
Mr. McLoone revealed that 71 employees whose contracts expire on or before December 31st, 2008, or in early 2009, will not have their contracts renewed.
A further 49 employees whose contracts end on or before March 31st will be notified that their contracts “are unlikely” to be extended beyond March 2009.
And the remaining 118 employees will be also be told that it is unlikely that their contracts will be extended beyond the expiry date of their contracts in 2009 or 2010.
Mr. McLoone stressed that the council is also having to deal with a short-fall in income on a number of fronts, namely:
  • A 6% reduction in its Local Government Fund allocation from €44.1m in 2008 to €41.5m in 2009.
  • A reduction in income from planning fees, down about 40% in 2008.
  • A fall in development levy income.
But he also stressed, that given certain circumstances, new job contracts could yet be issued in the future to boost staff numbers.

Basically, the council doesn't have enough money because of less government funding, and less building. And they have to balance the books.

Lough Moran / Mourne Donegal Ireland

And another great photograph of the Gap, this time from Pitmatic on Flickr.

Lough Moran / Mourne Donegal Ireland
Originally uploaded by Pitmatic

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A view of the Gap

Thanks to Marsw on flickr for this view of the Gap (from the other side).

Lough Mourne Donegal with Barnesmore Gap in the distance
Originally uploaded by MarsW

Lough Mourne Donegal with Barnesmore Gap in the distance

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Peter Quinn's

Thanks to Willa Kammerer on flickr for this pic of Quinns. I remember when I was wee'un heading in there every Thursday looking for me comics, and having to pick up Mum's Womans magazines! Used to get the Beano and sometime Dandy (what a name!), then I migrated to 2000AD when I became a "big boy".

donegal town
Originally uploaded by Willa Kammerer

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Donegal Castle.

A nice pic of the Castle from gordiegunner07 over there on Flickr. I thought it was a nice reminder of how it can be in the summertime.

donegal 07 005
Originally uploaded by gordiegunner07

Pavesi Videos

And some more videos from Paveis over on

Pavesi TV on MUZU.

Hey Donegal Times!

So the Mammy sends me out the the last 2 Donegal Times, and what do I see on the essay about Lough Eske Castle are two photographs that I and the sister took of the Castle in 1995:

One of the Mammy and Me taken by Jeannie:
And one from another day where I went for a hike up the mountains:

Now I don't mind people using my pictures, but it's rude not to ask permissions, and it's even ruder not to provide credit to whomever took the pics. Just because it's on the Internet, doesn't mean you can just go off and just grab it, and using it for a commercial publication without asking isn't right either. If they had asked I would have glady given them permission (and maybe provided even better photographs). So Donegal Times please ask photographers before you use their photographs.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Milkfloat Push Proceed For Down Syndrome Ireland

That's a nice pic of our own wee Mary! :)

Mary Coughlan
Originally uploaded by entertainmentieClick on the picture for more details.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Welcome Cillian McGee!

Niall & Helen McGee had a baby boy named Cillian! Congratulations, he's a lovely looking wee baby! Niall (me cousin) is from out by Lough Eske and now lives in Toronto, Canada:


The price of petrol is going down, with the price being .99c at, at least one County Donegal petrol station. Anyone know which one?
The Consumers' Association of Ireland (CAI) said motorists across the country should be begin to feel the results of competitors benefiting from lower wholesale costs. Six service stations around the country - in counties Monaghan, Galway, Donegal and three in Offaly - were listed on independent website as selling petrol at 99.9c.

Judge turns down hand-gun license to Donegal man in case criminals stole the gun from him:
Judge Kevin Kilrane described dealer Gavin Murray (25) as "an upright and decent man" but turned down his appeal against a ban on owning a Heckler and Koch USP Custom Sport gun that fires 9mm-calibre parabellum ammunition.
Mr Murray, Drimark, Donegal town, appealed against a refusal by Supt John Dennedy to grant him a licence for the gun ...

Mr Murray, who was recently ranked fourth in a national shooting contest, said he travelled the country, for competitions ...

Judge Kilrane said: "There is plenty of hostile territory from here to Cork. A large number of people would be fully aware he has the firearm and is transporting it. The risk of him being robbed of it is very, very high given the present state of the country and the times in which we live, with robberies, with violence and, worse, death on the streets."

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Donegal County Council are letting up to 71 staff to go:

Donegal County Council has confirmed plans to shed 71 frontline jobs as part of a cost-cutting move.

The workers have been told that their contracts will not be renewed when they expire.

And a snippet from RTE about it too (scroll down to the end of the page):

And the IMPACT Trade Union fear that up to 250 jobs could be let go in total:
The IMPACT trade union has said that as many as 238 contract staff with Donegal County Council may lose their jobs.

71 people, whose contracts are not being renewed by the council, will lose their jobs between now and the end of the year.

49 others are to be let go between January and March next year.

IMPACT representative Richie Carruthers said the situation of the remaining 118 contract workers is under discussion.

Fine Gael Deputy Joe McHugh has told the Dáil what he thinks of the whole cervical cancer thing:
The question that woman will ask as she travels from Strabane, through Omagh and into Aughnacloy is: 'Why will the 12 year old daughters on these roads be entitled to a vaccination procedure, while my 12 year old daughter living in Donegal will not?' "

Damn right I say! I think a whole load of people are worried about the whole promiscuity of this, but if you can save people's lives why wouldn't this vaccination be offered? Seriously, does anyone really think teenage girls are saying no to sex in case they get cervical cancer? If they're going to do it they're going to do it no matter what. What's really needed is a real sound approach to sex education and the perils of being a teenage, single parent.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I guess it's time for a news update!

First from Jeannie, an article from the Belfast Telegram saying that petrol is now cheaper in the North at Asda:
Thousands of Northern Ireland motorists were today given a major boost after Asda announced it was cutting its petrol price to 90.9p per litre — making it cheaper to fill up north of the border than in the Republic.

... Thousands of Northern Ireland motorists were today given a major boost after Asda announced it was cutting its petrol price to 90.9p per litre — making it cheaper to fill up north of the border than in the Republic. ... in some parts of Dublin the current price for unleaded is as much as 109.9 cents which equates to 92.5p and in Donegal the price of unleaded currently stands at 111.5 cents which equals 93.7p.

And army barracks around the county are to be closed and consolidated at Finner:
The closures, due at the end of January, will mean Donegal will have only one Army camp - at Finner near Bundoran in the south of the county.

More than 260 soldiers and civilian personnel attached to Letterkenny and Lifford will be transferred to Finner.

He called on Mr O'Dea to visit all three barracks in the county and to listen to proposals that Lifford and Letterkenny be merged instead of closing both.

Which means the government will probably sell the existing barracks at a low price (due to the bad real estate market) and then have to buy buildings in the future if they ever need to position soldiers up the county.

Derry business bosses anticipate more trade with the South, and losses in Donegal jobs:
The call follows a warning that 100, 000 jobs will be lost in the 26 counties over the next 12 months.
However, the picture in the North is very different with the Derry Chamber of Commerce telling the Derry Journal yesterday that cross border trade, prompted by falling sterling rates, offer Derry businesses an 'opportunity they can ill afford to miss.' ...
Jim Curran head of the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) said: "To place this number in a Donegal specific context would be difficult but there is no doubt Donegal business owners will suffer excessively and significantly more than colleagues in other parts of the country.
"The profit margins of companies supplying to the UK or North have been eroded due to the weakness of sterling against the Euro."

Special Needs Rally

Thanks to Christina for sending this on to me. There's to be a rally in Donegal Town on Saturday Nov 29th to protest budget cuts in schools in Donegal. Read more at the Donegal Post:

The rally is being held in Donegal Town on Saturday, 29 November 29 to support the Irish National Teacher’s Organisation (INTO) in a major campaign seeking the immediate withdrawal of the education cuts in primary education.
The INTO has said they will cover the costs of any buses provided for the journey to the rally ...

... Sean Ruddy, Sinn Féin’s candidate for North Inishowen has come out in support of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) He said: “I have been notified by a school in North Inishowen where the budget cuts has had a devastating impact on each and every child in the school. We have a situation whereby the school in question will no longer benefit from an extra teacher, as they would have had under the existing staffing schedule. Not only has the book grant, used to help families in difficult circumstances been abolished, but also the funding for special equipment and library books will no longer be available to this school.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

New Bus Service

I spotted this in the Donegal Times. There's a new bus service operated, by Donegal Coaches, connecting Donegal Town, Ballybofey, & Letterkenny.

See for more details or phone 074 9130811 .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Reaction of Donegal residents from the US to Barak Obama being elected President of the US:

Wave energy to be harnessed for use by Donegal Islands?
It’s been claimed that offshore islands like Tory and Arranmore could be entirely powered by wind and wave energy in the future. The government is to fund a feasibility study to investigate whether electricity, heat and transport needs can be supplied by renewable energy.

An interesting article about Inishowen and the lack of investment there:
Part of this is relevant to Donegal Town and other parts of the county:
The reason being the agency - Industrial Development Agency (IDA) - do not 'officially promote and market' our treasured area because it isn't a gateway town - the Journal can reveal.

Inishowen and Buncrana councillor Padraig MacLochlainn has told the Journal the IDA only focus on gateways towns, like Letterkenny and Sligo.

Furious Colr MacLochlainn said: "My understanding is they only focus on gateway towns in the North West - and these are Letterkenny and Sligo.

Which means, they're (the IDA) going to do feck all to promote jobs growth in the smaller towns and you'll be looking forward to driving to Letterkenny or Sligo if your looking for a job. However it's not all bad news:
But his namesake, Joe McHugh, Regional Manager, of IDA Ireland's Letterkenny office, said despite being their strategy to focus primarily on gateway locations they do cater for other areas like Inishowen and if businesses want to come to that area they will do as much as they can to accommodate them.

Speaking to the Journal yesterday, he said: "Basically our strategy is to follow the governments national spatial strategy - which is to primarily focus on gateway locations.

Anyway's, about jobs, where I work we're all waiting to see who get's laid off. There's been rumours circulating for weeks and feck all is getting done at work because of this. But, I hope to be home over Xmas (taking loads of pics) but I've been putting of booking my flight to see what happens at work. If I get laid off I can come home for longer and pay 1/2 the price for a flight. At the moment AerLingus are quoting $1200 for the dates I'd like to come home, if I come home a few days earlier and leave a few days later it's 1/2 the price! So if you know anyone with a private jet who'd like to give me a skud home please do let me know. :)

Monday, November 10, 2008

News: Updated

More from the Irish Times about the latest fatal car crash on the Donegal Town <-> Ballyshannon road:
Father of six and mayor of Ballyshannon PJ Branley (58) who was driving a van, was killed, as was his 40-year-old passenger Dessie McNulty from Ballintra, and the driver of a car, 17-year-old Michael O'Sullivan, from Ballyshannon. ...

Gardaí said initial inquiries indicated a white car driven northwards by Mr O'Sullivan went out of control on a slight bend and collided with Mr Branley's van, which was travelling in the opposite direction.


Fr Cathal Ó Fearraí, parish priest of Kilbarron parish in Ballyshannon, was called to the scene.

He said the parish couldn't take in the triple fatality. "They can't believe it. They are in severe shock today," he said.

He added that there had been at least 10 deaths on the road from Donegal to Ballyshannon over the past decade, including one just over a week ago. "It's a good road, a wide road. Maybe it's too good," he said.

Update: Some more coverage from the Belfast Telegraph, this is very sad indeed:
Two days before the fatal smash which claimed three lives, Sinn Fein politician PJ Branley (58) was given good news by his doctors.

“He was to have had an operation and he was being very positive about it, but after viewing his MRI results, the doctors told him on Friday it could be treated without surgery. He was delighted with himself,” his friend and fellow Ballyshannon town councillor, Phonsie Travers (FG), told the Irish Independent.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Pavesi & Serial Twin Music News!

If your a Pavesi fan go to and vote for the lads!

It's a new form of record deal, people need to sign up, which is free, and vote for Pavesi, and if they get enough votes they get to the investment stage where they get funding to produce an album. Serial Twin will soon be featured there too in the near future. :)

And you can now listen to Pavesi at:

And Serial Twin at the same site:

I believe the lads some royalties if you listen to them on Kerchoonz so give it a try.

News: Updated

I've been busy as of late and not had much chance to post these "News!" postings. They take a lot of time to do, so I might just cut them down to once a week .... unless people find them useful? Sure let me know.

Rem that lad from Derry who was shot at, and his St Bernard pup died from gunshot injuries? Now they found an explosive device outside his Donegal home:
Army bomb disposal experts yesterday dismantled the device, a pipe bomb attached to a five-gallon drum of petrol.

It partly exploded on Monday night but failed to ignite the fuel before its discovery by gardaí shortly before 9.30pm.

The Real IRA later admitted responsibility for the attack.

And I heard there was snow up on the mountains already. And be careful as they're warning of black ice ...

And more accidents on the Donegal Town - Ballyshannon road. Wouldn't you think that with a good road they're be less accidents? Are people driving faster and taking more risks?

Firstly a pedestrian was killed who was home from abroad to attend to his invalid mother:
The collision happened around 12.30am on Saturday on the N15 road between Ballyshannon and Donegal town. The victim, who is in his 40s, was named locally as businessman Grahame Manoe. Mr Manoe, who was based in the Caribbean island of St Maarten, had returned to Donegal to arrange private care for his frail, elderly mother when tragedy struck.

And just this morning, at 10am, 3 men were killed in a car accident (names have not been published yet):

Update: RTE has more details on this accident, one of the people killed in the crash was the Mayor of Ballyshannon:
One of the men who died in a crash near Ballyshannon, Co Donegal, has been named as Councillor PJ Branley who was the Mayor of Ballyshannon.

Mr Branley (58) , was travelling in a van which was in collision with a car. Another man who was in the van also died as well as a 17-year-old, who was driving the car.

And the jury is split on the court case involving the motorcyclist in the serious accident that occurred on the same road in 2005 (it takes 3 years for the court case to happen?):

And HSE budget cuts leave people dependent on home help up the feckin' creek:
A 65-YEAR-OLD Donegal man with multiple sclerosis has complained he got a phone call out of the blue from the Health Service Executive (HSE) to say his home help hours were being cut from six hours a week to two hours a week and from seven days a week to two days a week. John Riordan, who lives alone and is confined to a wheelchair, says the cut came into effect this week, within days of the phone call, giving him no time to adapt and with no opportunity at all to appeal.

So basically the politicians spend too much when times are good, and didn't save anything for the rough times.

At least there's some good news, 3 men saved from sinking trawler based out of Killybegs:
The crew of the Shaun Shaun was fishing for herring with a partner boat near Killybegs when it began to take on water. The Coast Guard at Malin Head received a mayday call from the 50ft vessel, which was three-quarters of a mile south of Drumanoo Head, shortly after 4.45am. But before any rescue boats were sent to the scene the three local fishermen were pulled onboard their sister vessel, the Rachel D.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Thursday, November 06, 2008


Yeah I know I ain't been putting on the blog recently. Just been wile busy at work, and not motivated to work on the blog in the evening when I get home from work.

Anyways, to take our minds off the onset of Winter and the time change that makes it way too feckin' dark way too early in the evening, here's a lovely pic the sister Jeannie took (with my camera!) at Murvagh on a lovely warm sunny day at the start of September:

Murvagh Beach, near Donegal town,

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Photographic Exhibition of Local Photographers!

There's a photographic exhibition on in Ballyshannon from Nov 8th to Dec 19th in the Helen Allingham Gallery at the Abbey Centre. So drop in and see some of Christina Irwin's great photography (some of which we've shown here on Donegal Friends).

Christina's announcement:

And the Abbey Centre's announcement:

Christina's work will be shown from Nov 8th to Nov 22nd.

And we have a great photograph from Christina to highlight her work:

What an amazing sky!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

"The Start Of Winter"

On a recent trip home...

Just to share a few random shots taken around Donegal at halloween..

Saturday, November 01, 2008


I sure ye have been hearing all about the Government's proposed Medical Card cutback for the OAP's. So basically a few years back they gave everyone whose a senior citizen and automatic right to a medical card, irrespective of how poor or wealthy they are. For the current budget they tried to cut this back to OAP's who had income of 242e a week. Well the controversy and out-roar was huge, and the government has changed this to 700e per person and 1400e per couple.

When the government first introduced this the opposition were all against it because of the cost (the papers claim the government did it to get reelected) and now that the government wanted to cut it beyond the bone, well you guessed it, the opposition is all against it!

Anyway's after all that background, here's Donegal Post's report on our local politicians reactions:

But, in my opinion, if your wealthy you shouldn't need this.

A letter from a NI resident and Donegal Holiday Home owner to the Derry Journal about the new Holiday Home tax:
... I remember in the not-so-distant past when we had no running water on our holiday home site, we had to go to the toilet in a bucket, we had no electricity and our site owner had to burn the rubbish (probably illegally).

This was the early ‘90s; where was Donegal County Council then?
The people from the 'North' are used to being ripped off by Donegal, so this tax thing doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. You should just put a sign up at the 'border' crossing telling us 'Northerners' to 'f**k off back home' as this is the way it feels.

My ancestors are from Donegal and I am sure they would be ashamed of the greed and corruption that has engulfed this beautiful county because I know I am ...

And I can't blame his attitude one bit, it's not his fault that the authorities let all these holiday be built now is it? And we're always talking about how important tourism is, yet I do feel there is that rip-off the tourists mentality at home. A few times I've gone into shops in the town and they've thought I've not from the town and they've over-charged me. Has that happened to anyone else?

And this is really interesting, goes to show how some developers have been f**king people over. Many County Council's have refused to take over the running of many private housing estates because the developer didn't finish it properly:
And in one county alone --Donegal -- there is an estimated 699 private housing developments, comprising over 13,000 homes, where homeowners are forced to pay for the upkeep of roads, sewerage systems and public open spaces.

Yesterday An Taisce slammed the situation, saying that councils were reluctant to take over the running of estates which were not built to the proper standard.

"They (homeowners) can often feel very isolated and, coupled with that, local councils are reluctant to take over the maintenance of an area until the development has been completed," Ian Lumley said.

So think about this, a developer sells you a house for an arm-and-a-leg, takes the profit, doesn't finish the estate up to the Council's standards and leaves you (and the other residents) in the lurch.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's (almost) Halloween!

Some great pics of Halloween themed shop windows from my sister Jeannie who was home for a couple of days this week. First up the pub opposite the chapel on Main street (feck I've forgotten it's name), and you can see the priests house reflected in the window, then we have Magees great shop window:


Next The Gift Shop

The Gift Shop's Halloween Shop Window

And finally a view of the Diamond at Dusk Dawn:

The Diamond at Dusk

Methodist church, Donegal Town (1959)

It hasn't changed much! Pic from The Douglas Campbell Show on Flickr.

Methodist church, Donegal Town (1959)
Originally uploaded by The Douglas Campbell Show

Monday, October 27, 2008

Aerial View of Donegal Bay

I know I posted one of two of this lad's pics before, but ppg_pelgis on Flickr (Gordon Dunn) has taken some fabulous aerial pics from his paraglider:


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Work on Millers Hill

Was wading through all the pics I took while home in September, and came across these 3 pics I took of the work Michael Kelly is doing on Millers Hill for the new shopping center. It looked like they were just starting excavations, anyone got more recent pics?