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.