Tag Archive | Longford

Report: Longford Sleep out for Simon raises over €30,000

Longford people sleep outside for Midlands Simon Community fundraiser

On Good Friday night my good friends Sharon Devlin, Aisling Reilly and I joined others in the Longford Sleep Out for Simon in Longford’s Army Barracks.

At first we made this great fort to sleep in, but unfortunately the rain fell so hard we were forced in doors with all of our stuff drowned.

We “slept” in a barn then for four hours damp and cold, but on learning we just raised €30,000 for sleeping out, our spirits were not dampened.

At 6am it was lights on, clear out time and as I lay on my bed waiting for the water to heat so I can shower; I was never so thankful for my warm sheets, comfy pillow, hot water and a roof over my head.

Lying outside in the rain that night, even for a few hours, then in the barn on a hard ground beside loads of others really hits it home; our homeless, the refugees, these nameless…we really haven’t got the faintest clue.

I for one am humbled.

€30,000 in one night is an incredible feat; but a drop in the ocean of what we need to do.

I was reporting on the night for Shannonside FM, listen below to the report featuring interviews from those who slept out; CEO of Midlands Simon Tony O’Riordan, Community Fundraising Officer for Midlands Simon Noel Greene and Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council Gerry Warnock.

Longford Sleep Out for Simon:


Unedited video of interview with President Michael D Higgins at Creative Ardagh Co.Longford

President Micahel D Higgins Visits Ardagh Co. Longford

I have been pretty busy with college these past few weeks. One of the exciting things I got to do was interview President Michael D Higgins when he came to visit Ardagh and plant a tree in Ardagh Creativity Centre Co. Longford.

I have not yet had time to edit the video, I took a lot of footage that day! For those of you who would like to see it unedited I have uploaded. Hopefully I will have the finished product in a few days time.

This is the YouTube link. I’m unable to embed at this time. Unedited video interview with President Michael D Higgins


Interview with Wallis Bird at Helium Festival 2013

Wallis Bird Live

I was working with a local news and entertainment website called Longford Local and through this I got to interview the fantastic musician, Wallis Bird.

I reviewed the gig itself and you can catch the video interview by following this link Wallis Bird Interview. It looks great.

Wallis Bird Live at Helium 2013

For that hour on stage Wallis and the crowd were one family. A Helium family, to which she conveyed so much humour in between songs, “we are Helium family shams (Ed note: Longford slang), oh I heard all about that” (Ed: I think she is slagging us), also managing to mention Ballymahon local “Famous Seamus” during her set.

She donned a Helium t-shirt quipping “this is how you wear a Helium festival t-shirt” and joked that her long braid of hair looked like it was growing out of her arm pit. Wallis is witty, clever and captivating, reeling in every audience member with her guitar string rod. Not even cutting her finger on stage could stop her from playing; “it’s fine, there is blood all over the stage” as she continued with a blood stained guitar.

With her slower songs everyone took time to take a breath and just listen but like an electric shock everyone broke into full dance, Wallis included and the party continued. She took the time afterward to enjoy the headline acts and also the praise from everyone who seen her. Wallis Bird will definitely go down in Helium history as a festival favourite.

Backstage offers a different insight into Wallis Bird. The girl who made such a big sound on stage is actually reserved, self-deprecating and completely laid back. Quite the contradiction to her stage self, Wallis appears shy and delicate, a far cry from the huge persona she amplifies on stage. She welcomes us with open arms and a warm and loving nature, answering all our questions intently and taking time to joke and get to know us also. It is great to see fame hasn’t gone to her head as she takes it all in her stride. Definitely one to look out for.

Check out the full spread of the gig on Longford Local for loads of cool extra stuff.

Property Tax Makes it Cheaper to Live in a House, a Very Big House in the Country

mansionThe property tax has to be the most despicable and unfair tax out there. People cannot afford their mortgage and then the Government slaps an added charge on the already mounting bills. Now we discover the gross inequality of the tax between counties as a one bed Dublin apartment will be forced to be more than a large 4 bed house in the country.

The find has been labeled “An injustice to the people of Dublin” by members of Fine Gael and Dublin South TD, Olivia Mitchell, slammed it as grossly unfair. What has happened is young people who bought apartments in the capital are now subsidising country mansions.

So if you live in a house, a very big house in the country, you may be pissed off about the tax but you will probably be laughing all the way to the tax office as you had a lucky escape retreating to the sticks rather than setting up home in Capital D.

According to a county by county analysis  large homes in counties Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Cavan, Longford, Westmeath, Offaly, Laois and Wexford will pay lower property tax than owners of the smallest apartments and houses in areas such as Stillorgan, Dalkey and Blackrock. In a breakdown it shows that in Mayo, if you own a five bedroom house you will pay €225 a year in property tax, while people in the same-sized house in south Dublin will be forced to pay €945, a difference of €720 a year, that is a colossal difference.

In rural counties, owners of large homes will pay €90 less tax than those who own one bedroom apartments in the city centre. While we could say we don’t have the same services in the back of beyond as they have in the city at the end of the day it is supposed to be a property tax and isn’t being treated as you would think, by size of the property. What do you think of the tax?

Band Bio: Midnight Roots

midnight rootsMidnight Roots are a threesome, a swinging groove of emotional energy whose connection take them much deeper than the music, if that was even possible. Laura and Emmett are brother and sister duo who have imparted on multiple music ventures together, which has brought them to various venues across Ireland. Laura and Diarmuid are partners in crime, in love and in song writing.

So who are Midnight Roots?

Laura O’Gara is a feisty soul singer both energetic and empathic. A classically trained vocalist she brings both talent and experience to the table. No stranger to the stage, she has performed for audiences all across the country. Her passion and unique flair presents an intense and exiting performance and when she puts pen to paper her musical apathy flows, like a river flows, she was made to do just this.

Diarmuid O’Hara is nothing short of your original cool dude. Playing lead guitar and backing vocals he brings the swing and groove into Midnight Roots. Like an electric fusion of rhythm and melody with a funky urban vibe, Diarmuid’s music bound with Laura’s lyrics create an original sound which is not easily found. Diarmuid has played with musicians from all over the world which has thought him the key to formulating that perfect tune.

Emmett O’Gara is the drummer and the cornerstone of this group. His keen ear for music means he never misses a beat. While Laura and Diarmuid lay the foundation Emmett cements it all together finalising the magic. He has been playing music from a very young age and has been a drummer in numerous bands which has brought him across the country to exciting places. A combination of charismatic and creative, Emmett is that special kind of drummer who makes your heart pound to the beat of the drum bringing you to life with the song.

Midnight Roots are a strong musical alliance who break confines of tradition and constraints of genre. They play music that fills you up inside, perfect for an intimate setting or to get a large venue rocking.

They are an original band with traditional roots, drawing inspiration from rock, country, jazz and soul. Their songs speak from their heart to your feet and before your brain can even take in what is happening you will be dancing along with those fingers clicking wondering what you were sitting down for in the first place. They are formed of three dedicated musicians who are set to go far.

The Community Games, Mosney and The Olympic Village of Dreams

basketballAhhh, the Community Games, a chance for you to show just what you are made of, where fantasies are turned into reality as you become a community champion. All those stories you heard about the community games final are soon to be transformed into a real world experience where you create your own Olympic dream, Mosney.

This year the Leinster semi finals will be held right here in Longford. The 40 year old sporting tradition will take place over two weekends, April 7th and July 6th 2013 and will bring the finest that each county in Leinster has to offer to Longford.

The games will bring basketball, handball, hurling, camogie, tennis, football, drafts, rounders and lots more along with excitement and enthusiasm to the county. The dream will come alive as sporting hero’s fight for their place in the final, for Mosney.

Though unfortunately Mosney is no more an Olympic camp of Irish hope, it is a refugee camp, home to 600 asylum seekers, not exactly living the dream there are they? Athlone Institute of Technology is the new final of the Community Games, doesn’t sound as inspiring as the Mosney holiday camp to me. Where are the bumpber cars, the slot machines?

I won the community games once, in art. I made a clay sculpture of a swimmer. When I say won, I mean I came first in the Clonguish parish hall. The next thing I heard about it was my friend ringing me from the next stage, which was in the Mall in Longford, but I didn’t know about it and there ended my Community Games dream, dashed in a single phone call, a mishap, a mistake. I had heard the stories of Mosney, it was as exciting as the Gaeltacht but me, I was destined to spend my summers at home.

Anyway, back to the games, the venues in Longford which will hold the Leinster finals are in Ballinalee, Edeworthstown, Killoe and Ballymahon. It is sure to let the people of County Longford see what the games are really all about and with Mosney out of the picture, it really is about the games, and the community I suppose.

Longford Woman Finds Strange Visitor in Her Kitchen And Feeds Him!

parrotIt would usually be an annoyance for a strange visitor to land tired and hungry on your door step. What if you found them in your kitchen? Last thing you would want to do is feed him, look after him and try find where he came from, but that is just what one Longford woman did!

The woman came home to find a very exotic stranger flying in her kitchen, no he wasn’t on drugs, he, which we are so calling for the purpose of this article, was a bird! An Alexandrine Parakeet to be exact. He eventually landed on her kitchen floor, cold, hungry and tired. The lady fed and watered him before calling around finally making contact with Kildare Animal Foundation who look after exotic birds.

The bird got a few hours rest and then a kind supporter of the centre drove the bird up to be looked after. The bird is now in the safe care of foster parents who are giving it a home until he is reunited with his rightful owners.

I must confirm I don’t even know if this parakeet is a he but this story reminds me so much to the movie “Paulie” about a parrot who loses his little girl Marie and goes on a great adventure to find her. The movie is heartbreaking and heartwarming, if you haven’t seen it then now is the time!

The bird is both beautiful and clever and is thought to be a native of County Longford and was found in the South Longford area. The shelter are keen to locate the rightful owner and fly the bird back to its coop. The bird won’t be tricked however as it knows some words and its own name and will recognise its real family over a stranger.

If you are missing a bird that sounds like this one or have any information please contact Kildare Animal Rescue on 045-522929.