Category: Archive

Around Ireland: a Cromwellian controversy, award-winning toilets and a mystery crow

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter



Controversy is raging in Donore, Co. Meath, after resident Col. Frank Godfrey tried to block the exhibition of the sword carried by Oliver Cromwell when he sacked Drogheda in 1649.

Godfrey had already clashed with the director of the 1807 Heritage Center in Mary Street, Drogheda — Tom Reilly, author of a controversial book on Cromwell — over the exhibition, and Reilly claiming that the exhibition had to be called off because of adverse publicity.

Reilly lays the blame squarely on the shoulders of Godfrey, whom, he claims, “should be in the Guinness Book of Records for still holding a 353-year grudge.”

The Old Drogheda Society chairman, Pat Hanratty, said Reilly deserved praise for his work in preserving historic parts of the city. He supported the plan to exhibit the sword.

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Hanratty said that it was appropriate that the sword should be exhibited in Drogheda.

“History is history and cannot be changed,” he said. “Cromwell conquered the town and, in accordance with ‘Rules of Siege warfare’ of the 17th century, the garrison was put to the sword. In those days, a garrison was given a choice — surrender or fight, and it was accepted that if the garrison decided on the latter and lost, they paid the ultimate price. Cromwell won and the garrison was slain. There was no deliberate attempt to kill unarmed citizens, but as always some innocent people may have been killed.”

The Royal Armory in Leeds said that it would not lend the sword until the controversy was put to rest.


A murder hunt in Fermanagh has intensified as police attempt to find the killers of a 51-year-old retired Enniskillen bus driver who was last seen alive in August 1998.

David Sullivan’s badly decomposed body was found in a Belcoo bog in February 2000. Mystery still shrouds the death of Sullivan, although police believe that there may be clues still hidden in the bog where his body was found.

Det. Andrew Freeborn told the Fermanagh Herald that the investigation was ongoing.

“With the advances in forensic science and with the expert advice from the likes of arch’ologists and a pathologist from the Home Office, we very much believe we can find further evidence which would assist us in this murder inquiry,” he said.

“Someone out there must know who killed him. It would have been no easy matter to dispose of the body in such a remote area and the killers must have attracted attention.”


The toilets at the Downpatrick St. Patrick’s Heritage Center in County Down have won an award for their cleanliness, and have been shortlisted in the top 50 in the UK.

Center Manager Tim Campbell said he was delighted when the congratulatory letter arrived, although at first he suspected someone was pulling his chain.

“I wasn’t surprised the center has been nominated for the award, considering it has already scooped the title of Best Loos in County Down. But I have to admit at first I wasn’t sure if it was a practical joke.”

One Newry visitor told the Down recorder, “They are lovely toilet facilities, very clean and spacious and probably the nicest I have ever seen.”


In Kerry, a group of German tourists had a lucky escape after their tour bus burst into flames at Brennan’s Glen on the main Killarney to Tralee road.

The Kingdom newspaper reported that the engine at the rear of the bus caught fire and that the driver noticed the flames and smoke in her rearview mirror.

She pulled over and the passengers all escaped. Although gardai and firefighters responded quickly, the bus was destroyed.

There were no injuries and all the tourists’ luggage was back in their Brandon Hotel.

The tourists affirmed that they would not let the incident ruin their holiday.


The Leinster Leader reported last week that a strange crow has bird watchers puzzled.

Near the Ballymore Road, Kildare, a brown crow has been spotted several times in recent weeks.

Anne Behan, the Leader’s naturalist writer, suggested that it might be a visitor.

“It could be another species that has flown in from another country, but that’s highly unlikely,” she said. “It’s more likely that it’s a just an unusual variation.

“It’s not the first such case. There were a lot of sightings of a white swallow in Ballyteague a few years ago and I’ve also seen a white pheasant. Sometimes variants like these can fall prey to other birds because they are different but unless a hawk gets this fellow I would say he’s safe enough,” she said.


Zambia will benefit from an unusual meeting in Mullaghhmore, according to the Sligo Champion.

Donkeys from all over Ireland will meet for a Sept. 1 Donkey Derby.

Prizes up to

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