Category: Archive

Around Ireland Banjo’s big hit

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Patrick Markey

It’s payback time for Banjo.

After years saving the lives of others, the lucky guy flew out to the United States recently for a date with some of the world’s top models.

Banjo, a 10-year-old greyhound who has lived in a Dublin veterinary hospital as a blood donor, will go to a home in Boston to start a new life after his catwalk debut, reports the Examiner newspaper.

He will share the spotlight with the world’s top models at a fund-raising fashion show Greyhounds Go Glamorous in New York next month. Charity supporter Nancy Vanderbilt Witney is organizing the fashion show, where about 14 top fashion designers will make outfits for a model and a matching one for the dogs, the paper reported.

"Banjo will be the star of the show. We’ll make sure his outfit is green," she said.

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Kennel assistant Sharon Byrne still has two other greyhound blood donors, brothers Roger and Finbarr, for which to care. But Banjo had been her favorite.

"He is an absolute charmer, an amazing dog. We very rarely take blood from the dogs, really only in emergencies, but Banjo must have saved the lives of a lot of others during the years he was here," she said.

Kerry adventures

The belongings of famous Kerry explorer Tom Crean, who accompanied Sir Robert Scott on his fateful Antarctic expedition, may have to be moved out of the county unless his family can find somewhere to display the memorabilia.

The Kerryman newspaper reports that Crean’s two daughters, Mary and Eileen, have been custodians of his artifacts since his death in 1938. Since the 1960s his medals, letters, various gifts and sword have been held in a local library.

But with increasing interest in the adventurer’s exploits, Mary O’Brien has been forced to secure them in a bank deposit box.

"Imagine the value of something like the Albert Medal presented by King George VI to my father for saving Evans’s (a fellow explorer) life," she said.

The family is concerned that some of the more valuable pieces will require a higher level of security, possibly outside the country.

"They are mad for his artifacts in England. I have been contacted by numerous universities and museums, including the Maritime Museum in Greenwich. They would do anything to get their hands on this stuff, but I will do everything possible to keep them here," O’Brien said.

For now, however, Crean’s sword, letters received from Scott, photographs, numerous pieces of silverware and other curiosities are now reluctantly hidden away from the public eye.

"These artifacts are a piece of history and we want people to be able to see them," O’Brien said. "I don’t know what is going to happen. My father would have wanted his things to stay in Kerry, but if we can’t keep them here, we will have to send them somewhere else."

Frisky farmers

It’s a tough time for Irish farmers these days, what with high fodder prices, low returns on cattle and several seasons of devastating weather.

But luck might have come plodding through the fields for the keepers of the nation’s produce.

According to a recent survey, farmers are now the biggest users of the Knock Marriage Bureau and they have become the hottest property in the wedding stakes, the Westmeath Examiner reports.

Apparently, the myth of farmers being left on the romantic sidelines has been popped. Fr. Michael Keane, who founded the Knock Marriage Bureau of Introduction, told the paper that rural electrification, cars, transport, better housing and education all make the farming life more attractive.

Farmers now make up the largest sector of the bureau’s 740 successful marriages. When the bureau started, many women did not want to marry a farmer, because the lifestyle was considered atrocious. With the rise of the modern, educated farmer, that image has shattered, Keane said.

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