Category: Archive

Around Ireland Flying Kerryman record-breaker

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Watch out, Superman, there’s a Kerryman about.

James Brosnan, Ballyvelly, Tralee, last week became the latest Kerry person to attempt to break an Irish record. Most people try to run faster or jump higher, but fearless Brosnan recently tried to fall out of an airplane as often as possible, reports the Kerry’s Eye newspaper.

Brosnan planned to try and break the Irish record of the number of parachute jumps in a day, which currently stands at 60. Last week, the Kerryman planned his jump at Abbeyshrule airfield, where he was scheduled to climb into an airplane at 7:30 a.m. and jump from 2,500 feet, over and over again.

The event has a second purpose, however — to raise funds for the Royal National Lifeboat Association and any funds raised will be donated to the Tralee-Fenit branch.

“I started jumping over seven years ago and at the moment I’ve done over 600 jumps” Brosnan told the paper. “I would do an average of 10 jumps most weekends.”

“The first four hours will be solid jumping and then I’ll have to take a mandatory 30 minute break. Each trip should take me three to four minutes, from the moment I get into the plane to when I get into it again. The weather will have a big part to play though, but I have next Monday set aside as well, if I can’t do it on Friday.”

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No details were available on Brosnan’s attempt.

Donegal tourism washout

Donegal is having it’s worst tourist season on record, with figures for visitors down by an estimated 25 percent up to the middle of July. Hoteliers and guest house owners believe bookings and indications for the remainder of the summer are just as dismal.

The figures come amid growing concern over the future of tourism in Donegal, and despite recent promotional hype it appears, the Northwest is being bypassed as a holiday destination, reports the Tirconaill Tribune.

Patrick Kelly, speaking at a meeting of the Donegal Executive of the IFA recently said milk sales were severely hit: “We have never sold less milk in East Donegal. There are no visitors and tourism is badly back.”

“Donegal is getting a very raw deal and that is because we are living in a bad area, geographically. We have the highest rate of unemployment in the 32 counties and the tourist season has been devastating,” he said.

Other branch members from across the county agreed, saying the sales of farm fresh fruit, vegetables and new potatoes for the summer market had collapsed.

Miles of empty beaches and an absence of visitors are indicative of the worst season on record and already tourism promoters are counting the cost. One hotelier who did not wish to be identified said it was long past the time to reassess the expectations and cut out the hype which had not done any real service to the industry.

100 years of song

She turned 100 recently, but that hasn’t stopped her love of live, or her devotion to music.

On her 100th birthday, the notes from Nora Rooney’s accordion sounded as sweet as ever at the celebration party in Castlemacgarrett Nursing Home, Claremorris. Rooney couldn’t even wait to finish her desert — so anxious was she to join the 14 other musicians who had come to honor her, reports the Connacht Tribune.

Formerly Nora Tolan from Kilcun, Knock, Rooney spent nearly 50 years in the United States, where she married Barney Rooney, a native of Co. Down. The couple returned to Ballyfarna, near Claremorris, when they retired. Her husband died in 1973, but Nora kept going with spirit and good humor.

In 1989, at the age of 91, she entered Castlemacgarret, where she regularly entertains with her accordion, which friends say she plays as well as she did 20 years ago. While in the U.S., she performed on TV and played with such accomplished musicians as the great Paddy O’Brien from Nenagh.

In Joe Byrne’s book about accordion players there is a sparkling quotation from Nora about what life in exile meant to her and the importance of Irish traditional music in her life. “It was absolutely wonderful on a Sunday afternoon, especially to leave all the noise and traffic and high buildings behind you and open the door on 22nd Street to hear all the lovely music and you far from home. . . . Somebody would always call you over and say, ‘Here is a chair for you, Nora. Sit down and start playing.’ ”

Rooney played on radio in New York and traveled with the New York Ceili Band to the All-Ireland Fleadh in Boyle in 1960. And what is this lady’s recipe for a long life: “Play music, Irish traditional music preferably, lots of it.”

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