By Stephen McKinley
The Mir space station landed in Tullamore last week — or at least, a major re-creation of the Russian orbiter that crashed into the Pacific Ocean in March.
A Russian cosmonaut, Commander Colonel Alexander Volkov, who spent over a year on board Mir, and Dr. Alexander Matynov, head of Ballistics at the Russian Mission Control Center, were the leading speakers at COSMOS 2001, a weekend of lectures in Annagharvey Farm, reports the Tullamore Tribune.
Volkov described his experiences on board Mir, while his colleague, Martynov, described the scientific and historical context of the space station. Mir was part of an overall project aimed eventually toward an expedition to Mars, a voyage that would take more than 30 months — thus, Mir was used to test how humans survived during long stays in space.
Scientists recycled the humidity of the atmosphere, including water vapor and sweat from the cosmonauts, to provide drinking and washing water.
Cosmonauts bred chickens and grew crops on board Mir to see how self-sufficient the station could become.
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Girvan McKay of the Tullamore Astronomical Society, said that the presence of the two Russian scientists was an honor for Tullamore. "You actually felt you were on Mir," he said.
CANADA HOSTS DERRY STUDENTS
The Ireland Fund of Canada hosted two Derry students, one Protestant and one Catholic, in events held in Toronto and Edmonton. Lucie Crichlow and Conor Barwise are students at Oakgrove Integrated College, and they both spoke to large audiences about the role of integrated colleges in helping to normalize society in Northern Ireland, as well as the progress of religious tolerance in divided communities.
The survival and success of integrated schools is a primary concern of the Ireland Funds.
Macroom has been chosen for the first time to host the annual County Fleadh Cheoil, which will be held in the mid-Cork town on the weekend of May 11-13. It will be a first also for the Aghinagh branch of Comhaltas, says the Southern Star newspaper.
Comhaltas is delighted to do the honors this year in particular, as it is the 40th anniversary of the County Fleadh Cheoil and the 50th anniversary of Comhaltas itself.
The task of organizing the event has brought a new lease of life to Aghinagh Comhaltas and there has been a busy schedule of fund-raising activities at the branch in recent months. The job of fund-raising, and organizing the event in general, is in the capable hands of Fleadh chairperson Nancy O’Donovan and her hard-working committee.
REDS BOSS FOR LONGFORD
Longford will get a visit from an unusual celebrity in May — Alex Ferguson, the famous manager of Manchester United soccer team, will attend a local supporters club dinner. His team, also known as the Red Devils, are on course to win the Premiership title and perhaps also the European Cup, in what has so far been one of their most successful seasons to date. The local club is headed by Seamus Gill, who has been planning the evening scheduled for May 27 in the Longford Arms.
Ferguson, a Scotsman, will address the club during the five-course meal, and Gill has promised that everyone will get a chance to chat to the man who has been one of the most successful sporting managers in history.
The Longford supporters club numbers 160, 40 of whom are junior members. Tickets will cost £30.
"Everybody attending the function will get to meet the man and we are really looking forward to it," Gill told the Longford Leader.
A Tyrone minister became a good samaritan in a hurry recently when he managed to clear the main street of Pomeroy during a bomb alert.
Rev. William Bingham had been told by a man that he had been forced to drive a car with a bomb in it to the police station.
Although the device was a hoax, Bingham’s actions averted a potentially disastrous situation — there are 40 houses, a school and a playground near to the police station.
Segt. David Johnston told the Tyrone Courier that the minister "was risking his life to save other people."
The incident lasted less than two hours. Police later arrested a man, and said that they were certain that the incident was not related to any paramilitary groups.
SINN FEIN NO SHOWS?
Sounds like quite a party — the Royal Ulster Constabulary in Belfast has sent invitations to Sinn Fein city councilors asking them to come to a wine and cheese evening at the Belfast Hilton.
The invitations were sent by the new chief superintendent of Belfast West, Brian McCargo, but Sinn Fein members have so far refused to RSVP, reports the Andersonstown News of Belfast.
One councilor, Michael Browne, said: "The RUC are wasting their time, if, by tinkering with their present structure they think they can draw the support of the nationalist community. Whether it be for the purpose of fingerprinting or finger buffeting, Sinn Féin members will resist any association with the RUC."