By Stephen McKinley
Fermanagh local Elizabeth McCaffrey has reached the grand old age of, yes, you guessed it, 100.
A native of Aughoo, near Cashel, Elizabeth remembers many of the conflagrations and conflicts of the 20th Century, including the shattering news in 1912 of the loss of the Tiatnic on its maiden voyage.
Like last week’s long-lived Christina O’Rourke from Offaly, Elizabeth affirmed to the Fermanagh Herald newspaper that the secret to a long life was walking, talking, and hot whiskey before bed.
Calling all chowhounds, gourmands and the just plain hungry — get yourselves to County Leitrim, which the new Bridgestone Food Lover’s Guides have pronounced as the place to get some of the best food in Ireland.
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The Food Lover’s Guides come in two sections: the Traveler’s Guide and The Shopper’s Guide, prepared by John and Sally McKenna. Said John at this year’s launch, “We used to be a nation of chef worshippers, believing that a restaurant was about a single individual. We’ve finally woken up and the places we now choose to spend our money in are restaurants that offer a total experience. The things we value and seek out are good service, consistency, value for money and we expect imagination and signature style in the cooking.”
Take The Courthouse in Kinlough, Co. Leitrim: “This little restaurant with rooms Hoovers up all the local trade for many miles around. Check out the excellent stuffed baby squid, everyone’s favorite calamari, the good pastas and trademark fried courgettes. The rooms are simple and affordable.” Mouthwatering!
SEX AND RACE
In Dublin, the Southside People newspaper reports that UN Commissioner for Human Rrights and former Irish President Mary Robinson has criticized Trinity College because she says that it gives far more honorary doctorates to men than women.
She complained to the college in a letter after she noted that college had handed out 12 doctorates in 1999-00 — all of them to men.
Also in Dublin, gardai have investigated complaints that leaflets handed out by the anti-immigration Immigration Control Platform contain racist remarks. The group is opposed to immigration and multiculturalism and is campaigning to have the automatic right to citizenship for babies born here changed.
100 YEARS YOUNG
Yet another trouper reaches the grand old age of 100 in Ireland this week — but this one’s likely to be around for another 100 years or so.
As the Derry Journal puts it, “Malin Head Coastal Radio Station has been receiving and sending the transmissions of seafarers through two world wars, the Irish War of Independence, the Irish Civil War, the setting up of the Irish Free State, the formation of the Irish Republic and all that has passed since.”
Senior radio officer Finbar O’Connor noted the station’s proud record: “The station has never closed for one day, one hour or one minute in all its existence.”
The 14 radio officers, station attendant and divisional controller, who man the premises and coordinate approximately 400 marine rescues each year, continue to work a 24-hour shift and, according to O’Connor, are more than ready for the challenges of the next 100 years. Maybe they’ll have a nip of whiskey to celebrate the first hundred.
GRIM UP NORTH?
News from in and around Belfast this week was characteristically bleak: a 20-year-old Poleglass man was taken to hospital after a punishment shooting — both his ankles sustained gunshot wounds.
A teenager was struck by a train near Lisburn and was seriously ill in hospital.
A woman who smashed up a liquor store after being told her 15-year-old son had been served alcohol on the premises has been conditionally discharged for two years.
In the town of Dromore, Co. Down, Councilor Paul Rankin has called on residents to watch out for pet owners who allow their animals to foul pavements and then fail to clean it up. He says the town has been left a mess by careless pet owners.
PERILS OF DRINK
Councilor Kieran O’Ryan of Waterford has attacked the drinking culture in Ireland, saying that the title of “nation of boozers” was well-deserved.
He pointed to numerous problems in society and suggested that the root cause was the demon drink, and proposed a countrywide ban on alcohol advertiSing, similar to anti-tobacco legislation in the U.S.
An analysis of recent court cases in the Waterford city newspapers showed that 95 percent of crimes were alcohol-related, he said. People are being mugged and youngsters are stealing cars and if heavier penalties are not imposed the situation could get out of hand, he warned. He wondered if parents had control over their children.
He said he was reminded of an old priest who said that people made sure the dog was in at night but asked did they make sure their children were at home?
Not all the news up North was bleak this week. In Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, the Tyrone Courier reported that the Orange Order and the Department of the Environment, joint owners of the Castle Hill area, the highest point in the town, may develop it for tourist purposes.
Also, following weeks of auditioning, rehearsing and televised scrutiny by judges, Augher 19-year-old Liam McKenna was chosen to be a member of Six, the latest Irish pop sensation. He prevailed over 5,000 others and assured reporters that whenever he had any time off, he’d return to Augher.
Martin Dooey of Coalisland won the chance to compete for euro 500,000 on the Winning Streaks quiz show.
Jonathan Cummings, a Year 10 student at the Integrated College in Dungannon, has received the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Award, for his outstanding commitment to the school.