2015 REVIEW

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How I reported the closure of the Bose factory in January in The Northern Standard Photo: © Michael Fisher

Northern Standard  Thursday 7th January 2016

Michael Fisher looks back on some of the main stories of 2015:

BOSE CLOSURE

It was the first major story I wrote for the Northern Standard when I began covering the Carrickmacross area on a temporary basis a year ago. The news came out of the blue, creating shockwaves in Carrick that are still being felt.

In a statement of 290 words issued by a public relations company in Dublin, Bose Ltd. announced it was closing its County Monaghan facility with the loss of 140 jobs. It was probably just a coincidence that the news was released on a Thursday afternoon, the day on which this weekly newspaper is published. So the coverage had to wait until the following week. But this was a decision that had been taken some time beforehand at the company’s headquarters in the United States, where a plant in South Carolina was also being shut down.

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Workers at the BOSE factory in Carrickmacross react to news of the plant’s closure Photo:  Michael Fisher

What offended the workers most was the way the news was relayed to them. They were called into the canteen at 4pm that black Thursday (22nd January 2015) and by video link were addressed by the company President. They thought it was going to be part of the usual quarterly update on company performance. Instead they were being told they would be made redundant in April.

After lobbying by union representatives and local politicians, the date for the shutdown was postponed until the end of May, in the hope that some workers might be able to find alternative employment. Some like Pat McNally had been with the company since it was established by Dr Amar Bose in July 1978. The plant provided final assembly for select home cinema systems and Wave radios for the European market, and some remanufacturing for the region.

Councillors pressed the IDA to find an alternative employer but so far no replacement has been found, although some clients have viewed the premises. In the aftermath of the closure it was discovered that the factory premises was now owned by a private group, following new arrangements regarding IDA leases.

The last day at Bose (May 29th) was sad for all concerned. The workers came in small groups to collect their redundancy payments. The car park gates were locked and a few days later, the plant and machinery inside the building were put up for auction, bringing to an end a 37-year history of production at the site.

As they left the plant, the workers again pointed out that this had been a profitable operation for Bose, and their Irish base in Europe had never been affected by industrial disputes. They said they had always shown their loyalty to the company and had generally been treated well by their employer, until the founder of the company Dr Amar Bose had died two years ago.

In the words of the Carrickmacross-based Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy, the closure of the plant was devastating for the local economy and community who felt they had been let down by the government. It was the end of an era and a huge blow forthe whole of South Monaghan and beyond.

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Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys T.D. congratulates Frances Treanor on her winning self-portrait Photo: Michael Fisher

TEXACO ART WINNER

In April an art student from County Monaghan won the overall prize in the Texaco Children’s Art competition. A great achievement by my neighbour, Frances Treanor from Drumdart, Tydavnet. The 18 year-old was rewarded with a trip to Tokyo to represent Ireland in an international art exhibition, along with a cheque for €1500. Her self-portrait drawing done in black ballpoint pen was part of the 16th International High School Arts Festival along with some other Texaco award winners. Back at her home in Tydavnet she told me about her experiences in Japan, a country she said she would return to if she got a chance.

Her five days there introduced her to Japanese food such as tempura (fish and rice) for which chopsticks were used. She was served dishes of sushi and sukiakki and also got time to do some sightseeing. This included areas such as Harajuku, the Meiji shrine and Takeshita-dori street. Frances also visited a rural area a few hours outside Tokyo and saw a red panda being fed in the zoo. She noticed that the streets were very clean, as well as being busy and hectic. Everyone was carrying an umbrella, Frances told me, and there were special holders at the entrance to the museum where visitors could leave them.

The winning self portrait was completed by her in two weeks and was described by the chair of the judging panel, Professor Declan McGonagle, as having been executed “with the skill and delicacy of a master”. The talented Frances had featured among the prizewinners in 2012 when she won second place in her age category for her work “Lighting Up the Imagination”. She is one of seven children and is studying art at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, alongside her twin sister Maeve.

Frances was keen to thank her former art teachers at St Louis Secondary School in Monaghan, Teresa Mahony and Stephen Penders, who she said had always encouraged and developed her talent.

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Electricity pylons beside SONI/NIE sub-station in Co. Antrim  Photo: Michael Fisher  

EIRGRID PLANS FOR INTERCONNECTOR

EirGrid has begun a fresh attempt to get permission for a second North/South electricity interconnector. It would involve the erection of over 400 pylons carrying a 400 kV high voltage cable across five counties from Meath to Tyrone, including Monaghan. There has been strong opposition to the plan, with over 900 submissions to An Bord Pleanála since the new planning application was submitted in June. The Board is expected to make a decision later this year on whether to hold another public enquiry into the plan. More details of the EirGrid response to the submissions and objections can be found on p.14 and the Northern Standard will continue to report on this controversial issue in the coming months.

RINGING IN THE NEW

DSC_1202New Year 2016 was rung in with friends at Glenmalure Lodge in County Wicklow, where I met a former colleague from RTÉ who works there in a senior position. After a meal in the dining room, it was time to listen to the band in the Michael Dwyer Bar and take part in the festivities. When they played Van Morrison’s Brown Eyed Girl I felt I was back in Belfast!

A year ago my father Desmond Fisher died so the family was in mourning over the New Year period 2015.

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New Year 2014 Walk from Holywood along North Down Coastal Path near Seapark  Picture: Michael Fisher 

New Year 2014 was spent in Belfast. The day itself was marked with a walk along part of the North Down Coastal Path starting in Holywood and going towards Cultra, finishing with a drink at the Dirty Duck.

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Lagan Towpath Walk New Year 2010  Picture: Michael Fisher 

A previous New Year 2010 was also spent in Belfast with the same group of friends. A walk along the Lagan towpath took us past the Lock Keeper’s Inn, before it became famous!

AUGHRIM

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Former Forge in Aughrim  Picture: Michael Fisher

 

I passed through the village of Aughrim in County Wicklow yesterday and stopped at the hotel beside the bridge for a coffee. It was pouring rain and not very scenic. But when I visited in August it looked really well with lovely floral displays. One of the buildings I noticed was an old forge: or did it possibly have a connection with a former railway line?

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Irish National Foresters’ Hall in Aughrim  Picture: Michael Fisher

There is also an Irish National Foresters’ Hall and a memorial to the pike men of the 1798 rebellion led by Michael Dwyer. The stone is surmounted by a ‘crown’ fashioned from bronze pikes. Kiltegan is not far from here, where St Patrick’s Missionary Society is located.  All pictures from August.

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‘Crown’ of Bronze Pikes on 1798 Memorial in Aughrim Picture: Michael Fisher

 

 

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Michael Fisher in Tyrone GAA jacket borrowed at the secret training location in Co. Wicklow

EXCLUSIVE! A New Year exclusive from fisherbelfast news! I have been on a secret mission today and have been shown the mountain hideaway where the Tyrone GAA senior footballers have begun training since St Stephen’s Day in their mission to win the Sam Maguire Cup. I am under strict instructions not to reveal the exact location in case of infiltration by spies from Kerry and Dublin. A full report will however be provided on request for Monaghan GAA whose supporters accompanied me this afternoon on an 8km walk in the pouring-rain.

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Section of the Wicklow Way from Glenmalure to Moyne

The two hour trek led along the Wicklow Way up a mountain, Slieve Maan. But in the pouring rain and wind there was in the end no evidence of a Red Hand. The only one in sight was on the jacket I borrowed from the legendary Frank Quinn from Pomeroy. He even leaves copies of his beautiful Sam Maguire book with his photos of historic places such as Knockmany and Carleton’s cottage as an inspiration for all who make their way for wilderness adventures to deepest Wicklow, not far from the Glen of Imaal where the Irish army trains.

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Sam Maguire book edited and with photos by Frank Quinn

Asked to compare his native ground around the Sperrins with the likes of Lugnaquilla, Mr Quinn, whose adventures to the Antarctic Circle featured in the Irish News a few years ago, replied: “sure the Sperrins are wee buns compared to the landscape we have here!!” Memories of the 1798 rebellion all around. So be prepared for a new wave of Tyrone football as the McKenna Cup gets underway in the coming weeks. It remains to be seen whether Wicklow GAA footballers will head Northwards for their training…….!

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Sam Maguire Cup at Knockmany near Augher Photo: Copyright Frank Quinn

Update: Obviously this extra training over New Year at the secret location in County Wicklow has already paid dividends for the Tyrone team. Their first outing in the Dr McKenna Cup was on Sunday (3rd January) and this was the result at St Enda’s Park in Omagh:

Tyrone 3-17 Queens University 0-11  

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HAPPY NEW YEAR

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Gabriel D’Arcy, Chief Executive of newly formed LacPatrick Co-op and Aidan McCabe, Dairy Adviser, with the new LacPatrick logo Photo: © Michael Fisher

34,000 views for fisherbelfast news in 2015

The announcement of the new LacPatrick Co-Op in July was my most viewed story with 537 hits. It was written for the Northern Standard in Monaghan. I am delighted to know that 2015 was a record year for my blog with 34,000 views in different parts of the world, especially the UK, Ireland and the US. This is significant because I blogged only for seven months, publishing 212 posts until the end of July. I will now have to re-assess whether to resume blogging in 2016. The great thing is that many of the articles I posted since 2013 are being read. So a big THANK YOU to anyone who has taken the time to click on any of my stories and I wish all readers a Happy New Year. The full statistics can be seen here thanks to WordPress.

CRUISE TOURISM IN DUBLIN

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

The company describes it as “the very best cruise ship in the world”. Crystal Serenity operated by Crystal Cruises was mooring in Dublin this morning as I was passing over the East Link bridge. So I went down to the Poolbeg Yacht Club and Marina to take a closer look at the liner, which is 250m in length and has room for just over 1000 passengers.

The master was manoeuvring her very adroitly in reverse in order to turn and berth. The same vessel had been in Waterford on Monday and visited Holyhead, Liverpool and Greenock prior to arrival at 10:30am. On Saturday night she will head for Belfast, arriving at 7am on Sunday, thence to Derry, Galway, Portland and Jersey in the Channel Islands, reaching the final destination, Dover, on Saturday week at the end of an 83-days cruise of the Mediterranean-West, that began in Lisbon on May 17th.

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

Described as an elegant mid-size ship for mature travellers featuring high class service, Crystal Serenity is best suited to sophisticated travellers, typically over 50, who are looking for contemporary ship surroundings, with fine quality fittings and furnishings, a wide range of public rooms and facilities, and excellent food and service from a well-trained staff.

After a recent $17 million redesign – the latest in the ship’s two year $52 million investment – it boasts a chic and contemporary style featuring several cruise industry firsts, such as a chef’s herb garden as part of vibrant “vertical walls” of greenery. Next year beginning on August 16, 2016, Crystal Serenity will sail a unique 32 day itinerary from Seward, Alaska to New York City via the Northwest Passage.

Astor berthed at East Wall Bridge near 3Arena in River Liffey, Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Astor berthed at East Wall Bridge near 3Arena in River Liffey, Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

As I was approaching the East Link bridge on my way into the city, I saw the cruise ship MS ASTOR moored at the quayside close to the 3Arena. It is a relatively small ship as cruise vessels go (579ft long). It is owned by Cruise & Maritime Voyages and can accommodate 600 passengers. It was extensively refurbished in 2010. Astor left Dublin around 5pm this evening and as I write is in the Irish Sea passing off the County Down coast en route for Derry.

Thursday of last week was the biggest ever day for cruise tourism in Dublin. The Port welcomed the arrival of four luxury cruise ships, all within a four hour window, with a total of 13,000 visitors. Placed end to end, the four cruise ships would stretch to more than one kilometre. Dublin Port’s cruise business is now firmly on track for a record year in 2015 with nearly 100 cruise ships bringing 200,000 visitors to Dublin expected for the full year.

The Royal Princess (330m long), Celebrity Silhouette (319m long), MV Horizon (208m long) and Magellan (222m long) cruise ships arrived at the mouth of the River Liffey between 3:30am and 7:00am on July 23rd, giving their passengers and crew a day to spend sightseeing in the capital. Cruise ship arrivals typically deliver a €100 per passenger spend, meaning an economic boost of €1.3million for the city today. These ships’ passengers originate primarily from the United States of America, France and Great Britain.

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

At 330m long, the most impressive arrival was the 19-deck Royal Princess measuring just three metres shy of MSC Splendida, the longest cruise ship ever to dock at Dublin Port earlier this summer. The Crystal Serenity, the MSC Splendida, Royal Princess and the Celebrity Silhouette had to manoeuvre stern first (‘reverse’) into Dublin Port, given their lengths. This complex manoeuvre was co-ordinated by the port’s Harbour Master, Capt. David Dignam, and the port’s pilots with the assistance of two tugs.

With Dublin Port Company’s ABR Project recently approved by An Bord Pleanála, this practice will no longer be required as larger ships will be able to routinely call at Dublin, turn within the expanded Alexandra Basin West and berth as far upriver as East Link Bridge.  The project, once complete, will mean an even brighter future for cruise tourism to the capital with Dublin Port able to handle the world’s largest cruise liners, including the 360m long Allure of the Seas. This in turn will create a positive economic impact for the city, enhance inbound tourism and contribute to the development of Docklands.

Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive, Dublin Port Company, said: “Dublin City is a marquee destination for the world’s largest cruise lines. Our location at the heart of the city means that passengers can maximise their time in the capital, taking in the city’s sights, shops and attractions with ease. Dublin Port’s cruise business is growing from strength to strength. We are already on track for a record year in 2015, and with work on our ABR Project commencing before the end of the year, the future of cruise tourism to the capital is now secure.”    

The MSC Splendida cruise liner, the longest ship ever to call at Dublin Port, arrived in May, one of 83 cruise calls confirmed for Dublin Port this year. Currently ranked as the 11th longest cruise ship in the world, accommodating her arrival pushed the boundaries of the port’s operational limits.

The ship’s 4,600 passengers and crew were greeted on arrival by a Celtic-inspired welcome on the quayside featuring a live ceili band, Irish drummers, dancers and entertainment before passengers departed for the city’s shops and attractions. On board, the MSC Splendida boasts a VIP section with 24 hour butler service and features more than a dozen bars and lounges, spa and Turkish baths, four swimming pools, squash courts and a Formula 1 simulator, all spread over 18 decks.

In a further boost for cruise tourism to the city, Dublin Port Company has also announced that Dublin Port will become the first Irish port to welcome Disney Cruise Line following confirmation that “Disney Magic” will call to Dublin in 2016. The 300m long Disney Magic will make her maiden call to Dublin Port on 26th May 2016 as part of a transatlantic cruise starting in Port Canaveral, Florida and finishing in Dover, England. Disney Magic will visit Dublin again on 13th June 2016 as part of a 12 night cruise around Britain with Dublin selected as the only destination in Ireland. She will bring 2,700 passengers and a complement of 950 cast and crew to the city each time. The selection by Disney Cruise Line of Dublin as its chosen destination in Ireland highlights the strength of Dublin as an attraction for cruise tourism. Disney Cruise Line now joins a long list of the world’s largest cruise lines choosing to call to Dublin Port.

In a separate development, Dublin Port Company and Dublin City Council will also jointly host the Cruise Europe Conference in Dublin in 2016. The three day event attracts over 200 delegates from leading cruise destinations throughout Europe (including the Mediterranean, Spain and Portugal, the Baltic region and Northern Europe), from all the major cruise lines and service suppliers to the cruise industry worldwide. This is the first time that the event will take place in Dublin, providing a high profile opportunity to showcase the city as a leading cruise tourism destination.

Commenting on the challenge of bringing the MSC Splendida into Dublin Port, Dublin Port’s Harbour Master, Capt. Dignam, explained: “When asked whether we could accommodate these larger ships our first challenge was to see how we could safely bring a ship into and out of the port, especially when the river is too narrow to allow it to turn within the port. The result of our many simulation exercises has convinced me and the cruise lines that, weather permitting, we can safely enter the port bow first and then manoeuvre stern first out (or vice versa). Due credit must be given to the skills of our pilots and the masters of our tugs “Shackleton” and “Beaufort”, combined with the expertise of the cruise ships’ Masters and their ships’ enormous manoeuvring capabilities”.

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Crystal Serenity docking in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher

BELFAST ROSES IN BLOOM

Sexy Rexy Rose   Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Sexy Rexy Rose Photo: © Michael Fisher

Schedule of Perpetual Trophies

These are the awards up for grabs during Rose Week at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park, Upper Malone Road, in South Belfast:

News Flash rose   Photo:  © Michael Fisher

News Flash rose Photo: © Michael Fisher

The Rose Society of Northern Ireland Championship – The Craig Wallace (The Founder’s) Trophy, presented by President of the Rose Society, Craig Wallace, and awarded annually to the exhibitor accumulating most points in the Open classes at the Society’s Summer and Autumn Shows provided that person has gained at least six first prizes in the process and exhibited at both shows.
The Craig Wallace Salver. Miniature Rose Championship, awarded annually to exhibitor accumulating most points in the miniature rose classes in the society’s summer and autumn shows, providing that the person has gained at least four first prizes in the process and exhibited at both shows.
The Plaque. Presented by Samuel McGredy and Son Ltd. Best Large Flowered Bloom in the Show.
The President’s Cup. Presented by Molly Frizzelle. Best exhibit in Class 1.
The Perpetual Challenge Cup. Presented by Alex Dickson and Sons Ltd. Best exhibit in Classes 1 – 34.
The Friendship Plate. Presented by Mr. A. H. Pearson. Exhibitor gaining most points in Classes 1 – 34.
The Rotomar Trophy. Best exhibit in Class 16.
The John Creighton Trophy. Exhibitor gaining most points in
Classes 17 – 21.
The James H. Jess Memorial Trophy. Best exhibit in Classes 17 – 21.
The Abraham Rose Bowl. Presented by Miss E. K. Abraham. Exhibitor gaining most points in Classes 22 – 30.
The Lady O’Neill Cup. Best exhibit in Classes 31 – 34.
The RSNI Miniature Cup. Exhibitor gaining most points in
Classes 35 – 40.
The Australian Prize. Best exhibit in Classes 41 – 46.
The Alison Henry Cup, presented by the Cregagh and District Gardening Society. Best exhibit in Classes 47 – 52.
The Aubrey and Doreen Kincaid Cup. Best exhibit in Classes 53 – 61.
The Cregagh Cup. Best exhibit in Classes 62 – 70.
The Bromage Silver Rose Bowl. Best Bonsai exhibit in Classes 71 – 78.
The Jubilee Cup. Best exhibit in Classes 79 – 86.

Belfast Rose Week  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Belfast Rose Week Photo: © Michael Fisher

Schedule of Classes
Large Flowered Roses (H.T.)
Class 1
The President’s Cup.
One Box. Six specimen blooms. One variety or mixed.
Class 2
One Vase. Five blooms. One variety or mixed.
Class 3
One Vase. Three blooms. One variety.
Class 4
One Vase. Three blooms. Three varieties.
Class 5
One Vase. Two Blooms. One variety. To be judged as a matching pair.
Class 6
One Vase. One bloom. Main colour Red/Pink.
Class 7
One Vase. One bloom. Main colour Yellow/White.
Class 8
One Vase. One bloom. Any other colour.
Class 9
One Vase. Three blooms. One variety. To show the various stages of development – one opening bud, one specimen bloom and one in the blown stage.
Class 10
Bowl up to 9 in. (229 mm) containing six or more large flowered (H.T.) stems. To be displayed for effect and interest. Bowl to be supplied by the exhibitor.

Molly McGredy rose  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Molly McGredy rose Photo: © Michael Fisher

Class 11
One Vase. One fragrant bloom. Half marks will be given for quality and half for fragrance.
Class 12
One Vase. Three blown blooms. One variety or mixed. Stamens should be showing.
Class 13
One stem inflorescence bearing a number of blooms.
Class 14
Three stems inflorescence each stem bearing a number of blooms. One variety or mixed.
Class 15
Bowl (supplied by exhibitor). Large flowered (H.T.). One bloom (up to and including blown stage) floating in water.
Large Flowered (H.T.) and Cluster Flowered (Floribunda) Roses
Class 16
Rotomar Trophy.
One Vase. Three Large Flowered (H.T.) specimen blooms.
One Vase. Three stems Cluster Flowered (Floribunda).
Cluster Flowered (Floribunda) Roses
Class 17
One Vase. Five stems. One variety or mixed.
Class 18
One Vase. Three stems. Three varieties.
Class 19
One Vase. Three stems. One variety.
Class 20
One Vase. One stem.
Class 21
One Vase. One fragrant stem. The stem should be typical of the variety. Judged as class 11.

Pride of Scotland rose   Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Pride of Scotland rose Photo: © Michael Fisher

Miniature Roses
(Exhibitors may supply own containers in Classes 22-28)
Class 22
One Box. Six miniature roses. One variety.
Class 23
One Box. Six miniature roses. Mixed.
Class 24
One Vase. Three stems. One variety.
Class 25
One Vase. Three stems. Mixed.
Class 26
One Vase. One stem.
Class 27
Six stems arranged in a bowl not exceeding four inches in diameter (102 mm). One variety or mixed.
Class 28
One small container. Three blooms. One variety. To show the various stages of development — one opening bud, one perfect flower and one in the blown stage.
Class 29
Bowl (small, supplied by exhibitor) one miniature bloom (up to and including blown stage) floating in water.
Class 30
Artist’s palette. Seven blooms in seven distinct colours. (Palette supplied).
Shrubs and Climbing Roses
Class 31
One Vase. Three stems. Old Garden Roses. One variety or mixed.
Class 32
One Vase. Three stems. Modern Shrub Roses. One variety or mixed.
Class 33
One Vase. Three stems. Climber or Rambler Roses. One variety or mixed.
Class 34
One Bowl 9 in. (229 mm) containing four or more stems. Old Garden and/or Modern Shrub Roses. One variety or mixed. (Can be staged irrespective of Rules for Exhibition).
Novice Classes
Confined to less experienced exhibitors and beginners, who have never won a prize in the open rose classes. Following winning three first prizes in the Novice Classes, such exhibitors shall only be permitted to exhibit in the Open Classes.
Class 35
One Vase. One stem. Cluster Flowered (Floribunda).
Class 36
One Vase. Three stems. Cluster Flowered (Floribunda). One variety or mixed.
Class 37
One Vase. One stem. Large Flowered (H.T.)
Class 38
One Vase. Three stems. Large Flowered (H.T.). One variety or mixed.
Class 39
One Vase. One stem. Miniature.

Belfast Rose Week  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Belfast Rose Week Photo: © Michael Fisher

Class 40
One Vase. Three stems. Miniature. One variety or mixed.
General Flowers
Class 41
Carnations or Pinks. One Vase. Three stems.
Class 42
Annuals and/or Biennials (Sweet Pea excluded). One Vase. One variety or mixed.
Class 43
Shrubs. One Vase. One Kind (roses excluded). Displayed for effect and interest.
Class 44
Shrubs. One Vase. Mixed. (roses excluded). Displayed for effect and interest.
Class 45
Herbaceous Perennials. One Vase. One Kind.
Class 46
Herbaceous Perennials. One Vase. Mixed.
Sweet Pea
Class 47
Sweet Pea. One Vase. Nine stems. Pink/Red shades.
Class 48
Sweet Pea. One Vase. Nine stems. Blue/Mauve shades.
Class 49
Sweet Pea. One Vase. Nine stems. Any other colour.
Class 50
Sweet Pea. One Vase. Twelve stems. Mixed.
Class 51
Bowl of Sweet Pea. Twenty stems. Mixed. Own foliage.
Class 52
Basket of Sweet Pea. Any number of stems and any foliage allowed (exhibitors must provide own basket).
N.B. Sweet Pea used in Classes 51 and 52 only are not required to have been grown by the exhibitor.
Pot Plants
Class 53
Flowering Plant. (Pelargoniums excluded). Up to and including 6 in. pot. (152 mm).
Class 54
Flowering Plant. (Pelargoniums excluded). Over 6 in. pot (152 mm).
Class 55
Foliage Plant. Up to and including 6 in. pot (152 mm).
Class 56
Foliage Plant. Over 6 in. pot (152 mm).
Class 57
Fern. Pot size unrestricted.
Class 58
Collection of three different house plants. Up to and including 6 in. pots (152 mm). (The plants must be suitable for all-year round growing in a house room).

Bright n' Breezy rose by Dickson (NI) from trials 2013/14  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Bright n’ Breezy rose by Dickson (NI) from trials 2013/14 Photo: © Michael Fisher

Class 59
Orchid. Pot size unrestricted.
Class 60
One box Begonias. Three blooms.
Class 61
One box Begonia. One bloom.
Class 62
Basic Regal Pelargonium. Up to and including 6 in. (152 mm) pot.
Class 63
Basic Zonal Pelargonium single flowered. Up to and including 6 in. (152 mm) pot.
Class 64
Basic Zonal Pelargonium. Double or semi double flowered. (excluding scented leaf). Up to and including 6 in. (152 mm) pot.
Class 65
Fancy Leaf Pelargonium. Up to and including 6.5 in. (165 mm) pot.
Class 66
Species and species Hybrid Pelargonium including scented leaf. Up to and including 6 in. (152mm) pot.
Class 67
Angel including miniature regal. Up to and including 6 in. (152 mm) pot.
Class 68
Stellar Pelargonium. Up to and including 6 in. (152 mm) pot.
Class 69
Dwarf Pelargonium. Up to and including 4.5 in.
(114 mm) pot.
Class 70
Miniature Pelargonium. Up to and including 3.5 in. (89 mm) pot.
Bonsai
A tree which won a First Prize in any class last year may not be exhibited for competition this year but will be eligible for re-entry next year.
Class 71 Bonsai. Evergreen.
Class 72 Bonsai. Deciduous.
Class 73 Bonsai. Forest plantings and landscapes.
Class 74 Bonsai. Mame up to 6 in. (152 mm). Any variety.
Class 75 Bonsai. Coniferous.
Class 76 Bonsai. Indoor.
Class 77 Bonsai. Fruiting, Flowering, Berried.
Class 78 Bonsai. Novice.
Cacti and Succulents
Class 79
Mammillaria. One Plant. Pot size up to and including 6 in. (152 mm).
Class 80
Three Cacti. Pot size up to and including 7 in.
(178 mm).
Class 81
One Cactus. Pot size up to and including 5 in.
(127 mm).
Class 82
One Cactus. Pot size unrestricted
Class 83
Stemless Mesembryanthemaceae. One Plant. Pot size up to and including 4 in. (102 mm).
Class 84
One succulent (Cactus excluded). Pot size up to and including 3.5 in. (89 mm)
Class 85
One Succulent (Cactus excluded). Pot size up to and including 5 in. (127 mm).
Class 86
One Succulent (Cactus excluded). Pot size unrestricted.

Athlone rose   Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Athlone rose Photo: © Michael Fisher

BELFAST ROSE WEEK

City of Belfast Rose in Lady Dixon Park  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

City of Belfast Rose in Lady Dixon Park Photo: © Michael Fisher

The international rose garden at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park in South Belfast is one of the world’s leading rose gardens, attracting thousands of visitors each year. Rose Week, with its full programme of activities, is a celebration of this spectacular rose garden and is now one of Belfast’s most popular annual events.

Brilliant Korsar rose by Kordes from Germany: Historical section, trials 2011-13  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Brilliant Korsar rose by Kordes from Germany: Historical section, trials 2011-13 Photo: © Michael Fisher

There were not many visitors this afternoon (Friday), possibly because of the very unsummerlike weather. Maybe there will be more on Saturday and Sunday. But the extensive collection of various types of roses was very colourful, although some of the historical varieties seem to be past their best as their petals have been blown away by the wind.

Rose of Tralee  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Rose of Tralee Photo: © Michael Fisher

The event promises a week of family fun including:

  • live music and entertainment
  • floral art demonstrations
  • summer rose and flower show exhibitions.

    Dawn Chorus  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

    Dawn Chorus Photo: © Michael Fisher

Getting to Rose Week: Free shuttle bus

During Rose Week a free shuttle bus service direct to Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park operates daily at 20 minute intervals from the grounds of Belfast City Hall, Donegall Square East. The service commences at 12 noon and the last bus leaves City Hall at 5pm. The drop-off and collection point at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park is in the upper car park. The return journey from the park begins at 12.20pm and operates every 20 minutes with the last bus leaving the park at 5.20pm.

Benita rose  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Benita rose Photo: © Michael Fisher

Free park and ride from Drumbo Park

During Rose Week a free park and ride service operates daily between Drumbo Park, Ballyskeagh Road and Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park. The service starts at 12noon and the last bus leaves Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park at 5.20pm.

La Sevillana climber rose, France   Photo:  © Michael Fisher

La Sevillana climber rose, France Photo: © Michael Fisher

Car parking

Car parking is available in the main car parks and Rose Week car parks at Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park. Where possible, cars will be permitted access close to Wilmont House for the purpose of leaving off elderly or disabled visitors. Cars must then be parked in one of the main car parks.

Arthur Bell rose  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Arthur Bell rose Photo: © Michael Fisher

City of Belfast international rose trials

Yesterday (Thursday) a panel of international judges completed the final judging of the City of Belfast international rose trials. The awards for the winning rose breeders are sponsored by Belfast City Council, the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Tourism NI, Clive Richardson Ltd and Eventsec.

Wild Rover rose  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Wild Rover rose Photo: © Michael Fisher

Daily events

  • Harp music in the rose garden, 2pm – 5pm
  • Belfast Parks photographic exhibition in the marquee, Saturday 11am – 5.30pm and Sunday 1.30pm – 5.30pm
  • Bouncy castle near Wilmont House, Thursday to Sunday
  • Face painting, balloon modelling and children’s tattooing in the playground area, times vary each afternoon
  • Punch and Judy in the playground area, Friday to Sunday at 2.30pm
  • Competitions in the rose garden – competition forms available from the information marquee, adjacent to Wilmont House, Saturday from 11am – 5.30pm and Sunday from 1.30pm – 5.30pm.

    A classic rose:  Romance  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

    A classic rose: Romance Photo: © Michael Fisher

Saturday 18th July

  • Recycling workshop, 1pm – 5pm
  • Bouncy castle, 1pm – 5pm
  • Kiddies safari train, 1pm – 5pm
  • Rodeo bull, 1pm – 5pm
  • Swing chair ride, 1pm – 5pm
  • Magic show for children, 3.45pm
  • Summer stalls, 11am – 5.30pm
  • Summer rose and flower show, 2pm – 5.30pm
  • Ulster-Scots Agency Juvenile Pipe Band, 12noon – 1pm
  • Templemore Silver Band, 1.30pm – 2.30pm
  • Peach Pop, 3pm – 5pm
  • Streetwise Stiltwalker, 1pm – 5pm
  • Babcock and Bobbins, 1pm – 5pm
  • Hugo Cogsmith, 1pm – 5pm

    Bright n' Breezy rose by Dickson (NI) from trials 2013/14  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

    Bright n’ Breezy rose by Dickson (NI) from trials 2013/14 Photo: © Michael Fisher

Sunday 19th July

  • Recycling workshop, 1pm – 5pm
  • Bouncy castle, 1pm – 5pm
  • Kiddies safari train, 1pm – 5pm
  • Rodeo bull, 1pm – 5pm
  • Swing chair ride, 1pm – 5pm
  • Magic show for children, 3.45pm
  • Summer stalls, 1.30pm – 5.30pm
  • Summer rose and flower show, 2pm – 5.30pm
  • Drumlough Pipe Band, 12noon – 1pm
  • 3rd Carrickfergus Silver Band, 1.30pm – 2.30pm
  • Acoustocratz, 3pm – 5pm
  • Streetwise Stiltwalker, 1pm – 5pm
  • Babcock and Bobbins, 1pm – 5pm
  • Captain Morgan, 1pm – 5pm

    Belfast Rose Week in Lady Dixon Park Photo:  © Michael Fisher

    Belfast Rose Week in Lady Dixon Park Photo: © Michael Fisher

TYDAVNET ART STUDENT IN JAPAN

Frances Treanor, Tydavnet, with some of the souvenirs including a gold medal from her visit to Japan   Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Frances Treanor, Tydavnet, with some of the souvenirs including a gold medal from her visit to Japan Photo: © Michael Fisher

TYDAVNET ART STUDENT VISITS JAPAN FOR EXHIBITION OF HER WINNING SELF-PORTRAIT

Michael Fisher    Northern Standard  Thursday 9th July

From sushi to sukiakki and tempura, temples and umbrellas: all these were part of short stay in Japan recently by 18 year-old Frances Treanor from Drumdart, Tydavnet. The trip to Tokyo to represent Ireland in an art exhibition was one of the prizes she received for coming first in the Texaco Children’s Art competition in May, along with a cheque for €1500. Her self-portrait drawing done in black ballpoint pen was part of the 16th International High School Arts Festival along with some other Texaco award winners.  Around 400 works from fourteen other countries were included at the exhibition, namely Japan, Israel, Indonesia, Egypt, Cambodia, Singapore, Thailand, China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Benin, Myanmar, Laos and Russia.

Frances was the guest of Japan’s International Foundation for Arts and Culture and was accompanied by her father, Sean. The exhibition ran from June 24th to July 5th at Japan’s largest art museum, the National Art Centre. Back at her home in Tydavnet she told me about her experiences in Japan, a country she said she would return to if she got a chance.

Her five days there introduced her to Japanese food such as tempura (fish and rice) for which chopsticks were used. She was served dishes of sushi and sukiakki and also got time to do some sightseeing. This included areas such as Harajuku, the Meiji shrine and Takeshita-dori street. She also visited a rural area a few hours outside Tokyo and saw a red panda being fed in the zoo. She noticed that the streets were very clean, as well as being busy and hectic. Everyone was carrying an umbrella, Frances told me, and there were special holders at the entrance to the museum where visitors could leave them.

Souvenirs from Frances Treanor's trip to Japan for an international art exhibition  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Souvenirs from Frances Treanor’s trip to Japan for an international art exhibition Photo: © Michael Fisher

The winning self portrait was completed by her in two weeks and was described by the chair of the judging panel, Professor Declan McGonagle, as having been executed “with the skill and delicacy of a master”. Frances featured among the prizewinners in 2012 when she won second place in her age category for her work “Lighting Up the Imagination”, which also featured in the Tokyo exhibition that year alongside a number of other winning Texaco Children’s Art paintings. She is one of seven children and is in her first year studying art at the National College of Art and Design in Dublin, alongside her twin sister Maeve.

Described as a showcase for the world’s best young artistic talent, the purpose of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture event is to provide an international platform for young people to engage in their artistic exploration of the world and to nurture a broader understanding of the experiences and events that impact on the younger generation across different cultures. Some 10,000 students annually from different countries submit works to the festival.

Ireland's Ambassador to Japan Anne Barrington (left) with Frances Treanor at the exhibition of her self-portrait in Tokyo

Ireland’s Ambassador to Japan Anne Barrington (left) with Frances Treanor at the exhibition of her self-portrait in Tokyo

At a reception attended by the Irish Ambassador to Japan, Anne Barrington, Frances had to speak about herself and her work. She said she was truly honoured to have had her self portrait selected for first prize in the Texaco Children’s Art. She said she felt privileged to have it exhibited on an international stage in Tokyo. She expressed her thanks to the Foundation of Arts and Culture for making it possible for her to be there to participate in such a prestigious event. She explained that for her self portrait she had chosen black ballpoint pen and that previously she had had very little experience of using this medium, therefore it was a particular challenge as every stroke she made was permanent. She said she had been pleased with the finished piece and as she had a keen interest in portrait art, this event had encouraged her to continue to perfect her skill.  She conveyed her thanks to her friends and family, and to Texaco Art who had provided the platform for her to enter such a competition. Finally she thanked her art teachers at St Louis Secondary School in Monaghan, Teresa Mahony and Stephen Penders, who she said had always encouraged and developed her talent. Her next challenge, along with Maeve, is to design some artwork for the Tydavnet jamboree next month.

MONAGHAN BUS INSPECTOR RETIRES

Bus Éireann Inspector Paddy Gollogly waves farewell to the Letterkenny express for the last time at Monaghan bus depot   Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Bus Éireann Inspector Paddy Gollogly waves farewell to the Letterkenny express for the last time at Monaghan bus depot Photo: © Michael Fisher

Monaghan Bus Éireann Inspector Paddy Gollogly Retires  

Michael Fisher  Northern Standard Thursday 2nd July p.2

Bus Éireann Inspector Paddy Gollogly waved farewell for the last time as the Letterkenny express pulled out of Monaghan bus station on Tuesday afternoon. Since 1992 Paddy has been the Inspector at the depot, supervising all passing services at this busy stop, which is also used by Translink cross-border coaches from Derry and Armagh. After 44 years in the job, Paddy was hanging up his Inspector’s hat and looking forward to an active retirement.

Ulsterbus/Translink drivers from Armagh and Derry wish Paddy Gollogly all the best on his retirement Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Ulsterbus/Translink drivers from Armagh and Derry wish Paddy Gollogly all the best on his retirement Photo: © Michael Fisher

A native of Carrickmacross, he began work as a school bus driver in the area in 1971. He progressed to being a road passenger driver in Dundalk and Monaghan, earning promotion to the role of Inspector in Dundalk in 1990. After two years there, he transferred to his native county.

Drivers at Bus Éireann's Monaghan depot say farewell to Inspector Paddy Gollogly Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Drivers at Bus Éireann’s Monaghan depot say farewell to Inspector Paddy Gollogly Photo: © Michael Fisher

On his last day at work friends and colleagues gathered at the depot along with Paddy’s family to wish him well. They included Translink bus drivers from the services to Derry and Armagh. Several local Councillors also came to pay tribute to his courteous and loyal service over the years.

Paddy Gollogly is joined by his family including grandson Ryan for his last day at Monaghan bus depot  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Paddy Gollogly is joined by his family including grandson Ryan for his last day at Monaghan bus depot Photo: © Michael Fisher

They were led by the Cathaoirleach of Monaghan County Council, Noel Keelan. Councillor Keelan said Paddy’s record of service was a fantastic achievement, in helping to transport people around the county and country for so many years. He always had a smile on his face as he dealt with passengers and this helped a lot when it came to dealing with any complaints, Councillor Keelan said. For Paddy it would be a change of life, rather than a retirement and he wished him and his family well. He complimented Paddy, a founder member of Carrickmacross Lions Club, on the huge amount of work he had done for charity. This included an annual Christmas swim at Creevy Lake in Carrickmacross, raising funds for various causes.

Keeping the passengers happy: last call for the Dublin bus!  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Keeping the passengers happy: last call for the Dublin bus! Photo: © Michael Fisher

Paddy’s wife Bernie watched as a stream of drivers and former staff came to greet him. His daughter Elaine brought her infant son Ryan (aged eight months) to greet his grandfather and was joined by her brother Pauric.  It was a big day for Paddy but he was also conscious of the tragedy that had unfolded last week in Tunisia, in which a Bus Éireann colleague from Athlone, Larry Hayes and his wife Martina were shot dead, whose funerals will be taking place tomorrow (Friday). Michael McCormick, a Bus Éireann Inspector from Cavan said he had been told of the tragedy in a text message on Saturday afternoon and was also conscious of the suffering of the Hayes family.

He said he had a lot in common with Paddy, having started with the company in 1970 and he was the first port of call if he needed any back-up. He described Paddy as one of the old stagers and said they would all miss him. “Everywhere you went with Paddy, you had a laugh”, he said. Paddy was a great entertainer and he had enjoyed every hour of his company.

Councillor Paudge Connolly described Paddy as the very friendly face of CIE. Any time you met him, he was in good humour, he said. He did things for customers that went above and beyone the call of duty. He would be very sorely missed at this busy North/South hub and he wished him well on his retirement.

Staff at the Dinkin’s coffee shop at the bus station presented Paddy with a gift to mark his retirement. It was a portrait of himself painted by one of them, Goda Sirutyte, who is from Lithuania and has been in Monaghan for the past year.

Paddy Gollogly with the portrait painted by one of the Dinkin's cafe staff, Goda Sirutyte  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Paddy Gollogly with the portrait painted by one of the Dinkin’s cafe staff, Goda Sirutyte Photo: © Michael Fisher

When news of Paddy’s retirement reached the councillors, they expressed concern that he was not going to be replaced as Inspector. But Councillor Sean Conlon said a lot of lobbying had been done and he was pleased to note that a replacement Inspector had now been appointed. The new man in the post is Jim McFaul, who is moving from Dundalk, where he has been Inspector. He has worked for Bus Éireann for 28 years and has also served in Drogheda as well as Monaghan. He said he was looking forward to the challenge but Paddy would be a very difficult act to follow. He said the issue of buses to and from Monaghan had been raised in the past, particularly the early morning service to Dublin Airport.

He would endeavour to keep them at the top of the agenda. He believed that many people were turning to public transport because of the cost of fuel and running cars and that if a guaranteed, frequent service can be provided, then people would use it.

Special cake for Paddy Gollogly's retirement  Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Special cake for Paddy Gollogly’s retirement Photo: © Michael Fisher

It was a great afternoon of celebration for a popular Inspector who has always done his best to serve the public and the people of County Monaghan during his long career with the semi-state company. The celebrations will continue this Saturday evening July 4th at Corduff Raferagh Community Centre, where Paddy has lived for the past thirty years. A night of music and craic is promised, with refreshments. A buffet supper will be served at 10pm and tickets will be available at the door on the night as the local community expresses its gratitude to Paddy Gollogly.

Paddy Gollogly expresses his thanks to the passengers on the Letterkenny express, who gave him a round of applause Photo:  © Michael Fisher

Paddy Gollogly expresses his thanks to the passengers on the Letterkenny express, who gave him a round of applause Photo: © Michael Fisher