Roddy Doyle at Kilmore Quay literary festival

1993 Booker Prize winner RODDY DOYLE at the Write By The Sea festival in Kilmore Quay on Saturday.

By Dan Walsh at Kilmore Quay

One of the country’s leading literature festivals, Write By The Sea, was officially opened in the Stella Maris Centre, Kilmore Quay, earlier this evening by Prof. Kevin Rafter, Chair of the Arts Council of Ireland, and it continues on Saturday and Sunday with more than 40 writers taking part.

Saturday’s highlight is the presence of Dublin-born Booker Prize winner Roddy Doyle, award-winning novelist, writer of short stories, screenplays and dramatist, son of a Wexford mother (Ita Bolger Doyle), will be in the Stella Maris Centre at 5pm.

Roddy Doyle is the author of eleven novels, a collection of stories, and Rory & Ita, a memoir of his parents. He has written five books for children and contributed to a variety of publications including The New Yorker, McSweeney’s, Metro Eireann and several anthologies. He won the Booker Prize in 1993, for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.
Roddy has written for the stage and his plays include Brownbread and Guess Who’s Coming For The Dinner. He co-adapted with Joe O’Byrne his novel The Woman who Walked into Doors and he co-wrote with Bisi Adigun a new version of The Playboy of the Western World.

He also wrote the screenplays for The Snapper, The Van, Family, When Brendan Met Trudy and co-wrote the screenplay for The Commitments. He lives and works in Dublin.

The Sunday highlight will happen in the Stella Maris Centre at 5pm on Sunday when author Claire Keegan makes an appearance soon after being shortlisted for the 2022 Booker Prize. Keegan’s Small Things Like These, which, at 116 pages, is the shortest book in terms of pages in the prize’s history.

Award-winning Keegan chats with Dr Richard Hayes, Head of Strategy, South East Technological University, about writing, teaching, ideas and inspiration, creativity and originality.

Keegan, who was brought up on a farm in Wicklow, close to the Wexford border, published her first volume of short stories, Antarctica, in 1999, and it went on to win the Rooney Prize for Irish Literature. Her other acclaimed works include Foster and Walk the Blue Fields.

It may be a bit late for bookings, but for tickets, programme updates and more information about the festival and the writers see writebythesea.ie

Open Day on Sunday at Fethard-on-Sea

RICHARD FINN proudly exhibiting the hull of the replica Helen Blake Lifeboat Project at Fethard-on-Sea in advance of next Sunday’s Open Day.

By Dan Walsh at Fethard-on-Sea

“We have reached the milestone of completing the construction of the hull of the replica Helen Blake and holding an Open Day next Sunday,” Richard Finn, Director of the Helen Blake Community Group at Fethard-on-Sea has told WexfordLocal.com and the hope is that a large number of people will come along to view the progress of this exciting project.

The group are building a replica of the Helen Blake Lifeboat which sank off the Keeragh Islands, off Fethard-on-Sea in 1914 with the loss of nine crewmen. The boat is being constructed by hand using traditional methods to replicate the original.

The focus of the project is to develop community skills in boat building, carpentry and marine tourism. The boat is being built by a team of participants from the Ballycullane Community Employment Scheme, Wexford Local Development TÚS workers and volunteers, under the guidance of master shipwright and craftsman, John Colfer.

The boat is currently in the latter stages of construction, with the boat anticipated to be completed and seaworthy by 2023.

AUDIO ADDITION ; RICHARD FINN, Director, The Helen Blake Community Group taking to DAN WALSH about the project.

Drumgoold Villas gets water upgrade

By Dan Walsh

Work has commenced this week on replacing ageing backyard water mains and providing new service connections for customers in Drumgoold Villas in Enniscorthy.

The works in Drumgoold Villas involve the decommissioning of ageing back yard water mains and the delivery of over 190 metres of new water mains constructed along the public road.

Outlining the benefits the Backyard Service Replacement Project will bring, Joe Carroll from Irish Water, explained to WexfordLocal.com: “Replacing these old and problematic pipes in Drumgoold Villas will reduce the drinking water lost by leakage and will bring an all-round improvement to water quality for the local community. 

Mr Carroll added: “In partnership with Shareridge Ltd and Wexford County Council, we have been engaging with the residents and aim to complete the works with as little disruption as possible. However, the works may involve some short-term water outages, but our project team will ensure that customers are given a minimum of 48-hours’ notice prior to any planned water outages. 

“Where watermains are being constructed, traffic management may be in place. Parking spaces may be temporarily closed in order to complete works. Local and emergency traffic will be maintained at all times,” concluded Mr Carroll. 

JOE CARROLL, IRISH WATER; “Replacing these old and problematic pipes in Drumgoold Villas will reduce the drinking water lost by leakage and will bring an all-round improvement to water quality for the local community.” 

These latest water mains replacement follow hot on the heels of crews who were in Pearse Road, St. John’s Villas and on the Old Dublin Road in Enniscorthy where hundreds of new water mains were constructed along the public road, bringing a safer and more reliable supply to residents there.

The project involves the replacement of water connections, typically made of iron or lead, that were installed in the back gardens of some older housing estates. The pipework, due to age and deteriorating condition, are a significant source of leakage and reduced levels of service.

Backyard services are usually shared, running through several neighbouring properties, making it difficult to detect and repair leaks. Since all properties share a connection, leaks and bursts affect all properties; usually resulting in low pressure. 

Irish Water’s customer care helpline is open 24/7 on 1800 278 278 and customers can also contact us on Twitter @IWCare with any queries. For updates, please visit the Water Supply Updates section of the Irish Water website or set your location on the website www.water.ie

Closure of Enniscorthy’s Tanyard Lane

By Dan Walsh

They are now calling it the alleyway, the natives will know it as the Tanyard Lane, but Wexford County Council has announced closure of the narrow passageway from Parnell Road (old Dunnes Stores) car park to Rafter Street effective from next Monday, September 26th to Friday, October 14th.

TANYARD LANE at Enniscorthy will be closed for three weeks from Monday.

Members were informed of the temporary disruption to normal pedestrian traffic at last Monday’s monthly meeting of Enniscorthy Municipal District Council and they say it is to facilitate essential resurfacing works.

“No pedestrian or vehicular access to the alleyway will be facilitated for the duration of the works. Pedestrian detours will be in place via Parnell Road and onto Weafer Street for the Market Square area.

“These works are weather dependent and as such start/completion date may be subject to change.

Apologies from Wexford County Council for any inconvenience caused during this time.”

Award for brave Rosslare RNLI hero

David ‘Dave’ Maloney receives his award from RNLI Operations Director John Payne at Rosslare RNLI Station.

By Dan Walsh

Former Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager, David Maloney has been awarded a Commendation from the Operations Director of the RNLI for his role in a rescue in September 2016, where his actions saved the life of a woman trapped in a cabin on a yacht which had been dashed on rocks in the harbour

In the early hours of September 14th 2016 during a strong north-west gale, a small yacht owned and crewed by a Swedish couple entered Rosslare Harbour. On arrival, the engine stalled and the yacht was blown onto on the rock armour where it was pummelled by waves.

A call for help was raised and Rosslare lifeboat was launched. However, due to the location of the casualty vessel, the lifeboat was unable to reach the yacht from the water. Rosslare RNLI volunteer Jamie Ryan arrived at the scene with the station Lifeboat Operations Manager David Maloney and found a man standing on the quay wall looking at the yacht, clearly in shock. In sympathising with the man on what they thought to be the loss of his vessel, they discovered that his partner was still onboard.

With the yacht being broken up by the waves, Jamie discussed the option of using a rope which could be put around Dave’s waist, to reach the woman, but they both realised there would be no time for this. The woman was in immediate risk of being pulled out to sea and lost. Using his skill and lifeboating knowledge and with the waves pummelling the vessel, Dave manoeuvred across the rocks and into the cabin of the yacht. Once there he took hold of the women and pulled her out of the cabin and up to the safety of the quay wall.

Dave never sought recognition for his action that night, but the station put him forward for his role in the rescue and during a recent Coast Review visit by the RNLI, the Operations Director, Mr. John Payne, presented Dave with the RNLI commendation. In doing so, the charity wished to acknowledge his brave actions that night and recognise it as a life saved by an RNLI volunteer.

Commenting on the honour, Rosslare RNLI Lifeboat Operations Manager Jamie Ryan, who succeeded David in the role, said, “we are delighted that David has been officially recognised by the RNLI for his incredibly brave action that night five years ago, which saved a life. It was a split-second decision but one that was made with years of experience and knowledge of lifesaving behind it. It could have easily been a tragedy and I’m sure was a traumatic experience for the couple. David embodies the best of our lifesaving ethos and we are very proud of him and his role at our station.”

630 film industry jobs coming to Borleigh Manor

By Dan Walsh in Gorey

Cllr Donal Kenny, Chair of the Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District was delighted to welcome the news of the Tara film studios at Borleigh Manor, Kilanerin, which itself is very fitting given its historical association with Hollywood actors in the past. Up to 650 jobs will be created in the film industry.

CLLR DONAL KENNY, Chair Gorey Kilmucjridge Municipal District.

Speaking to WexfordLocal.com following yesterday’s (Monday) monthly meeting, where the news of the successful planning application was announced, Cllr Kenny said; “I am delighted to see this investment which will have a positive impact for local businesses and communities. Wexford has a strong reputation for people with skills in the construction sector and during the building phase and when the film studios are up and running will bring jobs to the Gorey area in terms of tourism, food and supply side opportunities. 

“We have great people in North Wexford and organisations such as the Gorey School of Art who will be delighted to support opportunities for people to get into the film sector and develop their careers. 

“This announcement will really put North Wexford on the map given the calibre of the highly experienced people behind the project. I am delighted on behalf of the elected members and the people of Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District to welcome the news today of this investment and I want to congratulate all involved”.

The news was broken during today’s meeting in Gorey Civic Centre and confirmed by Liz Hore, Director of Services. It was welcomed by all members including Cllr Anthony Donohoe and Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin who told the meeting; “This news is ground -breaking for the whole south-east. Borleigh Manor was once the home of Richard Greene (Robin Hood) and was visited by Elizabeth Taylor and other big film stars from the past.” Cllr Ó Súilleabháin said it was great for engineers, Screen Wexford, the Arts Officer etc., and brilliant for the South East.

RICHARD GREENE.. famous actor who played Robin Hood in the TV series from 1955 until 1959 and lived at Borleigh Manor from ca-1966 to 1972.

Cllr George Lawlor, Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council was delighted to announce the green light by An Bord Pleanála for the Tara Film Studios development for North Wexford.  He stated that the film studios were a major uplift to the economy of Wexford and Ireland’s eastern corridor, demonstrating the strategic strengths of Wexford’s motorway connectivity to Dublin creating a major film hub for the industry. 

“This is one of the most exciting developments to create real jobs for the people of Wexford and I am delighted as the Cathaoirleach of Wexford County Council to applaud Tara Film studios for their vision and commitment to Wexford with this significant investment project”, said Cllr Lawlor, who added further that earlier this year he had held very productive meetings with the Savannah Film Commission about developing further potential economic partnerships with Wexford and that Tara Studios would cement this opportunity, particularly in nurturing skills and talent for the film industry across a range of sectors. 

Tom Enright, Chief Executive of Wexford County Council highlighted how the announcement was a significant boost to the local economy and a real gamechanger for the County. He outlined that the planning permission was granted by Wexford County Council in January of last year and then went to An Bord Pleanála who approved the planning permission for the major strategic project today. 

“The investment by Tara studios will see the construction of seven studio stages, ten workshops and two office buildings, demonstrating the scale of the investment for North Wexford. I am delighted to see the economic benefits of this project which, with a major film production could create 630 jobs in Wexford, which is the equivalent of three major IDA announcements.  This does not capture the employment gains in the construction phase with 120 jobs expected followed by indirect employment opportunities in terms of maintenance contracts, equipment supply, set design and landscaping”.

BORLEIGH MANOR, near Kilanerin, pictured in 1919. Photo courtesy of 100 Wexford County Houses, (pub. 1996 and revised edition in 2001) researched and compiled by Dan Walsh.

Mr Enright stated this was one of the “best days for the County and Wexford County Council positioned the film industry as one of our job creation pillars in recognition of the vibrant cultural assets in the county and growth in the global film and television sector.  We established Screen Wexford to ensure the right skills and training to support the industry and create as much local employment as possible.  This really positions Wexford’s reputation as an investment location and an ideal place to do business.” 

Al Butler is the film co-ordinator with Screen Wexford which is an initiative of the Arts and Economic sections of Wexford County Council. He stated that Screen Wexford are incredibly excited about the news of planning being granted for Tara Studios in North Wexford. This announcement is a real catalyst for the film industry in County Wexford.

“We have a huge amount of creative talent and stunning film locations, but the addition of Tara studios takes the local film industry to another level. Tara Studios will provide incredible cultural and employment opportunities for County Wexford and Screen Wexford are looking forward to being able to support national and international productions and to working on the development of new and experienced Wexford-based talent in the screen sector”.

St. Waleran’s homes is two years away?

SEPTEMBER 3rd 2021; Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien and Cllr Barbara-Anne Murphy display plans for St. Waleran’s, on the site at Balytegan, Gorey. Also in photo (left to right); Carolyne Godkin, Director of Services, Wexford County Council, Tom Enright CEO, Cllrs Donal Kenny, Joe Sullivan and Andrew Bolger, Minister James Browne, Diarmuid Heuston, Senior Executive Planner, Wexford County Council, Cllr Pip Breen, Cathaoirleach Gorey-Kilmuckridge Municipal District Council and Senator Malcolm Byrne. (Pic; Patrick Browne).

By Dan Walsh at Gorey Civic Centre

Housing issues has become an almost divisive subject with members of Gorey Kilmuckridge Municipal District but following a presentation on the future of the St. Waleran’s site and a discussion at today’s monthly meeting at Gorey Civic Centre it is expected that the first key turns could be 18 months to two years away.

CEO Tom Enright told members that the Council paid €20,000 per acre for 70 acres following a fire in 2019 that destroyed St. Waleren’s House and he stated that he understood the urgent need for housing in the district and Phase 1 would consist of ‘affordable housing’.

Cllr Anthony Donohoe pointed out that the Council had the site for three and a half years now and he would like to see”it going forward”. He was supported by Cllr Willie Kavanagh and Cllr Pip Breen who stated; “it has the potential to be an attractive and desirable place to live.”

Cllr Fionntán Ó Súilleabháin said it was the ideal eutopian model town. “This is brilliant news. Well done. Anything that can be done to make it happen quicker is welcome.”

Having seen the presentation Cllr Mary Farrell described the plan as “fantastic” and claimed; “it is like looking into the future.”

Cllr Joe Sullivan said it was very welcome to see it moving on and added that it is “a brilliant development”, and he asked about the timeline for a key in the door!

Mr Enright said it would take three months to get planning in the traditional way but if given to a private developer it would be a quicker way to do it and accelerate the process.

Mr Enright would hope for some delivery within 18 months, and he explained some of the planning process. He said the first thing to do is to get planning for 140-170 units in the first stage (Phase 1) for social, affordable and private housing.

Cllr Diarmuid Devereux referred to “a new town within town” in 1-2 years “and we are getting there and the development at Creagh could provide another 80 houses.

Mr Enright suggested a proposal to bring the plans before a full meeting of Wexford County Council to start the planning process and this action was endorsed by the members.

Engineer Shay Hamill said the Council has an opportunity to make the best possible use of the land and this could only be achieved with good planning. “It is a super site and we don’t want to loose the character,” he added.

Director of Services Liz Hore referred to the maturity of the hedgerows and green spaces that make it financially viable.

Cllr Diarmuid Devereux concluded that Gorey district was on target for the 30% forecast in housing growth and the CEO agreed that the Council’s “biggest land bank” was going in the right direction. “There is light at the end of the tunnel for social, affordable and private housing,” he concluded.

Search for missing teenager

Gardaí in Wexford are seeking information on the whereabouts of 17-year-old Ahmed Kafer Esmael Mohamedomer who is missing from his home in Kilrane.

Ahmed Kafer Esmael Mohamedomer

Ahmed was last seen on Friday night at around 10pm.

He is described as being 5 foot 8 inches in height with a stocky build with black hair and brown eyes.

It is unknown what he was wearing at the time he went missing.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Ahmed Kafer Esmael Mohamedomer – are being asked to contact Wexford Garda Station on 053 9165200, the Garda Confidential Line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Attack on leisure facility at Enniscorthy

The scene that greeted users of the Enniscorthy Riverside Walk on the Promenade following weekend vandalism.

By Dan Walsh at Enniscorthy

The south side of the Enniscorthy Riverside Walk has been closed on safety grounds following a deliberate act of vandalism that occurred on the iconic footbridge over the River Urrin on Saturday night.

A number of timber steps were destroyed and made unsafe for public use. Warning signage has been erected and the entrance to the footbridge is cordoned off.

Staff from Wexford County Council inspected the damage this morning and the matter has been reported to Enniscorthy Garda Station. A spokesperson for Enniscorthy Municipal District Council condemned the incident today and told WexfordLocal.com that the Council has plans to restore the footbridge to pristine condition and tenders have already come in. 

Many people who avail of the leisure facilities beside the River Slaney and along the Promenade regularly were angered by the destruction when WexfordLocal.com visited the damaged area today. Many felt it was “a disgraceful thing to do” while others wondered “is anything sacred anymore and can delinquents not leave public amenities alone!”

Established as the Country Walk in 2010, the popular trail is a 6km round trip scenic walk along the western bank of the River Slaney south of Enniscorthy town. The trail starts along the promenade walk at the southern end of the town and heads past a playground, crosses a footbridge at the River Urrin and follows a gravel path through a semi-wild meadow which is part of an extensive Special Area of Conservation.

Gardaí in Enniscorthy are investigating the matter and would like to hear from witnesses on 053 924250 the Garda Confidential line 1800 666 111 or any Garda Station.

Traffic plans for big ploughing event

Managing Director of the National Ploughing Association ANNA MAY McHUGH at a reception for the championships at Johnstown Castle last week with CLLR LISA McDONALD, Cathaoirleach Rosslare District Council and CLLR GER CARTHY.

By Dan Walsh

The National Ploughing Championships is Europe’s largest outdoor agricultural trade exhibition attracting an estimated 300,000 visitors over three days and the 2022 renewal takes place at Ratheniska, Co. Laois, Tuesday to Thursday, this week.

Cathaoirleach of the Rosslare Municipal District, Cllr Lisa McDonald welcomed ploughers from Germany, France, America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as many other countries to Johnstown Castle last week ahead of the upcoming World Ploughing Championships.

Also welcomed at Johnstown Castle was Anna May McHugh, affectionately known as “the ploughing queen”, Managing Director of the National Ploughing Association who first started working at the championships in 1952.

Roads from Wexford via Carlow will be busy with heavy traffic attending the championships and An Garda Siochana has issued some advice for motorists.

“With large crowds expected to attend we would advise all those travelling to the event to allow additional journey time, follow directional signage and instructions of Gardaí along the routes and enjoy your day.    

Traffic Management Plan:

Gardaí are advising motorists to:

  • Identify and follow the traffic management plan for your best route to the event.
  • Follow event signage (route and carpark). 
  • Do not follow directions on Sat Nav devices, the specific routes are available on your Sat Nav using this link
  • Follow the directions of Gardaí and stewards.
  • If you have a vehicle pass make sure it is clearly displayed on the front window.