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January 24th 2007

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Plans for Flight of the Earls Commemoration
By Michael O’Cleirigh

Aidan Haughey, Marketing Manager Donegal Co. Council Flight of the Earls; Joel Meehan, Donegal Town and Canada and Greg Hughes, Highland Radio.

This year the people of Ireland commemorate the 400th. anniversary of the Flight of the Earls, from the port of Rathmullen, on a French ship bound for Spain and plans are already well advanced to mark the event.
On Thursday 11th January, at the old Courthouse, Lifford, Aidan Haughey, Marketing Manager for the commemoration ceremonies, held a presentation to launch the new Earls website. Opening the night Aidan addressed the audience “2007 marks a pivotal moment in Irish history, marking the end of an ancient Gaelic order. On the 14th. September 1607, a group of Ireland’s noble elite left their land and people to find refuge and seek assistance in Europe for their country’s cause. Amongst those who left, Hugh O’Neill, Earl of Tyrone, Rory O’Donnell, Earl of Tirconaill, The Maguire of Fermanagh, family members and dozens of elite soldiers and scholars – 99 souls in total”. Aidan continued “This ‘Flight’ made way for the Plantation of Ulster and was also a key event in the establishment of the Irish Diaspora around the world. Descendants of those who left established themselves as leading lights in their adopted countries and they remain so to this day”.
Pat Daly, vice-chairperson , Dungannon Council then spoke before Mayor of Co. Donegal, Cllr Enda Bonner took the podium to perform the official funtion.
To mark this keystone in Irish history, Donegal Co. Council is co-ordinating a year long commemoration to take place throughout the county during 2007. Donegal is also working in association with other partners in Ireland and Europe, concerning events taking place further afield. Tourism plays a very important role in our economy, and these commemorations will not only honour those who left, but play a vital role in attracting visitor numbers to this NorthWest area of Ireland”. Cllr Bonner then declared offically open the website wwwflightoftheearls
Among events planned for Co. Donegal is an evening of song, music and narration, written/ produced by Paddy Meehan to be held in Donegal Castle, on Thursday 15th. March. This promises to be a very historical and entertaining evening, as an exciting professional lineup of exceptionally talented and experienced artists/musicians - will take us from 1607 right up to the present day.
A major festival is currently at planning stages. On 14th. 15th and 16th September, a three day march from Donegal Town, over the Bluestack Mountains to Rathmullen by 99 people, many dressed in medieval costume, and escorted from Donegal’s Diamond by ‘warriors’ on horseback, will retrace the steps of the ‘Flight’. The first stop will be at the gates of Lough Eske Castle (from where The O’Donnell entourage is reputed to have left), There an historical talk will be given by Helen Meehan. Then up through Edregole, on past Lough Belshade - the first night an overnight stop in Brockagh, second night Ramelton.
On the third day, a huge gathering of walkers and horsemen will retrace the final steps into Rathmullen.
All those physically fit for this trek are encouraged to participate in this unique historical event, if even only to walk a few miles.
As this is a huge logistical undertaking, the core group of 99 must have their names submitted to Anne Leonard, Bridge St., as soon as possible.
Prior to this walk, on the 13th. September, a group, dressed in medieval costumes, will leave from Ballyshannon pier, by boat, and arrive at Donegal pier, where a procession will be held through the town, arriving outside the gates of Donegal Castle.
Those considering walking the full distance should by now have commenced training, building up the miles, on a daily basis. Full details of all above will be featured in further issues.


Keeney continued from front page story

It had been widely expected that the Council’s decision to grant planning permission to Keeney Construction would have been the subject of an appeal to An Bord Pleanala. However the local developer is understood to have invested huge resources in addressing the concerns of those who submitted observations bringing in consultants from Dublin and the UK to negotiate with the five parties. Mr John Hanna, Chairman of the Eske Angling Association who was one of the parties who submitted an observation on the application stated in a letter in our last edition that, ‘Delegates from Keeney Construction have flown in from London and Dublin on numerous occasions and held very cordial and open meetings with us. All points and concerns of the club were taken on board and we are happy that our involvement has secured the future of the River Eske. We will not be pursuing this matter any further. I, on behalf of the club, wish Mr Temple and Keeney Construction every success in their plans, which can only be for the good of Donegal Town’.
Having been refused planning permission for its supermarket on the site at the Mullans/Drumcliff, Bennett Construction are now understood to be busily preparing plans for the erection of a new replacement mart on a site at Tullyearl and for the redevelopment of the existing mart site at Milltown, which will presumably include proposals for yet another Supermarket. With the National Roads Authority vehemently opposed to the erection of a new mart at Tullyearl on policy and public safety grounds, Bennetts are sure to have another mighty battle on its hands. We wish them luck but based on its track record in Donegal Town, Bennetts prospects do not look particularly good.
A spokesperson for Keeney Construction Limited told Donegal Times that ‘the company was delighted to learn that An Bord Pleanala did not appear to have received any appeals from third parties against the Council’s decision to grant permission for the proposed development, as such a scenario would have resulted in significant delays to the project. We would like to publicly thank those who made observations on the planning application for engaging in constructive dialogue with us during its progression and following its subsequent determination by Donegal County Council. We are confident that the scheme will become a role model for successful urban renewal and regeneration of town centres throughout the country.’
We here at Donegal Times congratulate Danny Keeney and team on his success in getting the development through planning. But now the second phase commences - and the Drimarone man has got to deliver. As we say on our ‘Opinion’ piece on page three - for six years we have heard Keeney talk the talk - now he has got to walk the walk. After his gigantic struggle to get this far - we don’t doubt the man’s ability to do so!

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

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