Danish chess champs have West Cork roots

Danish chess champs have West Cork roots

Emil Diederichsen (coach), Andreas Skovgaard,  Emmet Smith, Emil Skovgaard, Sanshiro Kræmmer, Kitschiro Kræmmer and Jakob Brosen (coach)

Emil Diederichsen (coach), Andreas Skovgaard,  Emmet Smith, Emil Skovgaard, Sanshiro Kræmmer, Kitschiro Kræmmer and Jakob Brosen (coach)

by Aaron Barry

RELATIVES in Union Hall are celebrating the second annual victory for  Danish school chess champs Andreas and Emil Skovgaard whose mother Cara O’Driscoll hails from the West Cork fishing village.

Along with their team-mates, Sanshiro and Kitschiro Kraemmer, Andreas and Emil were taking part in the Danish championships in School Chess, which took place at Jetsmark School in Kaas, Jutland, near Aalborg from the forth to the sixth of  April 2014.

Emil was also top scorer as number two board level, winning yet another gold trophy to add to his collection of winnings

They qualified for the national championship after winning the championships for the island of Zealand earlier in the year.

School chess was founded in Denmark over 50 years ago and provides a forum where children can learn to play the classic and strategic board game and participate in tournaments against other students from around Denmark.

The boys’ elder brother, Emmet Skovgaard, came along as the boys coach and was also very successful as he swept the boards in the “outsitter” tournament, getting first place and taking back yet another gold medal for Nyelandsvej School.

Andreas and Emil have been practicing and playing chess at their school in Frederiksberg, Denmark since 2008.

West Cork Arts Centre children’s exhibition

West Cork Arts Centre children’s exhibition

A pupil from St Patrick’s National School in Bandon creating an artwork for inclusion in Abecedary, an exhibition of work by Primary School children at West Cork Arts Centre until Saturday 26 April.

A pupil from St Patrick’s National School in Bandon creating an artwork for inclusion in Abecedary, an exhibition of work by Primary School children at West Cork Arts Centre until Saturday 26 April.

ABECEDARY is West Cork Arts Centre’s Annual Children’s Exhibition. It is an exhibition featuring work by children from Primary Schools throughout West Cork and is currently on show at the centre.


The children’s work has been made possible through the West Cork Arts Centre’s Primary Schools Classroom-based Programme 2013-14 in partnership with West Cork Education Centre. The programme works with children from Infants to Sixth Class, with a dedicated Special Needs Unit, and includes schools spanning the length and breadth of West Cork, from Bandon to Bere Island.

In the autumn of 2013, these ten West Cork Schools visited the WCAC gallery. Here they viewed the exhibition Alphabet which featured 26 print works by Cork Printmakers and sculptures by other artists.


Facilitated by visual artist and Schools and Youth Coordinator, WCAC, Alison Cronin, with visual artist Tess Leak, teachers and pupils were able to return to their classrooms where they then explored what they had seen at the gallery. From this they went on to develop their own works with their focus being on alphabets, letters and words through visual art media.


“It was interesting how that was just a starting point for the schools,” said Alison Cronin, WCAC. “How their work then developed in the classroom took on a different dimension. This year’s project began with a focus on literacy and printmaking, and has expanded to include history, geography, languages, and all areas of the visual art curriculum.


“Pupils have undertaken research, worked in groups, learnt new skills, and discussed their ideas. Teachers have been given the opportunity to work alongside the facilitating artist in developing ideas that combine educational and artistic objectives, as well as building skills that they can take forward into the future. That, in my view, is the real value of our Primary Schools Programme.”


The schools participating in this year’s exhibition are St Josephs National School, Skibbereen, Scoil Naomh Seosamh, Laragh, Bandon, Rath National School, Baltimore, Scoil Mhichíl Naofa, Bere Island, Scoil na mBuachaillé, Clonakilty, Togher National School, Dunmanway, Kilgarriffe National School, Clonakilty, Scoil Phádraig Naofa, Bandon, and St Mary’s Senior School, Dunmanway. Abecedary continues at West Cork Arts Centre until Saturday 26th April. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Skibb bell ringers win Cherry Cup

Skibb bell ringers win Cherry Cup

cherry-cupJulia Lysaght (right), the Irish Ringing Master for the Irish Association of Change Ringers (IACR), presenting the Cherry Cup to Diana Pitcher of the Abbeystrewry Tower team following their victory in IACR’s Southern District change-ringing challenge cup competition held at the Abbeystrewry Church of Ireland in Skibbereen recently.

Ringing for Skibbereen were Diana Pitcher (captain), Anne Dex, Catherine Ebeling, Perry O’Donovan, Jane Hough, and Geoffrey Philips. St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork, were second in the competition and Ft Fachtna’s, Rosscarbery, third. This is the second time Skibbereen have won the cup, having won it previously in 2007.

Glow Run raises €8,000

Glow Run raises €8,000

Glow RunThe proceeds of the Skibbereen 5k Glow Fun Run, a whopping €8,000 was presented recently to COPE Foundation Skibbereen and West Cork Alzheimers Association.

More than 900 people aged from 4 to 75 took part in the event.

West Cork unemployment at lowest level in five years

West Cork unemployment at lowest level in five years

dole-queueTHE latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that unemployment in West Cork is at its lowest level in five years.


According to the figures the live register in Cork has fallen by 10.33% in the past year with 37,177 people on the register in March compared to 41,460 for March 2013, a reduction of 4,283.

A further breakdown of local figures reveals that there was a 12.36% decrease recorded in Bantry, a 10.59% decrease in Bandon, and 10.42% in Kinsale.


Local Labour councillor Tomás O’Brien said, “While I welcome any decline in the live register figures, I am still very aware that there are an unacceptable amount of willing and skilled local people out of work, but these figures are encouraging.


“This drop in the figures reflects the national picture, with the overall number of people now signing on at its lowest point in over five years. These factors all indicate that we are gradually seeing the benefits from the various strategies being pursued on the ground by government to get people off the live register and into meaningful employment.


“I also welcome the recent announcement that SuperValu is to invest approximately €13 million in a new 20,000 sq foot store in Kinsale creating 35 new jobs, brining the total employment at the store to 115.


“I would urge everyone in my area to get behind local job creation. Every euro that we spend locally can go to creating jobs, and local businesses need and deserve our support.”





  March 2013 March 2014 % Fall in Live Register
Bandon 1463 1308 10.59
Bantry 1189 1042 12.36
Clonakilty 1221 1194 2.21
Kinsale 1277 1144 10.42
Macroom 1635 1424 12.91
Skibbereen 1308 1203 8.03


National Pilgrim Paths Day in West Cork

National Pilgrim Paths Day in West Cork

Pilgrim Path  launchMicheál Ó Muircheartaigh joined members of the St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Way to launch the inaugural National Pilgrim Paths Day, which takes place on Saturday, April 19th. Pictured at the launch at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin were Heritage Council Chief Executive Michael Starrett; Chairman of National Pilgrims Path John O’Dwyer; Micheál Ó Muircheartaig; Con Collins of Collins Press, and David Ross.

On Saturday, April 19th thousands are expected to retrace their ancestral heritage as they take to Ireland’s ancient pilgrim paths to celebrate the National Pilgrim Paths Day. Supported by the Heritage Council, this new Easter Festival will see a nationwide series of walking and cycling events take place on Ireland’s medieval penitential trails. In West Cork the St Finbarr’s Pilgrim Walk is a two day event which leaves the Top of the Rock, Drimoleague on Holy Saturday, April 19th and arrives in Gougane Barra on the afternoon of Sunday, April 20th.

Accommodation can be reserved at the Gougane Barra Hotel or the Top of the Rock Pod Páirc, Drimoleague.

For more details see

Skibb’s Silver Band set to shine

Skibb’s Silver Band set to shine


Pic: David O’Sullivan

A PRIZE raffle in aid of Skibbereen’s St Fachtna’s Silver Band will be held on Easter Saturday with proceeds going to help pay for new instruments recently purchased by the band at a cost of €10,000.


Local artist Martin Stone has donated a painting worth €2,500 as first prize and a number of other quality prizes will be on offer as well. The painting will be on view in Field’s SuperValu in the run-up to the draw. Tickets are available from band members and from various outlets around the town.

The new instruments will be used to teach new band members from Easter onwards. There will be a junior member’s recital in the Town Hall on April 30th at 1.15pm followed by and open evening and band registration in the Band Rooms, Emmet Hall in the Fairfield on Saturday May 3rd from 2.30pm – 5pm.


The band will also be giving a recital at the Square on Easter Saturday, April 19th from 3pm-4pm.


Pictured at the presentation of the first prize donation for the upcoming draw were (l-r): Siobhan Leahy; Martin Stone, artist; Niamh Stone, junior band member; Pat O’Driscoll, band member; Conrad Stone, junior band member; Seamus O’Brien, Chairman.

New Union Hall Lifeboat crew complete RNLI training

New Union Hall Lifeboat crew complete RNLI training

Union Hall trainees at the RNLI Lifeboat College, Poole, Dorset. Back (l-r): Anthony Walsh, Martin Limrick, Lee Miles, Michael Limrick, Stephen Hurley, Richie Browne, Hugh McNulty, Tim O'Donovan Front (l-r): Tim Forde, Chris Collins, Johnny McKenna, Shane Hurley.

Union Hall trainees at the RNLI Lifeboat College, Poole, Dorset.
Back (l-r): Anthony Walsh, Martin Limrick, Lee Miles, Michael Limrick, Stephen Hurley, Richie Browne, Hugh McNulty, Tim O’Donovan
Front (l-r): Tim Forde, Chris Collins, Johnny McKenna, Shane Hurley.

by Louise Roseingrave


WINCHING, night navigation and pyrotechnics formed part of intensive training completed last weekend by the new Union Hall RNLI crew.


The crew of 12 completed two weeks of training at the RNLI’s purpose built college in Poole on England’s south coast.

The RNLI operates a “pilot ladder” training scheme, whereby crews complete systems of training beginning with a competent knowledge of their role and responsibility and work up to technical specialities such as helicopter operations and casualty assistance.


In Union Hall, organisation of fundraising activities is underway ahead of the expected arrival of the B Class Atlantic 75 inshore lifeboat for its two year trial – in June.


Moloney’s Bar in Union Hall is holding a Race Night in aid of the RNLI this Saturday March 29th at 8pm.


As part of the RNLI’s Mayday fundraising campaign, local fundraisers are planning a Flag day on Friday May 2nd and are calling on volunteers to help.


On Sunday May 4th the proceeds of the Nora Deasy Memorial Coffee Day in the home of Bill Deasy and family (Keelbeg, Union Hall) takes place. The coffee morning includes sales of new RNLI merchandise, along with a cake sale, bouncy castle and face painting.


The merchandise includes t-shirts, jackets, fleeces, pens and notebooks. A similar coffee morning on the May Bank holiday last year raised €3,500 with proceeds split between three charities. This year, all proceeds go the RNLI ahead of the arrival of the B-class lifeboat.


“With the arrival of our D Class lifeboat to Union Hall in June, and the continued support of our benefactor Dr Raymond Fielding we are looking for more hands on deck to help us at these events. By attending our AGM, you might not like to take on a role but you could be classed as a committee member, where you might like to help out at an event/events, there is never any pressure to attend these but if you are available and would like to help out we would be most grateful,” Pamela Deasy of the RNLI’s Leap, Glandore & Union Hall

fundraising branch said.


To volunteer, contact Pamela Deasy on 086 320 2073 or see Leap, Glandore & Union Hall fundraising branch of RNLI on Facebook.


Pick up tickets to Saturday’s night’s Race Night at Moloney’s in Union Hall, or visit Moloney’s Bar on Facebook for updates.

Permission granted for proposed Skibbereen Community School

Permission granted for proposed Skibbereen Community School

The proposed new school. Pic: Mullarkey Pedersen Architects

The proposed new school. Pic: Mullarkey Pedersen Architects

PLANNERS in Cork County Council have granted conditional planning permission for the proposed new Skibbereen Community School which is set to replace Mercy Heights, De la Salle and Rossa College and bring them all together under one roof.


The new state-of-the-art secondary school will accommodate 900 pupils in a new two-storey building with 30 specialist classrooms, 23 general classrooms, a PE hall, general purpose hall, canteen, offices, and a four special needs unit.

The development on a 19-acre site at Gortnaclohy will also include 95 car parking spaces, a new access road, bus turning circle and drop-off and pick-up facilities and fire tender access road.


A new pedestrian link to North Street will also be developed as well as five ball-courts, a GAA playing pitch and SNU play area. The overall site area will be landscaped with grass/planted areas and complete with new boundary treatment.


Further site works include an extension of the Gortnaclohy Link Road north from High Street to the new school entrance and new temporary roundabout and realignment of High Street between the existing Gortnaclohy Link Road junction and Poundhill, including the reconfiguration of the entrance to Poundhill estate and all associated site works.


The project will be delivered as part of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) programme, with the private sector bearing the initial cost of the project which should ensure that the new school will is delivered more quickly.



“Some of the buildings which house these three schools are in need of repair. It makes sense, as part of the €280 million provided for investment in the education sector, to build a replacement school instead of pouring money into restoration works.


“By building new premises, we will stimulate the local economy, create jobs in the badly hit construction sector and ensure cost saving measures for the State,” he said.

Former Skibb mayor will not contest local elections

Former Skibb mayor will not contest local elections

Brendan Leahy

Brendan Leahy

SITTING Labour Party county councillor, Skibbereen town councillor and former town mayor Brendan Leahy has confirmed he will not be standing for re-election at the upcoming local elections.


Mr Leahy who works as a paramedic supervisor for the HSE said that with the new larger constituency he felt he would not be able to give the job the commitment it deserved.

Speaking to West Cork Times, Mr Leahy said, “It’s been an absolute honour and a privilege to serve the people of Skibbereen and West Cork and it wasn’t an easy decision to make.


“With work commitments and family commitments it would have been very difficult to cover the larger area as well as I would have liked,” he said.



Paying tribute to Cllr Leahy, Tanaiste and Labour Party leader Eamon Gilmore said, “I fully respect the decision by Councillor Leahy and want to acknowledge the sterling work done by him during his tenure as a public representative for the Labour Party.

“I wish to record my sincere appreciation for his distinguished public service during this time to both his constituents and to the Labour Party.

“Our focus now is to find a replacement candidate in order to ensure that we retain our seat the West Cork Local Electoral area.”


Brendan Leahy was elected to Skibbereen Town Council in 1999, elected to Cork County Council in 2009, and was a poll-topping Mayor of Skibbereen.