Category Archives: Newmills
Knick-Knack sellers in traditionally Protestant areas of Tyrone have been caught cashing in on the latest demographic figures for NI by targeting the Catholic majority, according to bargain hunters this morning.
The census figures, detailing the religious make-up of Northern Ireland were published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (Nisra) on Thursday. Already, a charity shop in Sion Mills was forced to close after they started selling biographies of previous Popes as well as flashing Virgin Marys, incurring the wrath of several loyal pensioners who ended up stoning the windows.
Moygashel native and former UDR man Willie Black admitted he bought in a load of knee pads for kneeling in the church, from China, after he heard the census results:
“You have to be ruthless in this business. If there are more of themuns, there’s no point in me selling novelty sashes and UDA badges any more. I might have to move to Eglish though for my own safety.”
In Newmills, the local pub was selling Guinness with shamrock heads on them in a change from their usual English bitter and a packet of pork scratchings.
Meanwhile, Protestant schools have started teaching the letter ‘h’ the same way as Catholic schools in case their bosses are Catholic in the future.
Hundreds of parents across the county have been told to cease festivities after street parties broke out after the news that schoolchildren are to return to class full time from September.
Peter Weir’s announcement on the six o’clock was greeted with several audible ‘yeeeeeeooos’ in various townlands from grown men and women, with a serious lack of social distancing on show as drunken parents performed jigs and reels including The Waves of Tory and The Walls of Limerick.
PSNI rural expert Felicity Campbell warned parents:
“Wise up. For parents to be carrying on like that in broad daylight, drinking prosecco and their sad children looking out through their windows is disgraceful. Cookstown seemed to be the worst with the world’s longest conga line up the main street. We had to baton a crowd of delirious parents in Newmills.
With most children not having seen the inside of a classroom since March, many mothers have expressed delight at not having to wash the walls etc before teacher/class Zoom calls with this news.
Meanwhile, teaching unions have reminded parents that their annual gifts from graduating students in June can still be backdated when they return to work.
Our reporters spent most of yesterday wandering around the county asking people, from a safe distance, what their plans are for reintegration into normal life again and what is the first thing they’ll do.
“I’ve had a lot of time to watch old videos. So, as soon as I can, I’m going to raise funds to build a marble statue in the middle of the hamlet of Plunkett Donaghy in the pose when he kicked that ball in the 1986 Ulster Final.” C MACKLE, MOY
“Flat out Massey diffing the whole way to Cappagh” P McCANN, GALBALLY
“This has given me time to reflect, and, in an act of solidarity with our neighbours, I’m going to buy an Urney jersey. I suppose they’re not that bad.” A HARKIN, STRABANE
“Straight to the pub. The bars being closed has turned me into an alcoholic.” K LUNDY, COALISLAND
“The barber. Doing your own colouring is unreliable. I look like an Armagh flag.” O MULLIGAN, COOKSTOWN
“I just want to lay a blanket on the ground, at Drum Manor” P BEGLEY, POMEROY
“I’m going to do a free concert in Donaghmore for all the new hairy Tyrone women out there” M CUSH, DONAGHMORE
“I’m considering swearing an allegiance to Armagh” L FAY, DUNGANNON
“I’m the same as the Mulligan boy above. I feel like I’ve lost my superpower. The barber for me.” J LYNCH, CASTLEDERG
“It has changed me too. I’m going to learn the Lambeg.” M O’NEILL, CLONOE
“I’m going to hunt down anyone who likes Mrs Brown’s Boys” O CORR, COALISLAND
“I’d an idea for a great comedy show called Donaghmore Girls about their lack of razors over the lockdown but looks like Malachi Cush will be in there first with his free concert and all.” M GRIMES, DONAGHMORE
“Starting up a GAA team in Newmills.” R MCSHERRY, COALISLAND
“Starting up an Arsenal Supporters’ Club in Leckpatrick.” G EARLY, LECKPATRICK
“Erect a big outside heater in Garvaghey for goalkeepers. Not standing around there all night doing nothing any more.” N MORGAN, EDENDORK
Brackaville And Newmills To Be Flattened To Make Way For Multi-Million Pound Coalisland International Race Track
Although planning approval has been granted for a £29m Coalisland race track which could play host to international motorsport competitions, residents in Brackaville and Newmills have been informed of the small print which spells bad news for them.
All of Brackaville and most of Newmills is to be flattened to make way for the ambitious venture, with both communities to be permanently re-located to hastily erected shanty houses in Derrytresk and Derrylaughan. For the first months, the evictees will receive a daily £20 food voucher which can be spent in Falls’ shop, excluding multipacks of crisps or 2 litre bottles of anything.
Race track co-ordinator, Becky Campbell, admitted the news might be tough to swallow initially:
“I understand there is some anger being vented towards the plans but if we want the likes of Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel knocking around east Tyrone eating chips, something has to give. We’d thought about flattening Killyman or Lower Annagher but they represent vital thoroughfares for us to get to M1 so it’s the only sensible call. “
Wrecking balls are to begin knocking down everything in Brackaville the day after Hallowe’en with the GAA club first on the list for demolition. Locals have vowed to tie themselves naked to the gates of the pitch which has been met with a ‘go for it’ response from the driver of the crane, Coalisland’s Rosie McSherry.
Derrytresk residents are also planning a protest at the arrival of Newmills ones.
In a bid to raise money for the new donkey sanctuary in Newmills, a charity initiative by the St Mary’s Primary School in Roughan ended up with almost 90 pupil suspensions after a competition to describe Arlene Foster in just one word witnessed some dubious entries.
Foster, who received criticism for her one-word association game with the Sunday Independent to describe a fellow Stormont politician, was going to be asked to present the winning entry with a cheque for £10 and a Wispa bar.
Roughan staff called a halt to the competition after reading just 100 entries, 87 of them too obscene to go to print. Headmaster John Adams admitted he didn’t foresee the dubious quality of adjectives to describe the First Minister:
“It was rough. The first few were bad enough – ‘ballax’ etc – but then it started to get x-rated. I had no idea the P1s had such an extensive and colourful vocabulary. I’ve a fair idea some of the parents got involved in the process and maybe manipulated some of the entries. We had to suspend 87 pupils and just burned the remaining entries because Mrs Hilton kept fainting.”
Roughan confirmed that the £200 raised so far by the competition for the donkey sanctuary will still reach its intended destination, but that there will be a new ‘Acceptable Language’ policy drawn up immediately by the Board of Governors.
It has since emerged that over 10 votes were spoiled by entries using two words to describe Foster. Principal Adams reiterated that ‘effin’ is not an acceptable word anyway.
By East Tyrone reporter, Cullen Powder
Another huge political scandal is due to break out in East Tyrone concerning dogs belonging to Catholic owners receiving DLA.
In many cases the dogs are using mobility scooters and many can be seen in the predominately Republican town of Coalisland. A Protestant man with two clubbed feet complained to his local MLA Sandra Overtheedge that he has been applying for DLA for years and has been repeatedly refused the payment.
The Newmills man, who does not wish to be named, stated
“Them Fenians in the ‘Island get everthing goin. Now that the feckin dogs are getting DLA, it is the last straw “
A local Protestant dog breeder has also complained bitterly. Pam Shiver, who has three ex-Cruft champion dogs nearing retirement age, said they can barely bark never mind walk
“Them wee critters could be doin with a bit of help in their senior years. Some of them Fenian dogs are two to three years old and don’t need mobility payments.”
The reporter from Tyrone Tribulations, who saw the three Crufts dogs in a shed lying near three huge boilers, maintains it was boiling hot in the shed, almost unbearably so:
“It was roastin hot like,” he said, “either they couldn’t walk or didn’t want to leave the hate”.
The local Sinn Fein MLA couldn’t be contacted at the time. Their Coalisland office worker said she was on the rip since the election, maybe in Donegal, and added:
“Ah sure she’ll turn up at some stage.”
We contacted another Sinn Finn MLA from west of the county who stated bluntly:
“Sure we now live in a culture of entitlement and equality and dogs are as entitled to DLA as much as humans”
When pressed on the point about the religious make up of the successful applicants, he stated:
“Times have changed. Sure them Protestant farmers took millions for farm animals in subsidies; sure what’s the problem with a few dogs from the ‘Island getting DLA”
A spokesperson from the Dept of Communities added
“We will get that sorted after the next election in May or, if not, the one in September.”
A few final words on the scandal came from Cookstown:
“Sure all the dogs wear tricolor ribbons tied firmly to their chests and it wouldn’t be surprising if there is another ‘Rising’,”
said the man from the Mid Ulster Mail
Mrs Farmer (88), and her son Adam, are said to be responsible for the inscription, as opposed to the two daughters who believed he should have received a more positive message on the gravestone at Newmills Community Cemetery after Monday’s funeral service.
Defending the inscription, Mrs Farmer maintained that the message they settled upon summed up all that was good about her husband, adding that he was lucky to even have that at all.
“Yes, he had great teeth. But he was an obnoxious, miserable old man. His teeth were the only redeeming thing about him and I should know, after 55 years of marriage. Initially, I just wanted it to say ‘Willie Farmer; He Had Teeth‘ but the son added a bit more information with ‘good’.”
Daughter Emily Farmer maintains there was more to the inscription than met the eye:
“My da went against the grain and left all his land to his daughters in his will. This is simply my ma and our Geoff getting back at him, and him dead.”
The Farmer fiasco is the latest in a spate of gravestone skulduggery in the county after a Tattyreagh wife was chastised by her family for inscribing ‘Jack Quinn; He Lived.’ on his headstone after a tumultuous 61 years of marriage.
The Mid-Ulster council are to vote on a motion that members of the deceased have to write at least one good thing on the headstone from January 1st 2022.
Canadian singer and songwriter, Justin Bieber, who recently disproved the possibility of the Big Bang theory, has finally broken his self-imposed silence regarding the erratic car parking scenario in Coalisland.
For centuries, Coalisland has persisted with a free and easy attitude to parking in the town, with drivers able to abandon their motors mid-drive in order to pop into a shop for a pan loaf or pub for a quick pint, blocking traffic in both directions for up to 20 minutes.
Although locals have a relaxed attitude their archaic traffic system, passers-by from as far away as England and Dungannon have resorted to beeping their horns in frustration at the lack of movement on the Main Street. On several occasions, impatient drivers have found themselves overturned or in some cases missing their wheels after a pronged period of beeping and fist-gesticulating.
In a series of online messages, Bieber commented:
“I’ve kept quiet about this but, banzinga baby, car parks are a gift from God. Know what a mean. The driver peeps from the ‘Island need to chill out and park their vehicles in the lots 24/7. You do the math.”
Apologising to the loyal ‘Beliebers’ in Coalisland for the outburst, he threateningly added:
“I’m happy to take matters into my own hands if the authorities in the ‘Island don’t take my shit seriously. Two words: Nuke your ass. My Beliebers, get out to Newmills as soon as you can. Big time, “
before bursting into a rendition of Where Are You Now, making nuclear bomb gestures with his hands.
Coalisland Lord Mayoress Helen Carter retaliated:
“He’s a wee bollocks.”
Meanwhile Landi’s have launched their ‘Bieber Burger’ which, they say, ‘is deadly’.
The PSNI have warned people in East Tyrone to be wary of a man with a strong South Armagh accent going from door-to-door selling bits of the sky above their houses.
The fraudster, who calls himself ‘Francie’, claims to work for ‘The Sky’ and attempts to sell 16-square feet of sky for £322 in a one-off cash payment. Police have worked out that he targets houses with no satellite dishes in the hope that the residents don’t know much about how Sky TV works.
One woman from Newmills, Dervla Adkins (44), admitted she took on the deal despite having grave reservations about how it all worked:
“Francie from The Sky was very convincing. He said the new Tory government were going to privatise any bits of sky not already bought and that they’d be using it for testing missiles and stuff. I certainly didn’t want that over my roof so I bought it and he gave me a certificate explaining the area of the sky I owned. He said my TV reception would be deadly now too because birds and things would not be allowed to fly through a purchased bit of sky.”
Adkins revealed her suspicions to the police after she spotted a whole flock of blackbirds sitting on her chimney the next day in her recently purchased sky bit, without a care in the world.
The PSNI have received 32 calls from house-owners in the greater Coalisland area who also fell for the sky deal. They were also called to a violent argument in Brackaville over who owned what bit of sky for kite flying and for smoke blowing from chimneys into other bits of sky owned by others.
For the 19th consecutive year, many film aficionados across the county have resorted to violence after Donaghmore man Conor Grimes and his Coleraine comic compatriot Alan McKee were overlooked at the 87th Academy Awards ceremony in LA on Sunday night.
The Donaghmore Road was said to be ‘ablaze alright‘ after fans of the famous pair went on the rampage in Newmills, Pomeroy and in Grimes’ homeplace of Donaghmore, burning hedges and overturning apple-carts. In Coleraine, angry graffiti was daubed on a wall near the Diamond shopping centre including ‘you can stick your gongs up yer holes‘ and ‘for feck sake, lads‘
A friend of the pair informed us that this may be the last straw:
“We’re rightly hacked off, so we are. That’s 19 years running these lads have been overlooked. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two packed it in and went back to the undertaking. Grimes even changed his name from Connor to Conor in order to appease the American audience. It’s fixed so it is. Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts haven’t a patch on these two.”
McKee reportedly purchased a blue tuxedo in The Moy at the weekend, ‘in case they FaceTime us as a surprise‘ he was heard telling shoppers. Grimes had reportedly been on a no-fry diet since last month and was said to be practising smiling and crying.
The pair, who are currently touring the country with their play ‘‘St Mungo’s Luganulk‘, were unavailable for comment although locals commented that Grimes appeared bleary eyed coming out of an off-licence in Dungannon at 2pm, having stayed up all night to watch the awards show with his loyal dog Malachi.
The news adds to a barren run at the Oscars for the Tyrone movie scene. The last trophy to reside in the county was in 1959 by Galbally director John ‘The Red’ Talbot whose 15-minute subtitled Short Film ‘The Dufflecoat Man’, which depicted a day in the life of a door-to-door pitch fork and rake seller in the area, won a whopping 13 awards.
It has been revealed in recent EU cost comparison analysis that a mechanic inNewmills has the second most expensive per hourly rate in Europe, coming behind only a Ferrari garage in Rome.
“Luck-see, there’s a rake of reasons why we need till charge like we do. First you have the dippers about this time of year. They love a bit of overtime in the long evenings. Sure ’cause of the manoeuvres taken to avoid the dippers, we see all sorts through the gates here; new gear boxes, new engines, not to mention fuel filters! That wee Lithuanian lad has been changing one an hour this last week- haven’t ye Dmitri?.”
“Yous boys come here talking about me being dear an all that – sure you just have till look at the bonfires, and the tyres that get used up there, hi. Sure coming up to the twelfth and between now and Halloween you couldn’t keep a tyre about the place for love nor… well, just for love.”
A recent report into the On The Runs (OTRs) in Ireland has confirmed that of the 177’000 inhabitants in Tyrone, almost 100’000 are on the run from something or somewhere. This startling revelation has thrown the Civil Service into chaos as they attempt to examine each case individually, originally thinking they were dealing with only 200 cases.
Chief civil servant Valerie McMahon listed a few of the reasons for the rather large tally of OTRs in the county:
“This is a bit of a nightmare. We asked around Galbally and Moortown for information on who was on the run and nearly every household had a couple of OTRs. In one lane in Galbally, there were 16 on the run from the TV licence man, 12 on the run from their wives, one on the run from buying a round and another dozen on the run from their drunken antics at recent weddings. And that was just the men. We met a woman from Cappagh on the run from her sister after leaving on a pair of straighteners and burning a hole in her Frankie Goes To Hollywood sweatshirt. Categorising these is going to be a logistical hell.”
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness is said to be livid at the suggestion that those on the run from stealing Choc Pops from a local garage in Pomeroy is to be given the same category of offence for those on the run from sticking up Union Jacks in Carrickmore. An insider told us he pleaded for the downgrading of ice lolly thieves:
“Marty went clean mad at Peter Robinson when it was revealed that an on the run Choc Pop burglar would receive a category 4 OTR status, the same as the two fellows from Newmills who put up three Union Jacks outside the toilets in Carrickmore. He says that the deadly summer we had last year left men and women fierce hot and that the ice lolly makers were cashing in on climate change, especially in Pomeroy with it being so high up and all. He didn’t go as far as condone the theft of Choc Pops but intimated that a blind eye should be turned, especially if the OTR is over 70.”
Meanwhile, a traffic warden who nearly gave a ticket to a vehicle in Coalisland last week and went on the run after being spotted licking his pencil by locals, has been told his OTR status will be quashed if he returns to his home in Banbridge.
The Southern Education and Library Board have denied the accusation that they are offering soft qualifications after Dungannon Met announced that from September 2014 a BTEC First Diploma in Codology which will be worth 4 GSCEs if successfully completed. The new course, which will be monitored closely by education boards across Europe, proposes to vigorously examine 16-18 year olds on all aspects of Codology including modules called ‘Acting The Clift’, ‘Bollocksing About’ and ‘Eejit Studies’.
Lecturer Francie Moore from Carnan reckons it will give local Tyrone youths a fine grounding on life before they’re tossed out into the real world:
“Yes, Codology is possibly the most important life-skill a fine young Tyrone woman or man should master before they get their hands dirty with trades or office work. When I was growing up we were forced to learn about codology from probably the age of two. I remember acting the bollocks in P2. These young ones nowadays are well into their 20s before they get to grips with being a clift with any degree of accuracy. Tyrone will be a better place for this course.”
Local sceptic and Newmills greengrocer Johnny Adams remains unconvinced that we’ll see any improvement in general skulduggery in the county:
“I can’t see it. In previous years I’d lose about £400 worth of sweets to thieves per month as well as about £200 worth of damage. Lads and lassies now can’t be bothered to bollocks about and have their heads constantly in phones. This is a waste of taxpayers’ money. You need to pump funds into the primary schools to make sure full blown codology is ingrained by the time they hit the big school.”
The first module called ‘Acting The Lig or Jack’ involves students wrecking about outside the Fort, stealing traffic cones and slagging family members. Their final module after two years involves a 3-hour exam on ‘Being a Complete Frigger’.
The recent spike in petrol and diesel costs have witnessed new and mostly unsuccessful ways to travel from A to B in the county. Just last week, our cameras witnessed one man from Coalisland spend £120 filling his Datsun Sunny before pushing his motor into Roughan Lough in disgust. Jackie Carr, a 70 year old plasterer, almost made his way to do a job in Donaghmore later in the day using an inventive mode of transport:
“I’m not spending any more of my dole/work money on petrol but I’m too old to walk any distance. So I got an old ironing board and tied two hungry labradors to the front of it. I then asked my grandson to run ahead of the dogs with a couple of raw rump steaks hanging out of his back pockets whilst I sat on the ironing board. We got as far as Newmills before the dogs caught up with the lad and near ate the arse clane off him. To be honest the ironing board was in bad shape by then anyway. The sparks were annoying motorists behind. Back to the drawing board for me.”
Other unsuccessful attempts to avoid the rising cost of fuel saw a teacher from Augher jump the whole distance to Fivemiletown until exhaustion set in halfway down Clogher Main Street and a sales rep from Glenelly float in a bucket down the Glenelly River to his office in Plumbridge before being capsized by a big shoal of salmon.
The rising number of horses parked outside the Ulster Herald offices in Omagh suggests all is not lost. One journalists, nicknamed ‘McSherry’, said he’s never felt freer:
“I rent a mare from a boy in Stewartstown and it’s working out rightly. There’s no better feeling than galloping through Pomeroy and Carrickmore with the wind in yer hair and my laptop flung over me shoulder, sticking two fingers up at the motorists and their dear diesel. Picking up the manure is a bit of a handlin but sure it’s swings and roundabouts. I think it’s a horse anyway.”
The Tyrone County Board have confirmed that there’ll be temporary checkpoints set up in the Moortown, Coagh, Cookstown, Crannagh and Donemana on Sunday morning to prevent Derry rogues pretending to be from Tyrone in order to experience that mid August Croke Park feeling. There was great anger and embarrassment in the aftermath of the qualifier against Sligo as complaints were made to the Board of Red Hand supporters who didn’t look like Tyrone people, spoke with a completely different brogue and made gulpins out of themselves in general.
Board executive Mary Graham confirmed strong-hand tactics will be employed in the morning:
“Yes, as well as the five venues mentioned, there’ll be surprise checks by boys jumping out of hedges in Greencastle, Kildress, Strabane, Derrylaughan and Newmills. If we catch any Derry natives pretending to be from here they will be made to turn the car around. A slap or two might also be needed for mouthier ones. Also, there’ll be final checks in the Moy and Aughnacloy in case some slippery ones know the back roads. Zero tolerance. They’re not good for our image. Eating butter from the tub with big spoons from the car-boot is something we just don’t do here.”
Late last night, one culprit was caught speeding through Brocagh before being apprehended on the Washingbay Road. Conleith Gilligan (33), wearing a tshirt with “Tyrone Yer On Yer Own” crudely drawn on with matching headband, admitted:
“Yousins don’t know what it’s like, sur. For 10 years we’ve been sitting on bridges and loanans flicking stones and drinking mineral whilst you’re down in Dublin slappin about. I just want a piece of that, what it feels like. Come on hey, just this wan time sur. I’ll behave. I swear”.
Gilligan was made to strip and walk 9 miles back to his homeland with “I’m A Derry Man” written on cardboard around his neck.
Brackaville, the most pagan village in the northern hemisphere, is today celebrating the longest day in the year by having their biggest party yet according to the postman, Leo McClure. Bonfires lit the landscape coming out of Coalisland up the Brackaville Road from as early as 6am with reports of men and women ‘buck leapin about drinking clear stuff from mineral bottles’.
“Frig me. I’ve been delivering letters up the Brackaville Road for years and thought I’d seen it all. But this morning, it was like a big mad frenzied orgy thing even though there was none of that stuff going on. Just men and wemen leaping about a bonfire buck naked shouting just ‘yahoooo’ and stuff like that. Some of them were teachers, doctors, chapel cleaners and all. They love their midsummer up there, them pagans.”
The name Brackaville itself derives from the old Latin ‘Brak a Vil’ which means Heathens on the Hill. Paganism in the area has been rife since the late 1700s with reports of mad dancing and yahooing in old newspapers at the time. Chief Summer Solstice organiser, Harry Gillis, told us:
“Ah you should see the wee children’s faces this morning when they woke up to hear that it was midsummer. It’s even better than Christmas which we don’t believe in but do it anyway for the craic. How often do you get to see Mrs Campbell out in her bra dancing about and singing songs about goats and flowers? It’s a special day. Them believers down in Coalisland are fierce jealous. Them with their oul sad heads trapsing to the chapel to be told about damnation and looking up the road and seeing the sights up here. It must be tough for them.”
The one-day festival ends at midnight after the sacred ritual of capturing someone from Coalisland and Newmills, placing them in a pot of water and pretending to sacrifice them before letting them go just as the water reaches lukewarm.
For the first time in the history of the town, or from records started in 1944, Coalisland has more dogs than people, sparking fears of a canine takeover at any moment. The current population in the town is 4701, with the dog count approaching 5000 excluding dogs that spend more of their time touring up around Brackaville which itself has a serious dog problem on the horizon. Locals in “The ‘Island” have long been complaining at the sheer volume of stray collies and labradors running amok through the pubs and barbers as well as sitting up in seats in the cafes and take-away sit-ins eating sausages or chips. Local councillor Marnie Lyons is not at all shocked at today’s figures:
“Not surprised in the slightest. It seems that as soon as you hit 65 you get a dog. Those bitches have pups and the oul people just let the offspring run around the roads fending for themselves. Two years ago I was unable to drive down the Lineside as a gang of golden retrievers had blocked the road passing bones and ridin each other. It was a fearsome sight. I reversed before they surrounded the car. I fear for the future. The book Animal Farm we read at St Joes warned that this might happen. The police are doing nothing about it too. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them dogs were working for the PSNI, spying and stuff.”
Brackaville residents are monitoring the situation closely as well as finding ways to cope with their own dog-related problems. Golfer Malachy Herron told us:
“Our hearts go out to the human race in The Island who are now in the minority. We in Brackaville still hold the upper hand by chasing them out to Newmills or Donaghmore but we have our own worries. Whereas the Coalisland dogs appear to be mostly toilet trained, our mutts are soiling all over the place. I was at Mass on Sunday and noticed how everyone was wearing wellingtons in order to wade through the droppings. Some wemen had nose pegs. We’re swimming in the stuff here. It’s man v dog from now on I say.”
The traditional Sinn Fein constituency are preparing themselves for a battle to retain control of the town after it emerged that 1003 people voted for a mysterious Rufus Hound in the last election.
Tensions were electric in Coalisland at the tail end of the week after it emerged that local stage expert Jim Farrell was overlooked in the Academy Award nominations for 2013 for best actor. Despite coming up against competition from Daniel Day Lewis and Denzel Washington, Farrell was convinced that his portrayal of ‘Dinger Campbell’ in Dig Her Up (the story of an ex-UDR man who settles in Coalisland and convinces the locals to dig up the rich coal resting under Annagher leading to great riches for the town but succumbs to a bout of consumption which was lying dormant in the pits since the 1920s) was enough to at least earn a nomination never mind lift the damn thing itself.
“Ah what do you expect from them Yanks. They’ve never wanted a Coalisland man about the place. My father used to tell me about his father who was headhunted by Hollywood producers ever since his take on Jesus in the Primate Dixon’s nativity play reached global news. They flew him over to Amerikay but as soon as they heard his accent he was ostracised. And these were the days of silent movies. Same with me. The Tyrone Times said my performance was ‘unusual, unforgettable and jaw-dropping‘. The Ulster Herald said, ‘his performance was fine – I could hardly tell he had a stutter at all.’ What more does the Academy want? Just because I haven’t checked into an addiction clinic or had follicles from my bollocks transferred to my head shouldn’t exclude me from getting recognition from the world’s theatrical critics. Bastards the lot of them.”
Supporters of Farrell’s work have said they’ll block the road from Coalisland to Dungannon tonight in protest, probably for a lock of minutes around midnight. On a brighter note, Farrell has promised to make his debut as a leading actress in June when he plays ‘Susie McIntyre’ in Balls To That (a young Edendork girl decides to spend her summer holidays in Downings instead of Bundoran and has a romance with a billiard-playing ex-priest) which will screen in Aughnacloy, Beragh and Newmills.
A Brocagh bulb-fitter, Dessie Davidson, yesterday claimed to have beaten off a ‘baste of a shark’ during a charity swim on St Stephen’s Day in Roughan Lough, just outside Newmills. Roughan officials are now investigating the incident and have warned people not to take to the lough unless they feel confident of beating a shark in a scuffle. Davidson, 46, was reportedly shaken up after the incident but has since managed to calm his nerves with an ‘unmerciful feed of stout’.
“Jays it was deadly like. I was swimming away, raising money for the new Mountjoy Donkey Sanctuary, when I felt a presence behind me. I turned and before I knew it I was in a full blown fist-fight with this shark. I don’t think it was local. It was pummelling away with its big leathery fins but I was giving it as good as I got. It was like punching leather at times and I could hear the yelps out of it after I dished out an uppercut or kidney punch. We both drew blood but it swam off first so I’d say I got the better of it. It was a traumatic experience and I’ve been on the batter since. I don’t think it was a swan. Nearly sure about that.”
Although there were no witnesses, Newmills knitting expert Greta Gordon (88) contacted the BBC last night to relate the story of being attacked by a dragon in the grounds of the castle last year during the Chinese New Year festivities. Roughan Castle Security Officals remain sceptical about the incident and maintain it could be Harry Campbell from Brackaville larking about in the shark costume he said he was getting for Christmas.
“No one has been beheaded in the castle since 1641. However, that could change if we find out Davidson was full drunk at the time and just got tangled up in seaweed,” claimed Lough manager Sir William Churchbottom.
He also announced that you can buy ‘I saw the Roughan shark’ mugs and tshirts up at the lough from today.