A gathering of 5600 sky enthusiasts were left disappointed and angry after social media outlets wrongly reported a clear and permanent sighting of the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) on Saturday and Sunday nights in Tattyreagh. Locals have denied it was another ploy to raise funds for the football club.
Skygazers from as far afield as Russia and Taiwan converged on the small townland only to discover the lights were simply Omagh in the distance.
Japanese astronomy expert Jon Hi was particularly upset after flying to Ireland with 140 of his countrymen:
“Some shower. I read on Twitter that the North Pole’s Aurora Borealis were brilliant in Tattyreagh. After finding it on the map, we made a 15000 mile journey only to find out it’s just the new streetlights Omagh up the road. I’m mightily pissed off with Tattyreagh and I’m going to blacken its name in Japan forever more.”
Tattyreagh Tourism Director Killian Hanratty denies it was a devious ploy to boost tourism to the area:
“They’re scandalous accusations being bandied about by them Fintona ones. I can’t deny that we’ve made serious money from the crisps and mineral stall we happened to have on the side of the road beside the big field that people were congregating on. 5000 thirsty people afterall. The proceeds will go towards new toilet facilities at the football pitch.”
This is the second time Tattyreagh has featured in the international news for a mistaken phenomenon. In 1986, thousands again flocked to Tattyreagh to see Halley’s Comet which had reportedly fallen onto the football field. It was later proven to be a Superser gas heater with all bars on. The money taken from the crisps and mineral stall that year paid for the football club’s new stand.
Following on from yesterday’s news that Greencastle had tabled a motion at the Tyrone Congress that the Sperrins be moved from their present location, it has emerged that they have received vociferous backing from Kildress, Gortin and Donemana. In an added twist to the sensational developments, Glenelly, Strabane and Plumbridge have promised to fight tooth and nail to keep the mountain range exactly where it is for varying reasons. Donemana’s Richard O’Neill explains the stance of the four pro-removal townlands:
“Yousins in the rest of the county don’t know what it’s like to wake up til this giant thing towering over you everyday like big mad parent. Every buckin day. And what it is? A big hape of moss and bogland – useless to man and beast. They talk about the beauty of Mullaghcarn Mountain. It’d be damn well beautiful to me if it was sitting in Benburb or Trillick. And it’s freezing here. The sun can’t get at us. Sure you only have to look at the complexion of us indigenous peoples stretching the whole way across to Lissan. You’d think we’d been in solitary confinement all our lives with the gaunt skin and bags under the eyes. There’s so much we can’t see here – Portrush, the Aurora Borealis and the North Pole. It’s just not fair and another thing – there’s no drying at all here if the wind is coming from the north. That gigantic useless lump of turf blocks the whole thing. We’re calling on the Tyrone Sperrin Society to consider moving the range to the south west of the county of maybe abroad to Portygal or Egypt.”
Glenelly’s tourism spokesman, Eddie Parton, refutes the claims of the foursome:
“Listen, if them mountain glipes from Kildress hadn’t cut down all the trees 6000 years ago then it’d be a thing of beauty. They’ve greedily bogged the land out with their incessant burning of things. They’re always burning things down there. The Sperrins are crucial to tourism around these parts. Hikers usually try to go up them only to find it’s too wet and soggy and just freewheel down to here or to The Plum to buy coats and flasks and things. The Sperrins are here to stay I say. What about that lovely song concerning Slieve Gallion Brae:
My name is Joe McGarvey as you might understand
I come from Derryginnet and I own a farm of land
Are there better lyrics on the planet than that opener?”
The four protagonists have been slow to distance themselves from a telephoned threat from a group calling themselves the Strabane Slashers to the tourism board warning that if the vote doesn’t go in favour of the removalists, they’ll blow the mountain range up anyway. Richard O’Neill added:
“We do not condone the use of explosives to rid ourselves of this monstrosity but let’s not get carried away. There’s worse things in the world than a couple of lads from Strabane blowing up the Sperrins.”
The Tyrone tourism board are to make a decision next week. They will also try to ask the Sperrins themselves by listening to the ground with a cocked ear.