With record December temperatures showing no sign of abating, Strabane Council have revealed plans to put on a free ‘Turkey on the Barbie in Strabane’ on Christmas Day, placing the West Tyrone town on a par with Bondi Beach and Kenya during the festive period.
In a further development, Strabane linguist Jonathan Hinney maintains he is a shade darker than he was a week ago, attributing the sudden tanning to the warmer climes experienced in the province during the last few weeks.
“There has definitely been a change in my appearance since last week. I’ve been doing a lot of outside loitering and gaunching about recently and I think the exposure has had an effect, making me the first Irishman to get a tan in Ireland, naturally, in winter since records began in Castlederg in 1855. Strabane is currently a mild outdoor sunbed.”
In a loosely related incident, Hinney’s shower has been banjaxed during the same period, casting serious doubts on his tanning claims.
Meanwhile, the Strabane open-air Christmas Day turkey barbecue has already sold 38 tickets, despite claims from locals that the council got a bit too excited the day the temperature hit 15 degrees Celsius.
Lord Mayor Linda Shelley has pleaded with locals to trust their judgement:
“We have it on good authority from Frank Mitchell that it’ll be in the mid-20s on Christmas Day. I urge Strabanonians to ditch their jumpers and coats and don their finest swimwear and put the Aussies to shame. Global warming is not all bad, is it.”
Hugo Duncan has yet to confirm rumours that he’ll be lighting the barbecue wearing only a pair of tight red trunks.
A 32-year old Canberra native, who painstakingly traced his family lineage right back to Brocagh in East Tyrone, is said to be ‘utterly dejected’ after receiving what at best could be called a ‘lukewarm reception’ after touching down in the area last week.
Bruce Campbell arrived in Belfast after a gruelling 32-hour flight from the Australian capital and finally reached the Ballybeg Road in Brocagh by bus and taxi armed with only the names of his last two surviving relatives – Pat and Mick Campbell – from the same road.
Bruce took up the story:
“When I was dropped off on the road, I was hungry, dirty and severely sleep-deprived. Yet, unbelievably, the first man I met on the this deserted country road on a bicycle was my 4th cousin removed – Mick Campbell. It was like all my Christmases put together. I even started crying. I hugged him, explained who I was and the 3-years work I’d done to research the family name as well as the massive journey I’d undertaken to land in this one spot in the world in front of someone with my own blood in his veins.”
What happened next was something Campbell hadn’t imagined in all the scenarios he’d thought over in his head during the plane journey from Australia:
“Cousin Mick listened to me whilst holding his bike and staring at the ground, scratched his chin, and just said ‘boys, that’s a goodun‘, swung his leg back over his saddle and shouted ‘sure, I’ll be seeing ye‘ as he sped off into the distance.”
Astonished, demoralised and close to exhaustion, Bruce made his way to the local confectionery store only to be met coming out of the shop by the other cousin – Pat Campbell.
“I couldn’t believe my luck. Pat, who I’d beforehand researched online was 57 and an ex-community worker, listened to my story as I wept my way through telling him about the whole journey and about his cousin Mick’s disappointing encounter with me. Pat just laughed and said ‘aye, that sounds like our Mick alright‘ before running to his vehicle and speeding off.”
Disconsolate, with no fixed abode and penniless, Bruce headed back to Australia a day later – a full three weeks before his original return flight. However, he did get to see Brocagh Emmets play a friendly game against Clogher.
Despite fears for his safety, an Edendork man who had been lost in The Bush since Monday (yesterday) was found today merrily eating a sausage roll inside a filling station on the outskirts of Coalisland.
The good news mirrors another story emanating from Australia last week when a woman also emerged from the bush after being lost for over two weeks, although it is said that Tyrone’s Bush is much more hazardous than the Australian one.
Patsy Farrell, a computer user from Edendork, got lost in The Bush after heading out to get some veda bread and a packet of dishwasher tablets:
“Eff me, I didn’t know if I would make it through the night. I took a wrong turn at the Mullaghteige Road near Mulmuf’s exhaust silencer shop and ended up parked on the side of the road as there’s no signal there and the GPS woman was telling me I was in Dungannon, which I wasn’t. I just kept still til someone found me and survived on Polo Mints and water. It was touch and go.”
Farrell went on to explain what he experienced during the ordeal:
“The noises at night time scared me. You’d hear whistles and yahooing and men shouting ‘come here ye blade ye’ in fields and women laughing and giggling and saying ‘will ye quit, he’ll be home soon’ and other stuff like that. It was like something out of a Spielberg movie. I was just glad to see light and thanked God that he’d given me another day. The milkman stopped and gave me directions back to Edendork which I headed to after a sausage roll in Coalisland.”
Farrell promises to write about his experiences in The Bush and BBC are looking to serialise it with Colin Farrell (no relation) reportedly eager to take up the lead role.
Tyrone Tribulations can reveal that the first wild snake to be discovered in Ireland since the time of Saint Patrick has been captured alive in one of Ireland’s oldest counties, Tyrone.
The tiny village of Moy, made famous by Gaelic football star Plunkett Donaghy and former underage Ulster rugby talent Shaun Kavannagh, finds itself once again on the map for an altogether more slippery reason.
A one metre snake, at this stage considered to be completely safe and non-venomous (simply due to the fact that no-one has been bitten by it so far) was found warming itself next to a wheelie bin out the back of the co-operative store, which locals are now petitioning to have renamed ‘Steve Irwins’
Manageress on duty at the time, Julie Rushe, is believed to have been so frightened by her discovery that she repeated the word ‘Jaysus’ over 200 times before reporting the find.
It is thought to have survived on scraps from the local Chinese take-away, easily accessed with its forked tongue.
The juvenile snake, christened “Brolly” by locals, is believed to have wriggled its way to Ireland undetected in the bag of one of three local youths who have just returned from a working holiday in Australia.
The three, who have spent the last year backpacking and fruit picking on a banana farm in Queensland, have returned home to see their beloved Moy take on Moortown in the first round of the Tyrone Senior Football Championship.
Cardinal Rodney Serpentine, formerly of East London, spoke to us from the Armagh Cathedral – ironically the exact place Saint Patrick reputedly showed Saint Bridget how to weave the cross that made her a household name.
“Would you Adam and Eve it? Fantastic news for the area. It has really tipped the scales in Tyrone’s favour for an influx of American and Australian tourists who will now feel more at home here, what with animals they see all the time and not just your usual cows and stray badgers.”
“Its funny really because when I first came to here from London, I was told to look out for the snakes around the Moy!”
Tomney’s bar are also offering a promotion on pints of snake-bite at £7.50 each until the end of May.
It is expected that the snake will be relocated to Australia, or else just flushed down the toilet.
A Drummurrer handyman has returned home after a year working in Dungannon able to ask ‘do you need a stove fitted?’ in half a dozen languages much to the amazement of his family and friends. Terrence McNeill, who got a bus to Dungannon after being told about it by his uncle who went there in 1992, claims to have fitted over 600 stoves in 300 days and rewired almost 200 houses whilst immersing himself in the local culture.
“Jays it’s a deadly place, boys. I met Jamaican women dancing in Woolworths, Lithuanian men playing didgeridoos and Portuguese ladies taking the heads off each other outside the Fort. And they’re all mad looking stoves fitted. I learned Russian, Swahili, Spanish, Latvian, Bulgarian and English just by listening whilst fitting stoves or rewiring.”
McNeill reckons it’s a cultural and financial experience no one should miss out on.
“People talk about recession this and economy that. Well, Dungannon is having none of it. This place must be a bit like Saudi Arabia or Australia. Everyone is loaded. I’ll be telling all the young ones of Drummurrer, Clonoe, Derrytresk and even Coalisland to get on that bus. It might seem like a world away but look at me now. I’m a multi-lingual genius and people keep asking me to say things in different tongues at parties and social gatherings.”
McNeill admits that re-adjusting to life in Drummurrer has been difficult:
“Aye, the slagging takes a bit of getting used to. If you slagged the Russian women they’d wreck you so I cut it out completely in Dungannon. Back here, they’ve been calling me things like ‘Einstein Features’, ‘Bollocksy Bill’ and ‘marble mouthed hoor’ just because I’m deadly at the languages. Also, it’s like learning another language in Drummurrer. Mad way of talking.”
Terence has also had to combat the ferocious reaction by his wife after he brought home a Jamaican woman ‘for a bit of craic’ instead of towels and rock.
Coalisland writer Roy Sherry has admitted to completely decimating a local supermarket’s fruit section, and in particular the kiwis, in a fit of temper after the heartbreaking Irish loss to New Zealand in a rugby test in Dublin today. Sherry, the town’s only rugby fanatic, was described as possessing ‘mad eyes on him’ as he rampaged his way through Newell Stores half an hour after the game.
Shelf operator Kitty McGlone described:
“Jaysus he was fit to be tied. I knew he was fierce passionate about Ireland rugby but this was frightening. He kept shouting ‘where are the buckin kiwis?’ but we’d have plenty of people shouting things like that every day so no one batted an eyelid. I saw him run straight at the fruit section like an Olympic sprinter and do a two-footed mid-air sliding tackle on the kiwi punnets.”
Eyewitnesses described him jumping up and down on the kiwis shouting, ‘how do yiz like this haka, yiz Oceanic buckers’ and other similar phrases. Shop manager Mary Newell (49) intervened when a crowd began to gather to encourage the stamping session:
“By the time I got there, men were goading him into destroying any product with all-black packaging on it. As soon as I saw him pull down his trouser zip I rugby tackled him before things escalated. Sherry remarked that I could show Tommy Bowe a lesson or two, which I was secretly chuffed about.”
This was the second successive week Sherry has been caught taking a rugby defeat badly. Seven days ago he was evicted from two pubs in the town after the Australia win over Ireland, for firing his pint glass through both pubs’ TV screens for showing Celebrity Get Me Outta Here, set in the Aussie outback.
PSNI officials let Sherry off with a final warning
Louis Walsh has stunned the Clonoe community and in particular songwriter Packie Taggart after he publicly criticised their ‘Fields Of Old Clonoe’ on BBC Radio this morning, calling it ‘old-fashioned’, ‘dung’ and ‘a rip-off’. The recently penned song, written for their appearance in the Tyrone County Final this weekend, has been labelled suspiciously similar to the lyrics and sound of ‘The Fields Of Athenry’:
By the side of Tessie’s wall I heard Cassidy calling
Mickey Harte, you may stay away
For you stole McAliskey on me
You’ll not be getting young Paul Coney.
Now keep on drivin til you’re at the Washingbay.
Low lie the fields of Old Clonoe
For we’re only about 5 miles from Ardboe
We used to have Prince McCabe
And big McClure with his hands like spades
We’ll be dancing when the cup is in Clonoe
Packie Taggart, 99-year old a retired livestock castrator, jumped to the defence of his song.
“It sounds nothing like Athenry. Sure that’s about a man stealing corn and being sent til Australia. My song is about the prospect of Harte stealing our lads to play for the county. No similarities at all. And the beauty of my song is that, unlike Athenry, I promote the majesty of Ardboe and Washingbay. This Louis Walsh boy can go buck himself.”
Walsh was critical of the subject matter as well as the fact that it is only two verses:
“The song will need to be played on loop as it’s over in 40 seconds. Also, was McClure really that big? In time, they’ll be saying he was 7 foot tall, wait til ye see. I heard he wasn’t deadly at shovelling or digging anyway.”
We’ll have full coverage tomorrow as Carrickmore release their song.
A 19 year old man from Coalisland currently in Australia on a 3-month visa vowed yesterday not to return to the county, after having confirmed he’s having the time of his life.
“It’s mighty”, said 19 year old Connor McGonagle from Barrack Street in the Island, who travelled to Australia in June on a 3-month working holiday. “I only got here three weeks ago on a work permit and I’ve been having the time of my life. I got a job picking up stones out of a field and although it’s hard work, the craic’s mighty. I’m here with four other boys from Coalisland and we’re all doing it”.
McGonagle is staying in the small town of Katoomba, population approximately 5,000.
“It’s class”, said the enthusiastic traveller. “It’s less than two hours from the coast and they’ve got these big long beaches. There’s nothing I miss about Tyrone to be honest. The beer in Australia isn’t great and I miss the Irish stuff like Harp and Foster’s, but we’ve been getting hammered every Friday night down at the Irish bar. Amazin’ hi. This sort of experience is something I could only dream of back home. And the Australian Rules football is class. Completely different in every way from the Gaelic. And even better, Bruce Springsteen’s playing here at the weekend! It’ll be like a 3-hour drive to get there like, but imagine. The Boss! Them ‘uns back home will be as jealous as anything”.
McGonagle has spent his leisure time making the most of the different culture.
“We’ve been doing some quad-biking across these fields which is deadly and we’ve gone diffin’ in some lads’ cars that we met. Mighty. Tyrone’s got nothing like it. I’m starting work next week in this amazing chicken factory. You wouldn’t believe the size of it. And the weather’s deadly. This last month the weather’s been really warm. All thon ones back on the Island don’t know what they’re missing. It’s life-changing”.
Top secret papers were today discovered in a bin near the Washingbay which suggest that a 100-year campaign of manufactured romances, courtships and marriages has resulted in 99% of children born in Derrylaughan having the perfect physical characteristics for stooling turf.
Although not as severe as the US and Nazi methods of ‘eugenics’ over 100 years ago which saw the sterilisation of people they thought were ‘weak’, it is clear that men or women who did not have good long arms and curved back for the bog had their romances sabotaged by all manner of skulduggery.
Susie McAliskey, a 67 year old spinster who now lives in California, claims it all makes sense now:
“Even though I was the prettiest girl in the area, I never seemed to be able to get a man. Any time I did a bit of flirting down at the club or in Falls’ Bar, the lad would mysteriously go home or disappear for a year or two. It happened nearly every time. One fella even told me he couldn’t go out with me as he heard I had a big moustache. I told him to look at me sure I had the smoothest skin in Ireland. He just ran away. Now I know that ‘the lads’ were sabotaging my chances by having a word in the ear of any potential suitors. All because I hadn’t the perfect features for stooling turf.”
The secret papers reveal that parents were asked to identify children who weren’t good at stooling so that the Derrylaughan Betterment Committee could keep an eye that they didn’t strike up any courtships within the townland. Suspected Ex-committee member Barney Taggert claims it’s an exaggeration.
“The fact that nearly every child born here has the perfectly bent spine and long arms is simply down to the diet here of pollans and cabbage. Nothing sinister there. Susie McAliskey did have a moustache by the way. It was blonde so it was mostly camouflaged.”
The documents have been passed on to the United Nations who have reiterated they’re not afraid to send in troops to stop this practice.
Early reports suggest that almost three thousand 18-20 year olds with straight backs and normal arms were ‘encouraged’ to leave Derrylaughan, settling in England, Australia, USA or closer to Coalisland since 1920.
O’DRISCOLL AND MULLIGAN DROWN SORROWS TOGETHER
It emerged this morning that Brian O’Driscoll immediately Skyped Owen Mulligan in Cookstown after hearing he had been dropped from the Lions side to face Australia in the final test. Needing to find comfort in the aftermath of his devastating news, O’Driscoll quickly contacted Mulligan over the Internet and they reportedly drank the night away sharing stories of heartbreak before breaking into a few songs. A source close to Mulligan told us:
“Jaysus Mugsy had some head on him this morning. Apparently they both ran out of liquor at about 3am our time so O’Driscoll told him to drink some oul water that Owen had been cleaning his paint brushes in whilst the Dub quaffed fermented coconut milk. I could hear the whole thing. They were crying at one stage, calling their managers all the names of the day before I heard O’Driscoll break into Dirty Old Town followed by Mugsy’s rendition of Horse It Into Ye Cynthia. It seemed liked great craic. It turned sour at the end though and they effed each other off before calling it a day.”
EDWARD SNOWDEN TO SEEK ASYLUM IN DUNGANNON
Edward Snowden, the US National Security Agency whistleblower, has been offered asylum in Dungannon today, possibly around the White City area of the town. Deputy Lord Mayoress Jane Hurson confirmed that he’d be welcome in Dungannon as long as he abides by a couple of rules:
“Yes, we’re happy to nip in in front of them Koreans, Bolivians or Ecuadorians. Dungannon is a safe haven for boys like Snowden but he’ll have to abide by a couple of conditions. Firstly, he must spend all his money in local shops and not be buying stuff over the Internet. Secondly, he’s not allowed to use his whistleblowing skills in the White City as regards families doing the double, claiming for DLA or dirty diesel. If he does he’ll get some kicking from me.”
Hagan’s Bar have already planned a ‘Snowden Night’ theme with people asked to dress up as spies or Americans or simply bring whistles.
POMEROY IS JUST A BIG SPEED BUMP BETWEEN STEWARTSTOWN AND CARRICKMORE
Under the 100 year document release policy, the Tyrone Council have revealed that Pomeroy was originally built to slow down horses and carts ‘flying’ between Stewartstown and Carrickmore as well as Cookstown to Beragh. Pomeroy burglar Kevin Og Devlin was not impressed:
“It all makes sense now. We thought people were slowing down to take in the majestic views or to marvel at the architecture of the Credit Union, the Medical Hall, the bookies or the vets. Turns out not a bit of it. They’re just slowing down so that the suspension doesn’t wreck itself. You don’t know how bad we feel today to be a glorified speed bump. Well, feck them. We’re blocking off the Termon Road, Tandragee Road, Edendoit Road and the Pomeroy Road for a fortnight. That’ll learn them.”
Two adult tricycles. Good breaks, not too rusty. Must be able to hold 15 stone each. Needed for romantic excursions with wife. Ardboe.
A yellow and green button for my shirt. Shirt has been very successful at Sally’s in Omagh. Tattyreagh.
Surgeon required for new surgery in Coalisland. No experience necessary. Must have own tools.
Someone to do farm work. Must have a hoolahoop. Augher.
The person I hit on the head with a tomato in Beragh in 1958. Feel guilty. Fivemiletown.
Someone to go back in time with. No time-wasters. Must bring your own weapons. Safety cannot be guaranteed. Will get paid when we get back. Only done this once before. Strabane.
Someone who can speak and write Australian. Relatives visiting in three months so want teacher asap. Brocagh.
Child’s potty chair. 10 years old. Slight staining. Newmills. £20
Used gravestone. Used only once. Must be called Patrick Kelly. Dungannon. £300
Soccer ball. Signed by either Pele, the greatest footballer on earth from Brazil, or some guy called Peter. Writing faint. Moortown. £100
Bagpiper. Will do wedding, funerals and children’s parties. Not the greatest piper but no one can tell. £50 per hour. Plumbridge.
Dinosaur bones. Not 100% sure but look a bit like the way I imagine they would. Found in bog in Greencastle. £50’000
Horse. Half Andalusian. Half Labrador. Very friendly. Likes bones. Drumragh. £600
One pair of hardly used dentures. Only three teeth missing. Galbally. £50
Vosene Shampoo. Only half used. Bargain at £4. Also Mach 3 razor blade. Only used twice. Mint condition. £2. Edendork.
Residents in Augher and Clogher woke today to the disappointing news that Fifa have rejected their joint bid to host the 2022 World Cup at the first round of eliminations. The ambitious project was hoping to see off rivals Argentina, Australia and China but fell short in what Fifa described as ‘major accomodation issues’. Augher Lord Mayor Jackie McKenna, who headed the bid, announced the decision from Fifa this morning outside the Spar:
“We are bitterly disappointed. My committee put a lot of effort in to taking pictures of fields and makeshift pitches, put them all onto a PowerPoint and sent it in an email. Finding someone who could do all that computer stuff wasn’t easy. Although this is a set-back, we will regroup and perhaps target the 2024 Olympics. We will bring a major world event to Tyrone, mark my words.”
Fifa sent back a list of reasons why they couldn’t advance the Augher/Clogher bid to the next round. They included the need to seat up to 100’000 people in a stadium, house half a million more fans in the area and general lack of media facilities to cope with 188 TV stations from around the world. McKenna claims this was a smokescreen:
To be honest, that’s a load of balls. There’s talk of a new Subway being built in Fivemiletown. We have this Spar, a Post Office and a few pubs. What more do these foreigners want? We got promises from a couple of local joiners that they’d build a big wooden stand and all. Also, my nephew is training to be a spark and he could have wired up a few plugs for the TV boys. As for accommodation, have they never heard of caravans? They’re prejudiced against small rural villages like ourselves. Aghayaran said they were laughed at by Fifa officials in 1970 when they tried to rival the Mexico bid.
In a show of strength, Augher is today hosting their Horn Dance which is performed by six deer-men who wear reindeer horns. The dancers follow a 10 mile course and perform the horn-dancing ritual in 12 different locations in and around the village, whilst the musician plays tunes such as “The Farmers Boy” and “Uncle Mick” on a melodeon, with accompaniment from a triangle.