The newly formed Tyrone Tourism Board have come under serious fire after it emerged they hoodwinked the entire country into visiting two memorials for Omagh medical guru, and inventor of the hypodermic syringe, Peader Hughes who they seem to claim was beheaded twice.
Hughes, who was beheaded by the Queen of England in 1710, is said to have stumbled across the syringe idea after messing about with voodoo amongst the picturesque ramparts near his home in what is now Omagh town centre. The 27 year old was beheaded and impaled on a spike in Omagh for inventing the syringe three years before the English were due to invent it.
Last year, the Tyrone Tourism Board (TTB) put his preserved head on display inside Omagh Library near the history section and subsequently put another of his heads on display, supposedly when he was 14, outside Strabane Town Hall in April of this year.
Local historian Danny O’Donnell was first to question the displays:
“I knew something wasn’t right but couldn’t put my finger on it. I’d visited both sites numerous times over the last two months and it just wasn’t sitting comfortably for me. Then it dawned on my wife, how the hell could you have beheaded a person twice, once at 14 and again at 27? It’s a money making racket and at £12.99 a visit, they made their money alright. The queues for the 14-year-old head was about half a mile long.”
TTB chairman Kieran Nelis admits they didn’t purposely attempt to deceive the public and vowed to removed the fake head as soon as they can get a van to take it away:
“I want to assure the public that this was not an attempt to make money from people. Someone approached us months ago and said he had the head of Peader Hughes when he was 14, who was beheaded Red Hugh O’Donnell from Dunfanghy for stealing cattle from his land. It was a perfect likening for the head of Peader when he was 27 so you can understand our error. We now realise it was an impossible scenario and will refund any punters who visited the younger head if they can provide a receipt.”
PSNI investigations into the younger head are pointing in the direction of a fancy dress shop in Belfast who make false heads for Halloween.
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.