Early reviews of the new fun farm at Ballybeg in Brocagh have been unfavourable after Tyrone’s latest amenity opened its door to journalists before the grand opening later next month. In return, the farm’s organisers have accused local writers of being ‘too spoilt’ and ‘need to lighten up a bit’.
Tyrone Tribulations’ sightseeing expert Tally Molloy filed her report earlier today and agreed with the general consensus that it could have been a lot better.
It reads as follows:
PETTING ZONE: At £10 we were expecting a lot from the experience. The first hint that things might not live up to expectations was the petting zone. What this entailed was lining up behind each other to pet a decaying grey Labrador who was partially blind, lame in two legs and well into her twenties in terms of age. The closer you got to the dog the stronger the stench was getting and on arriving at the petting spot it was hard not to vomit over the creature.
WATERSIDE WALK: In order to sober up after that petting experience
we were encouraged to take the scenic route to witness the wild animals. Called ‘The Waterside Walk’, this was simply walking up a field alongside a massive puddle left by the rain the previous night. We were told to walk around the puddle five times. A man was topping it up with a hose.
WILD ANIMAL SECTION: We were brought to another field and were given binoculars and told to look at the top of a hill about half a mile away. There we could see about a dozen cows, chewing on grass. That was it.
TEA ROOM: This was a converted shed with concrete floor, one plastic table and six crates for sitting on. They served a plastic cup of mineral for £1 and a packet of crisps for 90p.
OVERALL EXPERIENCE: Disappointing. The man who showed us around left us for half an hour at the start as he said it was his dinner time.
Ballybeg Petting Farm have promised to tighten up a few loose ends before the grand opening. They also announced that the Petting Zone is temporarily closed after the timely death of Larry the Labrador.
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.