Former US diplomat Richard Haass has admitted defeat for the second time in a couple of days after his efforts to resolve the Ardboe Christmas Tree dispute ended in several parties tearing the heads off each other.
The argument revolved around who will turn off the lights on Ardboe’s first ever Christmas tree. Mickey Coleman, Brian McGuigan, Barry Devlin, Adrian McGuckin, Chris Lawn, Tom McGurk, Malachi Cush, Ronan McSherry, Dennis Taylor, Kevin McAleer, Mickey Harte, Pope Francis and Billy Ray Cyrus were all named as interested parties, each putting forward viable reasons for pulling the plug out.
Haass, who admitted Ardboe was a ‘wild place’ on a par with Kosovo and Sierra Leone, was able to narrow it down to four celebs after intense negotiations:
“We managed to rule out McGuckin and Lawn as we suspected they were there to sabotage the event, being enemies in some shape or form. The cost for the Pope was astronomical. Apart from the flights, the pot holes would wreck the popemobile. No insurance around here. Harte, McAleer, McSherry, Taylor, Cush and McGurk were ruled out next during the eel-skinning demonstration.”
With Coleman, McGuigan, Devlin and Billy Ray Cyrus left, tensions were beginning to reach boiling point with accusations of bribes and counter arguments over ancestry muddying the waters.
“I thought dealing with Robinson and McGuinness was tough. These guys are stubborn. It ended up in a bare-knuckle contest between all four.”
Haass left the scene an hour into the free-for-all, admitting defeat and vowing never to return to the island again.
Brocagh residents last night were said to be frightened, confused and bewildered after new sightings of the mythological Beast of Brocagh were reported around fields off the Ballybeg Road. Fresh rumours of the unidentified ogre roaming the countryside began after Minnie Davidson spotted what she described as a ‘hairy-arsed monster buck-leaping about singing songs from the Wolfe Tones’ whilst she was out wasp-spotting.
“It’s hard to describe. It’s sorta half stooped over and always seems to be drinking from a bottle of Bushmills, completely bare to the world. It has been stalking these parts for 60 years now. I used to think it was oul Mick Quinn on the batter but I’ve seen his arse and it’s definitely not his. I’d be worried about the Brocagh Sports Day next week. It’s be a PR disaster if it won the wellie-throwing competition”.
Several sightings over the last half century has shed little light on what the beast actually his. Some claim it’s something from the Lough, like a man-eel. Others maintain it’s simply Tom McGurk escaping from the pressures of his RTE job once in a while.
“It could be Tom but then a girl in 1988 said she saw it up close and it didn’t have the McGurk head on him. She said it was more of a McGorey or Robinson. Whatever it is I’m locking the windows. The same girl says he had mesmerising eyes and that made him sorta good-looking despite the bloodied teeth, smell of drink and it covered in hair. I’ve had my fill of Brocagh men like that”.
BBC and UTV have sent their cameras down today to see if they can spot the Beast despite rumours that it’s sitting in Dorman’s (Tessies) at this very minute waiting for first orders.
Brocagh Spring Festival
Saturday 5th (12pm) sees the annual Brocagh Spring Festival, a pagan celebration dating back thousands of years when the first settlers in Ireland headed up to Brocagh for a rake about. This year, famous Brocagh exports including Tom McGurk (RTE), Gerry Davidson (finished third in a 3-mile race in Liverpool during the 80s) and ex-president Mary Robinson (passed through Brocagh by mistake in 1991) will be there to sign autographs and smile in photos. Other activities conclude ‘blind man’s bluff in the buff‘, “staring competitions” and “drink a gallon of cider and score from the 45m line“. Festivities conclude with the traditional dance between two self-confessed virgins between the ages of 20 and 30. Organisers have announced that Kitty O’Neill is now 31 so a new woman must come forward.
Loughmacrory Baby-Jumping Competition
This controversial event is probably in its last year as the European Courts are closing in. All babies taking part win a week’s supply of Farley Rusks. Last year’s record of 8 babies is the target for competitors Larry Penrose (above), Hillary Lily and Dan Barr. First jump 11am.
Ardboe Fish-Swallowing Festival
The first year for this weekend extravaganza, the fish-loving community in Ardboe have come up with a unique way to celebrate their talents by holding a fish-swallowing competition with the unique take that the fish must still be alive. No one really knows how this will work at all but it’s sure to attract massive crowds to the loughshore at 3pm Sunday for the eel section.
Gortin-Glen Nude Bathing
The famous Gortin Glen Forest Park hosts their nude-bathing evening this Sunday. Men and women from as far as Glenelly will take part in the hope that the magical Gortin waters will cure all warts and other things like that. Come along to cheer on the bare bathers from 7pm.