Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button

Archives for May 5, 2014

Fighting Back: ‘There is real community spirit in Doon’

THE NAME of this series is Communities Fighting Back and this is certainly true of Doon and its people.

In a short space of time they lost their bank, library and garda station. Yet they bounced back with pride.

Annette Collins bought the former AIB building which is now a thriving modern pharmacy. Thanks to Doon Community Council the mobile bank now comes to the recently refurbished community centre every Thursday so people don’t have to queue on Main Street. They can wait their turn in the comfort of the centre.

Superintendent Alan Cunningham organised for a garda to come two Thursdays a month to the community centre for locals to get paperwork sorted and queries dealt with.

They even set up their own library with books donated by the public. They can be borrowed and dropped.

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade is a phrase PRO of Doon Community Council, Tom Hayes, agrees with.

“We now have the bank, garda and library all in the community centre and we are hoping to extend the bank’s visit by an hour,” said Tom.

But Doon is a proud place. Nestled close to the Tipperary border, it is a hotbed of hurling and things get pretty heated when Limerick take on Tipp!

Last year, Doon GAA club had the unique honour of having five minor players starting on Limerick’s Munster-winning team including the captain – Richie English. An incredible achievement for any club, not mind one of Doon’s size.

The GAA club is thriving and the area is well known “doggy country” with greyhound racing and coursing popular.

The first written mention of the name Dún Bleisce was in the Annals of Inisfallen in 774 but in the Gaelic tongue it must have gone back hundreds of years further.

Dún obviously means fort but there has been a debate over Bleisce. To some it is the name of a powerful woman who ruled the area or could it translate as a harlot or woman of ill repute? Most likely it stands for a place which changes its leader often. So when “An Dún” was erected on road signs back in 2003 there was anger, frustration and disbelief.

Br Dan Fitzgerald and Doon Historical Society started a campaign for the name Dún Bleisce to be restored by the Placenames Commission. Over 1,200 signed a petition but their request was turned down in June 2006.

Limerick County Council lent their support and despite being turned down once more Minister Eamon O Cuiv restored Dún Bleisce in 2008.

How many villages would have let it go?

But Doon has always valued education and learning. The Mercy Sisters came to Doon in 1865 and were followed by the Christian Brothers in 1874. That link continues today.

Br James L Dormer, principal of the CBS primary school, is the last remaining Christian Brother principal in Europe.

While the Mercy Sisters have a convent in Doon and donated the land for the new Scoil na Trionoide Naofa. It is an amalgamation of St Fintan’s and St Joseph’s in Doon and St Michael’s in Cappamore. The state of the art school is one of the most modern in the country. The beautiful building would make you stop for a second look as you head out the Togher Road. Lucky students. There is also the convent national school, pre-school and montessori.

A walk through the village shows that there are surprisingly few boarded up buildings compared to other towns. Well kept flower pots and colourful buildings breathe life into the Main Street. There isn’t any litter to be seen.

It is well served for shops and services – McNamara’s hardware, Martin’s, Daybreak, Ann’s, Treacy’s Butchers and Lysaght’s, where bullet holes remain from the War of Independence, Ryan’s Post Office, Tipperary Credit Union, Jack Ryan accountants, take-away, Berkery’s garage and Berkery’s Leather Products which is a local jewel in the crown as it is the last maker of sliothars in Ireland.

There are five pubs – Kelly’s, The Local, Mike Buckley’s, Whelan’s and Moore’s. Willie Moore played on the 1973 All-Ireland winning team and Doon Vintage Show is held in Moore’s field. Irish Red Cross, health centre, Dr John O’Brien, Michael White Undertakers are all based in Doon. The pharmacy, ladies and gents hairdressers and beauty salon are all on this page.

The church – parish priest is the popular Fr Tony Ryan – is set back from Main Street and up the Togher Road is the community centre and playground.

With the forward thinking of Doon Community Council, help of generous donations from Ballyhoura and local fundraising €100,000 was spent on the playground and refurbishment and modernisation of the centre cost €300,000. Doon Tidy Towns, FAS and Tus schemes, community council supplemented the good work with a lot of landscaping and painting also completed.

The community centre is a “hive of activity” said Tom Hayes.

“There is something happening every night – uni-slim, zumba, soccer, Irish dancing, meetings, parties, GAA nurseries, monthly tea dance and we have the most popular game of 45 drive in East Limerick every Sunday night with over 10 tables,” said Tom.

Behind all these businesses, projects, ideas and services are hard-working men and women. And Doon is very welcoming.

This is epitomised by Michelle Butler who moved to the area eight years ago. She didn’t know anybody until her little girl started going to school.

“When I started going down to the community centre I got to know everybody. There is so much on there,” said Michelle, who has joined the community council.

She and Anne Marie Richardson set up a baby and toddler group that meets every Tuesday morning in the centre.

They saw that something was missing in the locality and set it up themselves. That is the story of Doon.

“There is real community spirit – I love it,” said Michelle.

Article source:

Saving your fruit trees from the *&%#@ birds

Article source:

GreenSpot: Eco friendly options from mowers to blowers

Let me start out by saying that there are some good eco-friendly options. My advice is to not overwhelm yourself. If you can’t or don’t want to eliminate all your gas-powered equipment at once, choose one tool. Replacing one piece of equipment is a great first step.

Traditional gas-powered landscaping equipment makes up 5% of our earth’s pollution. The EPA tells us that if as few as 1,000 lawn mowers were replaced by eco-friendly models, it would eliminate about 9.8 tons of harmful VOC (which is dangerous to our health with long-term effects).

Living in Ridgefield, with most of us having a significant amount of property, this poses a problem. We want to be eco-friendly, but we don’t know how to start eliminating these harmful tools. Here are some ideas to think about, so that when you are ready, you can transition into using eco-friendly equipment.

Reel mower — obviously the greenest choice. This may not be an option if you have a large lawn.

Solar-charged/battery-powered mower — a good choice, providing two hours of energy with no gas.

Cordless rechargeable battery-operated mower — a great choice, using no gas. You can even find cordless rechargeable battery-operated ride-on mowers!

Propane-powered mower — an excellent choice, because propane is nontoxic and not harmful to your health or the environment. Propane cuts the greenhouse emissions in half and reduces carcinogens and toxins.

Extra tip: Consider a mower with mulching power. This disposes of the clippings by turning them into fertilizer for your lawn!

Also consider solar/green-powered blowers, electric blowers, propane-powered blowers, electric chain saws, rechargeable battery-operated chain saws — which are lighter and less noisy as a bonus, propane trimmers, and rechargeable battery-operated trimmers.

Extra tip: If you use landscaping companies to do your yard work, why not look for a company that is eco-friendly. For example, go to, a company that is totally eco-friendly!

See you all next week, and remember, it’s fun and easy to be green!

Article source:

Garden Tips: Growing orchids is easy

Several weeks ago, I was in a big box store and noticed that the gorgeous orchids for sale were flying off the shelves while the traditional pretty potted Easter lilies were sitting there. I suspect that many of these orchids were destined to be gifts for someone special.

The owners of gifted orchids are often orchid novices. They are faced with the dilemma of what to do with a beautiful orchid after it stops flowering. Orchids have the reputation of being hot house plants that need to be pampered. In fact, many types of orchids are easy to grow, and novice owners can save their gifts from an untimely demise with just a little knowledge.

While some orchids are fussy about temperature and light, the ones typically sold in big box and grocery stores are Phalaenopsis orchids. Phalaenopsis orchids, also known as moth orchids, are considered low light orchids and can be grown easily in the home. However, “low light” is a relative term. They still need a good amount of light and will do best in an east-facing window. You can also situate them in a southern- or western-facing window, but they will need the protection of a sheer curtain to block them from direct sunlight.

The Phalaenopsis orchids do not need the warm temperatures of a greenhouse. The temperatures that keep us happy indoors will keep them happy too.

When it comes to potting mix and watering, Phalaenopsis orchids, as well as other orchids, are a bit finicky. Orchid growers each have their preferred mixes. Generally, the mixes should drain quickly but also retain some water for good root growth. Orchid potting mix ingredients may include fir bark, tree fern, sphagnum moss, perlite, lava rock and other materials.

Many of the mass market Phalaenopsis orchids come planted in potting mixes that consist mostly of fir bark. It fits the requirements of being fast draining while holding some moisture, but bark-based mixes tend to break down with time. As fir bark gradually decomposes, it becomes a finer and finer texture.

The broken down bark holds more moisture and nutrients, but also does not allow the roots to get as much air as needed. That is when you need to repeat . Local orchid experts tell me that most orchids planted in fir bark will need to be repotted at least every two years. If you don’t, the roots will start to rot and the plant will die.

I have six miniature orchids sitting on the sill of my east-facing kitchen window. Because orchids like some humidity, I have them sitting on a bed of moist pebbles in window-box trays. Occasionally, one of my orchids bloom, providing me with a great reward in return for little effort.

— Marianne C. Ophardt is a horticulturist for Washington State University Benton County Extension.

Article source: