I am energetic and an independent thinker. I am creative but I also possess a great deal of knowledge on politics and history. I like fun and seriousness in equal measure. I like to be on time but prefer to be ahead of time. I like to deliver quality rather than quantity. I like seeing beyond what some is saying and I like to ask the tough questions.
From June 2012
Journalist & Web Designer
August 2011 - May 2012
I helped design and build the Donegal Now website for River Media. I was given very little resources but managed to bring about a competent news website. I wrote for and edited content for the website. I also contributed to the Letterkenny Post and Finn Valley Post, and material I wrote was also used by other sister papers.
August 2011 - May 2012
August 2011 - May 2012
Tirchonaill Tribune, Ireland's Own etc
From October 2009
I have contributed material to different newspapers and magazines over the years.
Story from Ireland's Own: 17th March 2013 Edition
The Waiting Hours
Johnny was awakened by the commotion of voices coming from the kitchen.
It was still dark outside and the only light he could see was that of the moon creeping around the curtains that hung over the small window. His two younger brothers were lying deep in slumber. He slipped out of his bed and fumbled around in the dark to find his clothes. His clumsy movement disturbed the others and one of his brothers began mumbling something inaudible as he turned over in the bed.
He found his trousers and pulled them on and then finding a jumper he hoped was his, he pulled it over his head. It fitted alright, so he quietly tiptoed his way to the door. He could see the faint light of the tilley lamp spreading underneath the heavy wooden door. Johnny swung the door of the room open and the light stung his sleepy eyes. He was hit by the smell of smoked tobacco and turf smoke.
His mother was sitting there with moist eyes. She looked up at him to say something. Her lips moved but words didn’t come. Two great tears ran down her down her cheeks. Johnny looked at his father and a man sitting in the shadows that he recognised as his uncle Thomas.
“Johnny” his father began. “It’s your cousin Ed. He’s... he’s gone missing!”
“What do you mean?” Johnny felt himself saying out-loud. He felt deep down inside that something was not quite right.
His uncle spoke. “His mother went to call him for his supper this evening but he wasn’t in his room. She thought he must have sneaked out and headed up here but when he didn’t return she got worried and raised the alarm. She came over to my place. I’ve been with your father searching all night but we can’t figure out where he went except...”
The Johnny’s father took up the story.
“We didn’t find anything but as far as I could make out in the moonlight, the curragh has been capsized. We searched up and down the shore but we can’t find anything. Do you know if he was out messing about in the curragh Johnny?”
Johnny felt a pressure clutching around his chest and it began to crush him. He knew his cousin was down around the curragh because he had told him on the walk home from school.
“Yes, he’s been going down there in the evenings” he confessed. He knew now was not a time for lies if Ed was in trouble.
Ed was Johnny’s cousin on his father side. He had developed the habit of sneaking out and going down to the shore where they had anchored the curragh. The boat was on a rope that could be hauled into the shore and let out again. Ed would then sit with the fishing rod and pass the time away.
His mother, Molly, didn’t want him to have anything to do with the sea, not since Ed’s father had been drowned when they were both aged four. It was just a tradition to get the curragh ready and to launch it each year even though it was rarely used now. Johnny himself knew that, he could count on one had the number of times his father had taken him out in it.
There was a hush in the room for several minutes, only broken by the ticking of the old clock sitting on the mantelpiece above the fireplace. Johnny looked at the clock. It had just gone after midnight.
His father finally broke the silence. “I better go and get the sergeant. Johnny, you go and tell the neighbours to met us here.”
By the time Johnny got back to the house after doing the rounds the kitchen was filled with concerned neighbours. The fire had been stoked-up and the kettle was on the boil. The clock on the mantelpiece said quarter-past-one. His brothers and sisters were now awake but they were in the top room as the small kitchen was over capacity. Some men sat awkwardly on chairs and stools on the uneven floor the sloped at a peculiar angle towards the front door. Johnny counted six men and four women. The women were busying themselves around Johnny’s mother and asking after Molly. Thomas’ wife and the curate were giving comfort to Molly at her place as Thomas thought it would be best for her to be somewhere calm.
One of the neighbours called “the Tailor” had arrived with his lantern. Johnny had always wondered why some locals called it “the big lantern”. It was no bigger than a normal size lantern but it produced and extremely powerful light. During those long dark winter evenings the light from his tailoring room could be seen for miles and made other houses seem in darkness.
About five-minutes after Johnny came in his father opened the front door followed in by the local sergeant. He was new in the area and he was still getting to know the locals but he wasn’t a city man, hailing from somewhere down west like Mayo or Galway, so a lot of locals felt he had a good grasp of rural happenings. He took off his hat and said a quiet hello to everyone, who in turn nodded towards him in recognition.
The sergeant was a thin man in his mid-forties with jet black hair and dark skin. He looked almost foreign sitting in amongst the locals of the area. He had a big hook nose that sat awkwardly on his face and Johnny figured that it must have been broken at some stage. Johnny liked him because he was good with children and since he joined the local football team he was constantly teaching them new tricks.
“Right, we need to get out to the curragh to see if there is anything around it” he said.
“My curragh is around in the next inlet!” volunteered the Tailor. “We can go now and check it out. I got the lantern here so we should have plenty of light between it and the moon.”
“What do you think?” the sergeant asked Johnny’s father and uncle.
“If you think you can do it?” Johnny’s father replied gratefully.
“Don’t think it’ll be a problem. I’ll get the young-fellas and we’ll go now” the Tailor offered.
“Good” said the sergeant. “The sooner we can get something underway, maybe we might have a better chance of finding Ed.”
“Is there anywhere else he could have gone?” asked the sergeant getting up from the table.
“We don’t think so sergeant” answered Thomas and Johnny’s father nodded in agreement.
“Okay, let’s take the evidence at hand and work on that for now. His mother hasn’t seen him since he returned from school yesterday and he had a habit sneaking out down to the curragh” the sergeant said as he rubbed the badge on his hat with the sleeve of his jacket.
The make-up of the search parties was then confirmed. Johnny’s father, Thomas and the men present would take the sergeant back down to the shore whilst the Tailor and two of his sons would row around the headland to examine the capsized curragh. Johnny was told to stay at home.
He looked up at the clock. It was gone two o’clock now. The men cleared out of the house as they followed the first three down to the shore. A few younger women made their excuses home to be in the comfort of their own families but the older women stayed giving comfort to Johnny’s mother.
Johnny sat with his family in front of the kitchen fire. The clock ticked heavily and silently through the stillness of the room. It was only interrupted by Johnny’s brother Michael asking “Do you think they’ve found him yet?” when the clock struck three o’clock.
Down at the shore the Tailor and his sons had rowed around to the inlet where the capsized curragh was lying on anchor. The neighbours along with Johnny’s father and uncle peered out into the cold water as the sergeant shouted instructions to the men in the boat. A little wind had got up and the increasing waves were making it difficult to get close to the capsized curragh.
Back in the kitchen the kettle was boiled again. One of the neighbour women took the kettle off the crook and busied herself making tea. Johnny’s mother was still tearful but she gratefully took a cup of tea when it was handed to her. Madge, the Tailor’s wife suggested that it would be good to say the Rosary. The beads were taken out and everyone present turned onto their knees where they sat and the prayer began.
In the blackness of the early morning the search continued. The moon was now gone and the sky was darkening further under heavy clouds. The Tailor and his sons had gotten hold of the curragh and had spent three-quarters of an hour trying to turn it back over without capsizing their own boat. It was a difficult task considering the conditions but they managed it. The curragh was empty. The sergeant shouted from the shore for the seamen to have a look around the general area in case the body had floated off when the boat was righted.
In the kitchen the clock struck four. The Rosary had just finished for the fourth time but nobody was feeling the relief from anxiety. The kettle was filled again and put back on the crook. The wind was picking-up outside and there was a roar starting in the chimney. Johnny’s head was spinning with all the scenarios that might have happened. He didn’t want to believe the worst.
The men in the curragh were now being tossed about. The sergeant ordered the men on the shore to spread out and to search along the water’s edge. They tried their best to peer through the darkness but all they were met with was foaming waves.
The men in the curragh could no longer hear the sergeant’s instructions clearly over the roar that was beginning to developed and brought the curragh about a hundred yards from the shore. They were now halfway between the shore and where the capsized curragh now floated upright.
“Can’t see anything sergeant!” shouted the Tailor. “And I don’t think I can keep the lantern lit much longer.”
Johnny’s father shouted back. “Try along the rope. It was jammed earlier. I thought it might have been the weight of the capsized curragh but it’s still not moving freely.”
The Tailor waved his intention to do as he was asked. They headed back in the direction of the other curragh and after sometime fishing in the water they got hold of the tangled rope. They began to lift the rope from the water. It was heavy and tangled and began to drag them down.
The clock struck five. The light of the dawn was only beginning to break in the east but the heavy thick rain clouds blotted out the skyline. The kettle was boiling again on the crook and weary eyes filled heads that were filled with dread. The fire had been stoked again and the sound of the hissing fire accompanied the clock. The occupants of the kitchen stared lost into the fire.
All of a sudden the front door swung open. Nobody entered. Johnny went to close the door but no one was to be seen outside. Johnny felt a cold shudder through his body and he couldn’t stop shaking. His mother got up and grabbed him but he could not stop himself as he violently convulsed in shock.
Down at the shore through the wind and waves, the Tailor and his sons heaved the body over the side into their curragh. The recognised the still white-face in the early dawn twilight. Those on the shore slowly blessed themselves and silently said their prayers.
© Oliver McBride 2013
Donegal Now Articles
Man found dead in Bruckless area
Added: 19-04-2012 08:48:45
The body of an elderly man was discovered in the Bruckless area in the early hours of this morning.
The discovery was made after Gardaí and the Donegal Mountain Rescue team were called to search for a man in his mid-70’s who had gone missing. Donegal Mountain rescue were contacted by the Gardaí around 11.45pm last night to help in the search and Mountain Rescue Teams from Sligo and Leitrim were also called to assist.
Seventeen volunteers from the Donegal Mountain Resuce Team attended the search area. They also used dogs to assist in the search.
At approximately 1.00am this morning the search was stood down after the man’s body was discovered in a hayshed. The cause of his death is so far unknown and Gardaí are investigating the circumstances of his death but it is believed that it was of natural causes.
The name of the deceased has not been released as Gardaí are contacting family members.
The Garda Press Office confirmed the find in a statement released this morning "The body of the man aged 74 was found in a shed on his property at about 1.00am. He was pronounced dead at the scene and his body has been removed to Letterkenny General Hospital for a post mortem examination."
By Oliver McBride
Greenroom Live launches to critical acclaim
Added: 14-04-2012 11:03:23
Letterkenny’s latest music venue launched to great critical acclaim last night.
The inaugral night of Greenroom Live at the Voodoo was a sell-out show and none of the audience was disappointed. All the bands on the bill were there to play original sets, as is the philosophy behind Greenroom Live. The venue is designed to give artists an opportunity to play material composed by themselves. This unique aspect of Greenroom Live seperates it from the usual run-of-the-mill pub gigs.
The venue itself is also unique. The raw and energetic atmosphere created by the bare stone walls gives the room a feel of being stripped back to bare basics. The exposed stone echoes the exposed soul of a song-writer who stands on stage and says “this is more than a song to me, so listen”.
Many of the audience was also impressed with one quoting that “this is looking like it will be one of the best music venues in town.”
The night kicked-off with ‘The Heads of State’ who rocked an appreciative crowd who greeted every song with acclaim and applauded every last second of it’s end fade and then beyond.
Next on stage was young rockers ‘In Their Thousands’. The band has been taking the local music scene by storm recently with their laid back, mature but yet gritty debut EP. And as usual, the group left the stage to thunderous applause having added to their already stellar reputation.
To round off the concert, ‘Mark Black & The Trips’ played the night out with his silky tones and mesmerising guitar playing.
Greenroom Live is a monthly concept which has teamed up with ‘A Thousand Trip State’ (ATTS). A Thousand Trip State (ATTS) is a brand-new Music Collective for the Northwest of Ireland. The Collective was formed with the primary aim of promoting the creation and performance of original music. ATTS also encourages musicians and bands to work together to share their collective experience which can be mutually beneficial.
ATTS was formed by members of In Their Thousands, Mark Black & the Trips and The Heads Of State.
By Oliver McBride
Open on Good Friday! Poll reveals
Added: 06-04-2012 06:54:50
Over two-thirds of people polled in a Donegal Now survey believe that pubs, clubs and off-licences should be open on Good Friday.
The outdated law that causes establishments to close on this day has become a hotly disputed debate but now more and more people believe that they should have the freedom of choice on whether they can drink alcohol or be entertained on Good Friday.
Many younger people feel frustrated by the fact that they are being denied their freedom, especially when everyone is living in a more ethnically diverse society and where the constitution of 'State and Church' together is becoming more seperate from the reality of public life in the country. Many people may no longer feel that religion should interfere with personal choices.
Even though pubs, clubs and off-licences may be closed in Donegal and the rest of Ireland, only a matter of minutes people living in the border region can cross and buy alcohol in off-licences in Northern Ireland, with many people choosing to even spend the day in pubs in Northern Ireland.
The result of our survey suggests that the majority of people want a change in the licencing laws.
By Oliver McBride
Mayor refutes Fianna Fáil claim
Added: 14-03-2012 19:15:20
Donegal Mayor, Noel McBride has denied Fianna Fáil claims about his use of authority in the Council Chamber.
The call has come from Fianna Fáil after a recent meeting in which they discussed the ongoing discipline issues occuring from a recent meeting of the Council. Earlier today the party issued a statement that called into question the Mayor's impartiality.
Speaking to Donegal Now this evening, Mayor McBride said that Fianna Fáil was incorrect in saying that he ever treated any Donegal County Council Member unfairly.
“No Member (of the Chamber) can say that I treated anybody unfairly during my time as Mayor. I have treated every Member properly and impartiality. In fact, sometimes my only fault is that I have been too lenient.”
“I have no problem listening to any opinion. What has to be remembered is we still have to get on with the business of the Council.”
In order to overcome the recent issues that has been occurring in Chambers, Mayor McBride has called for a Party Whip meeting next Friday. At the meeting he will address the need for the Council Members to resolve their issues in order that the Council can get on with the business as he says “the citizens of Donegal elected them to do.”
On the issue of streaming Council Meetings online, Mayor McBride says that he has no issue with it if the other Members of Council agree to it.
By Oliver McBride
Mayor to take legal advice over allegation
Added: 08-03-2012 09:04:29
Letterkenny Town Mayor, Cllr Gerry McMonagle has found himself the centre of a serious allegation made by a Member of Parliament in West Minster, UK.
Speaking to Donegal Now this morning, Cllr McMonagle confirmed that he has not read the statement made by the sitting MP but that he will be consulting his solicitor before he will be making any further comment.
The MP in question made the allegations under ‘Parliamentary Privilege’, which allows a Member of the House to openly say what they like without the fear of legal prosecution.
In May last year, Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming used the parliamentary privilege to name Ryan Giggs of Manchester United fame as the footballer behind a High Court Injunction banning his name from being made public in regards to an affair.
Even though the MP revealed Giggs’ name, the footballer was unable to take any legal action against him.
The same privilege is extended to members of Dáil Éireann, which allows them to remain immune from prosecution for anyting they say in the Dáil chamber when it is in session.
The legal position as regards to parliamenary privileges between different jurisdictions is unclear but specualtion is that it could be referred to the European Court of Justice to clarify the position.
Joy-Riders Strike in Letterkenny
Added: 29-02-2012 15:47:09
Gardaí in Letterkenny are today appealing for witnesses after a car was stolen and burned out by joy-riders.
The car was stolen from a property at Ferndale in the Glencar area of the town between 9.00pm last night and 8.00am this morning.
Garda sources say that the vehicle was discovered this morning in a wooded area burnt out. The vehicle was later towed away.
Our photographer was on the scene this morning where the car was found in the Ballyboe area of the town. It is clear from the photo that the thieves took the car for a joy-ride.
It is unclear why the thieves abandoned the car. Before fleeing from the vehicle they set it alight, leaving behind an burning inferno. After the fire burned itself out, there was nothing left but an empty shell.
Gardaí are appealing for any one who saw any suspicious activity in the Glencar area between 9.00pm last night and 8.00am this morning to contact the Letterkenny Garda Station on 074 9167100.
By Oliver McBride
Pilot Whale Article
I found a Pilot Whale washed up on Trá na Rossan beach a week after 33 Pilot Whales were stranded 50KM away.
Newspaper Articles for the Tirchonall Tribune - File
Newspaper Articles for the Tirchonall Tribune - Image
I have written many articles for this paper which has been printed
Qualifications & Certifications
Certificate in News Writing for Print
BA (Hons) in Legal Studies with Taxation
Letterkenny Institute of Technology
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