From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 2, 1979

From the pages of the Down Recorder, October 2, 1979

2 October 2019

KILLYLEAGH — Controversy over the hold-up of work on the major housing redevelopment scheme in Killyleagh is expected to be cleared within the next two weeks and another nine new homes will be ready for tenants by the end of the month.

The news of a breakthrough in the dispute came on Tuesday when both sides issued separate statements after weeks of negotiations.

The dispute has not yet been resolved, but further meetings are planned and both sides say they are hopeful that full agreement can be reached within the next 14 days.

A spokesman for the main contractor, Patrick Murray and Partners of Carryduff, said that they anticipated handing over nine houses by the end of the month.

He added that they would be preparing to step up work on the scheme as they felt that agreement could be reached in the negotiations with the Executive’s consultants.

He continued: “At long last we are having a bit of action from the Executive in trying to resolve outstanding matters.”

A Executive spokesman was equally optimistic that the £1m scheme would not grind to a complete standstill, but he warned that if agreement was not reached “we will have no alternative but to get a new contractor to complete this scheme”.

Local councillor Col Denys Rowan-Hamilton said he was “delighted to hear that the deadlock was likely to be broken at last. He felt that the delay had caused great inconvenience to a great number of people, who were expected to be moved.

CROSSGAR — For the third successive year Crossgar soprano Rosemary McKibben has won a major individual award at the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera.

Following her ‘Best Female Singer’ award in 1977, Rosemany retained the Frank Ryan Cup for the ‘Best Irish Singer’ which she won last year.

The Belfast Operatic Company’s ‘Mikado’, in which she appeared, took third place at the 21st anniversary festival.

Rosemary also figured prominently in the quartet which was awarded the Wallace Memorial Trophy for the ‘best concerted item’ and the company lifted two other major awards to make its trip to Waterford well worthwhile.

Rosemary’s next major engagement is in the demanding role of Donna Elviva in Mozart’s Don Giovanni which is to be presented by the Studio Opera Group in Belfast later this month. This opera will also be presented in Down High School, Downpatrick. 

DUNDRUM — Local councillor Mr Jarlath Carey is to meet local planners soon in an attempt to save a major housing project in Dundrum.

Mr Carey will be accompanied by Newcastle councillor Mr Paddy O’Donoghue, and Castlewellan councillor, Mr Eamon O’Neill, who all condemned a refusal by planners this week to allow the project to go ahead.

The project is to develop a 20-acre site to provide about 100 new private homes and it has been turned down because it is too big.

The planners say the proposed development would be out of scale and character with the existing village and would be prominent in the village’s landscape.

The have also said the site is outside the area considered suitable for future development in Dundrum.

A planning spokesman told local councillors at a meeting on Monday that the bulk of new development of this type should be directed at district towns such as Downpatrick rather that to smaller towns like Dundrum.

Mr Carey called on councillors to support a plea to planners to reconsider their decision and said he didn’t support the philosophy that larger development projects should go to larger towns.

TANNAGHMORE — A landmark in the Tannaghmore district for the past century was thoughtlessly destroyed this week — not by vandals but by DoE workmen.

The landmark took the form of a holly tree, which was shaped like an igloo, and had a seat cut inside it, but it was destroyed when workmen carried out hedge trimming operations in the area.

The tree, referred to as the ‘Courting Tree’ or ‘Courting Den’ by generations, had been maintained for many years by Eddie Kelly. He took pride and delight in looking after the tree, and trimmed it three years a year.

A feature in the countryside in the Tannaghmore Road area, the tree was once a rendezvous for the couples of yesteryear. The tradition was that if you were first at the den, you were set for the night!

Many couples from 

the nearly Castlenavan, Seaforde, Loughinisland and Drumaness areas visited the tree regularly, particularly around the turn of the century and after.

Now, however, the tree is ruined. The hedge-trimming saw the tree almost dissected and what remains could never be trained back to its former self.

This ended the ‘Courting Tree’s’ legend and that’s why residents on the Tannaghmore Road are angry — that can’t understand how the workmen allowed such destruction to take place.

BALLYNAHINCH — Police in Ballynahinch are anxious to trace a ‘bogus doctor’ who entered the home of an elderly man at Magherahamlet and stole £300.

The ‘doctor’, about 30 years old, average height, and slim build, was wearing a long, dark coloured coat when he broke into the house on Saturday afternoon. He was found searching drawers in the h ouse by the elderly resident, who is under doctor’s care, but he identified himself as a doctor.

However, when he left, the man discovered around £300 was missing. He contacted police, who believed the intruder was a ‘bogus doctor’.

BALLYKINLAR — A new training establishment has been set up at Ballykinlar to increase the skills of the Ulster Defence Regiment.

This new instructional base will be used by full time and part time members of the UDR who will be taught to counter the increased sophistication of terrorist activity.

The camp is staffed by instructors from the UDR, Regular Army units in the province and others from the School of Infantry at Warminster, and will be assisted by the RUC. To date 100 UDR recruits have completed a four-week course at the camp. 

HORSE RACING — More than 260 entries have been received for the Ulster Cesarewich meeting at Downpatrick Racecourse on Saturday.

The card produces another bumper programme, following on the heels of the successful August Bank meeting, and the entries have been split over six different races.

The meeting again has had to depend on sponsorship, as the Downpatrick course continues to do what isn’t done anywhere else in the racing world — carry on racing without government support.

Major William Brownlow, in his annual report recently, said that he was confident that racing would continue at Downpatrick — the second oldest course in Ireland — for at least another few years. It was dependent, of course on generous sponsorship, as the £6,000 grant from the government has been ended.

He said the local tote would be continued, so that the profit could go back into the course. This is probably the only manually operated tote in the world.

DARTS — In three weeks’ time Dessie Noade, of Downpatrick, will be rubbing shoulders with the greatest darts throwers in the world.

He’s off to America as a member of the Northern Ireland team for the world championships at the Sahara Hotel Las Vegas, and so far there are no signs of nerves.

Drumaness born Dessie began his darts career 25 years ago and when he moved to Belfast he joined one of the top teams, The Gems, in the highly competitive Dock League.