Northern Ireland

NI weekly papers: Football, wedding joy and castle for sale

Newry Democrat Image copyright Newry Democrat
Ballymena Guardian Image copyright Ballymena Guardian
Ulster Herald
Lurgan Mail front page

The Newry Democrat is in celebration mode with a special 'wraparound' edition celebrating Newry City's promotion to the Irish premiership.

The boys in the blue and their boss are featured on the front cover cheering wildly.

"We are going up!" the headline reads.

Underneath, the paper reports: "Five years after formation, Newry City are promoted to the premiership."

Inside, the Democrat reports on a proposal that the council host a civic celebration for the team.

The paper also covers the inquest into the death of Seamus Ruddy, one of the "disappeared", whose remains were discovered in May last year.

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Seamus Ruddy was working as a teacher in Paris when he was abducted and murdered

It carries a plea from the Ruddy family that the suffering of all the families of the Disappeared should be brought to an end.

In a statement, the family said: "Seamus was taken in Paris 33 years ago to the day.

"This year, for the first time in 33 years, we were able to attend Cemetery Sunday and pray at the grave where Seamus rests."

'Fear and depression'

The Ballymena Guardian leads with a photograph of smashed glass on a front door and a headline about the "hidden story of stress and heartbreak behind every case of burglary".

A man, who lives in the countryside outside Ballymena, tells the paper that the material loss from a burglary is "only the tip of the iceberg".

"You have the anger stage, but that is followed by feelings of fear and depression," he said.

He appealed to the public to report anything suspicious.

Image copyright Ballymena Guardian
Image caption Michael and Nicola Jennings with Sean Hassan and the CuddleCot

Inside, the paper reports on a couple who raised £1,600 to buy a "cuddle cot", which allows grieving parents more time to say goodbye to a stillborn child.

Michael and Nicola Jennings lost their baby three years ago and raised the money to help other bereaved parents.

They are pictured handing over the cot to funeral director Sean Hassan.

It has a special cooling unit that keeps the baby at an appropriate temperature so families can spend more time with them.

"We still find it hard to talk about the loss of our baby," Michael tells the Guardian.

"At the time, Sean helped us a lot and we wanted to say thank you to him. We also wanted to give something back to help other parents who have gone through the same thing."

Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption Niall's team mates formed a guard of honour for his funeral

The Lurgan Mail leads with the funeral of Niall O'Hanlon, 25, who died after he was struck by a car in his home village of Magheralin last weekend.

"Heart and soul of the village is laid to rest", reads the paper's headline.

His team mates on Magheralin Village FC hailed him as the "heartbeat" of the club with an "infectious and bubbly personality".

It carries a picture of the team forming a guard of honour in their uniforms as the coffin was brought into St Patrick and Ronan's Church.

'Castle for sale'

The Lurgan Mail also reports on a local castle that is up for sale for £2.3m.

Gilford Castle, which dates from 1865, is a B1 listed building with a kitchen, hall, four reception rooms and six bedrooms. It also has two flats with seven bedrooms.

Image copyright Tony Healy
Image caption Gilford Castle, which dates from 1865, is a B1 listed building that has gone on sale for £2.3m

The buyer can enjoy lots of marble, oak, stained glass and ceiling roses.

As the Enya song goes, you might dream you dwelt in marble halls...

'Cliff rescue'

The Larne Times leads with the story of the rescue of a teenage girl from the edge of a cliff face near Larne last weekend.

The 13-year-old had fallen down a 15ft embankment to the very edge of the 50ft cliff face.

"Knowing how dangerous a position the young girl was in, one of the crew made his way down to her and stayed with her to ensure she didn't roll off the edge until further help arrived that would allow her to be rescued," the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said.

The paper also quotes the police, who said that a "disaster was narrowly averted".

It also features photographs of two local couples who are sharing their wedding day with a certain royal couple.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sharing the date: the Larne Times features two couples planning their own right royal celebrations on Saturday

Elaine McKay and David Mitchell will be celebrating at the Hilton Hotel in Templepatrick.

Elaine confessed that, initially, the couple felt "a bit annoyed" when they heard that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had chosen the same date.

"I had visions of everyone trying to watch it at the hotel bar," she said.

The paper also features Jane Rainey and David Lewis who will also be tying the knot that day at Cairncastle.

Jane's bridesmaid, Kathryn Howie, captured Meghan Markle's warm wishes for the wedding on camera when the royal couple visited Belfast in March.

Image copyright PAcemaker
Image caption A Gaelic footballer was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital from Greencastle on Sunday

The Ulster Herald reports that a Gaelic footballer was airlifted to the Royal Victoria Hospital from Greencastle on Sunday.

Mark Carson was left unconscious following a blow to the head during a match against Loughmacrory at pitches on the Crockanboy Road.

It says Greencastle club officials "praised the prompt action of those who helped Mr Carson before the emergency services arrived".

It is understood the player was discharged from hospital earlier this week and is recovering at home.

The paper also suggests that the bid to build a new A5 dual carriageway could be further delayed following a High Court decision that has led to confusion over the governance of Northern Ireland.

Image caption The Ulster Herald says plans for a new A5 dual carriageway could be impacted by Monday's High Court decision

Mrs Justice Keegan ruled on Monday that the Department for Infrastructure's permanent secretary did not have legal authority to give the go-ahead to build an incinerator plant in Mallusk, County Antrim.

The Ulster Herald says this is "hugely significant" for those involved in a legal challenge mounted by the A5 Alliance, which has been pushed back until September.

The Impartial Reporter carries an interview with ex-MLA Tommy Gallagher, who says he came close to losing his arm following a traffic collision in March.

Image caption Tommy Gallagher was seriously injured following a road traffic collision in March

The former GAA player and retired teacher, who lives in Belleek, was travelling with his wife in a car which collided with a lorry on the Pettigo Road, close to Kesh.

Mr Gallagher, who sustained extensive injuries to his arm, ribs and lung, said: "Medical staff became concerned about whether they could save my right arm. But due to the good care I received and the capable people in the department, they saved it."

'Tourism strategy'

The Derry News says doubling tourism spend to £100m by 2025 is a key objective of Derry City and Strabane District Council.

The paper reports on the council's launch of its Tourism Strategy for 2018-2025, in which "key stakeholders" were told of an "ambitious new strategy which centres around the District's stunning and historic location, a cultural centre set where the wild Atlantic Way meets the Causeway Coastal Route".

Speaking at the event, Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Cllr Maolíosa McHugh, described the plans as "dynamic and forward thinking".

He added: "I particularly welcome the commitment to developing the use of digital technology to improve visitor experience and the strong focus being placed on investment in marketing the city and district and wider region."