Tuesday 20 February 2018

From our archives

Ross man built plane in his back garden

May 1978

Aviation history was made in a back garden in New Ross last week when the headmaster of the local Vocational School completed a task he began three years ago - that of building his own aeroplane.

This is no ordinary plane that John Duggan has built at his home at Southknock. It is the first of its kind to be built in Europe and it has already been acclaimed by the man who designed it, Rud Evans from La Jolle, California, who has been to New Ross to see it.

John Duggan's plane, which was taken by road to the Wexford airstrip for further tests last Friday, is a two-seater low wing monoplane which is powered by a converted Volkswagen car engine.

It has already passed four inspections by experts from the Department of Transport and Power, and will undergo a further inspection by the same experts before it undertakes its first flight.

It has a wing span of 27 feet and it is 20 feet long. It will have a top speed of one hundred miles per hour, and a cruising speed of eighty miles per hour. It will fly at 1,200 feet, consume approximately three gallons of petrol per hour, and will be capable of staying in the air for up to four hours.

Much of the material which went into the aircraft was purchased locally. For instance, the 60 horsepower 1834cc re-conditioned Volkswagen car engine was purchased as a trade-in, while the white pine timber used was bought from Mr Peter Roche while he was converting an old warehouse.

The fuselage is made from mahogany and plywood, while the wings are covered with a dracon synthetic fabric. The propeller is made from laminated wood and the plywood used was bought from Graves & Co. It has an open cockpit, and the engine is also uncovered.

John hopes that the plane will be airworthy and passed fit for take-off in the next couple of weeks, but until such time as there is an air strip in in the New Ross area, he is hoping some farmer will grant him the concession of taking off and landing in his land.

'What I need is about 1500 feet of level ground which is free from trees, ESB poles, etc.,' he said.

No queues to see the 'Angel' Alex play

May 1988

'Alex is like an angel these days,' promised his manager, Mr Maguire, as he watched the crowd file in to see his man perform in The Unyoke on Monday. 'Hurricane' Higgins now drinks only Cidona (honestly), and the odd glass of champagne.

The 'angel' was cloaked in a huge blue overcoat as he waited for the action to begin. But his halo began to slip a little when he saw how few people had actually turned out to see him, at £7 a head.

An overcoat was hardly enough to keep warm as the huge, chilly, ballroom had the presence of a mere 100 souls.

At one stage, it looked as though his best-of-nine exhibition match with Englishman Steve James would shrink to best-of-seven. Then there was talk that the ex-world champion might not condescend to play at all. He was already suffering fools, promoters and autograph hunters less than gladly.

The sparse attendance may have been an affront to the Higgins dignity, but once he finally took to the table, it was hard to keep him off it.

Referee Larry Codd, in white gloves and less than matching tweed jacket, had to run to keep up with the Hurricane and the quick-fire James.

Nine frames took only about an hour and a quarter, with Higgins winning 5-4. But affable Englishman James drew the largest cheer of the night, with a break of 127.

A great deal of action also seemed to be going on away from the green baize centre-piece. Waiting in the wings, manager Maguire, with fingers welded to the handle of his combination-locked briefcase, conducted the late-night deals which accompany professional snooker.

Eddie O'Connor of the Unyoke was less than happy with how things turned out. 'How could I be happy?' he complained, after handing over £2,000. It seemed so much for the privilege of entertaining so few.

But the last word lay with Angel Alex, as those few assembled at the Inn witnessed him perform trick shots and turn on the charm. They enjoyed the night in the end - even if not everything had gone the way that everybody had planned or hoped for.

Bannow Show falls foul to foot & mouth

May 2001

For the first time in many years, the Bannow/Rathangan Agricultural Show will not go ahead.

The popular show, now in its 53rd year, was due to take place on July 12, but has been cancelled because of continuing concerns over foot and mouth disease and the restrictions imposed on transporting livestock as a result.

Foot and mouth restrictions have impacted on plans for every agricultural show in Ireland, including Enniscorthy, Gorey, and Adamstown, compounding the difficulties if attempts were to be made to get a new date for the Bannow Show later in the year.

'If all the shows were to be rescheduled, then there would be a lot of hassle trying to get dates sorted from the Show Association,' said Anne Bennett, show committee secretary.

The deadline for applying for insurance has already passed in any event, she added.

Committee chairman Paddy Murphy said: 'the show is a big social and business event for farmers, their families, and many others. It will be a big loss to the community.'

Cattle shipments to return to Rosslare

May 1976

After a lapse of almost 40 years, live cattle are to be shipped again from Rosslare, starting in about five months from now.

Unlike those pre-War days, the cattle will this time move in comfort, in modern double-decker trucks that can accommodate between 35 and 45 beasts each, according to size.

The animals will make the three-and-a-half hour crossing to Fishguard in the British Rail ferries Avalon and Anderida, and it is anticipated that several hundred head will be exported weekly.

The last time live cattle were exported from Rosslare was in 1939, up to which time the Wexford Steamship Company operated a weekly livestock and general cargo service to Birkenhead and Liverpool with their vessel, 'Menapia'. Earlier in the 1930s, the Cork Steamship Company also operated a weekly livestock service from Rosslare to the Mersey with their vessel 'Blarney', while in the 1920s, the old Great Western Railway Company carried cattle from Rosslare to Fishguard on their vessel 'Waterford'.

Cornflakes too dear

May 1979

A £20 fine was imposed on shop owner (name withheld) of Crosstown, Wexford, at Wexford Court last week, for selling a 375 gram packet of cornflakes for 35p.

The maximum price allowed under grocery prices legislation is 34p.

The offence was committed on November 17 last year. Mr Fintan M. O'Connor, solicitor for the defendant, explained that the shop owner was very ill on the occasion. Her husband was running the shop, he did not know the correct price, and accidentally charged just one penny too much.

Beach entry fees?

May 1989

Two years after a public outcry stopped the introduction of car parking charges at Curracloe, County Manager Noel Dillon has hinted at the possibility of people being charged to actually use the beach itself.

The manager, who paid a visit to the United States in March, told councillors on Monday that there is a $5 entry charge on every 'worthwhile' American beach.

And outlining Council plans to spend £40,000 on Curracloe before July, he said: 'these are the lines we should be thinking along'.

The suggested was rejected by Labour's Brendan Howlin. He was in favour instead of a Continental-style system of leasing deck chairs. 'I hope eventually we can get to that,' he said.

Wexford People

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