Gordon Darcy – Rugby Player
Gordon hails from Ferns, County Wexford and is an Irish and Leinster Rugby Star.
He competed in the Six Nations Championship and the Triple Crown. This popular figure was also part of the Victorious Ireland team that won the 2009 Six Nations Championship and Grand Slam.
He has had many career highlights:
Gordon was named in the Barbarians Squad to play England and Australia and scored one of the tries in the match against England where they beat them 33 to 26.
He was called up for the British and Lions Squad for the South Africa tour in 2009. He also played in all of Ireland’s 2007 Six Nations matches and earned a nomination for RBS Six Nations Player of the Tournament that year.
In 2006/2007 he was voted player os the championship by fans on irishrugby.ie.
Gordon was voted best player of the Six Nations Tournament in 2004 and nominated for the IRB player of the tear in the same year, amd also played his part for the British & Irish Lions in their tour to New Zealand in 2005. Gordon regularly takes part in charity work which has included helping organisations such as Barretstown, Goal , work with Brainwavee and the Irish MS Society.
He also a fan of Wexford GAA.
Niamh Greene – Bestselling Author
Writer Niamh is best known for her “Demented Housewife” series and “Letters to a Love Rat” which has been phenomenally successful in the UK and Ireland. Niamh’s fourth book “Rules for a Perfect Life”, will be published in June 2010. It’s a comedy about a woman who’s forced to abandon her designer life for the country when she loses her job! Niamh received a BA in English and French from University College Dublin. She always dreamed of being a writer, but before making that a reality, she took jobs working in tourism, publishing and PR and had the opportunity to live in Dublin, London and San Francisco.
Niamh is also a stay at home mother. She recently moved home to Wexford and lives in New Ross, with her 2 children and husband. Niamh has also just started a new Blog and which you can read via her website www.niamhgreene.com!
Grainne Murphy – Young Swimming Star
Grainne is from Ballinaboola in Wexford and at only aged 16 has had an outstanding swimming career. She scooped three gold medals in the European Junior Championships in Prague in July last year (2009) (winning her medals – in the 200m Individual Medley, the 400m Individual Medley and the 800m Freestyle), She also won bronze in the 1,500m Freestyle.
She also broke two European Junior, four Irish Senior & 10 junior records during that tournament.
Then at the World Championships in Rome – her success continued – she broke a record set by Michelle Smith de Bruin (at the 96 Atlanta Olympics) – making her the fastest female Irish swimmer in history over this particular distance.
She also broke her own 1,500m Freestyle and 200m Butterfly record.
Grainne and her mother have moved to Limerick where she attends Castletroy College and trains under Coach Ronald Claes of Swim Ireland’s Limerick High Performance Centre. Her days are very structured with training beginning from about 5.20am. She is dedicated to her sport and her aim is to make the 2012 Olympics in London. (She has also been received Irish Sportswoman of the Month title for her outstanding performances in Prague and Rome and named Texaco Young Sports Star of the Year)
Stephen Murphy – Kickboxing Champion
This Wexford fighter, annexed the World Kickboxing Association’s super middleweight title in June last year at just aged 21.
The big fight took place at the National Stadium in Dublin, but his huge preparation for the fight paid off when after five rounds, Stephen beat his Scottish opponent Alex Bertie.
Stephen described it as “his dream come true” being crowned world champion, after beginning the sport of kickboxing at just four years old, under his coach & father, Billy.
His next kickboxing competition, the “Five Nations Fight” takes place in Whites Hotel this coming June. Having now won every kickboxing honour, Stephen is now determined to continue his success not only in kickboxing, but also in Boxing, under the guidance of CBS Boxing Club coach, Eddie Bolger.
Stephen has already boxed 12 fights out of the Wexford CBS club and has won all of them. That record includes capturing a Leinster Novice title. He also captained an Irish team against Scotland in the Riverbank House Hotel, Wexford and won his bout.
He trains twice a day, six days a week and hopes that his skill and determination will place him on the Irish Boxing Team for the London Olympics.
Anne Robinson from Enniscorthy, who is a Board Member with the Asthma Society of Ireland
Anne, a proud Cork woman, has been living in Enniscorthy for many years.
She has been involved with the Asthma Society for 22 years and is currently the longest serving member of the board of directors.
Her work with Asthma Society came about after her son, Alex died after an asthma attack in 1987 at just 21 years old.
She is committed to the society and in ensuring that asthma sufferers and their families are well informed about the condition and its management. She is also involved in fundraising for the society and was recently part of a team that raised 8 thousand euro through a charity soccer match!
Ann is also a busy mother, raising a family of 8 children. She also fostered a boy for 3 years and reared her husband’s two nieces, for 14 years after their mother died in 1973 from cancer.
Caroline Stacey – fundraises for Crumlin Hospital and Heart Children Ireland
Caroline is married to John and they have 2 children Bryan and daughter Claire.
Bryan was born with a heart defect and has been attending Crumlin hospital for the past 17 years, this April. His condition means that he has to return to hospital regularly for checks on his health and pace maker.
Caroline was prompted to become involved in raising money for the hospital as a thank you to the excellent care and treatment her son has been receiving.
Caroline has organized car boot sales (raising 3,800 euro each) for both Crumlin and Heart Children Ireland. She decided to include Heart Children Ireland in the fundraising also because the organisation has a special unit in the Mater, which her son Bryan will need to move to for treatment soon. Caroline is also a volunteer for the HOPE Cancer Charity SHOP, a Brownie leader (for the past six years) and is also involved in her local church events and fundraisers. She is currently planning details of her next fundraising project to raise money for the local school!
Seamus Keane – of the Vintage and steam engine rally in Whitechurch, New Ross
Seamus is from Whitechurch New Ross – home to what is said to be the Biggest Vintage and Steam Engine Rally in the South East!
He started holding an Annual Vintage & Steam Rally & Barn Dance, five years ago with proceeds going towards his brother’s work as a missionary in Kenya. As a result of monies raised in the past few years his brother has been able to build three water tanks for the community in Kenya.
The rally has a host of events and features from horse ploughing, vintage tractors and cars to farm butter making, woodturning and even games for the children.
It is also a working Rally – so that everything at it is working and not just sitting in the middle of a field being admired!
In addition, Seamus has a Special shed for the Street children of Bucharest with a permanent base on his farm yard. Also, his generosity of spirit shone through once again after the recent flooding in the West. Seamus took it upon himself to travel there with some hay to help farmers who were effected by the floods.
Fr. Mal Sinnott – Irish Missionary
Columban Missionary, Fr Michael Sinnott from Barntown in County Wexford was kidnapped last October by a gang of armed men from outside his home in Pagadian, in the Phillipines.
Four or five armed men burst into the garden where he was taking a stroll, bundled Fr Michael into a pickup truck and drove to a local beach. Fr Michael was then taken away in a speed boat and forced to spend 32 days in captivity before being released.
Fr Mal has served in a variety of pastoral and administrative roles in the Philippines and since 1998 has been involved with a school for children with special needs.
Despite his ordeal and after a brief homecoming, he returned to the Phillipines where he continues to work. His ordeal, which attracted not only national but international attention, was of mental strength and courage and brought communities together in prayer, vigil and other activities to secure his final release.
Marie Casey Breen
Marie became the oldest female to compete in an Ironman Triathlon (last year) at age 57. It is a gruelling test of physical and mental strength and she proved that age is no obstacle with her story receiving local and national media attention!
She is originally from County Clare but married a Wexford farmer! She is a nurse and has 5 children. She has worked in Knockeen Nursing Home for over 12 years and the county hospital previous to that. She says the highlight of her career was working with Concern as a volunteer in Bangladesh and Thailand & working with Mother Theresa in Calcutta at the “Home for the Dying”. She also travelled the world for 3 years while in her 20’s. She taught herself to swim in Rhodesia in the early 80’s in an inflated car tube, while doing 1 year of voluntary work there.
She also started running in her mid 20s and ran a lot of marathons but took a break for 20 years! She then came back with a bang – in 2003 she competed in her first triathlon in all 4 provinces of Ireland and did a half Ironman as well as finishing the Dublin City Marathon. She has been competing ever since and inspiring people of all ages.
Following the death of her daughter, Evelyn and John Fortune, from The Ballagh, undertook a major fundraising campaign to secure an important piece of equipment for Wexford General Hospital. Davina Fortune was just two years old when she died in February last year but the care and attention she received in St Gabriel’s ward prompted the couple to set up the Davina Fortune Fund. Through their efforts which involved everything from benefit nights, bucket collections, ticket sales to door-to door collection, they managed to gather enough money for two monitors for use in the hospital ward. The hospital is extremely grateful for the monitors which are an invaluable asset in looking after very sick infants and children in St. Gabriel’s.
(Note: Evelyn has also just given birth to a new baby girl called Amy Fortune)
We began the New Year with many parts of the country the grip of a cold snap but with it, also came a new community spirit.
Sub-zero temperatures resulted in snow and ice and many roads were impassable, leaving hundreds of people without supplies. So, nine farmers from Kilmuckridge took the initiative and got together to sand and grit the roads for the community. The freezing conditions had meant that no-one could move – it was almost impossible to walk and even parked cars were slipping. Using their tractors, trailers and shovels, the nine joined together with the aim of “getting the community going again”. (Even at a local wedding, they said instead of throwing flowers at the bride, they were throwing sand on the road in front of her!). Their efforts then encouraged a great sense of community spirit and everyone began to help each other out in whatever way they could. The local people were very grateful for their tireless work during the snow spell. These farmers are Tom Creane, Graham Daly, Dan Donnelly, Denis Farrell, Peter Hammell, Rory Hammell, John Hearne, Pat Murphy and Paddy Murphy
21 year old Kristina is from Ballycarney triumphed over 24 countries in the Worldskills Competition in Canada bringing home a Bronze Medal for her skills in the restaurant service category in October 2009. She was one of 11 who represented Ireland in a variety of trades, and they came 2nd in the world, overall. Kristina also is a previous winners of the National Skills Competition and also represented Ireland when she won Gold in the European Association of Hotel and Tourism Schools (AEHT) competition in Estonia. Kristina is a graduate of WIT and is working in Monart for the past 2 years. There, she has worked in the bar, restaurant and is currently working at reception. She plans to return to college in the future and eventually become a lecturer on the Restaurant Service.