From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 9, 1977

From the pages of the Down Recorder, August 9, 1977

9 August 2017

NEWCASTLE — Seven people were injured, five seriously, when a callously placed bomb exploded beneath a gas tank in the grounds of the Slieve Donard Hotel in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Three other terrorist attacks took place at the weekend — one in Castlewellan, one in Kilcoo and another in Newcastle. This is the fourth time that the Slieve Donard has been attacked, the last occasion being three years ago.

Damage to the hotel itself was minimal because the bomb had been planted in the car park. Nevertheless several windows were smashed and cars damaged. One boy was blown under a car by the blast and was suffering from severe shock. The gas tank was still burning while ambulance men helped the injured.

Local doctors were quickly on the scene and they rendered first-aid and gave pain-killing injections to the badly injured before they were taken to hospital.. Off-duty staff from Downe Hospital were also awakened from their beds to help the night staff and administrative personnel assisted by informing relatives of the injured.

The blast was heard and seen as far away as Downpatrick, Rossglass and Ardglass. One girl described it as “an atomic bomb, a large ball which lit up the sky.”

A Newcastle police spokesman said: We were given a very short warning about the bomb. It was phoned to a local doctor, who passed it on to the station. We received word from him at 1.30am and the bomb exploded at 1.35am.”

The SDLP councillor for the area, Mr Paddy O’Donoghue, condemned the incident. “The bomb could easily have caused wholesale death and destruction. No cause can justify such a reprehensible act,” he said.

HILLSBOROUGH — The Queen’s first visit to Northern Ireland in 11 years attracted thousands of people to Hillsborough Castle, hoping to get a view of the Royal Party.

Chants of “We want the Queen” echoed all around Hillsborough Square as the massive crowd peered through the railings, hoping for a never-to-be-forgotten view of the Royal couple.

A deafening roar or applause greeted the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh as they responded to the crowd’s wishes and appeared for a few minutes at a window of the castle to wave.

The Queen was met by the Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Clanwilliam, from Ballynahinch, who introduced her to some 200 schoolchildren selected from all over the province. She also met General Sir John Anderson, from Downpatrick, who is the Colonel Commandant of the Ulster Defence Regiment since it was formed in 1970.

Among the Queen’s duties at Hillsborough was to conduct an investiture inside the castle for those recognised in the recent Birthday and Silver Jubilee Honours List. Among those presented with the British Empire Medal was Comber bus driver Wilson Lowry, who was accompanied by his wife and daughter.

DUNDRUM — Angry residents in Dundrum intend putting the brakes on speeding motorists. In fact, some residents have considered the possibility of putting up a barricade or forming a human barrier to put an end to what they term a “ridiculous situation.”

The situation occurs on a private lane which many motorists have started using to beat the temporary traffic lights set up in the main street. One resident claimed motorists were endangering the lives of children who use the lane to play on or who use it to cross to the popular playground.

Already some residents have taken action. Last Monday night the lane was blocked in two place, preventing many motorists getting through. One barricade was a ladder, while the other was a car parked sideways across the lane.

CASTLEWELLAN — The Annsborough/Castlewellan Combat Cancer Group have raised the colossal sum of £1,402.71 at their latest venture — the catering at Castlewellan Show.

Local residents, friends and visitors all worked together to make the occasion a great suddess for the Ulster Cancer Foundation and the show committee deserve great praise for once again working in union with the local cancer group.

With his latest sum ticked away in the bank, the group are already planning their next event, which will be a grand variety concert in early autumn.

KILLOUGH — Killough’s first ever summer activities scheme for children took place from July 18 to August 5 and the organisers, Mr Kieran Keville and Mrs Angela Savage, were overwhelmed by the response from the children.

Many parents gave their time to ensure that the children enjoyed themselves and a wide range of activities, both at St Joseph’s Primary School and elsewhere, took place. Trips were made to the Folk Museum at Cultra, Ards Arena, Castleward, Castlewellan Forest Park and Newcastle.

Trophies and medals were presented by Mr P G Conway, school principal, and he was assisted by the Rev George McLaverty, of Legamaddy. Cycling proficiency certificates were presented by Sergeant G Le-Strange and Constable E Foster.

DOWNPATRICK — Downpatrick horse trainer Frankie Fitzsimons had good reason to celebrate at the weekend with his friends. For Frankie’s horse, Hope’s Choice, won the Joe Cooney Memorial Challenge Cup at Kilbeggan for the third time in four years.

Frankie, who lives in Irish Street, trains the horse at Downpatrick Racecourse. Hope’s Choice first won the trophy in 1974 when Pat Keely was in the saddle and again in 1975 with Tommy Kinane up  top. The hat-trick of successes was completed on Friday night with jockey Frank Berry guiding the horse over the two-and-a-half mile chase.

CROSSGAR — Crossgar Choral Society, in conjunction with other local associated societies and clubs, is hoping to raise a large sum of money to carry out repairs to Crossgar War Memorial Hall.

The hall has been greatly damaged by vandalism and as much money as possible is needed to carry out extensive repairs and to pay outstanding debt.

PORTAFERRY — Three local children, all members of McKenna’s School of Irish Dancing in Portaferry, have been dancing their way to success and gaining quite a reputation at the same time.

Catherine Magee won the trophy for the most promising under seven years dancer at the Newtownards Open Festival, Gerald McGrattan won the award for the most promising dancer in the 7-9 years category and was the judges’ choice in a number of other classes, while Laurence Mason was the proud winner of the 9-11 years boys’ cup at the Bangor Festival.

KILLYLEAGH — Killyleagh will be losing a familiar figure next month when one of the town’s clergymen moves to take up a position in Ballygowan. The Rev James Harper has been called to become minister of Ballygowan Presbyterian Church.

CLOUGH — Clough Accordeon Band received new uniforms at an open-air dedication ceremony in the village on Saturday night. Over 300 people looked on as Mr Cecil Harvey presented and dedicated the new uniforms, which consisted of royal blue pullovers and royal blue caps with tall orange feathers attached.

Clough Accordeon Band then led the 17 other bands present in a parade from the field.

BALLYNAHINCH — A sponsored walk succeeded in raising £500 for Ballynahinch Silver Band recently. The walk, organised by the ladies’ committee of the band, was well attended and supported by friends of the band.

CRICKET — Saintfield’s unbeaten run to the league title continued in last week when they saw off the challenge of their closest rivals, Armagh. An great team performance gave them a comfortable six wicket success and leaves them needing only two wins from their final four games to clinch the championship.

Norman Shaw won the toss and took a risk in asking Armagh to bat first. However, considering the tactics peculiar to two-night matches, it was justified and indeed paid off when Armagh were all out for 98.