‘I Met Spike’

Michael Colreavy with the paper clipping of when he met Spike-001

If you have been following me on Twitter you will have seen various tweets about trumpets and knickers. I’m sure most people think I had lost the plot but it was all in the name of Spike and now I can tell you more about it.

The ‘I Met Spike’ exhibition came about as a result of me listening to Jane Milligan talking about her dad in November of last year. I was fascinated by the stories she told of her childhood and I wanted to know more about the man. Afterwards I was talking to a couple of friends about Spike and they happened to mention that they’d met him, or knew of someone who had met him. This got me thinking, and after consulting with Colin (who is one of the founders of the Spike Sligo Comedy Club and Bright Side of Life Festival), ‘I Met Spike’ was born.I managed to meet people from Sligo or living in Sligo that had met Spike. I took their photo and listened to their story.

The project has been a brilliant experience for me, and given me a real sense of who the true Spike Milligan was. Each person’s story showed a different side to Spike and proved what a very complex and diverse individual he was.

Pictured above is Michael Colreavy TD who met Spike in Eason’s, Dublin in 1972. You can see the rest of the photographs and find out more about the stories if you come along to 5 Holborn Street on Wednesday 9th April at 6pm.

This is just a very small part in an action packed festival which you can read more about below and find out how to get tickets here.

9TH – 12TH APRIL 2015
A writer, artist, musician, comedian and actor, Spike Milligan had strong Sligo connections. His namesake “Spike Sligo”, a comedy and mental health centred group, are bringing many of these disciplines to the fore in a weekend festival featuring music, comedy, talks, workshops, art and outdoors events.
The mainstay of this Spike Sligo Festival will be comedy. Headline act, Richard Herring, is oft referred to as “The King Of Edinburgh” for his prolific and positive performances. Richard will be doing a live podcast and staging his acclaimed new show “The Lord Of The Dance Settee” over the course of the festival. Other comedy highlights include:
Abandoman’s genius hip-hop improv stylings, designed to make jaws drop and minds boggle
The camp brilliance of The Lords Of Strut, with both a children’s show and a definitely-not-for-children show. CHAOS!
Spike Sligo favourites, Niamh Marron, Christian Talbot, Allison Spittle, Ursula Burns and Robbie Bonham and many more.
The perfectly placed tribute to the dangers of teen obsession and the internet which is Sophie Hagen’s fabulous “Sophie Hagen Loves Westlife” show.
The super-charged, long-locked lothario of screen and stage that is Aindrias De Staic and his show “The Man From Moogaga”.
In collaboration with Sligo Jazz Project the Spike festival will see big name jazz outfits like The David Lyttle band, Pigfoot, The Brian Priestley Quartet and Nick Pynn and Daisy Grant perform in a variety of settings.
Some of Sligo’s finest local talent will be showcased in a Gala “Bright Side Of Life” concert featuring Eddie Lee, Kieran Quinn and friends and also the privilege of witnessing Spike’s daughter Jane Milligan performing some previously unheard songs by her father only recently unearthed.
Artist-in-residence for the festival, Tracey Moberly, will be running an Art-Athon of workshops from the 7th to the 11th, tackling two different disciplines a day for a total of ten artistic endeavours.
Spike Sligo have a strong connection to mental health and one of the core themes of the Bright Side Of Life festival is to highlight mental health issues in the community, with several specific events like
Christian Talbot’s “Cheaper Than Therapy” show.
Helen McNulty’s one woman show “YUCK!” about phobia and its effects.
The personal testimony panel event “I Told You I Was Ill”, featuring well-known personalities discussing their own personal experiences with mental health issues.
The Rennafix Thrill to Chill day, featuring outdoor activities, adventure sports, comedy, music and cinema in a beautiful Sligo countryside location.

As always, Spike Sligo are committed to contributing a 10% tithe to each of their affiliated local charities, Sligo Rape Crisis Centre and Rennafix.

Coronation Street Tour

Coronation Street

This is a very overdue blog but better late than never. Last year I went to Manchester for a couple of days and visited the Coronation Street Studio Tour. The tour was meant to finish in October but has proved so popular they’ve carried it on. The tour is of the old Coronation Street set at the old Granada Studios. The new set moved to Media City in early 2014.


The only tour I could get a place on was at 8pm. I would have loved to get a daytime one but I left it very late to book – if you are planning to go book well in advance. The weather was great when I got there but you go into the indoor studio first and by the time I got outside it was pouring with rain and dark so it doesn’t make for great photos.


As you go inside the building you watch a short video with some of the best moments of the street on it. Your tour guide brings you down the corridor with all the dressing rooms, most of them were locked though. Next was the make up room and wardrobe (including some of the outfits that the characters actually wore) – there are no photos because we weren’t allowed to take any in the building. What struck me most was how small it all was, you’d wonder how the cast and crew would fit in there at all.


You get to go inside the Rover’s Return and they’ll take your photo behind the bar, you have the option of buying it at the gift shop after the tour. Your tour guide will tell you stories about some of the happenings in the bar and also in the few other sets we saw which were Carla’s Flat and Gail McIntyre’s (Platt) house. It was so funny in the Platt house that the stairs don’t lead to anything so our guide was telling us when David or anyone goes upstairs they have to crouch at the top until filming the scene has finished. After our tour of the sets and some of the memorabilia we went out onto the cobbles.



It was great to walk down the same street that Ken Barlow, Bet Lynch and a whole host of others have walked down. You can’t go inside any of the buildings though but it’s still great to see them.



I’d recommend the tour to any Coronation Street fan, it’s well worth a visit and Manchester is a fantastic place too with loads to see and do even if you aren’t a football fan.


The rest of my photos from the Coronation Street tour are here. There is one more blog I have to do about my Manchester trip…it’s taken me long enough to do it! I also went on a 1940’s day when I was there.

Tiger comes roaring into Sligo


Sligo’s newest store opened today in the Quayside Shopping Centre. Tiger Stores said Halløj to Sligo with their 15th Irish store.


Shoppers were out in force and were welcomed by the smiling friendly staff who were on hand with cakes and biscuits…sure what more could you want? Bargains, that’s what and Tiger has bargains by the bucket load.


You’ll never have to worry about keeping the kids entertained on rainy days anymore with the wonderful range of toys starting from just €1!


The Tiger brand has a simple mission – to provide stylish products featuring the best of Danish design, in a pleasant environment, at astonishingly low prices.


There are all kinds of everything…and to be honest I need at least one of each!


I loved the store so much I went in three times today and now that I’m looking through the photos I’ve seen quite a few things I ‘need’ to buy so I’ll be in again tomorrow!


So a big warm welcome to Sligo Tiger wishing you the very best of luck and congratulations on your lovely store.

Today FM and Dublin

River Liffey Reflections

I was invited up to the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show on Today FM at The Sugar Club in Dublin on Friday as I entered a competition to win a Renault Megane and boy do I need a new car. Gilbert the Getz is 11 years old and has started screaming when I drive him…so on Thursday night we went up to Dublin because we had to be at The Sugar Club at 6.30am on Friday morning.

Ha'penny Bridge

After a walk around Dublin on Thursday night (hence the photos above) we went to our hotel. The Kildare Street Hotel, which was grand, cheap and cheerful but the 4,000 steps* up to our room because there wasn’t a lift almost killed me. *might be a slight exaggeration.

Renault Megane

When we arrived at The Sugar Club I was very excited to see what I thought would be my new car. We had to queue for a bit and it started drizzling I was worried that me hair would be in bits so I was tweeting Ian Dempsey to let us in.

Ian Dempsey

I was slightly morto when he started reading my texts out during the show…and in true Val style I had been tweeting a lot!


Hamsandwich were playing a couple of songs live and they were brilliant. I’ll definitely listen to more of their music. We also saw Mario Rosenstock and he was really funny. I wish I went to see Gift Grub live when it came to Sligo….next time.

Mario Rosenstock

Now onto the car competition. I’d read the whole of the Renault Megane manual in the hopes it would be a quiz and I would win….I’d also memorized the whole of the Renault fleet plus I had been running marathons for the last two weeks just in case it was a race to the car…and I sat at the front as well so I was guaranteed to win. I shouldn’t have bothered though as four finalists had already been chosen and one person from the audience was left to be picked….in the words of Shaggy ‘it wasn’t me!’ So I’m stuck with screaming Gilbert but on the positive side the Megane was quite big and I’d probably have been hopping it off everything if I won.

Ian Dempsey

After the show we got to say hello to Ian Dempsey and Mario Rosenstock. You can really see that the early morning didn’t suit me! Aside from not winning the car I really enjoyed the morning with Today FM, it was great craic so thanks to them for having us along.

Trinity College

After our early morning Lucy went back to the hotel to sleep (light weight) and I went to Trinity College to join the crowd waiting to see the partial eclipse. I should have followed Lucy though because I saw the eclipse for about a second!

The Old Library

As I was in Trinity College I finally got to see the old library. I had read there was no photography allowed but there were quite a few people taking photos so I just joined it. It’s such a beautiful library, it reminds me of something out of a Harry Potter film.

National Library

After one library it was on to the National Library to see the Yeats Exhibition. I really enjoyed this, especially listening to the poems being read along with the side-show (although I think the photos could have been a lot better). Sinead O’Connor’s readings were just wonderful.


After all that culture I’d worked up an appetite so after checking out of the hotel we went to Alfie’s for lunch. We were going to go to Brasserie 66 but read about Alfie’s in a magazine in the hotel and it sounded great. They have a lunch menu where you choose a starter, a main and a side for €10. I had fish cakes, goats cheese salad and a baked potato – it was lovely and well worth going there. So that was my day in Dublin, you can check out Lucy’s blog post here.

The rest of my photos are here.

Sligo is the #AdventureCapital


Firstly before I get to the point of this blog post I need help please. I’m working on a new project but need to go out kayaking, boating, stand up paddling, surfing etc. in Sligo, Mayo, Leitrim and Donegal. I have no budget (The Story of My Life as the One Direction song goes) but you will get blogged about (the blog gets hundreds of readers every day) and you will get mentioned at my project opening. I did ask on twitter and the silence was deafening, so if you can help drop me an email magnumlady@eircom.net



Sligo Leader Partnership is holding the official launch of the #AdventureCapital social media campaign followed by practical social media workshops from leading marketing experts. 

With epic surf, stunning landscapes, waterways and mountaintops along with world-class activity and adventure providers, Sligo is ready to tell the world it is the #AdventureCapital of Ireland.

Come join them on this day as they share details of this exciting campaign; they will listen to inspiring marketing experts and gain practical advice and insight on how to promote County Sligo as the best destination for adventure and recreation holidays in Ireland this year. To book your free place click here.


09:30am: Coffee & Registration
10:00am: Campaign Launch
10:30am: Workshop #1
11:10am: Workshop #2
11:50am: Coffee Break
12:00pm Workshop #3

About Sligo Leader

County Sligo LEADER Partnership Company is responsible for delivering programmes which are aimed at developing and improving the quality of life for the people of Sligo. The company was formed in 1996 in an effort to address locally the issues of economic and social underdevelopment in County Sligo.

As part of its remit, Co. Sligo LEADER Partnership is responsible for supporting Rural Recreation in all its forms through its post of Rural Recreation Officer. This is done by: offering soft supports; administering the Walks Scheme for National Way-marked Ways in Co. Sligo; developing the Recreation product in Co. Sligo through accessing funding and, crucially, in supporting the development of a coherent Recreation Sector which promotes Co. Sligo and supports sustainable tourism and employment.

Over the last 5 years Co. Sligo LEADER Partnership has directly invested over €750,000 in Tourism Recreation businesses in Co. Sligo. This investment has been in Capital, Equipment, Marketing, Mentoring, R&D and Training for SMEs or Start-ups operating in the sector.

To find out more about Sligo Leader and their work, visit www.sligoleader.ie



Tiger Stores To Open in Sligo’s Quayside Shopping Centre

Danish brand Tiger Stores is set to bid a cheery Halløj to Sligo shoppers as they open their fifteenth Irish store at Sligo’s Quayside Shopping Centre on Wednesday, March 25.

Employing six staff, the Danish brand brings its own take on Scandi-chic to Sligo, and is a welcome addition to Quayside Shopping Centre. For Tiger Stores Ireland Operations Director/Owner Gillian Maxwell, who introduced the brand to Ireland just three years ago, Sligo was an obvious choice for their fifteenth store: “As the second largest city in the West, Sligo is the perfect location for Tiger. Steeped in history yet with a great infrastructure, it’s a regional hub for tourism and trade, where culture and commerce mix easily, and surfers and shoppers are equally at home. We can’t wait to get there!”
Commenting on Tiger’s new store, Sligo Chamber CEO Paul Keyes said, “Sligo Chamber is delighted to welcome the Tiger store into Sligo’s city core at Quayside. The Tiger store will add to the ever-growing mix of things to see, do and enjoy in Sligo. The role of the Chamber is to help Sligo grow and we wish the promoters every success in this exciting venture, which will add to the retail experience and offering for our many local shoppers and visitors.”
The Tiger brand has a simple mission – to provide stylish products featuring the best of Danish design, in a pleasant environment, at astonishingly low prices, with prices from just €1 to €30 at most. It’s a concept that Irish shoppers have clearly taken to heart. With 15 stores in Ireland since its arrival just three years ago, the Sligo store being the most recent, Tiger is certainly a brand in the ascendant, winning two of the most highly-coveted accolades at the 2014 Retail Excellence Ireland Awards, including Company of the Year and Best Small Company (under 100 employees).
From March 25, Sligo shoppers can look forward to Tiger’s design-led, low-cost colourful lifestyle products, from homewares to toys, stationery, toiletries and accessories. Stores are like playgrounds, brightly lit but with paired-back furniture, while new stock deliveries every fortnight mean that any given time, 30 – 40 per cent of the stock is new, delivering a consistently fresh shopping experience. Get to Quayside Shopping Centre on March 25 and prepare to be wowed.
Tiger, Unit 9 Quayside Shopping Centre, Sligo, opens Wednesday March 25 at 10am, and subsequently Monday – Saturday from 10am – 6pm, with late opening on Thursday.