Michelle (R) pictured with Longford Leader sports editor 'Punter' O'Brien
1. What's your idea of a perfect day or perfect weekend in Longford?
My idea of a good day is having breakfast in the Gallery Cafe and, weather permitting, taking the dogs for a walk after along the canal from Killashee village to Clondra. It’s so relaxing and you get to see a lot of wildlife.
2. Who has made the greatest contribution to Longford in your lifetime - and why?
There have been a lot of influential Longfordians down through the years, but probably Albert Reynolds or Eugene McGee. They both helped put Longford back on the map. On a personal level Paul Trimble, the manager of the Odeon, who encouraged my love of the cinema. I'll never forget watching movies in the projection room as a kid. It was like magic.
3. What's your first Longford memory?
My first memory is when dad worked in the Longford Arms Motor-factors and he was asked to drive one of the cars in the St Patricks Day Parade. I remember myself, my twin sister Avril and my brother Robert, all sitting in the front seat of the car waving at people as we drove past.
4. What's your favourite part of the county - and why?
I have two favourite places, Lanesboro and Newtowncashel. There is nothing better than going swimming in either place when the sun is shining. We always bring a picnic and both areas have picnic tables. Nothing beats it!
5. Do you have a favourite local writer or author (or artist or musician)?
Again, it is between two people, Luke Baxter and Jude Flynn. I really enjoyed the books they put together. Longford had a very interesting past, with some amazing people and it's wonderful to read people’s memories and stories of their ancestors. Of course, I also love looking at the old photographs.
6. What about a local walk - or view?
We love walking all over Longford, whether it's taking the dogs along the canal in Killashee, through the lovely woodland walk in Lanesboro, or around Albert Reynolds Peace park where there’s always something going on. Albert Reynolds Peace Park is beautifully kept and is definitely one of the finest amenities in the county.
7. What do you think gives Longford its unique identity?
The people definitely! I get to meet a lot of people with my job and I have yet to meet someone who has not been friendly and extremely helpful. There is a huge community spirit in all communities in Co Longford. You can count on your neighbours to help if you need it. When you walking down the street people always say hello or even better stop and chat.
8. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Longford today?
I would say unemployment, a lack of fibre broadband and a lack of mobile phone coverage. There are still areas in Longford where you can't get an e-mail or receive phone calls. That's unacceptable in 2019!
9. If you had the power to change one thing in, or about Longford, what would it be?
I'd go back in time and stop the Harbour in Longford from being filled in. It would have been wonderful to see boats coming into town, tied up in the harbour. It would also boost tourism.
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