Attanagh man up for rural Oscar

ATTANAGH man Walter Phelan will be in the House of Lords next month where he will be recognised as a regional champion in the Countryside Alliance Awards.

ATTANAGH man Walter Phelan will be in the House of Lords next month where he will be recognised as a regional champion in the Countryside Alliance Awards.

Mr Phelan heads to London on March 7 to receive his award, one of the so-called rural Oscars. The awards celebrate the characters, skills, traditions and enterprise of the countryside.

The Attanagh man was nominated as the enterprise category champion for Ireland, for his Irish fly fishing and game shooting museum, which has been set up since 1986. He told the Leinster Express that he was delighted with the news he heard last week.

“I’m very lucky to get it”, said Walter who will be travelling to London’s House of Lords for the ceremony. “It’s very nice to get the recognition, everything like that is a help. I hope to have a bash in Attanagh soon to celebrate”.

Organisers of the awards said that Walter deserved great praise for the work he has done with the museum which houses an extensive collection of fishing, shooting and trapping exhibits, alongside photographs, magazines, taxidermy and other curiosities from sporting history in Ireland.

Lyall Plant is chief executive of Countryside Alliance Ireland.

“Walter’s obvious delight in country sports is inspiring, and it is the Countryside Alliance Ireland’s privilege to honour him for preserving and passing on our great rural heritage. It is unthinkable that this important part of our history should be lost,” he said.

The Irish Fly Fishing and Game Shooting Museum explores 300 years of hunting and fishing in Ireland. Apart from founding the museum Mr Phelan restored and adapted the traditional farmhouse to house a collection of vintage rods, reels, guns, tackle, tools and specimens of birds and fish.

Exhibits tell the stories of hunting and fishing from two angles. They show devices such as hollowed cow horn, used to hold mayflies for fishing, which was made by ordinary people who hunted and fished to supplement their diets.

The museum also displays guns, rods and tackle used by the ‘well-to-do’, who hunted and fished for sport. An entire room is dedicated to Garnett’s and Keegan’s, an Irish firm that supplied fine fishing and hunting equipment worldwide. The museum is located in the village of Attanagh and to find out more contact 057 86 74348.