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February 2014 Issue 18

connemara JOURNAL


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‘The word went out, and everyone turned up’ – island residents mobilise to rebuild beach destroyed by storms

Tony Kiely

In a remarkable display of community spirit, the people of Inishbofin pulled together last week and saved the island’s North Beach. Volunteers gathered to carry out massive repairs to the beach, following the destruction caused by the recent series of storms. The beach was split in two by the force of the storms, and water from the sea was pouring through a wide trench into Lough Bofin. The island has been particularly hard hit by the storms, with significant damage to roads and the east pier, but locals prioritised turn to page 8

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Irish language ‘under threat in Conamara’ THE future of the Irish language in the Conamara Gaeltacht is under huge pressure and the State is refusing to provide the services and supports needed to strengthen the language. This was the clear message coming from the public meeting organised by Conradh na Gaeilge on February 3 in Seanscoil Sailearna in Indreabhán. It was one of a series of countrywide meetings being organised in the aftermath of the crisis created by Seán Ó Cuirreáin’s announcement that he would be stepping down from his position as Irish language Ombudsman as a result of the lack of engagement he has received from the Government. Addressing the meeting, activist Donncha Ó hÉalaithe gave a vivid account of the decline in the Irish language in the Cois Fharraige area over the l

turn to page 6




connemara JOURNAL



Breathe in the good news! Major jobs boost for Corr na Móna as e-cigarette manufacturer moves in – page 4 Bring Them Home campaign Minister tells Dáil that legislative change on death certificate rules is ‘at an advanced stage’ – page 4 Meet the Coder crew Computer programming sessions draws in young people in Clifden and Oughterard – page 7 Minister Coveney’s visit As the council sets about picking up the pieces from the recent storms, we look at the impact of a devastating month of weather – pages 8-9

Arts and Features Meditations on the humble hawthorn tree Deborah Watkins’ blog – page 15 Connemara Photographic Society: Two months of winners, exploring ‘Night’ and ‘Stormy weather’ – page 14 PLUS... all our regular arts, health and sports features, bringing you the best of Connemara

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Ryan Croker fund launched in Moycullen MOYCULLEN native Ryan Croker, 25, is in a serious condition in an Australian hospital after sustaining a spinal injury during an accident last month. The ‘Ryan Croker Benefit Fund’ has now been set up to raise funds to support the family and

bring Ryan home when he is fit to travel. Ryan was an active member of the Maigh Cuilinn Hurling Club and his family are heavily involved with the GAA and the community in the Moycullen. A series of fundraising events are planned for the coming weeks, and dona-

tion envelopes and collection boxes will be distributed around Moycullen and the Connemara area. Donations can also be made at – for account details and regular updates on fundraising events, see

Bookshop’s award ‘helps promote all of Connemara’ Tony Kiely

THE English author Neil Gaiman famously said that a town is not a town without a bookstore. ‘It may call itself a town,’ he continued, ‘but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.’ Clifden, of course, has a bookstore – and what’s more, it’s an independent bookstore, which is something of a rarity these days. Better yet, it’s the best independent bookstore in Ireland – and that’s official. The Clifden Bookshop, owned and operated by Nicole Shanahan and Máire O’Halloran since 1997, was named Bord Gáis Energy Independent Bookshop of the Year 2013 at an event in Dublin in December. The bookshop was nominated by loyal customers, and after

Nicole Shanahan and Máire O’Halloran being presented with their Bord Gáis Energy Independent Bookshop of the Year 2013 by Dave Kirwan, Managing Director of Bord Gáis Energy being named Connacht finalist for the prestigious award, was chosen as Bookshop of the Year at the Irish Book Awards. Máire said: ‘The

accolade and award not only acknowledges the Clifden Bookshop’s achievement, but helps to highlight bookshops and the role they play in Ireland today. It also

promotes Clifden, Connemara and the west of Ireland – and and proves yet again that Clifden and its niche businesses are well worth a visit.’

News in brief l THE Connemara Loop will hold a networking event tomorrow (Thursday, February 13) at Ellis Hall, Letterfrack, from 11am-1pm. The event aims to build links between businesses in the area, and to plan a strategy for attracting visitors to Connemara in the coming months. Entry is free for Connemara Loop members, and €10 for non-members with a business along the Connemara Loop. l THE next meeting of the Clifden & Connemara Heritage Society takes place tonight (Wednesday February 12) in the Station House Hotel at 8pm. The main speaker will be Dr Paul Naessens from NUI Galway, who will talk on the role of the O’Flahertys in the development of Naval Power in High-Medieval Ireland 1100-1350. l A ‘FRUGAL and Thrifty Workshop’ will be held in An Bhean Feasa, Clifden, this Sunday (February 16) at 12pm, where you can learn to make your own laundry and washing up liquid, soap, herbal remedies for all the family, natural cleansers and more. Call in to An Bhean Feasa to reserve your place – early booking advised as places are strictly limited. Tickets cost €10.

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Jobs boost for Corr na Móna ROS Dumhach Cógaisíochta Teo (trading as Rossport Pharmaceutical) has announced it is to create 138 jobs at a new €5.2 million production site in Corr na Móna, Co. Galway, with the support of Údarás na Gaeltachta. The new jobs will support the company’s operations across Ireland and Europe, where Rossport is already a leading producer and distributer of Nicofresh electronic cigarettes. Recruitment for the jobs is already underway and a number of highskilled posts are available, including graduate roles in quality assurance and regulatory control. Steve Ó Cúláin, CEO of Údarás na Gaeltachta, said the authority was pleased to be in a position to support and facilitate the company’s development plans. Mr Ó Cúláin said: ‘This company is already well placed in the market, and

Brian Geraghty and Tony Geraghty, of Rossport Pharmaceutical at the facility in Corr na Móna has grown from strength to strength since the business was established in 2007. The employment opportunities that this venture will generate are crucial to Corr na Móna and the surrounding Gaeltacht area.’ Deputy Mayor of County Galway, Councillor Eileen Mannion added: ‘The addition of 138 jobs will have a very positive impact on the local community and will help sustain local shops and services’.

Boston Mayor plans to visit Carna in May MARTY Walsh, the newly-elected Mayor of Boston, is set to visit Carna in May this year. The Mayor of County Galway, Councillor Liam Carroll, met with Mayor Walsh after his inauguration in Boston on January 6. At the invitation of Mayor Carroll, Mayor Walsh –

whose parents emigrated from Carna in the 1950s – is expected to visit Galway and Connemara in May, where the two mayors will jointly lay the foundation stone for the Emigrants’ Commemorative Centre in Carna. Construction of the centre is expected to commence later this year.

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Minister moves to change death cert legislation Tony Kiely

A LONG-AWAITED Bill to allow the death of an Irish person abroad to be registered in this country looks set to go before the Dáil in April. The ‘Help Bring Them Home’ campaign – established in 2010 by Connemara native Yvonne O’Reilly after her son, Keith, drowned in America – received a significant boost this month with news that the legislative change they are seeking is ‘at an advanced stage’. Under the 2004 Civil Registration Act, an Irish person who dies while on holiday or a working visa abroad cannot have their death registered in Ireland except in limited circumstances, including: if the deceased was a Garda or soldier, or family member of a Garda or soldier, on duty overseas; or if the death took place on an Irish ship or plane, or a ship or plane leaving or destined for Ireland. The proposed legislative change will families of any Irish persons who dies while abroad to obtain an Irish death cert. Deputy Seán Kyne,

who has supported the long-running campaign, received assurances from Social Protection Minister, Joan Burton, that the Civil Registration Amendment is on course to be introduced by the end of April. The Minister was responding to Dáil questions tabled by Deputy Kyne on the issue. Deputy Kyne said: ‘I am pleased to hear that the legal obstacles have been overcome and that the Civil Registration Amendment Bill is being drafted by the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel for introduction thereafter in the Dáil. ‘The delay in this legislation, as well as in the introduction of the Gender Recognition Bill, is regrettable. ‘However, I believe Minister Burton is fully

MOTHER’S CAMPAIGN TO ‘BRING THEM HOME’ AWAITING DÁIL DEBATE TD proposes overhaul of law so that deaths of Irish citizens abroad can be registered at home Aoife Ní Dhálaigh

A BILL introduced in the Dáil last month by Galway West TD Seán Kyne may finally bring closure to Irish families who cannot register the death of a relative who dies while abroad

The Journal reported on the campaign in December 2012

committed to seeing the amendments enacted and in ensuring that the changes which will be of benefit to people across the country are put in place. Speaking to the Journal in December 2012, Ms O’Reilly said: ‘Without a record of Keith’s death here in Ireland, it will forever feel as though a piece of him remains stranded across a vast ocean, miles from family, miles from home. His future [relations] will find nothing of his passing in any Irish documentation – it will be as if he simply vanished.’ Deputy Kyne added: ‘The issue of families obtaining death certificates in cases where relatives have died suddenly while abroad is one which affects a number of families across Galway and the country. ‘One constituent to whom I spoke, whose brother died abroad, told me that her parents would like to have a death certificate for him before they pass on, which for me puts this issue, and the delay in addressing it, into context.’

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Station House in Traveler’s Choice Top 10 Ann Marie Conroy

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THE Clifden Station House Hotel has been named as a Top 10 winner in the Family Hotel category in the 2014 Travelers’ Choice awards, ranking tenth out of all hotels across Ireland. The award winners were determined based on the reviews and opinions of millions of Trip Advisor travellers around the globe. Ronan Fahy, General Manager of

Clifden Station House Hotel, said: ‘We are delighted to be chosen as number 10 in Ireland for family holidays. ‘Our core focus is customer care, which really shows in receiving this prestigious award. ‘The team in the Clifden Station House hotel look forward to continuing our customer focus into 2014 and beyond.’


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News in brief l FRIDAY February 14

promises to be a very special night in Claddaghduff Hall. As part of the continuing celebration of the 50th anniversary of Claddaghduff National School, a concert with Cantairí Chonamara and the children of the school will be held at 7.30pm. The concert will feature the adult choir, the children’s choir, musical recitals by some of the children and an exhibition of sean nós dancing. All donations received on the night go toward school funds and supporting Cantairí Chonamara. l RENVYLE Cat and

Dog Rescue will hold a fundraising sale in Ellis Hall, Letterfrack, this Sunday (February 16) from 10am-3pm, with bric-a-brac, toys, books, clothes and merchandise from the charity all on offer. Donations for the sale can be made on Saturday from 11am-1pm. l A ‘MONSTER Bingo’

will be being held in the Oughterard Community Centre on Sunday, February 16, at 3pm sharp as part of the Oughterard Show Society’s fundraising campaign for 2014. Books are €12 each, and there are fantastic raffle prizes to be won. l AN Bord Pleanála

has approved the compulsory purchase order for the N59 Maam Cross to Oughterard upgrade. The N59 Clifden to Maam Cross upgrade is scheduled to be published in February 2014. Construction of online section of N59 Moycullen Bypass is scheduled to start later in 2014.

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connemara JOURNAL

NEWS Glasilaun Beach, pictured during last year’s WaterSports day – Blueway organisers hope to include local marine-based festivals and events in its programme of promoted events

Tony Kiely

The third way: Connemara selected for pilot scheme people to take the first step. There’s an issue of the individual’s experience, perhaps a fear of getting involved, and also the cost of equipment. ‘So one focus of the Blueway is to lower the bar for taking that first step – to get people who have never been involved in water sports to make it part of their holiday experience, and to encourage local communities to use their local facilities. ‘We’re interested in involving those that are already experienced, but the big market is in get-

ting the novice to experiment – and encouraging visitors to make our water sport facilities part of their holiday experience.’ The Blueway was described at the meeting as a ‘slow burn’ – something that’s still at the ground-

investment required to establish the Blueway. In effect, the Blueway is a free trail for visitors to explore, much like the Wild Atlantic Way. The facilities are all in place – in the form of established kayaking and scuba div-

‘The Blueway is about tapping into the potential that’s on our doorsteps’ work stage, and will take some years to bear fruit. The real selling point of the scheme, especially in these times of austerity, is the relatively low

ing businesses, for example – so the Blueway boils down to an imaginative exercise in branding the area and its facilities. New signage will be

erected for the duration of the pilot scheme, providing details of the trails and local service providers. The project will be promoted through a series of ‘Blueway days’ in the coming months, during which service providers will be on hand to guide locals and visitors alike through their facilities. If successful, Mannin Bay, Killary Harbour and Inishbofin will become Connemara’s first Blueway destinations, with more to follow as the scheme is expanded – and in theory at least, all busi-

nesses in the area will ultimately benefit, not just those involved in water sports. Mr Murphy added: ‘The idea is that people will come to visit Blueway sites, but once there, they will be attracted out into the local economy, to spend on accommodation, restaurants and other local facilities.’ Connemara Chamber of Commerce President Chris Shanahan welcomed the pilot scheme, noting that the area’s water sports facilities are ‘vastly underutilised’.

Wild Atlantic Way meeting FÁILTE Ireland is calling for local communities across Galway to get behind the Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland’s new tourism initiative. The tourism authority is holding a series of community meetings in the coming weeks, including one at the Station House Hotel, Clifden, tonight (Wednesday) from 6pm-8pm. A meeting will also be held tonight at the Connemara Coast Hotel, Furbo, from 6pm. For further information visit wildatlanticway

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WE’VE got the Wild Atlantic Way, we’re getting a Greenway, but there’s also a third way – and it’s blue. Three locations in Connemara – Inishbofin, Mannin Bay and Killary Harbour including Glasilaun beach – have been earmarked for a pilot scheme of five ‘Blueway sites’ as part of a new Bord Fáilte water sports initiative. Details of the innovative scheme, which also includes Louisbourg’s Old Head and Achill Island, were outlined at a public meeting in Clifden Town Hall on January 31. A Blueway site is an area that is ‘relatively safe for a range of water sports activities, in a beautiful setting, with nearby support services’. Humphrey Murphy, of the ILC, told the meeting: ‘The Blueway is about taking advantage of the growing interest in adventure sports and races, and tapping into the potential that’s on our doorsteps. ‘It’s about offering safe opportunities to take part in water sports. One of the big challenges with water sports is getting



Leenane’s Sea Garden declared open! – Diary, page 13


l from page 1

past 40 years. He was also critical of the delay in implementing a State response to the decline of the language, and outlined the considerable amount of time it had taken to prepare the Government’s 20-year-plan for the language – a plan which Ó hÉalaithe claimed was now worthless and which, in his view, would not be implemented by the Government. Noting that the meeting was being held in the same building in which the Gaeltacht Civil Rights movement was established in 1969, he said that it was now time for the Conamara Gaeltacht community to organise itself so that the Irish language could survive as a viable community language.

Julian de Spáinn, Conradh na Gaeilge General Secretary, outlined the national campaign being organised to ensure that Irish language and Gaeltacht communities could have their language rights recognised by the State. He said that the campaign would also focus on forcing the political and State system to declare publicly where they stood in regards the future of the language. Mr de Spáinn said that if the State does not believe that the Irish language has any future it should openly declare its position. However, if it believes that the language does have a future, Mr de Spáinn continued, they have to back up that belief with proper support for the language and the Gaeltacht.


‘The future of the Irish language in Conamara is under huge pressure’

News in brief

l Tá busanna á eagrú ó Chonamara agus ó chathair na Gaillimhe

Donncha Ó hÉalaithe

Julian de Spáinn

When the meeting was opened to the floor, numerous examples were given showing a lack of basic State services being provided through Irish, including doctors and nurses attending Gaeltacht schools without the ability to speak Irish to young schoolchildren. Several complaints were also made in connection with the Department of Education and its

inability to provide support for Gaeltacht schools, and a call was made for the setting up of a Gaeltacht Board of Education. The Department of the Gaeltacht also came under attack for its withdrawal of funding for Eagraíocht na Scoileanna Gaeltachta, the organisation coordinating the work of Gaeltacht primary and secondary schools. It was claimed that as a result of this withdrawal of funding, Gaeltacht schools would no longer have representation on a range of State boards.

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chun daoine a thabhairt go Baile Átha Cliath don mhórshiúl Lá Mór na Gaeilge – Siúl ar son do Chearta, ócáid a bheidh ar siúl ar Dé Sathairn 15 Feabhra. Tá an mórshiúl á eagrú mar chuid d’fheachtas cearta atá bunaithe mar thoradh ar an ngéarchéim a cruthaíodh nuair a d’fhógair An Coimisinéir Teanga, Seán Ó Cuirreáin, go mbeadh sé ag éirí as oifig de bharr na heaspa éisteachta atá faighte aige ón Rialtas. Cuirfear tús leis an mórshiúl Lá Mór na Gaeilge – Siúl ar son do Chearta ag 2.00i.n. agus an slua ag fágáil Cearnóg Parnell ag 2.00i.n. agus iad ag tabhairt aghaidhe ar lár na cathrach. Fágfaidh bus Chonamara carrchlós Mhuintearas, Tír an Fhia, ag 8.45r.n. agus stopfaidh sé ag Halla Éinne, An Cheathrú Rua ag 9.00r.n. agus ag Seanscoil Sailearna, Indreabhán ag 9.15r.n. Is féidir stopadh sa Spidéal, sna Forbacha agus i mBearna más gá. Seol teachtaireacht chuig nó téacs chuig 087 3382885 le háit/áiteanna a chur in áirithe. Fágfaidh bus na cathrach an Ardeaglais ag 10.00r.n. agus is féidir suíochán a chur in áirithe ach glaoch a chur ar 091 567824. Cuirfear críoch leis an mórshiúl le slogadh ollmhór, áit a ndéanfar ceiliúradh ar bheocht agus ar shaibhreas na Gaeilge le ceolchoirm ó Seo Linn agus baill den ghrúpa Kíla agus Na Firéin. The lack of progress on the implementation of the Government’s 20-yearplan was also attacked, and the plan itself was criticised as being too vague and without proper focus. A call was made for the scrapping of the plan, and its replacement by a workable document which would deal specif-

ically and quickly with the problems facing the Gaeltacht and the Irish language. The meeting concluded with arrangements being made to support Lá Mór na Gaeilge, the demonstration supporting the Irish language being organised in Dublin this Saturday (February 15, see above).

Council outlines Lettergesh repairs ALMOST a year after a land slippage saw weight restrictions imposed on a stretch of road in Lettergesh West, Galway County Council has outlined plans to carry out repair works, writes Tony Kiely. The works, details of which went on display on January 10, propose ‘the construction of 330 metres of road, with 5.5m wide carriageway complete with drainage, new roadside boundaries, landscaping, associated accommodation works and relocation of existing services,

including septic tanks and water services’. The road, which runs adjacent to a sheer clifflike drop down to sea level, has had a threetonne weight restriction imposed by the Council since March 2013, prohibiting heavy vehicles – including school buses and farm machinery – from using it. l The plans are on public display in Áras an Chontae, Prospect Hill. Submissions may be made in writing to Áras an Chontae, Prospect Hill, Galway not later than Friday March 6

l AIMEE Stanley and

Patrick King, pictured, were crowned winners of Strictly Connemara 2013. The event, which took place in the Station House Hotel in December, was a fundraiser for the Galway Rape Crisis Centre and local RNLI. l A GARDA

investigation was launched following the discovery of human remains in Tully. The human skull was found at Tully Pier on Saturday, January 31. A forensic examination at UCHG indicates the skull dates from the 1930s. l A MUM-TO-MUM

breastfeeding support group has started in Clifden, meeting every second Tuesday in the Library Bar, Station House Hotel, from 11am-12.30pm. All those breastfeeding, or planning to, are welcome to drop in for a chat. l MOYCULLEN’S

weekly bingo sessions continue on Thursdays from 8pm in The Forge. It is proposed to launch a Jackpot soon. l TAR Éis na Gaoithe

Móire, an exhibition of new photography by Yvonne King, is at the Clifden Library until February 28.


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connemara JOURNAL

Gardaí investigate fatal road accident popular member of An Cheathrú Rua CLG. A tribute posted to the Facebook page of An Cheathrú Rua CLG read: ‘Ta gach duine i CLG an Cheathrú Rua go mór faoi bhrón mar gheall ar bhás ár gcara Thomas Mac Donnacha. B’fhear álainn agus imreoir iontach é Thomas agus aireoimid uainn go mór é. Ba mhaith linn ár gcomhbhrón a dhéanamh lena mháthair Nelly, a athair Terry agus a chuid deartháireacha Johnathon, Steven agus Christopher. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.’ l Witnesses can contact Clifden Garda station on (095) 22500.

Thomas Keaney laid to rest THE funeral of Thomas Keaney, Ballyconneely, took place on January 17. Mr Keaney, 23, died in Perth, Australia, on December 28 following an attack in the city on December 17. A large number of

fundraising events were held locally to help with the cost of bringing Mr Keaney home. Mr Keaney, who is survived by his parents Ann and Tom, two sisters and brother, was laid to rest in Gurteen cemetery.

Children crack code to fun programming skills LOCAL children are ‘coding up a storm’ at the new CoderDojo Connemara, at the Clifden Town Hall. This new club is part of the global CoderDojo volunteer network, spanning 22 countries, that teaches young people about computer programming. CoderDojo Connemara is supported by several local individuals and organisations. Leading the creative learning environment are Clifden businesswomen Suzann Schley (Schley Accounting) and Ellen McDonough (McDonough Business & Computer Services). The idea was embraced by Marie Feeney from the Forum Adolescent Support Project, who has coordinated the use of the Youth Café venue, as well as provided computer equipment and staffing support to the project. Enda Broderick’s

Volunteers in Oughterard


GARDAÍ are still appealing for witnesses to come forward following the death of Thomas Mac Donnacha, 19, in a single-vehicle incident in the Inagh Valley (R344) in the early hours of February 2. Mr Mac Donnacha died when the vehicle in which he was a passenger left the road at about 2am. He was pronounced dead at the scene, and was removed to University College Hospital Galway. Five other people in the vehicle were also taken to the UCHG and were later discharged. Mr Mac Donnacha, from Carraroe, was a


Young members of CoderDojo Connemara at the Youth Café in Clifden Town Hall Lighthouse Network has supplied free broadband, installed by Peter Keane, for all the initiatives at the Youth Café. The club will run throughout the school year on Wednesday evenings. The session for primary school students (who must be accompanied by a parent) is from

5pm to 6pm, and a session for secondary school students runs from 6.30pm to 7.30pm. It is recommended that students bring their own laptop, if possible. l For more information, contact Suzann on (095) 30584, Ellen on (095) 22888 or Marie on (095) 22175

THE Oughterard CoderDojo club are currently seeking adult volunteers to help out with their group on a weekly basis. The group meet once a week for 90 minutes in the Youth Café and volunteers help supervise the Café during the club while helping the young people with their projects. Due to work and family committments, a number of our CoderDojo volunteers are unable to assist with the group this term, so new volunteers are needed. It is not essential that you have advanced computer skills, although an interest in helping young people, patience and a good sense of fun are important. For further information email devworker.clann

Call for support for library LETTERFRACK Library has reopened to the public, and new members are being encouraged to join and help ensure the future of the facility. The library offers a great selection of fiction and non-fiction across a range of genres including fiction, crime, science fiction, historical fiction, gardening, cookery, health, DIY and woodcraft, and arts and crafts. There are also large print editions of romance, westerns, crime and mystery books, as well as a children’s section and internet access. Opening hours are: Tuesday, 2pm to 4.30pm; Wednesday, 11am to 1.30pm; Thursday, 5.30pm to 7.30pm; Friday, 3pm to 5pm. Annual membership costs €5 (adults) or €2 (unemployed/students). Senior citizens and children can join for free.





Cllr Welby raises concerns over new building regulations COUNCILLOR Tom Welby has expressed ‘serious concerns’ in relation to the Building Control Amendment Regulations 2013, which are to come into force on March 1. The regulations deal with the design and construction of new dwellings, extensions to dwellings involving a total floor area no greater than 40 square metres, and Fire Safety Certificates. Cllr Welby said: ‘These regulations will introduce a huge amount of certification, all of which has to be certified between Chartered Architects, Engineers or Building Surveyors and builders listed by the Construction Industry Federation (CIF). ‘It will also exclude a large number of competent engineers and architects who currently apply for planning, on

behalf of clients, and then supervise the construction to completion.’ The Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government has informed Cllr Welby it is the responsibility of the CIF to compile the list of ‘competent builders’, but this process has not yet begun. Cllr Welby added: ‘These regulations will add costs to any new build and industry figures consider it will end the process of a “self build” – a process that has been the preferred option of the majority of home builders in rural Ireland for many decades.’ Cllr Welby has also raised the issue of the impact of the regulations on engineers and small builders and tradesmen, and their exclusion from the complete process.

‘Significant progress’ on school plan as project goes to tender THERE has been significant progress on the new secondary school building for Clifden Community School, with the project going to tender on the January 15 and a scheduled return date of February 24. Local Fine Gael Councillor Eileen Mannion said that significant progress has been made on the project since its

inclusion in the Stimulus Package announced by the government last June. Cllr Mannion said: ‘I am delighted that the project is now proceeding rapidly, and has now gone to tender. ‘The long wait for the new school building for Clifden is coming to an end, and construction will hopefully be underway in 2014.’

Roads were ripped up in the Ballyconneely area

The sea wall in Renvyle was washed away

Cars were washed into the sea in Cleggan

Minister tours sites hit Tony Kiely

THE Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney, visited Connemara on Friday last (February 7) to view the damage caused by the recent adverse weather and storms. The minister visited the prom and walkways in An Spidéal, Mhaírois graveyard in Baile na hAbhann, the causeway at Leitir Mór, the pier and breakwater at Trá Bháin and the pier and a number of roadways in Roundstone. While in Roundstone the minister also met with local farmers and fishermen who lost equipment in the storms. Councillors Seosamh

Ó Laoi and Eileen Mannion and Deputy Seán Kyne and Senator Hildegarde Naughton accompanied the Minister (pictured, above right). Deputy Kyne said: ‘I’m pleased that Minister Coveney has been able to visit the Connemara region to view for himself the damage and destruction caused by the series of storms that have hit the West over recent weeks. ‘While I have contacted all of the relevant ministers on a number of occasions now, with photographs and representations from local people, visiting the area brings home the scale of the challenge that faces us in repairing and restoring

the infrastructure.’ Galway County Council has estimated that the storm damage will cost €18.32 million in cleanup costs and repairs to infrastructure. The figure was presented to the Connemara councillors at a meeting in January, and the council has made an interim submission to Government seeking funding to deal with the storm’s aftermath. Cllr Mannion said: ‘The figure of €18 million is a conservative one, as the clean up operation is still ongoing and more investigation is required to establish the full extent of the damage. ‘While some damage is clearly visible, many

road foundations and storm defenses have been undermined and require further investigation.’ Council workers are continuing with the clean up operation, which is estimated to have cost €500,000 to date. The priority at present is to carry out temporary works on council roads to ensure there is access to residences. A full programme of works will be drawn up by the council over the next few weeks. The storms, the first of which battered the west coast in early January, brought winds and sea swells not seen in living memory. Roundstone and Ballyconneely were among the worst hit, with roads

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‘Through their efforts, they have saved Galway County Council and the taxpayer a vast amount of money. ‘We’ve done our part – now it’s up to the council to do theirs and carry out the emergency repairs required on the island’s roads and the east pier. ‘We desperately need the council to come out and address these problems now, and they need to speed up the tendering process. After the first storm hit the council should have seen enough to put the repairs out to tender.



repairs to the North Beach – a rare example of a sedimentary lagoon protected by a stony beach. Simon Murray, of the Inishbofin Development Company, said: ‘The beach was busted open and the adjacent road was flooding twice a day – and we just thought: This can’t continue. ‘The word went out and everyone turned up that could; every piece of machinery that could be used was tracked across to the site. ‘We had seven diggers, six dumpers and around 20 volunteers working to save the beach in all weathers. These are lads that are busy with other jobs, and some of them had farms they needed to keep going – but they gave up their time for the whole community.’ The major work to save the beach began on February 3, and as the Journal was going to print two diggers were still on site, completing the repairs. Island resident Marie Coyne, from the Inishbofin Heritage Museum, filmed and photographed the repairs, and posted footage to the museum’s Facebook page. Mr Murray added: ‘I personally want to thank everyone involved in saving the beach. It was down to community spirit, and a willingness to fight back.

‘In the days and weeks since then, the situation has only gotten worse. ‘Through our tourist industry we generate a lot more tax revenue for the State than comes back here, so now it’s time for a bit of that revenue to come back to Inishbofin and repair the damage. ‘Come what may, we will be open again for business this April. We need people’s support now more than ever, and we are calling on the council to step in and meet their responsibility to the island.’

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Health centre planning permission withdrawn Cleggan Village was also briefly flooded

Inishbofin suffered unprecedented damage

Minister Simon Coveney was joined by Cllr Eileen Mannion, Sen Hildegarde Naughton and Seán Kyne TD on a tour of some of the affected areas

by devastating stormfronts washed away, homes cut off and damage to several graveyards. Four houses at the bottom of Roundstone village were flooded, as well as a number of properties on the old pier, although there was no structural damage to the village itself. Further north, the village of Cleggan saw cars swept into the sea, while Inishbofin was hit with devastating winds and flooding that damaged roads and swept away one of the island’s lighthouses. Cars, boats and piers were also damaged. There were also significant power outages across the region, with localised flooding in low-

l WHILE much of the focus in the coming months will

understandably be on repairing local infrastructure, the storms have also irreversibly changed the archaeology and geography of the area. From disappearing sand dunes to damage to Bronze Age and early Christian sites, the impact on the coastline has been immense. But according to archaeologist Michael Gibbons, the storms revealed almost as much as they took away – with the same storms that destroyed archaeological sites simultaneously revealing new ones. ‘It’s like being given a large book that’s thousands of years old,’ Michael told the Journal. ‘Some of the pages have been ripped out, but now we can see the pages behind it that were hidden until now.’ Some of this new archaeological material – including a 17th century harbour complex on Inishbofin and evidence of a 7,000-year-old hunter-gatherer settlement near Carna – is being destroyed as quickly as it’s being revealed. The issue now is time – and money. The nature of coastal archaeological sites is that they are constantly under threat of erosion, and a number of sites revealed by the first storm were destroyed by the second. ‘We ought to have a sampling programme in place to rescue this new information,’ Michael said. ‘But our services have been gutted by cutbacks, so we simply don’t have the resources to carry out surveys.’

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lying areas causing damage to homes and farming land. The Connemara coastline has also seen widespread erosion, with beaches and adjacent lands now requiring costly repairs. A second serious storm in January caused further damage and effectively washed away the first round of repairs carried out by the council. Cllr Mannion added: ‘It is vital for our tourism industry that the damage to amenities such as roads, beaches, car parks and playgrounds be repaired as quickly as possible. ‘Connemara is dependent on tourism and with the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way, Con-

nemara Greenway and Blueway pilot scheme, it is important that we send out a clear message that Connemara is open for business. Deputy Kyne added: ‘Regrettably, the Minister’s schedule precluded visits to all areas affected but I’m confident the areas visited today have assisted the minister in preparing for Tuesday’s cabinet meeting which will focus on the storm damage with presentations from both Environment Minister, Phil Hogan and OPW Minister, Brian Hayes.’ l For full coverage of the storms, including reader’s photos and videos, see

PLANNING permission for the proposed new health centre on Inishbofin has been temporarily withdrawn by the HSE, pending an ‘appropriate assessment’ of the site, writes Tony Kiely. The decision to withdraw the planning application – which had lapsed in November, but was subject to an application for extension of duration by HSE West – came about as a result of recent storm damage on the island. Fine Gael Deputy Seán Kyne told the Journal: ‘Given the strength of the storms it is not surprising that debris, including rocks, came very close to the proposed site of the extended health centre. ‘As a result, HSE West has been advised by planning agents that an appropriate assessment is now required. Rather than waiting for this to be confirmed, HSE West has sensibly decided to request this assessment which will accompany the new application. ‘While it is thought that the floor level of the proposed centre is of adequate height, it makes sense to conduct this assessment in advance of proceeding with the application.’ The delay will be seen as a

further setback by islanders who have long campaigned for a new health care centre. Simon Murray, of the Inishbofin Development Company, said: ‘If Galway County Council had completed the original sea wall in front of the current health centre – instead of leaving a 20 metre gap where the beach runs up against clay on the side of the road – this issue wouldn’t have arisen. ‘This delay is a further result of the HSE’s inertia. If they had availed of the money available when planning permission was originally granted in 2008, they wouldn’t now be spending even more taxpayer’s money on an appropriate assessment of the site.’ Deputy Kyne raised the matter in the Dáil last month. It was confirmed that the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht would not be funding the project, and that as HSE West would be the main healthcare provider, it would be up to HSE to provide capital funding. Deputy Kyne added: ‘The HSE must ensure that funding is forthcoming to replace the outdated health centre on the island and so better meet the healthcare needs of the community.’

THINKING OF SELLING AND WANT THOUSANDS OF BUYERS TO VIEW YOUR PROPERTY? If you would like your property to be seen by a much wider audience, then let us take it to the 2014 Sherry FitzGerald Irish Property Show in London. Call into Adrian at the Sherry FitzGerald Mangan office on Main Street, Clifden or contact us on (095) 21888 or for further information






Get back on track with your resolutions – Health, page 17


l THE Vaughan brothers, Diarmuid, Jim and Brian, of Roundstone House Hotel along with Mike Vallely, ran the Berlin Marathon in September. Through a variety of fundraising efforts the group reaised €8,425 for the LauraLynn Children’s Hospice.

‘Skills for Work’ offer free courses SKILLS for Work is currently offering free courses in ‘basic education for working and living’. The 12week courses, which run for three hours per week, cover areas including communication through computers,

l THREE ‘campesinos’ from Oughterard Express Hardware store recently raised €800 in aid of prostate cancer, in the Movember fundraising drive; pictured from left to right: Derek Molloy, John Morley and Brendan Larkin

Gold star for Connemara Coast Hotel accommodation industry. The Connemara Coast Hotel was the only four star hotel in Galway to be awarded the prestigious award, which it received for ‘achieving excellence in accommodation

services standards for the quality, hygiene and cleanliness of its bedrooms and public areas’. This is the fifth year running the hotel’s accommodation team has received awards from the IASI.


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Moycullen and Clifden, and are open to applicants with few or out-dated educational qualifications and are in full or part-time employment. For further information email mairtinomorain@skills

Galway businesses scoop top awards


THE Connemara Coast Hotel was recently presented with a gold star award in the four-star hotel category by the Irish Accommodation Services Institute – the national body that represents the

maths, and computers for farmers. A registration day took place in Moycullen Adult Learning Centre last month, but participants are welcome to sign up on an ongoing basis. Courses run in Casla, Oughterard,

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l 2010 Peugeot Bipper Tepee,Semi/Auto, 2 Sliding Doors 1.4 HDI, 26,837miles, Black, €10,500 l 2009 BMW 520D SE Business Edition, 4dr S/L, Annual Road Tax €280, 131,863miles, Wine Metalic, €17,750 l 2009 Saab 93 Vector Sport, 1.9TID, 120bhp, 5dr Estate, Annual Road Tax €390, 87,523miles, Black, €11,650 l 2009 Ford Mondeo Edge 1.8 TDCI, 5dr H/B, Annual Road Tax €390, 76,359miles, Silver, €11,600 l 2009 Ford Focus Style, 1.6 TDCI, 108BHP, 5dr H/B, Annual Road Tax €200.00, 57,165miles, Grey, € POA l 2008 Volkswagen Passat Highline TDI 105, 4dr S/L, Annual Road Tax €390, 115,528miles, Silver, €11,250 l 2008 Vauxhall Astra SXI, Estate, 1.7 CDTI, €280 Annual Road Tax, 99,819miles, Blue, €7,900 l 2006 Volvo V50 6 Speed, 5dr Estate, NCT 09/2014, 121,812miles, Blue, €6,900 l 2006 Vauxhall Astra Club Twinport, 5dr H/B, 1.6 Petrol, 59,684miles, Grey, €6,500 l 2006 Ford Focus C-Max Zetec, 1.6 TDCI, 5dr MPV, NCT 04/2015, Tax 06/2014, 117,470miles l 2005 Nissan Micra SX, 1.0L Petrol, NCT 02/2015, Tax 01/2014, 225,414km, Blue, €2,200 l 05 Toyota Yaris 1.3 Petrol VVTI, 3dr H/B, NCT 01/2014, Tax 06/2014, 49,927miles, €5,000. We would l 2004 BMW 316I E46, 4dr S/L, 1.8 Petrol, NCT 07/2014, 108,036miles, Red, €5,000 like to wish all our l 2003 Toyota Corolla, 5dr H/B, 1.4 Petrol, NCT 03/14, 153,185miles, Blue, €3,000 l 2003 Citroen Xsara, 1.4 Petrol, 5dr H/B, 132,742miles, Silver, €1,200 Customers a Merry l 2002 Volkswagen Polo, 5dr H/B, 1.2 Petrol, NCT 11/2014, €2,200 Christmas & Happy l 2001 Toyota Avensis D4d 2.0L, 5dr Estate, NCT 11/2014, 140,928miles, Silver, €1,900 New Year l 2001 Toyota Avensis AURA, 1.6 Petrol, 4dr S/L, NCT 09/14, 182,438miles, Green, €1,800 l 1999 Vauxhall Astra, 3dr H/B, 1.6 Petrol, NCT 09/13, 112,000miles, Silver, €1,500 l 1998 Honda CRV, 5dr Jeep, NCT 06/2014, Tax 12/2013, 178,853, Silver, €1,200 l 1996 Audi A4, 4dr S/L, 1.6 Petrol, NCT 05/2014, Silver, €1,000 VAN & COMMERCIALS l 2009 Peugeot Expert Professional HDI, Panel Van, A/C, 3 Seats, DOE 09/2014, Tax 02/2014, 105,893, Silver, €9,000 l 2008 Landrover Freelander 2.2 TD4, Commercial, DOE 10/2014, 105,336km, Grey, € POA l 2006 Volkswagen Golf Van, 1.9TDI, 105 BHP, DOE 09/2014, 202,432miles, Blue, €5,900 l 2005 Mitsubishi L200 2.5TD 4Life, 4WD, Pick-up, 72,366, Green & Silver, €6,950 l 2005 Nissan Almera Sport 3dr Van, 2.2D, DOE 09/2014, 264,782km, Black, €2,750 l 2003 Vauxhall Astra Van, 1.7 DTI, 6 Months DOE, 136,177miles, White, €1,800

GREEN Earth Organics – the organic farm business based just outside Galway city and a popular fixture at the weekly Moycullen market – has won €10,000 at the prestigious SCCUL Enterprise Awards. The award was presented at a ceremony and business expo hosted by NUI Galway in the university’s Bailey Allen Hall, on January 27. From a humble veg box scheme started in 2006, Green Earth Organics has grown in eight years to include nationwide delivery of customised organic vegetable boxes, as well as supplying the supermarket sector in the West

and award-winning Galway restaurants such as the Michelin-starred Aniar. Established in 2006, Green Earth Organics is the brainchild of Kenneth and Jenny Keavey, who relocated from London to take over the farm that had been in their family for three generations. Kenneth was presented with his prize by Martin Sisk, President of the Irish League of Credit Unions, and Padraig O’ Callaghan, Chairman of St. Columba’s Credit Union Galway, which sponsored the winner’s prize. Speaking at the event, Kenneth said that he was honoured and delighted

to receive the award: ‘In 2005, I left my well-paid job as a senior research scientist working for a bio tech company in the UK to come back to Galway to start Green Earth Organics. My wife Jenny and I had a vision to develop an organic food production and supply business from the family farm. Over the six years we’ve worked hard and changed our business model by taking risks and looking outside our current box.’ Moycullen Woodworks received a ‘One to Watch’ award, while a special merit prize was presented to Killary Sheep Farm.

News in brief l COUNCILLOR Tom

Welby has called on Bord Iascaigh Mhara and Minister Coveney to immediately withdraw proposals to locate a fish farm one mile from the main beach in Inis Oirr ‘in light of the tremendous success of the islanders in winning the international Livcom [Livable Community] Awards’. Cllr Welby says the proposed fish farm would negate the benefits of winning the award, as it would have a visual impact on the beach, and uneaten fish food and fish faeces – approximately 1,200 tonnes in a 22-month period – could have a serious effect on the island. Cllr Welby also called on candidates in the upcoming local elections to clearly outline what their party policy is in relation to the proposed fish farm. l TOM Mongan of

Letterfrack will launch his first book, A Song For The Forest, in Paddy Coynes, Tullycross on Sunday March 9 at 5pm. The book recalls Tom’s time working around Ireland in the 1960s as a forestry plough driver.

State intervention on broadband ‘crucial’ – Kyne CONNEMARA has been included in a mapping project to identify the areas outside of cities and large towns that will require State investment to provide high speed broadband internet access for households and businesses. Submissions to the Government’s Broadband Mapping project have now been made by 23 telecommunications operators. Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, said that State aid for any project is subject to strict EU criteria and that a formal

application, setting out the exact details of projects to be cofinanced by the State, is required. Fine Gael Deputy Seán Kyne said: ‘It is very positive to hear that the mapping project has commenced the analysis stage, where the Department is determining the areas which will require State aid. I’ve made a number of representations on behalf of constituents to the Department. ‘The previous National Broadband Scheme omitted quite a large portion of the county. The experience of householders and

businesses has proven these areas should have been included. ‘Operators, such as Eircom, have informed me that many areas outside [Galway] city will not be included in schemes such as their ‘e-fibre’ plan because it is commercially unviable to do so. ‘In this context, it is crucial that the State intervene and deal with the market failure to ensure all areas of Galway receive high speed broadband, which has become essential for business, jobs and many day-to-day household activities.’

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connemara JOURNAL


Patrick’s Day plans underway A three-day walking festival that London THE daffodils may just be peeping their heads above the ground, but it’s already time to start thinking about our national holiday. The St Patrick’s Day Parade Committee of the Clifden & District Community Council is inviting schools, businesses, community groups and individuals from all areas to participate in the Clifden parade on Monday, March 17 at 12.30pm. This year’s parade promises to be a day of fun for all the family, with lots of additional activities on offer, including face painting, a children’s disco and plenty of surprise treats. The 2014 parade also sees the introduction of a special prize category for the Best Dressed Dancing Leprechaun. A spokesman for the committee said: ‘We hope to see lots of dancing leprechauns of all ages battle it out for this prize and be crowned Connemara’s King/Queen Leprechaun 2014.’

The parade will commence at 12.30pm, with groups to assemble along the Galway Road at 11.30am. Stewards will be on hand along the route to ensure a safe and wellmarshalled parade. Participating groups and individuals may enter any float or theme – so the wilder the imagination the better. There are a variety of prize categories this year, including: best

Revellers at last year’s Clifden parade

overall (€100 prize and plaque); most topical (€100); best community effort (€100); most comical (€100); best school entry (€100); and multiple schools runner up prizes. All participating children will receive medals, and there is also an audience participation prize for the ‘best dressed dancing leprechaun’ (€100). Every school that participates in the parade will receive a framed Certificate of Participation. As in previous years, there will be entertainment on the Town Square prior to the parade, and entertainment will continue into the afternoon with song and dance provided by local musicians and a children’s disco. l Groups planning to participate are asked to complete a registration form, which can be requested by emailing irenekingstaunton@gma or by calling 087-9017406

hikes through history and heritage pitch for

THE Clifden Station House Hotel is hosting the fourth Connemara Walking Festival next month, writes Tony Kiely. The highly successful event, which attracts more than 100 hill walkers and mountaineering enthusiasts from all corners of the island and across Europe, is led by the local archaeologist Michael Gibbons The festival kicks off on Friday March 14 with an introductory talk hosted by Michael Gibbons, exploring the rich history of the Connemara ‘Islands and Highlands’ (Clifden Station House Hotel, 8.30pm). Saturday takes in a trip to Inishbofin to visit the best-preserved 17th century fort and ancient harbour on Ireland’s west coast and explore a bronze-age landscape ‘complete with 4,000year-old houses, cooking sites and ancient walls emerging from the bog’. The skies of Bofin belong to choughs, corncrakes and falcons and its

bike tours

seas teem with fish life which feed the island’s large seal colony. The Bofin trip offers easy-to-moderate walking along small roads, open bog and mountains, and sets off from the Pier Bar, Cleggan at 11am. The final day of the festival takes in Errisbeg Hill and Inishnee Island. The walking is on rough ground but your efforts will be rewarded with three peaks to climb and huge views. To the Northwest lies High Island, with Slyne Head lighthouse to the far west. The Twelve Bens mountains dominate the views to the north, and to

the south lay an assortment of islands, including the famous pilgrimage island of St. Macdara. A ‘relaxed hike’ on Inishnee Island takes in a 5,000-year-old forest drowned by rising seas, a ruined monastery and abandoned famine cottages. The walk will be on track and trail with panoramic ocean and mountain views, is a relatively easy hike, and there will be time for a swim for those so inclined. l For further information or to book, call (095) 21699 or visit

BIKE Electric Connemara, a founder member of the Electric Escapes Ireland (EEI) network, is one of four companies invited by Fáilte Ireland to attend the Telegraph Outdoor Adventure & Travel Show in London this week. The company, based at All Things Connemara, in Clifden, will be showcasing its bike tours at the event and promoting Connemara as one of the best cycling destinations in Europe. Bike Electric Connemara owner Jonathan Powell said: ‘Electric bike hire and tours along both the Wild Atlantic Way and further afield make Ireland an ultimate destination for cycling. We hope to inspire both tourists and local communities alike to discover our precious and beautiful heritage’. l For more information, see l See Sport, page 21




Ó Cuív puts forward CAP alternative FIANNA Fáil last month launched its alternative CAP proposals, which the party describes as ‘aimed at reinforcing the strength of the family farm for the next decade’. Party Spokesperson on Agriculture, Éamon Ó Cuív – who spoke at a meeting on the subject in Clifden Town Hall last week – said the package of proposals put forward by Minister Simon Coveney is ‘flawed and lacks both objectivity and fairness’. Deputy Ó Cuív said: ‘The CAP package negotiated by the government is considerably smaller than its predecessor. The total funding available from Europe under CAP has been reduced – this is of major significance to Irish farming at a time of rising input costs. ‘The Minister’s preoccupation during the negotiations appears to

have been focussed on preserving the interests of a small number of farmers in receipt of large grants based on historical circumstances, rather than trying to secure a package that would sustain as many family farms as is practicable, which would give all farmers the opportunity to improve their situation. ‘I also believe that in the CAP negotiations, not enough emphasis was placed on the need to ensure a fair price for farmers from both multiples and processors. The Minister’s recent national proposals reinforce this. ‘If we want to sustain farming into the future, farmers must be able to receive a fair price for their produce. This is particularly important for highly productive farmers.

‘The CAP agreement should have considerable social and economic implications meaning the purpose of farming is to maintain the family farm at the heart of European farming and to ensure that all farmers, no matter where they are from and irrespective of the size and type of land, would receive a fair return from agriculture. ‘Fianna Fáil believes that the individual national proposals represent a real opportunity to put Irish agriculture on a sound footing over the next decade. ‘Our proposals are much more equitable and are based on the principles of payment centred on current circumstances, equal pay and equal obligation.’ l Fianna Fáil’s CAP Policy Paper is available at

Calls for mountain rescue VAT exemption FINE Gael Deputy Seán Kyne has welcomed comments by the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar, saying that he will consider the possibility of a grant scheme for capital expenditure on equipment for mountain rescue teams to assist in the vital services they provide. Deputy Kyne said: ‘The 12 mountain rescue teams in this country, mainly staffed by volunteers, provide a crucial service to people who find themselves in difficult situations on mountainous terrain. ‘The Department of Transport funds current expenditure to the tune of €186,000. However, the cost of running our mountain rescue teams continues to escalate as the growth in adventure related tourism is putting pressure on existing resources. ‘I asked Minister Varadkar, by way of an Oral Parliamentary Question, to consider the possibility of providing our mountain rescue teams with an additional capital grant to assist them with the upgrade of their equipment and training for their volunteers. ‘Minister Varadkar has agreed to consider providing a modest capital grant and has requested his Department to engage with

Mountain Rescue Ireland to determine how much funding is required and how this would be used.’ In reference to the VAT charged on purchase of rescue equipment, Cathal Ó Conchúir, Sinn Féin Local Election candidate for Galway City West, called for a VAT exemption for all mountain rescue teams. Mr Ó Conchúir said: ‘These [mountain rescue] teams literally save hundreds of lives each year. ‘If we wish to develop tourism in the west we need to expand and grow this aspect of cultural tourism in a more sustainable manner. However, if we can’t have a professional rescue service for these activities, this potential growth sector in our local economy will be undeniably stunted. ‘Sinn Féin firmly believes that there is a public interest in exempting all of the state’s Mountain Rescue Teams from VAT because at the moment these services are largely funded by voluntary donation. ‘The reality is that this exemption of VAT, while having little or no effect on the state’s finances, would significantly ease the burden on the rescue teams concerned.’

Starting March 2014, the Journal will be launching its summer advertising packages

Local groups lead the way to support St Vincent de Paul PHOTO: IRENE KING STAUNTON

A VERY sincere thank you from everyone in the St Vincent de Paul, Connemara West, for all the support we have received this year, particularly over the Christmas period. The Connemara Chamber of Commerce held their annual fashion show in the Station House Theatre and raised €4,000. Many thanks to everyone involved, and particularly the fundraising committee of Michele Hehir, Amelia Whelan, Siobhan Conneely, Gerry Gannon and Joe Lynch. Christopher Shanahan, President of the Connemara Chamber, presented the cheque to us on the opening day of the St. Vincent de Paul Shop in Clifden (pictured). The shop was officially opened by the Deputy Mayor of County Galway, Councillor Eileen Mannion. A large crowd gathered for the opening, getting things off to a wonderful start for the shop, which carried on throughout the week. Many thanks to everyone involved – those who donated goods, those who purchased, those who donated financially, the volunteers who helped throughout the week, and to JJ and Cathriona

Mannion, who gave us the use of their premises. The fundraising committee of Christ Church held an auction to raise funds for Clifden Sheltered Housing, the St. Vincent de Paul and Christ Church – many thanks to them for their contribution. The fifth class students of Scoil Mhuire once again baked Christmas cakes with their teacher, Miss King. They raised €600 with a raffle in the school and we raised a further €200 in the shop with the cakes they donated. It is very heart warming for us that local children are so enthusiastic about raising as much as they can to help those in need. Walsh’s Bakery and Coffee Shop raffled a hamper and raised

We want your direction on how to signpost local attractions THE new signposting on the N59 provides clear and simple directions for traffic, and is a huge improvement on the diverse range of information that was available previously. No doubt there are oddities and some fine tuning would make it better – and we would welcome your suggestions on the point. Galway County

Council would like to continue the process on the regional roads and this is a positive approach to helping visitors to find their way around the area safely and successfully. We would like your suggestions as to how this can work, and which directions should be given. Townlands could be identified, as could beaches, walks, scenic

WEST VET Business Hours: Mon to Fri 9.30-5.30 Sat: 10.00-12.30 Jens Werner Western Veterinary Clinic Phone: 095-22209 Galway Road Emergencies: 087-9179248 (24hr) Clifden, Co. Galway

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€322, while Kevin Gavin/Mannion’s Bar raised €150 with a walk on St. Stephen’s Day. Ben Crowe of Connemara Blue donated a percentage from every clock he sold, raising a further €345. Monies raised are used to help those most in need in the Connemara area, and is very much appreciated by those who receive it. Once again this year, everyone has been so generous in so many different ways, and for those who are suffering hardship it is wonderful that there is so much community spirit and generosity. Wishing everyone health, happiness and many blessings in 2014, from all in the St. Vincent de Paul, Connemara.

locations and sports facilites. There is also a need to identify where a road is going, and to point out the attractions, accommodation, and food available along a route, as well as upcoming events. There is a lot to point out and it needs to be coordinated so that the information does not get lost in the crowd. The Connemara

Chamber of Commerce would like to hear your suggestions. You can send them by post, email to or come to our next meeting in the upstairs meeting room in the Town Hall, Clifden, on Friday February 14 from 6pm-7pm. CHRIS SHANAHAN President, Connemara Chamber of Commerce

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Appearing at An Bhean Feasa, Clifden on Friday February 21 from 10am-6pm For an appointment call: 087 3368052 Crystal Ball • Palm Reading • Tea Leaf Reading Face Reading • Tarot Cards • Dowser



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Ellie-Mai was born on November 27 to proud parents Ciara Mitchell and Patrick McDonagh

Aoife Ní Dhálaigh, Tony Kiely and big sister Alice Wren, Mullaghgloss, welcomed cub reporter Dearbhla Rowan on December 8

Dean Alyn Elcock, Cleggan, graduated from GMIT November 14 with a 1:1 Distinction in Bachelor of Science in Construction, Economics and Quantity Surveying. Dean also got Student of The Year

Kurt and Aoife Lydon, Moyard, along with big brother Marcus are delighted to welcome Siún, born January 5

Retirees plan an exciting line up of events for 2014

A snip of the paper chain marks opening of Leenane Sea Garden THERE was a great sense of community and celebration in Leenane National School on Friday December 6 as the Sea Garden Childcare facility had its official opening. The Sea Garden was adorned with paper angels and stars and guests were treated to a rendition of ‘Rattlin Bog’, ‘Maggy in the Woods’ and ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’, all sung by the children and accompanied by pupils from the National School on the bodhrán, fiddle, tin whistle, banjo and the accordion. For the opening, the children of the Sea Garden made a colourful paper chain to replace the standard ribbon, and the youngest child – Kitty Rose Murphy, aged just 2 ½ years – cut the ribbon with a little help from childcare providers Philomena

Lydon and Aoife Hade. In attendance on the day were Councillor Seán Ó Tuairisg, Deputy Mayor of County Galway, Eileen Mannion, Sean Kyne TD and Senator Fidelma Healy Eames. The guests paid tribute to the efforts of the community in bringing the Sea Garden into being, and commented on the vibrancy of the playschool and local community. And with the addition of babies Mallidh Mc Loughlin and Gwen Thompson within Leenane village in the last six months, it looks like the Sea Garden will be busy for some years to come. l The Sea Garden offers both full, part time and after school child care from age 2 years and up. For further details, call 087-3345101 or email seagarden

Clifden Mart Galway road clifden Connemara pony sale Saturday 22 february Cattle sale Friday 7 march Cattle sale Friday 21 march Connemara pony sale Saturday 17 & Sunday 18 may All enquires tel (095) 21861 or 087 2485422

AN exciting programme of events has been drawn up for 2014 by the Moycullen Active Retirement Association (MARA), with highlights including a three-night trip to Belfast from March 30 to April 2. The Association – which received a ‘Recognition Award’ in the Age Friendly category at the 2013 County Mayors Awards – was joined by representatives from the Galway County PeopleTalk Jury for a workshop in Moycullen on January 13. The purpose of the Galway County PeopleTalk Jury is to rebuild trust in public life by giving the people a say in the reform of public services. The workshop saw members freely offering their views on what is good and bad in the public service. MARA’s AGM was held in December, and some new members have come forward to fill officer posts and serve on the committee. l MARA meets every Monday from 10.30am in Árus Uilinn. New members welcome. For more information call Susan on 087-7601128

TOP Oil Galway and Clifden have announced their sponsorship of the Galway Bay Cycling Club three-day Mizen to Malin Challenge this May Bank Holiday weekend. Top Oil drivers Steven Rima and Fergal Flynn are taking part in this event. All proceeds are being donated to CROÍ

Donal Lydon, Carna, was awarded a Bachelor of Business in Recreation and Leisure certificate from the Institute of Technology, Sligo on November 8

CONNEMARA Chamber of Commerce President Chris Shanahan (right) presents Michael Burke (Kingstown) with a cheque for €15,000 following his Community Lotto win last month

Joseph de Courcey, who was recently conferred with a PhD in Immunology at DCU, with his parents Leo and Angela

‘Heart-warming’ turn out at Madra’s dog adoption day A DOG adoption day organised by Camusbased dog charity Madra took place at Trusty Pet Pals, Briarhill Business Park, on January 25. The event was an opportunity for those interested in adopting a dog to talk to the Madra team and to meet some of the dogs and pups that are currently looking for

their new homes. Madra spokeswoman Eileen Keleghan said: ‘We are still going through the home check process, but at the moment we estimate that 15 dogs and pups found their new homes thanks to the adoption day. ‘We also met a number of people who came along to discuss

their options, and although there may not have been a dog suitable for them on the day, many have had their home check done and will be adopting when their ideal dog comes along.’ Over the past two months, the charity has been inundated with dogs and pups, and with

a slowdown in rehoming experienced during the Christmas period the rescue is packed to capacity – and in need of new homes for a variety of dogs of all shapes, sizes and ages. Ms Keleghan added: ‘The interest in the event was heart-warming. We

had so many people attend, and our fantastic team of volunteers made sure that everything ran smoothly and that our dogs were promoted to potential new owners.’ l For more information on future adoption days see

FORUM Connemara Ltd invites you to use our Employment, Education and Training notice board in SuperValu Clifden.

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The next issue of the Connemara Journal will be published on March 12

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In pictures: ‘Stormy Weather’

January: 1st – Jody Pollington Invisible Winds (above) 2nd – Aoife Herriott The Sea Wall Renvyle, January 6 (left) 3rd – Brendan McGuiness Mutton Island during the recent storms (far left)

In pictures: ‘Night’ Connemara Photographic Society’s monthly competition December: 1st – Tristan Kelly Night Sky over Ballyconneely (right) Joint 2nd – Tristan Kelly Last Sliver of Light (below, left) Joint 2nd – Tristan Kelly Milky Way (below, centre) 3rd Mark Furniss Roundstone at Night (below, right) l For more information

on the Connemara Photographic Society visit or connemaraphotosociety l The theme for February is ‘Decay’. The closing date for entries is February 21



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The life and lore of an ordinary tree Deborah Watkins looks at some of the traditions and superstitions associated with the hawthorn rees are few and far between here in Connemara and native woodland has become one of our rarest natural habitats. Derryclare and Ballinahinch are important exceptions but elsewhere trees survive in much smaller groupings. The shallow limestone soil is mostly home to fragmented scrub woodland made up of hazel and birch. Other native varieties include oak, alder and holly. Hawthorn (sceach gheal) is my own favourite, perhaps because of its hardiness and its associations with folklore. The


Hawthorn flowers (by Brigid Sealy)

hawthorn can be identified for most of the year by its scrawny appearance, its sharp thorns and small serrated leaves. It often develops with the prevailing wind and its trunk and branches contort over time, lending it an almost sculptural quality. The wood itself is very hard but it is much too small to be considered as a timber tree. Traditionally it has been used to make small items such as boxes and tool handles. It is also a highly efficient fuel, making the hottest wood-fire known. In May and early June, the hawthorn transforms itself with tiny white flowers. Dressed for brighter days, it is a welcome sight of summer in fields and hedgerows around Ireland. The hawthorn plays an important part in the festival of Bealtaine (Mayday). People tie rags or cloths on the tree in order to make a wish and these hawthorns, often called ‘rag trees’ are usually associated with holy wells. This tree near Leenane (right) is adorned with Hawthorn tree near Leenane rags and tokens but is (by Deborah Watkins)

Hawthorn near the Bog Road (by Deborah Watkins) not associated with any well. In later folklore, the tree became a symbol of bad luck. I remember my own grandmother frowned on the flowers especially. She instructed us not to take them indoors under any circumstances, lest they brought

misfortune with them. Another old Irish custom says that if one of your neighbours uses a hawthorn stick to herd cattle then he is up to no good! Some still believe that the hawthorn ( also known as the ‘fairy tree’) should not be cut down because of its spiritual qualities and links to the fairy world. Such a wealth of tradition around one small species, an ordinary tree in many ways but one which has woven its way into the history and lore of many. l You can see more of Deborah’s photographs at www.deborahwatkins and read more about Connemara flowers at the ‘Connemara Wildflower Diary’ at

Mmmm... messy, juicy goodness anuary is over and with it, I hope, the storms, the rain and the, as yet to be activated, New Year’s resolutions! Am I the only one? For some reason January has just been about getting by. February, on the other hand, is the start of all things new! But as the gales still howl outside while I write, there is a call for comfort food one last time before the freshness of spring sets in. My comfort food of the month is a slowly roasted shoulder of pork. It’s not a piece to have carved beautifully at the Sunday lunch table – it’s more a plate of messy, juicy goodness that will make everyone happy from the inside out. It takes about seven hours, but after the initial 30-minute high roast you can forget about it, go out and come back to a perfectly cooked piece of juicy meat. The other great thing about this is that the


Winter winds provide a perfect excuse for this crackling good comfort food, writes Cliodhna Prendergast

leftovers can be used for the pulled pork sandwiches the whole world seems to be talking about of late. Ingredients: Serves 6 with a bit left over for the pulled pork 2kg shoulder of pork (ask the butcher to score the meat for you) 500mls water/pork/chicken stock Rub: 2 tbsp of fennel seeds 1½ tsp smoked paprika 1tbsp Maldon salt 1 tbsp dark brown sugar 1 tsp black pepper, ground

Method Preheat the oven to 220C/gas 7 Put the fennel seeds on a hot pan and toss around for a minute or so. Then grind in a pestle and mortar (fennel is difficult to grind to a powder so it doesn’t matter if it’s a bit rough). To make the rub, simply mix the ground fennel seeds with the salt, sugar, pepper and smoked paprika. Rub this right in to the scored skin and all over the meat. Place the meat on a roasting tray, skin side up, and put in the preheated oven for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 150C/gas 2. Cover the pork with a double layer of tinfoil, creating a little tent with the tinfoil to allow the steam to circulate. Cook the pork for a further 6 hours. Remove the pork and allow to rest for 30 minutes. Turn the oven up to 220C/gas 7, and remove the tinfoil.

Place, uncovered, in the hot oven again for 10 minutes for the skin to crisp up. Then make the gravy by removing as much of the fat from the roasting tray as possible, pouring the water/ stock, and mixing in all the juicy, sticky bits from the bottom of the tray. Simmer for 1-2 minutes and strain before using. Serve with the obligatory roast potatoes and kale or purple sprouting broccoli. If there is any left over, break it up with two forks, chop in some of the crackling, pour over the leftover gravy and leave in the fridge for 24 hours before reheating, using it in a wrap with some crispy lettuce or in a roll with some celeriac remoulade. Pickles would be good too. A little extra, but so worth it – Celeriac Remoulade Dressing: put 4 tbsp of crème fraiche in a bowl with 1½ tsp of wholegrain mustard, grated zest and juice of ½ lemon, some salt

and pepper and mix. (If you have it, a teaspoon of grated horseradish in the mix is good here too) Peel one medium celeriac and cut into chunks and grate in a blender or slice very thinly (to matchsticks). Add to the dressing as you go to prevent it from

going brown. Mix the celeriac and dressing and allow to sit for at least 1 hour for the flavours to mellow before using. l For more, visit, BreakingEggs, or folow on Twitter @Cliodhnaof





THE CONNEMARA SKY AT NIGHT 2013 was a distinct disappointment for some astronomers who had hoped it would be known as the ‘Year of the Comet’, as Comet PANSTARRS was relatively dim approaching the Sun in November and then was disintegrated altogether during its extremely close, 1million km pass above the solar surface. However, already this year there is reason for optimism with the recent news that the space probe Rosetta, originally launched several years ago, has been awakened by the European Space Agency (ESA) and will rendezvous with comet 67P/ChuryumovGerasimenko, a 2.5 mile-wide ball of dirt and gas that orbits between Jupiter and Earth. Rosetta will attempt a landing on the comet’s surface – a move that has never been attempted before by any probe. The mission has been likened to that of the action film Armageddon, in which Bruce Willis lands on an asteroid as part of a bid to save the world from destruction.

ESA project scientist Matt Taylor said in a press statement: ‘It will be an amazing achievement for human endeavour, an Armageddon type thing. We're not just landing on the Moon – we're dealing with something dynamic which is kicking off tonnes of dust and gas every minute.’ If all goes to plan, Rosetta will arrive at Churyumov-Gerasimenko in August, when it will study the plume of gas and water vapour that will boil off and trail behind as the comet nears the Sun. If the chemical signature of hydrogen matches that found in water on Earth, it will strongly suggest that comets may have filled the oceans when they smashed into our planet billions of years ago, soon after it was formed. The comets may also have delivered some of the key carbon-based ingredients for life, so the Rosetta mission must be considered one of the more important ones in the history of space exploration.

Computer generated model of the ESA’s Rosetta

What can I claim while I wait to qualify for a State pension? Mercury, a very fast moving planet owing to its proximity to the Sun, can be viewed under the right conditions at the beginning of February, seen very low in the SW after sundown. It then is visible in late February in the SE before sunrise. Venus is low in the SE before sunrise for the entire month of February. A good pair of binoculars or a telescope will show its phases. The Moon reached First Quarter on February 6 and is Full on February 15. On the night of February 19, it will move to a few degrees of arc away from Spica in the constellation Virgo. Spica, a blue giant star, is 260 light years away from us and the 15th brightest star in the nighttime sky. As Mars moves westwards across the sky, it rises mid-evening and is low in the SW at sunrise. Its magnitude shines at about +0.3 during the month whilst its angular size is roughly 8.8 arc seconds. Jupiter, the Solar System’s largest planet, can be seen high overhead at sunset and sets after midnight. Jupiter’s angular size remains at about 46 arc seconds throughout the month so a small telescope can see lots of details, notably the Great Red Spot which has recently become more prominent and will be seen as a large feature in the South Equatorial Belt. Saturn rises before midnight and is high in the SW at sunrise. Stationed in constellation Libra, it is shining with a magnitude of +0.6 and its disk has a diameter of ~16 arc seconds.

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I have to retire next summer when I reach the age of 65 but I have heard I won’t get a State pension until I am 66. Is there another social welfare payment that I can get until then?


Yes, you can claim a jobseeker’s payment. If you have enough social insurance contributions you can get Jobseeker’s Benefit (JB). If you are claiming JB at the age of 65 and have at least 156 PRSI contributions, you can continue to receive JB until your 66th birthday, even if your claim is due to end before that date. Otherwise you may apply for Jobseeker’s Allowance, which is a means-tested payment. Before 2014, people aged 65 who retired from work could apply for the State Pension (Transition). This has now been abolished (from January 1, 2014). If you wish you can claim a jobseeker’s payment until you are aged 66. In general, to qualify for either Jobseeker’s Benefit or Allowance you must be genuinely seeking work and be available for full-time employment, and these conditions will continue to apply to older jobseekers. However there are special arrangements for jobseekers aged 62 and over. You will no longer be required to engage with employment, advice and training referral services

and your payment won’t be affected by non-engagement with these services. If you wish you can avail of a range of supports (for example, training or employment support programmes) from the Department of Social Protection. Most jobseekers aged 62 or over will be placed on an annual signing arrangement with their local social welfare office or Intreo centre. This means that they do not need to attend and sign on regularly. Also, most of them will be transferred to Electronic Fund Transfer payments so payment can be made directly into their bank account. Before you retire you can get further information about applying for a jobseeker’s payment from your local social welfare office or Intreo centre or from the Citizens Information Centre. l Further information is available from Clifden Citizens Information Service, which provides a free and confidential service to the public. Tel: 087 1301100 & 076 107 7580 Email: Address: c/o 2nd Floor, Credit Union Building, Clifden Opening hours: Thursday 7pm8pm, Friday 10.30am-3.30pm. Letterfrack Service 1.30pm-4.30pm, Tuesday February 25. l Information is also available online at

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launches spring season THE Letterfrack Film Society is back again with an exciting selection of films from around the world, screening every Tuesday from February 18 until March 25. First up is Wadjda, the story of a young girl who desperately wants a bicycle she has seen for sale but lacks the means to buy it. Short Term 12 (February 25) is the story of Grace, the passionate and tough supervisor in a fostercare home who’s in love with her co-worker. The Great Beauty (March 4) introduces us to Jep Gambardella, who spends his birthday reflecting upon a life of beauty and excess. Caesar Must Die (March 11) offers gentle humour with an emotional punch as prisoners in a high security prison prepare for a performance of Julius Caesar. Like Father Like Son (March 18) follows the story of a successful

business man and his wife who are faced with life-changing decisions on discovering their biological son was switched at birth with another child. Blancanieves (March 25) is Snow White with a twist, and is set in 1920s Seville in the community of the city’s bullfighters. l Films are screened on Tuesdays at 8.30pm in the audio-visual theatre in Connemara National Park, Letterfrack, and nonmembers can pay at the door. Tickets cost €6.50 (concession €5), and season tickets are available. For more information see www.letterfrack



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Simple ways to sock it to the flu this winter Nick Kats tackles that dreaded, lingering virus everal people asked me to write about the flu. So here goes. The flu is a virus, not a bacteria. Antibiotics are for bacterial, not viral, infections. Natural medicine is very useful for flu prevention and treatment. Here are some tips. Prevention: When the bug is going around, take care of yourself. Listen to your body. If feeling tired, slow down or stop. Tiredness means vulnerability, and then it is very easy to catch the flu. Protect yourself. This is the one best strategy for prevention. To help with prevention, when the bug is going round and when tired, take carrageen, two or three cups a day. Carrageen strengthens the mucosal layer of the respiratory tract, and supports energy and the immunity system. When down with the flu: Rest is essential. Rest protects energy and builds it up. Working with a flu makes it likely the illness will be much worse and last weeks longer. Often there is no appetite. Pay attention to this. No appetite means the body is not hungry – it does not want to eat. It is busy dealing with the flu. So don’t eat. If you want to eat, eat small amounts of easily digested food. Broths and light soups are ideal. When the appetite begins to return, start with broths. Small


amounts of chicken in broth provide easily digested protein and boosts yang (energy, warmth). Lots of carrageen throughout the flu is very helpful. Add in honey and fresh lemon juice. If chilly, add ginger or chili. For herbs rich in bioflavonoids (related to Vitamin C) which support the immunity system, use elderberry, hawthorn. Immunostimulant herbs include echinacea, astragalus. Herbs to support the lungs include coltsfoot, elecampane, osha. For the deep aching pains common in flu, use boneset. For fatigue, use licorice, ginseng. For chilliness, use ginger, cayenne. Take abundantly in teaspoon doses during the flu. Vitamin C in small and frequent doses helps immunity. Large doses of Vitamin C mostly pass through unused, hence small frequent dosing. Beta carotene, Vitamin E, zinc and bioflavonoids also support immunity. The chemist may offer some combination of the above supplements. In Chinese medicine, the onset of the flu may be Wind Invasion, either Cold or Heat, or a mix of both. Wind Cold often starts with exposure, for example to rain or to the cutting east or southeast wind. Often the person knows the exact moment of cold wind invasion. Symptoms include chilly with little or no fever, runny nose, stiff or achy

nape of neck. Wind Heat symptoms include fever, yellow or green mucus from the throat or nose, sweating, swollen lymph nodes and sore throat and tonsils. Both types of Wind Invasions can progress to Lung Heat – bronchitis or pneumonia. Acupuncture and cupping is appropriate. A useful home treatment is ‘wet socks’. This treatment comes from the 19th century spas and sanatoriums of the Alps. Put a pair of cotton socks in ice water, wring out very tightly, and pull on. Immediately, pull over dry wool socks and go straight to bed to sleep. The body will send heat down to the feet to drive out the cold and to dry out the socks. ‘Wet socks’ is effective for opening up circulation, for supporting the immunity system, and for stimulating the body’s core of energy. Some people find it deeply relaxing, often experiencing the best sleep they have had in years. Do daily. Please make a strong commitment to using many of these steps. This will drastically shorten the time sick with the flu, by half or two thirds. Recovery will be far more complete. l Nicolas Kats ND, Lic Ac, is a US Naturopathic Doctor and licenced acupuncturist. He practices at Dooneen Clinic, Clifden, and at Health & Herbs, Galway. 086-3651590 (text only),

Alan King

s we start another year, like clockwork the resolution stories start to appear. ‘Make 2014 your big year! Lose weight, get fit and give up the cigarettes.’ And yet as the economics of gym membership will illustrate, most people honour New Year’s resolutions for a short time. In fact by now four out of five people have simply given up their resolutions. It’s the New Year alright, but it’s the same old you. Does that mean we shouldn’t even bother with them? Not at all. I love the New Year for the very reason that it inspires us to do something. There is something fresh about the New Year that gives us the stimulus to start something. The problem is we usually set all or nothing New Year’s goals that we can’t possibly keep and frankly don’t expect ourselves to. Most resolutions are general, vague and unrealistic. We fail because we always expected to. We live up to our expectation. This is what we do every year. Then we can pull out the old excuses of being too busy, overwhelmed, or too tired to face the challenge. However let February 2014 be the time you finally draw up the list of resolutions that you are going to keep. You owe it to that dreamer who wants so much for you every December but gets lost before the journey even gets started. Don’t allow the cynic in you, which appears to be part of our mind-set in recent years, rise above your aspiration this year. One thing cynicism is not is inspiring, and major


From getting fit to quitting smoking, set realistic goals for 2014

Keep your goals out of reach but not out of sight inspiration is what we need. A great start is by setting resolutions, or any other goals, that are tangible, actionable, and possible. Here’s how: Keep your goals out of reach, but not out of sight. Set goals that matter to you. It‘s your list, not a generic list of things associated with good health. What do you need to focus on? Every resolution you choose should have a plan to accomplish it. For example, don’t just vow to give up cigarettes. Determine what steps you need to take. Research the available options and choose the best path for you. Education is always your ally in these decisions Rather than making all or nothing resolutions, build in milestones. For example, instead of attempting to hit the gym every day, commit to exercising 2-3 times a

week and gradually increasing. Record and chart your progress. Stick it up somewhere visible and use it as encouragement Believe in your own ability to change. Consider that everyday, people in the worst of circumstances decide to change their lives – and do. If they can, you can. Whatever has happened in the past has no impact on what you can do with your future. No man is an island. Surround yourself with a great team of positive people. Choose family and friends who want

you to succeed. There will be difficult days when you may fail but having the proper support team in place will allow you get back on track. Remember, you haven’t failed if you get up one more time than you fall. Plan for a great year. A person who wants something will find a way; a person who doesn’t will find an excuse. l Alan King is a Qualified Personal Trainer with the Australian Institute of Fitness – contact him at m for more details


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In brief

l Upstairs Downstairs Café in Clifden are hold-

ing a cake sale and coffee morning this Sunday (February 16) from 11am – 1pm. All money raised on the morning will help fund an upcoming trip by the Curley School of Irish Dancing to compete in the World Championships in London in April.

l Nada Ní Chuirrin, an All-Ireland Sean Nós

dancing champion and musician from Letterfrack, had her ‘dream come true’ when she was invited to perform with Carlos Núñez, a renowned piper from Galicia in northern Spain, at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral for the opening of the Temple Bar Trad Festival on January 22. l Seven local piano students took part in a public recital entitled ‘Playtime – Help Our Notes Make Notes!’, in aid of Kynsna Townships, South Africa, at St Mary’s College Galway in December. Among the participants were Millicent Marinot Wood, Alice Marinot Wood, Hilary Joyce, Niamh Shanahan, Maeve Vaughan, Leah Dyck and Anna Shanahan. After each performance, and to rapturous applause, the young musicians were then asked to hang a star on a lighted tree as organiser Yvonne Barry acclaimed ‘A Star is Born!’. The programme was widely varied and thoroughly enjoyable – a delightful experience that will undoubtedly remain a treasured memory for many years to come. l Twenty four young music students from around Connemara took part in the Local Centre Royal Irish Academy of Music exams in November, sitting Elementary to Senior Grade Six. This is the eighth year that exams have taken place in the area, under the guidance of Breda O’Toole. All candidates worked extremely hard to reach the requirements of their respective grades. The syllabus includes three set pieces, a wide range of scales, sight-reading, theory and a variety of aural and observation tests based on memory, rhythm and sight-singing. Six students were awarded Distinctions (90% - 100%), 15 students achieved Honours (80% - 90%) and three received a Merit Award (75%-80%).

Celebrities sign up for sean nós extravaganza FOLLOWING on from its success last year, Clifden Comhaltas Branch is delighted to announce that Clifden Comhaltas Celebrity Sean Nós will take place on Friday March 14 in the Clifden Station House Hotel at 9pm. Sixteen local Connemara ‘celebrities’ from a variety of organisations and walks of life have been selected and are going to learn how to Sean Nós dance in the coming weeks. They will perform on the night and audience voting will decide the winner. Admission costs €5 and it’s €1 per vote on the night. All funds raised will go towards Clifden Comhaltas events for 2014, which includes Clifden Traditional Music Festival (April 11 – 14). The celebrities taking part are: Julie Foyle and Maria Cribbins (SuperValu Clifden); Peter Carey (Clifden Hospital); Amanda Burke (Lowry’s Bar, Clifden); Gráinne Taheny and Tommy

February Music Session A very successful Clifden Comhaltas January music session was held in Guy’s bar on Friday January 31. The announcement of the Celebrity Sean Nós names added greatly to the night and over 30 musicians singers and dancers performed. The February music session will be held in the Central Bar on Friday February 21. The Youth Session kicks off at 8.15pm with the Senior Session at 10pm. As usual a great night of music, song and dance is guaranteed and admission is free. The Clifden GAA Club 50/50 draw will also take place. The 2013 Celebrity Sean Nós winner, Seán Heanue, and 2012 winner, Ann King, performing together at last year’s event Burke (O’Malley’s Bar and Restaurant, Clifden); David McNamara (Clifden Fire Brigade); Nikitta Davis (RNLI); Chris Holmes (Clifden GAA Club); Eamonn McLoughlin (Connemara Community Radio); Angela Clancy

(Clifden Community School); John McDermott (Connemara Golf Club); Nigel Murray (Connemara Rugby Club); Brian Holmes (Clifden Comhaltas); Councillor Eileen Mannion; and Tina Shannon (Oliver’s

Bar Cleggan); There will also be lots of young sean nós dancers performing on the night and local groups of young and older musicians will entertain. A special performance from previous

contestants – especially the previous two winners, Sean Heanue and Ann King – can be expected on the night. So mark your diaries – Friday March 14, 8.30pm – Clifden Station House Hotel. l For further details call 086 4015342 or visit www.clifdencomhaltas.c om

Powell and Gleeson provide winter warmer REVIEW Dirk Powell, Michael McGoldrick, Brendan Gleeson & Francis Gaffney Clifden Station House THIS quartet of extremely talented musicians played to a packed house on a dark wintry night in January. One of the most recognisable names appearing was Hollywood actor Brendan Gleeson, well known for his work in movies including In Bruges, Michael Collins, Braveheart and Cold Mountain, in which he played the fiddle during his role. Gleeson is also a talented mandolin player. It was on the set of Cold Mountain that Gleeson hooked up with American Dirk Powell through their love of traditional music. Dirk Powell is considered one of the world’s leading experts on traditional Appalachian fiddle and banjo, and his playing can be heard on Riverdance ‘The Show’. He has also worked on several movie soundtracks, including Cold Mountain. Francis Gaffney hails from Boyle, Co Roscommon, and is a talented guitarist and vocalist whose career has seen him work with many great musicians including John Carty and Matt Molloy. Michael McGoldrick is a multi-instrumentalist who entertained us on the flute, whistle, pipes and drums. The stage set resembled a bar session, with the players sitting at a square table which had several pints of stout upon it. The first set started off with some bluegrass and

Cajun tunes, such as ‘Down the River We Go’ and ‘Snake’. Powell displayed a fine vocal offering on both of these numbers, and then it was Gleeson’s turn – displaying an expert hand on the mandolin – which was followed by a Cajun song, sung in French, by Powell. ‘Ruby with the Eyes that Sparkle’ was most entertaining, as was ‘The Cuckoo’ – a song from the movie Cold Mountain. After that, two of the Kane sisters took centre stage – one played the fiddle, the other played the box. Most of the audience were to be heard singing along to the tune ‘The Two Sisters’, as this tune was dedicated to them by the group. The second half kicked off with a ballad, followed by a hornpipe in Irish traditional style. After that there were many more Irish traditional tunes played and more guests were invited to join the group, including fiddle player John Carty and a marvellous step dancer. In the end there were about a dozen musicians on stage, bringing the second set to a close with a standing ovation, and followed by an encore which had everybody’s feet tapping. The concert was a rare treat for those who love both the Bluegrass/Cajun and traditional Irish music. This talented foursome, which doesn’t seem to have a band name, have been touring Ireland with Music Network – and it’s thanks once again to the Clifden Arts Society for bringing us such joy in the middle of winter. Maureen McNall

REVIEW The Little Radio Station House Theatre THE duo of saxophonist Iain Ballamy and button accordionist Stian Carstensen are ‘The Little Radio’, but there is nothing little about their act – for their music and humour filled not only the theatre but the hearts and souls of the audience. Iain Ballamy has been a leading light on the UK and international jazz scene for many decades, and a major figure in the contemporary jazz orchestra Loose Tubes, as well as in his many other musical projects. His tone may have been described as Ben Webster-ish, but his verve and creativity are all of his own. He teamed up with Kristiansen, who hails from Norway, about 15 years ago after a jam session where the two musicians discovered that their sound was compatible. Certainly, Cartensen can make the accordion sing: never before have I heard such a marvellous jazz performance played on such an instrument. The interplay between the two instruments was magical and the timing and was impeccable. The Little Radio’s repertoire was varied and included elements of

folk, jazz and classical music. Their performance kicked off with an Erik Satie tune, ‘Jitterbug’. Ballamy followed this with an emotional rendering of the great jazz standard ‘Body and Soul’, after which they broke into ‘The Teddybear’s Picnic’ – which had all the audience humming. Then Carstensen sang a song, ‘I Love You So Much’, into which he instilled lots of humour, creating quite a stir in the audience. After that we heard the Weill/Brecht classic ‘Mac The Knife’ , which Ballamy movingly improvised on. This was followed by a solo by Carstensen, which he called ‘Last Tango in Paradise’. Many more tunes followed, including: Whitney Houston’s ‘Saving All My Love For You’, as well as a Brecht/Veill medley. After a non-stop performance that lasted well over 80 minutes, The Little Radio were given a standing ovation. They came back on stage and gave a fitting tribute to the last night of their Music Network Irish Tour with a soulful performance of ‘Danny Boy’ to a rapt audience. Maureen McNall l For Maureen McNall’s review of the Galway Jazz Band, who played Clifden in December, see




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Accountants Kevin Barry & Associates Receiving Farm Assist Payments or Area Aid? If you received a tax form lately it needs to be dealt with inside the next 30 days. Call 1 800 476 984 for our FREE info leaflet on what to do. Mannion, Lochrin & Company Ltd Chartered accountants. Contact us for all your business advisory and tax planning needs. Tel: (095) 30030, Fax: (095) 30031; Email: Schley Accounting Delivering high quality service to our clients who make more profit, pay less tax and have more fun along the way. We offer traditional accounting services or our Cloud Accounting System to keep on top of your finances in an effective interactive way, saving you time and money. Contact us on (095) 30584 or 086-2664542 EMail: Sinead O Flaherty – Certified Public Accountant 5 Connemara Way, Westport Road, Clifden. Experienced accountant specialising in accounts preparation, Income Tax/VAT/PAYE/RCT Returns. Rental Income. Contact Sinead at: 083-1551059 or Email Thomas Vaughan & Co Certified Public Accountants, Statutory Auditors. The Archway, Market Street, Clifden. Accounting, taxation, audit, all business/personal financial advice. Contact: Tom Vaughan, (095) 22584, 087-9975346 or email

Adventure & Outdoor Pursuits Killary Adventure Co. & Connemara Adventure Tours Killary Adventure Co outdoor activities for beginners and experts from ages 8 to 80. Choose from bungee, paintball and clay pigeon shooting to kayaking, gorge walking and ringo rides. Killary Adventure Co vouchers make an ideal present. Log on to our website and click the vouchers tab at the top of the page. You can also call us direct on (095) 43411.

Building Services & Contractors Martin Courcey Construction Ltd No job too big, no job too small. Member of CIF with full insurance. SEAI registered contractor for insulation grants. Knockbrack, Cleggan. Call 095 44606 or 086-8161885 Enda O'Malley B.Eng MIEI Providing a Reliable, Friendly and Professional service nationwide: Planning Permissions Applications, Legal Mapping, Site & Boundary Surveys, Structural Reports, Pre-Purchase Property Inspections, Civil Engineering Design, House Plans & Construction Detail Design, Project Management, Cost Estimates, Land Registry Compliant Maps, Certificates of Compliance with Building Regulations, Mortgage Supervision Certificates for Banks,  Bill of Quantities & Specifications, Insurance Reports for Storm and Flood Damage. Bunowen, Ballyconneely, Connemara, Co. Galway. Tel: (095) 23614, Fax:(095) 23544, Mob: 086-3567851, Email:

Cafés & Dining Basmati Indian Cuisine Market Square, Clifden. Opening hours: 4.30pm-11pm. Sunday lunch, 1pm-4pm. Tel (095) 22619

Classes, Courses & Talks Bible Talks Simple talks from the Bible are being held every Thursday from 8pm-9pm in the Clifden Station House Leisure Centre Playroom. These talks are free, and everyone in the community is very welcome to come and listen. Tel 0871664101

A – Z DIRECTORY Yellow Door Expressive Arts Classes in Oughterard and Clifden teaching ballet, modern dance and stage door courses: drama, dance and singing. Skills for stage, confidence for life. For more information see or call Elaine on 085-1544664. Need help creating or editing your CV with a great cover letter to land that elusive job? Experienced word processor can also quickly type and format your hand-written assignments. Please call (087) 693 9902 for help at very reasonable rates. Forum Employment Notice Board Do you have a job vacancy you wish to fill ? FORUM Connemara Ltd invites you to use our Employment, Education and Training notice board in SuperValu Clifden . This free service displays your job vacancy for two months. Please contact Anita on 095-21741.

Electricians LiveWire Electrical Domestic wiring, emergency lighting certs, periodic inspection reports for electrical installations (for fire officer or insurance companies), CCTV for cattle/sheep sheds (watch from the comfort of your own home during lambing season), fire alarms, security lighting, Internet/Ethernet cabling. Replace existing lighting with energy saving LED lighting. Saorview/satellite television installation. Safe electric member (registered & insured). Tax clearance cert. Contact: Stephen on 086-6082612.

Fuel Sweeney Oil For quality fuels, outstanding service and real value, we deliver! Call (095) 22636 or order online at

Hairdressing Bernie’s Hairdressing Salon Church Hill, Clifden – Ladies and Gents Salon. Open Monday-Saturday. Cutting, Colour – 10mins permanent colour available. Conditioning body waves and root lifts. Tel: (095) 21135. Hedz Hairdressing Salon Hedz Salon, Station House Courtyard. Est. March 1999 and growing still on the strength of our referrals. Don't gamble on your hair, ring Hedz on (095) 22202 with our stylists it’s a winner every time! Open Mon-Sat. Call in for a free consultation or see

Headstone Services Mongan Memorials Headstones – Sandblasting – Additional Names Engraved – New Showroom now open. Tel (095) 43473 / 087-6461189

Health & Wellbeing Acupuncture and Massage Therapy Ethel Feneran, Dip. Ac, Lic. Ac, Cert. Nanjing, China. Recognised by the World Health Organisation to be beneficial in the treatment of: Back pain, Sciatica, Neck Pain, Headache & Migraine, Muscle & Joint Pain, Sinusitis & Allergic Rhinitis, Insomnia, Digestive & Bowel Disorders, Depression, Anxiety and Stress, Gynecological Problems, Stroke-related complications. Dooneen Clinic, Clifden. 085 1737071 Back Pain Specialists In Moycullen! Rolfing is a comprehensive treatment of deep tissue manipulation and movement education. We specialise in releasing chronically tightened muscles and mobilising stiff joints causing pain and dysfunction. Effective for back/shoulder pain, sciatica, walking difficulty, fatigue. Get back into action after injury and surgery. Regain a pain free,

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flexible body. Experienced certified Rolfing practitioners, Susanne Keane, B.A., LSLT. Seamus Keane, M.A.,M.P.H. Quality treatment, clinical knowledge, personal approach. Tel  091 555221, 087 2355749 (text only) Breakthrough Retreat ‘I can help you to find your true self, your gifts, your skills and your talents, so that you can make a real difference in your business and/or personal life ... helping you to free yourself from any ‘negative baggage’ and empowering you to achieve this both easily and effortlessly. Imagine discovering the key that unlocks your full potential.’ – Carol Passemard. E:, T: 087 1413 026 Health & Wellness through CranioSacral Therapy CST is a gentle yet profound whole-body-treatment to achieve health. CST releases tensions, relieves pain and promotes healing. CST also boosts resistance to disease and is increasingly used as preventive health care. CST works at such a fundamental level in the body it has proven effective in helping people of all ages with a wide range of health challenges. SomatoEmotional Release (SER) balances emotions, reduces stress and anxiety, releases traumas of the past, provides mental clarity and improves well-being. Please contact Jessica Conneely at 087-6430667 Nicolas Kats ND, Lic. Ac. Herbs. Diet. Supplements. Acupuncture (VHI, VIVAS, BUPA) Dooneen Clinic, Clifden. 086-3651590 (text only),

Hotels Renvyle House Hotel & Resort Where Magic, Memorable Holidays Happen! ‘100 Best Places to Stay in Ireland’ 2013 (McKennas’ Guides), ‘Best Customer Service in Ireland’ (2013 RAI). Tel: 095 46100, Email:,

Painting & Decorating Johnny Coyne Painting and decorating – interior and exterior, timber floors sanded and varnished. Residential and commercial. Powerwashing service. All areas of Connemara covered. Neat and tidy job guaranteed. Competitive rates. References available. Also offering garden and lawn maintenance service. Contact Johnny Coyne on 086-8570302 or (095) 43006.

Property Connemara Coastal Cottages is looking for properties to add to our portfolio for 2014 in Errislannan, Derrygimlagh, Mannin, Dunloughan, Inishnee, Roundstone, Leenane. Call us NOW! 095 41844 – – Sherry FitzGerald Mangan Property Advisors – Fully licensed and with over twenty years experience in the business we can advise on all property related matters, including property sales, rentals and valuations. We are full members of the society of Chartered Surveyors of Ireland and the Royal Institute of Chartered surveyors. If you are thinking of selling or renting call into our office on Main Street, Clifden or call 095-21888 or email



For as little as €12 per month, you can advertise your business and make sure that when our readers need something, it’s you they call. If you would like your business to appear in this directory contact or call 095-30707

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Tom Broderick Photographer

Sand, Gravel & Topsoil Oughterard, Co Galway. 086-8861052 Weddings, social, portraits, events, mobile studio/home sittings & PR photography

Mannion Quarry and Plant Hire Suppliers of High Quality Stone Products & Construction Plant Services. Road & Site Development. Serving Connemara for over 40 years. Lettershea, Clifden. 09521264.

Satellite, Internet & Computers Dash.Dot Development Web design, hosting, social media, e-commerce, software, office efficiency. 086-3868311,, Keane’s Computer Services Connemara area covered – computer and laptop repairs, smartphone and tablet repairs, website design. Collect, repair and return service. Onsite repairs also available. 085-7779018., LightNet Best value broadband – 10 times faster than the rest – visit or call them on 091-395804 and get connected! McDonough Business & Computer Services Our Entry-Level Website Package Includes: First year domain name & hosting; Professional custom design & copywriting; Responsive to smartphones, tablets & desktops; Up to 4 pages; Search engine optimisation. Go to for full terms and conditions or call 095-22888 Peter Keane Aerial and satellite installations. Saorview and Saorstat. Sky Road, Clifden. 087-6687468, 095-21827

Shopping An Bhean Feasa Health Shop Everything You Need for Health and Well-Being. Bridge Street, Tel 095 30671 Connemara Florist Send the gift of flowers this Valentine’s Day. Connemara Florist 095 21565 Village Flowers 091 556513 Gannon Sports Sale now on – final reductions on many lines, with savings of up to 25%. The Square, Clifden. Tel: (095) 22268; Email:, Ohh! By Gum Eco-chic Boutique stocking: childrenswear, womenswear, yarn, sweets and accessories. The Courtyard, Station House, Clifden. Tel 095-21334., Open Mon - Sat 10am till 6pm and Sun 12noon till 4pm. Siopa Troscán An Fuarán, Moycullen. See our display advert on page 7 for full details of this month’s special offers. – (091) 868992. SuperValu Market Street, Clifden. Monday - Sunday. Underground carpark available. 095 21182. Open from 8am and until 10pm Fridays. The Art of Blooming Order your Valentine’s Day bouquet today. All Valentine’s orders will be entered in our special Valentine’s Day draw. Main Street, Moycullen Co Galway. 091-868807, 086-3608666. Viviana’s Italian Boutique Footwear, Fashions, Accessories, Jewellery, Gift Items and much more. Main Street, Clifden Tel 095 30751

Situations Vacant Alcock & Brown Hotel We are currently recruiting chefs, cooks, receptionists, waiting staff, housekeeping staff and managers. Please send C.V. by email to or by post to the Hotel address (see display advert, page 2)

Taxis AAA Sky Taxis Eight-seater available – 085-1133033 Connemara Taxi Company Cars & 8-Seater Minibus available. Telephone (095) 30000 Day or Night.

Tree surgeons West Coast Tree Surgery: Tree pruning, crown reductions, tree removal, hedge cutting & chipping. Tree surveys and tree reports carried out. Est 1998. Contact Alan Linnane on 086-2848340 or 095 43018.

Vets West Vet Galway Road, Clifden, 095-22209. Emergencies: 087-9179248 (24hr) Business Hours: Mon to Fri 9.30-5.30, Sat: 10.00-12.30

Window Fitters Martin Casey Window fitting and maintenance. uPVC, aluminium windows and doors. 087-2766924.

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connemara JOURNAL




Registration now open for one-day Rás event


The Oughterard underage GAA awards took place in December – pictured here are the MVP and player of the year recipients and club coaches and managers; pictured right: Justin Keogh of Keogh’s Centra, presents sliotars to Oughterard GAA’s Seamus O’Maille underage hurlers


Connemara clubs off to a flyer Paul Gannon

THE competitive action has been coming thick and fast for both Conamara Thiar and Letterfrack Badminton clubs since the start of the new year. The Galway County Badminton Association (GCBA) County Juvenile Mixed Doubles Championships are earmarked for Sunday, February 9 in Galway Lawn and Tennis Club (GLTC) and Conamara Thiar will have the usual contingent on court. Daniel Warbout will partner Daisy O’Connell (GLTC) at U9 level. Tadhg Gibbons and Sineád Daly will join forces at U13 level, as will Jamie Pryce and Céiti Daly at U15 level. The latter will also compete at U17 level with Letterfrack’s Daniel Pryce Williams who was the only Galway player to compete in the Irish U15 Championships in Terenure, Dublin on February 1. Daniel was recently crowned Connacht U15 Doubles Champion with Adam McAllister (Ballaghdereen BC) and he was also runner up in the Mixed Doubles final with Cliona McGowan (Grange BC). The Daly sisters captured the GCBA County U15 Girls Doubles title before Christmas and were also victorious at the recent Ballygar Singles Open at U13 and U15 levels, respectively. Sinéad’s partnership with Oranmore’s Rhian Heery at U13 level also bore fruit in Ballina last month when they added a provincial title to their earlier county title. Tadhg Gibbons also impressed in Ballina when he reached the semi finals of the Boys U13 Doubles with Matthew McKiernan (Oranmore). At representative level, Sinéad Daly was a member of the Connacht U13 team for last month’s South

West Challenge versus Cork and Clare in UL, as was her sister Céití at U15 level along with Letterfrack’s Amy Gannon and Daniel Pryce Williams. Luke Gannon and Liam Pinigree’s 21-12, 10-21, 22-20 Doubles victory over the Munster number one pairing of Cian O’Mahoney and Sean Howard in the Connacht v Cork Under 17 clash was one of the highlights of a great day’s action at the fabulous university venue. Connacht will take on Kildare and Tipperary in the Annual Midwest Challenge on Easter Monday, April 21. Luke and Amy Gannon have both been selected for the Connacht U17 team for the upcoming interprovincial series against Ulster, Leinster and Munster on March 15 in Baldoyle, Dublin, while Amy has also been selected on the combined Munster/Connacht Team for the upcoming Celtic U15 Challenge v Leinster, Ulster and Lothian (Scotland) in Ennis on April 6. She has played all four provincial opens this year at U13 level, reaching the Connacht Doubles Final with Terenure’s Julie Duggan and going one better in the Munster Open with Marino’s Kim Feehily. Jack Maher and Josh Pryce are both sidelined with long-term knee injuries at the moment and everyone at the Conamara Thiar Club wishes them a speedy recovery. Letterfrack’s Division 4 team are presently in pole position to reach the county final after comprehensive victories over Ardrahan, NUIG, Claregalway, Oranmore and Furbo in their opening series of matches. The sudden and unexpected upgrading of Luke and Amy Gannon by the Connacht Gradings Committee last month means that this duo are now no longer eligible to participate in the remainder of this league. Tim Warbout and Daniel Pryce Williams

have joined the Letterfrack squad for the remaining Division 4 fixtures and the GCBA Executive Committee has given Letterfrack permission to compete in the Division 3 League against Loughrea and GLTC in order to accommodate the aforementioned upgraded players. The GCBA Adult Championship finals are taking place in GLTC on Sunday, March 2 and a number of Letterfrack players have qualified. Luke Gannon will partner Conor Graham (NUIG) in the Intermediate A final against Odie O’Neill (GLTC) and Alan Gilmore (Claregalway), while Paul Gannon and Feichin Walsh will face off against Claregalway’s Cornelius Dhivakar and Garret Condon in the Intermediate B and Junior A finals. The West Connemara lads will be hoping to emulate their recent success at the Connacht Junior Championships in Boyle on St Bridget’s Day where they overcame NUIG’s John Minogue and Brian Daniels on a scoreline of 10-21, 21-18, 21-15 in a hard fought final. Amy and Collette Gannon take on NUIG’s Jennifer Coleman and Jennifer Hegarty in the Ladies Junior A final, and Collette and Paul Gannon will also be contesting two Mixed Doubles finals at Junior A and Intermediate B level, the former against Brian Daniels (NUIG) and Jennifer Coleman (NUIG) and the latter against Conor Graham (NUIG) and Marie Reilly (Loughrea). Meanwhile, at representative level, the Connacht Juvenile Inter Counties and All Ireland Adult Graded Inter Counties Qualifier are both down for decision on the weekend of March 22-23 and it remains to be seen if any Conamara Thiar and Letterfrack players will be bestowed with the honour of wearing the maroon and white.

FOR the past few years the whizzing of bike chains has become a familiar sound around the roads of Connemara. Rás Chonamara started out as a one-day event and built its status up to a three-day, fourstage cycle race, with cyclists from all over the country entering the race in a bid to take home the Gerry Clancy memorial cup. It brought much needed bed nights to the area over the Easter weekend, and the buzz and colour of the event would remind you of a scene from the continent – if it weren’t for the rain and wind. Thankfully this wasn't the case every year. Unfortunately due to lack of sponsorship over the last few years the organisers have had to reduce it to a one-day event. This means

valuable bed nights will be lost. This year, for the first time, the race is open to A4s, and the A3s and A2s will compete as normal. Connacht is now the only province that doesn’t have a three-day race over the Easter bank holiday weekend – making it even more difficult for the organisers to attract cyclists. However the organisers are determined not to let the race die out after the hard work that was put in by the late Mickie Kelly to get the event up and running, not just in Connemara but in Connacht. Any sponsorship is welcome, and guarantees your company name prominent exposure over this busy weekend. The organisers are

also hosting a sportif to raise funds for Galway Autism Partnership and the race itself on Saturday, April 19. Commencing in Oughterard village, the event offers 100km and 50km options. Registration is €25 and will take place at Faherty’s Bar on the square at 8.30am, with cyclists setting off at 10am. Proceeds will be shared between Galway Autism Partnership and Rás Chonamara. Contact Sean Clancy on 087-6321167 or Ronan O’Hollaran on 087- 6873021for details. l The 9th annual Rás Chonamara takes place on Sunday April 20. Registration can be completed online at Contact Sean Clancy on 087-6321167 or m for further details

Leading UK magazine hails Connemara as cycling heaven CONNEMARA has been described as one of the most distinct and dramatic cycles routes in the world by a leading UK cycling journalist. The Cyclist magazine feature on the 2013 Tour de Conamara event labelled the west coast as one of the most beautiful places to cycle. Previously the magazine included a major feature on cycling in Connemara with Bernard Hinault who was a guest of the Tour de Conamara. Commenting on the

feature, event organiser Padraic Quinn said: ‘Despite the conditions on the day, the journalist Peter Stuart was taken by the whole atmosphere of the event and the route, compared to any he had been invited to across the UK. ‘He did some additional cycling on the Sky Road the following day and was blown away by the beauty of the area. ‘This type of profile for the area is very timely with the launch of the Wild Atlantic Way and

the proposed Greenway routes that will place Galway as a major cycling destination.’ The 2013 event also attracted journalists from France with the participation of five-time Tour de France winner Bernard Hinaults covered in Le Telegramme newspaper. The 2014 event takes place on May 24, starting and finishing in Clifden, with a number of new additions to the event. l Full event details are featured on




Storms play havoc with ORFC fixtures Matt Henderson

Mini & Lep rugby: After a very busy few weeks leading up to Christmas with blitzes at Galwegians, Corinthians and Gort, the second half of the season has got off to a slower start – not through any lack of enthusiasm from players and coaches, but due to the frustratingly wet and wild weather. Blitzes at Tuam and a home blitz hosting Gort and An Ghaeltacht have had to be postponed. Indeed for the first time in the club’s existence, two consecutive weeks of training have had to be called off. All this means is that young girls and boys in

the Mini and Leps section are going to be very busy training and playing matches in the next few weeks. Even in the second half of the season, we are still seeing new faces coming along – which is fantastic. So if you fancy giving rugby a go, head along to ORFC on Saturday mornings at 10.30am for training or go to for further details. Youth U14 Section: Like the Minis, the youths have had a very frustrating time of it since Christmas. Waterlogged pitches and stormy conditions have meant training sessions and matches have been

ORFC attack the line in the recent JLD2 victory over Galwegians. limited. The single match played in January resulted in a hard-fought 19-10 loss to a physically larger, but less skilful, NUIG side. If you are aged 12-13 or know players who may like to play 15-aside rugby, contact Norman Deacy for further details regarding training times.

Connemara show consistency with victory over Boys Club l from page 24

they duly reacted, sending wave after wave of attack at the Connemara rearguard. However, a lot of their back play was telegraphed and the Monastery Field men shrugged off their attempts. A feature of Connemara’s play on a rain-sodden Sunday afternoon was their kicking for territory, an area in which first centre David McDonagh excelled. Connemara’s next points had their genesis in one of the Roundstone man’s accurate, left-footed touch finders. After winning their own line out, Boys Club attempted to run their way out of their own half. However, thanks to some ferocious counter rucking, Connemara won a penalty at the ensuing breakdown. After missing his first attempt at goal, Shane Sweeney made amends with a beautifully-struck penalty from all of 35 metres to stretch the visitors’ lead to 8-0. The half time whistle sounded with Connemara protecting an 8-0 lead. With little other choice, Boys Club started the second half by blitzing the Connemara line, but time after time their attempts met the same Black wall of resistance. In the eyes of the referee, not all of Connemara’s containment was on the right side of the law and he soon reprimanded the Blacks. Offside was the offence from which Boys Club profited and registered their first points from the penalty tee, making it 8-3, and now the momentum was definitely with the hosts. With their tails up after registering their first points, Boys Club pummeled

the Connemara line, but the same resistance which greeted each of their attacks in the first half prevailed. The frustration amongst the Boys Club players at their inability to break Connemara down was palpable. The hosts’ frustrations were soon to be compounded when, on a rare Connemara visit to the Boys Club 22 in the second half, the Blacks stretched their lead even further. Boys Club incurred the wrath of the referee for the tackler not rolling away and Shane Sweeney punished them with an academic penalty to take the scoreline to 11-3. Connemara’s ruthlessness when presented a chance was in stark contrast to the profligacy of Boys Club. Another Connemara infringement at the breakdown saw Boys Club add another penalty and further reduce their deficit, but their efforts were in vain as the Blacks’ defence proved impregnable. The impressive Michael O’Toole thought he had added gloss to the victory late on, only for his try to be disallowed for double movement. After an inconsistent start to the season, a young Connemara team are beginning to show the consistency that coach Eddie Walsh craves. l Connemara Blacks: 1: Eugene Conroy; 2: Alan Pryce(c); 3: Kevin Barry; 4: Niall Staunton; 5: Martin Faherty; 6: Patrick Moran; 7: Kevin Keogh; 8: Barry Gibbons; 9: Michael O’Toole; 10: Shane Sweeney; 11: Peter O’Toole; 12: David McDonagh; 13: Richard Bourke; 14: Stephen Mullen; 15: Jack Vaughan; Replacements: Ian Heanue, Colin Reilly, David McHugh, Mark Staunton, Eddie Walsh

Junior Rugby: Up until now the weather hasn’t held back any of ORFC’s junior teams’ matches. Four games played have resulted in two wins and two losses. A last-minute penalty lead to an 18-17 loss to Ballinasloe, which was a real hard one to take, while a 3-13 defeat to Buccaneers

meant points were dropped in two highly contested and winnable matches. A 26-5 home win over league newcomers Claremorris and a 51-0 away victory over city ‘big boys’ Galwegians have helped push ORFC up the league – into contention for a top four playoff place at the end of the season.

New ORFC website: The redeveloped ORFC website ( was recently launched. The website is now the ‘hub of information’ for all club-related details. Highlighting Mini/Lep players of the month, supplying up-tothe minute news, upcoming fixtures, latest results, video highlights, displaying club

merchandise, and club supporters and sponsors, the website is a fantastic addition to the club. IRFU Draws: Many thanks to everyone who supported the club by buying tickets in the recent IRFU prize draws. Unfortunately, the club, and indeed the West, did not have any winners.

Blacks dominate against Westport CONNEMARA put Westport to the sword on January 12, producing a masterclass of back play in a comprehensive 43 points to 3 victory at the Monastery Field, writes John O’Sullivan. With both teams lurking around the foot of the Connacht 1A league this result could prove seminal come the final totting up of points. Westport, including three former Connemara players, Michael Ryder, Niall O’Malley, and Kevin Corcoran, were looking to avenge their home defeat at the hands of the Blacks earlier in the season. Connemara, of course, are coached by former Westport backs coach, Eddie Walsh, which added spice to a vitally important fixture for both teams. However, the visitors couldn’t have wished for a worse start, as Connemara scored the game’s first try within a few minutes of the start. Patient and probing play by the Blacks’ loose forwards saw them in an advanced position in Westport’s 22. After another set of pick and goes from the hosts, the ball was spread wide to lock Martin Faherty, who deftly offloaded for Kevin Keogh – playing in the unfamiliar position of openside flanker – to touch down. A stalwart of the Clifden-based side’s 12 years in the AIL, Keogh’s return to action halfway through the season has proved to be a catalyst for Connemara – offering much needed experience to a young side. Westport’s inauspicious start to the game was compounded when, soon after restarting the game, they

conceded another try. This time, after a neat backs move instigated by his brother and scrum half, Michael, form winger Peter O’Toole showed an evasive step and pace down the left hand side as he cantered in for Connemara’s second try, which fly half Shane Sweeney converted from an acute angle. The game was barely 20 minutes old and Westport were 12 points in arrears. The Mayo side’s reaction was to play with abandon and, after a botched backs move from the visitors, Connemara had another try. With Connemara’s rush defence making space at a premium for Westport, a long looping pass was intercepted by Peter O’Toole and the winger turned on the acceleration for his second and Connemara’s third try of the game. Westport, to their credit, improved and they soon registered points of their own as fly half, Matt Dempsey, slotted a penalty after Connemara went off their feet at the breakdown. Westport’s penalty was the last score of the first half and the Mayo men were glad to be offered the sanctuary of the half time whistle. With Connemara chasing a sofar elusive try bonus point and Westport looking for an avenue back into the game, the second half saw both teams fully committed to attack. Westport, via their giant forwards, Chris Ryan and Liam Scahill, made a few significant forays into Connemara territory, but Connemara’s defence – which has kept four shut-outs in their last five league

games – proved too strong. The game was becoming increasingly fractious, which suited Connemara and their fleetfooted backs. The second half was only a couple of minutes old when Connemara secured their try bonus point and ended the game as a contest. Full back Jack Vaughan exploited a gaping chasm in the middle of Westport’s defence, making all of 60 metres with a mazy run before offloading to Martin Faherty, who in turn offloaded to flanker Patrick Moran to score. Shane Sweeney slotted the conversion to stretch Connemara’s lead to 24-3. With the result a forgone conclusion, Westport looked increasingly jaded and gaps started to appear in their defence. The Blacks took full advantage, and after good work from his centre partner, David McDonagh, Richard Bourke showed his trademark pace around the outside as he glided in for Connemara’s fifth try in the corner. Sweeney’s conversion attempt went narrowly wide to leave the score at 29-3. From there on in, Connemara dominated proceedings, adding two further tries – one from Richard Bourke and another, completing his hat trick, from Peter O’Toole, taking the score to 43-3. Crucially for Connemara, not only did they deny Westport a losing bonus point, they also added their first try bonus of the season. With the result a formailty, coach Eddie Walsh even allowed himself a brief playing cameo against his former club, playing all of five minutes on the wing.



connemara JOURNAL




West Coast senior team closing in on promotion

Six Oughterard boxers take part in Bracken Club tournament

Joachim Lydon

DUE to the extreme weather conditions in January there was very little action on the pitch. The first team got only one game played but achieved a great result in defeating Athenry 2-1 in a keenly-contested fixture in Letterfrack. Lee Rima gave West Coast a first half lead but Athenry fought bravely to level matters mid-way through the second. Shane Lydon headed a superb winner from a Jamsie Salmon cross with 10 minutes remaining.

League Standing (top 4) Team Renmore West Coast West Utd Galway Bohs

Played 10 11 12 12

Points 26 25 20 17

This win put the Connemara lads in a great position for promotion with five games left to play. This season the top three teams will join the Division 2 ranks, but West Coast have the league title itself in their sights. It looks likely that their

two head-to-head games against city rivals Renmore will decide the destination of the title. West Coast Stars of the future West Coast Utd are delighted with the news that three of our players have been selected to represent Galway this season. Charlie Concannon, from Inishbofin, has been selected at Under 12 level; Byron Lydon at Under 14 and Nathan Leamy at Under 15. This is a brilliant achievement for the individual players but it’s also a massive plus in that it shows the structure and coaches in West Coast are on a par with any club. We wish all three every success and hopefully they will continue to develop as top players – which can only benefit their club. Former West Coast Utd player Noel Varley has joined the newlook Galway FC panel in the Airtricity League of Ireland. This is an exciting development in senior football in Galway after the disastrous experiment with

Salthill and Mervue. Noel was always a top player for West Coast, captaining them to an Under 16 league title and playing a pivotal role when West Coast won the Under 18 cup for the only time. Hopefully Noel and his teammates can get Galway FC back to the Premier Division for the 2015 season. Fundraising: The West Coast Utd annual Christmas Race Night – now in its tenth year was again a great success. We are delighted with the response from individuals and businesses across West Connemara. Special thanks to Gerry Coyne and staff in Paddy Coyne’s for hosting the event. We rely totally on money generated locally to survive. Club membership is still available from any club officer for €30 and we would encourage more to join and have their say about the future of football in our area. Every club needs new ideas and a clean out now and again to keep things fresh.

Seán Clancy

OUGHTERARD Boxer Kieran Molloy won Connacht Tribune Galway boxer of the year for the second year running on January 18, in recognition of his achievement at the Junior World Championships in Kiev last summer. The event was attended by family, friends and coaches of Kieran, and guest speaker on the night was Billy Walsh, the high performance coach for the Irish senior team. A team of Oughterard boxers also travelled to Ballbriggan on the January 25 to compete in the Bracken Boxing Club Tournament. In all, six boxers competed, with Shay Molloy and Cillian Tierney coming out victors on the night. Kevin Fahy had an exhibition bout, with Anthony Curran also competing on the night. Serena Cabry had her first competitive fight for


minute Dash – best of luck Dermot, and thanks again to SuperValu for their continued support. l Registration for Under 16s, Under 14s, Under 12s, Under 10s, Under 8s and Under 6s will take place tomorrow (Thursday, February 13) at the Station House Hotel from 2pm to 7pm. Forms are currently available from all the national schools in the parish, from John Coyle at the secondary schools and from

Gannon Sports. All forms need to be signed by a parent or guardian and by the child, so please have your forms ready in advance of the registration day. If you want a form e-mailed to you contact clifdenyouthgaa l Please ‘like’ our Facebook page, Clifden Youth GAA Club, and keep up to date with all that’s happening in 2014, including details of where and when tickets

her club and fought bravely but couldn’t overcome her stronger opponent. Dylan Murphy had, without a doubt the fight of the night, with him and his opponent having a battle royale and the home crowd raising to their feet in appreciation. The decision went in favour of the home boxer Ben McAleer. The boxers are currently training for the upcoming championships, and with the club having All Ireland success over the last few years, will be striving to get the boxers

to the National Stadium in Dublin Oughterard Boxing Club will host their annual tournament on Saturday March 15 in Oughterard Community Centre, commencing at 7.30pm. A great night’s boxing is in store and it’s a great event to celebrate the St. Patricks weekend, with boxers coming from all over the country to compete. All support will be greatly welcome as this is one of the clubs main means of fundraising for the year.


Club’s fundraiser has an extra dash of excitement CONGRATULATIONS to the first ever winner of the Clifden Youth GAA Trolley Dash Draw, Siobhan Laffey/Mullin. Siobhan walked away with €430 worth of groceries after her frantic three-minute dash around Kavanagh’s SuperValu, Clifden. As the Journal went to press, the second winner, Dermot Laffey, was greasing his trolley wheels to complete his three-

Kieran Molloy (centre) with his father, Stephen

for the next Naomh Feichin trolley dash go on sale.

Pictured: Siobhan Laffey/Mullin with her trolley dash haul

GMIT footballers bow out after competitive season THE Gaelic football season ended for GMIT Letterfrack on January 29, when they were defeated 2-9 to 2-7 by a strong Law School team in Belfield UCD, writes Joachim Lydon. The GMIT squad have played 11 really competitve matches this season, reaching an AllIreland semi final in the league before losing to UL in December.

Despite the small numbers in the college, about 30 of who play football, they continue to be a match for most teams on their day. l The Letterfrack hurling team beat Blanchardstown 8-11 to 1-5 on February 10 and will now take on Sligo Institute today (Wednesday) in the next round of the Championship

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connemara JOURNAL


‘Cycling Heaven!’ High praise for Tour

See page 21

Oughterard boxers prepare for Championship bouts See page 23


Blacks continue solid run of form

l turn to page 22



West Coast U13s through to Cup semi-final Joachim Lydon

WEST Coast U13 (pictured) travelled to Headford on January 11 to take on Moyne Villa. In the final league game of the season both teams were competing for the three points and the Division 1 title. A thrilling game of soccer resulted – and it was a game that could have gone either way.

Moyne Villa took their chances and for West Coast it just wasn’t their day. Still, a very credible second place in Division 1. The whole squad should be proud of their achievements this season. Stand-out perfomances on the day came from Dylan O’Malley, Leigh Wallace O’Hora, Theo Joyce and Kevin Holmes. l The U13s started their Division 1 Cup campaign with a

convincing 5-2 win against Oranmore B at Letterfrack on January 18, with goals from Charlie Concannon, Dillon Holland, Kevin Holmes and two from Theo Joyce. They now face Tuam Celtic in the semi-final on February 22 in Letterfrack in a repeat of last year’s final. l For more soccer news, see page 23

hi rs


THE training and dedication of Naomh Feichin’s U14 players and coaches throughout last season paid off spectacularly, and saw them secure the West Board Championship title in impressive style, defeating Fr Griffins, Barna and CarnaCashel, among others, along the way. To mark this achievement, the club will be presenting medals to the squad in the Off The Square restaurant, Clifden, on Friday February 21 at 7pm. All are welcome, and refreshments will be provided. The event is sponsored by PJ and Maureen Heffernan of Off The Square.


Celebrations planned for West Board champs


AFTER a resounding 433 victory over Westport on January 11, Connemara consolidated their good form with a hard-fought 11-6 victory over Boys Club at the Sportsground side pitch. Twice victorious over Connemara this season, the Blacks exacted a measure of revenge on their Galway City counterparts with a display of defensive solidity which has become a hallmark of new coach Eddie Walsh’s tenure. Indeed, in five of the last six games Connemara have kept their opponent try-less, and the one try they did concede in the last run of games came at the death against Castlebar. It is extremely encouraging to see the Blacks, a young team relative to their competitors in the Connacht Junior 1A League, having the ability to vary their tactics successfully game from game. Last weekend’s victory over Westport was built on a foundation of glistening attacking

rugby, whilst their triumph over Boys Club was testament to a miserly defence epitomised by the industry of Alan Pryce, the centre duo of David McDonagh and Richard Bourke and the ever-improving Patrick Moran. Connemara started the game brightly, no doubt bouyed by their seven-try heist against Westport, and soon had the hosts on the back foot. Kevin Keogh, so often a source of attacking impetus for the Blacks, made a significant foray into Boys Club territory before, after a series of patient and probing pick and goes, Stephen Mullen became the benefactor of an overlap and sauntered in unscathed for a deserving opening try of the game. Shane Sweeney unfortunately couldn’t add the extra points but the large contingent of Blacks’ fans at the game were suitably enthused by their team’s start – 5-0 to the visitors The gauntlet was laid down to Boys Club and

tr fre h ai e ev n p er y ne in w g ers ad s on ul t an e nu s si al al m em o n

John O’Sullivan

Connemara Journal (Issue 18, February 2014)  

Connemara's free community newspaper

Connemara Journal (Issue 18, February 2014)  

Connemara's free community newspaper