Two young women and Merlin Park House

Thu, Jan 16, 2020

‘On Thursday last, a servant-maid at Merlin Park, the seat of Charles Blake Esq. near this town, in the act of proceeding to deliver a message which she received from Mrs Lawrence, who was then indisposed in the house, ran with so much violence against the bannisters as to cause them to give way, by which she was unfortunately precipitated to the bottom of the stairs, and killed on the spot. Every medical assistance and attention was immediately provided, but to no purpose, as the fall was so great as to have completely broken the skull in many parts.’ (Connaught Journal November 10 1823).

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The professor and his dog

Thu, Dec 19, 2019

Pádraig Ó Céidigh was appointed to the department of botany in UCG, in the autumn of 1956. He arrived for his first lecture in his typically distinctive style, that would continue to the point of eccentricity, yet he would play a vital role in developing a small department in a prefab laboratory, into one of the leading world class marine science institutions in NUIG today.

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The Galway Carol Singers

Thu, Dec 12, 2019

The Galway Carol Singers were formed in the late 1930s by members of the Junior Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society. Benny Brennan from West House got the idea originally, and then a committee was formed from various conferences in town. It included Robert Pierce, Joe Lardner, Paddy Donoghue, Mattie Fahy, John Fahy, Pádraic Spelman, and Peter Griffin. The idea was for the singers to raise much needed funds for the society.

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A Child of Mary

Thu, Dec 12, 2019

One of Ireland’s most popular writers, Maeve Binchy, had ambitions to be a saint all through her childhood, adolescence, even into her twenties. And with the eternal optimism of youth was quite sure that if she applied herself sternly to the task, we would all be praying for her intercession with the Almighty today. Despite her best efforts, however, her human side tripped her up. In John Quinn’s book Beginnings,* he introduces us to a variety of people who set out to achieve their ambitions with a firm vision ahead and hope in their hearts, which sometimes came to fruition, but other times miss their target like a damp firework.

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‘One of the greatest, truest spirits alive’.

Thu, Nov 28, 2019

Week IV

In what must be the ultimate irony in the compelling story of Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, and their brief, but significant visit to Connemara in September 1962, it was Hughes who returned to find solace and peace there. Sylvia had planned to return that autumn, instead she found, what she thought was a refuge in the former home of WB Yeats in London, and despite the onset of severe depression, remained there to write her best poems. It would probably have saved her life if she had taken up the rented cottage she had paid a deposit for, between Cleggan and Moyard. Instead in London she battled against a bitter cold winter, ‘flu, frozen pipes, and minding her two small children while writing furiously most of the night.

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‘I am bloody, raw, nerves hanging out all over the place.’

Thu, Nov 07, 2019

If Sylvia Plath was hoping for some kind of rapprochement between herself and her husband Ted Hughes during their brief stay with the late Richard Murphy at Cleggan, Co Galway, in September 1962, she was to be quickly disillusioned. In fact she would be abandoned, and plunged into despair. Yet following a visit to Coole Park, and Thoor Ballylee, Sylvia was to take away a spiritual connection with the poet WB Yeats, and a feeling of peace in the tragic build up to her suicide some five months later.

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True stories of the supernatural…

Thu, Oct 31, 2019

A little later the fairy made his way to the old woman. “Have you ever seen me before?” asked he.

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‘Laughter and fun never deserted them’.

Thu, Sep 26, 2019

Early on Easter Monday morning, April 24 1916, the Galway Volunteers sprang into action. It was a chaotic beginning to the rebellion which hoped to see a nation-wide rising of fully armed and committed men and women seizing control of the country. We know, however, the capture of the ship Aud, with its weapons, explosives and ammunition, off the Kerry coast on Good Friday, prompted the Dublin leadership to cancel the Rising. The order was ignored by Padraic Pearse and others, who had the benefit of arms imported into Howth two years previously. They took over key positions throughout Dublin city, which they held for six days.

Galway had no such benefit from the Howth gun-running. Some 3,000 rifles from the Aud were destined for the Galway Volunteers, which of course never arrived. But in a moment of feverish patriotism, and under the inspired leadership of the young Liam Mellows, some 500 men and women ‘came out’ in east Galway. Apart from a few shotguns, and some revolvers, many of them were unarmed. Military speaking it was an action of great foolishness, even madness, but in the spirit of the time, it was seen, by a few, as the fulfilment of an historic struggle.

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‘Laughter and fun never deserted them’.

Wed, Sep 25, 2019

Week I I

Early on Easter Monday morning, April 24 1916, the Galway Volunteers sprang into action. It was a chaotic beginning to the rebellion which hoped to see a nation-wide rising of fully armed and committed men and women seizing control of the country. We know, however, the capture of the ship Aud, with its weapons, explosives and ammunition, off the Kerry coast on Good Friday, prompted the Dublin leadership to cancel the Rising. The order was ignored by Padraic Pearse and others, who had the benefit of arms imported into Howth two years previously. They took over key positions throughout Dublin city, which they held for six days.

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Liam Mellows - ‘I have failed lamentably’

Thu, Sep 19, 2019

Unlike the men executed after the 1916 Rising, there was little of the same idealisation given to the hundreds of men and women who died in the War of Independence, or, more emphatically, those executed during the regretable Civil War.

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US Ambassador remembers act of kindness in September 1944

Thu, Sep 12, 2019

Shortly after dawn on Saturday, September 16 1944, Michael Conneely, a bachelor of 55 years, was asleep in his cottage at Ailleabreach, Ballyconneely, when loud banging on his door woke him. He shouted ‘who’s there?’ The storm of the previous two days had abated but he couldn’t make out what the voice said. Grabbing a pitchfork, he slowly opened to door. Outside were two men, wet to the skin, in deep distress. Michael put the pitchfork to the throat of the first man: “Who are you?”

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Aran people astounded by French habits

Thu, Aug 29, 2019

‘Them French are queer, I don’t understand them at all. They will give good money for snails and frogs. My young fellow got a bottle of cognac for a bucket full of snails.’

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Introducing Ireland’s Love Club!

Fri, Aug 23, 2019

Welcome to Ireland’s Love Club, a revolutionary approach to dating - where together, we will create a platform that will change dating forever.

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The magic of radio in days gone by...

Thu, Aug 22, 2019

When I was boy, as soon as school ended, my mother whisked us off to her home in west Cork, where my brother, sister and I spent most of the summer. It was a very different place to Galway. We enjoyed large family picnics, long afternoons fishing and rabbit shooting (everything was eaten), and picking fruit and vegetables in my grandparents’ large garden. Looking at old black and white photographs our everyday clothes were zipped corduroy jackets, short pants and wellies.

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