‘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.

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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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How Aran looked in the 1930s

Thu, Aug 15, 2019

When Thomas H Mason stepped onto the pier at Kilronan, Inishmór, in the summer of 1932, he described his feelings of surprise and sense of confusion. Writing in his masterly The Islands of Ireland * he realised that he was plunged into an Ireland he did not recognise. As an Irishman coming from the east coast, and geographically still in Ireland - he believed that he could have been 1,000 miles from Dublin.

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How Aran looked in the 1930s

Wed, Aug 14, 2019

When Thomas H Mason stepped onto the pier at Kilronan, Inishmór, in the summer of 1932, he described his feelings of surprise and sense of confusion. Writing in his masterly The Islands of Ireland * he realised that he was plunged into an Ireland he did not recognise. As an Irishman coming from the east coast, and geographically still in Ireland - he believed that he could have been 1,000 miles from Dublin.

At that time he had never seen a currach, nor men and women dressed in home-made clothes, woven and knitted from the wool of their own sheep. Their features, he observed, were somewhat different from people on the mainland. They all spoke in Irish. ‘I felt a sense of wonder and interest which is common to travellers in strange places.’ As time passed by, of course, and Thomas found comfortable lodgings with Mrs McDonagh in Kilmurvey, he began to explore the Aran islands at his leisure. He became charmed by its spectacular landscape, the people and their stories.

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Dear Mr Semple I am that girl……

Thu, Aug 08, 2019

Anne Root (formerly Browne) was about 16 years-of-age when she went to work for the Blakes at Menlo Castle. She was employed as a housemaid, and joined two other house staff, a parlourmaid, and a cook Delia Earley, with whom she shared an attic room. She and Delia became warm friends, and shared a terrifying ordeal when they were trapped together on the roof of the castle as it burnt in a raging fire on July 26 1910.

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Tragedy at Menlo Castle

Thu, Aug 01, 2019

Week II

In the early hours of July 26 1910 Menlo Castle, on the bank of the river Corrib, was totally gutted by a fire. Sir Valentine and Lady Blake’s daughter, Ellen, was lost in the flames. The cook Delia Early, who lived on the attic floor, jumped to her death. Delia shared a room with housemaid Anne Browne, who waited until her clothes were in flames, before jumping. She landed on a pile of hay placed by other household staff to break her fall. Severely injured and burnt, Anne was driven on an open truck, slowly into the Galway Infirmary, lying on a door to ease her movement and pain. Local farmers gave her milk to drink to try to cool her down.

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The joy of crowds

Thu, Jul 25, 2019

Looking at the happy crowds in Galway for this year’s Galway Arts Festival, I can appreciate that the sense of joy and surprise is heightened because it is shared on a huge scale. The crowd itself is a key part of the attraction. People lose their inhibitions among the horde.

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