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South Galway

De Danann play their part for Ballinderreen Centre

DE  Danann will perform in South Galway next week, as a fundraiser for refurbishment works on the Ballinderreen Community Centre. The hugely popular traditional music group will take to the stage on Saturday, February 1 in the intimate South Galway venue. “We had an old building, built in the early seventies and it was very run down and had been a bit neglected. A group came together in 2011 to see if we could have a building that the community could use that didn’t have a bar in it, people wanted somewhere for all the family. So we gave ourselves 12 months to do that. The building needed new heating, new toilets, new insulation, a disabled toilet, new storage shed and new footpaths and we made all those improvements by raising money and getting a loan from the Kinvara Credit Union so we are trying to pay that loan off. “We want to continue the improvements with a new porch, …

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24-stone drop raises €11,000 for Kinvara pitch

THE RTÉ show may have started last week but in Kinvara, a group of 11 men began their Operation Transformation just over six weeks ago and with life-changing results. “Last November, 11 local men approached the club willing to help raise funds for the new pitch development,” explained Michael Bermingham of Kinvara GAA Club. This idea was based on Operation Transformation, so on Saturday, November 23, 10 men weighed in to begin their six-week programme of diet and exercise. Three days later, another man joined their group. The starting weights ranged from 16st 8lbs to 24st 1lb and so the transformation began. “The lads changed habits of a lifetime, exercised and changed how, what and when they ate. The commitment of the 11 lads was so much that they survived Christmas Day and each of the individuals lost weight during Christmas week,” Mr Bermingham outlined. “The final weigh-in was carried out at The Pier Head on Saturday, January 4 and …

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Gort pupils go back to the ’50s

GORT Community School pupils will bring audiences to 1950s America this weekend as they stage the hugely popular musical, Grease. More than 100 pupils have been working hard since September to bring the fictional Rydell High School of more than five decades ago to the stage. The story follows the fortunes of a group of teenagers as they find their way around love, rebellion and growing up and features hit songs including Summer Nights, You’re The One That I Want and Hopelessly Devoted To You. Music teacher Tara O’Carroll is the director and choreographer of the production. “One hundred and four students are involved in the show. Some are on stage, some in the band and others have been involved in different capacities. There will be about 80 students on the stage on each of the nights,” Ms O’Carroll explained. For 17 years, Gort Community School has held concerts to exhibit the musical talents of its pupils but this is …

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Community Christmas dinner in Gort

THE fifth annual community Christmas Day Dinner will be held in Gort on December 25. Anyone who is on their own and would like some company on Christmas day is invited to come along. Organisers are also seeking volunteers to help out on the day and donations to support the event. “I originally started the community/family dinner when I myself was alone at Christmas, and wished I wasn’t. The feeling of family/community is very important, so that it doesn’t feel like an organised event, rather a friendly gathering every Christmas. I have people who have attended every single year. I am now married, but still feel strongly about continuing the dinner, as I feel there is a great need for such events. People don’t realise how many people are alone and lonely out there. You may be homeless and sleeping in a car, you could be a retired couple who haven’t the strength to cook and nowhere to go, a …

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Councillor seeks rural decline debate

A GALWAY county councillor will continue to raise what he describes as the “death of rural communities” at local authority level. At the most recent council meeting, Councillor Gerry Finnerty tabled a motion stating that “in County Galway many villages and towns are losing business day by day. Pubs, shops, service stations, restaurants are all closing. Jobs have been lost and on top of that there is a real threat to Garda stations, post offices and schools. Would Galway County Council consider contacting various groups for whom we are led to believe are fighting rural decline e.g. the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) etc along with the various Government Departments who are responsible for rural Ireland and have a Special Council meeting to debate this crisis before we lose all our villages and small towns.” He says what he wants to achieve is a debate on the matter with a speaker from CEDRA invited to take …

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December date for Cooley Collins festival

THE rescheduled Cooley Collins Traditional Music Festival will take place on December 7 and 8, it was decided this week. The festival is normally held on the October bank holiday weekend but was postponed this year. “This year’s festival was postponed out of respect to the Donoghue and Woods families following a bereavement,” explained Lisa Nolan of the Cooley Collins festival. “We are holding the festival now on December 7 and 8. As it is normally on a bank holiday weekend, this year’s festival will be a smaller version, with the Saturday being the main day of the festival,” she added. Workshops, which have been a staple of the festival, will not be held this year with the focus shifting to performance. “We had four or five workshops organised for young people but they all had to be cancelled. We are not having them this time. We are just having the music and sessions,” Lisa outlined. The festival is held …

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2014 start for €550m Gort to Tuam motorway

WORK is expected to begin on the new Gort to Tuam €550 million motorway early in the new year. Clare county manager, Tom Coughlan told councillors at a local authority meeting on Monday that a contractor for the project has been selected, with construction to begin early in the new year. The motorway will be funded by an annuity from the State to the private contractors over a period of 25 years. According to the National Roads Authority (NRA), hundreds of jobs will be created during the construction process, with the opening of the road to have a major impact on traffic flow in blackspots such as Claregalway. The Department of Public Expenditure has approved the allocation of money to cover the Exchequer element of the scheme. The NRA says it will now re-engage with the preferred private contractor to complete the new N17/ N18 route. The construction of a 57km motorway, part of the Atlantic Corridor on the west …

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Calls for Christmas parking present

SENATOR Lorraine Higgins has called for the provision of free car parking in Gort and other South and East Galway towns in the lead-up to Christmas to help boost town centre trade. The Labour senator has also urged Galway County Council to provide a public car park in Kinvara to tackle its ongoing problem with a lack of parking. “People are moving past towns like Athenry, Loughrea, Gort and Portumna to shop. Why not have free parking in the towns from now until Christmas, in order to give a much-needed shot in the arm for those businesses. I am proposing this as a potential way to give them a boost before Christmas,” she said. “If we are to make a difference to town centres, particularly if we are to protect our small shops, then free parking is exactly the kind of measure that needs to be introduced in the run-up to Christmas,” Senator Higgins added. According to the Athenry woman, …

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