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South Galway

Kinvara's picturesque harbour area. Photograph by John Kelly.

Kinvara first to boycott Israeli goods

A South Galway village has become the first in the country to unite against Israel’s military action in Gaza. Kinvara’s business community agreed this week to operate a boycott of Israeli goods, in protest against the “ongoing bombardment” of Gaza. According to the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), Kinvara is the first and only town in Ireland to take this collective action. “As far as I know, this is the first town to do this. Maybe there are other towns that have done it and haven’t told us but it is likely they would. We salute and congratulate the people of Kinvara for taking this stand for justice for Palestinians. We hope other towns and villages around the country will emulate them and take a similar stand,” said Kevin Squires, co-ordinator of the IPSC. Mr Squires also described boycotting Israeli products as “an effective and peaceful way to bring pressure to bear on the Israeli state to end its occupation …

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Ballinakill man receives Benemerenti medal

A well-known local activist and primary school principal was presented with a Benemerenti papal award recently. As a teaching principal at Ballinakill National School, the promotion of the Catholic ethos was first and foremost in Martin Fahy’s vision for the school. However, the leadership role Mr Fahy played on several committees in the parish such as pastoral councils, school committees and hall committees resulted in official recognition in the form of this prestigious medal. His son, Ger, is musical director for Michael Flatley, while his daughter, Mairin, plays with the internationally renowned Chieftains. Both are involved in the staging of Trad on the Prom in Salthill each year. Although Mr Fahy is a native of the neighbouring parish of Kilnadema, he has made a major contribution to the social, educational and spiritual development of the people of the parish of Derrybrien/Ballinakill since he came to live there more than five decades ago. During his long stints of community work,  he …

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Finding the heart of the Burren Lowlands

THE Burren Lowlands initiative saw its first major victory on Friday when a new tourism office was opened in Gort. In January, a small group of people living and working in Gort and its hinterland got together to stimulate job creation, rural and urban rejuvenation in the area, sustainable tourism and greater appreciation of arts and heritage. Two hundred people turned out when they held a public meeting in the Lady Gregory Hotel in April, aimed at getting ideas and input from the wider community and reversing the decline that has seen the town become one of the worst hit in the country in terms of the recession. At that meeting, ideas were put forward as to how this ambitious transformation could be achieved. “This really started at that meeting,” said local man and Galway County Councillor, Gerry Finnerty, one of those behind the Burren Lowlands project. “People said they felt there should be a tourist office in the town …

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Tip to Top women trekking through Clare

Two Donegal women are trekking through Galway and Clare on Wednesday making their way on horseback from Malin Head to Mizen Head in aid of three charities. Friends Amy McGarvey and Esther O’Kane are in Gort from 2pm to 2.30pm, will be in Crusheen an hour later before arriving in Ennis between 3.50pm and 4.30pm. The women and their horses will have a bucket collection in Newmarket on Fergus between 5pm and 5.30pm before concluding this leg of their week-long trek in Shannon between 5.45pm and 6.15pm. The pair will be back in the area on Sunday when they attend the Forgotten Horses family fun day in  Labane on Sunday. Amy is an equine management student in Enniskillen while Esther own’s her own business Tip Top Horses. The two began their trek from Malin Head to Mizen Head on Monday, raising money for the Donegal Hospice, Forgotten Horses Ireland and Animal Haven Animal Rescue. A casual chat between the equine …

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Kiltiernan date for influential inventors

TWO of the world’s most influential inventors visited a small South Galway school this week, prompted by a series of coincidences. All the pupils of Kiltiernan National School take part in the annual Write-a-Book project, run by Galway Education Centre. The children each write a book in just six weeks and it was one by Áine O’Rourke, about telecommunications, that led to Friday’s visit. While he is not a household name, Marty Cooper’s invention is something that almost every adult and many teenagers own and use multiple times per day. “On a recent visit to our school, Ciarán Cannon, Minister for Training and Skills at the Department of Education, launched our newly updated website. He is very interested in the myriad of ways IT can be used to support learning and education in schools,” explained teacher, Bríd Fenlon. “Coincidentally, we had a display of our Write-A-Book projects in the hall. Minister Cannon is very interested in technology and these books, …

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Saying goodbye to your pet

Anyone who has owned a pet, be it a cat, dog, rabbit or something a bit exotic, has no doubt felt sadness when the animal has died or been euthanised by the vet. Sudden death, such as a road traffic accident or death due to a long illness are equally hard. The decision to euthanise a pet is one of the hardest decisions an owner will ever have to make on behalf of a loved pet. As a vet nurse, I have dealt with this many, many times and have shed countless tears with my clients over the death of a furry member of the family. It never gets any easier but, as long as the animal is let go with love and dignity, it’s the most loving thing we can do for an ill or old pet. Animals have the same emotions as we do and pain and suffering is a reality in their lives when illness or old …

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San Francisco Rosie with Beagh roots

A Californian with strong South Galway roots took to the stage at the regional finals of the 2014 Rose of Tralee at the weekend. Supporters from South Galway and North Clare travelled to Portlaoise to support Rosie Keehan, the San Francisco Rose, who was one of 60 young women vying for just 23 positions in the August finals in Tralee. Roses representing 29 counties in Ireland, 13 regions in the USA, Melbourne, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Oman, Canada, Luxembourg, Germany, Scotland and seven major cities in England, all took part in the regional festival. Rosie is a University of San Francisco graduate, having obtained a BA in Arts Management and Art History. As part of that, she spent six months in Ireland, studying Arts and Celtic Studies at UCD. “My Irish heritage stems from my father, Vincent Keehan, who hails from Shanaglish in South Galway, where I have visited every summer since I was a baby,” explained Rosie, who attributes …

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Coole celebrations for Yeats’ 149th

To celebrate the 149th anniversary of WB Yeats’ birth, the Lady Gregory Yeats Trail group and Coole Music are holding an evening of poetry, song, anecdote, harp and traditional music in Loughrea. Words and music from the West: poetry by WB Yeats and music by Turlough O’Carolan will be performed by Tale of the Gael. At the event, which will take place in Loughrea Library this Saturday, art work of Jack B, Lilly, and Lolly Yeats will be on display and a short talk will be given on the Loughrea-Yeats connection. The programme combines the works of 18th century Irish composer of harp music Turlough O’ Carolan and poet WB Yeats in a way that reveals similarities in the lives of both. The musical group Tale of the Gael, has an international reputation for setting some of Ireland’s most beautiful music into historic context, and has represented Ireland abroad on several occasions, most recently at European Culture Week Strasbourg in …

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