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3,000 mile journey for message in a bottle

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When an 11 years old girl threw a bottle into the Atlantic Ocean off New York State two years ago, little did she believe that it would travel three thousand miles to the West coast of Ireland, where it was found by a visiting scuba diver.

The find was poignant for Rory Golden of the Flagship Scuba Club in Dublin, as the bottle was located close to where he had placed the ashes of a friend some years before.

He was among a group that were on an annual pilgrimage to Aughris Peninsula, Claddaghduff, when the extraordinary discovery was made.

“Every year, I visit a dive site off Friar Island in Connemara, where I placed the ashes of a great friend of mine, Ralph White, who died seven years ago,” he told The Ray D’Arcy Show on Monday.

“He was a Titanic explorer, who went to the Titanic 35 times, and it was his wishes that his ashes be scattered around the world, so I put his ashes into a bottle, put them on the seabed in a little rocky outcome at 20m depth, so they are on a permanent dive, and we visit them every year.”

They were returning from the dive when he spotted a barnacle-encrusted bottle bobbing on the surface of the water.

“That area is riddled with lobster pots and buoys, so you’re keeping an eye out so you don’t get caught in them And about 500 yards away from the island, I saw an object that wasn’t a buoy; I slowed down to see it was a bottle, and we could see that the bottle was floating, and there was a message in it.”

The handwritten note was from an 11 year old girl named Natalie, who was from New York, but was holidaying with her family at the time:

“My name is Natalie, I’m throwing this bottle into the ocean at Quidnet Beach, on Nantucket Island, on August 13, 2013. If you find it, please write to me and tell me you found my 2013 message in a bottle.”

Rory managed to track down a phone number for Natalie, and eventually spoke to her father. He finally got to speak to the author herself on the Ray D’Arcy Show on Monday.

Natalie, who is now 13, throws a bottle into the ocean every summer with her dad.

“We wait for something like this to happen!” she told Ray D’Arcy.

“We’ve never had a bottle go this far – we’ve had them go closer to Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod, or Long Island, but never this far.”

In fact, one of the bottles made its way to the estate belonging to the late Jacqueline Onassis, in Martha’s Vineyard, which is another of her claims to fame.

Rory said that it is a distance of 3,000 miles between Nantucket and Friar Island, but it is more likely that the bottle travelled even further than that in its two year long journey.

“I imagine it’s been wandering in the mid-Atlantic for quite a while – bobbing around, having a little tour, a little exploration, all around the Atlantic. And, it very possibly passed over the wreck of the Titanic, which is really poignant for me,” he said.

Rory, who has was the first Irish diver to visit the Titanic site, is currently making arrangements to have the bottle sent back to Natalie, accompanied with a note of his own outlining all the details of where it was found, the latitude and longitude, and the whole story around it.

CITY TRIBUNE

GAA club’s tournament honours stalwart who died at just 28

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Pictured at the launch of the Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament which takes place in Mervue this Saturday. Back: Kevin Curran, Kevin Barrett, Robert Fitzgerald, Aidan Brady, Alan O'Donnell, Donal Murphy, Eanna O'Connell, Eoghan Frain, David Henry. Front: Aodhain Ó Conghaile, Liam O'Donnell, Rory Murphy, Fionn Fitzgerald and Michael Barrett.

The untimely passing of a city GAA stalwart six years ago is still deeply felt by the club he represented but he remains an inspiration to young up-and-coming footballers who will be displaying their skills this weekend.

The Darragh Frain Memorial Tournament for under-age teams will take place in St James’ GAA grounds at Mervue tomorrow, Saturday, when many memories of a great young clubman will be exchanged.

Darragh, from Lurgan Park in Renmore, was just 28 years of age when he lost his battle with cancer in 2016. Since then his beloved club has been organising a tournament for young footballers that’s proving immensely popular.

For tomorrow’s event, the St James club will entertain local teams including St Michael’s, Salthill-Knocknacarra, Killanin and an Cheathrú Rua, as well as Kiltane (Bangor Erris) and Elphin-Ballinameen from North Roscommon.

It is a nine-a-side tournament, which takes place from 11am to 5pm, and will involve Under-11 teams who will compete against each other during the day.

The fact that Darragh’s late father, Tom Frain Senior, hailed from Roscommon means that GAA support for the event is coming from both counties – this makes it extra special, as well as adding to the profile of the tournament.

Best friend and one of the event’s main organisers, another St James stalwart David Henry explained that this was the sixth year of the tournament and that Darragh would be very pleased that his name was being associated with the development of under-age football.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Too many cafés’ as city retail continues to decline

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Barber Tom Nally outside his premises.

The changing face of Galway city centre is a source of concern to those who say it reflects a decline for people in terms of retail choices.

Those who regret the loss of several long-standing family-run operations in the city in recent years don’t believe that what has replaced them has enhanced the appearance of Shop Street, in particular.

“We are looking at a proliferation of coffee shops, bookies and mobile phone outlets in their place,” observed long-standing city centre businessman Tom Nally.

Cllr Niall McNelis agreed there were far too many coffee shops in the city centre and believed that anything that has been zoned retail by the Council should remain retail.

The Labour Councillor said a proper retail strategy needed to be adopted and some of the ‘big-name brands’ needed to be encouraged into the centre of Galway to lure shoppers into town.

Meanwhile, popular barber Tom Nally regretted the number of family operations that have ceased trading in the recent past.

“It is sad to see the long-established family businesses in the city centre going and it would be great to say that what is replacing them will enhance our streets . . . but unfortunately this is not the case,” he added.

Mr Nally who has been operating out of his High Street premises for almost 50 years, said the number of unoccupied premises in an around the city centre was a new phenomenon.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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CITY TRIBUNE

State cracks down on quick-buck landlords

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New measures to clamp down on illegal short-term lets in the city will kick in next month, in an attempt to tackle mounting pressure on the rental market.

From September 1, sites such as Airbnb and Booking.com will no longer be allowed to advertise short-term rentals if the correct planning permission is not in place.

The measure seeks to strengthen laws introduced in 2019 which state that the use of a property for short-term letting for longer than 90 days in a rent-pressure zone requires permission from the local authority.

City Councillor Niall Murphy (Green) said the move follows on from an objection he lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland (ASAI).

“The ASAI said it couldn’t be expected to police these ads so the websites like Airbnb were off the hook. But after September, they will have to ensure that those advertising on their sites have planning permission,” he said.

The proliferation of short-term lets in the city has been a contentious issue for a number of years, with scores of holiday leases available at the same time as city residents are battling it out for an extremely limited number of rental properties.

This week, almost 400 short-term lets were available on the leading website, Airbnb, while just 19 homes were up for rent on Daft.ie.

Get the full story in this week’s Galway City Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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