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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

Galway City publican in heroic River Corrib rescue

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A city publican who last week helped save the life of a woman who had entered the waters of the Corrib off Wolfe Tone Bridge has made an appeal for young people to ‘look out for each other’.

Fergus McGinn, proprietor of McGinn’s Hop House in Woodquay, had been walking close to Jury’s Inn when he saw the young woman enter the river.

He then rushed to the riverbank on the Long Walk side of the bridge, jumped into the water, spoke to the woman and stayed with her until the emergency services arrived.

The incident occurred at about 3.45pm on Friday last, and a short time later the emergency services were on the scene to safely rescue the woman.

“She was lucky in that the river level was very low and she didn’t injure herself on the rocks and stones just under the water.”

He also appealed to the public to support in whatever they could the work being done by groups like the Claddagh Watch volunteers.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Pubs face court – for serving booze on their doorsteps!

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Gardaí have warned city publicans that alcohol cannot be served outside their own premises – even in newly-created on-street spaces designated by Galway City Council as suitable for outdoor dining.

Councillor Mike Crowe (FF) said three Gardaí visited a number of city centre pubs on Thursday afternoon informing them that drinking outdoors was not allowed under licensing laws.

“They warned publicans and restaurants that the area outside their premises is not covered by the licence, and therefore under national legislation, they are breaking the law, because they are not entitled to sell alcohol in non-licensed areas.

“The operators were told that this was an official warning, and they will be back again in a few days and if it persisted, they [Gardaí] would have no option but to issue a charge and forward files to the Director of Public Prosecution. You could not make this up.

“All of the big operators were visited, and received an official warning, and they will be charged if they persist. According to the guards, they’re getting instructions from [Garda headquarters in] Phoenix Park,” he said.

The matter will be raised at a meeting of the Galway City Joint Policing Committee on Monday.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Call for 50% affordable homes in new Galway City Council estates

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The next Galway City Development Plan should include a greater provision for affordable housing than that recommended by Government, a meeting of the City Council has heard.

Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) told the meeting that while it was the Government’s intention to introduce a stipulation that new estates should have 10% affordable housing, Galway should go further – building anything up to 50% affordable in developments that are led by the local authority.

The Affordable Housing Bill, which is currently working its way through the Oireachtas, proposes that all developments should have 10% affordable and 10% social housing as a condition of their approval.

Affordable housing schemes help lower-income households buy their own houses or apartments in new developments at significantly less than their open market value, while social housing is provided by local authorities and housing agencies to those who cannot afford their own accommodation.

The Council meeting, part of the pre-draft stage of forming the Development Plan to run from 2023 to 2029, was to examine the overarching strategies that will inform the draft plan to come before councillors by the end of the year and Cllr McDonnell said a more ambitious target for affordable housing was absolutely necessary.

“It must be included that at least 50% of housing must be affordable [in social housing developments],” he said.

This sentiment was echoed by Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) who questioned if the City Council was ‘tied down’ by national guidelines, or if it could increase the minimum percentage of affordable housing required locally.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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