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Connacht Tribune

Award winning Galway Hospitality Group wins flurry of awards



The Forster Court Hotel won Best 3 Star Hotel in Connacht, left to right: Breda Fahey, Barry Donovan, Eveanna Ryan, Sarah Comer, Kenneth Lydon and Shane McElroy.

One of Galway’s newest hospitality group “The Connacht Hospitality Group” has won a flurry of awards in recent months. A growing family business based in Galway City and compromises of three hotels. The Connacht Hotel, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Forster Court Hotel, a stylish, 50-bedroom hotel located in the heart of Galway City. The Residence Hotel, a 20-bedroom boutique style hotel located on Quay Street and three licence premises; the multi award-winning An Púcán located on Forster Street, 1520 Bar located on Quay Street and HYDE Bar & Gin Parlour which hosts the largest Gin collection in Ireland.  The group also operates a 24-hour gym and leisure centre called Active 24 Fitness & Leisure.

Most recently they took home multiple awards at the “The Irish Hotel Awards which were held in Galway earlier this month. Amongst the Galway winners on the night were The Forster Court Hotel which was named the “best three star hotel” in Connacht and 1520 Bar at The Residence Hotel was named as the “Best Hotel Bar in Connacht “and also took the national crown of “Best Hotel Bar in Ireland” beating off stiff competition.

Eveanna Ryan Group Sales and Marketing Manager for the Connacht Hospitality Group said “We are thrilled to receive this recognition from the Irish Hotel Awards, it’s a reflection of the fantastic work by the team in The Forster Court and The Residence Hotel. We were delighted to be nominated given the calibre of hotels in the region, so these are awards we are truly proud of”

The Forster Court Hotel located in the East Village of Galway, open just under two years ago. Its modern décor, friendly team and fantastic location coupled with one of Galway’s most popular bars HYDE Bar and Gin Parlour has quickly made a name for itself and is currently one of the top 5 rated hotels in Galway on TripAdvisor. HYDE Bar & Gin Parlour which is due to celebrate its first birthday in May has also had a fruitful first year in terms of awards. The stylish Gin Emporium won big at the prestigious Irish Pub Global Awards when it received the award for “Best Marketing Campaign in the World” for 2018 launch.

The Residence Hotel the heart of the Latin Quarter with its funky room décor is a must stay when visiting Galway city. It is also home to 1520 Bar, described as a “medieval themed neighbourhood bar” which embraces all that is best about Galway with a warm welcome to visiting guests and locals alike. The eclectic interiors include plenty of corners with a mix of portraits, posters and paraphernalia dotted throughout. 1520 was also named “Best Newcomer in Connacht in the 2018 Irish Pub Awards”

The flagship property in the group, The Connacht Hotel is one of Irelands most popular family friendly hotels, coupled with a bustling corporate trade has also seen it’s fair share of accolades. The hotel has been a major advocate for the use if the Irish Language and in 2018 was awarded the overall winner of the “Gradam Sheosaimh Uí Ógartaigh” run by Gaillimh le Gaeilge, it’s Galways bilingual business awards which recognises and celebrates companies and organisations in Galway that use the Irish Language in their day to day business. The Connacht Hotel was also recently awarded the “Best Hotel Garden” in the Galway Tidy Towns competition. The development of the gardens at the Connacht has been embraced as not only aesthetic feature but hold really environmental functions. The hotel was recently awarded an Eco-label by Green Hospitality for its Environmental Action Plan focusing on Energy, Waste and Water Management.

The multi award winning An Púcan is renowned for its live sport, daily music sessions, great food and fantastic outdoor space which have all been featured amongst their recent accolades. The team at An Púcan was recently recognised at the Irish Pub Global Awards as the “Best Place in Ireland to watch a match” with 12 tv’s including two large screens and an electric atmosphere during games.  And having won the “Most Innovative Bar in the West” for the past two years at the Irish Pub Awards” boasting the title of the most followed bar in Ireland on social media it’s easy to see why.



Connacht Tribune

Paedophile for sentencing after arrest in Ceannt Station



A man will be sentenced in December for arranging to meet a child at Ceannt Station for the purpose of sexual assault.

In the meantime, Michael Sheridan, from Cormeelick South, Milltown, must not attempt to use the internet or any other means of communication to contact any child, as set down in conditions attached to his bail.

The 63-year-old pleaded guilty before Galway Circuit Criminal Court last Friday week to attempting to communicate with a child by means of information and communication technology within the State, for the purposes of facilitating the sexual exploitation of the child on dates between March 20 and May 26, 2018, contrary to Common Law and Section 8 of the Criminal Justice (Sexual Offences) Act 2017.

He also pleaded guilty to attempting to meet the child on May 27, 2018, at Ceannt Railway Station in Eyre Square, having communicated by any means with the child, and did so on at least a previous occasion, and did so for the purpose of doing something that would constitute the sexual exploitation of the child, namely sexual assault of the child, contrary to Common Law.  The sex of the child referred to in the charges was not revealed in court.

In reply to Judge Rory McCabe, prosecuting barrister, Geri Silke said there was no need to order a victim impact statement prior to sentence taking place as there was no victim ‘in the real sense’ in the case.

By consent with Bernard Madden SC, defending, sentence was adjourned to December 15 next, when the prosecution will outline the facts in the case against Sheridan.

His free legal aid certificate was extended to cover the cost of a medical report for mitigation purposes.

Judge McCabe also directed the preparation of a probation report at Mr Madden’s request and remanded Sheridan on continuing bail with the existing conditions attached to appear back before the court in December for sentence.

Bail was initially granted in the District Court on condition Sheridan surrender his passport and not apply for a new one or any other travel documents; sign on twice a week at Tuam Garda Station; provide a mobile phone number to Gardai and answer his phone to Gardaí at all times; undertake to the court not to make any contact with any child by any means, to include social media; and not to access the internet at any stage pending completion of the case.

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Connacht Tribune

Final outing for Your County, Your Colours – to honour an old colleague



It was a simple idea well executed – to deliver 32 GAA county jerseys to frontline workers in a hospital or care home in thanks for their dedication during Covid – but before the dust settled on Your County, Your Colours, there was one final and very special delivery to be made.

It is now nine years since a completely unprovoked attack left Tuam man Shane Grogan with life-changing injuries that mean he still requires round-the-clock medical care today.

Before that vicious assault, Shane was a popular member of staff with Merit Medical – who just happened to be the sponsors of the Your County, Your Colours project, dreamt up by Galway Bay FM commentator and former Galway footballer, Tommy Devane.

The team at Merit had one final request – to deliver a special, framed Galway jersey to Shane and the staff at Greenpark Nursing Home, where Shane has lived for some time.

Karen Smyth, Communications Leader with Merit Medical, said that the staff at Merit Medical had never forgotten Shane.

“We see Your County, Your Colours as a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of the frontline workers in Greenpark,” she said.

“This is just a small token of appreciation of their efforts; they do an amazing job – not just during the pandemic but every day,” she added.

Shane’s dad Joe relayed his thanks to Merit Medical for this presentation – with a special word to the Accounts Department, where Shane worked prior to his accident.

“They have always kept Shane foremost in their thoughts and hopefully, the visits will start again soon!” he said.

The original idea, as envisaged by Tommy Devane, was to honour the tireless efforts of frontline workers across the country during the pandemic.

So he has asked all 32 counties to supply one county jersey accompanied by a short message of thanks. The jersey along with their message was then framed and sent to the hospital or care setting of the county’s choice.

Greenpark Nursing Home Director of Nursing Brian McNamara thanked Merit Medical and Tommy Devane for what he called this wonderful gift.

“We are honoured to have been thought of in this manner and it is our privilege to look after Merit’s colleague Shane Grogan,” he said.

“In our caring for Shane, there will always be a special bond between Merit Medical and Greenpark Nursing Home,” he added.

(Photo: Shane Grogan (centre) with his parents Joe and Joan behind him, accepting his signed Galway jersey, joined by (from left) the McNamara family – Jane, Cora, Director of Nursing Brian and Ian – of Greenpark Nursing Home; Shane’s physical therapist Johnathan Gibson, Merit Medical’s Karen Smyth and Mark Butler, and Tommy Devane, organiser of Your County, Your Colours).

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Connacht Tribune

Teacher has sights set on passing ultimate Ironman test



It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted and it pretty much eats up all of your spare time – but for Claregalway schoolteacher, Rachel Farrell, the Ironman 70.3 world championship test in September is something she just cannot wait for.

Rachel (28) has always been bitten by the sports and fitness bug, being a competitive swimmer and badminton player from her school days, but now she is concentrating on what’s called the Ironman 70.3.

The 70.3 part of the title refers to the total distance in miles that competitors will cover between the swim, cycle and running legs of the event.

It works out at half the distance of the full Ironman Triathlon but that still adds up to one huge challenge for those brave enough to take it on.

The first part of the endurance test is a 1.9-kilometre (1.2 miles) swim followed by a 90km cycle (56 miles) and then a half-marathon run (21.1km or 13.1 miles).

“I did my first Ironman 70.3 in France in 2019 and the Utah event on September 17 next is actually the 2020 world championships which couldn’t be held last year because of the Covid situation.

“The course in Utah is by all accounts a pretty gruelling one and the conditions there will be tough too, but I’ve prepared well for it and am looking forward to the challenge,” said Rachel.

She will be competing in the 25 to 29 age category and in the France event two years ago, Rachel notched a top 49 finish – the target this time around is for a top-20 finishing slot.

The daughter of Josette and Hugh Farrell, Rachel is currently a secondary schoolteacher in Dubai who is hoping to travel to Utah about a week before the event to help her acclimatise to the heat and desert like conditions of the US state.

Even the journey to get there will be a mission itself with Dubai the starting off point followed by stop-offs at Elay and Las Vegas.

Rachel is pretty much committed to an all-year round preparation programme based on a four-week rota system – three weeks of intense training followed by one week of scaled down activity.

“When I was in Oman back in 2018 and the event was held there it just caught my interest. I put in on my bucket list and really enjoyed the one in France in 2019.

“I’m not sure whether I’ll keep doing them or not – I might just concentrate on swimming or cycling events into the future – but for the moment, Utah is the goal and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Rachel.

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