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CITY TRIBUNE

Brian’s ‘Epiphany’ inspired by ‘The Dead’ but drama tells its own modern story

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Brian Watkins: a longtime admirer of Druid.

He spent his youth among the Rockies, growing up in the western US state of Colorado, but Irish literature has been a hugely formative influence in the life of actor-turned-playwright, Brian Watkins.

And it’s fitting that Druid Theatre is staging the world premiere of his latest work, Epiphany, because the Galway company had a key role to play in developing his love of Irish drama.

“I saw them in Middle School doing Martin McDonagh’s work and the magic drew me in,” Brian says of his first exposure to Druid as a teenager. Later, while studying in New York, he saw their productions of work by Enda Walsh and Tom Murphy. Most recently he enjoyed their production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot on its US tour.

After seeing one of Druid’s productions in New York, Brian wrote to the company, stating how much he loved its work and he sent on one of his plays, Wyoming. The expected rejection didn’t arrive. Druid’s Artistic Director, Garry Hynes, was taken by Wyoming but wasn’t sure how Druid might approach it, so she suggested workshopping it in Ireland.

Brian travelled to Dublin for the workshops in late 2017. While there, he read James Joyce’s short-story collection, Dubliners and, and as he explains, “Joyce gave me my epiphany. The book dislodged something that became the essence of this play and I wrote it quicker than I’d written anything before”.

The most famous story in Dubliners is the Dead, a masterpiece of the short-story format, and it has been a  major influence on Epiphany. But, as Brian points out, his drama is inspired by the story rather than being based on it: “It’s a scaffolding for the play and you don’t need to have read The Dead for it to work.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Elective surgeries cancelled at UHG as overcrowding continues

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Galway Bay fm newsroom – Some non-urgent elective surgeries are being cancelled at UHG in a bid to tackle severe overcrowding at the city hospital.

It follows the issuing of a warning from the Saolta Hospital Group that the emergency department is extremely busy and there is ongoing pressure on bed availability.

General Manager at UHG, Chris Kane, says over 500 people presented at the hospital on Monday and Tuesday.

She says the overcrowding situation is very serious, particularly in relation to the ED, the Surgical Unit and the Acute Medical Assessment Unit.

Members of the public are urged to only attend the hospital in the case of emergency, and contact their GP or out-of-hours service if their health problem is not urgent.

Saolta is also reminding the public that the Injury Unit at Roscommon University Hospital is open from 8am to 8pm, 7 days a week, to treat adults and children over 5.

Speaking to Keith Finnegan on Galway Talks, Chris Kane said the current level of patients presenting is extremely high and “unusual” for this time of year.

She also noted there’s also been a rise in patients being treated for Covid-19, including in the ICU.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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

Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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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