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Caltra nurse’s D-Day diary to be bestseller

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BY MATTIE KILROY

The diary of a Caltra-born nurse who worked in London during the Second World War – and was part of the medical team at the D-Day landings – is about to be published after spending years at the Imperial War Museum, London.

The words of Mary Mulry-Morris lay gathering dust in its vaults, but they have recently been unearthed, edited, and will be published this month to coincide with the 70th anniversary of D-Day and the start of the battle of Normandy.

Mary Mulry’s mother died in Pollinaske, Caltra three weeks after she was born and she was reared by her aunt Mrs Sharkey in nearby Lisnagry for a number of years and later by her father. She attended Caltra National School and later Killasolan NS and at the age of 18 years in August 1939 she passed the examinations to train as a nurse at Guy’s Hospital in London at a time when Britain was at war.

She had hoped for an adventure and a new start; she could not have predicted what the next seven years would bring. In this extraordinary diary, Mary recorded in intimate detail her experiences as a nurse on the Home Front and later working on the frontline in Europe. In London, she nursed critically ill children during bombing raids and narrowly escaped with her life in one the worst nights of the Blitz.

Despite the advice of her matron she joined the Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Nursing Service and she travelled to Normandy on a hospital ship with soldiers; arriving on the heels of the D-Day invasion, she tended to Allied soldiers and German prisoners of war. In war-torn Belgium, she witnessed harrowing casualties from the Battle of Arnhem.

Yet romance, glamour and adventure were never far away for Mary, even if her relationships often had to be cut short. “I always seem to be saying goodbye to men whom I might have loved had there been enough time,” she writes.

And she clearly was a woman who acted on impulse – because she accepted a marriage proposal from 2nd Lieutenant Malcolm Morris just two weeks after they’d met. They married eighteen months later and remained married for 50 years.

“We had four children, one boy and three girls, and at the last count had eight grandchildren and one great grandchild,” said Malcolm, later Captain, Morris.

The keeping of a diary during the war was not recommended in case the enemy would get their hands on it but for Mary it was a record every day.

She records her escapes from death by bombing, of her social life, her family including her brother Michael who had emigrated to America and joined the US army and he too landed in Normandy on D-Day and was amongst the US soldiers liberated from the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.

She records life in Ireland and of her father’s republicanism and his views on partition of Ireland. She recalls that another hospital ship that sailed with them hit a mine and sank with all lives lost.

Her assignments and help for wounded soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk are included in her entries. She died in 1997 in Llandogo in Wales, but her memory lives on in this diary edited by Carol Acton. Her other brother Paddy Mulry moved from Pollinaske to the nearby Glebe where he farmed and where members of his family still live.

CITY TRIBUNE

Party-goers in Galway hit with Covid fines

Francis Farragher

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s most senior Garda has issued a renewed appeal this week for young people to desist from organising or attending any house parties as the local Covid-19 situation worsens – last week Gardaí were called to break up a number of gatherings in different parts of the city.

A total of 15 people were found to be attending one house party in the Salthill area last weekend while Gardaí were called to two other smaller gatherings – one in the Doughiska area and the other in Rahoon.

Cautions and Fixed Payment Notices (fines) were issued to a number of those involved. This week, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley has pleaded with young people ‘to stay away at all costs’ from such gatherings.

“We have very high Covid incidence rates in the Galway area over the past week; death rates from the disease are at their highest ever level; and the last thing we need now is groups of people coming together in confined settings.

“If one person has Covid at such a gathering then, in all probability, most others there will pick it up too and spread it their contacts and family members. I am pleading for people just not to do this.

“We are entering into our most critical period in trying to contain the spread of Covid-19, with the next month or so absolutely vital in our efforts to keep everyone healthy and safe and to try and avoid further loss of life,” he said.
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

Community gives new lease of life to Merlin allotments

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – In 2018, the allotments in Merlin Woods were in danger of falling by the wayside, with declining numbers and underuse blighting a facility that had huge potential.

Since then, the community has pulled together to create a space that locals are proud of and one that its advocates are hoping could be a template for other communities across the city.

Chairperson of the Committee behind this new lease of life is Michael Tully, who says the allotments have become a focal point for area, bringing together locals from all walks of life.

“It’s all about netting the community together and the response we’re getting has been unbelievable,” says Michael, who joined the committee in 2018.

“I started off as a user of Merlin Woods, walking by the allotments and thinking to myself that it would be great to grow my own fruit and veg.

“I started talking to a few of the plot-holders like John Rabbitte, Martin Lohan, Jim McCormack and Daithí O’Brien and they told me how to apply. I applied to the City Council and got my allotment in early 2018 and there were about eight allotments in use at that stage, all of us working away on our own.”

Two years later, all 42 allotments are in use, but it took the cooperation of Galway City Council and Trojan work from the community to get it to this point, explains Michael.

“We came down here every Saturday to clear the paths, dig out the weeds and make the place better. The sense of community was unbelievable. Anyone who couldn’t dig was bringing down flasks of tea and cakes to those that were,” he laughs.
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

National Transport Authority to progress Galway’s Park and Ride

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A dedicated unit established within the National Transport Authority will look at the potential of Park and Ride to help solve Galway City’s traffic congestion problem.

Chief Executive of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, said that Park and Ride facilities should not be restricted to the east, and sites needed to be located to the west and north-west to take account of commuters from Connemara.

Mr McGrath said Park and Ride would be advanced this year as part of the Galway Transport Strategy. He said that the Council, in conjunction with the dedicated unit within the NTA, would investigate feasible sites for the location of Park and Ride facilities.

Mr McGrath said that site selection and acquisition of land could commence in the second quarter of this year. He said he expected that Park and Ride would be progressed well before the Galway City Ring Road was built.

Director of Services for Transport, Ruth McNally, also said that the NTA was looking at the potential of sites in the city for Park and Ride and she insisted that money – or a lack of it – was not halting progress.

“Money is not a major issue for capital projects,” she said.

They were responding at Monday’s City Council meeting to councillors who lamented the slow progress on developing Park and Ride.
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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