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Connacht Tribune

Capturing rhythm of life

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Des opened his orthodontist practice in Galway nearly 60 years ago and, at the time, it was the only one in the West.

Lifestyle –  Retired orthodontist Des Kavanagh has just published his debut poetry collection, at the age of 83. The longtime Galway resident who is originally from Donegal has been writing for years but had no plans for a book until his lifelong friend, the poet and critic Séamus Deane, convinced him to do so. The poems in Binnion Road draw on his many life experiences and are complemented by illustrations from artist Joe Boske. Des tells BERNIE NÍ FHLATHARTA how it came about.

It is no surprise to anyone who knows him that city resident and retired orthodontist Des Kavanagh writes very good poetry — the question is why it’s taken him so long to publish his debut collection.

There are a variety of reasons why he didn’t have the time — a busy career combined with family life and his involvement with the McGlinchey Summer School, which he co-founded, in his native Inishowen in Donegal and his years associated with the Clifden Arts Festival, where he is renowned as co-host of the ‘Reading in the Bookies’ group of writers and singers.

Probably the main reason that it took Des until the age of 83 to publish his debut poetry collection is his modesty.

He has always loved English and writing and initially toyed with the idea of going into journalism after he finished secondary school in St Columb’s College in Derry.  His father Patrick was a schoolteacher who instilled in him the love of good writing. Patrick himself wrote a book based on the story of local man Charles McGlinchey and his family, The Last of the Name.

Although Des was always writing his thoughts in either prose or poetry, he admits he was very shy at showing them to his two best friends and former classmates, who happened to be the poets, Séamus Heaney and Séamus Deane.

It was Séamus Deane, who was also a novelist and critic, who encouraged Des to publish his work and even wrote the introduction to the new collection called Binnion Road. It’s named after one of the poems in the book about a tree-lined route from Des’s home village of Clonmany to the nearby sea  shore.

Years earlier, Séamus Deane had connected Des with the playwright Brian Friel who loved the manuscript of Patrick’s memoir of Charles McGlinchey’s life, editing it for publication and writing the introduction. Charles McGlinchey (1861-1954) had lived on the Inishowen Peninsula all his life and was a neighbour of the Kavanaghs.  On his regular visits to Patrick, Charles shared memories of his life and times, which. Patrick committed to paper. These became The Last of the Name.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Connacht Tribune

You’re A Star winner’s single shows she still shines brightly

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Lucia Evans...new release showcases her vocals and her songwriting.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Even now, when Lucia Evans’ name is mentioned, many still remember her as the 2006 winner of RTÉ’s You’re A Star – the TV talent show that garnered millions of views and, at the time, encapsulated the nation.  An outstanding vocalist and performer, the Galway-based artist has accomplished a broad and dynamic career since, collaborating with the likes of Sharon Shannon and Brian Byrne, and throwing herself into projects onstage.

What has been missing in the last decade of Lucia’s work is a catalogue of original material – but that is set to change.

This Friday, she releases Holding Onto the Fire, a piano-based ballad that showcases the power of her vocals as well as a vulnerability in her songwriting. It is a daunting step for someone who has largely shaped the creative visions of others in her work.

Lucia embarked on a writing project in 2019 and this single will see that effort come to fruition. The track itself dates back to 2020 so it has been on her mind for a long time.

“It’s just different,” she says of releasing her own work. “I suppose, with other projects, you’re taking somebody else’s baby on board and you’re really trying to get underneath the composer or visionary’s skin to see exactly what they’re trying to convey, and you do your best to do that.

“When it’s your own creation, I think the attachment is an awful lot deeper. There’s a degree of separation between yourself and a creation when you’re brought into something. When you’re the creator, it is a part of you.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Hard to tackle housing crisis with nebulous vacancy stats

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Taoiseach Micheál Martin...disputing vacancy stats.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

There are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics – which can make it really hard to get a handle on how many vacant homes there are in the State.

According to census data, from the Central Statistics Office there are 180,000 of them. However, that figure has been contested; GeoDirectory data puts it at 90,000.

Then several local authorities have done their own studies of their own. In one pilot study of three local electoral areas, Dublin City Council looked at 213 homes. It confirmed that 49 of those were vacant and only 16 were confirmed long-term. That was ten per cent of the total.

During the week the Oireachtas Housing Committee published a report on urban renewal – with some very powerful recommendations. What is of more interest is its findings.

One of the witnesses, architect Mel Reynolds, estimated there were 137,000 homes vacant based on census figures. While the committee did not adopt that figure, the media certainly ran with it.

We reported that a vacant home tax would be applied to 137,000 homes throughout the State – and the Government took issue with that. It contested the 137,000 figure, with even Taoiseach Micheál Martin saying it was too high.

The Department of Finance is now completing a report with its own estimate of vacancy. It’s basing its figures on the returns for the Local Property Tax. We can conclude that the extent of vacancy is far lower than 137,000.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Galway husband and Roscommon wife cheer on different sides of Connacht Final fence!

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Galway supporter Michael Bradley and his wife Roscommon supporter Siveen Bradley in Ballinasloe this week. Pic Gerry Stronge

The Bradley family in Ballinasloe have divided loyalties ahead of this Sunday’s Connacht senior football final between neighbouring counties Galway and Roscommon.

Mike Bradley, from Ballinasloe town, is a ‘stone mad’ Galway GAA fan – but his wife Siveen is from Newtown, a village three miles over the border and will be very much shouting for the Rossies.

Her nephew is Paul Carey, a rising star of Roscommon GAA, and already a legend in the Pádraig Pearses club, who could torment the home team’s defence at Pearse Stadium if he’s recovered from injury and if he’s fit and picked to play.

Though he may not feature this weekend, the 21-year-old Carey made his senior inter-county debut this season during Anthony Cunningham’s march to Division Two League success; and landed eight points for Pearses in the South Roscommon club’s first ever provincial title win in January.

Siveen, a sacristan in St Michael’s Church, and Mike, a caretaker in Canal House, live on Bridge Street and they’ll watch the provincial decider at home on television – because she could not handle the nerves of watching it live in Salthill.

“I watch the matches on telly or listen on the radio. The only reason I don’t go to the matches is I’d get too excited! I wouldn’t be able to deal with it. Even when it’s on the telly I’d be turning it off and on and texting my sister have they won because I couldn’t watch! I’m fierce bad,” laughed Siveen.

Her daughter, Siobhán, a Galway supporter, is married to a Mayo man, Seán Vahey, who live in Castlebar.

“As bad and all as I am I have a daughter married to a Mayo man! I’m up against it,” joked the proud Roscommon woman.

Read full coverage ahead of the Connacht Football Final in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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