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Connacht Tribune

Connemara Ponies tread a path across the globe

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By Máirtín Ó Catháin

Deep in the heartland of New South Wales in Australia, there is a city called Wagga Wagga (pronounced ‘Wawga Wawga’).

Each Springtime, they hold a showcase event involving the Connemara Pony in Wagga Wagga but they don’t call it that.  They take their wording from the Irish language – from the heartland of where the hardy, nimble pony first left hoof marks on the ground. In Wagga Wagga, they have an ‘Aonach’, the Irish term for a fair. Like “Beidh Aonach amárach i gContae an Chláir” or “Beidh Aonach amárach i Wagga Wagga”.

At the ‘Aonach’ in Wagga Wagga each St Patrick’s Day, the afficionados in Australia bring together the cream of the 1,500 Connemara Ponies that are registered Down Under.

“We have at least that many,” explains Karen Holloway who was part of the Australian representation at the Annual Connemara Pony Show which took place in Clifden last week.  She explains that there are probably a number of ‘Connemara’s’ also across the vast continent that are not in the official books.

New Zealand also has a branch of the international Connemara pony societies – one of 17 across the world. Karen Holloway was there on the South Island some time ago carrying out inspections for registration. “We did it in a rugby field,” she says.

Australia and New Zealand are the farthest flung countries that have branches of the Connemara Pony Breeders Society. The pony has travelled the continents thanks to the pioneering work of those who established the society in Connemara almost a century ago.

Last week’s Show in Clifden was the 96th Annual Show since the inception of the Society in 1923. A big anniversary is fast approaching.

The issues of today and plans for the future were on the agenda when the International Branches of the Society held their yearly meeting in Clifden. However, at a corner of the Show Grounds the past was being remembered. A Commemorative Plaque was unveiled in honour of the Society’s “Custodians”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Schools and colleges in Galway advised to close for Storm Barra

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Schools in Galway have begun informing parents that they will not open tomorrow, following advice from the Department of Education.

The Dept said this evening that schools, colleges and universities in areas where a Status Orange or Red warning apply for Storm Barra should not open.

A spokesperson said: “Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in Status Orange are likely to change and escalate to Status Red.

“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to institutions of further and higher education, the department is advising that all universities, colleges and further education facilities covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.

“All schools and third level institutions should keep up-to-date with the current weather warnings which are carried on all national and local news bulletins and in particular any change in the status warning for their area.”

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Connacht Tribune

Galway Gardaí: ‘Stay at home during Storm Barra’

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Gardaí in Galway have warned people to stay home tomorrow (Tuesday) as Met Éireann forecasted a ‘risk to life’ ahead of Storm Barra’s expected landfall tomorrow morning.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the City Council was preparing for the ‘high probability’ of coastal flooding.

A combination of tomorrow’s high tides with the forecast high winds and heavy rainfall would likely lead to a flooding event, he said.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said the best advice available was to stay at home but refused to comment on school closures – advising that was a matter for the Department of Education.

Mr McGrath said a number of meetings between local and national agencies had already taken place, with more set to run throughout the day as preparations got underway for this winter’s first severe weather event.

“High tide is at 6.45am tomorrow morning and at 7.20pm tomorrow evening. There is currently a Red Marine Warning in place for the sea area that includes Galway and an Orange Storm Warning for Storm Barra for 6am Tuesday morning to 6am on Wednesday morning,” said Mr McGrath, adding that it was possible this storm warning could be raised to Red later today.

With high tide at 5.45 metres and a forecast storm surge of 1.05m, the risk of flooding was significant. In addition, winds were currently forecast to be South-West to West, said Mr McGrath, conducive to a flooding event in the city.

“It is potentially problematic . . . the hope would be that the storm surge doesn’t happen at the same time as high tide,” he added.

The flood protection barrier had been installed at Spanish Arch over the weekend and storm gullies had been cleaned. Sandbags were to be distributed throughout the day, said Mr McGrath.

Council staff would be on duty throughout the weather event and Gardaí would be operating rolling road closures from early morning. Carparks in Salthill were closed today, while tow trucks were on standby to remove any vehicles not moved by their owners before the high-risk period.

Chief Supt Curley said it was imperative people stayed home where possible.

The best way to say safe was to “leave the bicycle or the car in the driveway” from early tomorrow morning, and to stay indoors until the worst of the storm had passed.

Met Éireann has warned of potential for flooding in the West, with Storm Barra bringing “severe or damaging gusts” of up to 130km/h.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, with southerly winds, later becoming northwesterly, with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h possibly higher in coastal areas.

“High waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge will lead to wave overtopping and a significant possibility of coastal flooding. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” Met Éireann said.

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Connacht Tribune

Storm Barra to bring coastal flooding and disruption to Galway

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Met Éireann has warned of potential for flooding in the West on Tuesday, with Storm Barra bringing “severe or damaging gusts” of up to 130km/h.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, with southerly winds, later becoming northwesterly, with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h possibly higher in coastal areas.

“High waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge will lead to wave overtopping and a significant possibility of coastal flooding. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” Met Éireann said,

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