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Connacht Tribune

Cousins reunited after 200 years




by Ken Kelly

A single phone call to an East Galway man from the Loughrea-based volunteer group that helps those of Irish heritage to find their roots opened up a family history that was lost for almost 200 years.

It all began in 2013 when a member of a group of American visitors picked up a leaflet in a Midlands Hotel, explaining the aims of the Loughrea-based Diaspora organisation, Ireland Reaching Out.

The visitor in question was Margaret Burk, formerly Curley, who believed her ancestors emigrated to the USA in the 1800’s from somewhere in Galway.

Armed with a few snippets of information, she contacted the Loughrea Office and established that her great-grandparents were from Clontuskert and Killimor in East Galway, and had gone to Indiana in the USA in the 1850’s.

Then a phone call to Frank Curley in Ballagh, Clontuskert seeking his help resulted in him and Margaret Burk, with her husband Don, meeting up.

They visited Clontuskert Cemetery where the gravestone inscriptions tallied with her meagre history of her ancestors.

Then further research revealed that Malachy Curley from Ballagh, Clontuskert and his wife Brigid (McClearn) from Killimor, together with their ten children – four boys and six girls – settled on a farm in Terre Haute, Indiana in the late 1850’s.

The story took an ironic twist when it was discovered that Brigid was a great-grand aunt of Frank’s wife, Maura (McClearn) also from Killimor.

Baptismal records showed that some of Malachy and Brigid’s children were baptised in Clontuskert and some in Killimor.

With the family complete, they left in stages for Indiana where Malachy’s brother Patrick and sister Anne had already gone. They set up home, got involved in farming but over the years lost touch with “their roots” and relations in Ireland.

Now this amazing family connection thrilled the American couple and they invited Frank and Maura over to Terre Haute to meet their long-lost cousins. It was an emotional trip and an even more emotional reunion.

“We couldn’t believe that after almost two centuries our cousins tracked us down. They were just as excited. We noted they kept the faith of their forefathers, were very much part of the community and are regarded as resilient,” said Frank, praising Ireland Reaching Out in helping to reunite the Curley and McClearn families.

Eager to learn more about Ireland and the areas from where their ancestors came, a group of 23 cousins travelled over to East Galway to see the family homesteads, the schools, graveyards, churches and lands where their forefathers were brought up.

They were greeted by 113 Curley/McClearn cousins at a historic family reunion, on the grounds of the old homestead where Malachy Curley was reared and they received a real Cead Mile Failte from the parishioners of Clontuskert when they attended mass, celebrated by family friend, Fr. Anthony Kelly, assisted by Parish Priest, Fr. Michael Finneran in the local church.

“It was a massive undertaking for a couple to rear ten children during the Famine years and finally settle, and continue farming in the US,” said Frank.

“It took 175 years or more to discover our relations, but cousins on both sides of the Atlantic have now vowed to make atones by communicating more frequently as well as having reciprocal visits to their kinfolk.”

Connacht Tribune

Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears

Dara Bradley



Saolta CEO Tony Canavan

Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.

There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.

But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.

There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.

Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.

“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.

“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.

“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure

Stephen Corrigan



Chanelle McCoy (left) and Caroline Glynn with their new Pureis product line in Galway this week. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.

It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.

Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.

“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.

“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.

Read the full feature in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo

Dara Bradley



Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.

Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.

The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.

It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.

Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.

This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.

Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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