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CITY TRIBUNE

Emma’s drama forges link between dead and living

Judy Murphy

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Emma O’Grady is a busy woman. The actor, writer, lighting technician and production manager, who was on the production crew of Galway International Arts Festival, is about to revive her one-woman show, What Good is Looking Well When You’re Rotten on the Inside? for a national tour that will include a performance at the City’s Town Hall Theatre next Friday, August 17, and Tuam’s Mall Theatre on Friday, August 31.
On the day we meet, she’s bringing her production skills to bear on the West Cork Fit-up Festival, an event which brings some of Ireland’s actors and theatre companies to West Cork and its islands, performing shows in minimalist settings. She loves it.
Emma’s enthusiasm for her work and her lively personality are infectious as she discusses the revival of her show, based on a grandfather, who could best be described as taciturn.
When Emma first performed this piece, based on the final month of Paddy O’Grady’s life, at the 2017 Galway Theatre Festival, it was attended by Paddy’s extended family and as they all gathered afterwards to share their memories, it became the wake he never had when he died. Paddy’s children and grandchildren had seen another side to this man, one that gave them a greater understanding of why he had been so distant.
Emma’s grandparents Paddy and Brigid (Birdie) O’Grady lived with Emma’s parents and family in Mountrath, Co Laois, when she was young. While Birdie was warm and extrovert, Paddy, a civil servant and retired manager of Cork Airport, didn’t engage much with his grandchildren.
Shortly before he died, when Emma was 12, Paddy got a sudden urge to talk – but not to his family, which she still regrets. Using a cassette tape recorder, he recorded hours of absurdist stories and thoughts on life. Emma recalls listening outside his room as he did so, wishing he could have told them to her. The 12-year-old loved stories and loved performing and appeared in her first play shortly after his death. But he didn’t engage.
Paddy’s tapes were stored away, until Emma, by now an adult, found them.
Out of this personal treasure trove, she created a show about emotional inheritance and grief for wasted creativity.
It was one of several shows she feels compelled to make and has resonated with audiences both in Galway and at the 2017 Dublin Fringe Festival.
“Every time I did it, people would come up to me after and say ‘my father was a musician or a singer or a poet and he was always writing down things in the kitchen and never showing them’.
“They all had a parent or grandparent who didn’t have the opportunity to express themselves creatively,” she continues. “And ‘he was very well-read’ was something you heard a lot. By me giving permission to my dead grandfather to speak, it’s given permission for a whole generation . . . if that doesn’t sound too wanky!”
While this show is emotional, clearly Emma isn’t given to sentimentality!

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Residents call in the clampers to sort problem parking

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Residents in a Salthill estate have become tired of illegal parking outside their homes – and hired private clampers as a deterrent.

People living in Seamount off Threadneedle Road near Blackrock said they have been plagued by extra traffic and vehicles parking outside their homes, blocking access, during the latest Covid lockdown.

They said that since Galway City Council closed off the Prom to car parking, and closed the two public carparks, the cars have just migrated to Threadneedle Road and their estate.

Seamount is a private estate and the road has not been taken in charge by the Council. The residents have clubbed together and hired a clamping company, which will erect signs in the coming days and begin clamping illegally parked cars from next week.

Residents said they are also concerned that cars parked on Threadneedle Road are making it more difficult for buses to pass, and cause congestion.

A residents’ spokesperson said: “Since the lockdown, they closed off the Prom and closed off Salthill car park but people are still using the Prom and swimming off Blackrock. I have huge admiration for the swimmers, I do it myself when it’s warmer. But what’s happening is they park on both sides of Threadneedle Road, because there’re no yellow lines on either side of it and it’s not wide enough for cars to be parked either side of it, so buses are getting stuck.”
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

NUIG President’s upset at Covid breaches on campus

Enda Cunningham

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – “I work in the hospital and we have had a really awful six weeks. We have nowhere to sit down and have our breaks. We are exhausted and would long to see family and friends. To see public health guidelines [being flouted] on NUIG property is a kick in the teeth.”

These are the words of an angry and frustrated healthcare worker at University Hospital Galway in a message sent to the head of NUIG.

President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh told students and staff at the university this week that he found it “deeply frustrating” that some students were flouting public health guidelines.

The HSE has confirmed that there were at least 441 cases of Covid in the city’s 18-24 age group – which has affected 224 households – in the past three weeks.

“Our neighbours contacted me expressing their upset at what they see as activities by our students that do not respect the health and safety of the community at large. People who work in the health service, people who have lost friends and relations to Covid-19. I share their upset.

“I was struck, for example, by one particularly heartfelt message from a local healthcare worker and campus user who shared their frustration with me last week on seeing groups congregating and socialising on campus grounds and which they agreed we could share,” Prof Ó hÓgartaigh said.

The head of the university shared the message in an email to students and staff this week, adding that students had expressed frustration that study spaces were not open on campus and at the challenges posed by the constricted spaces in which they study.

NUIG confirmed to the Galway City Tribune this week that it had imposed sanctions on a number of students in relation to Covid breaches, while there have been none at GMIT.
This is a brief 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

Principals band together for safer cycling infrastructure

Denise McNamara

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A total of 28 Galway City school principals have signed an open letter to the Minister for Transport and local councillors highlighting the need for safer cycling infrastructure around schools, to encourage students and staff to switch to bikes.

The push by Government to cycle or walk where possible during the pandemic has its limitations in a city where cycle lanes are rare and parents are too afraid to let their children cycle on narrow roads often choked with traffic.

A group of cycling enthusiasts in city schools has been campaigning to encourage the school community to engage with Galway City Council’s public consultation process for the next development plan which will have a key role in deciding whether cycling lanes or off-road cycle routes become a reality.

The first stage of the initial consultation process for the ‘City Development Plan 2023-2029, Your City, Your Future’ closes today (Friday). But the process will continue for two more years with more consultation encouraged once the draft plan is published.

This week a letter from 28 principals sent to councillors called for support for the provision of better cycle infrastructure in and around all schools. It has also been sent to Transport Minister Eamon Ryan and Galway West TD and Minister of State at Cabinet, Hildegarde Naughton.

“It is our view that existing road infrastructure around schools can be unsafe for children, teachers, and families who wish to cycle to school and we would like to encourage the development safe cycling routes in the future,” the letter states.

Principal of Coláiste na Coiribe, Eoghan Ó Ceallaigh, said it was important for the school community to get involved with the public consultation.

(Photo: Last year, the Council introduced a ‘School Streets’ pilot scheme at Scoil Iognáid, which bans cans during certain times, encouraging parents and children to walk or cycle. Schools now want proper cycling infrastructure put in place).
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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