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Connacht Tribune

Epic cycle offers new spin on life

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Caitríona had kept a diary during her trip. It formed the basis for a subsequent blog and now a book which was launched at Clifden Arts Festival.

Lifestyle – Caitríona Nic Ghiollaphádraig marked her 60th birthday by cycling the entire length of the Wild Atlantic Way, a trip which tested her emotional as well as physical endurance. But her experiences and the people she met transformed her life and have struck a chord with others, as she tells JUDY MURPHY.

Most people mark their 60th birthday with a party or a holiday. Those trying to avoid undue attention just retreat from the world for a few days.  Caitríona Nic Ghiollaphádraig took a very different route for her 60th in 2017, when she embarked on an epic 2,670 km cycle from Moville in Donegal to Kinsale in Cork, along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way.

She began planning her journey in 2015, following a brainwave during a cycling trip to Kerry. But two years later, everything had changed and she began this once-in-a-lifetime journey in a state of despair.

For years, the Carlow woman, a former Home Economics teacher, had a home in rural North Connemara. She loved its wilderness, especially on clear, starlit nights.

Then public lighting was installed. Caitríona hated its impact on the skyscape. However, when she raised the issue locally, she was shocked at how her concerns were dismissed and felt she could no longer live there.

Terrified of not belonging any more in a place she’d called home, Caitríona faced some tough questions.

“What am I afraid of? Am I going to live the rest of my life not being courageous?  I’ll never be courageous unless I do it now. That’s what forced me on the cycle,” she explains.

A warm, quietly spoken woman who laughs easily and seems happy in her skin, Caitríona practises and teaches 5 Rhythms and Open Floor Mindfulness Movement Meditation. But appearances can be deceptive, as she explains during our interview in Clifden’s Station House Hotel – she had intended cycling the seven miles from Cleggan where she now lives with her partner Gráinne, but it’s a filthy day, so she drove.

Caitríona always exuded an air of self-sufficiency throughout what seemed like a fulfilled and successful life. But the reality was different.

“All my life I had wondered ‘why am I so awkward? Why am I so difficult? If only I could be different. This experience only amplified these negative emotions,” she says referring to the event that led to her leaving her home.

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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