Former Connacht star capsizes twice on bid to row across Atlantic
Galway City Tribune – Inside the cabin of Damian Browne’s traditional shaped rowing boat hull, above where he sleeps, is a poem that includes the line: “My head is bloodied but unbowed.” How very apt.
“That’s where I’m at, at the moment,” said the Renmore man, a nasty-looking bloody gash above his right eye as he recorded a video diary to document his cross-Atlantic solo rowing adventure.
Day 14 was a particularly challenging one for the former Connacht Rugby star, and began with a rude awakening.
“A crazy day. My face woke me up this morning getting smashed off the side of the cabin during a capsize. Then it was complete disorientation for a few seconds. The whole cabin was all over the shop. All over me. Thankfully it’s only superficial – a few scratches and cuts but there was quite a bit of blood,” he said.
“I can’t describe how crazy this day has been. A whale swam by. And not only did he swim by, he circled the boat four or five times, came up at one stage and made eye contact. I kid you not!
“It was one of the most insane experiences I’ve ever had. [He] then swung by the side of the boat to within touching distance of my hand. It was only a little lad, less than maybe 12 or 14 feet but . . . today has been incredibly testing, about three hours after that I was trying to sort out the steering which was doing my head in and I capsized again for the second time, while I was outside on deck.
“I saw it coming, a split-second reaction, I grabbed a handle, and all my training and visualisation came into fruition. I rowed the whole capsize, held onto the boat by one hand. To be honest with you I surprised myself how calm I was while I was under water. I had visualised stuff like that happening so it definitely came to help me a huge amount.
“It was just an insane day and since that I’ve just been on edge. In survival mode. Battling, battling, battling the elements. I nearly went over twice more. The winds have calmed down a tiny bit . . . All good and we’ll plough on!”
Plough on is exactly what Browne did and he remains upbeat during the 4,800km charity challenge from the Canaries to Antigua in the West Indies.
You can donate HERE.
To read the rest of this article, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. Buy a digital edition of this week’s paper here, or download the app for Android or iPhone.
Bridie O’Flaherty delivers – from beyond the grave!
Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley
Even years after their deaths, some Galway politicians are still being credited with securing works.
At a recent meeting of Galway City Council, during discussion about the BusConnects project on the Dublin Road, it was outlined how a traffic lights junction would be installed at the entrance to Merlin Park Hospital as part of the overall works.
Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said there was nothing new about this proposal – it had been first mooted by the late Councillor Bridie O’Flaherty in The Connacht Sentinel newspaper more than 30 years ago.
Bridie, a former Mayor who retired from politics in 1999 and died in 2008, had for a long time campaigned for the lights.
Her daughter, Cllr Terry O’Flaherty (Ind), confirmed to the meeting it was at least 35 years since her mother had proposed traffic lights at the hospital entrance.
Another former mayor, Cllr Angela Lynch-Lupton (FG), who retired from politics in 2004 and died in 2007, was credited by Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) for championing a pedestrian bridge on the old Clifden Railway Bridge – a ‘Millennium Project’ that should have been built over 20 years ago but looks set to proceed in the coming years.
Cllr Declan McDonnell (Ind) said credit for the bridge was also due to former Fianna Fáil Minister, Séamus Brennan, a Salthill man who was TD for Dublin South until his death in 2008.
“He put it forward as a Millennium Project and I was Mayor at the time,” said Cllr McDonnell.
Maybe when the projects are eventually brought to fruition, they could be named after their original supporters.
The Bridie O’Flaherty traffic light junction doesn’t necessarily trip off the tongue, but the (Séamus) Brennan Bridge has a ring to it.
(Photo by Joe O’Shaughnessy: The late Bridie O’Flaherty with her daughter Terry in 1999).
This is a shortened preview version of this column. For more Bradley Bytes, see the March 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.
Galway City centre streets to be dug up – yet again
From this Week’s Galway City Tribune – Just days after the annual tourist season kicked off with the St Patrick’s weekend festivities, an area of the city’s main throughfare is to be dug up yet again.
The City Council confirmed this week that “upgrade works” at the junction between High Street, Shop Street and Mainguard Street are to commence next week, drawing the ire of local business people and residents.
One local councillor and businessman said the works, which brought huge disruption while being carried out on other stretches of the route in recent years, should have been carried out while footfall was lower in January and February.
Cllr Níall McNelis told the Galway City Tribune that business people in the area were outraged at the news, and despite assurances from the Council that the works would be done “without major disruptions”, bitter experience has taught them otherwise.
“They’re outraged, to be blunt. They just can’t believe this is happening now,” he said.
“Everyone understands that these works are necessary, but this is going to take weeks out of what should be one of their busiest times.”
Works in the area were left incomplete as a result of the visit of Britain’s Prince William and Catherine in 2019.
In a statement issued by the Council, Director of Services Patrick Greene said the works should be “substantially completed by early June”.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the March 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.
What a melt: proposed bylaws put 20-minute limit on ice cream vans in Galway!
From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Ice cream vans will only be allowed to sell to the public for 20 minutes before being obliged to move on to a different location if proposed new bylaws for casual trading in Galway are adopted.
The 2023 regulations to replace the 2011 bylaws will also outlaw any single use plastic products to be given out or sold by stall holders, including bottles, cutlery, containers, single use sachets, plates and straws. Compostable or reusable alternatives must be used instead of single use plastics.
The maximum time that the ice cream mobile unit can be stationary at any one location is 20 minutes.
Traders will avoid huge cost increases seen elsewhere – it will cost €267.50 annually per bay for Eyre Square (up marginally from €250). In St Nicholas’ Market it will be €69.50 per linear metre – generally equating to €139 for regular size pitches, an increase of €9.
Stall holders will again have to buy a separate licence to trade on Sundays and for the market Wednesday to Friday in July and August. But they will be able to set up shop for free at Christmas if they hold a licence for Saturday or Sunday.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read more on the draft Casual Trading Bylaws, see the March 24 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism and buy a digital edition HERE.