A Galway-born singer/songwriter – caught up in a deadly drama Down Under that left six dead and dozens injured – joined a host of fellow buskers in the city of Melbourne for a marathon event that raised a fortune for the victims of the carnage.
Jamie Harrison from Oranmore – who has been travelling in New Zealand and Australia for the past few months – had become one of the regular coterie of buskers who ply their trade at the Bourke Street Mall in Melbourne.
But the pedestrianised centre city mall was catapulted into international headlines for other reasons last month, when a man drove his speeding car through the crowds, killing six people and causing serious injury to over other thirty shoppers.
One of Jamie’s fellow buskers, George Kamikawa, was among those who had just finished playing when the car careered into the shoppers.
And that was one of the reasons why, two weeks after the bloodbath, dozens of musicians took part in a twelve hour Busking Marathon, which raised over $28,000 Australian dollars for the families of the victims.
Jamie, who enjoyed chart success here last year with his self-penned ‘If I Only Knew Your Name’, has taken time out to travel the world – but even on this busman’s holiday, he is still drawing the crowds.
“He just wanted to see a bit of the world but this is a mecca for buskers and Jamie is thoroughly enjoying it,” explained his mentor back home, Saw Doctors manager Ollie Jennings.
“He particularly loved this location and was only too delighted to play his part in helping those who lost their lives in such an appalling way,” he added.
The 26 year old Galway singer was a familiar face on Galway’s busking scene during his college years, using it to build up his profile and following from his Shop Street pitch.
Jamie, who also won an All-Ireland minor hurling medal with Galway in 2009, shot a video for his hit single in Hollywood, working with a team that included cinematographer Alexander Nikishin, who also worked on music videos for Mary J Blige and Fall out Boy.
But more recently he has taken time out to travel – which is how he found himself in Melbourne, and Bourke Street Mall.
The buskers wanted to both help raise funds for the victims – but also to bring the music back to a place they all see as a second home.
Melbourne charity Enruoblem also put together a double CD featuring Melbourne buskers which was available on the day.
All proceeds from CD sales were donated to the Bourke Street fund, said Enruoblem founder Chris Cincotta.
“We asked ourselves what we could do with our little Bourke Street community to try and help the victims of the families and it seemed pretty obvious in the end,” he told the Age newspaper in Melbourne.
“No one’s getting paid. No one is taking any kind of cut. Every cent donated will be going towards the family victims’ fund,” he said.
“For me, Bourke Street means music, it means busking, and to hear it fall silent was a definite sign that something wasn’t right,” he said.
Exploring the merits of moving into the west
Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.
“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.
These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.
But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.
Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.
One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.
The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing
A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.
They lifted and footed his turf.
John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.
He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.
“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.
Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!
“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.
Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.
They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.
Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat
It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.
After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.
“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”
But it could have all been so different.
Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.
She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.
Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.
Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.
Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.