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Connacht Tribune

Galway tourism volunteers bring thousands back to their roots

Dave O'Connell

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A Galway-based volunteer service is adding significant numbers to Ireland’s tourism figures – and creating the memories of a lifetime for thousands of the descendants of Irish ex-pats in the process.

Ireland Reaching Out – the programme pioneered in South-East Galway in 2011 before going national – directly hosted a record 277 returning Diaspora groups in 2017, and it is set for an even busier year ahead.

But volunteers at the Loughrea-based service have also helped thousands more to trace their Irish ancestry, to steer them in the direction of their roots.

Over 50,000 people, for example, visit the IrelandXO.com website every month.

And that has contributed in no small way to the growth in visitor figures for the Irish Diaspora returning to Ireland to find their place of origin.

According to Ireland XO founder and chairman Mike Feerick, there has been significant growth in numbers from the US, UK and Australia – all coming here to trace their Irish roots.

“The 277 groups are the groups we have direct contact with, but we know there are many other connections happening as a result of our volunteer efforts across Ireland, north and south,” he said.

“Ireland XO activity is bringing millions of euro into local Irish communities, but there is so much more room for the programme to be expanded,” he added.

The Ireland XO “Meet & Greets” involve local members meeting with visiting Diaspora who have travelled to Ireland to learn more about their ancestral place of origin.

They bring the returning families to the house, farm and townland from where their ancestors departed. The service is entirely voluntary and free.

Leo Finnegan, a member of Ireland Reaching Out from Williamstown, recently welcomed a long-lost family of name-sake Finnegans from California, back to the original family homestead.

“It was a very special day for those returning. Hugely emotional. A day they will remember for the rest of their lives – but also, it was a great pleasure to bring them our townland and parish too,” he said.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

NewDad enjoy fruit of their labour in debut EP

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NewDad....debut EP now released.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

It is difficult to transcend a local music scene at the best of times – but the absence of live gigs (and the momentum they generate) has made the industry even less accessible for young bands…which is what makes the continued rise of Galway band NewDad all the more impressive.

Having cultivated an original, current brand of dreampop over several years, the four-piece have intensified their progress in the last twelve months with a string of successful singles.

Now receiving airplay on BBC Radio 6 and drawing comparisons to Mazzy Star and The Cure, it looks as though free gigs and bedroom recordings are becoming a thing of the not so distant past.

A polished, coherent body of work is on the horizon. NewDad recently finished recording their debut EP in Belfast and it is tentatively set for release later this year.

The group is comprised of vocalist & rhythm guitarist Julie Dawson, bassist Áindle O’Beirn, lead guitarist Sean O’Dowd and drummer Fiachra Parslow. With a keen interest in the production side of their work, the four were heavily involved in the studio process.

“We were recording for three days but we were there for five really,” Sean recalls. “We had the demos very good. It was all multitracked and that so there are bits from the demos that are staying in the finished thing.”

“Yeah and we spent the last month basically rinsing through the set over and over,” Áindle adds.

“They all kind of give off a similar vibe I suppose but they’ve been written at different points. One of the tracks is actually the second song we ever wrote from years ago. We’ve always got loads of songs going so we’ve just taken five that we think go really well together…

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Houses selling faster as more working from home

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Estate agent Kevin Burke: increased demand for properties with a home office.

The average time taken to sell a house in Galway has fallen by three weeks in the past three months, a national property survey has found.

The REA Average House Price Survey found that the average time taken to sell across the county fell over the past three months from 11 weeks to eight in the city, and 13 weeks to 10 in the county.

As people move to incorporate new working from home lifestyles, the price of the average three-bed semi-detached house rose by 0.5% in the city to €285,000 this quarter and remained at €165,000 in the county.

“The market is strong with good demand for all properties. Activity levels have increased throughout the summer, and rural properties within commuting distance of Galway are in good demand,” said Kevin Burke of REA McGreal Burke, which has offices in Galway City and Loughrea.

“Even though the levels of supply remained static, demand has increased for all properties with a home office or home office possibility such as a large garage, garden or attic which is suitable for conversion.

“Properties on the edge of the city have also proved popular, and everyone seems to have taken time to assess their current position.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

CitySwift announces 50 new jobs for city as part of its major expansion

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Minister Hildegarde Naughton at the CitySwift jobs announcement with Brian O'Rourke and Alan Farrelly of CitySwift.

A Galway company, which produces cutting-edge technology to optimize the public transport experience for operators and customers alike, this week announced 50 new jobs over the next two years.

CitySwift, the transport data company which works with global players such as Go Ahead and National Express to transform the operations and passenger experience of public transport, announced the jobs for over the next two years – with 15 roles to be filled immediately.

The announcement comes after CitySwift secured €2m in funding from existing investors Enterprise Ireland, Western Development Commission, ACT Venture Capital, Irelandia Investment, and Mike McGearty.

The new roles will be across software, data science, and commercial roles including customer success, sales, and marketing.

As part of the rapid growth, CitySwift will also be moving to a bigger headquarters in Galway city centre.

Junior Transport Minister Hildegarde Naughton welcomed the jobs announcement.

“Growth of this scale for a local company, especially during these times, is remarkable,” she said.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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