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Gentrification of Claddagh pinpointed as a concern



A lack of opportunities for young people in the Claddagh has been highlighted by a new NUI Galway report on city communities.

The 3-Cities Project, which focussed on two neighbourhoods in Dublin, Limerick and Galway – shed new light on the barriers to community involvement in both Doughiska and the Claddagh.

All information was provided by young people, older people and people with a disability that live in the community.

Both hugely different communities, Doughiska was chosen for its rapid development and hugely diverse community.

The Claddagh was singled out by researchers because of its status as an established inner-city neighbourhood – as well as being a place that has experienced significant neighbourhood change.

While there was much praise from local residents whom were surveyed by means of interview and focus group – some of the younger residents compared the Claddagh with other ‘younger’ areas of the city and outlined the difficulties for children living in areas with an older population.

One young female respondent compared the Claddagh to the communities to the west of the city and described how life might differ for a child growing up there – even noticing a developments in the short time since she was a young child.

“There was a good group of us when I was younger . . . I see my friends who live in like Shantalla or Knocknacarra . . . they can just go across the road and go to their friends house or they just meet up.

“There is no one really there for her [younger sister], she has to go to Knocknacarra to meet her friends. If she is at home she has to stay there is nothing to do around the place,” she explained.

Concern arose in the report about the “gentrification” of the area and the difficulties associated with trying to develop a community when a large number of people are either not from the area or just purchasing houses to use as holiday homes.

One older resident recalled how in the 1950s, she knew a very different Claddagh to the one that exists today.

“Well going back to the early 1950s, we used to go in a group down to Lydon House, and we’d get the bread and we’d deliver them to the poor people, particularly in Claddagh – some of the people would be standing on the door waiting for us to come and some of the ladies – they were in their bare feet.

“So it was a very poor area of Claddagh. Now it’s the crème-de-la-crème of the city, but in those days, it was very poor,” he said.

Also evident from the responses of locals was that there is a real sense of belonging existing amongst those who were born and reared in the Claddagh – something that is hard for newer residents to tap into according to one respondent.

“She actually said to myself and [my friend], ‘You will never be Claddagh, you’re only blow-ins,” she said as she recalled an incident between her and someone who had roots firmly in the former fishing village.

The report concluded that there was a strong sense of community in the Claddagh with customs including the King of Claddagh all adding to a sense of local identity.

Connacht Tribune

Record crowds pack Ballinasloe to celebrate Fair’s 300th anniversary



Crowds flock to the Fairgreen at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.

RECORD crowds packed into Ballinasloe last weekend for the return of the famous October Fair – but it turned to be a ‘dry day’ for the punters with most of the pubs in the town taking the decision to close their doors on Sunday.

Hotels in the town also adopted either a ‘food only’ or ‘residents only’ policy through Sunday but Gardaí reported a trouble-free weekend in the town.

“There were huge crowds around and especially so on Sunday, but we had no reports of any trouble – it was practically an incident free weekend,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Many visitors to the Fair on Sunday expressed disappointment at the decision of the pubs to close  – although a few establishments did open their doors with special security arrangements in place.

The last ‘official fair’ took place in October, 2019, and while there was an unofficial event last year, it was only a small gathering due to the Covid restrictions.

An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the free open-air country music concert with Mike Denver in the Square on Sunday afternoon and Fair organisers also reported a very busy sales day with many horses changing hands.

Trustee of the Ballinasloe Showgrounds, Gerry Stronge, told the Connacht Tribune, that after a three-year break, the crowds had really thronged back into the town on Sunday.

“Most people I know that have been attending the Fair for years said that it was biggest crowd they had ever seen there on the first Sunday of the event.

“It was an incredible day – the streets were absolutely jammed with people – and it was most enjoyable with no trouble whatsoever,” he said.

Get the full story with loads of photos in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Compo can keep sex abuse dad out of jail



Galway Courthouse.

An estranged father who sexually assaulted his then-ten-year-old daughter seven years ago will escape a two-year jail term – if he pays her €12,000 within the next twelve months.

Counsel for the 51-year-old man, who cannot be identified in order to protect the identity of the victim, indicated at Galway Circuit Criminal Court this week that his client would avail of Judge Brian O’Callaghan’s offer and would sell off some of his assets to raise the €12,000.

Earlier in the sentence hearing, the now-17-year-old victim told the court the seven-year delay in bringing her father to justice had caused her and her mother untold grief and suffering.

“It’s been seven years, dealing with court dates and adjournments and only now, seven years later, have I got the closure I needed,” she said.

The judge apologised to her and everyone else involved for the delay in finalising the case.

“Even allowing for Covid, it is without question that the judicial, legal, criminal system has failed all parties in this case and it’s appropriate I should give that apology,” Judge O’Callaghan said.

Prosecuting state counsel, Conall MacCarthy, said the man maintained his innocence when arrested and interviewed in April 2016.

He had been due to stand trial on two occasions in the last few years but each time his trial was adjourned for various reasons, including Covid.

He then pleaded guilty, moments before his trial was eventually due to get underway last November, to a charge of sexually assaulting the girl on August 15, 2015, at the family home near a Co. Galway village.

Sentence was adjourned on four occasions since to await the results of a probation report before it was finalised this week.

Resd the full court report in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Hero’s welcome for king of the high seas



Atlantic rower Damian Browne holds a flare as he enters Galway Docks to a hero’s reception. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

“I just had a deep belief I was going to complete it – and nothing was going to stop me.”

Those were the words of former Connacht rugby player and now transatlantic rower Damian Browne who returned to a hero’s welcome at Galway Docks on Tuesday, just hours after his mammoth journey came to an end on the rocks at Furbo.

In the early hours of Tuesday morning, 42-year-old Browne’s vessel, the Cushlamachree, came ashore just down from Pádraicín’s – not the ending the Renmore man wanted for his epic trip from New York to Galway.

The journey was due to end at the Docks at 11am on Tuesday morning, but as it turned out, Browne had a few hours at home before being met by huge crowds who, despite the rain, came out in their hundreds to welcome the extreme adventurer back.

Children from schools across the city were among the hoards of people who lined the Harbour, including those from his alma mater, St Joseph’s (The Bish) who formed a guard of honour with oars to greet Browne.

His arrival to the Docks, escorted by Galway Harbourmaster Brian Sheridan, was met with endless cheers as drumbeat and flares signalled the end of his four months at sea.

“The winds coming from the south were blowing me up through the Aran Islands and it was great to get me through the islands, but then they kept pushing me towards the north coast of Galway and nothing I could do would stop them,” says Browne of the final hours of his journey.

“Before I knew it, I was at Pádraicín’s and heading for Barna, trying to get into Barna Pier to anchor down . . . it was very tense. I saw two rocks that I knew were there, but I thought I was further out, and then I had to whip the boat around.

“I had about two seconds to whip it around, 270 degrees, and head straight out to sea, but as I did, I got hit by a massive wave.”

The boat capsized, one of his oars broke and it was at that moment he knew it was time to get up on the rocks and call for assistance.

Get the full dramatic story – and full coverage of the welcome home – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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