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Connacht Tribune

Heritage week to mark renovation of Quiet Man railway station

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Following the successful fundraising initiative to put a new roof on the Quiet Man railway station in Ballyglunin, it is now planned to hold a heritage week to coincide with the renovation of this landmark building.

Recently, it was announced that the €30,000 target had been hit for a new roof at Ballyglunin Railway Station – work is due to commence around the middle of September.

But in the meantime, those behind the fundraising project are now organising a heritage week that centres round the railway station which was made famous during the making of The Quiet Man Movie.

Those attending the heritage week, which kicks off next Sunday and continues on to Friday, August 25, are more than likely to hear mention of the likes of actors John Wayne, Maureen O’Hara and Barry O’Sullivan during the course of the events that are taking place.

And Mark Gibson of the Ballyglunin Railway Restoration Project told The Connacht Tribune that the contractors for the replacement of the roof at the station have been appointed following the fund raising initiative.

In recent months they set about trying to raise sufficient funds for the replacement of the roof of the famous railway station and they achieved their aim – and even exceeded it. It means that now works can commence and will be completed over a three week period.

But the long term objective is to restore the whole railway station so that it can become a huge tourist attraction in North Galway – as it stands, it draws a considerable number of tourists who are avid fans of the 1950s movie.

“Work on the roof of the railway station will commence around mid-September and when completed, it is hoped that it will become the venue for several events at the station. It will be ideal for theatre or music events,” Mark Gibson added.

When the fund raising appeal for the new roof was launched, it attracted donations from various parts of the world including the Canary Islands, various parts of America and Canada. The fact that it was featured in several scenes of the movie provided the fund raising initiative with a life of its own.

“The mention of The Quiet Man brought about a huge amount of support from all over the world but the initiative was also well supported locally and that cannot be forgotten.

“Once the roof has been completed by early October, it is the plan to provide a tea room at the station next year. We want it to be a major focal point in the area,” Mark Gibson said.

Meanwhile, the National Heritage Week at Ballyglunin Railway Station begins with nothing other than a bug hunt for children on Sunday with the official opening on Monday evening. It includes a presentation of a journey through Irish railways presented by Frank Dawson.

The following day there will be a bus tour which will take passengers to historic sites in and around Ballyglunin, Kilmoylan and Corofin during the course of the afternoon.

Historian Jarlath Canney from Tuam along with Dr Elaine O’Riordan of NUI Galway will also give talks at the station of industrial heritage and natural heritage in the area on the closing Friday of the event.

The Ballyglunin Railway Restoration Project committee will also host a presentation by Jimmy Laffey of the Skehana & District Heritage Group titled Griffiths Valuation of Tenements of the general Ballyglunin area.

This is a free event and will be held in the Storehouse at Ballyglunin Railway Station next Tuesday, August 22, commencing at 8pm.

The presentation will include explanations of the administrative structures of the time for the civil parishes of Killererin, Kilmoylan and Abbeyknockmoy, understanding the detail contained in the valuations, advising how they can be accessed as well as some detailed examples from local townlands. In addition early maps of the locality will be on display and information hand-outs will be available for all attendees.

This is important to persons wishing to trace their family history and generate family trees primarily because much of the detail of census information up to 1901 has been lost.

The information contained in the valuation contains detailed data on each plot including the occupier’s name, the immediate lessor’s name, land or property description, acreage, rateable valuations of land and buildings and these are accompanied by very detailed maps showing the locations of properties and buildings in the mid-1800s.

Connacht Tribune

Galway Lotto prize winner off to see the King!

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A National Lottery player from Conamara is still in disbelief after claiming their EuroMillions ‘Ireland Only Raffle’ ticket worth a staggering €1,005,000 this week – and is already planning a trip to Graceland!

The player, who wishes to remain anonymous, said they didn’t realise they had the winning ticket.

“I was looking at my ticket and it didn’t have any of the EuroMillions numbers, I didn’t think I’d won anything, so I threw it somewhere in the car. I completely forgot to check the raffle code on the bottom of the ticket!

“A few weeks later I decided to do a clear out of the car and I found the ticket wedged down the side of the seat. I scanned the ticket on the app and called the National Lottery Claims Team and that’s when they told me I was a millionaire! I couldn’t speak, I was in such complete and utter shock!

“I had a plan to surprise my wife for her birthday by putting the cheque in the card, but my great plan lasted all of one hour, I just had to tell her, I couldn’t keep it a secret any longer!”, they added.

The player purchased the winning EuroMillions ticket worth €1,005,000 on the day of the draw, Friday 19th August, in Costcutter in Beal an Dangan.

They revealed some plans they hope to achieve with the new life-changing prize.

“We’ve always wanted to go to Graceland in Memphis to visit the home of Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll himself. That’s all we have in mind for the moment, we’re still letting it all sink in”, they said.

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Connacht Tribune

Exhumations to begin next year at Tuam Mother and Baby Home site

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A full exhumation of the bodies of children buried in the grounds of Tuam Mother and Baby Home will begin in 2023.

A ‘Director of Authorised Intervention’ is to be appointed by Government to oversee the excavation of the site where it is believed almost 800 children were interred in an unmarked grave.

Minister for Children Roderic O’Gorman, in bringing matter before the Dáil, said it was incumbent on the State to address what was “a stain on our national conscience”.

Deputy Catherine Connolly, TD for Galway West, said while the news on the exhumation was welcome, she had “lost faith” in the Government which she said had “learnt absolutely nothing” and had to be “dragged” every step of the way.

It had failed to bring forward a redress scheme for survivors of the home, she said, and Minister O’Gorman had rowed back on a previous commitment to have an independent human rights review of the testimony provided by survivors to the Commission of Investigation into Mother and Baby Homes.

“I don’t think he should ever have promised that because he was never in a position to do it. He was never going to question the establishment narrative given to us by the three wise commissioners, the narrative that told us that the evidence of those who came forward was contaminated and should therefore be treated with caution,” said Deputy Connolly.

“We continue to begrudge and to do everything belatedly. If we are seriously interested in redress, let us do it right.”

Paying tribute to those who shone a light on the wrongdoings in the Tuam Home and elsewhere, Deputy Connolly said it was they who had forced the Government’s hand.

“On the ground, we have seen Catherine Corless and, well before her, Mary Raftery. I also want to mention Patricia Burke Brogan [activist and playwright] who died last week – may she rest in peace – with regard to the work she did in respect of the Magdalen laundries, in particular with the play Eclipsed.

“The groups on the ground have certainly forced us and dragged us every step of the way,” she said.

Agreeing, Minister O’Gorman said it was absolutely right to recognise critical the role of Tuam historian, Catherine Corless.

“We would not be here today but for her dogged persistence in highlighting what happened in Tuam.

“Deputy Connolly mentioned the redress legislation. This legislation has been worked on by my Department over the summer and I will bring it to Cabinet in October to seek approval for the final Bill and to bring it rapidly through the Houses [of the Oireachtas] and the committee, so that we can provide redress to family members,” he said.

Meanwhile, Deputy Seán Canney, TD for Galway East, said what had happened had impacted the people of Tuam deeply and said the Director, when he or she is appointed, should be based in Galway and seek to engage with locals during the excavation process.

“It has created a sense of a stain on, or a shadow over Tuam as a town. Tuam is a very good town and has the finest people living there.

“The Minister has set out in his speech how a Director would be appointed . . . and that an office will be set up to manage the excavation and all that goes with it. However, it is important that there is local engagement with the people of the town,” said Deputy Canney.

“The office should be set in the town and there should be a liaison aspect to the brief that this director will have so people from the locality who want to know what is going on can find out,” he continued, adding that locals should be able to meet the Director in Tuam and not Dublin or anywhere else.

Minister O’Gorman outlined that the Director would oversee a phased forensic-standard excavation, recovery, analysis and re-interment of the remains.

“The order also provides that the Director will carry out an identification programme as an additional function for the intervention,” he said.

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Connacht Tribune

Customs ‘dip’ for green diesel on Aran island

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Revenue officers made an unannounced visit to Inis Mór last week – with around 10 customs officials performing spot checks for marked diesel.

The Connacht Tribune understands that three motorists were nabbed by the officers for driving with ‘green diesel’ – a fuel only permissible for off-road use, mainly in agriculture.

According to a source in Revenue, this surprise visit is a return to normal service, with spot checks having stalled during Covid.

As part of the operation, customs officers were drafted in from various locations and travelled to the island without prior notice to Gardaí.

Having arrived by ferry from both Galway Docks and Ros a’ Mhíl, officers performed a number of checks at the Pier in Kilronan and also visited Dún Aonghasa.

Vehicles were dipped for green diesel for which tax is paid at a much cheaper rate than road diesel. Those convicted of using marked diesel on the roads face a maximum fine of up to €5,000.

A garda spokesperson confirmed that a group of Revenue officers visited Inis Mór on Friday, September 16, and were facilitated by gardaí on the island.

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