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Indie-rocking Raglans take road to Monroe’s



Dublin quartet, the Raglans.

Groove Tube with Jimi McDonnell –

Dublin based indie rock quartet the Raglans come to Monroe’s Live on Thursday next, December 17. The band –named after Patrick Kavanagh’s poem, Raglan Road – are Stephen Kelly on lead vocals and guitar, lead guitarist Sean O’Brien, Rhos Horan on bass and drummer Conn Ó Ruanaidh. When Rhos takes the call, he’s packing for their European tour, which takes in Belgium, Germany and Holland.

“I think we’re sailing at 8.20 in the morning; up early!” he says. “We’re getting the Eurotunnel, then driving from France to Amsterdam. A long day!”

Looking back over 2015, what has been Rhos’s highlight as a Raglan?

“There have been loads of highlights. It was pretty nuts for us. We got to go to Australia and play a festival called Soundwaves with loads of bands we grew up listening to. It’s kind of a metal festival, massive, with lots of big bands. There was Soundgarden, Incubus, Slipknot.”

The Raglans’ sound isn’t as a hard-rocking as these bands, but they still won some fans at Soundwaves.

“We were the first band opening up on the stage every day,” Rhos says. “We were expecting not many people to be there, but there was a good crowd. Half of them knew who we were. We were the softest band there, if you know what I mean – we’re not big metal heads. We didn’t really know how we’d go down, but there was a great reaction.”

The Raglans released their debut self-titled album in 2014 and have been touring doggedly since. Recently, they took the somewhat unusual step of releasing three new songs as YouTube videos. Why did they choose that route?

“We just wanted to do something different,” Rhos says. “We all thought videos and live tracks would go better than just throwing out an EP. It just sticks in people’s brains. We hadn’t released any new music in a while and we wanted to do something special. It seemed more interesting.”

The songs for YouTube were shot by Finn Keenan, who has worked with The Raglans on all their videos to date.

“We found a big abandoned warehouse in Howth,” Rhos says. “We snuck in and shot it all in one day. It was a lot of fun. We got up at 8, went and found the place, threw in all our gear and then set up. We had to do that for each song, lug all the gear around the warehouse. But it was fine.”

The Raglans’ toe-tapping tunes are driven by bass and drums supplied by Rhos and Conn. Rhos enjoys the partnership between the duo.

“Me and Con have been playing together since we were 13,” he says. “We got our instruments at the same time. For Christmas, I think. I got a bass, he got drums. Anytime we play together we know telepathically what each other is thinking. It’s great, it’s super easy to play with him.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

One half of Hollywood’s golden couple sings Galway’s praises after trip



Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello and his chihuahua Bubbles, with Fergus Lally of Galway’s Celtic Chauffeurs at the Cliffs of Moher.

He may be married to the highest paid actress in the world, but that did not stop Magic Mike star Joe Manganiello savouring the best that Galway had to offer – hailing the people, the cheese, chocolate and salmon during his trip west.

The American actor, who played stripper Big Dick Richie in Steven Soderbergh’s box office hit Magic Mike, was not joined by Modern Family’s Sofía Vergara until a week later on his trip around Cork.

But he did ring his wife of six years in the US while exploring the countryside of south Galway and Clare with guide, Fergus Lally, who had picked him and his chihuahua Bubbles up from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel in Bushypark on the city’s edge.

“I had a great time with him. I brought him to the Cliffs of Moher and along the way we stopped off at the Hazel Mountain Chocolate factory, the cheese shop at the Aillwee Caves and he had a tasting at the Burren Smoke House in Lisdoonvarna,” reveals Fergus.

“He had an amazing time tasting all the foods. The back of the car was full – everybody did well out of him. He was blown away with the places I brought him. He loved the history of the Corcomroe Abbey and Dunguaire Castle in Kinvara. He was a great guy. I was delighted to drive him. The two of us just clicked.”

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from  

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Connacht Tribune

Covid-19 outbreak compounds UHG crisis



UHG's Emergency Department.

As Government applied the brakes on the planned full reopening of society this Friday, the West’s largest public hospital remained in a state of crisis – dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks, large numbers of patients and lengthy wait times in its Emergency Department and postponed elective procedures.

An outbreak of Covid-19 at University Hospital Galway (UHG) was having a significant impact on critical care services, Saolta University Healthcare Group has warned.

UHG confirmed it was dealing with Covid-19 outbreaks on two wards of the city hospital. A further two wards were being used exclusively to treat Covid positive cases.

This was impacting other patients – elective procedures were postponed at UHG this week due a lack of beds.

On Monday, 41 patients with Covid-19 were being treated in UHG compared with 19 the same day last week.

Portiuncula was treating eight Covid positive patients on Monday, twice as many as last week.

There were two Covid patients in ICU in Ballinasloe and six in ICU in UHG; there were four in ICU in total at both hospitals last week.

Saolta said that people presenting at the Emergency Department in UHG were experiencing long waiting times.

“The hospital has seen a significant increase in patients presenting to the hospital and many of these patients are very sick and need to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.

“As a result of the ongoing pressures and lack of bed capacity a number of elective procedures are being postponed. Patients are being contacted directly if their procedure is being postponed,” Saolta said.

Read the full story – and our latest on Covid-19 – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from  

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Connacht Tribune

Galway lecturer’s transatlantic story of Boston dynasty and Irish roots



Larry Donnelly, with the Bostonian, on the grounds of NUI Galway.

Of all the transatlantic cultural differences that greeted Bostonian Larry Donnelly on arrival in Galway, the search for a clean towel in something called a hot press left him puzzled and perplexed most of all. He also came to quickly realise that Hoover had so conquered the vacuum cleaner market that the brand name had become a verb.

But the Boston-born son of an Irish father and Scottish mother – from a famed American political dynasty with roots firmly embedded in Galway and the west – found infinitely more that united his old and new home than divided them.

His voice is familiar to radio listeners from his frequent analysis of American politics; his thoughts are already well-known to readers of his weekly column in – and law students at NUIG have benefited from his expertise in that field on both sides of the Atlantic.

He spent a fair portion of lockdown writing the Bostonian, a biography in part – not just his own, but of his family and his uncle, US Congressman Brian Donnelly (the man forever synonymous with the Donnelly Visas) in particular.

Typical of him, he rarely puts himself centre-stage but what he succeeds in doing is putting his life, his work and his journey into context. He was a man with roots on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean long before he ever made the journey to live here.

The photo on the cover of the Bostonian sets out the stall for the book, uniting uncle and nephew in an iconic pic; US Congressman Brian Donnelly marching in the 1983 Dorchester Day Parade in Boston – and an eight-year-old Larry Donnelly in the baseball cap looking up in wonderment.

“I’d always intended it to be a book about more than me. I particularly wanted it to be the story of Brian’s political career because that deserves to be told – but I didn’t think he would allow that to happen, because he has always loathed the limelight,” he says.

Read the full story – and an exclusive excerpt from the Bostonian – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from  

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