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Connacht Tribune

Keeping Sonny’s spirit alive

Judy Murphy

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Bar-owner John Mannion and Jack Kenny of J & C Wine and Spirit Distributors with one of the limited-edition presentation boxes of the Sonny Molloy’s Redbreast 16-Year-Old Single-Cask.

Lifestyle – As sales of whiskey soar, Irish Distillers have embarked on a unique project with one of Galway’s best-known pubs. JUDY MURPHY hears how the glass is half-full for Sonny Molloy’s.

Just a few short years ago, anyone walking into a bar in Galway wanting to sample Irish whiskey would have met with slim pickings.  In the country that had given this spirit to the world, whiskey seemed to be dying a death. But fast forward to 2018 and all has changed.

Pubs such as Garavan’s in Galway City have won numerous awards for its whiskey selection, while the Galway Whiskey Trail, launched five years ago, means that every decent pub and off-licence in the city has a selection of Irish whiskey that could have you sampling for a week . . . if your wallet and your liver could cope with the challenge.

Irish whiskey is increasingly being sought after as a collector’s item and this has led to new, ground-breaking partnerships between Irish Distillers – the company that produces labels including Jameson, Powers, Midleton and Redbreast – and Galway’s leading whiskey bars.

Earlier this month Irish Distillers launched a Power’s 15-Year-Old Single Cask whiskey, specially bottled for Garavan’s.

And just last week, the prestigious Redbreast label teamed up with Sonny Molloy’s Whiskey Bar to launch a unique one-off whiskey, produced especially for the pub. It’s the first time since it was first distilled in Dublin more than 100 years ago by Gilbey’s that Redbreast has entered such a partnership.

For Ger Garland, who has the enviable job of Brands Ambassador for Irish Distilleries, it’s vital that the company forges the right relationships with the right clients.

“Garavan’s is a pub that goes back for three generations and has had a connection with Powers through those years, so that was a perfect fit,” he says, referring to the era when John Power was an independent distiller.

That ended in 1966 when Powers joined forces with two of the country’s other main distilleries, Jameson and CDC, to address the challenges facing Irish whiskey. It was a bleak outlook then, compared to 100 years previously when Ireland sold 80 per cent of the world’s whiskey – by the 1960s that was down to just two per cent.

The consolidated group, which settled on the title Irish Distillers, moved to a green-field site in Midleton, County Cork, because the farmers who supplied its grain were located in the South East and all the raw materials were available locally. It’s now part of the Pernod Ricard Group, which operates a decentralised model, giving the Irish operation great autonomy, Gerard explains.

In 1984, the Master Distiller at Midleton, Barry Crockett, created the first of what became the Midleton Very Rare Vintage Whiskeys, a premium blend of rare, top-quality whiskey that’s been released annually since.

For more,  read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Student nurses face all the risk – for no reward

Dara Bradley

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Working on the children’s ward of a busy hospital during a global pandemic is no joke; less funny still when you’re not getting paid for your toil.

All the risk and none of the rewards of qualified staff – that’s the lot of Edel Moore, a student nurse who is currently on placement at University Hospital Galway.

Edel, and hundreds of student nurses like her on placement in UHG and Portiuncula in Ballinasloe, want more than a round of applause and platitudes from Government.

“None of us want a pat on the back for struggling. We’d just like to be recognised,” she said.

“The Government are full-time talking about front-line workers, and they want to give them a ‘clap hands’. Then you see Junior Ministers getting massive raises. For what? What have they done for us, the student nurses, that they’re getting a €16,000 wage increase?

“We’ve put ourselves through a four year degree but all I’m worth is a clap? Thanks! It’s ridiculous. They say that front-line workers deserve all the help they can get but it just seems that the ones who are able to give us the help we need are not going to give us the help that we deserve.”

Edel Moore is a mature student originally from Westmeath but living in Leitir Mealláin in Connemara with her husband and three children.

A third year student nurse of NUIG, she is currently on placement at the paediatric ward at UHG.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Island museum gets the green light

Declan Tierney

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An artist's impression of the proposed Inishbofin museum.

Work is expected to begin shortly on the construction of a museum on Inishbofin after planners gave the green light to the project.

The museum at Middlequarter is being developed by local historian and photographer Marie Coyne – and when completed, it will be home to items of historical significance from both Inishbofin and Inishark.

There is an existing museum on the island but it is too small to house the amount of artefacts, photographs and family histories that have been assembled over the years.

The new building will also include a photographic exhibition room, restoration workshop along with a gift shop and coffee dock. It is proposed that the new 3,400 square feet museum will be built on a site at the rear of Ms Coyne’s home.

Eamon Gavin of Eamon Gavin Architects based in Cornamona told the Connacht Tribune that this was an important project for the island and it was a welcome decision.

And he said that the green light would kickstart the process of conserving the vast and unique artefacts and archives built up over the years.

“As a practice, we have a long history of dealing with planning consultancy on unique rural sites in Connemara and the islands, therefore we fully understood how sensitive the proposed location of the project would be – the site is located in a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and National Heritage Area,” he said.

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

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Connacht Tribune

Tuam woman a picture of health a year after Covid crisis

Declan Tierney

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Tuam's Kitty Farrell with her dog Lulu a year after her Covid diagnosis.

Last year was a Mother’s Day like no other for Kitty Farrell who spent it in the back of an ambulance being rushed to hospital with Covid – but the 80 year old Tuam woman can look forward to a more sedate celebration this time out….thankfully restored back to full health.

Kitty, from Ballygaddy Road, had developed a debilitating cough the previous week – and when she was admitted to UHG on Mother’s Day, she tested positive for the coronavirus despite a lack of symptoms.

The retired businesswoman spent the next nine days seriously ill in isolation – and all alone as her four children could not visit her.

“To be honest, I didn’t think I was going to come through it but I was so sick that at times, it didn’t really matter. But the thought of passing away in isolation made a bad situation even worse,” Kitty said at the time.

A year on, she is back to full health, and while she restricts her movements, Kitty told The Connacht Tribune that she is just happy to be alive and she spends her days ‘pottering about’ and looking forward to the arrival of family members.

“Even though I don’t particularly agree with the current lockdown because everyone should be responsible for their own behaviour, I am living a life of relative isolation at the moment,” she said.

Read Kitty’s full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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