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Making their voices heard

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The Whileaways (from left): Nicola Joyce, Noriana Kennedy and Noelie McDonnell. "I loved the way we could work together and get on so well,” says Noriana. Photo: Doreen Kilfeather.

Lifestyle – Galway band The Whileaways are capturing an increasing amount of national attention with their original sound and their newly-released third album has become a favourite of late-night radio. Judy Murphy talked to them.

Having to turn people away from their gigs because of a ‘house full’ sign is a new phenomenon for Headford folk trio, The Whileaways, but that’s what happened when they played Matt Molloy’s in Westport last month.  And they’re not complaining, as their third album, From What We’re Made, builds on the success of their 2016 release, Saltwater Kisses.

The three, Noriana Kennedy, Nicola Joyce and Noelie McDonnell, say there’s “a feeling of momentum” about their music at present and they’re going to keep touring and performing to build on that.

Their campaign includes local shows in Kinvara and Portumna and one at the Clifden Arts Festival.

Wonderful solo performances, harmonies and backing instrumentation give the Whileaways their unique and special sound. Their songs, meanwhile, cover the gamut from upbeat to melancholy as From What We’re Made earns them a whole new group of fans.

Until now, the three had never regarded The Whileaways as a long-term project but things have changed, says Noelie, originally from Tuam, who’d carved out a successful solo folk career before teaming up with Nicola and Noriana. In fact, they’d all had been involved in other projects before circumstances brought them together professionally in 2012.

Nicola had been the singer with the internationally acclaimed folk band, Gráda, and Noriana was making waves as a solo singer-songwriter, who had collaborated with Dingle group Lumiere and Belfast fiddle player Maebh O’Hare.

Noriana’s 2011 solo album, Ebb n Flow, was the reason they came together, as she’d been invited to tour Australia and New Zealand and her regular band weren’t available.

The three knew each other from sessions around Galway and were fans of each other’s work, so when someone suggested they team up, they did.

They weren’t sure how it would work, because “we are all lead singers and all do the same thing”, says Noriana. But they needn’t have worried.

“We were together a lot of the time out there, with not much sleep and we got on! I loved the way we could work together and get on so well.”

While in Australia, they were offered a tour of Germany and went for it.

“The deal was that we had to have an album for Germany,” Nicola recalls. “We said we’d do one of original songs and we collaborated. There was no big plan. Things moved us along.”

They needed a name – and had conjured up some while in New Zealand, “in the back of a van”, Noelie recalls. The Wildlflowers won out for a time, but there was already another band of that name. The Whileaways had been an early contender, too, and it stuck.

“It came from a phrase about whiling away the hours. I liked it,” Noelie explains.

So did Noriana and Nicola, as much for the sound of the word as anything else.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Hospitality group raises €90k

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Lorraine Gallagher (left) and Charlene Hurley of Galway Hospice presented with a cheque for €27,537 by Brian Lynch and Eveanna Ryan of Connacht Hospitality.

The Connacht Hospitality Group this week announced that they raised more than €90,000 for a range of good Irish causes throughout 2022.

The group, which owns well-known Galway establishments including The Connacht Hotel, An Púcán, HYDE Hotel, Residence Hotel and 1520 Bar, as well as the Galway Bay Golf Resort, held a range of events at various stages of 2022 to fundraise for Claddagh Watch Patrol, the National Breast Cancer Research Institute (NBCRI), Galway Hospice and Make-A-Wish Ireland.

The announcement of over €90,000 worth of funds raised by the Connacht Hospitality Group for national and local charities comes off the back of the past 12 months which saw the group aim to make Corporate Social Responsibility a core part of their identity. This focus allowed them to become more aware of the causes that need assistance while also raising the profile of many of the charities.

The group arranged a diverse array of events to raise funds, and had lots of imaginative ways of grabbing the public’s attention. One event saw people attend HYDE Bar to savour a menu made by a mystery celebrity. In the end, it was revealed that TV personality Gráinne Seoige was the Executive Chef on a night that generated over €8,000 for the NBCRI.

Another event saw staff take part in a ‘Sunrise Swim’ in Salthill – and the public donated in their droves. All money raised went towards Claddagh Watch Patrol, an organisation that works to make Galway’s waterways safer by preventing accidental death and suicide.

One of the most successful fundraisers was the Galway Bay Golf Resort’s Golf Classic, which raised over €22,000 for Galway Hospice.

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

Residents in fear of gangs travelling to rural Galway to burgle homes

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Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins.

Residents in rural County Galway are living in fear of being burgled after one small area suffered at least 10 raids in the month of January.

Councillor Mary Hoade told a meeting of the County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) this week that those figures were for around Headford alone, as she called for additional resources to target travelling crime gangs visiting the county.

“Some of these burglaries are taking place in the morning when people go to work; some are in the evening; and others at night. It’s very frightening.  We recognise that these criminals are coming into the county, but we need more support to fight crime,” said Cllr Hoade.

“Rural garda stations have less resources . . . we’re relying on the resources in the nearest town,” she continued.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said gardaí couldn’t be everywhere at once, but communities needed to act as their eyes and ears and report suspicious activity when they see it. Detective Superintendent Shane Cummins (pictured) told the JPC that Galway was being targeted from time to time by travelling gangs.

“Three different gangs visited the county on one day recently,” said Det Supt Cummins.

Cllr Shelly Herterich Quinn (FF) said she believed increased CCTV and automatic number plate recognition cameras – to capture known gangs on tour – should be rolled out.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

IDA Ireland’s €10m land purchase backs Oranmore for industry base

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Former Mayor of County Galway, Liam Carroll.

IDA Ireland has trebled its footprint on the outskirts of Oranmore by purchasing more than 100 acres of land to support industry.

It’s understood the semi-state body purchased some 42.9 hectares on the outskirts of Oranmore, for a price in excess of €10 million.

The strategic purchase of land adjacent to some 21 hectares zoned ‘business and technology’ and already owned by the IDA, was a “major vote of confidence” in Oranmore and Galway, according Cathaoirleach of the Athenry/Oranmore Municipal District, County Councillor Liam Carroll (FG).

It brings the total amount of land owned by the IDA in the area to over 150 acres.

This latest parcel, purchased at the end of 2022, is located off the N67 Claregalway Road, to the north and east of the Galway to Dublin Rail line.

“It would be ideally suited and attractive to a major multinational company or companies for the establishment of a high tech, pharmaceutical or medical device type facility,” Cllr Carroll said.

The entire site of 150-plus acres is close to the M6 motorway, and an hour away from international links, Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport in Knock.  It is also close to a number of potential Park & Ride sites, identified by the National Transport Authority as being suitable for commuters.

It’s understood the land is zoned agricultural and would require a material alteration to the County Development Plan to be voted on by county councillors, in order for it to be rezoned before 2028.

(Photo: Cllr Liam Carroll, who believes the land could be developed for a tech or pharmaceutical hub).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see this week’s Connacht Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

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