Forget online dating – the surest way of finding the love of your life is to take the road to Knock!
Because Knock Marriage Introductions Service, formerly the Knock Marriage Bureau, has been responsible for almost 1,000 marriages since it was established exactly 50 years ago this month.
And Galway women in particular say that it is a lack of suitable social outlets that is the main reason for them registering with the service.
It was originally established as the Knock Marriage Bureau back in 1968 and since then they have being facilitating a considerable number of successful relationships.
Fr Stephen Farragher, a former Administrator to the Tuam Parish, is now playing cupid to couples who want to forge a relationship.
Last year he was the chief celebrant at two weddings that were facilitated by the Knock Marriage Introductions Service – and there are two more this year.
“We are getting a lot of applications from those who do not trust on-line dating and from people who are fed up of the club and pub scene.
“There are people who put faith in the service that we provide and signs on we have had some great success over the past 50 years,” Fr Stephen said.
Applicants simply fill in a form stating their profession, hobbies and interests and every effort is made to unite them with a suitable partner.
Traditionally it was farmers in their 50s or 60s or women, mainly from the teaching profession, who signed up for Knock but Fr Stephen says that the applicants now come from a whole cross-section of professions.
“Last year at one of the weddings I officiated at, the husband was an engineer and the bride had been overseas on voluntary duties,” he said.
One of the driving forces behind the introduction service is Leona Connery who says that it is a joy when a couple come back to contact them saying that they are engaged to be married.
Ms Connery says the marriage introduction service is “way ahead” of internet and speed dating. “We have people using our service who have tried both and still come back to us because it is a success,” she said.
Most of the women using the service are professionals such as accountants, teachers and doctors, while more than 50 per cent of the men are farmers. The service was founded in 1968 by the late Fr Michael Keane, a native of Claremorris.
At that time, with emigration rates extremely high, it aimed to introduce returning emigrants to women at home. Canon Joseph Cooney took over at the helm of the service in 2005 and now Fr Stephen Farragher co-ordinates the service on behalf of the Church.
In total there have been four marriages in 2017 and four engagements with weddings to take place this year.
At the moment there are 20 couples that have been matched by Knock Marriage Introductions who are still in a steady relationship.
Last year alone there were over 620 inquiries from individuals seeking companionship. The inquiries range in age from 28 to 74.
When an introduction takes place, all of the applicants agree between themselves when and where they decide to meet.
“I find it very rewarding when I introduce a couple that works out and they find happiness together,” Leona told The Connacht Tribune.
Shannon back in full flight!
There was a festive atmosphere at Shannon Airport this week as the inaugural Ryanair Corfu service prepared to take flight – ahead of another new service to Gran Canaria, which begins this week.
The new route to the popular Greek Island will operate twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays until the end of October, and the new weekly Ryanair service to Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) begins this Saturday.
All of this means that Shannon Airport is now serving Alicante, Barcelona, Stansted, Gatwick, Kaunas, Krakow, Wroclaw, Warsaw, Manchester, Corfu, Faro, Lanzarote, Malaga, Palma, Tenerife, Gran Canaria (Las Palmas) and Turin.
Passengers on the first Corfu-bound flight enjoyed a pre-departure reception in the airport’s transit lounge which was decorated in festive style.
To celebrate the new routes, the airport gave one lucky passenger a special surprise, return flight tickets for two people to a choice of one of Shannon Airport’s 17 exciting destinations.
A special water cannon salute by the airport’s fire service added an extra sense of occasion as airport staff welcomed passengers and looked after them throughout their time in the airport.
Welcoming the new air services Mary Considine, CEO, Shannon Group, which owns and manages Shannon Airport said: “The global pandemic has had a huge impact on all our lives and being able to once again welcome our passengers as they take to the skies bound for sun drenched holiday destinations is really wonderful.
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Pixies slot proves time is now for the Clockworks
Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell
When Pixies were announced as Galway International Arts Festival headliners way back in 2019, a promising Loughrea four-piece were fresh from relocating to London and bullishly embracing their role as the new faces of former Oasis manager Alan McGee’s Creation 23 record label.
Two years on, the US alt-rock pioneers are yet to grace the Big Top – but the Clockworks, made up of James McGregor, Tom Freeman, Seán Connolly and Damian Greaney, are set to make a US debut in their company with a series of support slots that cement their place as one of Galway’s biggest artistic exports.
In less than six weeks’ time, Pixies will embark on a September tour of the states with the Clockworks by their side for six gigs. The Galway group play their own maiden headline US show in New York’s Mercury Loung on September 8.
On their horizon too, is an end-of-year Irish tour with Dublin indie-rock outfit Inhaler as well as a host of festival appearances, barring cancellations.
With news of the Pixies tour coming in the same week NewDad were announced as support for Fontaines D.C.’s highly anticipated Belfast show on August 13, it is powerful evidence of the ground Galway acts continue to break.
“It’s very exciting to have loads of gigs lined up after absolutely nothing for so long,” James admits.
“It’s really nice to feel like we’re going to hit the ground running and when Pixies came through, that was just amazing and what a way to start. It’s our first time gigging in America – my first time going there personally.
“All four of us are massive fans of Pixies too. Any time they’d come to Ireland, we’d always try and throw our hat in the ring for a support slot and just to think that now we’ll be going around the States with them is insane.”
Read the full interview in this week’s Groove Tube, in the Connacht Tribune – on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital version from www.connachttribune.ie
All out in force to cheer home one of their own
Sitting on an airplane, mid-air from Japan en route to Dublin, Olympic bronze medallist from Moycullen, Fiona Murtagh was unsure whether anyone would be at the airport to meet her and teammates Aifric Keogh of Na Forbacha, Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty when they touched down.
Because of Covid-19 restrictions, there was no big welcoming party planned for Dublin Airport. But Fiona need not have worried; as she strode out of airport security and into Arrivals, all her family were there to hug her.
Fiona hadn’t seen her parents Marguerite and Noel since April because of a pre-Olympic training camp in Italy; and her siblings Pádraig, Lorraine and twin Alan all turned up, too.
“Oh my God, I couldn’t believe it. It was actually really emotional, it was so lovely. I didn’t expect the full family to be there. Tears came to my eyes. I hadn’t seen mom and my dad in seven weeks,” said Fiona.
That was just the first leg of what was to be a heart-warming homecoming for a hero.
The family drove back to Galway with Fiona, who had heard “through the grapevine that there was going to be something in Bushypark”.
“But the scale of it, I didn’t expect it at all, it was incredible, it was so lovely to see everyone come out and support and see me”, she said.
Read the full story over eleven pages of coverage on the homecoming of our Olympic heroes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie