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Connacht Tribune

Memorable debut from slow-burner Aoibheann

Judy Murphy

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Aoibheann’s debut novel, Marina, has just been published.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“Children fascinate me with their take on things. Before my daughter was born, I believed we were products of nurture; now I believe nature is very strongly in there,” observes writer Aoibheann McCann about human beings.

Aoibheann’s debut novel, Marina, has just been launched and its strange central eponymous character certainly seems more a product of nature than nurture.

The short novel is a darkly compelling read with its strange and unreliable narrator, who is sympathetic and often very funny as she struggles to find her own place and people.

Aoibheann, who is originally from Donegal, but who moved to Galway in 1992 to study at UCG, wrote the first draft in 2004 on a break from her day-job. Her daughter Saoirse was in primary school at the time, and Aoibheann used the school hours productively.

“I had a vague notion in my head as to what it would be about and it kind of wrote itself”, she explains of the novel.

Aoibheann wrote every day for six months, loving the process but then went back to work and “did nothing with it for eight years”.

Eventually she decided to revisit it and received encouragement when she showed it to people in her writers’ group. Then, during the 2013 Cúirt Festival of Literature, she successfully pitched for a mentorship programme and was paired up with Mike McCormack. He was ideal for someone of her writing style and sensibility as he too creates strange, surreal stories grounded in a very Irish reality.

Mike, who has since gone on to win international acclaim for his novel, Solar Bones, encouraged Aoibheann to compose a blurb for the novel to focus her mind on its core message. And he got her to examine its peaks and troughs and assess its overall rhythm.

That led her to some stylistic changes. Initially, Aoibheann had written the story in the past tense. But now past and present are interwoven, giving the reader a greater insight into Marina’s state of mind.

It quickly becomes apparent that Marina is in a psychiatric hospital and disconnected from her previous life. Her doctor offers a counterpoint to this unreliable narrator but his conviction that she is grieving for something that’s happened in her past is too reductive, says Aoibheann.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

 

Connacht Tribune

Galway’s newest garden centre has arrived at McD’s in Galway Crystal

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Garden Centre in Galway City located in the iconic Galway Crystal Building

For over 10 years people have been flocking to McD’s Garden Centre in Loughrea to get the very best range for garden, home and much much more.

This weekend McD’s are proud to announce the opening of a brand new Garden Centre in Galway City located in the iconic Galway Crystal Building.

Nicely located with good parking and serviced by the 404 Newcastle to Oranmore bus, McD’s Garden Centre at Galway Crystal is a must visit location if you need anything from plants, shrubs, pots, garden furniture and more. They have a dedicated solar garden lights section, gorgeous array of water features and garden ornaments and practically everything you need for your garden.

Visit their Facebook today where they are running competitions and keep track of other promotions too. You can visit their website online at www.McDs.ie

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Connacht Tribune

UHG nurse battles for her life in ICU

Dara Bradley

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Leona Paula Leoncio...in ICU.

UHG remains braced to rapidly respond to any rise in Covid-19 patients as a result of a second surge – but the plight of one of their own colleagues this week showed just how precarious this pandemic can be.

Because while senior management at the Saolta Group vowed to stay ‘vigilant and alert’, a staff nurse at UHG was battling for her life in the hospital’s own ICU.

Leona Paula Leoncio, a 36-year-old mother of two boys, tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and was moved to ICU on Monday where she was intubated and ventilated.

The staff nurse, who had no underlying health conditions, is now battling for life in ICU at UHG, according to the Philippine Consulate in Dublin, which has urged people to pray for her.

Ms Leoncio moved to Ireland in 2017, with her husband and two children, to work in the country’s health system.

“We might have different faiths and beliefs but can I ask of you . . . to take a pause and say a prayer of healing and strength for her and her family,” said Chuck Giner, her nursing colleague at UHG, in a posting relayed on the Philippine Consulate’s social media.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – along with all of the latest news on the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.

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Connacht Tribune

Gort boy reunites Tipp star with broken hurl from famous point

Dara Bradley

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Liam Linnane from Gort holding Brendan Maher's broken hurley from the All-Ireland semi-final club game. Photo: Hardiman Photography.

Tipperary All-Star hurler Brendan Maher has revealed that a young lad in Gort has found his long-lost hurl – the one he used to score one of the points of the last sporting year.

The broken hurl, the one that broke the hearts of St Thomas’ fans back in January, was used to fire over a point in Borris-Illeigh’s All-Ireland semi-final victory over the Galway club at the Gaelic Grounds.

Maher revealed last week that he tried to retrieve the hurl after the match to keep as a memento, but couldn’t find it. He subsequently got a letter from twelve year old Liam Linnane from Gort, who had found it.

“After I scored the point I got kind of carried away and I threw it over my shoulder into the open stand in the Gaelic Grounds. After the match, I thought I would really like to have that hurley but we could not find it and the club even contacted the Gaelic Grounds afterwards to see if it was found.

“Several weeks had passed and I’d given up on it when I got a letter from a young fella in Gort and I read down through it. He said he was twelve years old and that he was at the game where I scored the point with the broken hurley and that he had the hurley.”

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.

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