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Memories of rural Galway help shape family story

Judy Murphy

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Writer Patrick Deeley: his new book bridges the gap to his Galway childhood. Photo: Paul Sharp.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy talks to Mullagh-born writer Patrick Deeley whose youthful memoirs are set to prove a bestseller

Patrick Deeley, like many teenage boys, had a fractious relationship with his father. The second child in a family of five, growing up in Foxhall, Mullagh, eight miles from Loughrea, he realised from an early age that he wasn’t a natural at farming or hurley-making, which was how his family made their livelihood.

Words would become Patrick’s tools, but he didn’t know that then. In the meantime, he was frustrated as he struggled to find his place in a family where “industry” reigned.

However, in 1978, Patrick, who had recently qualified as a national teacher and was based in Dublin, spent the summer with his father, Laurence, working at hay and cutting timber. The fallen trees would be used in the workshop beside the family home where Larry ran a renowned carpentry and hurley-making business with his other two sons, Simon and Vincent.

Patrick is forever grateful for that precious interlude, when, as a young adult he got to know his father and to learn that Larry was proud of his oldest son.

“He liked the idea of me having a job in the city and I cherish that I got to spend time with him and the man he was,” Patrick recalls. The last words father and son spoke to each other – although they didn’t realise it at the time – were affectionate, although not excessively so; the Deeleys were not people for showy displays, as Patrick explains in his memoir, The Hurley Maker’s Son, which has just been published by Doubleday.

Patrick’s father died that September, felled in an accident when he was cutting timber with Simon and Vincent.

For years, Patrick endured a “quiet grief” over Larry’s death. Writing this memoir helped him to process his loss by celebrating his parents and his home place of Mullagh.

“I’d never got to mourn him properly or publicly back in Dublin,” explains Patrick. “I was back teaching in Ballyfermot within days of the funeral.”

He did talk to his brothers who tried to help him with his grief, but they were separated by physical distance. Poetry helped – drawing deeply on his rural childhood, Patrick has since published six collections, winning awards and being published worldwide.

This thoughtful, considered man is hugely aware of the power of words, when used well.

“Words help you retrieve and restore things. They are an act of redress. Poetry allowed me to enrich my imaginative life, to go back on my experiences and try become a little bit immortal.”

Immortality runs through The Hurley Maker’s son, which Patrick describes as a “commemoration of people who deserve to be honoured. Not ordinary people, because nobody is ordinary, but these are not famous people, and they deserve to be remembered”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Outdoor dining plans unveiled for Galway City

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A new plan to temporarily pedestrianise city streets to create more space for outdoor dining this summer was published this week.

Galway City Council has said it is planning to close six streets for four months to boost the hospitality sector and attract more custom ‘back the West’ and to Woodquay.

It has also signalled smaller changes for Salthill and around Eyre Square.

“We’re looking to support businesses and people getting back to work. This is an opportunity for us to explore outdoor dining and we’re looking to trial these public realm initiatives,” Ruairí Lehmann, the City Council’s Tourism Officer told the Galway City Tribune.

“There is an appetite for this; the indications we have from Government is it is going to be an outdoor summer and these proposals will support that,” he added.

Chairperson of Galway Branch of VFI, Johnny Duggan of Taylor’s Bar on Dominick Street, said the changes would be very positive and boost hospitality businesses in all areas.

Already, he said as many as 30 businesses have applied for licences to trade outside in the area known as the Westend.

The local authority wants to close to traffic The Small Crane and Raven Terrace 24 hours a day, seven days a week, from June 7 until September 30. Car parking spaces will be removed from Small Crane and one lane of traffic would be kept open, one-way. A decision on which side is still under review.

The Council intends to make Dominick Street Lower (Galway Arms to Monroe’s) a single-lane one-way traffic street to facilitate additional on-street dining. It’s understood this has hasn’t yet got the backing of taxi drivers who have concerns about access to and from the Bridge Street rank but alternative taxi space may be offered at another location in the Westend to assuage those fears.

The Council has signalled its intention to close Dominick Street Upper and William Street West from Small Crane to Munster Avenue, at night only, between 6pm and 11pm, from Monday June 7 until Thursday September 30.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story and for full details of the proposals for the city centre and Salthill, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Council chief backs Salthill tidal pools proposal

Stephen Corrigan

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Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The Council is to consider including a specific objective to restore the tidal pools in Salthill in the new City Development Plan – with around one-fifth of the submissions made in a public consultation backing this ‘no-brainer’ proposal.

In a report to councillors on submissions received, Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said consideration of the proposal would be based on technical feasibility, funding, staff resources, climate change considerations and environmental factors.

“A large number of submissions were received requesting the restoration of the tidal pools in Salthill as a year-round public amenity and recreation facility accessible to all. The restoration of this facility would be a huge asset to the city and complement the existing facilities that are available at Salthill,” Mr McGrath states in the document seen by the Galway City Tribune.

Support for the reviving of the Ladies’ Beach facility grew legs after an online petition attracted over 4,500 signatures.

Up to 100 of the 518 submissions made to the Council’s pre-draft consultation supported reopening the pools that have been out of action since the late 1970s.

(Photo: How the pools might look. Image Courtesy of Superfly Ireland)
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

GMIT in €9m bid for Galwegians’ Glenina grounds

Stephen Corrigan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – GMIT has put in an offer – rumoured to be in the region of €9million – for the purchase of Galwegians RFC’s grounds at Glenina, the Galway City Tribune understands.

The offer will be presented for a vote at a Special General Meeting of club members set to take place on May 27.

The land at Crowley Park, located just two minutes’ walk from GMIT, had been earmarked for housing by property developer Neil Armstrong, and is zoned residential. However, this deal fell through.

A GMIT spokesperson told the Galway City Tribune they were “not yet in a position to comment”, while a spokesperson for Galwegians declined to comment.

It is understood that staff at GMIT were informed by the institution’s Vice President of Finance at a meeting this week that the ‘deal was done’ and that they awaited the rugby club’s signing off at its members’ meeting later in the month.

The sale would clear the way for the club to proceed with plans to develop a 22-acre site at Boleynasruhaun, Oranswell, where it is expected to make a second planning application after the County Council raised concerns over the scale of the development proposed initially.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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