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Novena to showcase Cathedral’s gems



The thousands who flock to this year’s annual Novena are being urged to take time out to examine some of the Cathedral’s stunning features which are looking in top shape following the first major refurbishment of the building since it was built half a century ago.

The 33rd Novena which opens on Monday marks the first major event on the calendar for the Cathedral’s jubilee year.

The faithful attending services over the nine days will see an exhibition around the Cathedral detailing the history of its creation and the pomp and ceremony of its dedication on August 15, 1965.

Following the Novena, there will be a Mass said on February 22 in memory of Bishop Browne, who supervised the building of what has become known as one of the last great stone cathedrals in Europe.

On March 20, there will be an evening honouring the sculptor Gabriel Hayes Ó Riordáin, who spent 17 years of her life carving the Stations of the Cross, completing the mammoth project just before she died.

These have been given a new lease of life following a polish and improved LED lighting, explained the Diocesan Secretary Fr Martin Whelan.

“She’s not very well known because she spent so much time doing the Stations of the Cross, which is a tragedy,” he said.

“They’re a totally unique work of art in themselves. They really are a real treasure in the city. The detail she went into for each piece is amazing.”

A booklet on the pieces will be produced for the Novena, drawing on letters between the sculptor and Dr Browne and recollections of her daughter, Róisín Fant Ó Riordáin.

Gabriel used neighbours, relatives and friends as models for the figures; for the face of Jesus she used an Italian student studying in Cellbridge.

A full sized casting of each station was made for the Bishop to see and approve and then chiseled from Portland stone. One of the biggest obstacles in the project was transporting the carvings to Galway.

For the third fall, she undertook very detailed research, studying the work done on the Shroud of Turin for details of the Roman method of crucifixion in Palestine at the time.

She wrote to Dr Browne: “I was not happy about the action of the left arm, in fact it had too much action, we not limp and listless enough. So I broke it off and re-carved it – three times before I was content with it. You see the whole figure had to express extreme exhaustion. He had fallen and is in the act of rising to His feet, unaided of course. He sags back on his knees, gasping for breath. I do hope that I have conveyed what was in my mind. It gives some idea of Christ’s exhaustion at that time.”

By the time she was finishing the commission she was aged 67 and her back had given out.

“Later the stone work proved too taxing, even with the help of a local stone-cutter and so the final stations were cast in re-constituted stone from her carved plaster models. One is actually part stone and part casting. Gabriel worked over the statue with her chisel to give it the final finish,” recalled her daughter.

On May 11 and 18, Bishop Martin Drennan, who is an expert on scripture, is giving talks on the art depicted on the stained glass windows adorning the Cathedral.

Musical director Ray O’Donnell is organising a concert featuring the St Nicholas Cantata by Sir Benjamin Britten, in honour of St Nicholas, the patron of the Cathedral.

At its dedication, the guest of honour was Cardinal Richard Cushing of Boston. At the jubilee Mass on August 14, the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, is travelling over to celebrate Mass.

The Priests – a classical musical trio made up of three priests from Northern Ireland – will perform in a concert to mark the anniversary on August 16.


Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed



Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

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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Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

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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