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Connacht Tribune

Once-great family laid low by war



Lifestyle – One-hundred members of the extended Persse family from around the world served in the Great War. Author Gerry Kearney tells THOMAS HACKETT how their story inspired his new book.

The impact of the First World War on one of Galway’s most famous families is brought to life in a new book, In Days that Were: The Great War and Beyond. The book by Gerry Kearney chronicles the harrowing Great War experiences of the prominent Anglo-Irish Persse family from South Galway and their descendants.

The Persses suffered tremendous loss during the war, as their sons served in some of the bloodiest battlefields of the conflict. Of those who fought, 18 men of Persse heritage would never return.

Gerry’s book starts in Galway and its reach is broad as it records the lives of more than 100 people from around the world who had Persse blood in their veins and fought in WWI.

The book features names from Ireland, England, South Africa and Australia – what they all have in common is that they’re descendants of Dean Dudley Persse (1625-1699), a Church of Ireland clergyman who established Roxborough estate near Kilchreest, Loughrea, in 1685.

“He was the first of the Persses to ever come to County Galway”, notes Gerry.

The Persse family went on to play a pivotal role in the history of Galway City and County – and probably became best-known for establishing Persse’s Distillery in Nuns’ Island in the 1840s. One Ireland’s most successful distilleries at the time, its label proudly displayed ‘as supplied to the House of Commons’.  It closed in the early 1900s, but the ruins of the distillery can still be seen today.

The most renowned family members included celebrated playwright Lady Augusta Gregory of Coole Park, near Gort, who was a driving force behind the Irish Literary Revival, and Sir Hugh Lane, who opened the world’s first modern art gallery in Dublin.

Lane was tragically killed when Germans torpedoed the Lusitania in May 1915, mere weeks after another Persse descendant, William Hugh Cornwallis Trousdell, was lost at sea following the sinking of another passenger ship, the SS Falaba.

“That was a real case of absolute murder, it was nasty stuff,” says Gerry of the Falaba incident.

His fascination with the Persse family history began while he was researching a previous book.

“I was doing a piece on my wife’s family called The Taylor Family of Ardrahan Post Office and, while in the graveyard of Kilchreest, I noticed many graves with the name Persse,” he explains.

He was hooked.

In Days that Were captures the history of the Persse family from the Tudor period of the 16th Century through to the Crimean War, the Great War and the Irish revolutionary period.

For more,  read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Boil water notice issued for Barna area



A boil water notice has been issued for the Barna area for health protection purposes

The areas affected are Barna Village, Truskey West and Truskey East, Barr Aille, Fermoyle, Ballard and along the Connemara Coast Road as far as Furbo, and on the Barna/Galway Road as far as Silverstrand.

The notice has been put in place due to issues with disinfection of the water at Tonabruckey Reservoir.

The notice affects approximately 2,300 people supplied by the Barna section of the Galway City West Public Water Supply area.

Customers in the area served by Tonabrucky Reservoir will notice increased levels of chlorine in their water supply in the coming days as we work to resolve the issue.

Vulnerable customers who have registered with Irish Water will receive direct communication on this Boil Water Notice.

Irish water, the City Council and the HSE will monitor the supply and will lift the notice when it is safe to do so.

In line with HSE Covid-19 advice and the requirement for frequent hand washing, Irish Water advises that the water remains suitable for this purpose and boiling the water is not required.

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Connacht Tribune

Violent incident in Tuam leaves seven hospitalised



Gardaí are investigating after an incident in Tuam yesterday left seven people injured.

A violent altercation broke out between a large group at the cemetery in Tuam at about 4pm yesterday.

Around 30 Gardaí responded to the incident at the cemetery on the Athenry Road in Tuam, which broke out following two funerals in the area.

Gardaí supported by members from the wider North Western Region and the Regional Armed Support Unit had to physically intervene between parties and disperse those present.

Five males and two females were injured during the course of the incident and were taken to University Hospital Galway with non-life threatening injuries.

A 16-year-old boy was arrested at the scene, as he tried to flee in possession of a knife.

He was taken to Tuam Garda Station and has since been released. A file is being prepared for the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Gardaí are appealing for any witnesses to this incident or for anyone with any information to contact Tuam Garda Station .

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Connacht Tribune

Anger over ANC ‘snip’



Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue

ANGRY farmers hit out during last week’s Galway IFA at the Dept. of Agriculture over what they described as their ‘heavy handed tactics’ in docking BEAM penalties from ANC payments made last week.

Although Agriculture Minister, Charlie McConalogue, has apologised for the actions taken by his Department officials, delegates who attended last Thursday’s night county IFA meeting in the Claregalway Hotel, hit out at what happened.

In some cases, according to Galway IFA Chairperson, Anne Mitchell, farmers who had already paid back the BEAM penalty also had the money deducted from their ANC (Areas of Natural Constraint) payments made last week.

Many farmers received ‘a shock in the post’ when their ANC payments were hit with the deductions of penalties from the BEAM scheme – earlier they had been warned of interest penalties if any balances weren’t repaid within 30 days.

At the core of the problem was the inclusion of a 5% stock numbers reduction in the BEAM scheme (Beef Exceptional Aid Measure) aimed at helping to compensate farmers for a drop-off in beef prices between September, 2018 and May, 2019.

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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