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Pandemic arts initiative that spans generations

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Mrs Maura Howard, originally from Inis Oírr, who emigrated to Chicago at 19, where she met her husband John. The family later returned to Renmore in Galway City.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

To see things from other perspectives is important, and that’s one reason making inter-generational work is very important, because you are talking and listening and getting other perspectives.” So says actor, theatre-maker and storyteller Órla McGovern who is involved in Bringing It All Back Home, a new online initiative involving local artists and residents in nursing homes and care homes throughout Galway.

The scheme, which involved pairing 10 older citizens with artists who would distil key aspects of their lives in a creative way, was run by Galway’s Town Hall Theatre in association with Backstage Theatre Longford (the original architects of the project) and the Pavilion Theatre in Dún Laoghaire. Bringing it All Back Home has been funded by Creative Ireland and Galway City Council.

Cluiche/Clocha is Órla’s contribution to date and is a nine-minute film based on the experience of 82-year-old Maura Howard, now living in Bushfield Care Centre, Oranmore. Maura was born on Inis Oírr, the smallest of the Aran Islands, and emigrated to Chicago aged 19, eventually returning to Renmore in Galway City with her Kerry-born husband John, where they reared their family.

Orla encapsulates Maura’s life, using images, song and story to create what she calls “an homage” to the older woman by capturing key moments in her life.

“She’s a lovely lady and there are some things she would talk about more than others,” explains Órla of how the story evolved. “Her eyes lit up when she talked about Inis Oírr and when I saw that, I said, ‘I’ll do a poem on it’. And I wouldn’t call myself a songwriter, but a song came too.”

Maura and Órla met during lockdown in the nursing home where Maura lives, having been connected by the co-ordinator of Bringing it All Back Home, Maisie Lee. Maisie is a freelance theatre and radio director with whom Órla had previously worked in Dublin. Originally from Galway, she has now returned West to live.

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Connacht Tribune

Man in his 70s killed in South Galway crash

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A man in his 70s has died following a crash in South Galway on Tuesday afternoon.

Gardaí are currently at the scene of the two-car crash, which occurred at around 3.35pm on the N18 at Kiltartan.

The driver and sole occupant of one of the vehicles, a man in his 70s, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was taken to University Hospital Galway where a post-mortem examination will be conducted at a later date.

The driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle involved, a man in his 30s, was taken to University Hospital Galway for treatment of his injuries which are believed to be non-life threatening.

The road is currently closed and will be closed overnight awaiting an examination by Garda Forensic Collision Investigators have been requested.

Gardaí have appealed for any witnesses or road users with dash cam footage to contact them. 

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Schools and colleges in Galway advised to close for Storm Barra

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Schools in Galway have begun informing parents that they will not open tomorrow, following advice from the Department of Education.

The Dept said this evening that schools, colleges and universities in areas where a Status Orange or Red warning apply for Storm Barra should not open.

A spokesperson said: “Met Éireann has advised that there is a strong possibility that the status of parts of these counties currently in Status Orange are likely to change and escalate to Status Red.

“Due to the significant nature of Storm Barra, as forecast by Met Éireann and to give sufficient notice to institutions of further and higher education, the department is advising that all universities, colleges and further education facilities covered by the Red Alert and Orange warning from Met Éireann should not open tomorrow, 7 December.

“All schools and third level institutions should keep up-to-date with the current weather warnings which are carried on all national and local news bulletins and in particular any change in the status warning for their area.”

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Galway Gardaí: ‘Stay at home during Storm Barra’

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Gardaí in Galway have warned people to stay home tomorrow (Tuesday) as Met Éireann forecasted a ‘risk to life’ ahead of Storm Barra’s expected landfall tomorrow morning.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Council Chief Executive Brendan McGrath said the City Council was preparing for the ‘high probability’ of coastal flooding.

A combination of tomorrow’s high tides with the forecast high winds and heavy rainfall would likely lead to a flooding event, he said.

Chief Superintendent Tom Curley said the best advice available was to stay at home but refused to comment on school closures – advising that was a matter for the Department of Education.

Mr McGrath said a number of meetings between local and national agencies had already taken place, with more set to run throughout the day as preparations got underway for this winter’s first severe weather event.

“High tide is at 6.45am tomorrow morning and at 7.20pm tomorrow evening. There is currently a Red Marine Warning in place for the sea area that includes Galway and an Orange Storm Warning for Storm Barra for 6am Tuesday morning to 6am on Wednesday morning,” said Mr McGrath, adding that it was possible this storm warning could be raised to Red later today.

With high tide at 5.45 metres and a forecast storm surge of 1.05m, the risk of flooding was significant. In addition, winds were currently forecast to be South-West to West, said Mr McGrath, conducive to a flooding event in the city.

“It is potentially problematic . . . the hope would be that the storm surge doesn’t happen at the same time as high tide,” he added.

The flood protection barrier had been installed at Spanish Arch over the weekend and storm gullies had been cleaned. Sandbags were to be distributed throughout the day, said Mr McGrath.

Council staff would be on duty throughout the weather event and Gardaí would be operating rolling road closures from early morning. Carparks in Salthill were closed today, while tow trucks were on standby to remove any vehicles not moved by their owners before the high-risk period.

Chief Supt Curley said it was imperative people stayed home where possible.

The best way to say safe was to “leave the bicycle or the car in the driveway” from early tomorrow morning, and to stay indoors until the worst of the storm had passed.

Met Éireann has warned of potential for flooding in the West, with Storm Barra bringing “severe or damaging gusts” of up to 130km/h.

A Status Orange wind warning has been issued for Galway, Clare, Limerick, Kerry and Cork from 6am Tuesday to 6am Wednesday, with southerly winds, later becoming northwesterly, with mean speeds of 65 to 80km/h and gusts of up to 130km/h possibly higher in coastal areas.

“High waves, high tides, heavy rain and storm surge will lead to wave overtopping and a significant possibility of coastal flooding. Disruption to power and travel are likely,” Met Éireann said.

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