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Past pupils gather for special reunion – 74 years after school closed down!



School reunions are ten a penny these days – but few establishments manage one nearly three quarters of a century after the final bell sounded and the last pupil dashed out the door. Carrowbrowne National School, just across the county border off the Headford Road closed in 1940, amalgamating with the newly built Castlegar School.

The only known copy of a photograph of the pupils in 1938 emerged as part of an innovative project to document the past pupils of all schools across Galway city and county.

Brendan Smith of the Insight Centre for Data Analytics in NUI Galway is the manager of BEO, a schools-based digital archive project – the largest heritage programme involving schools since the 1930s Folklore Commission.

“Participating schools organise informal local community nights where local residents and former pupils enjoy a chat over a cup of tea and cake,” explained Brendan.

“The former classmates bring along photos and films that the pupils digitise, clean up and post onto a unique heritage repository website. Podcast interviews are also recorded of the older people’s memories of times long ago.”

The project aims to get all schools of Galway city and county involved and identify all schools – past and present – on a shared website and associated digital map, with images of the school and locality in days gone by.

So far the project has secured photos from 120 schools. It is envisaged there will be a further 80 included in the archive by the end of the year.

One such event was held last summer in Castlegar National School as part of The Gathering 2013. Margaret Mulgannon who now lives in Mervue arrived with a photograph of herself as a young girl with fellow pupils taken in front of Carrowbrowne school in 1938.

“The school is now a greenfield site; it’s well and truly obliterated from the physical landscape but we’re trying to hold onto it in the spiritual sense. No other known image exists of an establishment that closed two years later when it amalgamated into the new school in Castlegar,” reflected Brendan.

By the end of the event, local residents had helped identify the majority of the fifty-five pupils and two teachers in the photograph.  Margaret believes around ten people could still be alive from the image.

The interest generated by the photo was so strong that Margaret (née O’Brien) decided to organise a reunion of former pupils and their families with the help of Brendan, the Galway Education Centre and the Heritage Office of Galway County Council.

The Mayor of County Galway Liam Carroll will officially welcome people to the reunion where old photographs and 1930s/1940s school memorabilia will be on display.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Drinks set to flow again in two landmark Galway premises



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Two popular Galway pubs that had been closed are to be given a new lease of life by an extended family.

The refurbishment of the former Central Bar in Woodquay has been almost completed and new owner Michael Gilmore will open the doors this weekend – just in time for the busy Christmas season.

The pub, in recent years known as The Lough Inn, had closed during the Covid-19 lockdowns.

Mr Gilmore is a well-known publican in the city, running the Cellar Bar on Eglinton Street and Seven on Bridge Street. He also has a pub in the heart of Westport called An File.

Earlier this year his two nephews, Mark and Vinny Gilmore, bought Kelehan’s in Bushypark. They are overseeing a major overhaul on the large premises after many years behind closed doors.

Due to setbacks with building supplies, a planned opening by Christmas has now been pushed back until the spring.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune.  You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Warning to parents after Galway homes raided in child sexual abuse material investigation



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A senior Garda, who heads up Galway’s Protective Services unit, has advised parents to ‘tune into’ the daily dangers lurking on the internet in relation to child sexual abuse material (CSAM).

Detective Inspector Peter Conlon – who confirmed that four search warrants had been issued to search residences in the city over recent weeks for CSAM – urged all parents and guardians closely monitor their children’s access to the internet.

He told the Galway City Tribune it was critical that parents did not allow their children ‘unfettered access’ to the internet given the prevalence of sexual predators – often from other jurisdictions – who were trawling the net to make contact with children.

“Children may believe that they are making contact with other children but instead it may be adults seeking to establish a relationship with them and to get pictures of them.

This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article, see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can support our journalism by buying a digital edition HERE.

“I would ask all parents to seriously and carefully consider the age at which they should give mobile phones to their children – any such decision needs to be age appropriate and where this happens it needs to be monitored closely by the parents,” said Det Insp Conlon.

He also said that parents and guardians should acquaint themselves, where practical, with the latest technologies which make it possible for them to be linked into their children’s phone or devices to monitor content and contacts at all times.

The searches in the city over the past two weeks resulted in the seizure of laptops and other electronic devices from three residences – they are currently being examined in detail by Garda technical experts at their regional HQ in Renmore. Det Insp Conlon said that while there had been no arrests in the city following the latest searches, the course of their investigations would be determined by the content and material found in the devices seized.

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Just 85 affordable homes to be built in Galway City by 2025



From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  A total of just 85 affordable homes will be built in Galway City during the remainder of the Government’s lifetime, it was revealed during a debate in the Seanad this week.

An animated Senator Ollie Crowe (FF) told Seanad Éireann that there would be “riots on the streets of Galway” at the disappointing news that was imparted to him by a junior minister.

In the Dáil, Junior Housing Minister, Malcolm Noonan, confirmed that it was planned to provide 85 affordable homes as part of a Merlin Woods development between now and 2025.

He understood that there were sites identified for affordable housing schemes in other parts of the city, but no applications had been received for funding.

“Housing delivery in Galway City Council is a matter for Galway City Council and it is down to the local authority to strike the balance in respect of social and affordable housing delivery.

“If the Senator feels that the local authority is not delivering enough in that regard, it is really a matter for them to drive a more ambitious agenda. The Department will not be found wanting in funding schemes,” Minister Noonan added.

But Senator Crowe yesterday told the Galway City Tribune that it was an incredibly disappointing and unacceptable answer that there would only be 85 new builds when it came to affordable homes.

(Image: Minister Malcolm Noonan said the new Merlin Woods development will include 85 affordable homes).
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article,  see the December 9 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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