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

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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.

CITY TRIBUNE

Council rows back on ‘reduced delays’ projections for Kirwan junction

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Motorists have described it as ‘a disaster’ and a former mayor has said the project gave very poor value for money, but Galway City Council have this week asked the public to be patient with the revamped Kirwan junction, close to the Menlo Park Hotel.

Since the four-arm signalled junction opened early last week, motorists have complained of traffic queues stretching back to the Quincentenary Bridge and Corrib Park.

And now the Council has rowed back on its consultants’ claims that the junction would increase capacity by 15% and reduce waiting times by 25%.

Former mayor and local taxi driver, Cllr Frank Fahy, told the Galway City Tribune that given the negative impact of the junction on traffic, the €5 million spent on the project represented ‘very poor value’ as regards taxpayers’ money.

“I will admit that the junction is now safer for pedestrians in that they can hit a button to give them a safe crossing, but since it opened there have some very serious traffic tailbacks,” said Cllr Fahy.

However, City Council Acting Director of Services for Transport, Uinsinn Finn, told the Galway City Tribune that the new junction needed time to ‘bed in’ with a familiarisation process.

“The main objectives of this project were to make far safer for pedestrians and cyclists to negotiate, as well as making it safer for motorists too, without impacting [negatively] on the traffic flow,” said Mr Finn.

He added that since it opened – and over the coming few weeks – data on all aspects of how the junction was functioning would be compiled which could involve changes to light sequencing, lanes and peak traffic flows.

One motorist who contacted this newspaper said that the daily “nightmare” journey from the Barna Road to the Headford Road during the morning peak traffic time had added up to 40 minutes to his journey time.

“The two lanes are regularly gridlocked from the junction, back the N6, over the Quincentenary Bridge and back to Corrib Park.

“In the mornings, it’s now easier to go down Taylor’s Hill and into town, past Eyre Square and up Bohermore to get down to the Headford Road.

Councillors were told by consultants in 2017 and again in 2018 – when they voted to proceed with the changeover to a junction – that average delays would be reduced by 25% and junction capacity would increase by 15%.
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

Man hospitalised following Eyre Square assault

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Gardaí have appealed to the public for information into an assault in Eyre Square last weekend which led to a young man being hospitalised.

The victim of the assault – a man in his early 20s from the city area – suffered a cut to his knee and may have had a substance sprayed towards his eyes.

Following the incident – that occurred close to the Eyre Square taxi rank shortly after midnight on Saturday night last – the victim was taken by ambulance to University Hospital Galway.

It is understood that the victim was released later that morning and has made a full recovery. This week, Gardaí are poring over CCTV footage in an effort to try and identify the perpetrators of the assault.

The assailants are understood to have fled on foot after the incident towards St Patrick’s Avenue on the east side of Eyre Square.

A Garda spokesperson has appealed for anyone who was in the vicinity of the taxi rank on Eyre Square between 12 midnight and 12.30am on the Sunday morning (Saturday night) of July 25 last, and who may have witnessed the incident to contact them.

(Photo: the assailants fled on foot towards St Patrick’s Avenue off Eyre Square)
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

Council turns down controversial phone mast plan

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune –  Galway City Council has refused an application by Eircom to erect a 12-metre telecoms mast in a housing estate in Knocknacarra.

The local authority turned down the company’s application for planning permission to install the structure in the heart of Drom Óir over concerns that it would create a visual obstruction in a residential area – and would have a detrimental impact on property prices.

Eircom had also sought retention to keep a concrete foundation for the mast in situ after it was forced to abandon works earlier this year, amid protests from residents in Drom Óir and Leitir Burca. This was also rejected.

City planners issued the company with a warning letter in April to cease works after contractors on site drew the ire of nearby residents, who accused Eircom of seeking to install the mast ‘by stealth’.

A total of 26 letters of objection were submitted to the Council from residents of the two estate.
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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