One of the most picturesque waterfalls in Galway City could soon be a relic of the past if a management plan to clean up a much neglected waterway is not adopted immediately.
Residents of Nuns Island have been horrified that the water behind their homes had all but dried up in last year due to the overgrowth of weeds along the canal known locally the Madeira River or the Western River, opposite the Galway Garda Headquarters on Mill Street and the shop, Don’t Call Me Dear.
One resident who did not wish to be named took it upon himself to block one of the channels in O’Brien’s Bridge in order to funnel water through to the waterfall opposite the Bridge Mills.
He also cleaned up the water beside the bridge which had been littered with baby seats, footballs and pallets.
Since his intervention, the water flow has vastly improved along that stretch of waterway and the waterfall has resumed its form, just in time for the Arts Festival and the Galway Races.
But it is a temporary solution to a long-term problem for a waterway which has slipped between the cracks of the agencies charged with maintaining the State’s waterways.
Residents David and Irene Coen of No 1 Nuns Island, whose colourful back garden overlooking the Corrib has been the focus of countless tourist photos, have been frustrated in their attempts to get any government or local body to take responsibility for the valuable city asset.
The Office of Public Works (OPW) have told residents they have no responsibility for this particular stretch, while the Corrib Navigation Trustees, which manages the main canal through the city, the Eglinton Canal, also insists that this stretch of water is outside its control.
“What happened is the water is coming from the River Corrib down the Eglinton Canal and it branches into two on Canal Road, one branches onto the Eglinton Canal again, which is pristinely kept, the other branches down past the Bish, down Mill St and exiting at the end of Mill St beside O’Brien’s Bridge,” explained David.
“But because of the weeds and reeds it’s blocking the flow of water, the water is veering more and more into different channels and not getting as far as O’Brien’s Bridge. A few weeks ago there was no waterfall there at all. That bank was just full of scum as the water had disappeared.”
Last year a swan had used the waterway opposite Don’t Call Me Dear for a nest. This year she has not returned as the bank of weeds is so overgrown it has almost cut off the flow of water altogether.
“Everyone on Nuns Island is concerned with this unsightly mess. We’re hoping someone will take ownership and fix it and bring it back to the way it was and have a management plan,” said Irene.
The waterway has escaped public attention because most of it goes along the back of private houses, as opposed to the Eglinton Canal which has long been used as a strategic tourist walkway.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
US basketball champion boasts impeccable Galway roots
An Irish American basketball player with impeccable Galway roots helped end a 50-year NBA famine for the Milwaukee Bucks last week.
Boston-born Pat Connaughton, whose grandparents hail from Clostoken, Loughrea, played a pivotal part in his side clinching the NBA championship final series over the Phoenix Suns.
The 6ft 5in shoot guard was involved in all six games of the final series, including the last, which the Bucks won 105-98.
Afterwards, the 28-year-old said: “It’s incredible. The fans supported us through thick and thin. They’ve had our backs. To be able to do it and to win it and to be able to call ourselves World champions in front of our own fans . . . it’s incredible. The city of Milwaukee deserves it and I’m just proud that I could be a part of a team, with my teammates, that gave it to them.”
One of his cousins in Loughrea, Madeleine Connaughton, told the Connacht Tribune that his relations in Galway were incredibly proud of his achievement.
“It’s absolutely brilliant; he’s a celebrity in our eyes because he has done so well,” said Madeleine.
“It’s brilliant that Pat is flying the flag for us over there. He was the only person to play both professionally, baseball and basketball with Notre Dame. He was as good a baseball player as basketball and had to choose.”
Madeleine joked that there ‘is a clatter of us’ in Loughrea related to Pat Connaughton, including the Connaughtons, Tierneys, Keanes and Burkes.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Galway duo make sporting history as out first Olympic medallists
The motto of the Ireland Women’s Coxless Four team, which includes Galway’s first ever Olympic medallists, Aifric Keogh and Fiona Murtagh, has been drilled into them by coach Giuseppe De Vita: ‘Winter miles makes Summer smiles.’
At twenty-three minutes past two on Wednesday morning Irish time, during the Tokyo Olympic medal presentation ceremony at a windswept Sea Forest Waterway, the rowing quartet’s smiles beamed from ear-to-ear.
It was a testament to the hard graft they’ve put into the sport over many years, especially the past 18 months, and the last eight weeks in particular in the build-up to the biggest six minutes of their careers to date.
Keogh (29) from Aill an Phréacháin in Na Forbacha, Fiona Murtagh (26) from Gortachalla in Moycullen, and Eimear Lambe and Emily Hegarty were well entitled to smile after a remarkable rowing performance that earned them bronze medals in the Women’s Fours Final.
As they presented each other with their medals, in keeping with Covid-19 restrictions, and waved their bouquets into the air, back home, their smiles lit up the television and computer screens in living rooms of their family, friends and new legion of fans throughout the land.
It was a history-making feat – Galway’s first Olympic medallists, Ireland’s first women rowers to win Olympic medals, and the nation’s first at Tokyo 2020.
Both women were ecstatic afterwards as they spoke with the Connacht Tribune via Zoom from the media centre in the Olympic Village.
Read the full interview with Galway’s Olympic heroes in today’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
Olympic dream comes true for Galway sprinting star
It was March, 2019 when the Olympic dream of Cillín Greene went up in smoke – or so everyone thought.
On day one of the European Indoor championships in Glasgow, the Claregalway sprinter was progressing nicely in a 400m heat.
He was in lane two, minding his own business, when, all of a sudden, he was ‘bounced’ by a Polish competitor on his inside.
Cillín steadied himself after the collision but was unable to react quick enough to hop over a Czech runner who tumbled in front of him. Both hit the deck. Bad enough that his race was run; worse again, afterwards it emerged he’d sustained a serious injury.
“He was knocked on the track and broke his elbow,” recalled his father, Colman.
“I think it put his whole make-up out of line for a long time. He started pulling hamstrings after that, and things like that. It took a long time to get it right. It’s like a fine-tuned sports car, everything has to be right. Last year, he had a lot of injuries and he wasn’t really going anywhere,” he said.
Glasgow was just over a year out from the Tokyo Olympic Games, and almost certainly wiped his chances of qualification.
But then Covid-19 delayed the Games, giving time to rehab; and the Galway City Harriers clubman worked relentlessly in Lockdown to get back on track.
The result? This Friday, along with another Galway man, Robert McDonnell (19) from Knocknacarra, 23-year-old Cillín Greene will become an Olympian when he competes in the mixed 4x400m relay heat at the Olympic Stadium at 12 noon Irish time.
See the full story – and comprehensive Olympic coverage – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie