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Connacht Tribune

Son’s album in honour of melodeon maestro

Judy Murphy



Johnny Óg Connolly and his father Johnny who is credited with reviving the melodeon.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“My father used to say to me, “play the melodeon, take it up”, but I always preferred the two-row accordion because there was so much more you could do with it,” says musician and composer Johnny Óg Connolly, smiling at the irony.

Because this Saturday night, the Connemara man, who is hugely regarded for his accordion-playing, will release his latest CD, Fear Inis Bearachain, at a session in Tigh Chualain, Inverin – and it’s a melodeon album.

Fear Inis Bearachain was recorded in honour of his father Johnny Connolly, the man who is credited with reviving this single-row instrument in Connemara and further afield.

“I always said I’d play it when he wasn’t around and, in a way, that’s true,” says Johnny Óg, referring to the Alzheimer’s Disease which in recent years, has ravaged his father’s mind. Not for nothing is it called the living death, he observes.

Johnny and his father’s close relationship was forged mainly over music, he says, as they were very different personalities.

And while he grieves the absence of the man who ferried him to sessions and fleadhs throughout his childhood, Johnny is eternally grateful for the gift they shared, which allows him pay omós, in his own special way, to Sean Johnny.

The album title refers to his father’s birthplace on the island of Inish Bearachain where music was central to people’s lives – there was little else by way of entertainment, Johnny Óg remarks.

As a young man, his father emigrated to England, returning to Connemara in 1976 with his wife Patricia and young family.

Although Johnny Connolly later became renowned for his wonderful, effortless and graceful playing of the single-row melodeon, he didn’t play it at all when his children were young.

Johnny Óg recalls that his dad did pick it up one night during a Celtic festival in Lorient, encouraged by his friend and fellow musician, Meaití Jó Shéamuis Ó Fáharta, and got a great reaction.

Then, after a work accident meant he had to take six months off, Patricia bought her husband a melodeon. It became a life-defining gift.

For more,  read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway’s newest garden centre has arrived at McD’s in Galway Crystal




Garden Centre in Galway City located in the iconic Galway Crystal Building

For over 10 years people have been flocking to McD’s Garden Centre in Loughrea to get the very best range for garden, home and much much more.

This weekend McD’s are proud to announce the opening of a brand new Garden Centre in Galway City located in the iconic Galway Crystal Building.

Nicely located with good parking and serviced by the 404 Newcastle to Oranmore bus, McD’s Garden Centre at Galway Crystal is a must visit location if you need anything from plants, shrubs, pots, garden furniture and more. They have a dedicated solar garden lights section, gorgeous array of water features and garden ornaments and practically everything you need for your garden.

Visit their Facebook today where they are running competitions and keep track of other promotions too. You can visit their website online at

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Connacht Tribune

UHG nurse battles for her life in ICU

Dara Bradley



Leona Paula ICU.

UHG remains braced to rapidly respond to any rise in Covid-19 patients as a result of a second surge – but the plight of one of their own colleagues this week showed just how precarious this pandemic can be.

Because while senior management at the Saolta Group vowed to stay ‘vigilant and alert’, a staff nurse at UHG was battling for her life in the hospital’s own ICU.

Leona Paula Leoncio, a 36-year-old mother of two boys, tested positive for Covid-19 last week, and was moved to ICU on Monday where she was intubated and ventilated.

The staff nurse, who had no underlying health conditions, is now battling for life in ICU at UHG, according to the Philippine Consulate in Dublin, which has urged people to pray for her.

Ms Leoncio moved to Ireland in 2017, with her husband and two children, to work in the country’s health system.

“We might have different faiths and beliefs but can I ask of you . . . to take a pause and say a prayer of healing and strength for her and her family,” said Chuck Giner, her nursing colleague at UHG, in a posting relayed on the Philippine Consulate’s social media.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – along with all of the latest news on the Covid-19 pandemic. We’re on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.

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Connacht Tribune

Gort boy reunites Tipp star with broken hurl from famous point

Dara Bradley



Liam Linnane from Gort holding Brendan Maher's broken hurley from the All-Ireland semi-final club game. Photo: Hardiman Photography.

Tipperary All-Star hurler Brendan Maher has revealed that a young lad in Gort has found his long-lost hurl – the one he used to score one of the points of the last sporting year.

The broken hurl, the one that broke the hearts of St Thomas’ fans back in January, was used to fire over a point in Borris-Illeigh’s All-Ireland semi-final victory over the Galway club at the Gaelic Grounds.

Maher revealed last week that he tried to retrieve the hurl after the match to keep as a memento, but couldn’t find it. He subsequently got a letter from twelve year old Liam Linnane from Gort, who had found it.

“After I scored the point I got kind of carried away and I threw it over my shoulder into the open stand in the Gaelic Grounds. After the match, I thought I would really like to have that hurley but we could not find it and the club even contacted the Gaelic Grounds afterwards to see if it was found.

“Several weeks had passed and I’d given up on it when I got a letter from a young fella in Gort and I read down through it. He said he was twelve years old and that he was at the game where I scored the point with the broken hurley and that he had the hurley.”

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune – on sale in all newsagents and supermarkets, and you can also order the Tribune with your home delivery; buy a digital edition here, or avail of the new An Post service to deliver to your door at no extra cost to the cover price.

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