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Connacht Tribune

Stone-painting initiative touches hearts




Some of the colourful stones painted by the team at Athru in Clarinbridge.

A small group of painters have left a trail of positivity around their Galway centre – by putting a whole series of uplifting messages and colours on ordinary stones.

They are all members of Athru, a small day service group based at the Brothers of Charity centre at Kilcornan in Clarinbridge.

The three supported adults Sean, James and Colleen – added by three staff members – have all been very busy the last number of weeks, painting Positivity Rocks for all those that use the grounds as a place to exercise, also for those that are working here.

Searching for stones…Adam O’Connor, Deborah Walsh, and Jonathan and Thomas Keane.

“Each rock is made up of pictures and colours to try to bring a smile to people’s faces during these very dark hard times. Some rocks include little positivity messages to help lift peoples spirits,” said a spokesperson for the Athru team.

“We have all thoroughly enjoyed this and it definitely gives us a little ray of sunshine each day to know that everyone who finds our stones takes their own little meaning from it.

“Be that, that brighter days will come again or even the fact that amongst some darkness there is always a reason to smile if you look hard enough,” they added.

Among those touched by the simple but uplifting messages was Mary Rose Gormley, who is also a Social Worker with the Brothers of Charity’s Clarin Services.

“As I was leaving work, I spotted the beautiful painted stone at the front door. In the distance I noticed a little group walking through the gardens planting these beautifully painted stones, here and there,” she said.

Colleen Costello with a selection of the team’s creative work.

“I went away reflecting on this. I was so touched by this act. Here we have a group of people with intellectual disabilities, sending out positivity to everyone.

“Kilcornan estate, with its beautiful walled garden, is a public amenity; it is a wonderful place for families to explore with a beautiful walled garden and forest trails,” she added.

Later that day, she brought her own children down to see the project – and they too got such pleasure from searching for these stones.

“I was really moved by the positive message in this random act of kindness,” said Mary Rose.

“It made me think about the hidden heroes in this whole crisis. I think the people supported and their support workers are doing an amazing job of protecting our population.

James Kelly leaving out one of the stones.

“It’s evident that they are doing such a good job as the Covid-19 has not raised its head in our service as yet,” she added.

She felt it was important to acknowledge ‘the wonderful work frontline workers in disability services are doing fighting the Covid-19 and preventing it from having devastating effects on our community’.

“They are working just as hard as others in clinical settings, only they are focusing on preventative measures,” she said.

“The people who planted these feel-good stone creations, sharing love and kindness in a scary unpredictable world, are a wonderful example of resilience and empathy.  Love and kindness will always win in the end,” she added.

Athru staff themselves said that none of this would have been possible ‘had it not been for some very kind paint donations from Quinn’s of Labane and from a local painter Stephen Dent who both very generously gave us an abundance of paint’.

Sean Monahan at work on the stones.

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Connacht Tribune

Homemade Wimbledon is a different bale game!

Francis Farragher



James Craughwell about to serve over the tape – and the sheep gates – to brother Christopher with mum, Anne, in the background. The family dog Prince is showing a keen interest in taking up the role of ‘ball boy’. The brollies on the deck chairs were actually purchased at the Wimbledon tournament that the Craughwells attended in 2017.

WIMBLEDON mightn’t be happening for the tennis professionals this year due to COVID-19 – but one North Galway family are planning their own version of the tournament.

The younger members of the Craughwell family in Menlough village have had a tradition over the years of lining out their own court on the silage slab that’s available for recreation purposes during the early weeks of the Summer.

The three sons of Jarlath and Anne Craughwell – Christopher, Shane and James – rarely missed the opportunity through the years to ‘get the silage slab ready’ for their own Wimbledon tournament.

“The dimensions of the silage slab are almost exactly the same as a tennis court [78 feet X 36 feet} so back the years we always organised our own games. When the silage was made, then that was always it for another year,” Christopher Craughwell told the Connacht Tribune.

As the lads grew older the summer tennis court hadn’t been used for a few years but in 2020 with the introduction of the coronavirus restrictions, it seemed like a perfect time to bring it back.

“This year we took it a stage further. We used the sheep gates for the net with a line of white electric fence tape along the top so this is probably the best job we’ve ever made of it.

“The silage won’t be made for at least another month so were planning to stage our own family tournament over the coming weeks. With the weather so good, it’s been a great way to pass the time,” said Christopher.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

City Council houses Travellers in county

Declan Tierney



Cllr Donagh Killilea.

Galway City Council will spend close to half a million euro to house a Traveller family – in a property well outside its own local authority boundary.

Instead the family of four, who previously lived on the Carrabrowne halting site, will be accommodated in the house at Kiltulla near Carnmore, which is deep in Galway County Council’s local government area.

The City Council is understood to have paid €388,000 for the property which will require another €50,000 to refurbish – leaving little change out of half a million euro.

Angry residents, who were unaware of the plan, have now organised a petition to City Council CEO Brendan McGrath to voice their objection to the move.

But Cllr Donagh Killilea believes that there is a bigger issue at stake – with Galway City Council acquiring property wherever they like.

And Senator Ollie Crowe said that he believed the City Council – of which he was a member up to his Seanad election – should be acquiring property within their own area and that this acquisition was ‘unprecedented’.

He said that it was his view that there would be nothing bought outside the city boundary and that the money spent on this property would refurbish a lot of the City Council’s housing stock that had fallen into a state of dilapidation.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Long drives still out of bounds for golfers

Declan Tierney



Teeing off from the 12th tee at Galway Bay Golf Resort in Oranmore this week on the re-opening of golf courses around the country. There is nothing to suggest that any golfers travelled more than 5km to play in Oranmore. Photo: Keith Kelly.

This week’s relaxation of travel restrictions saw an exodus to the garden centres and the golf courses – but Gardaí have this week reiterated their warning to those planning to excede their five kilometre limit that they may find themselves in the heavy rough.

The first phase of a return to ‘normality’ went to plan, despite the early rush to newly reopened facilities. Even the rain didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of furloughed golfers, who were on the first tee from daylight.

Time sheets for golf clubs across the county were choc-a-bloc as they opened their doors to members for the first time since the end of March – but many clubs privately admitted that more than half of those who played had travelled way beyond the 5k restriction.

That led Gardaí to warn that they will be mounting checkpoints and turning people back home – adding that the golf clubs themselves have a responsibility to advise members on the travel rules.

Tuam Sergeant Pat Hastings confirmed that Gardaí had the power under the Health Preservation and Protection Act 2020 to turn back individuals travelling more than 5k from their homes.

He warned that a file will be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions to deal with anyone who continually breached the regulations.

See the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops or available for delivery with your groceries. You can also order the paper from An Post at no additional charge – or purchase a digital edition on this website.

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