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Students cross Europe for charity – without cash



Dozens of enterprising students are making a break for the border this weekend – trying to cross a substantial part of Europe without spending a cent.

Among them will be Meabh Tarpey from Bushy Park and Róisín Dunne from Furbo, who will be aiming for success in this Jailbreak Charity Challenge, an annual student-run, travel contest.

The concept sees students compete in teams, making their way across borders to a set destination they will only discover shortly prior to setting off on their 36-hour adventure this Saturday.

They have to raise money to enter, and from there on they must depend solely the kindness of others – and their innate blagging skills to reach their target.

All proceeds raised are split between charities St. Vincent de Paul and Amnesty International.

Róisín and Meabh – both former Jes girls – are freshman students with Trinity College, Dublin. Róisín is studying for her B. Sc. in Clinical Speech and Language Studies whilst Meabh is taking her undergrad studies in B.E.S.S. (Business, Economics and Social Studies).

And they know that their quest is a test of endurance – those engaging in the trial have accepted their fate of no sleep for the forthcoming days.

“We have already accepted that we’re not going to sleep over the duration of this challenge,” Róisín confesses.

For many, lack of sleep coupled with planes, trains, buses, taxis, hitching and walking may sound like an absolute nightmare.

But not for the young and buoyant like Róisín and Meabh. “We can’t wait; it’s going to be so much fun,” says Róisín.

So far, the girls have raised over €1,000 for charity, through coffee mornings fuelled by donations of cake from local bakeries and shops. They also received support from local businesses Aró Digital Strategy and O’Leary Insurance.

And they won’t stop there. “We want to continue to fundraise as much as possible to meet this year’s goal,” says Róisín.

Overall the students have set themselves the ambitious target of raising €50,000, with €15,000 collected so far.

Jailbreak 2016 is set to be the most exciting and most challenging yet. Not only must contestants meet at ‘Location X’ as in previous years – they must also meet at ‘Location Y’ and compete in four charity challenges along the way.

The girls will join their comrades and competitors – including other Galway entrants Stephanie Coll and Sophie Kinerns – for a Friday briefing, outlining the parameters and challenges for the competition.

Last year, the competition sounded at 9am on a Saturday morning; with the final destination only being announced at midday.

The target was Lake Bled, Slovenia – a stunning glacial lake in the Alps – deliberately chosen to make it difficult for challengers, who had to make way to this off-the-beaten-track location without spending any money of their own.

The 2015 event included 88 teams, all of whom raised €300 pre-departure. This year 100 teams are reportedly taking part and each team must raise a compulsory €400 pre-departure.

Jailbreak has altered its format once again with extra locations, challenges and flight restrictions being introduced.

Four rules apply: no money is permitted – students must fundraise and blag their way; flights over two hours are disallowed, as are flights out of the same country they flew into.

And this year, participants are also saddled with a further challenge which states they must complete four charity challenges before their team finishes.

To support Róisín & Meabh visit Jailbreak HQ Corporations or businesses interested in sponsoring, email:

Connacht Tribune

Locals in fundraising drive to protect some of Connemara’s finest beauty spots



The world-famous beaches Gurteen Bay and Dogs Bay will disappear unless work is carried out immediately to save them for the next generation.
A local conservation committee has been set up which is fundraising to carry out the work in September. They plan to remove the old fencing from the headland, which is dangerous for people and animals.
They will also want to install new fencing on the headland to keep animals off the sand dunes and to have clear access pathways to people to enjoy the dunes without causing them damage.
Sustainable chestnut fencing is then needed to re-establish the sand dunes and to save them from further collapse.
Finally the hope to replant marram grass to further stabalise the dunes.
Kieran Mullen, owner of the Gurteen Bay caravan and camping park, explained that the work was so urgent that they cannot wait another year to carry it out.
“Atlantic storms are becoming more frequent and powerful. If they find a weakness in the dunes a one metre gap is created. The next storm that widens to two and three metres and soon they’re gone forever,” he remarked.
“I know people might say I’m doing this because they’re part of my livelihood but these beaches are key to the bigger economy of Connemara. Everyone’s tied into tourism here – the shops, the builders. It only takes one influencer to post a picture on Instagram and the next week the place is packed.”
His father Pat, along with James Conneely and Joe Rafferty, undertook extensive projects such as planting marram grass, erecting fencing and stone gabions along one section of Dogs Bay beach back in the 1990s. They managed to protect and regenerate part of a highly degraded dune system.
“If it wasn’t for the huge amount of work they did back then, the beaches wouldn’t be here today. There was an Italian electrical company who came in and took away 50 tonnes of sand and my father stopped them at the gate and made them drop it off.
“They filmed Into The West here and the film donated some money to the beach and that’s how they paid for a lot of the work.”
The committee is meeting with planners to secure an exemption on planning for the work.
“Time is not on our side so that’s why we’ve gone ahead to raise the money and hope to get it done in September when the place is quieter.”
Both beaches, located outside Roundstone, regularly make the list of top 100 beaches of the world by travel guides.

To make a donation, visit GoFundMe page.

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Mercury hit 30°C for Galway City’s hottest day in 45 years



From this week’s Galway City Tribune –

Wednesday was the hottest day in the city over the past 45 years when with a high of 30.1 Celsius being recorded at the NUI Galway Weather Station.

The highest temperature ever recorded in the city dates back to June 30, 1976, when the late Frank Gaffney had a reading of 30.5° Celsius at his weather station in Newcastle.

Pharmacists and doctors have reported a surge in people seeking treatment for sunburn.

A Status Yellow ‘high temperature warning’ from Met Éireann – issued on Tuesday – remains in place for Galway and the rest of the country until 9am on Saturday morning.

It will be even hotter in the North Midlands, where a Status Orange temperature warning is in place.

One of the more uncomfortable aspects of our current heatwave has been the above average night-time temperatures and the high humidity levels – presenting sleeping difficulties for a lot of people.
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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Property Tax hike voted down in Galway City



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A proposal to boost Galway City Council coffers by half a million euro every year by increasing Local Property Tax (LPT) did not receive the support of city councillors.

Councillor Peter Keane (FF) failed to get a seconder at this week’s local authority meeting for his motion to increase the LPT payable on Galway City houses by 5%.

Cllr Keane said that the increase would net the Council €500,000 every year, which could be spent evenly on services across all three electoral wards.

It would be used to fund services and projects city councillors are always looking for, including a proposal by his colleague Cllr Imelda Byrne for the local authority to hire additional staff for city parks.

The cost to the taxpayer – or property owner – would be minimal, he insisted.

“It would mean that 90% of households would pay 37 cent extra per week,” he said.

Not one of the 17 other elected members, including four party colleagues, would second his motion and so it fell.

Another motion recommending no change in the current rate of LPT in 2022 was passed by a majority.
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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