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Connacht Tribune

The tragedy of a Liverpool seaman who found his final rest in Moyrus

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The SS Ausonia which was torpedoed by a German submarine more than 600 miles of the Cork coast: 44 of the crew, including Lawrence Curtis, died as a result. Above inset: Lawrence Curtis. PHOTO: COURTESY OF ANNA KESSLER.

Lifestyle – Community remembers merchant seaman Lawrence Curtis, whose body washed up near Carna in June 1918 after his ship was torpedoed more than 600 miles south of Cork. Judy Murphy reports.

When the SS Ausonia, which sailed out of Liverpool, was torpedoed more than 600 miles of the Fastnet Rock on the Cork coast on May 30, 1918, the 44 crew on board took to the ship’s life-rafts.  Several of them survived for a number of days, but distance from shore and bad weather meant that they ran out of supplies, especially water and, in the end, none survived. According to a subsequent inquest report in the Connacht Tribune, “one by one, they died of thirst”.

Nearly a month later on June 21, three fishermen from Letterard, a tiny community between Cashel and Carna, were working on the beach when they noticed a body on a raft. It was that of Lawrence Curtis, who had been fourth engineer on the refrigeration and passenger vessel.

The three men, Mark Keely, Michael Seán Mór Conneely and Pádraic Colm Green, were able to establish the merchant seaman’s identity because, attached to his lifejacket was a crucifix and a bottle, which contained two notes. One was to his mother and one to his wife –  Lawrence, the father of three young children had written on June 6, when he realised that death was imminent, despite initially surviving the attack on the 450.6ft x 54.2ft Ausonia.

The story of Lawrence Curtis was one that Clifden-born archaeologist Erin Gibbons grew up with, because her grandfather Mark Keely, was one of those who had found his body.

Mark had often spoken of it to his daughter Peg, who was Erin’s mother, and the tragedy left a profound impression on the older woman.

“When I was a little girl, I remember her praying by her bed during November for someone called Laurie Curtis and asked her who he was,” recalls Erin. Peg told her that Curtis had been a Liverpool seaman whose body had washed up in Letterard on a raft towards the end of World War I

Peg Keely-Gibbons was not a conventionally devout Catholic, adds Erin, but she was concerned that Lawrence Curtis might not have anybody else to pray for him during the month of the holy souls – and Erin’s older brother Seán also recalls those prayers from his childhood in the 1950s.

Peg was born in 1929, 11 years after the event but was intimate with the story because of her father’s involvement.

The events surrounding the discovery of Lawrence Curtis’s body proves that fact can be stranger, and more upsetting, than fiction.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Magnificent property boasts all the elegance of a showhouse

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High standard of finish: Bóthar na Mias in Kinvara.

Farrell Auctioneers are handling the sale of this magnificent home at Bóthar na Mias in Kinvara.

Number 19 simply oozes style and there’s no question it’s right up there with the best of showhouses.

It boasts character and comfort with its design allowing light to flow brightly throughout – thanks to the large glass wall window it features.

A three-bed property, there is also potential for a fourth bedroom on the ground floor. The living area and kitchen are tastefully designed and laid out with modern day comforts in mind.

The bespoke kitchen is every homemakers dream, with its floor to ceiling kitchen units as well as many other features.

This beautiful residence is located within walking distance of Kinvara Bay which is one of the most desirable places to live in the world. Not alone would the property make a beautiful family home and the occupants would have the benefit of the unrivalled natural beauty that the area has to offer, but this lively picturesque village has all amenities needed for everyday living such as schools, childcare, post office, a host of restaurants/cafes/bars, playground, medical centre, hotel, GAA facilities not to mention the instant access to a selection of beaches dotted along the Wild Atlantic way.

Selling agent Colm Farrell said: “This property has to be viewed to appreciate both the dwelling and the stunning setting.”

 The asking price is €450,000. For further information or to arrange a viewing, contact Farrell Auctioneers on 091 632688.

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Country Living

Bemoaning loss of innocence in a sport driven by big bucks

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Brazil dazzled the world of football in 1970 with their mix of pace, grace and sheer footballing class.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m not big into trying to resolve the huge issues of the world like wars, climate change or attempting to dethrone the obnoxious Elon Musks of this world, primarily on the basis that my influence would be akin to a moth trying to stop a herd of charging elephants.

And, I suppose at this stage, I have to accept that it’s far too late to try and call a halt to the World Cup proceedings in Qatar but for the life of me, the event doesn’t even send a sliver of enthusiasm through my nervous system.

Maybe, it’s an old-fashioned streak that’s there inside of me, but the thought of watching World Cup matches in the run-up to Christmas just doesn’t seem right. Okay, so it will be about 30°C in the heart of the Qatar desert but watching a World Cup semi-final in the middle of the Christmas office party is just a stretch too far for me.

Alas, World Cup memories go back a long way with me to a late Sunday in July 1966 when as a ‘small boy’ I was given the job of ‘minding’ the house while the ‘rest of them’ saved a small field of hay a couple of miles away from the house.

Of course, at the time there wasn’t even a faint chance of a black-and-white TV in the house, while visits to any abode that might have a telly, were strictly confined to a Sunday with the stipulation that Galway footballers had to be involved.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Tractor run will remember a local legend

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Some members of the 10-person organising committee for the PJ Mahoney Memorial Tractor Run that takes place in Ardrahan on Sunday, December 11. (Left to right): Anthony Whelan, Brian Kilkelly, Declan Sylver, Patrick Mahoney and Aonghusa Fahy. Absent from the photo are: Mary Forde, Lena Taylor, Conor O’Dea, Gerald Harney and Mícheál Kelly.

THE PJ Mahoney Memorial Tractor Run will take place on Sunday, December 11, in memory of a very well-known and highly regarded figure within the Ardrahan and South Galway local community, who passed away just a year ago this month.

PJ Mahoney was steeped in farming and the GAA and for this he was known far and wide. He was a talisman for Ardrahan GAA, playing in goals for the senior hurling team when they won county hurling titles in 1974, 1975 and 1978.

All down through the years, he was a most dedicated and guiding servant to the club up until his untimely death in a road accident last year.

PJ farmed locally throughout his life and was well known as an agricultural contractor in both Galway and North Clare, a business carried on by his son Patrick.

There are many tales and anecdotes of PJ Mahoney that still bring a smile to the faces of those recalling them.

He was a keystone in the local community, the neighbour you could always call on, and indeed the neighbour that didn’t need to be called upon as he would turn up to help regardless.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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