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Connacht Tribune

Tourism visionary who left a lasting legacy

Judy Murphy

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Lifestyle: The Doonmore Hotel on Inishbofin turns 50 this weekend. Margaret Murray founded the family business and was its driving force for decades. Her son Andrew tells JUDY MURPHY how Margaret’s foresight and work ethic ensured its success.

As Margaret Murray stood in front of her family home on Inishbofin Island in 1968 and watched the roof being demolished, the mother-of-six was overwhelmed.  Knocking in the roof of her husband Paddy’s ancestral home had been her decision. The dream was to build a hotel. But at that moment, Margaret truly realised the enormity of the challenge ahead.

Inishbofin was an offshore island with no electricity or mod-cons and with a limited boat service. What if she had been wrong?

Some years previously, Margaret and Paddy had added on four bedrooms to their house and operated a successful B&B, but maybe this was a leap too far. As doubts filled her mind, a visiting priest from Clifden who was walking past, stopped to chat to Margaret. He reassured her that letting go of the past was vital in order to create something new. His words gave her courage.

The priest was right. The Doonmore Hotel opened in early June 1969 and this weekend, generations of the extended Murray and Mansfield families will gather to mark the golden anniversary of the thriving family business.

Margaret (née Mansfield) and Paddy Murray have both passed on, but their seven children (the youngest was born after the Doonmore opened), with their children and grandchildren will celebrate the couple’s achievement and legacy. The Doonmore, now under the management of Margaret and Paddy’s son, Andrew, and his partner, Donna, remains a family operation.

Seated on a bench across from the Doonmore, on a glorious Summer’s day, Andrew, a former primary school principal, recalls his mother’s vision and work ethic. Given his own passion and commitment, it’s clear that on his watch, the Doonmore – with its magnificent views over the ancient monastic settlement of High Island – will continue to thrive.

Andrew’s great-grandfather, Patrick Murray, built the original house where the hotel now stands, in the early 20th century.  Like several other locals, Patrick had a shop, explains Andrew, and judging by his receipt books, he was quite an entrepreneur.

This is a preview only. To read the rest of this feature, see this week’s Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Public auction of Castlesampson farm with c.143 acres

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Connaughton Auctioneers are handling the sale of a c.143.40 acre farm located at Corraree and Ballygatta, Castlesampson, just 9km from Athlone/ M6 Motorway and 15km from Ballinasloe Town.

Located in a renowned farming district, the property has an extensive range of modern farm buildings including five-bay single slatted with lay back, three bay double bay slatted, covered yard with crush, two-bay double slatted, three-bay double flat shed and three-bay single flat shed with an overall area of c.10,274 sq. ft.

The lands are being offered for sale in four lots, Lot 1: c.77.77 acres with the farm buildings mentioned above, Lot 2: c.52.43 acres, Lot 3: c.13.20 acres and Lot 4: The entire property c.143.30 Acres with farm buildings. With a public road passing through the farm, there is extensive road frontage to an area of c.2,500 metres thereby holding huge potential for building sites in the future.

The property comes with mains connections to electricity and water and includes overall c.55.07 entitlements included in the sale.

Auctioneer for the sale, Ivan Connaughton stated: “This is a fine farm to come on the open market. The large investment in the ultra-modern farm buildings by the current owners together with an extensive holding of top-quality agricultural lands has attracted interest from both near and far.

The potential for transformation into dairy or usage as a large feed lot has attracted additional interest. Its location in a renowned farming district and conveniently situated close to the Galway/ Dublin M6 Motorway is a major advantage. The farm entitlements that total c.€21,000 per annum are included in the sale and has received a positive response from interested parties to date. I encourage any interested party to contact our office on 090-6663700 for further information and viewing”

The Public Auction is being held in Gullane’s Hotel, Ballinasloe on Friday August 30th at 4.00pm. All are welcome to attend. All legal enquiries can be made to solicitor for the carriage of sale, Hayden & Co. Solicitors, Athlone Tel: 090-6470622

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Connacht Tribune

Offering a lifeline to people affected by cancer

Denise McNamara

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Lifestyle – The Daffodil Centre at UHG which is celebrating its 10th anniversary has given practical and moral support to thousands of cancer patients and their family members since the Irish Cancer Society set it up as a pilot project. DENISE MCNAMARA hears one man’s story of its role in his recovery.

When Alan Rushe began to feel cramps in his stomach, he did not hesitate in attending his local doctor.

His GP asked if he had ever suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). As he had been diagnosed with the condition when he was younger, he was prescribed tablets for that and told to see how they worked.

Six days later, Alan’s condition hadn’t improved so his GP referred him for a colonoscopy. When the invasive test revealed he had colon cancer he was operated on within ten days. Two months later he was started on six months of chemotherapy, getting treatment once every fortnight.

When he was coming to the end of the treatment, Alan found himself in a bind.

He wanted reassurance about what to expect as the chemicals left his body but the doctors and nurses in the oncology ward were far too busy to give him the time he needed to sit and chat.

“One of the things about having cancer, your whole life becomes obsessed with your problem and how you’re dealing with it,” Alan reflects.

“Suddenly you’re coming to the end of chemo and you find yourself in a very strange place; you are in a vacuum. You might be told things by different doctors and nurses but you haven’t taken it in.

“You can’t just drop back into the ward, yet you want to talk to people who know all there is to know about your type of cancer.”

He was advised to go to the Daffodil Centre in University Hospital Galway (UHG), which is run by the Irish Cancer Society to seek further information.

There he found oncology nurse Fionnuala Creighton who manages the Galway Daffodil Centre. She sat down with Alan and gave him the time to answer the myriad of questions that were swirling around his mind.

“She gave me all this information about what to expect when chemo is leaving the body, how it would affect me. She gave me information leaflets and told me about services that are available, such as exercise classes in Cancer Care West,” he explains.

The Daffodil Centre at UHG began as a pilot project for the Irish Cancer Society a decade ago this month.

Aileen McHale, who is now Cancer Information Services Manager with the Irish Cancer Society, was the first nurse to work there.

“We wanted to set up a designated cancer centre in a hospital to provide information to the patient, relatives and general public at the point of diagnosis, treatment and follow-up,” she explains. “I was involved in the setting up and running it and, from the beginning one of my roles was recruiting and training a group of volunteers who would help me in the running of the centre.

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

Hanley’s high-quality minors break new ground in great style

John McIntyre

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Galway 3-14

Kilkenny 0-12

HURLING history was made much easier than expected at Croke Park last Sunday when Galway claimed a third consecutive All-Ireland minor hurling title for the first time ever.

As it transpired, this repeat of last year’s championship decider was a no-contest. Galway were so superior it made a nonsense of the conventional theory that the more games a team plays, they better they should become.

This may have been Kilkenny’s eighth match of a protracted campaign, but it was undoubtedly their worst display in falling to a heavy 11-point defeat. The young Cats were almost too bad to be true and their tame challenge faded completely after the break.

Though Kilkenny’s poverty considerably eased the task of the defending champions, the manner in which Galway went about their business was still impressive. Their overall skills set was in a different league, while their big-match temperament also stood them in good stead.

Having to beat the same team twice in the same championship can be problematic and although only three points had separated Sunday’s protagonists in the quarter-final round-robin series a few weeks ago, there was little or no drama in the championship’s defining battle such was the gulf in standard.

Not alone were Galway completing a notable three-in-a-row, but this was also the fourth time in the last five years that the Irish Press Cup has returned west, while the county has now captured eight of the last 16 All-Ireland minor titles.

This is an exceptional feat by any standards and new Galway manager Brian Hanley has clearly followed in the footsteps of his successful predecessor, Jeffrey Lynskey, in recognising young talent and then shaping them into a formidable team.

Galway are now the undisputed brand leaders at minor level and while the failure to translate this dominance to greater success in senior ranks remains a deep source of frustration, this week in not the time to be looking at the wider picture.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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