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Connacht Tribune

Tragic end for tourist visiting for stag party

Stephen Corrigan

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Coroner for Galway West Dr. Ciaran MacLoughlin: sympathised with family over tragedy.

A man who was visiting Galway as part of a stag party died because he went the wrong way after leaving a city pub, Galway Coroner’s Court heard.

Sam Rowlands (30) had arrived in Galway on Friday, June 16, 2017 for a stag weekend, but died after being hit by a taxi at Bushypark on the N59 Moycullen Road in the early hours of June 18.

Coroner for West Galway Dr Ciarán MacLoughlin heard how Mr Rowlands had been staying in the Victoria Hotel and had been socialising in the city with friends, but “disappeared” from the King’s Head pub at 12.15am on Saturday, June 18.

In CCTV footage shown to a jury at an inquiry into his death, Mr Rowlands was seen exiting the High Street pub before walking in the direction of Cross Street. In the footage, Mr Rowlands was seen to be unsteady on his feet.

Cameras at various locations showed Mr Rowlands as he walked down Mill Street, before heading out Presentation Road and across Newcastle.

The last footage of the 30-year-old was captured by cameras at NUI Galway as he continued to walk out of the city through Dangan – in the direction of the location where he would die after being struck by a taxi driven by Imran Khan.

The inquiry heard from James McGrath, who lives in Galway and knew Mr Rowlands through a relation who lived in Wales, that he joined the stag party at around in the King’s Head at 11pm, by which time, they were “fairly drunk”.

Mr McGrath said he did not see Mr Rowlands leaving, adding “I have no idea what time he left”.

Adrian Richardson told how he had been travelling from his home on the Barna Road, Moycullen, into Galway to collect his wife between 12.45 and 1am when he saw a male at Dangan Nurseries who matched the description of Mr Rowlands.

“He stumbled out on to the road and I had to swerve the car to avoid hitting him,” said Mr Richardson. “On the way home, I saw the same man and he was now on the opposite side of the road, just past the Bushypark Road.”

Mr Richardson’s wife called the Gardaí to alert them of his presence.

That same night, Imran Khan was returning to Galway after dropping a fare off in Corcullen.

Mr Khan described how Mr Rowlands appeared to “jump” from the ditch about 800 metres from the Glenlo Abbey Hotel.

Mr Khan said he was in total shock after the impact. He recalled that he was driving at 50 to 55 km per hour in the 100 km per hour speed zone as there was a bend in the road and he was “in no rush”.

He voluntarily surrendered his phone to Gardaí who, on inspection, found the only call made around the time of the collision was to the emergency services at 1.28am.

“I swear to God, he was not on the road,” said Mr Khan, in response to questioning from the Rowlands family’s solicitor, Brendan Donnelly. “He just appeared from the ditch”.

Qualified nurse Colette Cullinan was driving back to Moycullen from Tuam at the time and was first on the scene.

She described how she, with the help of Liam Carroll who also came on the scene, put Mr Rowlands in the recovery position. She said he was still breathing, but she noticed his head felt soft.

She recalled how the taxi driver was “paralysed” with shock and handed his phone to Mr Carroll to speak to emergency services.

Garda Pat Costello attended the scene and in his evidence to the court, described how Mr Rowlands was being treated by paramedics when he arrived – and that Mr Khan had been sick a number of times while in his presence.

Mr Khan was questioned under caution and informed Garda Costello that a male appeared to jump from the left hand side of the road into his path.

A breath test returned negative for the presence of alcohol and the silver Volkswagen Passat taxi he was driving was seized for technical examination.

Garda Ollie White, a road traffic collision forensic specialist, gave evidence that there was no street lighting nor footpaths where the collision occurred.

Garda White said he was confident the vehicle was travelling at no more than 70 or 80 kilometres per hour.

He said the Volkswagen badge from the front of the saloon car was found approximately 10 metres from the point of impact.

There was indentation on the front grill and the windscreen was shattered, which he said would fit the hypothesis of solicitor Brendan Donnelly that Mr Rowlands was hit by the front of the vehicle and thrown over the windscreen – meaning the first impact was with his lower leg.

Mr Rowlands was brought to UHG where he later died from his injuries.

Consultant Pathologist Dr Mary Casey who carried out a post mortem examination found a laceration to his right leg which she concluded was the “probable site” of initial impact – and that Mr Rowland had suffered significant fracturing of the skull.

The jury found, in accordance with the medical evidence, that the cause of death was a fracture at the base of the skull, with subsequent brain-stem death sustained in a road traffic collision.

The Coroner Dr MacLoughlin extended his sincere sympathy to Mr Rowlands’ wife Lowri, his son Joseph, mother and father Margo and Alun, and his brothers Adam and Ben.

“What should have been a weekend of celebration and fun turned out, for the Rowlands family to be a very tragic and unfortunate event,” said Dr MacLoughlin.

Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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

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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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Connacht Tribune

€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

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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