Supporting Local News

Ukrainians’ first Galway Christmas – so far from home

As they celebrated the festive season last year, the almost 3,800 Ukrainians who have arrived in Galway since February couldn’t have foreseen what 2022 would hold for them.

But over the past ten months, locals have opened their homes and hearts to offer refuge to those facing unimaginable turmoil as their homeland is torn apart by war.

One of the early Galway residents to offer up a safe haven to those fleeing the war was Barry Haughian who, just before St Patrick’s Day, welcomed nine Ukrainian refugees to Ballindooley Castle on the outskirts of the city.

Since then, the 15th century castle has provided a home to 16 people at various times, all women and children, with any spaces that freed up soon filled by others making the painful decision to leave their home behind.

For Armagh man Barry, who bought the castle around five years ago, there hasn’t been a dull moment since he drove across Europe to bring the first group to safety – collecting them from Poland which became the epicentre of the refugee crisis unfolding on the continent earlier this year.

“Myself and my wife were chatting the other evening and we said to each other, ‘what just happened this year?’,” says Barry, who separates his time between Ireland and Madrid with his wife, Lola, and two children.

In the early days after the first group of Ukrainians arrived at the castle, the focus was on finding schools and jobs, which took time.

Since then, there have been a few changes, with some moving on and others coming to fill the spaces left behind.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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.

More like this:

Sign Up To get Weekly Sports UPDATES

Go Up