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Connacht Tribune

West of Ireland homecoming for singer spreading her wings




Maria Kelly . . . Roisin Dubh gig.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Maria Kelly is a singer/songwriter whose music combines delicate vocals and fingerpicked guitar with hi-fi – often orchestral – production. Her second EP Notes To Self is set for release on November 16.  Hailing from Westport and now based in Berlin, Maria has supported major artists like James Vincent McMorrough, Paul Noonan and KT Tunstall while amassing hundreds of thousands of plays on online streaming site Spotify.

She returns to the West of Ireland on Wednesday week, November 14, to support close friends All The Luck In The World in Galway’s Róisín Dubh.

“I didn’t really know them in Ireland,” Maria recalls. “But they have a whole group of friends here, a whole group of Irish creatives, and they kind of just took me under their wing.

“I’d been hanging out with them over summer and doing a bit of writing and then they were doing their tour in the autumn-winter time and they invited me along.”

Maria’s time in Dublin was spent honing her craft in BIMM – the national music college or the British and Irish Modern Music Institute, to give it its full title.

Those years of development saw an impressive rise and eventually, a desire to move on.

“I moved over in June. It’s definitely given me more space to do things. I’m living with my producer and label-head Matt Harris so obviously it’s a good environment for recording and working on new stuff,” she says.

“Berlin is amazing, there’s so much happening here – it’s just a fresh new scene. I felt maybe I’d hit a wall in Dublin because it’s so small. It’s kind of great to be in a place where nobody knows you again.”

The mention of Matt brings back memories of an early Galway experience.

“I supported Matt’s band in the Róisín Dubh four years ago,” she recalls. “They were doing an Irish tour and someone put me in touch… Our music is really different but they needed someone from the West of Ireland. We stayed in contact and started working on some stuff – it went really well and I’ve been with working him since.”

His role goes beyond that of most producers. Maria’s roots in acoustic folk are omnipresent in her work, but Matt’s influence as a collaborator, particularly in newer releases, is heavy.

“With Matt, he has a very particular production style and it’s really influenced how the sound came together,” she says.

“We do all the tracks together and he has a pretty big role in them, in how they end up – because I’m terrible at recording! I’ll bring the base of the song and he helps me arrange it and build it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara



Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara



Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell



Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from

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