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Brewing up a revolution in Galway’s cafe culture



Mara Gedrovica of the Secret Garden Tea Room: “I wanted to create a space that was friendly and alternative for artists to express themselves.” Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy samples the delights of an alternative social scene in the city’s speciality tea and coffee shops

A revolution has been brewing in the West End of Galway City in the past couple of years – but it’s a gentle revolution, one that entails sitting and chatting over top-quality and unusual tea and coffee.

The Secret Garden, which specialises in teas and herbal infusions from around the world, and Urban Grind Café, which offers a selection of specialist organic coffees, have cultivated an alternative social scene on William Street West, just off Dominick Street.

Both are on the edge of the city centre, away from its commercial hub, but both are thriving as they offer people fresh choices.

For Pádraic Lynagh, the decision to open a speciality coffee shop came when he returned to Galway after a decade in Australia.

The Monaghan-born chef had lived in Galway before emigrating – working as a pastry chef in the then Regional Hospital, before co-running the much-loved Taylor’s Bar and Hannibal’s Restaurant on Dominick Street – both since closed.

Australia has a reputation for superb coffee, thanks in large part to its many Greek and Italian immigrants, Pádraic explains.

“Even the corner shops have great coffee and the suburbs in Melbourne and Sydney all have places with in-house roasters.”

Pádraic had worked in food procurement in Australia and continued that work back in Galway. His base was a 35,000 square-foot windowless building, which he hated.  That, combined with his love of coffee, spurred him to set up Urban Grind, as he couldn’t find Australian-style coffee when he returned to Galway.

“I got samples that I liked from Australia and sent them to the top roasters in Ireland to get something comparable,” he says. “And we got a Good Food map of Ireland and travelled to different places and sampled loads of coffee.”

Pádraic’s wife Lisa has been involved in Urban Grind from the beginning, but these days she’s kept busy with their three children, who range in age from six to two

While Pádraic and Lisa were researching, they contacted former financier Colin Harmon of the renowned 3fe café in Dublin, who shared his expertise.

“Then 3fe started roasting their own coffee and we went with them when we opened in March 2014,” Pádraic explains.

3fe supplies Urban Grind’s Momentum blend house-coffee, as well as two single-origin coffees. The Momentum house-blend changes regularly, according to the coffee harvest.

“Wherever the beans are ripest, that’s what we have on sale,” says Pádraic. “3fe follow the harvest, so there are different coffees at different times of the year.”

The Momentum blend is used for Espressos, Americanos and milky drinks, while the two single-origin coffees are filtered using an AeroPress device. This easy-to-use manual machine, manufactured by the same company that invented Frisbee, is renowned for making superb coffee.

But care is required. Brewing coffee is like baking, says Pádraic.

“It’s a science. Timing and precision are important as they are with pastry.”

Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest



Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

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.

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Connacht Tribune

Marathon Man plans to call a halt – but not before he hits 160 races



Loughrea’s Marathon Man Jarlath Fitzgerald.

On the eve of completing his 150th marathon, an odyssey that has taken him across 53 countries, Loughrea’s Marathon Man has announced that he is planning to hang up his running shoes.

But not before Jarlath Fitzgerald completes another ten races, making it 160 marathons on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

“I want to draw the line in 2026. I turn 57 in October and when I reach 60 it’s the finishing line. The longer races are taking it out of me. I did 20 miles there two weeks ago and didn’t feel good. It’s getting harder,” he reveals.

“I’ve arthritis in both hips and there’s wear and tear in the knees.”

We speak as he is about to head out for a run before his shift in Supervalu Loughrea. Despite his physical complaints, he still clocks up 30 miles every second week and generally runs four days a week.

Jarlath receives injections to his left hip to keep the pain at bay while running on the road.

To give his joints a break, during the winter he runs cross country and often does a five-mile trek around Kylebrack Wood.

He is planning on running his 150th marathon in Cork on June 4, where a group of 20 made up of work colleagues, friends and running mates from Loughrea Athletics Club will join him.

Some are doing the 10k, others are doing the half marathon, but all will be there on the finishing line to cheer him on in the phenomenal achievement.

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.

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Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

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