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Daniel and Majella find Anfield in Gort on B&B Road Trip



A Gort guest house, with its own version of Liverpool’s famed Anfield in its front garden, is about to enjoy its moment of fame when it features in a new television series – hosting Daniel O’Donnell and his wife Majella.

Naomh Colman – owned and run by Josephine Finnegan and her husband Pat for over 20 years – will feature in the second episode of ‘Daniel and Majella’s B&B Road Trip’, which continues on UTV Ireland next Monday at 8pm.

The B&B is famous for its view of Ireland’s tallest round tower and Kilmacduagh monastery. Inside, the décor is inspired by Lady Gregory and WB Yeats with lots of bright colours.

Daniel and Majella O'Donnell with fans of all ages after a kickabout on Gort's very own Anfield.

Daniel and Majella O’Donnell with fans of all ages after a kickabout on Gort’s very own Anfield.

Pat and his two sons are such avid Liverpool supporters that they turned what had once been Josephine’s vegetable patch into their very own Anfield soccer pitch, which has resulted in regular visits to the B&B from locals for a kick-about.

Before heading to the south of the county, Daniel and Majella pay a visit to Shop Street in Galway city, where the musical couple indulge in an impromptu sing song.

And then, to top off their trip out west, Daniel and Majella enjoy an afternoon picking wild flowers in the Burren before returning to the B&B for a game of football with local children.

The six-part travel series with a difference will show Daniel and Majella as we have never seen them before, as the famous couple embark on a journey across Ireland, staying in B&Bs and delving into activities organised by the B&B owners.

“Since we announced Daniel and Majella’s B&B Road Trip, we have been inundated with requests and queries from the couple’s fans all over the world,” said Mary Curtis, Head of Channel at UTV Ireland.

“They have a huge following and having worked with both of them, it is easy to understand why. Aside from Daniel’s successful singing career, they are a fantastic couple. This series will show a side to them that many of us haven’t had the privilege of seeing.

“Filming the series in a short timeframe meant long hours and travelling great distances, but Daniel and Majella rolled up their sleeves and enjoyed every minute of it. The production company behind the series, VIP Productions, have done a brilliant job in putting it together and I think Daniel and Majella’s fan base will grow even bigger following this series,” she said.

Throughout the series, viewers will see Daniel and Majella take part in a range of unexpected activities, including tractor racing in Enniskerry, paddle-boarding in Bantry Bay, rocking out at a house party in Newtownabby, and of course playing football in Gort’s very own Anfield.

“We really enjoyed it, it was lovely. I felt that we really did reach the heart of Ireland. When you’re in cities all the time, the old Irish ways can get lost, but I feel that we really did reach the heart of Ireland, so in that respect, it was really good,” said Majella.

“You could see that some were over-awed with Daniel and some weren’t, but all were equally welcoming,” she admitted.

“The fact that we got to interact with so many different people was, for me, the best part. It was lovely to see Ireland and travel Ireland.

“I have travelled Ireland umpteen times, but not with that eye that’s enjoying it when you’re just trying to get somewhere. Ireland has so much to offer – whether you’re by the coast or inland,” added Daniel.

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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