Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Hollywood star tweets best wishes to city production



Like OMG, you know you’ve hit the big time when you get the thumbs up – with suitably cu-ul emojis – by one of Hollywood’s leading ladies.

Ahead of their epic show, the Galway Musical Society (GMS) was tweeted by none other than Reese Witherspoon who played the lead role of Elle Woods in the original movie version of Legally Blonde.

Reese shared their picture on her social media account with 1.4m followers last week and said, “Good luck, y’all look amazing! #BreakALeg #LegallyBlonde.”

Elena Tully, who stars in the production opening next week, could not have been more excited, replying to the actress: “OH MY GOD THANK YOU XXX”

On the society’s own Facebook page she was could hardly catch a breath: “OMIGOD YOU GUYS!!!!! Ahhhhhhh you know Gms are gonna rock LEGALLY BLONDE when none other than the original Elle REESE WITHERSPOON wishes us luck!!”

Alana Power, who is playing one of Elle’s sorority sisters in the production, said the group were going all out to make this show count.

“We have had the same directors for the past 24 years and they were involved from the start. After this year they’re taking a break so this year is a big deal for us. It’s huge that she tweeted us.”

Reese’s portrayal of a ditzy blonde who is dumped by her boyfriend for a brainier girl when he leaves for Harvard has become an iconic film of the noughties. She gets into the ivy league college herself to study law.

Among the film’s many memorable scenes was when she teaches a friend to ‘bend and snap’ to attract male attention.

The tiny dog that was her constant companion and became a prominent co-star in the sequel when she goes to Washington to work on a bill banning animal testing only died last month aged 18.

She eulogised him on her twitter page: “Bruiser Woods (also known as Moonie) passed away yesterday. He was a sweet little Chihuahua who was very loved. I will never forget all the days we spent together … I’m sure his tail is wagging in the sky,” she tweeted.

The GMS version of Legally Blonde features the winner of last year’s Coyote Factor Hannah Wright who is taking on the lead role.

Hannah, 18, from Clarenbridge, decided to take a year out after completing her leaving cert last year in Calasanctius College to build up her stage experience before embarking on what she hopes will be a professional career in the world of musical theatre.

Hannah works in a stage school called Stageworks Youtheatre Company and part-time in the Kids Club at The Connacht Hotel.

Hannah admits that she lives and breathes theatre.

“I love anything to do with theatre! I’ve done all my grades in speech and drama, ballet and modern dance which I hope will all stand to me when we go on stage on the 12th,” she enthuses.

This is Hannah’s first year in the Galway Musical Society, but has been a member of other societies including Maree Musical Society and Tuam Youth Theatre.

Her first musical which sparked her love of theatre was with Calasanctius College in 2014 when she played the role of Guinevier in Camelot.

Since then she has played Ronette in Little Shop of Horrors, Maria in The Sound of Music, Ellen in Miss Saigon and Anita in West Side Story, but her all-time favourite role apart from Elle Woods is Velma Kelly in Chicago.

“I’m excited but a little nervous just because it is such as iconic role and I hope I do it justice,” she sighed.

Directed and produced by twins Brian and Sean Power, with Shane Farrell as musical director, choreographer Claire Rigney and chorus mistress Heather Shine.

Legally Blonde runs from Tuesday, April 12, to Saturday at 8pm with a matinee on April 16 at 3pm. Tickets are available from the Town Hall on 091-569777 or

Tickets for Legally Blonde The Musical cost €16/€20.

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading


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.”

Continue Reading