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


Loughrea opens window on its medieval past



Loughrea was packed to capacity last weekend with close on 15,000 people from home and abroad attending the various events held in the town as part of its Medieval Festival.

Everything from a Medieval Banquet to puppeteers and from lectures and tours to children’s workshops ensured that the weekend had something for everyone.

The weekend commenced with a Medieval Banquet in the Loughrea Hotel and Spa, where over 250 people attended this night of fun and merriment – and several dressed up in medieval costumes.

The Temperance Hall was the centre of medieval creativity for over 450 children where they part-took in medieval games and archaeologist Anne Carey introduced a number of them to the skills of medieval calligraphy and investigated the amazing gold works of the period. Over 400 people attended the jousting picnic at the ‘Walks’ where medieval Knights battled it out on horse-back.

The Hall was also the venue for an outstanding puppet shows and paper bag puppet making by Carmel Balfe.

Loughrea Library hosted two packed to capacity heritage lectures one was a fascinating lecture by Clodagh Doyle from the National Museum about early hair hurling balls, while Dr. Jim McKeon gave a very insightful talk on the archaeology of medieval Loughrea.

This was followed by genealogical workshops from Western Family History Association, East Galway Genealogical Centre and Ireland Reaching Out.

Several restaurants, pubs, bakeries and businesses offered medieval fine dining and sustinance over the weekend and a number of shops decorated their windows with various medieval themes.

Over 100 people took the opportunity to visit Clonfert Diocesan museum and view their wonderful medieval collection that includes the Kilcorban Madonna that dates from c1180AD and the ‘Matheus Macraith’ chalice that is over 500 years old.

New additions to the weekend this year included the medieval tavern trail, the tug-o-war and the medieval busking competition that drew large crowds.

In excess of 240 people attended a wonderful Latin mass in the ruins of the Carmelite Abbey. It was a very moving and atmospheric event with mass commencing at dusk. There, mellifluous singing of the choir added to the ambience of the mass. Many of those in attendance had never been in the ruined abbey previously.

People had the opportunity to travel back in time to medieval Loughrea where they could see a 3D model of the town with its moat, earthen banks, the priory, castle and see the inhabitants who lived in the town.

This project is being developed by Realsim and is being funded by Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee, Galway County Council and the Heritage Council.

Sunday saw a group of over 100 people start the day off with heritage walks around the town with Colman Shaughnessy and Joe Loughnane.

This was followed by a Grand Clan Parade and then by a Walled Towns Family Fun Day.

Displays and events included a medieval weapons talk and demonstration, butter making, spinning, basket making, leather works, archers, potters, blacksmiths, woodturning, traditional crafts workshops, archaeological dig, bee keeping, circus skills workshops, traditional games, the medieval photo booth, medieval Olympics, boat trips on the lake and a falconry display.

It also saw the launch a special commemorative Loughrea Medieval Coin by Cllr. Peter Roche, Cathaoirleach, Galway County Council.  This was followed by the launch of Dr. Fiona Beglane’s magnificent book on ‘Anglo-Norman Parks in Ireland’.

“The partnership between local businesses, local communities, Galway County Council, The Irish Walled Towns Network and the Heritage Council in developing the Medieval Festival is very welcome and much needed to promote and sustain our community, our heritage and be a driver for tourism for the town and hinterland,” said Loughrea Medieval Festival Committee Chairperson Cllr. Michael Maher.

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