Following consultation with the business people, the Christmas Lights Committee (as part of the Ballinasloe Town Team) are proceeding with the lighting of the Christmas lights with the “Switch On Ceremony” now confirmed for Sunday 27th November at 6:00pm.
”In 2020, a massive investment was made by the community for the purchase of the new LED energy efficient Christmas Lights. Because of this, we feel it’s important to continue to light up our town and celebrate. We want to give everyone in the area as bright a Christmas as possible, it’s a magical time and without the lights it really will be a lot duller. There are many diasporas travelling home for holiday time - many for the first time in a few years because of Covid, and they deserve a warm festive welcome home” stated Town Team Co-ordinator- Anita Killeen.
Every year there are reoccurring costs involved for the installation, repairs, storage, insurance, and electricity which has been covered by a combination of fundraising (Christmas raffle etc) generous business contributions, grant aid and donations.
This year the required funds (circa €25k) will be raised once again from both business contributions and community donations. James Burke has been re- appointed Business Coordinator and the community will be able contribute to the Christmas lights by going on-line and donating through a portal opened on www.shopballinasloe.ie
A recent survey of businesses in the town resulted in over 85% of respondents urging the Christmas lights to proceed with the same number also committing to financially backing the. Some businesses did express some worry with the increase in the cost of living and electricity.
Therefore, in line with other towns across the county, the running time of the lights each day will be reduced. Switching them on from 4:00pm until 12:00 pm from November 27th until January 6th, with the times to be reviewed for Christmas Week (19th -25th December)
The “Christmas Lights Switch On” festivities in the town has not taken place since 2018 (because of the Big Dig & Covid) but plans are in place to have music and entertainment at the top of the town square on Sunday November 27th with special guests invited to light up the town. More details on line to follow.
In recent weeks, the first thing that Ballinasloe grandparents Michael and Ann McCullagh do in the morning is to check where their grandson Boru is in the world.
On 27 August, 23-year-old Boru set off from London, where he lives, to cycle around the world to raise money for mental health.
In the eight-month journey, Boru – one of 10 grandchildren – expects to cover 34,000 kilometres, cross 25 countries and pass through two antipodal points.
"Three weeks into the trip, Boru had reached Croatia, clocking up over 2,000 kilometres, or 6% of the journey," says Michael, who points out that Boru’s parents, Mark and Lorrae, first heard about the trip on a visit to Ballinasloe last Easter.
“‘I think I’d like to cycle around the work, literally,’ pinged a message from Boru to Mark and Lorrae,” recalls Michael.
And how did his parents react? “They had nothing but encouraging words to say from the start, advising him that if it is something he really wants to do then he should take advantage of his young age and few life commitments to go and explore.”
Ann adds: “More importantly they were incredibly amazed and proud that Boru would take on such a challenge given the difficult mental health challenges he has faced in the past.”
In his late teens Boru spiralled into a depression which changed the way both he and his life looked for a number of years. He had to drop out of school before his final exams and got lost in the world, struggling to see how he could fit in with any of it.
The depression led to an eating disorder, drug use and being too anxious to be comfortable anywhere resulted in admissions to psychiatric units several times over the course of his late teens.
Boru, who is proud to say that he’s “cycling on an Irish passport”, wants to use this ride as a positive force to help a charity who helps people going through difficulties. He is fundraising for Mind, a mental health charity. Three weeks into his journey, he was already over halfway to reaching his fundraising target of £10,000.
Before setting out on his adventure, Boru was head coach at the Herne Hill Velodrome, a very popular and thriving cycling venue in south London. The venue has been a special place for Boru as he’s been riding and racing here from a young age. When he was 15 he started working there as a volunteer before taking a permanent role four years ago.
Boru is no stranger to long distance bike riding but a solo “bike-packing” adventure of this magnitude and duration will be new territory. He participated in the Race Around Rwanda in March 2022 and he rode from Lands’ End to John O’Groats in Britain in July 2021.
To catch up on where Boru is in the world, or to donate to his chosen charity, please visit: https://linktr.ee/marlboru.
Aidan Sheridan swam approximately 254 kms - the length of the Shannon - and raised a whopping €50,000 for charity – supported from locals and friends this summer.
Raising funds for the Irish Cancer Society and East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support was an obvious choice after his brother Mark passed away from cancer in 2017.
He began training last November, as he wasn’t a particularly strong swimmer, he had to build his training up gradually going to his local pool 6-8 am to practice. He only started his open water swimming in April of this year!
He swam 220,000 strokes, 95,000 breaths of air and 10,000 laps of a swimming pool. He had some shoulder trouble on the second day of the swim but other than that it couldn’t have really gone better .
“It was an amazing evening when they handed over the cheque for €41,000 to East Galway and Midlands Cancer Support Centre. The same night I was told there was going to be a plaque for one of the benches in the garden centre for Mark that was already made out. That made the evening more special for us as a family as we know they can go up and sit on the bench and have a chat with Mark”, states Aidan.
“It was a very proud moment to say we raised enough money to purchase a bus for them, allowing patients who need help with travel to go to Galway and other adjoining hospitals for treatment “, he explained.
They received amazing support from the public. In the lead up to the swim, they had lots of fundraisers, with some people coming to all the events and donating three or four times. He was overwhelmed by the support he received from everyone in the town, as if it wasn’t for residents and businesses, they wouldn’t have got anywhere near the figure they received.
He thanked his wife, Elaine and two kids Summer and Alex. A special mention must go to Ruth and Julien for driving the campervan for him for the two weeks. He also thanked his sponsors Mike Dolan at the Moycarn Lodge, CarryOut Office License, Tiny Tots, Supermac’s, Kids Corner, Credit Union, The Study Centre, Joe Naughton Auctioneers, Signs and Systems, Fred Kilmartin and Hogarty’s Carpet and Flooring. Their sponsorship provided the campervan and food , happily a lot of these businesses came forward asking to sponsor him rather than him having to go looking for it.
He concludes by saying “People around town were knocking on our door looking to give us stuff, which shows how the people of Ballinasloe pull together.”
This wasn’t a solo effort from Aidan as he was supported by members of the local civil defence force primarily because he is known for his feats of fitness, in 2016 for example he completed 52 Marathons in 52 weeks.
Critically one of the main charities which he was raising money for locally has also been supported by the Civil Defence in the past at various events and would have close ties with them. They also have members who are trained in operating Rescue Boats near swimmers and who have good knowledge of the local waterways, so it made sense for them to help.
They took over the role of support/rescue boat for him from Roscommon Civil Defence early on the morning of July 22nd at the Athlone weir after launching from Coreen Ford.
Over the course of the three days, they had seven of their members take turns crewing the rescue boat. These varied in clinical levels from first aid responder, through emergency medical technician up to paramedic. They also carried food and drinks for him and made sure he received his breaks on time. They handed over the relief duties at Banagher to the Meelick/Eyrecourt kayakers.
Ballinasloe Town Hall Theatre are organising a special 90’s themed Halloween celebration this October. They will be screening two classic Halloween movies from the 1990’s over the Bank Holiday Weekend.
First up on Friday 28th Oct at 10pm they will be screening 1996’s slasher horror “Scream” (rated 18). This cult classic is credited with revitalising the slasher genre and has spawned an entire franchise of movies. The film follows high school student Sidney Prescott and her group of friends who become the targets of a mysterious killer in a Halloween costume known as Ghostface.
Then on Saturday 29th at 4pm they will be showing Disney’s fantasy comedy “Hocus Pocus” (rated PG). The film follows a villainous comedic trio of witches, the Sanderson sisters, who are inadvertently resurrected by a teenage boy (Max) on Halloween night. The breadth of its subsequent success was made clear this year with the release of the long-awaited sequel “Hocus Pocus 2” after 29 years!
Ballinasloe Town Hall Theatre encourages you to get into the Halloween spirit by dressing up and enjoying this unique Halloween movie experience. Tickets for the screenings are €5 and will be available to purchase online at www.ballinasloetownhall.com.
Please note: Children must be accompanied by a parent/guardian at all times, and proof of age may be required before being granted admission.
B.A.C.D. are to launch details of the proposed new Pulse Hub & provide an update of their ambitious 10-year plan at their upcoming AGM, which will be held on November 10th @ 7.30 pm in Shearwater hotel.
As BACD were unable to host a full in-person AGM since 2019, Chairman Seamus Duffy said “We are looking forward to welcoming everyone from the many different businesses, state agencies, societies, and community groups whom we have worked alongside over the past few years and to update everyone on what has been achieved by the company and the wider community. The focus of the event will be about sharing and discussing upcoming plans for the town and hinterland, and I would encourage anyone with an interest in the development and rise of the area to come along and see how they can get involved.”
Meanwhile the Development Company are seeking tenders for the renovation works to convert the existing building bank chambers building on Society Street into a state-of-the-art remote working hub through the procurement website www.etenders.ie
Lyn Donnelly project manager stated "We are encouraging all local contractors to submit a tender. The works consist of minor demolition work & construction works, full M&E fit out, installation of internal and external doors and windows, internal partitions, floor and ceiling finishes and full furniture fit outs.
Just Transition funds have been drawn down through the department of rural and community affairs for this project, therefore the tender must be done through a main contractor who is procured through the national procurement website.
We recently repainted the building with the support of Galway County Council. There is a lot of interest in the building within the town and surrounding area, with many already enquiring about the office space. With the tenders due back mid-November it is hoped to commence the works in Q1 2023 with completion date expected Q4 2023." explained Lyn.
All enquiries can be sent directly to Lyn@bacd.ie or at 0909646516
The cream of Ireland's traditional musicians and their followers from all four provinces of Ireland and beyond, arrived in the town to join in the festival atmosphere of the ninth Féile Cheoil Larry Reynolds.
All events staged on the festival programme were very well supported, some selling out long before D-day. Word on the street, and the feedback from locals and visitors was all positive, complimenting, not only the quality of music, and a very well-run event, but the welcome visitors received, and how colourful the town looked.
The festival not only celebrates the musical life of Larry Reynolds, but also promotes the East Galway Style of Music and Playing coupled with developing Irish Music, Heritage & Culture in the Region. This has been a unique selling point and part of the festival branding since inception which was evident all weekend.
Building on the success, the focus now is on the 10th Anniversary. Beds have already been booked from September 8th – 10th 2023 !
It's not just the Zombies you need to watch out for though - beware of the Goblins, Witches and Ghosts as they too try to get up close and personal!
The infamous Garbally Zombie walk is taking place on Sat 29th And Sunday 30th October in Garbally woods.
Set in the parkland of the historic Clancarty Mansion, Groups of 15-20 will be taken by zombie guides around the haunted woods, bedecked with a cast of witches, zombies, goblins, pixies and Garbally House staff from the eighteenth Century, who had left their tombs to haunt the 25 minute route.
Tickets are €12+ booking fee with time slots of 6.45, 7.45 & 8.45 on Saturday and 5.45, 6.45 and 7.45 on the Sunday, only available through the Town Hall Theatre website. www.ballinasloetownhall.com.
The event is being organised by Ballinasloe Area Community Development (BACD) and the Ballinasloe Musical Society (BMS) with the support of many community organisations . All funds raised will go directly towards further promoting the online image of Ballinasloe & Surrounding Areas ( including Ballinasloe.ie & Ballinasloe Life Social Media channels) and towards the Ballinasloe Musical Society.
The Walk is suitable for all ages , is not appropriate for persons with mobility issues as access is unsuitable for buggies or wheelchairs. And although there are no age restrictions the organisers ask guardians to be mindful of younger children that may find it too spooky.
B.A.C.D. Chairperson Seamus Duffy said: “On previous occasions, we had over 80 volunteer stewards and performers and this year we are appealing to anyone who wishes to get involved to reach out to us, it is a great community event” Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Seamus on 0872506431 or Lisa Whyte (BMS) on 0868782529.
Contact Lyn or Martina in Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre @ 0909646516 for more information!
Book online now at www.ballinasloetownhall.com to take part in Ballinasloe's spookiest stroll!
Parking and meeting point - Ard Scoil Mhuire, H53CP40, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway
Saturday 29th October
Sunday 30th October
Under 12's must be acoompanied by an adult!
Local Rector John Godfrey of the Aughrim, and Creagh Parish Union is leading plans for a community 'climate action park' on church land in Aughrim, RTE Countrywide featured him and the project in a recent piece.
He was inspired to create the biodiversity park as has a big campus on his doorstep. Historically the rectors that lived on the land would have farmed it. It makes sense to have the park in that location as they already have a garden which is used for growing vegetables and an orchard.
The Community Employment Scheme has helped make the site an educational amenity while the school children from Glebe NS plant the trees donated by the local community.All the produce that is grown on the land is given back into the community. The juice from the apples in the orchard is bottled and sold in ‘Burke’s’ shop.
The local people maintain the garden and by doing this they learn new skills. The schoolchildren would sometimes have lessons in the garden about planting, the cycles of nature, biodiversity, and sustainable living.
In 2019 the ‘Friday’s For Future’ movement helped inspire the Reverend to plan the park, when children around the world went on strike on Fridays to protest about climate change. “On the 15th of March 2019 10,000 Irish children had protested outside Dáil Éireann, and I realised we had to respond. The scripture reading for that week was about the need for urgent change” states Rev John .
The original plan was just to plant trees to take the harmful carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. As they were planning the park, they thought the most impactful way to utilise the space was to open it up to the public rather than just plant trees, hopefully inspiring the public to make a positive difference in their lives.
In 2019 ‘Holy Trinity Church’ had it’s 200th anniversary and they had a big service. They used theservice to show their vision for the biodiversity park and at the end, the whole community down to the park and they symbolically planted the first tree which was blessed by Fr. Geraghty . Afterwards they then planted more apple trees.
A landscape firm Radharc landscaping from Moycullen, developed plans for the project, Fingelton-White engineering helped submit the planning application. Planning was approved in February this year and they are just waiting on the final archaeological sign-off before they can start properly. - planting and laying down pathways.
They also have a river running along the bottom of the site and working with Irish waterways will improve the quality of the water. They will rake the gravel at the bottom of the riverbed to allow the trout to spawn and loosen the gravel with their tails.
The hope is that the project would fall into the requirements for leader funding from the EU.
Within the site there is ruins of two ancient abbey’s both of which pre-date the reformation. One is from the twelfth or thirteenth century and the other goes all the way back to the sixth. They are attributed to St. Catherine who is the patron saint of Aughrim. This is the birthplace of Christianity in the area which is significant to both churches, It means they can go back to their shared origin and unite to help shape the future.
“If you want to take care to fix the environment, then you need to take time to notice it first”, states Rev. John.
Richard Moore grew up at 1 Brackernagh . The Moore family are listed in the 1901 Census as living in Dunlo Hill and in the 1911 Census, at Brackernagh.
Richard’s grandfather and great-grandfather were bakers, at Rourke’s Bakery. They were part of the musical fabric of town, performing in the Ballinasloe Choral and Orchestral Society and the St. Michael’s Church Choir, under the direction of the highly esteemed Ms Lavinia (Breezy) Sheridan (1888-1972), who was the Director of Music for the Diocese of Clonfert.
Richard began tinkering at the piano from a young age and listened to his Aunt Evie (Moore) Brennan, ALCM, play piano hits by Winifred Atwell, Scott Joplin, Charlie Kunz; Classical music and music from the Musicals and all the popular hits of the day.
Evie became a well-known accompanist and piano teacher locally. His Aunt Ita was a gifted singer and violinist and his cousin Fr. Noel Colahan, had leading roles as a boy-soprano, in the Garbally musicals. His cousin Bernie Larkin played accordion with the Kiltormer Céilí Band and the Aughrim Slopes.
Formal Piano lessons, with graded exams, began at age 6, with Ms Lavinia Sheridan. Playing trombone as a youngster with the Town Band under the batons of Timmy Kelleher and Noel Madden, was to provide a love of brass playing.
While attending Garbally,singing in the annual musical was a highly anticipated event. As a first year in Garbally, fifty years ago in 1972, Richard was part of the chorus in the Pirates of Penzance, by Gilbert and Sullivan. Coincidently, in his day as a student, his cousin Fr. Noel Colahan played the lead role of Mabel in the Pirates, and this year, Richard’s daughter Esther won a Performer of the Year award, for her role of Ruth in the Loughrea Youth Theatre’s production of the Pirates of Penzance.
Richard is amazed at the rich vein of talent in the once famous “ all to once side like “ part of town - Brackernagh through the years has spawned a wealth of musicians, including: Tommy Derrane, John Clayton, Tom Keogh, Paddy Greally, Martin Greally, Gerard Farrell, Bernie Larkin, Johnny Whelan, Aidan Judge, Gerard O'Connor, Paddy Daly, Noel Madden, Martina (Madden) Doherty, Austin Madden, Chris Doherty, Amie Doherty, Rachel Doherty, Noel Doherty, Gerry Seale, Cecil O'Grady, Brendan Loughnane, Gerry Loughnane, Pat Vaughan, Johnny Furey, Paddy Burke, Michael Ryan, Nellie Hurley, Margaret, Mary & Theresa Cusack, Tom Quinn. This list doesn’t even include all the singers from Brackernagh!!
Studying for a Bachelor of Music Degree at U.C.C. provided a love and appreciation of Classical Music. Following four years of study in Boston, Richard graduated with honours from the world famous Berklee College of Music. While there, he had the opportunity to study Jazz and Popular Music and to perform in a very wide range of top-class music ensembles.
Richard is still unpacking all the information he learned at Berklee! In the early 80s, he travelled to North America and Australia, playing piano with the Irish-music group Ceoltóirí Maghlocha, from Moylough.
Having spent five years in London, where he worked in the Music Department of the Performing Rights Society (IMRO in Ireland), and playing with a variety of groups, Richard returned to Ballinasloe and spent twenty-five years playing keyboards with the popular band, Heatwave. The local band also included Louie Burgoyne and Jack Mannion from Ballinasloe, and Mick Slattery from Athlone.
Richard obtained his Piano Teaching Diploma from the Associated Boards of the Royal Schools of Music and spent twenty-five years teaching piano until he relocated to Doha in Qatar for six months, where he taught music in a Primary School. He is also a qualified Secondary School music teacher and has taught in schools in Galway and the Midlands.
The benefits of learning music are very well documented; learning music stimulates, challenges and enriches young people during their formative school years and indeed into adulthood and senior years. “ I’m delighted to see that the town band is thriving and that the young musicians are getting an excellent music education and expert tuition, thanks to the dedication of Noel and Martina Madden, Keith Kelly and the band committee. Ballinasloe has always had very dedicated instrumental and singing teachers, and the fruits of their labour are borne out by the multitude of local musicians who are playing in Ballinasloe and afar”, he states .
Following the cessation of music teaching and performing as a result of Covid, Richard is delighted to be returning to teaching and performing. He now teaches in Gurtymadden, which is central to Ballinasloe, Loughrea and Portumna. Richard is looking forward to passing on his considerable music knowledge to his students; his goal is to set the student on a path of lifelong learning and enjoyment.
He has also recently begun a residency at the Moycarn Lodge and Marina every Thursday evening, where the proprietors Mike and Miriam Dolan, are providing a wonderful opportunity for up-and-coming musicians and singers to perform in public. He also plays keyboards with the exciting function band, ‘The Heebie Jeebies’ from Roscommon.
Richard Moore can be contacted at 087 9657939 for Piano/Theory/Junior & Leaving Cert Music grinds.
Emma Mitchell was a key member of the Galway Minor GAA team. Daughter of Mairead and John – the Kilclooney native had to train hard while combining studying in Ardscoil Mhuire.
She began playing GAA when she was six years old. A stalwart centre back she was extremely excited to play for the maroon and white of Galway and felt very privileged to represent the Ballinasloe GAA Club on the squad.
As we all know now this year the Galway minors were beaten by Cork in the All-Ireland final. However, the game wasn’t played in Croke park but instead in Macdonagh Park, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary.
She doesn’t feel like she missed out by not playing in Croker; she enjoyed Nenagh. “I preferred the match being in Nenagh as there was a great atmosphere and I was able to meet all my friends and family after the game.”
Preparation is key and the team had their normal routine. They trained three times a week. On the Monday before the match, they had a players meeting. Then they treated the match like any other game. They got on the bus together which helped relax them.
Unfortunately for Emma she won’t be able to play on the minor team next year, but she has confidence that with the talent coming through that Galway can win an All-Ireland title. She has been inspired by all amazing club and county players who have pushed her on to be the best player she can be.
Unsurprisingly the coach she learned the most from would be her father, John Mitchell. He began coaching her at under 10 level and still continues to coach her now.
“I think all girls should try GAA as it has given me friends for life that will always be there for me“. states Emma.
She thanked all associated with Ballinasloe GAA Club and the local community for the support they have given her and for coming out to matches to cheer on the team. However, she concludes by “thanking her mam Mairead Mitchell for all the long hard nights for taking her to training”
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