A week draped in blackness

A pall hangs over the west this week. It should have been a week where the main topic of conversation would be whether “Galway will bate Mayo” on Sunday next.

That’s what should be occupying our minds. The thought of two giants colliding on a dry Salthill pitch, of nothing left behind, just the spoils for the victor and another day for the loser.

But unfortunately, it’s not.

The Bank Holiday Weekend locally was one that was horrendous. Every day of it, somebody died in horrific circumstance on our roads and in our water and in other ways too horrific to countenance.

The deaths of young Sean Halloran from Clonbur and Orla O’Malley from Cross in that horrific accident near Tourmakeady have seen bells toll in churches across both those parishes yesterday and today. Life taken from bright, vibrant young people who had much to offer their communities and their counties.

The death of Oisin Allman, the estate agent from Salthill was another that added to the tragedy. It is only a short few weeks since he lost his sister Maureen, who brought so much hope to many terminally-ill people when she kept us informed of her bucket list on the Late Late Show and on local radio. Now they are together again, but their departure leaves so much sadness. His funeral will take place in Moycullen this weekend.

In that same church today, another family mourns. The McDonagh family have known their share of upset and heartbreak over the past few years. The death of Theresa in the terrible incident at the weekend is one that has shaken them to the core. To them and to all the grieving families and communities, we send our support, our prayers.

There are others who died too and we remember them as well.

It was just one of those weeks that we wish had never taken place. Horror and tragedy on our doorstep, horror and tragedy in London and Tehran and Kabul. And then the eyes of the world, turned to Galway as those rocks went through the window of the mosque in an act that is not typical of Galway. This city does not do intolerance and it is heartwarming to see so many of us stand side by side with any sector of our community that is under threat, whether it be the Travellers who were forced to protest their eviction at Salthill, the asylum seekers I wrote about last week, or any grouping within our community.

100 years ago this week, the county was equally mourning the loss of life, equally as senselessly.

The explosion of a wayward British mine that was brought ashore at Lochan Beag near Spiddal resulted in the deaths of nine locals. Only one man survived.

The repeat of such a tragic week, 100 years on just shows the tragic threads that knit our lives together. We do not know what or when lies ahead of us when we head out each day.

So, all we can do is support one another, be less judgemental, be more forgiving, and let us return again to the days when all that will matter will be the likes of Galway v Mayo.

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