Why not get out of Galway for the races?

Mon, May 22, 2017

If you are thinking of your well-deserved family break then look no further. The Athlone Springs Hotel has it all.

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Exposure to the language of hate will strengthen our resolve to oppose it

Thu, Aug 24, 2017

There seems to be no downtime from tragedy and events now. As our news cycle goes to sleep on one side of the world, another erupts with a vengeance on the other side. Perhaps in years to come, the true impact of the events of the past two years on our mental health will come to be analysed and quantified.

Paris was shocking until Brussels was until Nice was until London was until Barcelona. And this coming after a year of coverage of the horrors in Syria and people drowning and dying on the shores of Europe. Because of this, it is easy to become weary of human suffering, to dismiss it because it has become so commonplace in our space. In the past, it was horrifyingly easy to dismiss suffering if it was on the African continent. As long as it stayed over there, and wasn’t over here, it was not easy for us to empathise fully with the life-altering awfulness of events in those regions.

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For the week that’s in it...

Thu, Aug 03, 2017

I’m here so I am, like. I’ve landed. Free as a bird. As free as Kieran Donaghy in a Galway defence …coming here thirty year or more, so I am, with me fadder and me fadder’s fadder and me fadder’s fadder’s fadder… though not at the same time like…Sun rises in the capital of culture… ate a clock in the morning like…waking up in a crumpled hape…smartphone alarm beep beeps into me ear...one hand picks up and smashes it again the wall...not so smart now is it…Radio bursts on…blah blah blah Kevin Myers, whodafeckisKevinMyers…they kape talking about him and the races, so he must be a trainer or something. Must keep an eye out for him...’tis Race Week…where am I...recessed lights in ceiling shine into me eyes...discover me pyjamas have a hood in them and me skinny jeans…fell asleep in the clothes again...where am I...not Mrs O’Brien’s B & bloody B this year…no a cheap hotel I found somewhere on the internet thingy… jaypers the state of me…went to bed with me hair like Scaramucci, woke up and ’twas like Sean Spicers’…open shirt buttons and spray deodorant under arms and head for the lift…close buttons, push buttons and fella in the lift mirror does the same...full Irish with bacon rashers and eggs…throw back the lugs and dive in...lash back the orange juice...parched I am...try to walk sober like, wan foot then the udder, repeat...I’m Racingman, I’m wide out…I’m part of Galway. I’m Racingman, the boyoh, unleashed for the week…I walk down the street like Travolta in Saturday Night Fever ‘cept without the can o’ paint…shakin that ass..…down the square check out paddys ladbrokes boyles get the odds... and ends... too early to go out yet...jaypers there’s grass in the Square this year. Council must have shafted the Christmas market so they must…I sit on bench and look at the fountain knocked on for the week……For the day…the small trickle, they’d needn’t have bothered their...whole week I’m here for…sit on steps, legs sprawled…then light up me e-fag…not cool at all…like a small wavin pipe it is… wink at young wan heading to work down town, get scowl but scowl back at her…Trump the tramp has made it difficult for the likes of me and me smalltalk charm..I’m in love, besotted, but she don’t know what’s she missing...missing in Racingman... me. the man…loads o’ young lads in suits…Anthony Ryan mustn’t have a confirmation suit left…Reach into arse pocket of me jeans. What’s this? A wristband from last year saying I Back Galway…what’s that about…I back Galway…I back everything in Galway…Everything I back in Galway normally falls coming up the hill towards the stand…hand shakes but ‘twould by now anyways Wednesday and all... phone dying just two bars...head dying just 25 bars…text from the lads…Pile the money on Balko Des Flos they say. What sort of name of a nag is that, I ask... The brother in law’s sister, well her first cousin knows the stablehands…says Balko Des Flos will walk the Plate…need cash...act fast...shaky fingers dance on vomit-splattered keypad at the bank hole in wall...good job don’t need numbers 3, 8, 2 as they’re splashed pretty bad... cash comes out crisp clean only gives 300 so go to other machine... clean pad, thick wad jammed in arse pocket but switch to front of skinny jeans that are like Glenamaddy ‘cos there’s no ballroom in Glenamaddy anymore... can’t be too sure... cute hoor watching ya catching ya but not me. I’m wide out me so I am, sham ya have to get outa the scratcher early to catch out Racingman…some fecker murdering a violin in the Square...where’s Lee Harvey Oswald when ya need him…I’m in love with the shape of you he sings at me…smart fecker…get the Racing Post...to look cool like…in the know…and the Star...dash into Debbinghams cosmetics section and when the posh wimmen staff aren’t looking over, Racingman is lost in a spraycloud of Calvin Kyne, Packie Rabanne and Ralph Lawrence eau de sweat…lash on the lot of them…the cognac combo….then a splash on ur hand to look like ya know your stuff…spray some on that little card yolk… doubles up as a toothpick…smelling grand...looking good, give the crown jewels a scratch…let me get wan thing straight and all that…ready for the road...ready for the course...hop into taxi...sit in front…legs sprawled…talk the talk…big happy head on him...air stinks of air freshener and stale conversation...he tells me country is fecked...emigrants should shag off home…to Mayo…Brexit. Then he said something about a rising tide lifting boats…knows his stuff this fella…crabbing on about immigrants taking our wimmen, can’t get jobs…and he’s from Lagos...three ways to racecourse...green, blue and red routes…an hour later we take a bit of blue and red and he drops me in a cowshit-spattered field near Castlegar church...walk that way he says... the brown route...and I walk...go to ring the boys but smartphone still smarting from batin’ I gave it… walk straight...shoes covered in sheeeite…sham says ‘any wan want to try the three card trick the three card trick, watch out Char-less the shades are lamping the scene’... don’t fall for that not after last year not me cos I’m wide out...Racingman won’t fall for that...this year...in the gate...meet yer man from home he waves and says he knows for sure Balko des Flos won’t have a snowball’s chance in a cat or whatever the saying is I tell him he’s probably right…get card and biro...rip page from card and jam it in raffle drum to win another shaggin’ night in another gombeen hotel...always been lucky, mother said, when I won the teddy bear at the sale of work but she didn’t know I stole it then sold it then stole it again...Guard nods at me I nod back ‘howya guard’ what does he know... probably has a file on Racingman... Maybe a whistleblower will get it for me…the big happy Templemore head on him and eyes red-out from reading Pulse all night…lads say to tease them about the missing breath tests but I told them I will in me ....whole day looking around to see famous faces...no sign of Leo at all at all here. Mustn’t be his scene, this sort of stuff, so it mustn’t…God with the days when ya’d meet Bertie and we didn’t know that he was walking around with all his wages in his pocket…Saw the Lads, roared c’mon ya bollix at them, the boys from home...lads swore they saw some of the Tipp hurlers there, but I said naw, not with the match on Sunday…saw Ted Walsh though…twenty years since he rode her mother...run to the stand... spilling plastic pints down new Next shirt, it’ll live up to its name tomorrow…Balko Des Flos romps home fair play Davy Russell...plastic pints go skywards...beef sandwiches all round... grease is the next stain for the Next shirt... Lads have quare wans’ mobile numbers… they want 200 notes for an hour of the bould thing... lads laugh when I ask for group discount….an hour I laugh, an hour of drinking time wasted...she says for 400 she’ll bate me with a whip ’til I cry and give me a happy ending…told her I can get a batin’ for nawthing outside the chipper…and if I want a happy ending, I can watch Frozen…and the lads laugh…I know my culture…and then the streets...Latin Quarter with not a word of latin on me…nil desperandum and all that…from wan pub to another.…with the boys…Not a sign of any Latinos in the Latin Quarter…Racingman’s head’s in a spin...time for food...tuna melt with extra dolphin...staggered up the pedestrianised streets…loose cobblestones with solicitors’ numbers painted on to them...hops into taxi and shows him card from hotel...Lagos man again......more stale conversation...he’s up from Carlow with all the other taxidrivers…takes me home to Newcastle via Athenry…he knows a shortcut. Tells me he loves Trump…drives me around town nine times to make sure he gets parking and then drops me back at gombeen hotel where room was chayper than taxi...birds are singing when me head hits the bed...zzzzzzzzzzzzz..ate a clock...smartphone about to beep its alarm, but decides not to...now that’s a smart phone...still only Thursday morning…but I love it. I love Race Week...and today’s Ladies’ Day. I better have a bath....

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A party town for some, but not the homeless

Thu, Jul 27, 2017

In a month in which we in Galway thrive on festivals, tourists, and summer sunshine, we realise just how blessed we are to live in one of Europe's most engaging cities. As the most influential arts festival winds down this weekend, and the iconic Galway Races begin, we can feel a little smug that we live in a such a special place. Every day, every month, every year it seems Galway just marches forward - more visitors, more recognition, and more festivals.

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Art is good for you

Thu, Jul 20, 2017

The arrival of the Galway International Arts Festival is a sure sign that it’s high summer in Galway, and this is a glorious time to enjoy all that our beautiful city has to offer.

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Support ourselves by supporting local business

Thu, Jul 13, 2017

This is proving to be a good year for many Galway businesses. As one looks at the tourists wandering through the streets of Galway city, and the buzz in Shop Street and around the city centre, it would be easy to feel that all is well, and every business is benefiting from the increased numbers of visitors and the general feel good factor. This sense of a thriving city is particularly evident at this time of year, as the Galway Film Fleadh leads in to the Galway International Arts Festival, which in turn is followed by Galway Race Week. These festivals, and the many others which take place throughout the year, make a significant contribution to business activity in both the city and the county. We welcome the success of these businesses, which is fully deserved, primarily through the hard work, dedication, and level of customer service they provide.

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Let SeaFest woo you with the magic of the ocean

Thu, Jun 29, 2017

If Galway Bay was covered with a sheet of strong glass, and if the skies reflected off it, like they do off the water on a summer’s day, you can be sure we would be out there all the time, slipping and sliding on it, falling on our arses on it, making up strange glass-bound games to play on this strange playground.

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Let the longest day be your starting point

Thu, Jun 22, 2017

Last night, the stretch of the light pushing back the darkness eased up a little on the pressure. Proud at itself for stretching out the day for as long as it could, it stalled and said, ok, this is as far as I’m going to get this year. I’ve pushed the light as much as I can. I’ve thrown illumination on the land for as much of the day but now I’m weary, and I must give in to the inevitable and start to concede light and ground.

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Galway Community College role in Jadotville campaign can be template for social change

Thu, Jun 15, 2017

When a teacher stands in front of their class, they know that they are like an arms dealer, passing on the most powerful weapon in the world — the weapons of knowledge and education. Education is what remains in your mind long after you have left behind your schooldays. Its role is to replace an empty mind with an open one. It is that process that continues throughout life in the race to become a better person. And when you see a class of young students enforcing change, it is most refreshing in this age of cynicism.

This week I am full of pride for the role in which a Galway school played in righting a half-century-old wrong. You are probably familiar with the story of Jadotville and the role played by heroic Irish soldiers when massively outnumbered in the Congo. The story of their struggle to be recognised as heroes is well known, but even with the advent of a major movie starring Jamie Dornan, the campaign seemed destined to run into the ground, until the intervention of fifth year history students at Galway Community College who informed themselves about the famous siege, asked questions, and driven by a motivating teacher, Philip Cribbin, they sought a way to draw a path to the corridors of power.

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A week draped in blackness

Thu, Jun 08, 2017

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.

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Allow asylum seekers the dignity of work

Thu, Jun 01, 2017

The most valuable possession any person has is his or her dignity.

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Pushing back the boundaries of fear

Thu, May 25, 2017

It’s the empty beds that hurt the most.

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Lottery Winners: The Weird & The Wonderful.

Wed, May 24, 2017

Winning the lottery makes people feel a lot of things, and one of them is absolutely ecstatic, almost like they've, well, won the lottery. It's the ultimate dream for many of us, and it's something we tend to talk about a lot - even if we don't play it.

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A look at some of 2017's must have gadgets.

Mon, May 22, 2017

2017 has seen yet more innovation in phones, laptops, TVs, games consoles, 3D printers and a whole host of other gadgets. Most of them do not come cheap, so obtaining your dream gadget can often be problematic. However, there are some affordable and very practical gadgets out there that can be just as enjoyable to use. Starting off with the cheapest and working up to the most expensive gadgets, classifieds.advertiser.ie is on hand to help you decide which one is for you.

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Through four decades, the Arts Festival has shaped Galway

Thu, May 18, 2017

I love the smell of the Galway International Arts Festival programme.

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Who started the fire that destroyed a generation of trees?

Thu, May 11, 2017

Imagine 2040 — and how much will have changed.

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Never have we more needed empathy as part of our life

Thu, May 04, 2017

Sometimes you wonder if you could turn back the clock and relive elements of your life, just how far back you would go? And what elements would you change? And would you use this Benjamin Button power to enrich yourselves with things material or imagined?

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Upping the ante on the speeding stakes

Thu, Apr 27, 2017

A few years ago I dreamt that I had kicked the bucket and ended up in Hell. I was in the middle of a recurring boring dream at the time and for me the idea of never-ending boredom was far worse than an eternity of fire and brimstone. It would have been my hell. And I got to thinking that maybe that’s what hell is all about if there’s a hell. It’s custom-made to suit the individual peccadilloes of the entrant. You see a person made of fire retardant material would have no bother at all with Hell. “Arragh I’ll do it on me back,” they’d have roared at St Peter as he directed them away from the pearly gates.

You see a punishment that isn’t really a punishment isn’t a punishment at all. Giving up avocadoes for Lent isn’t any bother if you never cared if you saw an avocado ever again.

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Children - the forgotten mourners

Thu, Apr 20, 2017

When a loved one dies children are sometimes unintentionally left out of the grieving process. Families, too shocked and devastated by the passing of a family member, may not even be aware of how much a child is suffering.

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