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Animal lover Rhona gives home to 150 rescue cats

Judy Murphy

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Lifestyle – Judy Murphy meets a woman who devotes all of her time to looking after sick and abandoned felines

There are two types of people in the world – those who don’t like cats and those who do.

And then there’s Rhona Lucas who is simply cat crazy. So much does 70-year-old Rhona love the 150 cats in her care that she is leaving her home in Kylebrack, Loughrea, and relocating to a remote part of County Clare, rather than give up any of them.

Rhona moved to Loughrea eight years ago, following a successful career in Child Protection Services in the UK. Her new home was close to a national school. At the time, she and her husband John, had just two cats and dogs, so that wasn’t a problem.

But 150 is too many for some people.

“While my cats are wormed, treated for lice and fleas and vetted, not everybody likes animals being close to children,” she says.

So, she is in the process of gathering them up and relocating to rural West Clare where she has bought a property with sheds and barns to accommodate the cats, as well as her dogs.

In her Cat Dubh sanctuary in Kylebrack, the cats had the run of the house – apart from the guest bedroom and the living room – but in their new abode, the sheds will be their home. That’s the plan, but given Rhona’s love of animals, it’s by no means certain.

 “I have always loved animals but I didn’t ever intend to have this number,” she explains.

That happened after she moved to Loughrea. People realised she would care for strays, so they began contacting about feral cats. She organises for them to be trapped and neutered and in many cases, holds onto their kittens, simply because nobody else wants them.

For the past three years Rhona has got a small grant from the Department of Agriculture for her work because An Cat Dubh is open to regular inspections. This has increased from €1,000 to €3,400 and all goes towards the vets’ bills, which totalled €4,000 last year.

“When you are trapping and neutering 180 cats a year, it adds up,” she says.

Rhona originally moved to Kylebrack, because she had family in Whitegate in East Clare and that was the closest she could find a suitable property.

She worked for the department of Social Welfare in the UK which is where she met her husband, John.  “I grew up in the city but I was always a country girl at heart,” says Rhona, who has six grandchildren and a great grandchild.”I loved flowers and nature.”

However, it wasn’t until she was 62 that she got to fulfil her dream of country living. Now aged 70, she has no intention of quitting her work with animals.

“I really love what I am doing and I hope to do it for 10 years more. I’m trying to give animals some quality of life, free from the burden of giving birth to sick litters who die.”

Jim Smyth’s Railway Veterinary Clinic in Loughrea gives Rhona’s name to people who want to contact somebody about animal welfare issues, especially cats.

“I work well with feral cats,” she says. “It takes time and patience to get them used to humans.”

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Lifelong illness that positively influenced one woman’s life’s path

Denise McNamara

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Anne Daly

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle by Denise McNamara

When Anne Daly realised she had been dealing with Type 1 Diabetes for 50 years she wanted to acknowledge the achievement of being fit and healthy after so long managing a debilitating disease.

Some people may have celebrated with a fancy dinner, others may have taken themselves off for a weekend away.

Not Anne, a native of Kilchreest outside Craughwell.

She decided to set up a website to support people who may have just been diagnosed with Diabetes or were struggling to manage their symptoms.

The Artisan Diabetic was born, in which she shares diabetes-friendly recipes and gives a platform for people to discuss the myriad of health issues associated with the condition that is growing more prevalent by the day.

The International Diabetes Federation Diabetes Atlas from 2013 estimated it affected 207,000 people in Ireland in the 20 – 79 age group or 6.5 per cent of the population. That was projected to rise to 233,000 by this year and to 279,000 by 2030.

“It occurred to me there was no avenue for a lot of people to talk about diabetes. There is advice for anyone who wants to improve their immune system through diet, not just those with diabetes. People who get loads of colds or may want to try and lose weight find it useful from a nutritional lifestyle point of view.”

When her children were young, she chose the unusual profession of cake maker, creating elaborate wedding and special occasion cakes which she would never eat herself.

She later trained as a Quality Technician and worked for a medical device company, enjoying the process of watching a device going from the lab through rigorous trials and eventually to the assembly line.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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Young people play on ice in the field between Grattan Road and Dr Colohan Road in the 1970s. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

1920

Cardinal’s condemnation

His Eminence Cardinal Logue has issued a Pastoral Letter in which he denounces competition in murder between miscalled patriots and the forces of the Crown.

His eminence, referring to the tragedies in Dublin, says the assassination of individuals is a terrible crime, and an outrage against God’s law.

It is a greater shock to humanity and a graver outrage against the divine ordinance to turn lethal weapons against an unarmed, closely-packed multitude, reckless of the lives of innocent people who may fall victims.

His Eminence refers in strong terms to the action of the forces in Ireland, and declares that no path of lies can screen or conceal the guilt of their proceedings. He solemnly appeals to his flock to avoid action which would bring them into conflict with God’s law.

His Eminence adds that if the people appeal to God with full earnestness and perseverance for the spiritual and temporal wants of their country, they may rest assured that the appeal will not be made in vain.

Bitter fruits

In the horrors through which Ireland is passing to-day we are witnessing the bitter fruits of government by minority. Had the Cabinet of Britain the wisdom and foresight to perceive that an effort to impose the will of North-East Ulster upon the overwhelming majority of the Irish people must inevitably result in disaster, the terrible tale of these tragic days might never have been written.

As it is, the failure to ensure that a peaceable constitution should run without trammel or hindrance in Ireland has cost the British Government as much as did the South African war.

Yet the present Premier had once to escape from the Birmingham Town Hall disguised as a policeman because he denounced that war, and his one-time chief, Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, granted a full measure of freedom to the Boer whilst yet he held the smoking rifle in his hands.

The results of that enlightened policy have been mutually satisfactory to the two peoples. Yet South Africa had an “Ulster” question, as had Canada. The difference was that the recalcitrant in these lands had not the ear of Cabinet leaders.

If to-day Ireland stands in unhappy contrast, the real blame lies with those who have stifled statesmanship and imposed the disastrous substitute of a miserable provincial expediency.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play

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Connacht Tribune

Need for cash led to new chapter for book-loving young dad

Stephen Glennon

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Jim Shaughnessy in the viewing room.

Lifestyle – A Claregalway company specialising in antiquarian and out-of-print books has developed a worldwide market for its rare publications.  Owner Jim Shaughnessy tells STEPHEN GLENNON that focusing on high-quality editions and unusual collections has allowed MW Books to create its own unique niche.

On these winter mornings, it can be a struggle to get out of bed for many, yet not so for Renmore native Jim Shaughnessy of MW Books in Claregalway. For the antique and first edition books specialist, he has 250,000 reasons to rise and shine and embrace a new day.

Jim’s story is a remarkable one. Having traded books as a collector of 20th century literature for some years and working in several jobs previously, including at Kenny’s Books, Jim ventured into the world of bookselling in 2005.

“My first daughter (Eva) was born 16 years ago and I had that kind of naïve, romantic, young father moment in that I wanted to spend a load of time with her. So, I packed in what I was doing but, then, after a few months, the bills started piling up.

“All I knew at the time was books. At first, it was an opportunity to trade a bit, initially from my own collection, but then it became a necessity in terms of the family. So, I started to take it a bit more seriously. I started with book one and, today, we have 250,000 live stock items,” says the father-of-two. (His other daughter is Tess, 13.)

Looking over the warehouse floor in Lydican is a sight to behold. For any book-lover, it’s quite possibly the closest thing to heaven you’ll get. Jim smiles at the notion. He says it has taken time to get his online business to this point.

“It is such a rapidly competitive marketplace, we really had to sculpt out a niche for ourselves. It is not just the range of materials but more specifically, the quality. We pay a premium price for our better-condition copies and we actively go after more unusual collections and libraries, just to try to set us apart from what everyone else is doing.

“That seems to have worked out, that kind of specific approach, but it takes time. We are kind of an overnight success after 15 or 16 years,” says the UCG graduate and post-graduate (Masters in English).

He explains that the ‘MW’ in the company name are nicknames – which he doesn’t divulge! – between his wife Annemarie and himself.

“It was never intended to be what it is,” he says. “Originally, when we started trading to make some cash, I needed a name and, jokingly, we put MW on it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play

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