Dance teacher Patricia Glynn has proved a pioneer in her field and not even a kidney transplant has halted her determination to help people explore and develop their creativity on the dancefloor. Judy Murphy tells her story.
Patricia Glynn has never been afraid to break new ground, something she began in the early 1970s when she became the first pupil from Galway City’s Mercy School to train as a PE teacher.
Later ‘firsts’ for the city woman included becoming the first teacher in Ireland to be awarded an Arts Council grant to study dance abroad so that she could return home and develop Dance in Education. That was in 1980.
Later, Patricia who suffered kidney failure in 2007, became the first person to avail of a new home-dialysis programme here in Galway between 2009-10.
In between, she completed a Masters in Dance at New York University, having received a second Arts Council grant as well as a Fulbright Scholarship. And there was a stint in London, working as a senior trainer with the National Health Service in the early 2000s.
Now, as Galway City Dance Artist in Residence, Patricia’s projects including developing a new company for people aged 50+, something she began last year, driven by a desire to allow people to explore and develop their creativity throughout life. Not to mention staying healthy and having fun, she adds.
Patricia’s involvement with the arts began in her childhood home in Renmore, a house steeped in music, dance, and storytelling.
Her mother Lucy was originally from Fiddaun, near Shanaglish in South Galway whose father “lilted for set-dancers and played spoons. For her whole life, my mother loved music”, Patricia recalls.
Lucy ran a B&B where visitors were treated to treats such as homemade apple tarts, accompanied by concerts from the Glynn children. Patricia’s father, John, was from Kiltullagh, Oranmore, and an accordion player who used to play for set-dancers at Carnmore Cross.
“People used to call us the von Trapps,” she says with a laugh, referring to the family in the Sound of Music. She and her siblings had their own roles; dancing, playing instruments and singing, as well as comedy.
“There was complete respect for creativity,” she recalls. The Glynns operated ‘the Noble Call’, where a person would dance, sing or say a poem, and then would invite someone else to follow suit. That way, “the visitors would teach us their songs and we’d teach them ours”.
Patricia’s mother, who was from a farming background, got a scholarship to secondary school and then became a nurse in the Regional Hospital, so there was an ethos in their house of “do the best you can”.
Patricia followed that philosophy and, as a student in the City’s Mercy Secondary School, entered uncharted water by opting to become a PE teacher.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
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Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer
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Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
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Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie
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Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie