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Connacht Tribune

Cormac’s photos of Inis Oírr in Lockdown capture moment in time

Judy Murphy

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A leisurely walk on the beach.

When Cormac Coyne first visited Inis Oírr in December 1996 with his girlfriend, Máire Ní Chonghaile, the Dubliner was so overwhelmed by the night sky in Máire’s home place that he sat on a wall outside the pub for ages, just looking up at it.

The lack of light pollution on the smallest of the Aran Islands allowed the keen astronomer and photographer to drink in the stars – and unlike most people, he knew what he was looking at.

Cormac and Máire got married in 2006 and when their first child, Aoibhe, who will be 13 in August, was born, they decided to move from Dublin to the island “for the quality of life”, he says.

Cormac, a scientist who’d worked in pharmaceuticals, found a new career as a secondary school teacher, working on Inis Meáin and Inis Oírr, and the couple who went to have a son, Fiachna (10), settled into island life.

For his previous work, Cormac had built computer systems and helped train people to use them, a part of the job he loved, so while he was nervous about the transition to teaching, he embraced it. And he had free time to pursue his other loves of photography and astronomy. Anybody who follows Cormac on social media will be familiar with his stunning images of Inis Oírr, as he captures the beauty of this small place by day and night.

His photos are now the subject of a new online exhibition, Inis Oírr in Lockdown, which is being hosted by the island arts centre, Áras Éanna, on its website. All but three of the 65 images on display have been taken since March, explains Cormac, whose love of photography indirectly grew from a fear of flying. His uncle took him on a trip to London when he was seven or eight and to assuage the fear, made him ‘assistant photographer’, carrying his Nikon camera. Cormac also took photos and co-incidentally, Máire discovered the two small albums containing his first pictures as he was preparing for this exhibition.

Back then, he realised he loved photography but it wasn’t until he was older, “about 30, that I started spending a bit of money on equipment”. On the island, Cormac combined his passion for the heavens and photography by putting the camera at the back of a telescope, capturing images of the moon, stars and nebulae.

In 2013, Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield took a series of photos of Ireland from space and they made a big impression on Cormac.

“I thought ‘I’m living in a special place’ and even though my photos were fairly ordinary back then, I used to put them on Facebook and Twitter for people who were living away from home.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

SMEs set their sights on Euro expansion

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Kevin Moran of IMS Marketing accepting the ‘Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development, with Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon and Nan Gou, Programme Director, ESMT Berlin.

Irish entrepreneurs have the skills, products and services to break down barriers across Europe, according to one Galway-based marketing agency that is helping SMEs enter new markets.

Kevin Moran, Managing Director of IMS Marketing in Galway, said that this creativity and enthusiasm allows Irish entrepreneurs to punch above their weight in new markets.

He was speaking after his IMS Marketing was honoured for its ‘Enter-the-Eurozone’ Programme which has helped 19 SMEs break into Europe.

And he urged all SMEs to continue to set their ambitions on export markets as we emerge from the Covid-19 restrictions and revisit the challenges of Brexit.

Mr Moran said that IMS Marketing, along with its partners, Enterprise Ireland and ESMT Berlin, was delighted to receive the Excellence in Practice Silver Award’ from the European Foundation for Management Development.

“The vision for the ‘Enter the Eurozone’ Programme was to enable progressive Irish SMEs  to enter a new Eurozone market in a strategically led way,” he said.

“Export markets will be more important than ever for Irish companies and jobs as they now face the twin threat of Brexit and a post Covid19 economic recession.”

Accepting the Award’ from the EFMD, Mr Moran said that his company witnessed the strength of the Irish SME sector during the delivery of the award-winning ‘Enter the Eurozone’ programme.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Businesses miss out on restart grant

Stephen Corrigan

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Mr. Kenneth Deery. Photo: Andrew Downes, Xposure
CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery

Just one-third of Galway business eligible for the Government’s Restart Grant have actually applied for the scheme which aims to bolster small enterprise as Covid-19 restrictions ease.

It was revealed this week that businesses in Galway City and County have received almost €4.5 million in grant aid under the scheme which offers grants of between €2,000 and €10,000 to commercial rates-liable enterprises.

To qualify for the €250 million scheme, businesses must have an annual turnover of less than €5 million; have 50 or fewer employee; and have a projected loss of revenue of 25% or more.

CEO of Galway Chamber Kenny Deery said there were many Galway businesses that had yet to apply for the grants, despite the fact that they were entitled to do so.

Only around 1,100 of the about 3,000 businesses in the city and county that may be due a pay-out have applied, and confusion over eligibility was contributing to that issue, he explained.

“Some businesses are of the view that they’re not eligible, but they need to realise that even if they only paid €500 or €1,000 in rates in 2019, they could still be eligible for €2,000,” he said.

Those who were in rates arrears were also entitled to the grant, said Mr Deery, adding that as long as a business had a rates liability in 2019, they could apply for the grant.

“The payment have just started being paid out to those who applied about two months ago, so it has been slow in terms of progressing those applications.

“What I would be saying to small businesses is that they would need to sell a lot of cups of coffee or a lot of sandwiches to make €2,000 or €5,000 in profit,” said Mr Deery.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Galway embraces Mass changes

Stephen Corrigan

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Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford wearing a mask during the distribution of Holy Communion at Mass in St Joseph’s Church, Kinvara, on Saturday evening. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Parishioners in Kinvara made a long-awaited return to weekend services on Saturday at St Joseph’s Church, and while it was far from business as usual, mass-goers expressed delight at their return to the church.

Parish Priest Fr Hugh Clifford said while there were necessary changes to what people would be accustomed to, the congregation was understanding of why that was necessary and thankful that the implementation of these measures meant they could return to services after a four-month absence.

As part of Phase 3 of the easing of restrictions, services of up to 50 people were allowed, and to respect physical distancing, that meant two seats in every three were blocked off, said Fr Hugh.

“Households can sit together, but at the moment, we have the limit of 50 people, but we hope that will change in the next phase. We have to advise people who are more vulnerable that they should consider staying at home for the time being,” he explained.

The obligation to attend Mass has been lifted since the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis, continued Fr Hugh, meaning that people need not worry if they are unable to attend.

For the Eucharist, the Priest and Eucharistic Ministers wear face coverings and use hand sanitiser to ensure there is no cross-contamination, with Communion administered to people in their seats, said Fr Hugh.

See full coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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