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Creating an appetite for changing the way we eat



Date Published: {J}

It takes bravery and determination to set up a company in times when people are scared of spending money and banks are no longer throwing loans at fledgling enterprises.

But some people are taking the leap and it seems when it comes to quality food and exotic food, there is a market out there.

In the case of Hilary Foley, who set up Ireland’s Raw Kitchen last year, her career in raw food came about by accident.

She came to Galway about 20 years ago and studied engineering. However, following a car crash she moved away from that career and started working in the financial services, eventually becoming self-employed as a broker. But she started suffering from digestive problems.

“I got very ill and I started looking into improving my health. It was all digestive issues. The doctors had given me medication but nobody was treating the food aspect, so I started looking into improving my health by trying different foods,” she says.

“I travelled to Thailand and learned about raw food. I didn’t plan to get into it, but there was nobody doing it in Ireland. I had to get the products for myself and I was paying shipping costs. And then I also wanted to educate people.”

Given that the Raw Kitchen sells products such as chia seeds and all forms of unprocessed cacao, acai berry powder, gogi berries, baobab powder beetroot powder, sea spaghetti, mangosteen powder and a whole lot more, she seems to be doing well on the education front.

Several of these products fall under the term ‘superfoods’, which is used to describe foods that appear to offer additional health benefits beyond simple nutrition. People with a suspicious mind might think that this labelling is a way of adding value to products so you can charge customers more for them.

But Hilary doesn’t agree.

“It can be quite a loose term. It can be anything from broccoli to blueberries to chia seeds,” she says. “[In Ireland] we have an abundance of what we call weeds and nettles that have a lot more nutrients than a lot of the food we eat. You don’t necessarily have to go out and spend a lot of money. It’s about having cop on.”

And she adds that the Raw Kitchen’s products are high-end – with many of them being organic – and are not overpriced.

Her own health has improved beyond compare since she changed her eating habits. At present, her diet is made up of 80 per cent raw food and 20 per cent cooked; the cool, damp Irish climate doesn’t lend itself to a complete raw food diet, she says.

She blends raw vegetables to make soup, includes lots of

healthy seeds and powders in her diet and has plenty of treats. “While these might be healthy, they are still fattening,” she says with a laugh. Even her dogs are involved. They eat carrots and beetroots as treats, with their main diet consisting of brown rice and chicken nuts.

“Both have really health coats and are full of energy,” she says.

The idea for Ireland’s Raw Kitchen was born late last year and the website went live around May of this year, which has been very good for business.

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

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.


For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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