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Eye in the sky opens new vistas for Fearghus

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Mountains in Connemara as captured through the mist by the drone operated by Fearghus Foyle (right).

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets the man  pioneering an innovative drone technology service in Galway

Mention the word drones and most of us immediately think of the low-flying remotely-controlled vehicles that are regularly used in war zones for bombing or spying missions.

But drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, to give them their full title, have many other, more fruitful uses, and these are now being explored locally.

“In Connemara, flying drones down rivers between trees or above the tree canopies gives you a new perspective on places you are already familiar with,” says Fearghus Foyle.

Clifden man Fearghus is the founder of Aerial Eye, which provides a specialised photography and video service using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

While his photos of Connemara are fantastic, there’s a lot more to this technology than capturing beautiful images, he says.

It can be used by farmers, developers, archaeologists, estate agents, hoteliers, and tourism bodies to compile images and information that benefit their business.

Drones are also being increasingly employed by Search and Rescue groups, as they are faster off the ground than helicopters and offer better views of locations being searched. That’s because they are closer to the ground and their cameras are pointed straight down, rather than at an angle. The Navy is currently planning to use them in its surveillance of Irish waters. And that’s not all.

“For archaeology, you can send one over a site to get an aerial view,” says Fearghus. “That gives much more insight into, say, building patterns than photos taken from ground level.”

Farmers can also send up drones to see the lie of the land – to count cattle and sheep, or check which areas might require extra fertiliser or water. The vehicles can be pre-programmed to travel the same route over a period of time, allowing farmers to build up a bank of information.

And, according to Fearghus, drones offer “spectacular footage” of sports and entertainment such as parades and outdoor spectacles.

Fearghus, whose family own the Dolphin Beach guesthouse on Clifden’s Sky Road, has been fascinated by radio-controlled craft since childhood.

“I always had a notion to put a camera up on a craft, but it never worked,” he says.

He did a degree in landscape architecture in Dublin in the early 2000s, also studying at Stanford University in California as an Erasmus student during that time.

He then got a job as a landscape planner in Dublin before taking time off to travel to South America and then to Australia, where he worked in architecture.

“I love photography, and for me to spend time travelling around South America and Australia was amazing,” he says.

Fearghus then moved to London to study further, and was offered a job with a company that specialised in windfarm planning applications. His role was to assess the visual aspects of developments – how they would sit in a landscape.

When he was with that company, Fearghus first realised how Unmanned Aerial Vehicles offered exciting new possibilities for photography.

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

Connacht Tribune

That’s the spirit!

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Roy enjoys one glass of whiskey every night before bed and only one, he stresses. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Lifestyle – Roy Court, born in Scotland and living in Craughwell, dedicated his career to improving the process of distilling spirits, especially whiskey. His job took him all over the world and involved a stint with the UN. His new book explains what’s involved in creating a great whiskey and is based on skills he gained during more than half a century in the business. He talks to STEPHEN GLENNON.

If there is one thing that Roy Court knows about, it is what constitutes a good whiskey. So much so, he has written a book about it called How We Put An ‘e’ in Whiskey.

A native of Scotland, Roy, who worked as a chief chemist for William Grant & Sons and as a development distiller for John Jameson & Sons (later Irish Distillers) moved to Ireland in 1965. He has spent the last 40 years in the West of Ireland.

Sitting in his home in Craughwell, alongside his daughter Ruth, who has followed in his footsteps into brewing and distilling, the 84-year-old reflects on a career that took him all over the world.

Born in 1937, Roy began his journey as a laboratory assistant in Scotland with the Distillers Company Limited (DCL) – based at Menstrie, near Alloa – in 1955. He also attended third- level education on a part-time basis, qualifying as a research chemist.

“It (the laboratory) was the old Glenochil Distillery, at which my grandfather had been one of the excise officers,” he explains. “The distillery was closed many years and they had it converted to a yeast factory, but, onsite, they had various laboratories because it was part of the distillers’ company.”

The scientific work for the five main grain distilleries was centralised in these laboratories, and Roy’s duties included measuring the moisture content in maize and malt, along with malt analysis.

Through his studies, Roy identified a better way to speed up kilning in the malting process.

“I had the idea that when the water was evaporating, it actually holds down the temperature. So, what you should do is hit it with a lot of heat at first, get rid of the excess water, and then slow it down.

“Anyway, the company took this on and I was sent to the various maltings to supervise doing that, which resulted in them increasing their production.”

In the whiskey industry (whiskey is spelled without the ‘e’ in Scotland), Roy became hot property and was offered a job with Associated British Maltsters in England. He spent three years with them before he was head-hunted by Scottish firm William Grant & Sons and became their chief chemist in a new distillery in Girvan in South Ayrshire.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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Country Living

It’s taken a while but it’s good to have the simple things back

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s now over 20-months since the news broke in the run-up to Paddy’s Day in March 2020, that the pubs were closing down and that travel restrictions were coming into place while older people were being forced to cocoon at home.

Over the past week or so as I glanced through the paper, it was quite a jolt to read of cases where people were prosecuted for travelling outside their five-kilometre travel zone or for moving outside their own counties.

The fear even seemed to nurture a new breed of zealot who watched out for anyone even giving the impression of committing any minor travel misdemeanour.

It wasn’t uncommon to come across Garda checkpoints on roads big and small who asked the obvious questions of where we were going and how far away, we were from home.

In essence there was a real sense of fear out there. Residents dying alone in isolated nursing homes; elderly people living on their own having to confine any physical movement to their house and garden; those with long-standing chest ailments in living dread of meeting someone that might have the dreaded Covid.

Although it was before my era, it was probably reminiscent of what times were like in Ireland when TB or ‘The Consumption’ as it was known, back in the mid-part of the 20th century, claimed so many lives. As well as being deadly, there was also a kind of unfair stigma attached to the arrival of the disease to the doors of unfortunate families.

That fear and stigma was there too with Covid when talk of a vaccine back in the early months of 2020 only seemed like pie-in-the-sky, a kind of an aspirational hope that might never happen.

I’ve heard stories – and from pretty reliable sources – of elderly parents who passed away in nursing homes during the height of the crisis, in the full belief that their children had forgotten about them or deserted them in their hour of need. Not true of course, but they just weren’t allowed in to see them in their hour of need.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

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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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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Runners taking part in Shantalla Sports on July 25, 1971. In front is Mary Brogan (right) winning the Mothers' Race, followed by Mary Walsh in second, both from McDara Road in Shantalla.

1921

Gold in the water

The wonderful wealth of the waters surrounding the Irish coast has from time immemorial attracted the leading fishing fleets of other countries. This fishing was, for the greater part, in the hands of foreigners. Ireland benefitted little from it.

In 1465 a statute was passed by the Pale Parliament protecting Ireland’s right in the matter of her fishing. Strangers were prohibited from fishing around the Irish shores without a licence.

In 1556 Philip II of Spain paid £1,000 a year to be allowed to fish off the Irish coast, and Sir Humphrey Gilbert reported that 600 Spanish vessels were using Baltimore and the Blaskets as the centres of their fishing.

The greater part of the fishing at this time, however, was in the hands of the Irish fleets, but during the following century, owing to continuous warfare in the country, foreign fleets gathered the fish around the coast, and a Bill was sent to England without success with a view to retrain foreigners from fishing in Irish waters.

Sir Wm. Temple, writing to the Lord Lieutenant in 1673, stated that “the fisheries of Ireland might prove a mine under water as rich as any under ground”.

Dramatic protest

Dramatic scenes beginning with tow outbreaks of fire, the seizure of six warders and their imprisonment with forty political prisoners who barricaded themselves into the northern wing of Galway Prison, and ending in a fierce but brief encounter between a party of police and the prisoners, the extinguishing of the fires and the removal of Mr. Diarmuid Crowley, B.L., to Mountjoy took place on Wednesday.

The first news of the outbreak became known outside when police, military and auxiliaries were seen rushing to the jail. Soon afterwards smoke was seen rising from the building, and the hose could be seen playing upon it over the prison walls.

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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