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A far cry from Hollywood – it’s a matter of life or death

Judy Murphy

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Gerard Lally and Fiona Quirke on lifeguard duty at Silver Strand, Barna. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets up with some  of the lifeguards who help keep people safe on Galway’s beaches

The highly responsible job of serving as a lifeguard got the Hollywood treatment in the 1980s American TV series Baywatch where a cast of impossibly beautiful, glamorous, sun-kissed people in skimpy bathing costumes glided around the beaches of California in eternal sunshine, with not a cloud in the sky.

Lifeguards in Galway, however, need to be made of sterner stuff. On a Friday morning in Silverstrand, Barna, Gerard Lally and Fiona Quirke are on duty.

Both are as fit and as athletic as their fictional Californian counterparts, but there the comparison ends. It’s bucketing rain outside their brightly coloured galvanised hut and a thunderstorm threatens.

On top of that, a farmer in a nearby field is spreading slurry. The smell, to put it mildly, is pungent.

Not that Gerard or Fiona take any notice as they set up for the day.

There’s a surf ski (which resembles a kayak, except a person sits on top of it) to be put outside and other tasks to be completed as they prepare for their eight-hour shift. The tide is in and despite the rain there are swimmers in the water.

Throughout this interview, the two keep their eyes firmly fixed on the sea and on those swimmers.

The pair are part of a highly trained, highly fit group of 30 fulltime and eight part-time beach guards who patrol beaches throughout Galway City and County on a daily basis during July and August. During June, lifeguards are on duty at weekends.

They work in pairs and different lifeguards are rostered to different beaches every day, from the lake beaches of Portumna and Loughrea in the east of the county, to Inis Mór and Inis Oírr to the west, Traught in Kinvara to the south and Dogs Bay in Roundstone to the north.

“It’s the fairest way, to move people around. That way nobody is getting the good beaches all the time,” says Gerard of the rostering system.

We are on a ‘good beach’ in Barna.

“Silverstrand is one of the nicer ones,” Gerard says, and Fiona nods in agreement. “It has a nice big beach with lots of sand, fewer rocks and it’s open.

“None of the beaches in Galway are particularly dangerous, but when you are near water, there are always dangers,” Gerard adds. However, there are no big waves to contend with because Galway Bay offers shelter.

One of the most challenging locations for a lifeguard is Blackrock, they say, because it is so busy all the time.

“There is almost never a moment in the eight-hour shift when nobody is swimming,” explains Gerard.

Not surprisingly, the biggest challenge for lifeguards, whatever beach they are on, is to be constantly vigilant. Even when it’s quiet, you have to be watchful.

Good eyesight is important, and their kit includes binoculars. On a beach such as the City’s Grattan Road, these are crucial, because the area is vast when the tide is out, they say.

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

 

Connacht Tribune

Perfect time for a health overhaul in lockdown

Denise McNamara

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Lava Shell Massage alleviates stress, aches and pains and works as an overall full body indulgence.

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

The old adage ‘eat less, move more’ once worked a dream. I could lose what I needed to within two, three or four months when I put my mind to it.

Cut out shite, up the veg, curb the carbs, join a gym or exercise classes three times a week. Result.

But that was when I was in my 20s and 30s. As I got older and busier with parenthood I got careless about weight. Returning to that old reliable just wasn’t effective.

I ate less, moved more but the pounds – and those dastardly stones – stayed stubbornly put.

And then I just got lazy about even trying. Until Covid.

Like most people I know, I used the excuse of the first lockdown to eat and drink what I wanted in order to endure the homeschooling and shock of forced isolation.

But no more. At the beginning of the second lockdown a few of my friends without kids and jobs decided to tackle their weight and managed to lose a good few stone.

Yes, it was hard work, made all the harder due to perimenopause or early menopause, but they proved it can be done.

So, I decided to seek a little help, knowing that on my own I was doomed to failure.

Yvonne O’Shaughnessy has a few different strings to her bow when it comes to helping people change their eating habits.

She studied for six years at the Irish School of Herbal Medicine, where she qualified in herbal medicine, nutrition, iridology and reflexology. She learned how to do food intolerance testing and has trained as a raw food coach.

The most fascinating aspect of my lengthy consultation was iridology. It involves an examination of the eye to determine overall health.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Taking to the hills for mind and body

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Members of the Moycullen club, overlooking Ballynahinch Lake en route to Benlettery (577m) in the Twelve Bens.

Lifestyle – Excercising in the fresh air while enjoying great scenery and living in the moment while stepping out of your comfort zone are just some of the benefits of hillwalking. In Galway, many of these these hiking trails are on people’s doorsteps. Several in Connemara have now been mapped for a local publication as BERNIE NÍ FHLATHARTA learns.

Haulie Dowd used to hate walking – and he still hates walking on roads or footpaths. But in the past three years, after joining a local walking club, he has climbed the highest peak in Morocco, the second highest in Ethiopia and summited Scotland’s Ben Nevis in the snow.

Haulie has discovered that he’s a hill-walker as opposed to a rambler on the flat. He thrives on the sense of achievement gained by scaling heights, overcoming discomfort and enjoying fresh air and exercise, not to mention the mindfulness aspect.

A psychologist by profession, he especially appreciates the value of mindfulness and now speaks from experience and with conviction when he advises others to “get out and walk”.

As chairman of the Moycullen Walking Club, he laments the group’s diminished activities in 2020, the year when the club should have been celebrating its tenth anniversary.

To be fair, the club did launch a bilingual ‘Walking Guide’, embracing the 15 most scenic walks in the Moycullen and Killannin area, at a function in a local pub just before the first lockdown. However, like many other walking clubs in Galway and countrywide, the organisation couldn’t fulfil its programme of walks, which normally take place every second Sunday.

Members did manage to get a few walks in when Covid-19 restrictions were eased last summer and Haulie looks back on those outings with happiness.

“I’ve never smiled as much as I did on reaching the top of Lackavrea, (a 396-metre hill in Maam in the heart of Connemara). There’s a great sense of achievement and especially for someone like me who never walked and hated walking,” he says.

“I only joined the club three years ago and have since joined a few other walking clubs which have opened up other options, such as giving me the opportunity to go hill-walking abroad. I have reached the highest peak in Morocco, the second highest in Ethiopia and spent nine torturous hours walking up Nevis in the snow.

“By joining my local club, I’ve ‘found’ Connemara which is on our doorstep and provides so many fantastic walking trails with great views. I use maps or apps on my phone, when there’s service. I’ve made new friends locally too, through the club, so it’s a good way of socialising,” adds Haulie, whose regular walking companion is Paul Brown, one of the club founders.

Haulie has his sights on climbing in the Himalayas and/or peaks in South America when the Covid-19 virus is under control.

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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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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Children play on the frozen flood water between Grattan Road and Beach Court on January 1, 1979. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

1921

Shots exchanged

A telegram from our North Galway representative yesterday stated: –

A report reached Tuam last night that Sergeant Beglan and Constable McGuire, of Castlegrove temporary police station, were fired at when on patrol duty at about eight p.m., and returned the fire.

Some men with revolvers appeared on top of a ditch and called on the police to halt. Shots were discharged. The police returned the fire, and after a short exchanged, the attacking party withdrew.

The fire on either side does not appear to have taken any affect.

Our reporter telegraphed later: –

It is stated that the police were fired at near Castlegrove as they were going to a shop for provisions. They were in the act of crossing a stile when the shots went off.

Rifle cartridges were subsequently found at the site of the ambush. One of the police stood and had a narrow escape, whilst the other threw himself on the ground.

Seeking compensation

Messrs. Grossman and Co., Belfast, applied for £40 compensation for injury to a motor car at Loughrea on October 27, 1920. – Francis Rock, Belfast applied for £10 compensation for injury to an overcoat on the same occasion.

Dr. Comyn, who appeared for the applicant, said this was a most peculiar case. This gentleman, Mr. Francis Rock, was a commercial traveller who lived in Belfast. He travelled for jewellery for the other applicant, Messrs. Grossman and Co.

On the evening of October 27, this gentleman was in Loughrea in the ordinary course of his duty for Messrs. Grossman and Co., who supplied him with a motor for the purpose of carrying on his business. He had what was known as a hooded Ford car for carrying his wares behind, and on the date in question he left the Railway Hotel at Loughrea and proceeded up the Main-st. in the direction of the West Bridge.

There was a party of uniformed policemen – none of them local police – travelling in two lorries some distance in front of Mr. Rock’s car. The police pulled up near the West Bridge and started firing down the main street. Mr. Rock, seeing them fire down the street, tried to turn his car around quickly when a bullet passed through his overcoat.

There were several bullets put into the hood of the motor, rendering it quite useless, and a new hood would now be required.

“It was only fair to state,” Dr. Comyn proceeded, “that there would be a good deal more damage done that evening were it not for the plucky action of the District-inspector Keohane and the Loughrea police who, at the risk of their own lives, walked up against the firing party and ordered them out of the town – for which the people of Loughrea were extremely grateful.”

His Honour, having heard the evidence of the applicant, awarded £20 compensation, adding that this was a case in which he was judicially satisfied that the damage was not caused by civilians, and he would accordingly bring the mater under the notice of the Crown authorities.

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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