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Connacht Tribune

Feelgood factor of Nature Therapy

Judy Murphy

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Marion Edler from Crann Óg Eco Farm in South Galway with her dog Minnie. Nature Therapy is "about the pleasurable experiences around nature, sustaining us and opening us up to the healing power of nature,” she says. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets Marion Edler from Crann Óg Eco Farm who promotes the values of a simple life alongside nature

In a society where most of us spend our lives rushing around, usually glued to our mobile devices, Nature Therapy can help us slow down and become aware of ourselves and the world around us.

So says Marion Edler from Crann Óg Eco Farm in South Galway, who will be speaking on the value of Nature Therapy at the Burrenbeo Learning Landscape Symposium, which is taking place in and around Kinvara in early March.

Nature and Forest Therapist Marion will also be leading a walk in the Burren where people will be encouraged to tune into their own bodies by fully engaging with nature.

German-born Marion who runs Crann Óg with her husband, Flor Burke, has been promoting the value of simple living for more than two decades, since she first moved to Drummin at the foothills of the Siabh Aughty mountains.

Their 14-acre eco-farm in the hills has been awarded gold-star status by Eco Tourism Ireland, the internationally recognised accreditation body for sustainable tourism and it’s easy to see why. From the pond area, which Flor and Marion created using a nearby well, to the willows that help drain the naturally boggy soil, they have worked with the natural environment to create a holding that supports their small community – mostly this consists of family members and their co-workers, Paul and Marla, who also live onsite. Volunteers visit regularly, too, wanting to learn more about eco-farming and skills such as living willow sculpting.

Crann Óg has been welcoming tourists for many years, mostly people who want to reconnect with nature. And they do so in an eco-friendly way. The farm’s ‘longhouse’ which can sleep 12, has solar pipes on its roof that provide hot water in summer. In winter, a stove in the longhouse connects with the pipe system, which means there’s always hot water. The compost toilets come complete with instructions and, says Marion, they work brilliantly once people follow these.

For Marion, who lived off-grid for six years after moving to Drummin, the message is that “people can live happily with less”. And with practically everything in Crann Óg being made from recycled material, they are proof that it works. Comfort hasn’t been sacrificed either.

During the summer, in a field away from the main house, guests can also be accommodated in yurts and tepee style tents while having access to an octagonal communal shelter known as the Hogan. This tent, modelled on those of the Native American Navajo, is made from old wood pallets and canvas from a defunct marquee. It has a large circular opening at the apex, so guests can stargaze. Directly below is a circular fireplace, made from the metal rim of a tractor wheel. Even in heavy rain it’s dry inside, according to Marion. It’s where they hold storytelling nights, hosted by Flor, where guests are welcome to share their experiences.

Crann Óg’s location in South Galway is ideal for natural experiences, adds Flor. The Burren is 15 minutes in one direction, while Portumna and Lough Derg are in another. East Clare and its rich musical heritage is just over the mountain, and all around there are connections with Lady Gregory and WB Yeats as well as with Edward Martyn, another key figure in the Celtic revival, whose patronage was responsible for stained glass windows in many local churches, most notably St Brendan’s in Loughrea.

And, for people who want to engage close up with farming, there are ducks and ponies to be fed as well as pet sheep.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears

Dara Bradley

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Saolta CEO Tony Canavan

Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.

There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.

But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.

There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.

Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.

“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.

“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.

“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.

Read the full story 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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Connacht Tribune

Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure

Stephen Corrigan

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Chanelle McCoy (left) and Caroline Glynn with their new Pureis product line in Galway this week. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.

It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.

Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.

“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.

“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.

Read the full feature 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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Connacht Tribune

State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo

Dara Bradley

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Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.

Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.

The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.

It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.

Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.

This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.

Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.

Read the full story 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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