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Freezing out sports injuries with a cold bath



Date Published: {J}

A new facility in the healing of sports injuries has become available in Galway, with the service endeavouring to reduce the amount of time sportspeople spend on the treatment table, particularly those who sustain hamstring injuries.

John Butler Sports Injury Clinic will launch its new Cryotherapy Spa Bath – the first of its kind in Galway City – at their premises in Kilkerrin Business Park, Liosbaun Industrial Estate, Tuam Road, Galway this Saturday.

As part of the celebrations, owner John Butler is inviting the public to come along and sample the Cryotherapy Spa Bath in exchange for a voluntary donation to local charity, ‘Voices for Galway’.

Voices for Galway, which is under the auspices of Down Syndrome Ireland, provides speech therapy to children and adults in the Galway community. It is a parent lead charity that receives no Government funding and must fundraise 100% of its annual costs. Consequently, all of the monies raised from the cryotherapy launch will go directly to the charity.

A selection of local sporting celebrities, past and present, will make appearances throughout the day on Saturday, between 10am and 4pm, while both the All-Ireland U-21 and minor hurling cups will be present.

As for the spa bath itself, Birr native Butler believes the facility will have a major impact in the treatment of sport injuries in Galway. “The idea of it is that it improves the rehabilitation of injuries and it has been scientifically proven to improve hamstring injuries, if you can get into the bath in the first 12 or 24 hours after the tear happens. It brings the injury on by two to three weeks, so that is massive in bringing players back”

Unlike the full body cryo-chamber found in Whites Hotel in Wexford – a dry air facility which operates at temperatures ranging from -60 to -110 degrees – the spa bath just targets the specific injured area.

“This is more specific,” reiterates Butler. “When you go into the water, you can pick the area to submerge. You can bring the temperature down then to zero degrees; you don’t go below that. It is the depth and the turbulence that does the work for you.

“So, you have this very cold water penetrating the skin, dispersing any fluid – such as bleeding that could be going on – or fluid that has built up around an injury, which is the body’s way of protecting the damaged area. Sessions last about 10 minutes and if you are after getting a tear, you go into the bath three times in the first 24 hours. That is the crucial period.”

However, the 36-year-old adopted Galway man stresses that the cryotherapy spa bath’s function is not just to treat injuries, noting that it is also geared towards rehabilitating the body after strenuous work-outs.

“Everyone wants to train more often and harder – to get one-up on their opponents – and we are going to give them a tool for that so they can train harder and more frequently. At the moment, if you go do a heavy session on a Monday, you wouldn’t be fully fit again until Wednesday or Thursday to do another one. Now, though, you could do a session on a Monday, take your bath, and on a Tuesday or Wednesday, you could be back doing a full training session again.”

Butler – who has trained a number of teams, including Castlegar, Kinvara and the Mayo hurlers – says there has already been a huge response to his new spa bath, indicating it’s an ill wind that blows!


“The huge problem for [GAA] teams, particularly at this time of the year because the championship is in such a mess, is that having done nothing for the summer months – only go on their holidays and the Galway Races – they then, all of a sudden, end up having four or five or six championship games in a row. That, though, has really helped the business.


“We have got a lot of clubs that wouldn’t have come here previously for injury treatment. They would have had their own people out in the country areas but now they are coming here and they are getting their injuries treated here as well because it is handy to get it all done under the one roof.”

For the last decade, though, the name of John Butler has been synonymous with the treatment of sports injuries in Galway, with the Offaly native – who hurled with Birr up to U-21 level – having worked with a plethora of Gaelic games, rugby, soccer and triathlon clubs in the county.

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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