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Galway native heading for international beauty pageant

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A Galway model has been selected to represent Ireland in the upcoming Miss International beauty pageant – the latest jewel in her ever-growing crown.

25-year-old Katherine Gannon will jet off to Toyko in the coming weeks to participate in what is now the world’s oldest beauty pageant.

Katherine has previously held the titles of Miss Ireland Galaxy and World Supermodel Ireland but this will be her first time competing in one of the “Big Four” international pageants.

“Miss International has been the thing I have wanted to do more than any other modelling job. It’s massive for me that I’m finally getting to go; I didn’t think I would but I’m so looking forward to it. I feel like I’m nearly too lucky,” said Katherine, who is from Rosscahill.

That pageant has been running since 1960, with it always being held in Japan and up to this point has never had an Irish winner.

There will be over 100 countries represented from every corner of the world looking to win the beauty contest that is radically different from the bulk of beauty pageants.

“I suppose a lot of it is to do with personality. They are looking for things which aren’t just looks based, they would like it if you were intelligent, that you’ve done charity work and interested in culture as opposed to just a pretty face.

“I really like that because I don’t think looks are the most important part of it.  It’s not just based solely on appearances and they take their values very seriously,” explained Katherine.

The NUIG graduate – who has a Masters in Counselling Psychology – has only recently returned from a stint in Montreal, where she was taking part in the North American reality television show, The Fashion Hero.

The show is due to air in spring 2017 and has been described by her as “one of the best things I’ve ever done.”

“I had an absolutely amazing time with everyone there and I made such close friendships and it was so hard saying goodbye to everyone once the show was over because they are like family to me,” Katherine stated.

This was the second time she has partaken in the show, finishing second overall in the programme’s first season – and Katherine revealed considerable differences between her two appearances.

“It was very different. The first series I had my phone and stuff, this time was a lot stricter and more intense. I had the best time but it was really intense,” she said.

“I was so tired and it was so hard but at the same time everyone became really close because of it. I suppose I was out of my comfort zone as well and I’m definitely still out of my comfort zone now.

“For example, I would have never gone without makeup before the show, but to be honest I haven’t really wore makeup since I came home. I have only worn it for about two days and I used to wear makeup religiously, so it’s helped me massively in that regard.”

The highly-successful model plans on using her new found crown to continue her previous work with numerous charities that are close to her own heart.

Speaking of her plans for the rest of the year she said: “I’m going to try and work more with the charities I want to promote especially now that I have a title again. When I was Miss Galaxy I did loads for the Irish Society of Autism because I have a brother with Autism. That in particular was a charity I wanted to work with.”

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell

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Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara

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Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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