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Connacht Tribune

Healer of body and mind

Judy Murphy



Surgeon and psychotherapist Brendan Harding: “I’ve been in great pain and I know people will get dependent on you for a while,” he says. “It may be because they couldn’t depend on their parent as a child.” Photos: Hany Marzouk.

Lifestyle – Doctor and psychotherapist Brendan Harding to share stories of pain and suffering at Clifden Arts Festival. But mostly it’s about connecting with our deeper selves, he tells Judy Murphy

Compassion and consciousness are two words that Brendan Harding uses in conversation more frequently than most people do. Doctor and psychotherapist Brendan will be taking part in this year’s Clifden Arts Festival on Sunday, giving presentation entitled Jung, Symbols and Songs of the Soul.

Brendan who will be accompanied by singer Eleanor Shanley and classical guitarist John Feeley for the presentation, feels that humanity could do with more of those attributes right now.

For years, Cavan-born Brendan, who lives in Ballinasloe, was a surgeon dedicated to saving people’s lives.

Along the way, he began another journey that would lead him towards healing people’s minds and spirits as well as their bodies.

His interest in psychotherapy began to develop in the 1980s when he sought to address his own deep emotional pain. And it has continued through the decades as he practised as a surgeon, first in Ireland, then in Saudi Arabia and in Canada before returning to Ireland, where he most recently worked in Portiuncula Hospital until his retirement last year.

While working in Newfoundland in Canada, Brendan travelled to Rhode Island in the US in his free time, training as a Jungian psychotherapist.

His work is based on the teachings of Swiss-born Carl Jung, a (1875-1961), a pioneer of modern psychology, whose teachings are hugely influential today.

It’s something that has complemented his medical training – Brendan points out that Jung was “into the idea of body and mind being one” long before this became widely accepted.

Now retired as a surgeon, Brendan is keen to share the benefits of Jungian psychotherapy and the knowledge he has gained from years studying the human psyche.

For Brendan, “depression is a time of suffering, not necessarily an illness and if it’s handled properly, it can be a time of growth”.

Handling it properly requires a person to get in touch with their deeper self.

One of Carl Jung’s central messages was that someone’s conscious mind, or ego, was only a tiny part of that person.

In order to have truly fulfilled lives, we need to connect with the unconscious part of ourselves, accessing repressed memories and forgotten information.

Doing that, according to Jung, lets us address underlying pain and trauma to become the most complete person we can be.

‘Talking therapy’ is a recognised way of helping people access the unconscious, but it’s not the only one.

Creative therapy is hugely beneficial, according to Brendan, especially for people who may have suffered extreme trauma and find it difficult to express themselves verbally.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara



Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara



Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell



Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from

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