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Helping children cope with pressures

Judy Murphy

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Conor Hogan: Children are more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and self-confidence issues.

Lifestyle – Judy Murphy meets Conor Hogan, one of the first life coaches in Ireland to focus on young people and children

It was once regarded as an American concept, but the past few years have seen a growing demand for life-coaching here in Ireland as people try to improve their work or domestic situations.

The idea of hiring an expert to guide and advise people on finding a new direction is one that increasingly appeals to adults.

But the notion of life-coaching for children and teenagers is surely a step too far? Should they not be allowed to live their lives free from such discipline?

Not so, according to Conor Hogan, a Galway life coach and one of the first in Ireland to focus on children and young people.

Conor, who is a qualified primary and secondary school teacher, and who has a range of other internationally recognised training skills, feels that families today are experiencing pressure across a range of areas, from money worries to fast-moving technology. As a result, children are more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and self-confidence issues.

We live in an environment where parents are also increasingly protective of their children, he says.

“When we were small we’d spend three days out looking for a sliotar and we’d be let off. That would never happen now.”

Conor grew up in Roscam, on the outskirts of Galway City, where his parent had a farm. As a youngster he was hugely involved in sport, especially GAA, until an underlying condition forced him to quit.

He’s tall and fit, and it’s difficult to believe that he has scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, but he was diagnosed in his late teens, which meant that contact sports were out of the question.

In an attempt to curtail the effects of the scoliosis, he began practising yoga, eventually qualifying as a Hot Yoga teacher – for a period he had a Yoga centre in Briarhill. Along the way, he came into contact with people who specialised in complementary therapies, including meditation and “that was where the interest in life-coaching came from,” he says. “Anything to do with mind, body, spirit; they are all interlinked.”

On the academic front, Conor did a degree in Business and Human Resource Management at GMIT and followed that with a H Dip in teaching. He also qualified as a primary teacher before undertaking an MA in NUIG on behaviour and discipline among young people outside school hours. Conor based his work on his experiences in the Galway Youth Café, the GAF, where he worked as a volunteer. He is currently doing a PhD under Pat Dolan, who initially designed GAF. That café is now closed but a spin-off, Jigsaw, which offers a range of services for young people, operates in the City’s Fairgreen.

Many of the teenagers who used the GAF Youth Café used to call there in the afternoons, when they might be expected to be at school, he says. But they didn’t cause any problems and one of his aims in the MA thesis was to establish why their behaviour in there was pretty good.

The reason was that many of the projects in GAF were feeding into education, and there was a great support for the café from a range of bodies which served young people.

Conor’s MA focused on teenagers, but for his PhD he is dealing with both primary and post-primary children, exploring their behaviour in out-of-school situations, such as youth centres, GAA clubs and other sporting organisations.

His own family experience as a teenager gave him a good grounding for working with young people, he says. His older sister, who lived nearby, had five children under the age of five and during Conor’s college years, he babysat them regularly. That’s where his interest in child-development came from, he says.

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

Connacht Tribune

Fanfare for the Common Man still striking a chord in 2020

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

IN the aftermath of the elections, the title of a piece of music came floating into my head. If, you’re like me, and enjoy listening here and there to a touch of classical music (probably the Marty Whelan brigade) without knowing too much about it, then certain pieces will always ring a bell as the first note or two is sounded.

One of those little musical nuggets that kept floating around in my head over the past week was Fanfare for the Common Man, as familiar a piece of music as you’re ever likely to hear and written back in 1942 by American composer, Aaron Copland.

It was composed during a particularly hideous time for the world with the Hitler threat still very real while the United States had also gotten involved in the Second World War. The work had a strong political foundation in that it was reputedly based on a famous speech by the then US Vice-President, Henry A. Wallace, and his proclamation of the dawning of the Century of the Common Man.

Fanfares in music are something close to the equivalent of what we call an ‘intro’ in journalism, essentially the opening paragraph of a story that has to capture the interest of the reader. The fanfare is often short, with plenty of rhythm and bounce to catch ear of the listener.

When Copland had composed his then titlelesss fanfare, there were apparently many ideas put forward as to what it should be called, with many suggestions of war related themes such as Fanfare for Soldiers, but in the end the composer settled for the title Fanfare for the Common Man, now a piece of music as famous for its title as its melodic virtue.

As it turned out, Copland’s masterpiece was premiered by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 1943, but at a significant time of the year on the US income tax calendar – March 12 – when returns were due to be filed to Revenue. Copland reputedly said at the time: “I’m all for honouring the common man at income tax time.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Pupils of the Mercy Convent Secondary School in Galway City at the opening of a £150,000 new residential wing attached to the school.

1920

Commotion at meeting

Wild scenes of commotion marked the annual meeting of the County Galway National Teachers’ Association which was held in the Town Hall, Galway, on Saturday.

The noise began when Mr. P. O’Cleary, Kilcolgan, said the members of the C.E.C. were “exactly like Judas who betrayed Our Lord,” in reference to their action on the Education Bill. There were loud cries of “Withdraw,” and amid much confusion, Mr. O’Cleary would not be allowed to continue his address which was mainly directed towards a criticism of the opening speech of the Chairman (Mr. M. Curley) who quoted the words of the Bishop of Raphoe describing the C.E.C. as “gentlemen as respectable as are to be found in Ireland.”

Mr. O’Cleary asked leave to be allowed to explain his remark but his was refused, and Mr. Power proposed and Mr. J. Heffernan seconded that he be expelled from the Association. An amendment by Mr. Parker, seconded by Mr. McClew, that Mr. O’Cleary be asked to withdraw from the meeting was passed.

Hospital in peril

On the financial year ending March 31, there will be a balance against the Galway County Hospital Committee of £4,000. The institution of which the sick poor of the county and the University clinical school depend is in perilous plight.

Saturday’s meeting seriously discussed closing its down, at least for a time. Dr. Clinch, Local Government Board Medical Inspector, asseverated that any expedients that might be employed to restore its solvency would but delay “the evil day.”

Fortunately, there are two men on the committee who combine optimism with unfailing grit and pertinacity. If the County Hospital remains, if the capacity for local administration is not to be brought to utter discredit, the tangle must be unwound: the men who have not grudged time, energy or perseverance in the exasperating task are Mr. Michael McNeil, the Chairman of the Committee, and Mr. Thomas C. McDonogh, one of its most attentive members.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Finding peak happiness in nature’s wild places

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During training Lesley learned how to navigate safely off a mountain in the pitch dark or thick fog and how to cope with injuries while on a mountain.

Former management consultant Lesley Emin is taking full advantage of her scientific training in her current career as a mountain guide and walk leader here in Galway and in destinations across Europe. On a bracing climb in Beann Bán, she shares her story and her passion for geology, botany and orienteering with LORNA SIGGINS.

WALKING is one of the best forms of exercise, but it also a form of camouflage for something much more profound.

In the “production-oriented culture” in which so many of us live, “thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing”, according to north American writer, feminist and commentator Rebecca Solnit.

However, “doing nothing is hard to do”, she observes.

“It’s best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking,” she says.

Perhaps that’s why mountain guide Lesley Emin is as enthused about a stroll along a stretch of her local coastline as she is about the many mountains she has tackled across Europe.

You sense that “bucket lists” might not be part of her vocabulary. And it might take an entire day spent out on a hill with her before she will allude to any of her many achievements.

Not for nothing did British academic and accomplished climber Terry Gifford ask her to come with him when he decided to tackle one of the most interesting rock climbs in Connemara.

The route was Carrot Ridge – so named by late mountaineer Joss Lynam after he took a novice climber up the daunting buttress, using a “carrot” approach to keep his partner from flagging.

Gifford described ascending a “marble staircase with little steps on its very left”, which was “designed by Michelangelo” as it reached into the clouds.

“When Lesley did her own thing, most things fell into place. Including lunch,” he wrote.

“The long day, route-finding and damp rock, built tensions that were immediately defused on belay ledges, where, at some point Lesley revealed a lavish lunch pack that only lacked the lobster sandwiches. . .”

Recalling her day with Gifford while on a walk up Benbaun or Beann Bán, Galway’s highest peak in the heart of the Twelve Bens, some months ago, Lesley makes light of it all.

Beguiling in the sunlight, Carrot Ridge across the valley from us had more than a hint of sulphur about it, and it was hard to believe that anyone could have much appetite for any sort of food while navigating its polished surface.

“Well, it was quite a long day, probably 12 hours,” Lesley laughs. When the pair eventually arrived down into Lough Inagh Lodge, the World Cup football final was underway.

“We were the only two people in the bar who hadn’t the slightest interest in watching the match!”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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