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Helping kids to relax and focus better is the aim of new courses

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Date Published: {J}

When Nicole Lordan goes shopping with her two sons Dylan aged four and a half and Jonah, who is nearly seven, she crosses her fingers that they won’t start misbehaving in the supermarket aisles.

She has even more reason than most parents to want her kids to behave themselves, because Nicole runs courses called Relax Kids, which are all about helping children to become more relaxed and patient, improving their concentration and attention span, and assisting them in dealing with stress.

“I pray I don’t meet parents if they are clients of mine,” laughs Nicole, adding swiftly that her own boys aren’t always angels: “They are kids.”

In any case, her courses are not about producing ‘perfect’ children.

“It’s more about confidence and relaxation – what you can give them for life.”

Nicole, who is based at the Indigo Holistic Centre in Tuam, is the only practitioner in the West of Ireland offering courses in Relax Kids, a programme which was set up in the UK by Marneta Viegas, who had worked as a kids’ entertainer and felt something needed to be done about the increasingly hyperactive behaviour she noticed among young people. Using her knowledge of yoga, drama and storytelling, she developed storybook CDs to calm children and help them sleep.

It resonated with parents, and although her business plan was subsequently rejected by the Dragons on BBC’s Dragons Den for being socially rather than financially driven, she has since gone onto achieve international success, developing courses and products to help children’s emotional and creative development.

Relax Kids is now taught in schools in the UK as well as in schools in America, Dubai, Holland and Spain, with a special Chill Skills programme devised for ages 7-13.

It’s all pretty new here, but Nicole, who is trained as a Relax Kids teacher in London, is hoping that schools here in Galway will be receptive to these courses, which help to focus kids. Already she has given courses in schools around Tuam, and now she is hoping to spread the message and technique across the West of Ireland.

Nicole would like to see the course – aimed at young people aged between four-and-a-half to 13 – incorporated into the school day the same way that swimming, music or Irish dancing classes are.

 

Each course lasts for eight weeks and involves a combination of storytelling and exercises, stretching, breathing, and peer massage as well as positive affirmations, discussions on emotions, healthy living, mood management, visualisation and relaxation.

The programme is about having fun but also learn skills that will help them for years to come, says Nicole.

Swiss born Nicole lives just outside Athenry with her Irish born husband Noel and any clichéd notions that exist about Swiss people being staid don’t apply in the case of this woman.

She’s warm and witty, with a tiny stud in her left nostril and her sense of fun would work a treat with kids. But, as you might expect from a Swiss native, her fun and lightness is tempered with a sense of order.

“Kids love routine,” she continues, “so they know what’s expected.”

This highly qualified massage therapist, reflexologist, relaxation coach and teacher of the Relax Kids technique began her career by studying business. She worked in that area for a time, during which she went to America to learn English and the French speaking part of Switzerland to learn French.

Having caught the travel bug, she became a flight attendant with Swissair.

That was nearly two decades ago, “when travel was good”, she laughs.

Nicole had lots of free time, during which she started getting interested in complementary therapy so she undertook a massage course.

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

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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