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Homage to the horse and a rural way of life

Judy Murphy

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Willie Leahy with an old-horse drawn crop sprayer at the Dartfield Horse Museum and Heritage Centre.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy visits Dartfield Horse and Heritage Centre and finds it to be a hive of equine-based activities

Dartfield Horse and Heritage Centre, a couple of miles outside Loughrea on the Dublin Road is the sort of place where, if you hung around for any length of time, you’d be given a job to do.

The impressive set-up in Kilrickle, which pays homage to Irish horses and ponies, and to a rural way of life that’s now gone, is a social hub. On a busy Friday morning, neighbours drop in for a chat and cup of tea before engaging in tasks that range from cleaning to clay pigeon shooting. Right now, the emphasis is on preparing for a visit from tourism minister Michael Ring, but behind the scenes, stable hands are also preparing ponies for export, because Dartfield is much more than a heritage centre.

Owned by farmer and businessman Willie Leahy, it is also a working farm, one of several in his possession. Willie, who is now in his 70s, has been buying land since he “was 15 years of age” and regards it as the only asset worth having.

He grew up on the other side of Loughrea, at Aille Cross on the Woodford Road, where the family had a 30-acre farm which “I inherited eventually, but I’d bought all over the place before then”.

Sitting at a table in the museum café, with his neighbour Brian nodding in agreement, Willie explains his passion for land.

“There is nothing like land. You could have all the houses in the world, but old houses will fall down. Land is always there. And it is the backbone of everything. Nobody could live without land. People would have no breakfast without it. People forget that, especially in cities. But somebody has to be a farmer.”

That’s a role he is more than happy to fulfil. He is the largest breeder of Connemara ponies in Ireland and owns about 400 horses and ponies according to the museum leaflets, although he is coy about the exact figure. Willie also keeps cattle and sheep on his various holdings.

He is an able herdsman and horse dealer, and even as a child, had a good eye for horses and an aptitude for hard work.

At the age of 10 he borrowed a donkey so that he could go to the bog to cut and harvest turf for sale.  Unlike his six siblings, he never had any interest in college and says simply “It takes up time. I couldn’t understand why you would spend years and years in college when you could be making a living”.

That’s what he did. The young Willie bought a potato sprayer on hire purchase and worked for farmers, spraying against potato blight – in those days, every farmer grew potatoes, he explains.

“I made a lot of money spraying potatoes.”

And that money wasn’t wasted. Willie bought land, he bought cattle and he bought horses. While his family background was modest, his love of horses led him to take up hunting as a teenager, although traditionally this was the pursuit of well-heeled farmers. Willie didn’t care. The first time he went out, he had a sack for a saddle because he didn’t own a proper saddle, he recalls. Later, he went on to become Field Master of the renowned Galway Blazers.

He didn’t give a toss for social divides then, he says, and he doesn’t now.

“I meet them all and everybody is the same to me.”

‘Them all’ includes the Kennedys and the Clintons among others and he takes it all in his stride.

“The small person is as important as the highest person. I’m able to talk to everybody and everybody is the same.”

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

Connacht Tribune

Moving forward with new wisdom

Stephen Glennon

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According to Gerry, the pace at which many people live their lives isn’t sustainable.

Lifestle – Top sports psychologist Gerry Hussey has written a book designed to help more people unlock their potential and enrich their lives. He explores big issues including science and spirituality and shares his own story to demonstrate to readers what they are capable of, as he explains the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other in order to achieve real freedom. He tells STEPHEN GLENNON how it evolved.

Sports psychologist Gerry Hussey has enjoyed great success guiding Olympic and World champions, elite sportspeople and top teams to reach their goals. With his new book, Awaken Your Power Within, he hopes to enable more people to unlock their potential.

Over the past two decades, the Glenamaddy native’s reputation has grown hugely. Also known as ‘The Soul Coach’, he’s now regarded as a leader in sports psychology.

Having also studied philosophy and theology in college, Gerry was always interested in exploring bigger questions about a person’s place in the universe. He’s done that in this book.

The Covid-19 lockdowns gave Gerry the opportunity to delve deeper and write Awaken Your Power Within, to help people walk the path of self-discovery and open their minds to their untapped possibilities.

He believes the “natural interest” in exploring these issues has grown during the pandemic, with people questioning what is really important in life.

“They are now asking ‘do I really want to go back into the old way? What part of the old life do I want to bring back?’ We lived in this haze of busy and everyone we met was busy. It had become so normal that people were busy and tired.”

The pace at which many people live their lives isn’t sustainable, Gerry says. In this book, he wants to show that if a person is on the go 24/7, the body will respond by producing more stress hormones.

“Eventually, there is a damaging impact on our physical health. I want to prove with the science in the book that if we live in this constant state of go-go-go, eventually the body will break down.”

Gerry had this book in his head for almost a decade, but it wasn’t until two years ago that “something clicked”. That was when he spent three intensive days with renowned author, Dr Joe Dispenza, whose teachings marry science and spirituality in his book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.

“I came out of there and said I know the shows I want to do, and created these things called ‘Soul Sundays’. We ran them and they sold out. I think, when he was connecting quantum physics and how the energy field of the universe connects to the mind and the body, then it clicked.”

Until then, Gerry had sometimes struggled to balance his belief in God with elements of science, but Dispenza helped him understand the connections. He now says the answers to life’s bigger questions can’t be found in just one field, but many, including theology, psychology, quantum physics, medicine, nutrition and neuroscience.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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During an ESB power strike in April 1972, petrol pumps had to be operated with a winder, but Declan Forde of Prospect Hill, Gawlay City, found a more novel way of doing it - using a bicycle. The back tyreless wheel of the bicycle was connected to the pump by a belt, with the pedals rotating as petrol was pumped. Declan commented at the time: "This unique method brought us more customers, because by using the bike we pumped the petrol three times faster than the ordinary ESB current." Also in the photograph are Pat Kenehan (right) watching Joe Flaherty operate the pump.

1921

Bad buying policy

It is interesting and useful to speculate how far the conditions that prevailed at Galway great annual fair on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were due to its postponement on the one hand, and to the circumstances of our time on the other.

No doubt, the enforced adjournment and the uncertainty as to when the fair would be held combined to reduce the attendance.

It is possible that stock which, in the ordinary course, would have been taken to the fair had it been held at the appointed time, were disposed of by other means. Against this we have the fact that the fixture in point of attendance and sales was smaller than a normal monthly fair.

The truth is that cumulative causes contributed to its partial failure. Of these the postponement was only incidental. Only 159 wagon loads of stock left Galway during the two days against 259 at the annual fair last year and 360 the previous year.

Whilst the Midland Great Western Railway Company did all that could have been expected in the circumstances to assist in making the fair a success, the Great Southern did practically nothing at all. Six wagons were placed at the disposal of purchasers by the latter company on the Limerick-Sligo branch.

This is illustrated by the fact that most of those who attended Galway fair arrived on the evening before; few ventured to make the journey on the actual morning of the fair. Again, buyers report that owing to the difficulties of transport, and the recent unnecessary foot and mouth scare, they cannot tranship cattle to anything like the same extent as formerly, and owning to the prolonged drought, there is a shortage of grass for grazing in the rich midland counties where extensive buyers keep their stock from one fair to the other.

Apart from these causes, another much more interesting explanation is given. It is suggested is that the country farmer has not yet realised that there is a considerable drop in prices, and has not adapted himself to the new conditions.

This fall, it is clamed, is likely to be retrogressive under present conditions. The cost of living is falling, and must fall still further in order to restore “the economic balance”. Yet farmers prefer to hold back their stock in expectation, apparently, that something like old prices will be restored, rather than part with them. This, a cattle-buying expert informs us, is bad policy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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Connacht Tribune

Bagging a bargain in dream designers

Denise McNamara

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Gucci GG Marmont reversible belt.

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

Whether you’re into handbags or shoes, watches or suits, designer brands are always going to be expensive. However, it may surprise you to learn that their cost varies dramatically around the world.

Research from money.co.uk analysed the price of luxury fashion items in different countries to reveal the cheapest – and most expensive – countries to buy iconic designer goods if you happen to find yourself with a sneaky Lotto win.

As part of this Luxury Price Index, the company researched items that have stood the test of time and have long been a staple of the wealthier wardrobe.

Some of these are actually investment pieces – hold onto them and sell them on ebay in years to come and see that investment potentially double – or even triple.

And if you can save over a grand in the process, all the better.

That’s particularly true of designer bags.

Or pass them onto your kids and grandkids who will hopefully still see vintage as cool.

There might even be a bargain or two or Father’s Day on June 20 – if you are well minted.

And with delivery now so much cheaper than even five years ago, actually buying a piece forever online is more than feasible. Just insure it. There’s no harm dreaming the odd time!

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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