Date Published: 05-May-2011
THE people of Galway, down through the ages, have always had a great love for all things equine – be it racing at Ballybrit, point-to-pointing in Athenry, hunting with the Blazers, showjumping in Connemara or trading at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.
However, a new equine pursuit has found its way into the heartland of Galway. Known simply as TREC (Tourism Related Equestrian Competition), the sport tests the various abilities of a rider. One test is to guide a horse through a maze-like obstacle course. The second, control of paces, is to walk or canter a horse, like dressage, along a 150metre corridor. The final test is to guide a horse along a route – approximately 12km for beginners – at various paces.
To the fore in raising the profile of TREC in Galway and the West of Ireland is national safety officer, Ollie Kyne, a Roscommon native who works in Medtronic in Galway. A once talented footballer – who looked destined, at one stage, to wear the yellow and blue of Roscommon, having lined out and impressed for St Mel’s of Longford en route to the 1988 All-Ireland colleges final defeat to St Colman’s of Newry – Kyne took up horse-riding after he “destroyed” his ankle playing the game in his late teens.
Since then, though, he has dedicated his free time to equestrian pursuits, the latest being TREC. “It originated in France for tour guides,” explains Kyne, as he sits in the fabulous courtyard of idyllic Raford House in Kiltullagh.
“They created this test to see if they (potential tour guides) could prove if they were capable of bringing a group of holidays makers up through the mountains safely and not get lost. So, that was the origins of TREC in France. It has been running for over a hundred years; it is a long time established.”
That said, the first World Championships, held in France, did not take place until as recently as 1997, while the sport was only introduced to Ireland in 2007. Although the growth of the sport has been slow here this, by and large, can be attributed to its low key induction into the country. That, however, takes nothing away from the sport.
“I suppose, one of the attractions of TREC is that it is very forgiving for new riders,” continues Kyne. “It very much suits a rider who just wants to relax and who likes to see parts of the countryside. We try and get new venues all the time around the country, rural areas where you have access to country tracks and bog roads.
“We have been lucky with the generosity of Coillte and local farmers – they have been brilliant – and we pre-arrange with them for access to their land. Generally, we would walk the headland to get in one gate and go out another gate, often to join up two dead end roads,” he explains.
Currently, TREC Ireland – which has been set up as a limited company, in order to provide full insurance cover for riders and full indemnity cover for landowners – has just over 40 members, although this figure will grow significantly as several new clubs have been formed in recent months.
“We now have small satellite groups set up around the country. The main and busiest ones are Kerry and Cork TREC, Mid West TREC down in Ennis – they do fantastic TREC competitions in that area – and Leinster TREC. New groups, though, are being set up Cavan, Monaghan and Louth and we also have a new group being set up in Waterford and two new groups have just set up in Donegal.
“I have been tasked with getting TREC expanded into the West, especially Galway and Mayo. There is fantastic scenery in the West. There are also brilliant facilities for equestrian, such as the likes of Raford House here. It has brilliant stabling and B&Bs locally,” says Kyne.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Judge adjourns Connemara assault case
Date Published: 08-May-2013
A date will be set next October for the trial of a 52-year old Connemara man, who is charged with assaulting traditional Irish musician Noel Hill five years ago.
Michael Folan from Teach Mór, Lettermullen, is charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Noel Hill at Tí Padraig Mairtín Beag in Leitir Mór, on St Stephen’s Day, 2008.
The matter had been listed for trial on several occasions before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in the intervening period.
It was referred to the High Court in Dublin last year for judicial review after Michael Folan said he wanted his trial heard ‘as Gaeilge’and that a bi-lingual jury be made available to hear the case.
At Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Rory McCabe adjourned the case for mention to October when it’s expected a date will be set for trial.
Bank of Ireland Galway Shopping Centre branch to close
Date Published: 10-May-2013
Bank of Ireland’s branch at Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road is to close in July.
The branch is to merge into the BOI outlet at Galway Industrial Estate in Mervue.
Galway Bay fm news reports the 14 staff impacted are to be offered redeployment and there will be no job losses.
Galway RNLI rescues three people stranded on Hare Island
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway RNLI Lifeboat has come to the rescue of three students who got stranded on Hare Island after getting caught in the tide off Ballyloughan Beach.
The two girls and boy, in their late teens had gone for a walk and were spotted waving from the island by a local resident who contacted the emergency Services and Galway Lifeboat.
Conditions at the time (4pm) were very changeable with heavy showers.
Three members of the Lifeboat shore crew were working in the vicinity of the station at the time and launched the boat in six minutes.
The three students were picked up safely and brought back to the Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks where they were warmed up and given tea and did not require medical attention.