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.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
Date Published: 07-May-2013
A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.
That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.
The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.
Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.
Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.
A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.
Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.
Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.
Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
Date Published: 12-May-2013
The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.
There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.
Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.
Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.
Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.
The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.
However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.
Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.