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Horses may help children with learning difficulties




A Galway woman is conducting a study on children with dyspraxia to see how interacting with horses can benefit the condition.

Caren Hession is a Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) research student and GMIT graduate and is conducting the study on 120 children with dyspraxia as part of her PhD.

She hopes to achieve a greater understanding of how Equine Therapy benefits the individual. She plans to use this knowledge to design a more accessible and effective form of therapeutic engagement.

The experiment will take place in Limerick, Dublin, and Galway, and Ms Hession is searching for 40 children aged between six and 15 years, with a primary diagnosis of dyspraxia to take part in Galway.

Dyspraxia is a development coordination disorder where symptoms include language and learning difficulties.

The study will be broken up into three parts. In Galway’s St Michael School Boys school in Mervue, Ms Hession will study the ways in which visual art – visual art classes, the movement of the horse and its unique, human-like gait – can benefit the individual, while in Limerick her research will be based on the noises of the animals. In Dublin, her experiment will include horse-riding lessons.

Starting in September, this is her second equine study, and will be the largest research study of its kind in Ireland.

Her first experiment, conducted on 40 children with Dyspraxia, took place from January to March of this year and revealed that the motion of a horse made significant improvements in cognition, mood arousal and ambulation.

Children in this study participated in two 30-minute audio-visual screenings and six one-hour horse-riding lessons over the course of eight weeks.

“The riding lessons consisted of a series of games and exercises devised to assist with balance and engagement while riding. Children were assessed [before and after] the 8-week study period and all information remained anonymous,” said Ms Hession who is from Athenry now living in Oranmore.

Following the positive results of her first experiment, she hopes to investigate “the extent to which audio-visual perception alone might contribute positive cognitive, social or emotional value to children with special needs, thereby extending the beneficial effects of Equine therapy sessions, both temporally and spatially.”

Equine therapy is the use of horses for the physical, mental, emotional and behavioural development of an individual. But despite the growing recognition of this therapy, there is very little scientific research to support the activities in this field.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Connacht Tribune

Connacht Tribune tributes to loved ones




These past few months have seen so many communities left to silently mourn family members and friends, whose funerals they would have attended in such numbers, were it not for the current Covid-19 restrictions.

But those that are gone have not been, and will not be, forgotten – which is why we want to open the pages of the Connacht Tribune to you to tell their stories.

If you’ve lost a loved one, whether to Covid-19 or not, or if your community or organization or sports club is mourning the death of a valued member and friend, you can email us your tribute and we will publish it in our papers.


All you have to do it to click on the above link, and it will take you to a short set of questions which you can fill in – and then add whatever you feel tells the story of the life of your friend, family member or colleague.

You can email that with a photograph to us, to or you can post it to ‘Obituaries’, Connacht Tribune, 21 Liosban Business Park – and please enclose a contact number in case we have any queries.

We sympathise with anyone who has lost a loved one at this awful time, particularly given that so many people were unable to mourn with them and their family in person – and we hope that this will help in some small way to show those family members that we are all united in grief, even from a distance.

This is an additional feature we are providing alongside our long-established weekly Family Notices section where loved ones are remembered immediately by Months Mind Notices and annual anniversary remembrances.  You can contact our team for further details at

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WATCH: The Olivers to the rescue … again!

Enda Cunningham



Father and son rescue team Patrick and Morgan Oliver were back in action in Salthill this morning, when they helped a swimmer who got into difficulty.

A member of the public raised the alarm at around 10.30am and the Coastguard sought the assistance of Galway Lifeboat who launched from Galway Docks.

Two members of the lifeboat shore crew made their way to the promenade to assist in the rescue.

Patrick and Morgan Oliver were fishing off Salthill at the time and spotted the man taking refuge on Palmers Rock about 200 metres from Salthill shore. They took him on board their fishing boat and brought him back to Galway Docks. Galway Lifeboat in the meantime was stood down. 

The man was taken into the Lifeboat station where he received treatment for symptoms of hypothermia until an ambulance arrived.

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Assurances given on progress of road, bridge and bus projects

Francis Farragher



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It will take time and a lot of money, but the city’s network of major transport projects will proceed on schedule – that was the assurance given this week to councillors by City Council Chief Executive, Brendan McGrath.

Councillors had expressed concerns at their meeting on Monday about the slow rate of progress being made with major capital projects including two new pedestrian bridges over the River Corrib.

However, Brendan McGrath told the meeting that the timelines for the range of capital transport projects – while challenging – were reasonable, pragmatic and achievable.

“All of the projects are moving forward but we must adhere to all the procedures and the different stages that have to be complied with: we have no choice in that,” said Brendan McGrath.

Senior City Council Engineer, Uinsinn Finn, in reply to a number of queries about potential new bus routes, said that while the Council worked closely with Bus Éireann and the bus companies, the local authority didn’t decide on the routes.

Earlier in the meeting, Cllr Peter Keane (FF), asked ‘how it could take 63 months’ to deliver a pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Corrib even though the piers (old Corrib Railway Line) were already in place for the project.

“How can it take over five years to put a bridge like this over the Corrib,” he asked, after hearing that this €11 million Greenways-linked project would not be completed until 2026.

There is a snappier timescale for the Salmon Weir Pedestrian/Cycle Bridge – to be located adjacent to the existing structure on the southern side – with planning consent expected by next Summer and a completion date set for the end of 2022.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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