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Love of Irish dancing passes down through generations

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The best businesses are inspired by passion – like Marie Mahon’s, whose love for Irish dancing was so strong that she has dedicated her life to introducing children to the wonderful skill.

Marie – nee Gavin – has been the driving force behind the Gavin School of Dancing, since she founded it back in 1989.

BY DAVID CONNORS

The school is now one of the most recognised and respected in South Galway – and after 25 years in existence, the academy continues to go from strength-to-strength.

Marie began dancing in England at the tender age of three when her mother purchased her first dance shoes. Her family moved to Peterswell when she was eleven, and her dancing continued from there.

In 1991, she undertook her T.C.R.G. examination with An Comhdháil (Congress of Irish Dance Teachers) and became a qualified teacher.

It was at this point the Gavin School of Irish Dancing was founded and began in the Joe Cooley Hall in Peterswell, now expanded to classes in Gort, Ardrahan, Kilbeacanty and recently Labane.

And it’s really within the last twelve years that Marie’s hard work has reaped reward.

“We won the All-Ireland’s back in 2003, in Ennis, in the freestyle championship and it was a really proud moment. It was a creation called Spirit of Celtic Hope,” she admits.

To invent these original dance creations takes a lot of time. “You have to get ideas, sit down with a pen and paper and make up a story, then come up with music and steps to show your story as you’re going. It is time consuming, it takes a lot of hours and a lot of practice,” she says.

And now that the school is so well established, former students are now coming through her school to become teachers themselves.

“April Dooley and Nessa Timlin have both qualified and this year my own daughter Diana is graduating in August, so I have three teachers produced school to date,” she says with pride.

And with the qualification of April and Diana, the school became a multi- teacher Academy now known as the Gavin Dance Academy.

April’s reason for moving onto the teaching side was simple – “to give back some of what I’ve learned and help children learn and progress over the years to come.”

And what she has learned is not to be sneezed at – because over the years, she has accumulated several Connacht titles, winning a gold medal as part of a team dance in the All Irelands and gold for a jig solo at 15.

Before undertaking her T.C.R.G. examination, her daughter Diana graduated with an honours degree in Business with Event Management from the Limerick Institute of Technology.

With the school regularly organising dancing events it was with an eye at ensuring the school’s name stays alive for quite a long time.

“I look forward to the growth and development of the academy. Also to the fantastic opportunities that Irish Dance has to offer, be it success at a competitive level, a chance to travel the world with a show or simply to make lifelong friendship from performing within the community,” Diana said.

The Academy caters for both boys and girls and currently boasts an impressive fourteen boys in its ranks.

“They’re loving it; they’re enjoying it and I think a lot of them are friends so they are sticking together. If you can get a few boys from the one area they will all be friends. It’s cool to be a male dancer,” says Marie,

The academy has further plans to expand and is looking at the possibility broadening the number of National Schools from the coming September.

The idea is to call to the schools and teach the pupils Irish dancing for one-two hours a week which would provide an excellent chance for students who might be interested in Irish dancing.

■ For more information on this or class enquires contact Marie Mahon on (087) 2468655, April Dooley on (086) 039489 or Diana Mahon on (087) 2140347.

CITY TRIBUNE

50 domestic abuse 999 calls to Galway Gardaí cancelled

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway’s Garda Chief has committed to a ‘root and branch investigation’ after an internal review unearthed over 50 domestic abuse calls that were cancelled by local Gardaí.

An internal Garda inquiry has revealed that nationally, members of the force cancelled between 3,000 and 4,000 domestic abuse-related ‘999’ calls between 2019 and 2020.

At a meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Monday, Chief Superintendent Tom Curley told members that the inquiry found 53 such calls in the Galway Division.

He said he had been tasked by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris to sift through the calls and follow up on how they were handled by Gardaí.

“In relation to domestic incidents where calls were cancelled, I have 53 from my division. I am carrying out a root and branch investigation and perhaps at the next JPC meeting, I will be able to give an update of the findings.

“I have only listened to a number of the calls at the moment and I’d rather be in possession of the full facts before commenting any further,” said Chief Supt Curley.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Councillor claims dealers are using jet skis to bring drugs to Galway

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Drugs are being delivered into the city by jet skis coming down the Corrib, a meeting of the city’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) heard on Monday.

Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) said there had been reports of dealers using jet skis to come down the river from areas around Headford and Cong, dropping deliveries in the city without fear of detection.

“Do we have a Garda water unit in Galway City to deal with that,” asked Cllr Fahy.

The Chief Superintendent, Tom Curley, said he was not aware of the practice but if anyone had any information on these deliveries, they should bring it to Gardaí.

“We haven’t got a water unit in the city but there is one in Athlone that is available to us any day of the week,” he added.

This came as the JPC was informed that drugs seizures have soared in the city, with year-on-year figures for detection of dealing up 84% in the first five months of 2021.
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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CITY TRIBUNE

Walk-in Covid test facility to open in city centre next week

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Galway City Tribune – A new walk-in Covid testing centre will open in the old tourist office off Forster Street next Tuesday.

The centre will replace the one at NUIG, where students were being encouraged to get tested without an appointment if they showed symptoms or were close contacts of somebody who tested positive.

It will be open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm.

The new location will be a more convenient base for people visiting the city to check for the virus over the coming weeks as the tourist season ramps up.

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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