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Connacht Tribune

Mark – a class act on soccer pitch and as teacher

Keith Kelly

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Mark is now a volunteer with his local club Maree-Oranmore FC.

Lifestyle – Ex-Galway United player Mark Herrick tells KEITH KELLY about his teen years playing soccer in the UK before returning to Ireland and sitting the Leaving Cert as an adult. Now a teacher in the school where he was once a student, he feels online classes are no substitute for the real thing and says attending school is vital for young people, socially and emotionally as well as educationally.

On the decking of Mark Herrick’s house in Oranmore on a Tuesday morning, the family’s new kitten, Toffee, is exploring the socially-distanced interviewing space while the noise of children playing on the green behind the house carries into the garden over the back wall.

The patio door opens and out steps seven-year-old Matthew, son of Mark and Geraldine, a radiographer who works in UHG.

“Sorry Dad – do we have straws? I think we had some juice cartons with straws on them, have we any?” Matthew asks.

Mark and Geraldine’s only child, Matthew is a pupil at Gaelscoil de hÍde in Oranmore and is doing a project at home as part of his school work. Mark appreciates the need for children to continue with their education in these times, as he’s a secondary a school teacher in The Bish (St Joseph’s College) in the heart of the city.

Being a parent and a teacher, he knows the issues from both perspectives and empathises with anyone who is struggling with this new world of remote learning.

“He goes to the Gaelscoil, and I wouldn’t have great Irish, so between that and trying to grapple with technology so he can upload things, it can take a while,” Mark laughs.

As a teacher during Covid-19 – his core subject is history, but he has also taught his other degree subject of geography – Mark tried to hold classes over Zoom, but soon concluded they weren’t working.

“I’d be a big believer in interaction with the students, in eye-contact, in movement and you just don’t get that over Zoom. That’s what my concern is for September – we have to get the kids back in to school, you just can’t run classes over a computer screen. I do think we will get the schools back and open, the kids need it for schooling but also for their own social development.

“I see Matthew, he enjoys doing the work at home, but he misses his friends, he misses the classroom, his teacher, the playground, the social aspect. That is just important as the learning side; it is all part of education,” Mark says.

For many of us, time spent in the classroom as students was all about ‘rote learning’ – you’d go into a certain class, and for 40 minutes, take turns reading aloud paragraph after paragraph from a certain book until the bell signalled the end of that particular period of torment. Only to realise the bell also signalled the start of a new 40 minutes of sheer boredom.

That’s not Mark’s style, according to parents of boys he has taught in The Bish. He likes to engage students, to challenge them while also trying to bring an element of fun to the learning process.

One way of doing this via a crossword he’d set for history classes every Friday, with clues relating to topics they’d covered that week. He smiles at the memory.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Time and history conferred character on this home

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The Hermitage, Ballymoe: on the market with a €425,000 guide price.

The Hermitage at Lisnageeragh, Ballymoe is a property on which time and history has conferred a character that no new property could mirror.

Overlooking 16.3 acres of rolling green fields which are included in the sale, this is indeed a unique house and comes to market with charming well maintained stone buildings. These could provide further family accommodation, holiday rentals or craft studios.

The front hall has a beautiful, curved window and leads to two reception rooms on either side of the house. The sitting room has an open fireplace with a black cast iron surround and wooden floors which gleam from years of care and reflect the light coming from two large windows. To the right-hand side, the dining room also has an attractive bay window and an oil-fired stove and it is indeed the perfect social /entertaining space.

To the rear of the house the kitchen is a classic example of a successful marriage of the old and the new. Bespoke shaker style units combine perfectly with modern recessed lighting, attractive tiling and includes a pantry area to one side. A good-sized bedroom and adjacent bathroom complete the downstairs of the main house.

Upstairs there are four bedrooms one of which has an en suite shower. The main bedroom is a delightful space which leads to another small room, a perfect nursery or walk in wardrobe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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A time when we learned once more that no man is an island

Francis Farragher

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Country singer Dolly Parton getting the jab: she sang about it and part-funded research on the vaccine.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

One of the oft-repeated pub jokes whenever the price drink was increased, whether it by Finance Ministers or publicans who felt that their margins were being whittled away, was that: “As long as it doesn’t get scarce, we’ll be happy enough.”

Who could have believed though in the first month or two of 2020 that this scenario would unfold (at least in pubs), where the opportunity to meet friends – and the odd ‘auld enemy’ too – over a couple of pints in the local bar would be snatched away from us?

We probably have learned to adapt to the reality of the pandemic and most of us will remember the real sense of fear and constriction that pervaded our every word and action early last year.

2020 was the universal version of ‘annus horribilis’ – the term made famous by Queen Elizabeth in 1992 when royal marriages started to collapse like cards houses in the breeze.

Being of rural stock, I loved the little video earlier this from country music icon, Dolly Parton, who adapted a verse of her famous Jolene song to mark her first shot of the Moderna vaccine (she also donated $1 million to its research) in a very sincere effort to try and encourage the general public to get inoculated.

“Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

I’m begging of you not to hesitate,

Vaccine, vaccine, vaccine, vaccine,

Cause when you’re dead that’s a bit too late.”

A year before that, times were indeed very strange across Ireland and indeed the world. I remember on the Sunday night before St. Patrick’s Day when a sense of incredulity greeted the news in my own local that ‘a lot of the pubs in Galway city were closing down’. Surely, this couldn’t happen in our own little watering hole in the sticks, but it did.

Michael Karmen’s soundtrack from the Band of Brothers series – a wonder piece of music even to my untrained ear – will always remind me of that early Spring period of lockdown in 2020.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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€4.5m worth of property sold during online event

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This detached house at Seacrest in Knocknacarra attracted a "staggering" level of interest.

More than €4.5 million worth of sales were recorded at the O’Donnellan & Joyce auction last week, where 350 people had pre-registered to bid on the 40 properties which went under the hammer.

80% of the properties sold during the auction or following negotiations immediately afterwards.

Among the properties sold at the auction were:

106 Seacrest, Knocknacarra, Galway. Guiding at €250,000 due to the extent of renovation and upgrade works required, the auctioneers were staggered at the level of interest in this 4-bed detached house.

Siobhra Hennessy, Senior Auction Co-Ordinator, said: “There is an increasing demand for city centre homes in need of repair. Couples want to put their own stamp on a property and often look for properties similar to this.”

Bidding commenced at €250,000 but quickly rose to over €350,000. After intense bidding from a number of internet and telephone bidders, the sale price of €364,000 was reached and the deal was done.

192 Bohermore, Galway. A 2-bed terraced house which attracted great attention, with many enquiries and bidders pre-registering. The house needs complete restoration and modernisation works but obviously appealed to a wide audience. It guided at €120,000, but sold for €179,000, despite the great amount of work required. Again, this is an example of a near-derelict building that offered great potential.

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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