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Connacht Tribune

Nature at heart of artists’ poetic response to Covid

Judy Murphy

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The goddess Éiru, played by lead dancer and choreographer Robyn Byrne on the grounds of Ballinlough Castle. Photo: Bríd O'Donovan.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

”A poetic response to Covid,” is how film director Mia Mullarkey describes Éiru’s Threshold, a multi-disciplinary work from the Body & Soul Festival which will premiere online this Saturday, February 13, at 8pm.   It was shot on the grounds of Westmeath’s Ballinlough Castle – the venue for Body & Soul – during the latest level five lockdow and features some of Ireland’s top female actors, dancers, designers and musicians. They include Druid co-founder Marie Mullen, Galway dancer Stefanie Dufrense and Mia, whose film-making career began in Galway City “at 10 or 11 when my parents bought a video camera”. Back then, she took on the role of director, enlisted her brothers and sisters as actors in dramas she created and, now based in Dublin, she’s never looked back.

Most of the team on Éiru’s Threshold are women, but it’s not a project fuelled by feminism, Mia stresses. It deals with death and rebirth, something that’s usually associated with the feminine – and she points out that you don’t have to be female to have a feminine side.

The project began when the founder of Body & Soul, Avril Stanley, invited creative director, Mary Hickson, who has extensive experience of running venues and festivals, to collaborate on a project.

They decided to use the Celtic goddess Éiru as a method of exploring the space that exists between things – the threshold, says Mia. In mythology, Éiru represents Ireland, so she seemed like an apt metaphor for the current strange times.

The 10-minute piece, “which is beautiful in a poetic way”, features two new poems by Doireann Ní Ghríofa encapsulating the cycle of birth and death, as well as a reworking of Henry Purcell’s poignant classical aria, Dido’s Lament.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Galway to complete vaccine roll-out by end of the summer

Denise McNamara

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Ninety-five year old Margaret Kenny was first person to be administered the Covid-19 vaccination Practice Nurse Deirdre Furey at the Surgery Athenry.

On the first anniversary of Covid-19’s deadly arrival into Ireland, the head of the Saolta hospital group has predicted that all who want the vaccine will have received it by the end of the summer.

Tony Canavan, CEO of the seven public hospitals, told the Connacht Tribune that the HSE was planning to set up satellite centres from the main vaccination hub at the Galway Racecourse to vaccinate people on the islands and in the most rural parts of the county.

While locations have not yet been signed up, the HSE was looking at larger buildings with good access that could be used temporarily to carry out the vaccination programme over a short period.

“We do want to reach out to rural parts of the region instead of drawing in people from the likes of Clifden and over from the islands. The plan is to set up satellites from the main centre, sending out small teams out to the likes of Connemara,” he explained.

“Ideally we’d run it as close as possible to the same time that the main centres are operating once that is set up. Communication is key – if people know we’re coming, it will put people’s minds at rest.”

Get all the latest Covid-19 coverage in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Galway meteorologist enjoying new-found fame in the sun!

Denise McNamara

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Linda Hughes, presenting the RTÉ weather forecast live in studio.

Growing up in Galway where four seasons in a day is considered a soft one, Linda Hughes always had a keen interest in the weather.

But unlike most Irish people, instead of just obsessing about it, she actually went and pursued it as a career.

The latest meteorologist to appear on RTE’s weather forecasts hails from Porridgtown, Oughterard, and brings with her an impressive background in marine forecasting.

She spent six years in Aerospace and Marine International in Aberdeen, Scotland, which provides forecasts for the oil and gas industry.

The 33-year-old was a route analyst responsible for planning routes for global shipping companies. She joined the company after studying experimental physics in NUIG and doing a masters in applied meteorology in Redding in the UK.

“My job was to keep crews safe and not lose cargo by picking the best route to get them to their destination as quickly as possibly but avoiding hurricanes, severe storms,” she explains.

“It was a very interesting job, I really enjoyed it but it was very stressful as you were dealing with bad weather all the time because there’s always bad weather in some part of the world.”

Read the full interview with Linda Hughes in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Great-great-grandmother home after Covid, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Quinn...back home after an incredible few months.

Her family are understandably calling her their miracle mum – because an 81 year old great-great-grandmother from Galway has bounced back from Covid-19, a stroke, heart failure and brain surgery since Christmas…to return hale and hearty, to her own home.

But Mary Quinn’s family will never forget the trauma of the last three months, as the Woodford woman fought back against all of the odds from a series of catastrophic set-backs.

The drama began when Mary was found with a bleed on her brain on December 16. She was admitted to Portiuncula Hospital, and transferred to Beaumont a day later where she underwent an emergency procedure – only to then suffer a stroke.

To compound the crisis, while in Beaumont, she contracted pneumonia, suffered heart failure and developed COPD, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – the inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

“Christmas without mom; things did not look good,” said her daughter Catherine Shiel.

But the worst was still to come – because before Mary was discharged, she contracted Covid-19.

Read Mary’s full, heart-warming story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now – or download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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