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Connacht Tribune

Navigating constantly changing waters of parenthood

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Margie Connolly, educator and life coach pictured at her home at Baile Nua, Bearna. Photo: Brian Harding.

Lifestyle – Margie Connolly is drawing on a lifetime’s experience as a mother, teacher and a creative coach to offer parents help through the joys and pitfalls of rearing a family. She tells BERNIE Ní FHLATHARTA about the importance of self-care and how listening, trusting and maintaining connections with children will help young people grow and prosper.

A wise woman once said that parenting was an experiment and by the time you find out if you did it the right or wrong way, it’s way too late.

It’s not something that’s taught at school, it’s not something that comes naturally to everybody and sometimes it’s thrust on some of us before we’re ready. But one thing for sure, once a parent, always a parent.

Many believe that life was simpler years ago and no doubt years from now, this time will look simpler too. But, ultimately, parenting isn’t all about the times we live in, how we were parented or whether we were cut out for it. It simply is.

Sure, parenting can be easier for some when it’s shared in a multi-generational home, where wisdom and advice are readily available. But for most families, it’s a daily struggle that can be a lonely burden at times.

Some schools organise specific parenting courses but as parenting is constant from birth onwards, guidance is not just required for the school years.

Margie Connolly in Barna is now sharing her lifetime experience as a mother and teacher through her new profession as a life and creative coach. She took early retirement after 37 years from Salerno School, where she was Deputy Principal and which she loved. She knew it was time for change but she also knew she wouldn’t be idle and that she wanted to expand and explore her own knowledge.

During her teaching career, Margie had taken a few foundation counselling courses but she didn’t want to train as a counsellor. She was, however, open to finding a new path and decided to take a Life Coach course in Dublin. She admits to being inspired by a teenage student who told her on her retirement: ‘You heard my silent cries that no one else heard.’

“Tell me what you plan to do with your one wild and precious life,” says Margie, quoting one of her favourite poets, Mary Oliver. It’s a quote she uses often in her work as a life coach.

As well as being a life coach, she now offers parenting courses and creative courses — all from the comfort of her cosy sitting room overlooking the Atlantic in what she calls “a safe space”.

Walking into her home where the walls are covered with art and lit by various lamps, there is a feeling of calm and serenity. The sitting room, which is a busy hub these days, is furnished with comfy sofas and little tables which are almost always loaded with pots of tea and biscuits.

A mother of two grown-up children and now a doting grandmother of three, Maggie Kate, Michael and Seána, Margie feels well-qualified to share her parenting knowledge. Though she and her late husband, Seán, had been separated, they’d remained the best of friends and co-parented their children as best they could.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

New York-based Galwegian thrives in heart of virus epi-centre

Denise McNamara



Tadhg Reynolds in Times Square, on the empty streets of Manhattan.

An aspiring entrepreneur and Galway native, who had just set up a digital marketing company in New York when the pandemic struck, continues to work twelve-hour days as companies scramble to stay afloat.

Tadhg Reynolds, 24, from Kinvara, left for a better life exactly a year ago, on graduating from NUIG with a degree in Business Information Systems.

On his arrival, he joined a digital marketing start-up in Manhattan focused on e-commerce before branching out on his own, concentrating on Facebook ads, email and Instagram posts for companies in the US as well as in Ireland.

And then Covid-19 sent shockwaves around the world.

America is now the epi-centre of the pandemic and New York has been hardest hit, with 12,000 new cases confirmed and 600 deaths recorded on the day Tadhg spoke to the Connacht Tribune.

Tadhg had been worried that his newly found business would fall by the wayside as digital marketing is usually the first thing cut in hard times.

“I’ve actually started taking on new clients – companies selling home exercise equipment, hand sanitisers, hand moisturisers are doing really well so I’m helping them capitalise and everything seems to be going ok,” he remarks.

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also order the paper with your online delivery – or buy a digital edition on

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Connacht Tribune

Hospitals plan for anticipated virus upsurge

Dara Bradley



ICU staff at Portiuncula Hospital – with a very clear message for the public. Photo taken by hospital staff because of visiting restrictions.

Extra space to store dead bodies prior to burials and cremations has been added at University Hospital Galway (UHG).

Upgrade works at the mortuary had already started prior to the Covid-19 crisis but additional capacity for potential coronavirus deaths was added as a worst case scenario precaution.

‘Preliminary talks’ about the possibility of opening a temporary field hospital in Galway, if in the worst-case scenario the four city hospitals fill-up, have also taken place as part of the HSE’s wide-ranging pandemic plans.

The capacity planning comes as Dr Pat Nash, Chief Clinical Director of Saolta Hospitals Group this week warned we are ‘far from over the hump’ in relation to Covid-19 infections and deaths, even though the public’s compliance with social distancing has slowed the spread of the virus.

The latest figures confirm there were a total of 128 positive cases of Covid-19 in Galway, as of midnight on Sunday, compared with 86 the previous Sunday. That’s up 42 cases in a week, but Sunday’s sharp rise of 16 new cases accounted for almost 40%.

Several hospital sources confirmed that temporary refrigerated prefabricated buildings have been installed alongside the morgue. These have increased by many multiples the 15 spaces in the existing, permanent morgue. An autopsy theatre at the morgue has been moved temporarily to the Fever Hospital building at UHG.

Members of the public who contacted the Connacht Tribune had noticed building work at the city morgue at UHG.

Dr Nash said some construction work was progressing beside the morgue on a new laboratory building that will accommodate the blood and tissue establishment unit. That unit was previously granted planning permission as part of an extension to the morgue.


See full story – and a further 20 pages of coverage of the Covid-19 crisis – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also order the paper with your online delivery – or buy a digital edition on

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Connacht Tribune

NUIG research team found pandemic was long on the cards

Denise McNamara



NUIG Professor Máire Connolly.

Back in 2017, a research report led by NUIG Professor Máire Connolly warned that the risk of a pandemic emerging was greater than ever before.

Influenza viruses originating in animals was first in the list of identified threats to human health.

“The timing and origin of the next pandemic is uncertain, but improved preparedness can minimise the impact on human lives and health, and the disruption to economies and societies that results,” she remarked on the publication of the EU ‘Pandem’ report following 18 months of research.

It was unfortunately all too prescient.

“It is a little bit eerie looking back,” Prof Connolly admits this week. “I don’t think we actually envisaged it would be as harrowing as it is.”

The Galway City native’s previous roles with the World Health Organisation (WHO) revolved around health security and disease control in emergencies. She worked with the organisation between 1995 and 2012, often at the heart of devastating crises in the likes of Afghanistan, Kosovo, Iraq, Iran, Gaza, East Timor, Uganda and Syria..

See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also order the paper with your online delivery – or buy a digital edition on

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