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Norah’s hands-on approach to therapy has roots in car crash

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Date Published: {J}

Norah Ní Cadhain from Leitir Móir is a woman with a mission – and it’s one which has the potential to improve lives everywhere.

Norah, who has just been appointed as Irish Representative for the internationally renowned Complementary Therapists Association, representing over 9,000 complementary therapists in the UK and Ireland, wants to teach people how to use life-improving techniques such as massage at home.

She is well positioned to do that, being qualified in a wide variety of skills, including basic massage, pregnancy massage, sports massage, palliative massage, reflexology, aromatherapy and Reiki. She is also an instructor in baby massage and a complementary therapy tutor.

And her studies don’t end there. London born Norah, whose parents come from Connemara, is currently completing a diploma in Irish in Árus Uí Cadhain in Carraroe, which is run by NUIG.

Reared between Camden Town and Connemara, Norah had a deep love for her parents’ birthplace and finally achieved her dream of moving to Leitir Móir three years ago. Although she spoke some Irish, she felt it was important to achieve fluency, especially as she wanted to be able to treat and teach people holistically in Irish as well as English.

Norah’s passion for massage shines through as she lists its many merits, yet it was a passion she discovered by accident.

“A few years back I was in a car crash and my back was injured – I had whiplash,” she explains. She went to a physiotherapist and a chiropractor and while their efforts initially brought some relief, they failed to solve the problem.

At the time she was working in the corporate world of import and export in the UK and although she was able to continue in her job, her back hurt like hell. Eventually, she was given the name of a therapist who did remedial massage. Manipulation of her muscles gave her relief like no other treatment had.

Norah began to recognise its benefits, and when she saw an ad for a weekend introductory massage course she wanted to do it. Sensing her enthusiasm, her partner bought Norah the voucher for her birthday and it opened up a whole new world.

“I knew that minute I was never going to do anything else. I absolutely love every minute of my work. I always had lots of money but never had work I loved. I do now.”

She immediately booked for a foundation course with an accredited college, starting off with holistic massage and continuing on to develop an amazing array of skills in the complementary health area.

These included Indian head massage, reflexology, immunity care and subtle energy, palliative care and counselling skills among others. She practises reflexology which is recognised by various health insurers. Her work also includes physical therapy and sports injury and is a serious business.

“I do body work, I’m not into beauty,” she explains.

Throughout her career as a therapist, Norah has worked on a voluntary basis for various charities including Baby Massage Ireland, Children with Leukaemia, the Irish Centre in London, The Irish Massage Therapists Association and the Connemara Marathon. She also does presentations for local charities and businesses and onsite massage services in the corporate and charity sector. Recently, she was on duty in the film studios in An Tulach when the film Na Garda was being shot.

She also treats people with special needs, working in Tigh Nan Dooley in Carraroe and with the Brothers of Charity in Casla. Treatments such as head massage and reflexology are very effective for people with Down Syndrome as they assist in relaxation, says Norah.

“I have one man with Down Syndrome who gets his feet done and then he goes outside and smokes his pipe,” she says.

Doing this sort of work in Connemara has brought huge fulfilment to Norah. As a child, Leitir Móir was central to her life, as the family travelled there from London three or four times a year. She knew from the age of seven that she wanted to move to what she regarded as home. The link was strengthened when her parents returned to Connemara 15 years ago. And it was around that time she met her partner, a local man who moved to London to be with her, before they eventually settled in Galway.

When she began training in complementary therapy Norah realised that she had to have a strategy for returning. That meant working in England until she earned enough money to set up in business in Connemara.

In fact, she was so well prepared that she able to start work the day after she arrived in Leitir Móir. She set up in a fully-equipped treatment room beside her house and business has expanded steadily since then.

For more, read page 25 of this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.

 

For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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