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Oonagh on the scent of success with doggie care

Enda Cunningham

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People could be forgiven for thinking that Oonagh O’Brien was barking mad when she decided to quit a career with a six-figure salary to set up a daycare and training centre for dogs.

But for the 32 year-old – who is originally from Laois and living in Galway for more than a decade – the risk of pursuing a dream has paid off.

Her passion for animals and animal care, combined with her background in accounting, plenty of research, hard work and determination gave her a business – and lifestyle – where she can do what she loves most.

Oonagh set up Trusty Pet Pals in Briarhill Business Park (near Galway Racecourse) almost two years ago, and it is already firmly established as a leading centre in the West of Ireland for the ethical training of dogs, doggie daycare, boarding kennels and grooming.
In fact, it’s the only business of its kind in Galway, with the nearest similar operation being in Ennis.

Trusty Pet Pals is now proving hugely popular with dog owners here, so much so that Oonagh has three staff and there are regularly between 30 and 40 dogs in daycare, while the training courses are also a real draw.

Not bad for someone who took the plunge, quit her job as an accountant, and set up a business on the cusp of the recession.
The business centres on the concept of ‘positive reinforcement’, which she explains is a science, as opposed to a method of dog training. It’s all about promoting animal welfare, owner education and providing a fun and controlled environment for dogs to socialise in.

Oonagh worked for six-and-a-half years with a medical devices company, where she was being prepped as the next Financial Controller with a six-figure salary.

But she realised that she looked forward to her part-time dog-walking and pet-sitting at the weekends, much more than her day job.

The seeds for a dramatic change in career direction had been sown.
“I realised I was looking forward to my weekend job a lot more than my day job, but I knew that there wasn’t really enough business to generate a full-time income from it.

“With a job like that, you either see yourself in it in ten years time, or you don’t. My idea was really taking my attention away from the day job!

“I knew I’d be taking a huge paycut, but I knew I’d enjoy the work so much more. Because of my background in accounting and my business head, I knew I had to research the idea.

“So I researched lots of other dog-related businesses in Ireland, the US and Australia to find out what type of qualifications they had. I already had a canine ‘first responder’ course completed,” she said.

While considering her business plan, she travelled to Namibia to volunteer with wild animals for a few months, and also volunteered at weekends with the GSPCA when she returned to Galway.

“There were so many dog walkers and pet-sitters in Galway, and everyone had a little bit of business. But I was being asked if I could take a dog for four or five hours. There wasn’t anywhere to bring them in Galway weather, so that was the business I wanted to set up,” Oonagh explained.

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

Country Living

It’s taken a while to purge the ghosts of our past life

Francis Farragher

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1960s Ireland: Far different times at school than today. Photo courtesy of Irish Times.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

A few years back, I was overwhelmed by a huge wave of enthusiasm to go on things like Twitter and Facebook. There was a novelty about it but one day the penny dropped that maybe there were other and better things to be doing with my life. An issue also arose when I thought I was sending a ‘message’ on my mobile only to discover a few minutes later that I has sent it to ‘half-the-country’ via Twitter.

Still technology and social media is the way of the world that we live in at present and it is extremely useful to stay in touch and find out at the click of a keyboard or the touch of a phone some key piece of information. ‘Ould hacks’ in the trade like myself, are trained to double check things from a couple of sources, and that’s a great help, in never believing the first piece of scary news that you see on social media.

Any journalist worth his salt will try and reliably establish if something stands up or not, and key question always to be asked about something or someone can be summed up in one very short sentence: “Is this true.” So, whether we’re journalists in local papers, local radios, RTE, the Irish Times or Independent News and Media, that basic tenet of our profession – to establish the truth – must always be the guiding principle. Something akin to doctors and the Hippocratic Oath.

There are various little free offers of news from reputable sources that can be accessed by a daily email such as WebMD which will tell you every way you can try and avoid the common cold as well as keeping your muscles limbered up, or the New York Times newspaper, who will email you a daily briefing of world news at 6am every morning, not that I’m at my desk at the unearthly time of the morning.

The daily snapshot of news from the New York Times would make you wonder about what kind of country America is, not that we should be too surprised after four years of one D. Trump and all his antics. And he’s not finished yet!

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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Participants in the Eucharistic Procession pass through Eyre Square on June 20, 1965.

1920

Unparalleled turmoil

Even the long and tear-stained history of Ireland can find no parallel for the terrible happenings of the present week. Nearly forty people have come to violent and sudden deaths.

Sunday’s tragedies in the Irish capital and the sequel at Croke Park might well drive men who hope for, and long for, peace to utter despair. But courage is the quality that is required to-day, not despair – moral courage to point the path to peace and just dealing between man and man.

We live in the twentieth century of civilisation – though the surge of horrors that surround us might make it difficult to realise that fact – and God is in heaven. His Commandments still hold, though some of his people may forget them for a time. It is the duty of all men in authority to recall them so that the terrible passions of our time may subside and that a Godly peace may once more be promoted in our midst.

The tragedy of Father Griffin’s death stuck us more nearly than anything that has happened even in these days of horror. He was God’s anointed, the servant of the Prince of Peace. By the tradition and practice that governs all Christian peoples, he should stand as a man apart from the vengeful passions of the multitude.

During the recent riots in Londonderry, the one fact that lit up a sordid picture with a flame of light was that the violent mobs on both sides held their fire whilst the priests crept out from the side of the streets to succour the wounded, to console the dying.

And Fr. Griffin dwelt amongst us for two years. The little children of our streets knew him, and in many respects he was like unto one of these. All life lay before him in the most sacred, if not most responsible calling, that man can enter.

This was the man of whom the ghastliest story since the days of Cromwell has to be told. All who have hearts have been touched, all who have tears have shed them by his bier.

The funeral

Amidst scenes of most profound public sympathy and inspiring devotional expressiveness the remains of the late Rev. Michael Griffin were solemnly laid to rest beneath the shadow of the eastern wing of the Cathedral in Loughrea on Wednesday.

That feeling most intense has been aroused all over the county by the shocking tragedy was painfully in evidence. Nothing that has ever happened in the county in modern times has wounded the public conscience in such a way.

Popular to a degree, the deceased young priest was a man of much promise, full of personal charm and affability. The events of Wednesday will live long in the history of his native diocese. The position of his last resting place is one which must always attract the notice of the visitor.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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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Connacht Tribune

Giving new life to ancient stories

Judy Murphy

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Mark is passionate about folklore and history.

Lifestyle – Mark Joyce shares his passion for Irish myths and legends in a new book which he has written and illustrated. A companion piece to his previous work on Ireland’s mythical beasts, Ireland’s Mythical Wonders is a treasure trove of heroic figures, magic events, and occasional forays into madness. He tells JUDY MURPHY how it came about.

While most of us moan when rain falls, Mark Joyce embraces bad weather. It’s the one time you can stay indoors, happily immersed in books without feeling guilty about neglecting any work that needs doing outside, the Recess man says cheerfully, during a deluge of Biblical proportions.

Mark, an artist by training who owns the renowned Joyce’s Craft Shop in Recess, loves books of all sorts, but has a particular passion for Irish history and heritage.

In recent years, he has taken that ‘grá’ and created his own illustrated books, the latest of which, Mythical Irish Wonders, has been just published by Currach Press.  Mark describes the colourful hardback book as “a companion piece” to Mythical Irish Beasts which Currach published two years ago.

Mark, a graduate of the Dún Laoghaire College of Art and Design who also has a background in film, concentrated on fantastical creatures from Irish mythology for that first book, which he also illustrated. Some were familiar while others were less well-known – he brought them to life for a new generation.

While he was researching Mythical Irish Beasts, Mark stumbled across a range of smaller, fantastic pre-historic tales. “I’d never heard of some of them before and they were really cool,” he explains.

Individually, these ‘wonder stories’ were too small to merit individual books, “but too important to be forgotten”, he says.

These included information about how to become an Irish warrior, the location of the gates of hell (Roscommon), how a chieftain’s sword could also make rainbows, and Ireland’s magic trees. Mark decided to compile these miniature treasures into a new collection that would transport readers into another space and time.

The result is Mythical Irish Wonders, a hardback book with 49 stories, similar in design to Mythical Irish Beasts. It has adventurous deeds from heroes such as Cú Chulainn and Fionn Mac Cumhaill as well as information on Celtic and pre-Celtic Ireland, including the various tribes that inhabited the country in pagan times. There’s also an account of the 14 different names given to the country, as recorded by 17th century historian, Geoffrey Keating.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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