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Photo project to help the young understand Alzheimers



With over 4,000 people over the age of 65 years suffering from Alzheimers Disease in counties Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, the chances are we will all have a close encounter with the condition at some stage in our lives.

A unique project which aims to create a deeper understanding of the degenerative brain disease among young people as well as giving them an entirely useful life skill has also had the triple affect of raising a great deal of money for a group which provides vital services to those afflicted by Alzheimers as well as their families.

It was the photographer Alan Guiomard of Yann Studios Photography on Prospect Hill who first had the idea of teaching students the intricacies of photography, often lost in an age of digital phones.

“We were just talking about it in the office last year. Everything nowadays is digitized. Digital photography means the camera thinks for you, it’s so automated. I thought wouldn’t it be good to teach people the basic skills we learned,” he reflected this week.

“Years ago, we used films of 12 or 24. Nowadays you might take 400 pictures for a single shot without thinking. I wanted to teach students to actually stop and think.”

Having encountered John Grant of Western Alzheimers, he was impressed by the passion the Ballindine man exuded when talking about the disease and its devastating impact on loved ones.

As well as providing in-home support services to families in Galway, Mayo and Roscommon, Western Alzheimers runs a respite centre in Ballindine, which is about to be extended due to demand, and a respite centre in Athenry, which provides respite, day care and long stay services. It is currently in advanced talks with the Health Services Executive (HSE) to set up a centre on a site at Merlin Park Hospital.

Alan decided to set up a workshop for Transition Year Students teaching them photography skills such as correct lighting, composition, rule of thirds where the subject is placed off centre. John Grant would give them a talk about Alzheimers. Students could then work together in teams to produce a photograph inspired by their understanding of Alzheimers.

The photos would be posted on a Facebook page with the top 24 picked based on the amount of ‘likes’ they attracted. The students behind the 24 pictures were invited to a night in the Menlo Park Hotel where they were asked to give a presentation on what their photograph meant and how they came to realise it. The final 12 were then selected for inclusion in the calendar, which would be sold to raise money for Western Alzheimers.

The results were nothing short of astonishing, admits Alan. The creativity which was displayed in the 58 photographs from the 13 schools simply involved blew him away.

“Some of them were quite abstract – you had an entry from St Raphael’s College in Loughrea called Love is a many petalled thing, with six daisies in a circle with a seventh in the centre with half the petals gone to represent memory loss,” recalls Alan.

“An entry from Gort Community School had a head drawn in the sand, with half of it washed away. They had to wait hours for the tide to come in.

“The Bish had a photo called My Favourite Stranger, with a woman sitting beside her brother, but her brother is only half there. It shows that she knows him on a good day but on a bad day he’s a stranger.”

Over €10,000 was raised through the sales of the calendar. The project proved so successful, they decided to launch it again this year. So far 17 schools are on board.

Alan gives his time for free. This year’s calendar will put on sale in mid-November. The money raised goes towards running the respite centres and providing services for families at home.


Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill as event confirmed



Galway Bay fm newsroom – Car enthusiasts say they have “every right” to use Salthill this weekend as an event has been announced for Sunday.

It’s been confirmed by organisers on social media – who say they’re being unfairly portrayed in a negative light.

In a statement, the Galway Car Scene group say they pay road tax like all other road users – and they have “every right” to be in Salthill this weekend.

It comes as they’ve confirmed the event will be taking place there on Sunday as originally planned.

They add it’s unfair to accuse them of blocking up Salthill and other parts of the city given the chronic traffic issues every day of the week.

They’ve also created an online petition calling for a designated place for car enthusiasts to go – which has so far gathered almost 250 signatures.

It claims the car enthusiast community in Galway has been unfairly painted as a negative and anti-social group.

The group say they’re happy to go elsewhere, but say any time they try to find a venue they’re shut out.

The event planned for Sunday has encountered significant opposition, much of which is based on a previous “Salthill Sundays” event held in May.

Those opposed say they’re not against an event of this kind in principle – but they strongly feel that Salthill just isn’t the right venue.

It’s also argued that if the organisers want to be taken seriously, they have to engage with stakeholders like Galway City Council and Gardaí to ensure a well-planned and safe event.

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Cars down to one-way system on Salthill Promenade



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – A one-way system of traffic may be introduced along the Promenade in Salthill to facilitate the introduction of temporary cycle lanes.

The suggestion appeared to come as a shock to some City Council members who supported the cycle lane in a vote last month – one has called for a “full discussion again” on what exactly they had actually approved.

Councillors had voted 17-1 in favour of the principle of providing a cycleway that will stretch from Grattan Road all along the Prom.

The motion that passed at the September meeting proposed that the Council “shall urgently seek” to create a two-way segregated cycle track on a temporary basis along the coastal side of the Prom.

It was agreed that from the Blackrock Tower junction to the Barna Road would be a one-way cycle track.

The motion was voted on without debate, which meant Council officials did not have an opportunity to question the proposal.

At a meeting on Monday, the debate was revisited when Uinsinn Finn, Director of Services for Transportation, indicated that a one-way traffic system would be introduced in Salthill to facilitate a two-way cycle lane from Grattan Road to Blackrock.

This could mean that the outbound lane of traffic, closest to the sea, could be closed to all traffic bar bikes.

Mr Finn said that he would have sought clarity at the previous meeting – if debate were allowed – about what was meant by ‘temporary’.

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway Christmas Market gets go-ahead for next month



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – It’s the first real sign of a restoration of normality in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors in the city – the return of the Christmas Market next month to Eyre Square.

This week, the City Council’s planning department gave the go-ahead for the outdoor retail and gourmet food ‘spread’ that has been part of the festive season in Galway since 2010.

The exception was last year when, like so many other public gatherings since the Covid crisis broke in March 2020, the event had to be cancelled because of public health concerns.

Christmas Market Organiser, Maria Moynihan Lee, Managing Director of Milestone Inventive, confirmed to the Galway City Tribune, that she had received official confirmation on Thursday from the City Council of the go-ahead being given for the event.

“This is really wonderful news for the city and especially so in terms of the retail and hospitality sectors. For every €1 spent at the market another €3 will be spent on the high street – this will be a real boost for Galway,” she said.

Maria Moynihan Lee confirmed that the market would have an earlier than usual start of Friday, November 12 and would run through until the Wednesday evening of December 22.

(Photo: Declan Colohan)

This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of the story, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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