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Reflections on a reporting life

Ciaran Tierney

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After 22 years working with the Connacht Tribune Group, Ciarán Tierney is moving on – but not before he put pen to paper to look back over the highlights of a career at the coalface.

When I was growing up in Galway in the 1970s and ‘80s, I never actually thought I would live as an adult in my home town. Most of us bypassed Dublin and gravitated towards the bright lights of London, where the delights of a big city, well-paid work, Liverpool FC games, and countless gigs provided a massive attraction during my summer holidays from NUI Galway.

At one stage, I must have had 20 friends in the British capital and it offered a ‘freedom’ which was unavailable at home.

But when the opportunity presented itself to work full-time for my local newspaper, I jumped at it. Good jobs were hard to come by in the West of Ireland in the early 1990s and I was in dreamland at times, writing my own weekly music column, covering a vibrant club scene and following the exploits of a myriad of decent Galway bands.

Music got me into journalism in the first place and my column coincided with the arrival of venues such as the Roisin Dubh and Monroe’s. And I could marvel at the brilliance of bands like Toasted Heretic, The Far Canals, and Inflatable Sideshow in the 1990s, while getting paid to down pints at their gigs and rage at the injustice of how they failed to conquer the world.

There were some crazy nights, such as when a delirious crowd carried dance DJ Carl Cox, like a triumphant boxer, onto the Castle stage. The fact that the venue was threatened with closure by the Gardaí only added to the intense atmosphere in the club.

The maddest day I ever had at work in the 1990s came when I was sent out to interview a priest in the wilds of Connemara but, thanks to a wayward hitch-hiker, ended up in a ‘shebeen’ frequented by poitin drinkers who hadn’t a word of English between them. I returned to the city with a couple of bottles and a much different story than my editor envisaged. But that’s another story …

In sport, I was a young freelancer in the press box when Galway United won the FAI Cup for the first and only time. The modesty of the likes of the late Tommy Keane and Eamon Deacy, the city’s two most gifted players in history, was a wonderful reflection of the part of the city which spawned them.

I will never forget how accommodating Westside native David Forde was after he finally became Republic of Ireland goalkeeper at 33 years of age. Despite all his commitments with national and international media, the Millwall and former Galway United goalkeeper always went out of his way to do interviews with his home town ‘paper.

Sometimes my friends thought I had the best job in the world. I was in the dressing-room when the Galway footballers won the Sam Maguire Cup for the first time in 32 years in 1998. Those were the days before Croke Park was taken over by over-eager security men in suits. It seemed totally natural to down about six pints of beer in a Salthill pub before covering an emotional homecoming for our Tuesday paper, The Sentinel, at 4am.

Boxers were the most welcoming of all the sports people I came across. I was lucky enough to be the first journalist to interview Francie Barrett in his caravan at the Hillside encampment, a year before he became the first Traveller to represent Ireland at the Olympic Games.

There were poignant days in the job, too. I will never forget the hospitality and sheer dignity of the parents of Siobhan Hynes and Kieran Cunningham, both senselessly murdered, when they welcomed me into their homes. These quiet, rural families were hurtled so cruelly into extraordinary grief and pain – and yet they had such quiet determination to tell their children’s stories, to make sure their short lives were remembered in the right way by their local ‘paper.

In recent years, I got to interview some extraordinary people, including my own school friend Liam Cullinane who has battled meningitis, with both bravery and determination, for over 20 years.

Then there was Mark Logan, a man I knew through the city’s music scene who saved countless lives through his work in suicide prevention. Mark and I joked for about five years about doing a long interview, but kept putting it off. Then, after we finally did sit down for a chat, Mark tragically died of a heart attack just two weeks later.

The man was a legend and his funeral was one of the most memorable I ever attended. He was great fun, but dedicated his life to helping people in distress.

People like Liam and Mark may never make national or international headlines, but they inspire the communities around them with their extraordinary, understated lives.

In recent years, I’ve been inspired by the Palestinian activists in Galway, including 64-year old Tommy Donnellan who was shot by Israeli soldiers in the West Bank last year. Tommy, armed with a camera, is determined that the truth will come out. He shows no fear and jokes that he’s too old to be considered a threat by the Israeli authorities. His photos and videos give voices to the voiceless in the West Bank and Gaza, who feel they have been forgotten by the outside world.

The start of my career with the Tribune coincided with the ‘Bishop Casey Scandal’ and long gone are the days when the Bishop of Galway could urge his congregation to whip their daughters if they happen to be out late on a Saturday night.

There is a palpable anger in the West of Ireland that so many ordinary people have been forced to pay for the crimes of an elite few, through water, property, and USC taxes. Friends living overseas have told me that they get a better feeling of what Ireland is like since the crisis from the Connacht and City Tribune than they do from the national media.

Suicide is a theme which seems to have popped up far too frequently over the past couple of years and yet it’s been inspirational to meet the people who do Trojan work with the likes of Pieta House and Console.

Local journalism has allowed me to meet hundreds of people and shown me the dignity and pride of ordinary West of Ireland people who may never have wanted the limelight in the first place.

Provincial newspapers play a huge role in Irish life but, for me, the time has come to move on. With the industry going through a crisis, I decided to take a voluntary redundancy package this week. While my immediate future is uncertain, it’s been a privilege to meet so many wonderful people and attempt to tell their stories over the past two decades.

This is an edited version of Ciaran’s musings – for the full version, go to his blog

Connacht Tribune

Moving forward with new wisdom

Stephen Glennon

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According to Gerry, the pace at which many people live their lives isn’t sustainable.

Lifestle – Top sports psychologist Gerry Hussey has written a book designed to help more people unlock their potential and enrich their lives. He explores big issues including science and spirituality and shares his own story to demonstrate to readers what they are capable of, as he explains the importance of taking care of ourselves and each other in order to achieve real freedom. He tells STEPHEN GLENNON how it evolved.

Sports psychologist Gerry Hussey has enjoyed great success guiding Olympic and World champions, elite sportspeople and top teams to reach their goals. With his new book, Awaken Your Power Within, he hopes to enable more people to unlock their potential.

Over the past two decades, the Glenamaddy native’s reputation has grown hugely. Also known as ‘The Soul Coach’, he’s now regarded as a leader in sports psychology.

Having also studied philosophy and theology in college, Gerry was always interested in exploring bigger questions about a person’s place in the universe. He’s done that in this book.

The Covid-19 lockdowns gave Gerry the opportunity to delve deeper and write Awaken Your Power Within, to help people walk the path of self-discovery and open their minds to their untapped possibilities.

He believes the “natural interest” in exploring these issues has grown during the pandemic, with people questioning what is really important in life.

“They are now asking ‘do I really want to go back into the old way? What part of the old life do I want to bring back?’ We lived in this haze of busy and everyone we met was busy. It had become so normal that people were busy and tired.”

The pace at which many people live their lives isn’t sustainable, Gerry says. In this book, he wants to show that if a person is on the go 24/7, the body will respond by producing more stress hormones.

“Eventually, there is a damaging impact on our physical health. I want to prove with the science in the book that if we live in this constant state of go-go-go, eventually the body will break down.”

Gerry had this book in his head for almost a decade, but it wasn’t until two years ago that “something clicked”. That was when he spent three intensive days with renowned author, Dr Joe Dispenza, whose teachings marry science and spirituality in his book Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself.

“I came out of there and said I know the shows I want to do, and created these things called ‘Soul Sundays’. We ran them and they sold out. I think, when he was connecting quantum physics and how the energy field of the universe connects to the mind and the body, then it clicked.”

Until then, Gerry had sometimes struggled to balance his belief in God with elements of science, but Dispenza helped him understand the connections. He now says the answers to life’s bigger questions can’t be found in just one field, but many, including theology, psychology, quantum physics, medicine, nutrition and neuroscience.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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During an ESB power strike in April 1972, petrol pumps had to be operated with a winder, but Declan Forde of Prospect Hill, Gawlay City, found a more novel way of doing it - using a bicycle. The back tyreless wheel of the bicycle was connected to the pump by a belt, with the pedals rotating as petrol was pumped. Declan commented at the time: "This unique method brought us more customers, because by using the bike we pumped the petrol three times faster than the ordinary ESB current." Also in the photograph are Pat Kenehan (right) watching Joe Flaherty operate the pump.

1921

Bad buying policy

It is interesting and useful to speculate how far the conditions that prevailed at Galway great annual fair on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were due to its postponement on the one hand, and to the circumstances of our time on the other.

No doubt, the enforced adjournment and the uncertainty as to when the fair would be held combined to reduce the attendance.

It is possible that stock which, in the ordinary course, would have been taken to the fair had it been held at the appointed time, were disposed of by other means. Against this we have the fact that the fixture in point of attendance and sales was smaller than a normal monthly fair.

The truth is that cumulative causes contributed to its partial failure. Of these the postponement was only incidental. Only 159 wagon loads of stock left Galway during the two days against 259 at the annual fair last year and 360 the previous year.

Whilst the Midland Great Western Railway Company did all that could have been expected in the circumstances to assist in making the fair a success, the Great Southern did practically nothing at all. Six wagons were placed at the disposal of purchasers by the latter company on the Limerick-Sligo branch.

This is illustrated by the fact that most of those who attended Galway fair arrived on the evening before; few ventured to make the journey on the actual morning of the fair. Again, buyers report that owing to the difficulties of transport, and the recent unnecessary foot and mouth scare, they cannot tranship cattle to anything like the same extent as formerly, and owning to the prolonged drought, there is a shortage of grass for grazing in the rich midland counties where extensive buyers keep their stock from one fair to the other.

Apart from these causes, another much more interesting explanation is given. It is suggested is that the country farmer has not yet realised that there is a considerable drop in prices, and has not adapted himself to the new conditions.

This fall, it is clamed, is likely to be retrogressive under present conditions. The cost of living is falling, and must fall still further in order to restore “the economic balance”. Yet farmers prefer to hold back their stock in expectation, apparently, that something like old prices will be restored, rather than part with them. This, a cattle-buying expert informs us, is bad policy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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Connacht Tribune

Bagging a bargain in dream designers

Denise McNamara

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Gucci GG Marmont reversible belt.

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

Whether you’re into handbags or shoes, watches or suits, designer brands are always going to be expensive. However, it may surprise you to learn that their cost varies dramatically around the world.

Research from money.co.uk analysed the price of luxury fashion items in different countries to reveal the cheapest – and most expensive – countries to buy iconic designer goods if you happen to find yourself with a sneaky Lotto win.

As part of this Luxury Price Index, the company researched items that have stood the test of time and have long been a staple of the wealthier wardrobe.

Some of these are actually investment pieces – hold onto them and sell them on ebay in years to come and see that investment potentially double – or even triple.

And if you can save over a grand in the process, all the better.

That’s particularly true of designer bags.

Or pass them onto your kids and grandkids who will hopefully still see vintage as cool.

There might even be a bargain or two or Father’s Day on June 20 – if you are well minted.

And with delivery now so much cheaper than even five years ago, actually buying a piece forever online is more than feasible. Just insure it. There’s no harm dreaming the odd time!

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

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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