Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Lifestyle

Reflections on a reporting life

Published

on

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

Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Published

on

1922

Scabs warning

An exciting incident in connection with the postal strike occurred at Mary-st., Galway, at four o’clock last Saturday afternoon.

An official of the Galway Electric Lighting Company, Ltd., accompanied by another official, had gone to the central post office at Eglinton-street to collect the letters of the company. Shortly after he had left, it was alleged that he had taken other letters for delivery in Mary-street on his way back to the works.

The strike picket immediately gave chase, and an exciting scene, which was witnessed by a number of people in the street, followed.

The officials of the company were chased into the licensed premises of Mr. J. S. Young, but it could not be found that they had delivered any letters.

“We did not see them delivering any letters,” said one of the strikers. “Anyhow, an undertaking has been signed now not to attempt to deliver any to other people.”

A few national soldiers in uniform were standing at the Eglinton-street end of Mary-street during the incident. Four lady members of the staff at the Galway central office returned to work on Saturday and were understood to be engaged upon sorting of letters recently delivered by road.

It is stated that letters are also being posted at the central boxes. Meanwhile the picket remains almost continuously “on duty” outside the office, in front of which two boards have been place, one stating, “Don’t take letters from scabs”; and another “Restricted Services – Four do the work of forty-two”.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Country Living

Good to be young again even for only two hours

Published

on

Blue skies . . . 80,000 fans . . . and one Garth Brooks 'belting it out' on stage.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

OKAY, so I must admit to being one of the approximately 400,000 ‘Paddies’ who made the trek or pilgrimage to Croke Park a couple of weeks back to see one Garth Brookes, even if there was an element of chance to the escapade.   Tickets rather unexpectedly happened to come my way and a family gang of us set off to the North Circular Road on a Saturday afternoon hit-and-run mission with no overnight stay on the agenda due to a combination of late enquiries and high prices.

It wasn’t the first time that I’ve listened to the man from Oklahoma – the last occasion being in the then Point Theatre in Dublin – which I thought only felt like yesterday, that is of course until I looked it up, to discover that it was 1994.

Most things these days seem like the line from the Rod McKuen song, Love’s Been Good To Me of: ‘It seems like only yesterday, as down the road I go’, but I was quite taken aback that 28 Summers had passed since that trip to The Point.

Garth Brooks is a hard phenomenon to figure out and while I didn’t venture to Croke Park bubbling with youthful enthusiasm (come to think about, quite an impossibility), all the reports coming back from the Jones’ Road venue on the concerts had been positive.

This grandfather of 60-years-of-age, who is now married to second wife Trisha Yearwood, really seems to have a kind of spell on the Irish. He does all the right things like wrapping the tricolour around him as he traipses around the stage, but yet there’s something more to him than that.

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.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Be good to your heart and keep stress at bay

Published

on

Suzanne Ennis, clinical manager with the mental health charity Turn2Me.

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

So, how are your stress levels these days?  I’ve been told I’ve turned into a maniac by my resident psychotherapists. I think it’s worst on the days I have to face into that Galway City traffic morning and evening.

And when I’m told that two Leap cards with money on both have simply disappeared into thin air. And that was just this morning before we left the house.

I’m blaming my hormones now I’ve hit 50. A HRT patch and a progesterone tablet at night time is not cutting it on those days when 24 hours is just not long enough to fit everything in.

Thursday is World Heart Day, which is a good time to pause and think about reducing stress levels due to the strong link between stress and heart conditions.

Suzanne Ennis, clinical manager at the mental health charity, Turn2Me, has highlighted how chronic stress can lead to a stroke or heart attack because it disrupts nearly every system in your body.

Turn2Me was founded in 2009 after Oisin and Diarmuid Scollard lost their brother to suicide in 2003. The charity, which is partly funded by the HSE National Office for Suicide Prevention, has several free weekly support groups and one-to-one counselling sessions available to assist with managing stress for adults and young people aged 12 and up.

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.

 

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending