He’s famous for roles in big box office hits like High Fidelity and Being John Malkovich – as well as starring in a host of Woody Allen movies – but right up to last week John Cusack was blissfully unaware that he has Galway roots!
The Illinois star always believed his Irish ancestry could be traced to Meath and Kerry – but two intrepid RTÉ reporters discovered that the Cusacks actually originated in Ballygar.
Film-makers and journalists, Naoimh Reilly and Denise Lavelle, also work on The Today Show on RTÉ1 – and they set off last week to try and doorstep the Hollywood star….by luring him in with a forensic analysis of his roots.
“We heard John was speaking at an event for the Belfast Film Festival; we knew it would be difficult to get near him so we decided to commission a genealogy report on his family,” explained Naoimh.
It worked – because they were given access to the star turn the next day and it got even more interesting when the duo revealed his family history.
“He initially didn’t believe the story. He was told his whole life by his mother that it was the other way around that his father’s family was from Kerry and his mother’s family was from Meath. Our report showed that this was incorrect. He discovered things that he never knew.”
The genealogists believed that Dennis Francis Cusack was born in the parish of Ballygar – and that John’s maternal Carolan ancestry originated in the parish of Nobber and Kells in Co Meath.
“All four of John’s grandparents – Cusack, McFeeley, Carolan and McGillen – are of Irish descent. Moreover six, and possibly seven, of John’s eight great-grandparents are Irish born. All of John’s sixteen great-great-grandparents are of Irish origin. He is as Irish as it gets,” added Denise.
The report was conducted by Eneclann who also carried out research on Barack Obama and Tom Cruise.
“John was called away to the event he was speaking at but asked us to stay around after so he could talk to us more about his family heritage. We had a long chat with him after that and he was very thankful to us for giving him the report. He also said we may have caused a war within his family!” said Naoimh.
The interview was aired on RTÉ’s Today Show last week, when Cusack also revealed that he was in pre-production with a film project which he plan to film in Ireland soon.
The movie will be about Irish revolutionary Thomas Francis Meagher, based on the award winning biography by Timothy Egan called The Immortal Irishman.
In his short life, Meagher, who died 43, spent much of his life outside of Ireland. He made a significant contribution to both Irish nationalism and to the preservation of the United States and particularly to the assimilation of the Irish into American society.
The Waterford native was a leading figure in the Irish independence movement, lead the legendary Irish Brigade in the American Civil War.
Cusack – who was on the periphery of the original Brat Pack – is known for his individualism, and he frequently ensues big budget projects in favour of more esoteric projects.
He has become a perennial favourite of the legendary Woody Allen, starring in recent big successes like Bullets Over Broadway and Shadows and Fog.
Other acclaimed roles came in Con Air, True Colors, the Grifters and High Fidelity, the screen version of Nick Hornby’s best-selling book.
Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears
Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.
There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.
But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.
There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.
Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.
“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.
“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.
“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.
Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.
Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure
The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.
It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.
Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.
“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.
“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.
Read the full feature in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.
State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo
Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.
Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.
The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.
It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.
Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.
This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.
Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.