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CITY TRIBUNE

Running up Cuckoo Hill in Costello’s ‘Field of Dreams’

Stephen Glennon

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Members of the St Thomas' senior hurling panel taking a break from their exertions at Cuckoo Hill, a fitness bootcamp outside Ballinasloe.

PEOPLE said he was mad but Tommie Costello was a man with a vision and, more importantly, someone with the courage to follow it through. Now, seven years later, Cuckoo Hill Bootcamp, located just outside Ballinasloe, has become an epicentre for team building and bonding.

Cuckoo Hill is Costello’s ‘Field of Dreams’. A former publican, he left the trade to build the facility – consisting of hill runs, obstacle courses and bog endurance exercises – on his land in Taughmaconnell, the Roscommon side of Ballinasloe, in 2013 and he hasn’t looked back since.

Over the years, teams have been broken and remade into champions at Cuckoo Hill. For some, that has required team bonding; for others, it has been pushing players and athletes to their physical limits. Whatever is required, Costello, a qualified strength & conditioning coach and personal trainer, has been there to see it gets done.

“To be fair, I love what I am doing here,” he states. “I have never got any grants; anything I have ever put into it, it’s from money I earned. Look it, I was lucky it was our own land. People said I was mad but I was always into fitness myself and I just had a vision to do something.

“Everything back then (in 2013) had turned towards fitness and obesity and my own lads were into training. I said, sure, if I don’t give it a go, I’ll be sorry. Thankfully, it has got stronger and stronger as the years went on and every year it gets busier and busier.”

Recent months, of course, have been the exception. During the Covid-19 lockdown, the only sounds to be heard in Cuckoo Hill were those of the local wildlife and Costello’s strimmer. “It is a pity to lose so much this year but that is the way it goes. Once they stopped the kids going to school, that was the end of my business (in the spring). It shut it down completely.

“I lost all my school tours, lost all my active days in the schools, lost my camps and birthday parties and lost all those county and club teams (who were booked in). I’m not the only one that lost out though. Hopefully, we will get them back again.”

Indeed, since restrictions have eased, Costello’s loyal core group of athletes who turn up to his weekly classes, particularly on a Saturday morning, have begun to return. “So, we have been working in groups of four and I have been doing out work-outs for them, handing them out, and letting them off to different places (around Cuckoo Hill).

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

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CITY TRIBUNE

Hero’s welcome following rescue of two women on Galway Bay

Stephen Corrigan

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Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The miraculous rescue on Galway Bay yesterday of two young women from Knocknacarra brought 15 long hours of searching to a euphoric conclusion, as cousins Sara Feeney (23) and Ellen Glynn (17) were brought safely to shore.

A major search and rescue operation was launched after the pair went missing from Furbo Beach on Wednesday night, when they were swept away by a sudden wind while paddle boarding.

Claddagh fisherman and former Lifeboat shore crew member Patrick Oliver and his 18-year-old son Morgan joined the search early on Thursday morning and were the heroes of the hour after they discovered the two women on their boards, clinging to a lobster pot about two miles south-west of Inis Oírr, where despite their ordeal, they were described as “ok, but shaken”.

In the face of torrential rain and high winds overnight, both women had drifted almost 20 miles out to sea, but amazingly neither required serious medical attention.

Sara’s mother, Helen Feeney, raised the alarm shortly after 9pm on Wednesday evening when she noticed the pair missing as she walked their dog along the shore.

Sara, a daughter of Helen and Bernard Tonge, and Ellen, daughter Deirdre and well-known former captain of Galway United Johnny Glynn, were both said to be in good spirits at the hospital yesterday afternoon.

One relative told the Galway City Tribune that the family was “utterly humbled by the generosity of people” who had took part in the search and said, “unbelievable doesn’t even begin to describe it”.

“Thank you from all the family to everyone who helped, words will never express our gratitude.”
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

Photo: Patrick Oliver and his son Morgan, who rescued Sara Feeney and Ellen Glynn off Inis Oirr island, on their arrival back at the Galway RNLI Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Galway farm operators fall fowl of locals

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Neighbours of Mad Yolk Farm have asked Galway City Council to determine whether planning permission is required for a portable chicken coop earmarked for the land in Roscam.

This week, Mad Yolk Farm has indicated that it will be adding chickens to the site, which has already been the subject of planning enforcement by the local authority.

In a Facebook post, the operators said they are planning to rear organic chickens on site, with neighbours fearing as many as 450 birds in the chicken ‘caravan’.

“Our chicken caravan is now built and our beaked ladies will arrive in eight days. We’ll be moving the hens onto fresh grass each day and they’ll be free to forage for insects and take mud baths. They’ll be free to behave like a chicken should,” the business said on social media.

It has prompted a neighbour of the property to write the Council to formally ask for a declaration “whether the work/development described in the form is or is not development or is or is not exempted development under Section 5 of the Planning and Development Act”.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Cold water poured on Spanish Arch ‘bushing’ sprinkler plan

Dara Bradley

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From this week’s Galway City Tribune – Galway City Council has poured cold water on a suggestion that it should install water sprinklers to deter ‘bushing’ at city centre hotspots for outdoor drinking, such as Spanish Arch.

Councillor Eddie Hoare (FG) this week said the local authority should examine providing sprinklers, to deter bushing, after Spanish Arch and Middle Arch were packed with hundreds of revellers during the sunshine last weekend, and the areas were littered with alcohol bottles and cans.

Cllr Hoare said large crowds were prohibited from gathering outside due to Covid-19 social distancing guidelines, and if the partying continued “Galway will be the next county to be locked down”.

He said CCTV cameras should be installed at Spanish Arch and Middle Arch and added: “Galway City Council should consider installing sprinklers as a long-term solution.”

However, the City Council said it was not its intention to install sprinklers.

“It’s so hot at the moment, if you put out a sprinkler anywhere in Galway, people would just dance under it. We’re so unused to this muggy heat, that if you did that (installed sprinklers), on top of your 12-pack of Bacardi Breezers, or whatever it is young people drink these days, you’d have the biggest wet t-shirt competition this side of Ibiza – people would just dance under them. No, we have no plans for sprinklers,” remarked a City Council spokesperson.

He said the Council was unaware of a separate suggestion – announced by Mayor of Galway Mike Cubbard on social media – that certain city areas be exempted from the street drinking bylaws, to allow them to be monitored and controlled.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read it in full, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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