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Connacht Tribune

Textile artist Kathy makes her mark

Judy Murphy



Kathy Ross puts the finishing touches to her stag quilt.

Lifestyle – Artist Kathy Ross fuses age-old crafting techniques and textiles to depict wildlife in a vivid, hyper-realistic way. She worked as a painter for many years before returning to her first love. Now, her work is making an impact internationally as she continues to push herself creatively, inspired by her local surroundings and her love of nature. She talks to JUDY MURPHY about her latest projects.

Runner’s knee, tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow – all problems caused by repeated physical activity. And don’t forget quilter’s shoulders!

Kathy Ross didn’t even know such a condition existed – at least until lockdown, when the Tuam-based artist embarked on a project to quilt a stag, measuring one square metre.

And not just any old stag. This magnificent creature is set against a forest background with different trees and leaves. Kathy used a range of techniques including drawing, needle-felting, applique and free-form embroidery to create this quilt, a true labour of love.

When it was nearly done, Kathy called to her local craftshop in Tuam, ‘Quilt, Yarn, Stitch’ for supplies. During her visit, she mentioned to owner Róisín McManus that her shoulders were killing her.

“Róisín just laughed and said ‘you have quilter’s shoulders’,” recalls Kathy. But it was worth it, she adds happily.

Kathy has now entered the finished work into an international quilt festival in Brighton. This is an annual event and on a normal year, she’d be bringing her stag over there, but because of Covid-19, she’s sending photos of the piece instead.

Kathy, who studied Fine Art and Art History in the National College of Art and Design, initially embarked on a career as a watercolour artist, taking part in group and solo shows and earning a reputation for her landscape and portrait pieces.

Originally from Lackagh and now living near Tuam, she made the transition to textiles about three years ago.

“I was doing a show called Timeless on old buildings around Tuam and I got frustrated by how two-dimensional they were,” she recalls of the process.

Around that time, she found a forgotten textile piece which she had made while in she was still in college. It reignited her interest in this form, which she’d also loved at school.

She started learning more about the process by drawing sketches on paper and sewing through them. Known as “free-motion embroidery”, this is basically painting with thread, she explains. She learned more about embroidery as well as about applique – stitching pieces of fabric onto a larger piece – so she could create extra layers and dimensions in her work.

Her resulting textured artworks of animals from cattle to sheep to hares were all inspired by local residents in Togher, where she lives with her husband Alan and their children Millie (11) and Luke (7).

Kathy’s love of nature means animals have always featured in her work and while her medium has changed as she aims to push herself creatively, her subject matter hasn’t.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears

Dara Bradley



Saolta CEO Tony Canavan

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.

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Connacht Tribune

Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure

Stephen Corrigan



Chanelle McCoy (left) and Caroline Glynn with their new Pureis product line in Galway this week. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

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.

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Connacht Tribune

State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo

Dara Bradley



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.

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.

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