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WestÕs first equine clinic filling badly needed void

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Michael Glynn

OUTSIDE, it’s a picture of idyll. Grazing mares with foals following their every move populate the railed front paddock, every so often one of the youngsters bounding into life with a short, sharp burst and a leap that startles it so much that it comes to an immediate, abrupt halt to briefly ponder this strange, newly-discovered ability before resuming some comfort-nursing from the ever-obliging mother.

Inside the building, such tranquility can seem a million miles away as a horse, in excruciating agony, gives demented vent to its pain while the vets prepare it for urgent life-or-death surgery in the padded Knockdown Room where the application of the anaesthetist’s needle brings some blessed relief to the highly-agitated animal.

A half-ton of comatose horse flesh has to be electronically hoisted from the floor onto the operating table in the adjoining room where it can require up to €700-800 worth of anaesthetic gas and intravenous drips to keep the patient unconscious for the duration of a two-hour operation to sort out a severe case of colic which, if left untreated, can cause a harrowing death in a matter of hours.

Colic is but one of the many ailments that afflict the equine, whose external grace and power belie the susceptibility of its respiratory and intestinal systems to a series of complex disorders and ills. Although covering a wide range of gut conditions from mild to chronic, it is, however, the word generations of horse owners have dreaded, all the more so in the West of Ireland where the time it took to bring a badly-afflicted animal to an equestrian clinic in Leinster or Munster was often the difference between it living or dying.

This time, surgeon Jurgen Bodamer and vets Phillip McManus and Rita Carlone can reflect on another successful outcome at the newly-opened Rockmount Veterinary Clinic and AI Centre, to add further testimony to their expertise which will be impressively illustrated at the Dublin Horse Show in a few weeks time when two of their former patients will compete – one a show horse within a month of surgery, and the other, their very first surgical patient, which has qualified for one of the showjumping classes.

“Seeing a horse, not alone back on its feet, but competing so successfully makes all the long hours well worthwhile,” says Phillip McManus, founder of the Rockmount equine clinic which opened its doors in March under the auspices of the Glenina Veterinary Clinic, a general practice on the east side of Galway city, in which he is a partner.

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

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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A photo of Galway city centre from the county council's archives

People’s living conditions less than 100 years ago were frightening. We have come a long way. We talk about water charges today, but back then the local District Councils were erecting pumps for local communities and the lovely town of Mountbellew, according to Council minutes, had open sewers,” says Galway County Council archivist Patria McWalter.

Patria believes we “need to take pride in our history, and we should take the same pride in our historical records as we do in our built heritage”. When you see the wealth of material in her care, this belief makes sense.

She is in charge of caring for the rich collection of administrative records owned by Galway County Council and says “these records are as much part of our history as the Rock of Cashel is. They document our lives and our ancestors’ lives. And nobody can plan for the future unless you learn from the past, what worked and what didn’t”.

Archivists and librarians are often unfairly regarded as being dry, academic types, but that’s certainly not true of Patria. Her enthusiasm is infectious as she turns the pages of several minute books from Galway’s Rural District Councils, all of them at least 100 years old.

Part of her role involved cataloguing all the records of the Councils – Ballinasloe, Clifden, Galway, Gort, Loughrea, Mountbellew, Portumna and Tuam. These records mostly consisted of minutes of various meetings.

When she was cataloguing them she realised their worth to local historians and researchers, so she decided to compile a guide to their content. The result is For the Record: The Archives of Galway’s Rural District Councils, which will be a valuable asset to anybody with an interest in history.

Many representatives on these Councils were local personalities and several were arrested during the political upheaval of the era, she explains.

And, ushering in a new era in history, women were allowed to sit on these Rural District Councils – at the time they were not allowed to sit on County Councils.

All of this information is included in Patria’s introductory essay to the attractively produced A4 size guide, which gives a glimpse into how these Rural Councils operated and the way political thinking changed in Ireland during a short 26-year period. In the early 1900s, these Councils supported Home Rule, but by 1920, they were calling for full independence and refusing to recognise the British administration.

“I love the tone,” says Patria of the minutes from meetings. “The language was very emotive.”

That was certainly true of the Gort Rural District Council. At a meeting in 1907, following riots in Dublin at the premiere of JM Synge’s play, The Playboy of the Western World the councillors’ response was vehement. They recorded their decision to “protest most emphatically against the libellous comedy, The Playboy of the Western World, that was belched forth during the past week in the Abbey Theatre, Dublin, under the fostering care of Lady Gregory and Mr Yeats. We congratulate the good people of Dublin in howling down the gross buffoonery and immoral suggestions that are scattered throughout this scandalous performance.

 

For more from the archives see this week’s Tribunes here

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Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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