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Wildlife haven on Galway city’s doorstep

Judy Murphy

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Friends of Merlin Woods at the launch of a map and information board. From left: Colm Stanley, photographer and designer, John Lusby, Birdwatch Ireland, Cllr Frank Fahy, Noel Barbour, photographer, and Kevin Hough, map design. Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

Lifestyle –  Judy Murphy meets the Friends of Merlin Woods and hears about riches of a little-used woodland

It’s the biggest woodland area in Galway City, containing a vast variety of wildlife from red squirrels to rare orchids, yet Merlin Woods remains an unknown territory to most people.

That’s changing, thanks to the work of a small, but dedicated group, Friends of Merlin Woods, which was set up two years ago.

On Saturday, the group gathered near the entrance to the woods to launch an information board, consisting of a large map and a poster, which outlines the huge wealth of wildlife and history contained in this 140-acre site, and the walks that will lead to these treasures.

This information board will be a permanent fixture in Merlin and anybody with even the slightest interest in wildlife will be amazed at the riches of  these woods on the eastern outskirts of Galway City.

The Friends of Merlin Woods group was initially set up two years ago opposing a plan by Galway City Council to run a 1.9km bus corridor through the woodlands, as proposed in the Galway City Development Plan 2011-2017.

The group argued that such a corridor was environmentally unsound and would divide the woods and the local community.

Friends of Merlin Woods was founded in October 2012 and held its first litter-picking event a month later.

In just two years, the group has gone way beyond its original aspiration of stopping that bus corridor, as Saturday’s launch proved.

“Making local people aware of the woods and connecting people with nature is one of the major achievements of the group,” according to John Lusby of Birdwatch Ireland, who officially unveiled the information board.

“Enforcing the woods into people’s consciousness is important. For people in a city, wildlife and nature can get lost and it’s important to keep it going,” he said.

Twenty people regularly attend Friends of Merlin Woods meetings, while the group has over 1,600 followers on its very active and colourful Facebook page.

The Friends host regular events in the woods, embracing everything from batwalks to history tours and butterfly surveys

After being allocated funding from the Heritage Council they carried out a bat survey, which revealed that five species of bats use the woods, North and South.

An old castle in the North woods is a home to brown long-eared bats and, at present, the group is campaigning to have conservation work carried out there to ensure it continues in this role, says Caroline Stanley of the Friends of Merlin Group.

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

 

Country Living

The perils and pitfalls of asking for that first dance

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

I’m told by those of a different generation that there are many innovative ways in today’s technological world to meet ‘the one’ whether it be on Facebook, Twitter or dating sites like Tinder, but some of the more old-fashioned contact methods are still surviving.

Here and there – and I hope it’s not out of any serious sense of voyeurism – I’m inclined to glance at the Getting in Touch page of the Irish Farmers Journal, where for the princely sum of €25, you can state your case to the world in terms of locating that perfect partner.

The fact that someone is willing to fork out €25 – the rates go up substantially if you want to be included in the response category – must mean that the contributors are essentially genuine, and it probably goes to show that there are quite a lot of lonely people out there. And this, despite all our gadgets that keep us in touch with all corners of the globe.

I just love the little abbreviations used in the ‘come and get me’ ads like N/S, S/D, GSOH and WLTM which I think that I have figured out. N/S is non-smoker, S/D is social drinker (I think), GSOH is good sense of humour and WLTM is would like to meet.

Last week, there was a lady (41) from Laois who ‘stated her case’ on the basis that she was re-evaluating her life’s priorities due to the impact of the Covid-19 situation.

She was a bit worried about her height (5 foot) but had no dependents – apart from her dog – and she wanted a man with a good work ethic who ‘is self-sufficient, good at conversations and knows his way around the house’.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

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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.

 

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Connacht Tribune

Get salon perfect nails at home

Denise McNamara

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Loughrea pharmacist Matt Gallagher

Health, Beauty and Lifestyle with Denise McNamara

So what personal service are you going indulge in first? For most of us I guess it will be hairdressers that we flock to this month. I’m sure beauticians will be equally busy for embarrassing hair removal.  I’m not a nail person myself but several friends go to their nail technician like clockwork to get gel nails done every month and have found the break very tough.

If you can’t wait for that to happen, there is one solution I came across during the lockdown that might just change your life if you are addicted to manicures and pedicures.

The Athlone-based company Semilac are selling a gel polish starter kit with a UV lamp that allows you to get salon-perfect nails at home. And for just under €50 it is an investment worth making if you spend a fortune on your nails.

The package has everything you need for the perfect gel nails, which is a nail polish that lasts 21 days rather than just a couple of days as is the usual for regular polish.

There is a step-by-step guide on Youtube as well as on their website that is very easy to follow.

The set contains the sticks to push back the cuticles and a nail file to shape the end of nail to be followed by the buffing block to smooth off the nail. There is even a nail cleaner to ensure there is no dust left on the nail which can cause the gel polish to chip.

You then apply a primer to create a better adhesive layer before the gel polish base coat which you cure under the UV lamp.

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.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Giving new voice to silenced children of Tuam

Judy Murphy

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Colm Mac Con Iomaire playing Emer's Dream as Drama and Theatre Studies students from NUIG perform in Nochtaithe (Unveiled). It draws on survivor testimonies gathered and archived as part of NUI’s Tuam Oral History Project. PHOTOS : AENGUS MCMAHON.

Lifestyle – Testimonies from the survivors of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home form the basis of a new production from drama students at NUIG that mixes drama, music, poetry and memory as it explores a dark period in Irish history. These stories were gathered as part of the Tuam Oral History project, an ongoing initiative to ensure that what happened to the babies of Tuam, and to their mothers, is never forgotten or repeated. Those involved, including survivor, Christine Carroll tell JUDY MURPhY about the project.

Watching Nochtaithe, a new performance piece based on the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, which was created and performed by drama students at NUIG, was a deeply emotional experience for Christine Carroll from Headford.

This powerful piece – a response to the testimony of people who lived in the now infamous Mother and Baby Home – brought back memories for Christine, one of the children raised in this institution.

“When I saw it first, I didn’t know how I felt,” she says honestly. Nochtaithe premiered online on Saturday as part of this year’s Bealtaine Festival, celebrating creativity and age, but Christine and other survivors of the Tuam institution had seen it in advance to ensure they were happy with the finished work, which has been months in the making.

“It brought up a lot of issues,” says Christine, who is grateful to the students and to Dr Miriam Houghton of NUIG’s Drama and Theatre Studies Department, who led the project, for staging this work.

“I’m glad they’re telling the story, so this doesn’t happen to anyone anymore,” she adds. Christine is referring to the abuse that she and so many others suffered at the hands of the Bon Secours nuns who ran the Tuam Mother and Baby Home from 1925 until it closed in 1961.

It “was never a home” to Christine and the other vulnerable children who lived and – in many cases – died there.

“What the students are doing shows my daughter and granddaughter what we went through,” says this smart, humorous woman who still bears the scars of what was done to her.

One especially poignant scene of Nochtaithe was filmed in the Quad at NUIG and featured the female performers amid a series of wooden cots, evoking the institution’s single mothers and their pain at being separated from their infants. The pristine cots caught Christine’s eye.

“Ours weren’t spotless like that,” she says of the cots in the institution.  “And if someone got measles, we’d all be put in together,” she adds, referring to a practice which maximised the chance of children getting infected to develop ‘herd immunity’.

Nearly 800 children, mostly babies, died in Tuam during its 36 years in existence and measles was listed as a major cause of death.

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.

 

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