Dorothy Kavanagh celebrates 40th anniversary of Special Olympics in Ireland


Dorothy Kavanagh has been involved with the Special Olympics for the last 40 years, since it began in Ireland.

July 2018 marks the 40th Anniversary of Special Olympics Ireland and it is also the 50th Anniversary of Special Olympics International which was established in 1968 when the first competition was held in Chicago’s Soldier Field.

Dorothy first got involved as a supporter in Special Olympics through the Daughters of Charity, St. Vincent’s, Lisnagry where she was training as a nurse, then she became a volunteer and eventually a coach.

“Our Special Olympics athletes develop so many skills through their chosen sport. However it is also true that coaches, volunteers, officials, family and friends have learned as much and more through Special Olympics. I am one of those privileged people,” said Dorothy.

Dorothy Kavanagh

By supporting and helping her at the games Dorothy said her family have always been involved in Special Olympics, and have become better people because of their involvement.

“I have learned humility, to be respectful, to be patient, how to have the craic and the potential that is within all of us. I have learned all this not through the sports Special Olympics offers or through the other coaches or volunteers, but through a very unique group, the Special Olympics Athletes.

“Through Special Olympics my four girls have developed a very positive attitude to people with an intellectual disability and realise the potential and skill within our athletes. They know a lot of our athletes in Lisnagry and have a very good relationship with them,” added Dorothy.

The Lisnagry Special Olympics team who took part in the Ireland Games of 2018.
Back row: Regina O’Reilly, Caroline O’Donnell, James Murphy, Matthew McInerny, Brian Ridgway, Caroline Torpey, Josie McMahon, Susan Torpey.
Middle: Dorothy Kavanagh, Christy Moore, Seamus Doyle, Kieran Wagstaffe, Laura Brennan, Roisin Flanagan, Phil O’Regan.
Front row: Nathan Hayes, Brian Clohessy, Alan Quinlan, Eoin Hanley, Aileen Hickey , John Jordan and Susan Kenny.

Dorothy also has a nephew who is a Special Olympics athlete and has seen him blossom, grow in confidence, experience travel and staying away from home, public speaking, being part of a team but also being his own person through Special Olympics and he has a large circle of friends.

“Special Olympics has been a great support for families and athletes, an outlet to develop all the skills needed for specific sports, but also a place to make friends and have regular social interaction.

“Athletes learn how to enjoy a win and be graceful and respectful in defeat. Special Olympics teaches new skills but also challenges both athletes and families to strive for more,” said Dorothy.

www.specialolympics.ie

friendly Fern helps save lives


FERN the four year old female German Shepard/Retriever is helping Limerick Suicide Watch (LSW) save lives.

Owner Mike O’Mara said his four legged friend has proven a valuable asset to LSW and has been involved in numerous interventions and has helped many people in distress.

Mike who has been a trainer for the Irish Guide dogs for the Blind for many years often thought while patrolling the Shannon over the last five years, how he would like to introduce a dog to see if it would help people in distress to interact with the patrol more quickly through the dog.

“I did a lot of research through other Therapy dog groups and got a lot of expert advice from people working within the mental health area. The response I got was incredible and so Fern was introduced to patrols on a trial basis, and two years down the road she has proven a valuable asset to LSW after being involved in numerous interventions helping people in distress.

“She is very calming when she interacts with people and has a natural ability to pick up on a person when they are low, and just approaches them and looks for a hug, and snuggles in to them. The response from these people is amazing to see and they usually open up to us much quicker while hugging or rubbing Fern.

“We believe she is the first dog to do this kind of work and we are all very proud of her. As you can imagine she is very popular with all our volunteers and gets spoilt by everyone,” said Mike.

Mike O’Mara and Fern

Fern was a pup that Mike was training for the Irish Guide dogs for the Blind but was withdrawn from advanced training as an Autism assistance dog two years ago because she was too friendly, she wanted to greet every person or dog she met while out training.

Mike has trained pups for the Irish Guide dogs for about 9 years and has a number of dogs now working in full time roles with both visually impaired and Autistic clients around the country.

The process in becoming a puppy trainer involves an Irish guide dogs supervisor coming to your home to access your suitability to take on the role. Then training is done on an ongoing basis through classes with other puppy trainers in group and individual situations.

“A pup will remain with me from eight weeks for about 14 months before returning to Cork to be accessed for suitability for either Guide Dog or Assistance Dog and then continue on to advanced training in the center.

“As you can imagine letting the pups go after such a long time training them is extremely difficult and is the part of the experience I dreaded every time it came around. They became a part of the family very quickly even if you tried not to get too attached,” added Mike.

Since early 2017 Fern has also become a Therapy dog with Brothers of Charity where she calls to their center in Bawnmore and visits a number of clients who are intellectually challenged.

“She gets an amazing response from all the clients and staff alike in the center. The staff have told me that it is the highlight of the week when she arrives on site. She also does individual visits to houses in the community,” said Mike.

Fern also remains an Ambassador dog with The Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind and does many events such as school and business visits and supports many fundraising events around the country.

“She is a very busy lady but loves all the attention and fuss she gets in all the work she does,” added Mike.

http://www.limericksuicidewatch.ie/

 

Author Patricia Byrne on researching and writing her latest book


Author Patricia Byrne delves into on of the darker chapters of Irish history for her latest book, ‘The Preacher and the Prelate: The Achill Mission Colony and the Battle for Souls in Famine Ireland’.

It recounts the story of an evangelising colony established by Edward Nangle on the slopes of Slievemore, Achill in the nineteenth century. The colony became infamous during the Great Famine with charges of enticing people to change their faith with promises of food and material benefits known as ‘souperism’.

“I have a special affinity with Achill Island and its stories. Over the years, in visiting Achill, I came to realise that within its shores were packed some extraordinary stories, none more so than that of the Achill Mission Colony.

“The colony is a microcosm of nineteenth-century Ireland, famine, emigration, landlordism. I became engrossed in the story and could not let go of it. It was as if, by researching and writing it, I was walking through my own history,” said Patricia.

Born in County Mayo, Limerick became Patricia’s home in the 1980’s when she relocated to work in Shannon Development, where she worked on regional and economic development in the mid west.

Patricia has a BA from Maynooth University, an MBS from University of Limerick and in 2006 she completed a Masters in Creative Writing at National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, and since her retirement has been writing full time for about ten years.

Patricia has already published a poetry collection, ‘Unstable Time’ in 2009 and her book ‘The Veiled Woman of Achill: Island Outrage and A Playboy Drama’ which was published in 2012 tells another Achill story, about a notorious island crime of 1894 committed at the Valley House in north Achill.

Patricia Byrne

She most enjoys writing narrative nonfiction, “I research my stories but write them using fictional techniques to read like a novel. I also like to write memoir essays where aspects of my own life are intertwined with other material as in my essay ‘Milk Bottles in Limerick’”.

Patricia was included in last year’s list of ‘Notables’ for Best American Essays for her piece ‘Milk Bottles in Limerick’ which linked her life in Mayo and Limerick, “through the prism of Heinrich Boll’s essay on Limerick in his Irish Journal”.

“I find that when I am immersed in research and writing a story it becomes an obsession. Even when not directly involved in the work, it never seems to leave me.

“I find I feel compelled to visit the places where the story takes place. So there have been many trips to Achill Island, to Dugort and Slievemore, to the Deserted Village and other wonderful places in Achill”.

Preferring to write daily and in the mornings, Patricia’s favourite spot is at a desk on the first floor of her house that catches the morning sunshine, from where she can admire a horse chestnut tree in her garden and a neighbouring cat that crawls along the top of the wall to keep her company.

For more information see www.patriciabyrneauthor.com

how bestselling author Roisin Meaney copes with chronic Insomnia


Bestselling author Roisin Meaney, has just published her fifteenth novel, ‘The Anniversary’, despite suffering from the debilitating condition chronic Insomnia.

According to the Health Service Executive (HSE) website, Insomnia is difficulty falling or staying asleep for long enough to feel refreshed the next morning, some of the side effects are feeling tired, lack of concentration, irritability and not being able to mentally or physically function effectively for normal daily routines.

Roisin, who has lived in Limerick most of her life, has had insomnia for more than ten years, and has tried every type of exercise and alternative remedy to have a full nights slumber.

“I’ve meditated, I’ve lain on a yantra mat, I’ve done yoga, I’ve listened to whale music, I’ve taken supplements that are known for sleep inducing properties… you name it, I’ve done it, or swallowed it.

“I take half a sleeping tablet that I buy over the counter in Spanish chemists. After trying a gazillion other remedies, alternative and otherwise, this is the only one that works. Every few nights I don’t take it, and I don’t sleep,” said Roisin.

Though she has no idea what might have triggered the insomnia Roisin said, “I have no mental or physical issues that might be causing it. Perhaps the creative process has something to do with it, I used to think it might be, but now I’m not so sure. If I’m not writing I’m generally thinking about the next book, but I’m not convinced it’s the culprit. I mean, I’m currently on book number sixteen, you’d think my system would have adapted by now.”

Despite having Insomnia, Roisin still manages to keep her busy routine of writing daily, and all that being a modern successful author entails, such as book readings, speaking at book festivals, interviews for television, radio, newspapers and keeping her social media up to date as well as replying to fans of her books.

Though she has tried to structure a nap into her daily routine it has not worked.

Roisin Meaney

“No matter how tired I feel I seem incapable of napping. I so envy folk who can grab half an hour of sleep whenever they want. Thankfully, I’m still producing a novel a year. Of course, they might be better novels if I slept well, but that’s for another day,” joked Roisin.

‘The Anniversary’ which is now available in bookshops, centres around a couple, Lily and Charlie, who split up four years earlier and who are coming together to spend a weekend in the house where Lily grew up, and where they spent summer holidays when the children were small.  Accompanying them are their respective new partners, their two adult children and their daughter’s partner.

Last October Roisin purchased a small cottage in Miltown Malbay in Clare, where her cat has also settled in and she goes for regular early morning walks on the beaches.

“Since then I’ve been dividing my time between Clare and Limerick, and I’ve been met with nothing but friendliness and warmth from the locals. I’m a total blow-in, but they’re OK with that.”

www.roisinmeaney.com

@roisinmeaney

Life Coach and Poet Anne Tannam on balancing her business and artistic life


I recently asked Life Coach and Poet  Anne Tannam  how she manages to balance her busy artistic and business life.

“The biggest difficulty is to use my time wisely whether in my artistic or business life. And the older I get, the less I see those lives as separate. Both lives complement and  inform the other.

“ For example, as a poet, apart from the serious business of writing and developing my craft, I need also to network, to make strategic decisions regarding what workshops or festivals to attend, run or perform at, where to submit the work etc.

“Equally, in my business life, there is the day to day running of my practice, and all that entails, but the coaching process in and of  itself, is a collaborative creative process which at its best, is an art form,” said Anne.

Anne who has lived in Dublin 12 all her life, has a background in teaching, and qualified as a Life Coach in 2009. In 2011 she left her teaching job and began working part-time as a strategic brand researcher for Brand Development company Islandbridge,

Anne is now taking more time to focus on her writing and building her coaching practice, and this year she will gain her Accredited Coaching Course (ACC) accreditation from the International Coaching Federation.

Anne Tannam

“I never thought to be a writer when I was growing up. I read but the idea that I could write literally never crossed my mind. Even in college, studying English, I always thought of writers as a breed apart.

“It was only after a good friend offered to coach me, as part of her training as a Life Coach, that I discovered this burning desire to write. Up to that point, I did not believe I could write, or that I’d have anything important to say.

“So the year I turned forty, I committed to turning-up for an hour every day to write, and that’s what I did. For one year, I got up early in the morning, turned on the computer and wrote. Slowly and tentatively at first, and then with more confidence as I found my voice,” added Anne.

Anne said she does find that her Life Coaching influences her  poetry and vice versa, “The writing of poetry is all about deep listening: to oneself, to others, and to the world as it breathes in and out.

“At the heart of the core, coaching competencies is attentive listening. It’s often the silences between words that tell a deeper truth. The process of coaching and the process of writing require a slowing down, a willingness to be open, to lean into uncertainty, to trust what’s unfolding. At their heart, they are both expressions of a deeply lived life,” said Anne.

What drew Anne to Life Coaching was the simplicity and clarity of the process, she said people are wired for progress and coaching provides a solid framework  to explore what people  really want from life, she enjoys helping others set out, step by step  ways to achieve their goals.

“When I turned-up to writing eleven years ago, I had no idea how my life would be transformed by the simple act of committing to a course of action, despite having no certainty about the outcome.

“The act of creating art through my poetry has brought immeasurable pleasure and satisfaction into my life. There’s the obvious satisfaction in having my work published and appreciated, but equally wonderful is finding a world-wide tribe of people who share the same passion for words.

“As a coach, I get to witness others finding their passion and purpose, in all areas of their lives, and that privilege is one I’ll never tire of,” added Anne.

twitter: @AnneTannam

LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/anne-tannam/

Fáilte Ireland ‘Know Limerick’


Fáilte Ireland has developed a ‘Know Limerick’ Local Experts Programme, to support those involved in the tourism sector and the local community who welcome and engage with visitors to Limerick.

At the core of the programme will be a network of local people coming together to share their local knowledge in order to to help visitors make the most of their visit to Limerick.

The programme will also feature a number of annual events, social media initiatives, a Visitor Attractions pass and opportunities to network with other tourism businesses.

Niamh Mannion

Visitor Engagement with Fáilte Ireland Niamh Mannion said, “Limerick’s historical buildings and towns, its stunning landscapes and world class sporting events and festivals are brought to life every day by the front line employees and volunteers.

“Visitors not only seek out local people and their advice, they trust it. This programme aims to build on the good work already happening on the ground and inspire all front line employees and volunteers to turn every visitor interaction into a truly informative and positive experience.”

The National Tourism Development Authority are calling on people who have B&B’s, work in hotels, restaurants, retail stores, taxi companies, or if you are active in your local community and are involved in any visitor-facing employment or are a local volunteer to attend.

The free event at Thomond Park will begin with a three hour interactive workshop on what there is to see and do in Limerick, and will take place on June 19 at 1pm, and 5.30pm and then on June 20 at 9.30am.

Fáilte Ireland is the national tourism development authority which was established in 2003 to guide and promote tourism for the Irish economy.  According to Fáilte Ireland tourists spend €7.1 billion on tourism and hospitality, and there are an estimated 235,000 people employed in the industry.

To register for the workshop email localexperts@failteireland.ie

Follow on Twitter @Fáilte_Ireland

 

Scoliosis Scanning and Treatment


Having endured back pain, headaches and discomfort from Scoliosis for most of my life, I recently jumped at an opportunity for innovative treatment.

Scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curvature of the spine. I have found that staying mobile, walking, yoga and receiving Osteopathic treatment helps me manage the discomfort better.

Eoin Flynn

Eoin Flynn who has been my Osteopath for a number of years, recently suggested that since I had whiplash trauma in my teens I would be a candidate for atlas alignment treatment.

The atlas treatment involves the use of two systems. Firstly, a scan with the FCE Scan Motion laboratory which creates a 3D image of the spine, pelvis, legs, feet and their function.

Then the treatment part of the therapy involves the use of a machine that creates a pulse and vibration to the top of the neck, it is not invasive, and does not involve spinal manipulations. Once the treatment is completed the scan is performed again, in order to compare the differences and to show the improvements in the biomechanics of the spine.

It was a fascinating experience. I stood in my bare feet on a walking machine and the scan was taken from behind me, then I had to walk to see how everything was moving. Then to see the image of my spine on a monitor and see the improvement after the treatment was incredible.

Shane Hassett

According to Head of Diagnostics Shane Hassett, the FCE Scan Motion laboratory operates by using anatomical landmarks of the spine and pelvis to recreate a 3D image of the spine and pelvis using technology that has been certified as being as accurate as an x-ray.

It was invented about 25 years ago by Helmut Diers, who at the time was working for Phillips developing MRI’s, when he met a professor who through his studies found higher levels of breast cancer in scoliotic patients due to the breast tissue absorbing radiation from continuous MRI scanning.

“It was from this research that Helmut decided to invent the current system, as he wanted to come up with a method to reduce the risk of cancer but still be able to produce the spinal information from the scan.

“From here, Helmut linked up with Wim Lambrechts, who was developing his own foot and gait analysis system. They decided to merge the two together which is now the 4D Motion lab that we have,” said Shane.

Shane who has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Science and a Masters of Science in Sports Performance said, “We can analyse how clients function when standing or moving which is a huge advantage as the majority of scans only assess the body in a static position. The system also assesses the feet and legs using specialised technology. With these functions, it can identify, but is not limited to, spinal position and degrees of scoliosis, pelvic position and movement, ankle stability and gait cycle parameters.

“As our system is radiation-free, clients with scoliosis can monitor the progression or regression of their scoliosis more regularly. We provide the client with an analysis of their degrees of scoliosis which is very beneficial for them and their treating practitioner or GP.  We also provide a very efficient service without waiting lists, so you can be diagnosed quickly and early diagnosis improves prognosis.”

Shane said the system can be used by anyone who wishes to book an appointment. A wide range of patients have already availed of this service, including children and adults with scoliosis, people with recurrent back problems, ankylosing spondilosis, foot problems, back pain, shoulder pain, hip pain and many athletes have used it to help prevent injuries they have sustained and to improve their performance.

The Limerick company was formed by a group of professionals who are working in private health care, with the aim of providing state of the art diagnostic scans in the physical health care field. They decided to base the initial system in Arthurs Quay House in Limerick city because of the city’s technology base, the proximity of the University of Limerick and the city’s future development plan.

Shane said, “since opening we have seen great benefits as it provides local practitioners with fast, accurate and reliable diagnosis of their patients. This allows them to see a greater number of patients in their clinics each week and it’s a very simple way of monitoring progression following their treatment. To the clients themselves they can rest assured that the treatment protocols being administered to them are working, by comparative scans post treatment if they wish.

“The system analyses whole body biomechanics to accurately pin-point the source and monitor an injury. The method is also beneficial to assess function pre- and post-surgery. It produces accurate data and removes any guess work to provide a greater patient and practitioner experience,” added Shane.

Since having the scan and Atlas treatment, I have been waking up without headaches, I have less back pain and discomfort and parts of my body like my knees, where I always had pain have realigned, and I feel much better, though I still have to make sure I keep active.

For more information see below.

www.fcescan.ie

www.efosteopathic.com