The Town Team Sustainable Energy Community (SEC) in association with Galway County Council recently completed a procurement and evaluation process to appoint an Energy Consultant to begin their ambitious journey in transitioning to a low-carbon community.
ORS is a prominent Irish multidisciplinary building consultancy offering design, planning and management advice that is supported by expert guidance in energy efficiency. They have a team of highly skilled designers, consulting engineers, planners, scientists, and surveyors.
ORS were chosen to work with Ballinasloe SEC to deliver an Energy Master Plan.
ORS Team member Laurence O’Reilly stated: “Over the coming months our team will work closely with Ballinasloe SEC and the wider community to develop an Energy Master Plan. The aim of the study is to develop a simple, understandable, and strategic roadmap for the community of Ballinasloe to become more sustainable, improve energy efficiency, and to reduce carbon emissions. Our team of Darragh Prunty, Tracey Turner and myself, led by Brian Collentine, will analyse how the community is currently using energy, and through community engagement, data analysis, and site inspections, identify projects and initiatives that the town can implement to become greener and more self-sufficient”.
This will include the identification of home and community retrofits, funding supports, highlight appropriate behavioural change programmes along with the identification of renewable energy technology potentials for the area.
Identifying energy savings is at the core of everything ORS do. They mentor and support SEC’s to address their energy use seeking out energy saving opportunities.
Considering energy costs are forecast to rise by 25% by 2030 the timing of this collaboration could not be better. Energy consumers must be empowered to play a more active role in low carbon transition. Measurement and targeting of energy use can result in 10 – 15% savings without any capital input.
As a member of the EU, Ireland has committed to transitioning to a low carbon economy by the year 2050, and to becoming carbon-free by the year 2100. Globally there is a critical need to reduce carbon emissions to protect future generations.
The upcoming programme of works heralds a new era for the community which demonstrates a commitment to achieving a sustainable and energy efficient future.
If you would like to join or even just help the sustainable energy journey please contact Anita Killeen at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kawa Asian and Street Food Bar has just opened their doors on Society Street, trading in the old Downeys Bar and Restaurant premises.
The Restaurant has been opened by Jack Xui and Kim Lin both from the south coast of China. Jack and Kim travelled to Galway almost 20 years ago in hopes of gaining an education studying Business Studies in NUIG and formed a business partnership and friendship that would lead to them establishing Kawa Thai.
Jack has previous experience in management currently owning Ms Greens, a healthy eating restaurant in Galway City, an Excel in Galway City and a Gala store in Donegal all of which have been solid commercial succees.
While Jack does not have much experience in Asian Cuisine, Kim has an extensive background in Thai food and Asian Cuisine with many years in Asian Street food Cuisine and the duo have made a great partnership alongside Marina Downey who is helping them with her extensive knowledge of the Bar trade.
Kawa Thai aims to brings an authentic Asian street food bar menu and vibe at reasonable prices in a fresh, vibrant and bold atmosphere where people can feel at home.. In our own Society Street you can enjoy the foods that have put together passionately by the team from Thailand, Indonesia, China and Malaya and to also experience Asian culture in a way that has not been experienced fully localy as of yet. Currently the restaurant/ bar operation has four staff and its team will increase in the coming weeks.
Kim said: “We are very happy to welcome everyone to our new premises, we hope that in time we can establish ourselves as one of the town’s most popular dining locations and form strong positive relationships with our customers.”
This tasty menu will be available from 12.30 pm to 11pm everyday with the bar operating until 11 pm. As indoor dining is being reintroduced with social distancing rules in place Kawa Thai have the capacity to hold 40 people indoors and have applied for parking and for additional space for 12 people outdoors.
Co owner Jack states: “Kawa Thai have a full license for our bar and have plentiful to offer with typical beverages such as Carlsberg, Heineken, Guinness, typical Asian drinks such as Tiger, Half Moon, and an array of cocktails for our customers to enjoy.”
Kim said: “We are very happy to welcome everyone to our new store, we hope that in time we can establish ourselves as one of the town’s most popular eating locations and form strong positive relationships with our customers.”
Kawa Thai is available for sit-in dining, but also takeaway and delivery, they take cash, visa debit and credit card for their orders, to get in touch and to keep up to date with everything that they are promoting add them on Facebook (see below) or phone them at: (090) 9643931.
By Colm Croffy
“I never had a desk job in my life before COVID, and for the past seven months I have been caught between residence, Dáil and desk – so thank you, Senator Dolan, Western Development Commission and BACD for giving me a glorious start to my first day out of the Capital and in the West this year.“
Thus began our Tánaiste, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, at an early morning briefing in the Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre, bathed in blue sunshine. All held socially distant and outdoors with the national media groupies, camera crew, and officials outnumbering the members of the Board who gave up a sunny morning to have a Karibas supplied breakfast briefing with the Deputy Head of Government. In our summer finery and nervous, the front lawn and building looked resplendent; all spruced up – like for the summer station awaiting the Garda escort.
Tomás Ó Síocháin, CEO of the Western Development Commission (WDC), a key supporter of towns like Ballinasloe and Community Enterprise Development Companies, Chair Seamus Duffy and Manager Lyn Donnelly, Gerry Finn, Chair of the Western Development Commission; were formally introduced to Leo and welcomed to town by Senator Aisling Dolan, who was bursting with pride and enthusiasm in equal measure. He queried the use of the building, and Seamus Duffy and Gerry Finn gave him plenty of background on the site, the stones and modern-day uses. He announced: “It is really great to see what you have been able to do with such an old hospital building.” And with that he was off on the tour of the building, its firms, and employees – nodding, chatting, asking questions and most importantly of all – finding it seems fellow Dubs.
“It was really interesting to meet fellow Dubs in there, one from Clare Hall, the other Lucan, proving today at least that there is a movement of people West as well as East,”
Thirty minutes was allocated for a walkabout, the ice that Marian Canavan from Karibas had cloaked her ice-creams, smoothies, and granola in was under pressure on the veranda. An hour later the Media mob were getting grumpy the podium was set up – OVAL Office like on the Rose lawn but there were no parasols! Tomás from WDC got the official proceedings underway. Leo was visiting the West on a whistle-stop tour organised by the WDC and they and he chose Ballinasloe as it was one of the first new funded Hubs to be uploaded to the Connected Hubs Network, promoting flexible working. As one of the WDC’s and the North-western Regional Commission’s nine Key Towns, Chairman Gerry was keen that his CEO explained to the Tánaiste the ongoing innovative work that the WDC was undertaking in moulding communities in the region to prepare the next influx of entrepreneurs and workers.
Leo was happy to witness the passion of the WDC team and indeed the tenants: “I wish to thank everybody associated with this, the voluntary Board, the Management, the funders of the Community Enterprise Company for the type of partnership and ambition shown to me today. “To see how taxpayers’ money, invested wisely is making a huge positive difference in people’s lives and to see what more investment is needed and how we can support small micro-enterprises. It was great to meet the crew of EG Quest who have grown so big they are moving out to new premises in the town over the coming weeks” he added. An Tánaiste had some significant things to say about his department’s new policy of ‘Making Remote Work,’ in a post-pandemic world where workers would get a choice of remote, home or office-based contracts to blend a better balance to their lives and ease commuter congestion. The National Press Pack were in no mood for his agenda – they had deadlines for the lunchtime news and there was no sign of regulations for indoor dining and weddings. You could hear the collective groan at Creagh Cemetery from all the nonhacks assembled. Scud after scud was lobbed at the man – he had neither note nor teleprompter – he quoted percentages, nuanced NPHET advices, the rows over the housing plan at cabinet, wedding advice, vaccination of teenagers, college return in Sept – it was a masterclass in detail and command of brief.
His personal secretary was bringing the curtain down on the scrum, he was late for the next stop; Jack Treacy ace reporter from this parish dived in with questions to do with the event. Leo smiled, suggesting he was worn out from pandemic punch ups. He waved his aides away, looked into the camera and calmly responded to why we all got up so early and had the bunting out. “This town is so well and centrally connected, with Chanelle moving into the IDA park – which will herald more investment – something I am working with Sen Aishling Dolan on. I think anyone investing or considering moving west would do well to consider Ballinasloe.
Click into our slideshow gallery for all the the action from the day
“I am impressed mostly by the people I met, I really mean it. It has just been amazing to see the diversity of different business types, people in different areas, sales, financial analysts to be in this medium-sized building and to have this diversity of businesses and I think it is a great place for people to start and develop” he enthused. As to BACD having a role in attracting workers and families away from congested urban areas; he was giving us top marks: “Ballinasloe is a really good example for other towns to follow around the country and that is becoming advocates for their town and making the town a better place and telling people what this town has to offer, and this is a town that has a lot to offer. As more people understand that and the message gets out, more interest and development will follow” he gushed. Leo was adamant that there is a strong role for community development companies in helping with the 2040 Spatial Plan: “It can only be done through partnerships involving the local authorities, community development companies, and it involves the private sector as well - crucially.”
With that, he headed for a smoothie, and we all got to enjoy the business brekkie with the Tánaiste in the sun before he sped further West with a spring in his step!
Two of Ballinasloe's rising Rugby stars were part of Ireland’s Under 20 Rugby team playing in the Six Nations tournament in Cardiff. Shane Jennings and Oisín McCormack starred for Ireland with standout performances in the first two victories over Scotland and hosts Wales, before both suffering injuries in the loss to England and being rested for the game against Italy.
Both players are part of a record six Connacht players selected for Ireland with several others missing out due to injury and is an indication of the 'Grassroots to Green shirts' approach to developing the game throughout Connacht.
Ballinasloe RFC is rightly proud of the success of the two players who joined the Club as Under Eight's. Coached by Tom Finn, Derek Treacy and Gearóid Finneran, they were part of a remarkably successful team who went on to dominate Connacht in their age group up to U18s. They were also part of a golden generation of players in Garbally who completed a hat-trick of victories in the Connacht Schools Rugby Senior Cup, having previously experienced success at Junior Cup level.
Tom Finn praised: “Oisín and Shane were part of a very driven team all the way up. They trained hard, killed each other in training, but became great friends and were great fun to coach.”
“They were also blessed with the parents they had, who brought them to training and drove them to games all over Ireland and were hugely supportive of the Coaches and the Club” Tom added.
Of course, their talents are not confined to rugby alone as both represented Galway at Minor level in 2018, with both playing in Croke Park Finals, with Shane Jennings, playing at full-back, winning an All-Ireland medal and man of the match award in Hurling, and Oisín playing Gaelic football and scoring a memorable goal in the semi-final. Both players are now part of the Connacht Academy joining two more former Ballinasloe RFC players Colm Reilly and Mathew Devine.
In a further indication of the quality of players graduating from the Club, the exciting young BRFC, Connacht, and Irish Senior International Women's player, Béibhinn Parsons, was recently named Connacht Women's Player of the Year, with Aoibheann Reilly and Méabh Deely also shining for the Irish Women’s Sevens team.
Tom Waters, President of BRFC, stated: “The Club is enormously proud of the achievements of all the players that came up through the ranks from Minis to Youths and who currently playing for Connacht and Ireland. It is a great testament to the quality of Coaches and management in Ballinasloe Rugby Club to help nurture that range of talent and make such a contribution to the development of the Women's and Men's game in Connacht and Ireland.”
Tom added: “All Coaches are required to complete IRFU Child Welfare training, and every Coach has coaching qualifications, and this can be seen in the success and quality of players being produced by the Club.”
Soon development plans for the Club include upgrading the pitch lights and the entrance to the grounds to improve safety, and the completion of an additional two dressing rooms and the construction of a storage shed.
Plans are underway for all teams to shortly resume training after Covid interruptions. The Senior team have returned to pre-season training in preparation for the new season kick-off in early August.
BRFC’s monthly 50/50 Draw continues. You can contact Ballinasloerfcmedia@gmail.com or any club official for any details. Facebook page is below.
Local man Dean O'Farrell tragically passed away on January 11, 2021, due to metastatic terminal oesophageal cancer in Portiuncula hospital.
Dean originally a native of Brackernagh was only 31, and his cancer diagnosis was described as extremely rare in someone so young and extremely aggressive. He only had a short five months from his diagnosis to his passing which he battled through with a smile. Through his family and friend's efforts, they have raised an amazing €12,565 with donations still being accepted until August 1.
Administrator Clare Finn commented: “It is such a privilege for us to be nominated for this amazing, kind and generous iDonate fundraiser at this sad and tragic time. Dean had spoken with his family about his wishes to set up a cancer support group for cancer patients if he won the battle.”
Clare added: “We here at the Ballinasloe Cancer Support Centre, Main St offer emotional and practical supports to anyone with a cancer diagnosis. The services we provide include Counselling and Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, reflexology, Cancer Care massage and support groups.”
It is hoped that Dean’s memory will live on through helping others on their cancer journey. May Dean rest in peace and deepest condolences to all who knew and loved him.
Clare closed: “We would like to thank his family Anita, Fiona, Derek, Shauna, Katie, Jamie, Hollie and David and all the wonderful supporters who donated to his fundraiser.”
Donate here and you can contact them on 090 9649767 or at email@example.com
By Paul Murphy*
Jack Keogh of Deerpark is a name synonymous with the War of Independence and Civil War eras in Ballinasloe and East Galway. He garnered a sort of escape artist reputation, evading capture for long periods and escaping from imprisonment, most notably when he was rescued from the Central Lunatic Asylum in Dundrum in May 1926.
My hunt for Jack Keogh began with the release of the 1911 census records online. I found my grandmother, Bridget Keogh, aged just 2, living with her family in Ballinasloe in 1911, and it wasn’t long before I was reading various articles about her brother Jack, my grand-uncle.
There are a lot of stories about Jack’s exploits and his pension file, released in May by the Military Archives, probably confirmed his reputation for good or for bad to those who knew of his exploits.
But there are other records. The National Archives hold Jack’s Maryborough (now Portlaoise) prison records, and the police files of his escape from Dundrum, for example.
It was of interest to us as a family of avid readers to find that Jack had eight books among his belongings when he entered Maryborough. There is a record showing he requested a book about Owen Roe O’Neill, The Call of The Wild by Jack London, and a pamphlet on the life of Archbishop Daniel Mannix of Melbourne. He was declared insane during a punishment of six months solitary confinement which was a consequence of a row over a library book.
According to the police files in the National Archives, Jack’s escape was instigated by Maud Gonne MacBride, planned by Frank Kerlin, IRA Director of Intelligence and carried out under the leadership of George Gilmore, who also got 19 men out of Mountjoy.
On 12 May 1926 a young woman visited Clery’s department store on O’Connell St, Dublin and ordered rugs for delivery to a house. The next day the delivery was hijacked and the van detoured to the Lunatic Asylum in Dundrum with a delivery for the head of the asylum. Once inside the security gate, the staff were held up. Some minutes later the van departed with Jack and another inmate.
He absconded to America via Canada. A letter from Jack to his father was found during a raid on the Keogh house after his escape. Jack describes meeting people in Boston and New York and generally having “a swank time”. He settled in Chicago where he married Ellen Curley from Skehana. They had two children but was deported soon after the birth of his youngest.
Not long after is return he was in trouble again. He was sentenced to two years by a military tribunal for shooting into the house of a man over what appears to have been a turf-cutting rights dispute. The victim was an ex-Dublin Metropolitan Police sergeant named Michael Killeen.
Another little known but probably significant detail found in the archives of 1935 incident is that in the days before the shooting a man from the Land Commission was looking for Jack to discuss his application for a farm. His conviction probably ensured he didn’t get that farm.
Other members of the Keogh family were active in the conflict at the time. Jack’s younger brother James joined the IRA soon after Jack. He died in aged 18 – the victim of a shooting at an incident related to house possession near Loughrea.
Jack’s father (also Jack) was invalided when he lost his hand at some point prior to Jim’s death in May 1922. Jack Sr was interned at ‘Tintown’ in the Curragh Camp for almost two years, from August 1922 until May 1924. Drawings of Jack Sr have appeared in prisoner autograph books, including one on display in Kilmainham Gaol. (One of Ballinasloe’s Fianna Fáil cumainn was named after James Keogh, and Jack Sr was secretary of it in 1929).
Jack’s sister Kathleen was also interned for two weeks in April 1923, possibly in Athlone. The Keogh household was raided many times while Jack was on the run. The house was smashed up, with the occupants and any animals found subjected to violence. The youngest of the Keogh children, Frances, was moved to live with a neighbour for her own safety, while her mother Bridget was in hospital. She never moved back into the family home.
Jack came to an ignominious end. He was found dead in the field beside the Technical School in May 1945. The official verdict at the inquest was that he died of accidental poisoning, having drank bird poison while drunk rather than the whiskey he was also carrying at the time.
I occasionally wonder about Jack’s mindset at that point. It looks like he was struggling with alcohol. His family were left behind in Chicago. No doubt local resentments lingered, as much as he might have been lauded by some. If there were rewards to be gained from sacrifices made for his country, they seemed to have passed him by. His brother dead, his family beaten, and he had lost his job as caretaker of the waterworks in the Mental Hospital.
I wonder if in among his books was some Yeats, and did Jack, like many before him and since, ask, “was it for this?”
*Paul Murphy is from Enniskerry, Co Wicklow, and lives in Bray.
Jack Keogh - a timeline
Joined Irish Volunteers (later IRA)
Raided customs and excise office, Ballinasloe
Fired on Dragoon Guards in Garbally
Burned Carrowreagh RIC barracks, Taughmaconnell
Cut woman’s hair for ‘keeping company’ with crown forces
6 months’ imprisonment for ‘seditious literature’
Raided mail cars
Burned tennis court pavilion, Mount Pleasant Ave
Raided Woodlawn RIC barracks
Burned Masonic Hall, Main St
Bombed National (Pro-treaty) forces on Main St, killing 1
Destroyed Eyrecourt barracks
Arrested and imprisoned in Athlone
Escaped and went on the run
Burned Ballinasloe railway station, ambushed railroad patrol
Burned house of agriculture minister
Burned Ahascragh, Lawrencetown and Killimor Civic Guard barracks
Raided Ballinasloe post office
Found guilty and sentenced to 30 years
Entered Maryborough jail
Declared insane and moved to Dundrum Asylum
It has been a hectic two months for Ballinasloe GAA with all teams now back playing games, competitive for the U12 age group and upwards and Go Games for U11 and younger age groups.
Club players Odhrán Sheanon and Emma Mitchell, both of whom are playing U14 and Minor football respectively for Galway. Odhrán played with Galway North, and they beat Roscommon and Mayo selections with Odhrán contributing two goals and three points over the two games from his corner forward position.
Emma is a member of the Galway Minor Ladies panel and has had game time for their Connacht campaign against Roscommon and Sligo in half-back position, both games which Galway won. This is a great achievement for Emma as she is one of the younger members of the panel and will be eligible to play Minor football again next year.
PRO Kathryn Gibbons said: “This team will hopefully go on to play for a Connacht title later in the Summer. Ballinasloe GAA is very proud of the achievements of all its players on the pitch but to have these two young players represent their club at county level provides inspiration for their peers and proves that dedication and hard work pays off. These players represented their teams, their club and their families very well and have made all their connections very proud.”
Recently, over 120 children attended the Football and Hurling Cúl Camps. For four hours each day, the children honed up their football and hurling skills under the tutelage of coaches, all from the local area. At the end of each week, the older age groups played out a league tournament which brought great excitement for the last couple of days. It was fantastic to see so many young people playing and enjoying the GAA’s two main sports and so many volunteers giving of their time to make it happen.
Bingo continues online on Tuesday nights. The Bingo page on fbook has all the details, on how to buy books and how to log in. GAA Lotto is every Friday night and multiple draw tickets can be bought on the Ballinasloe GAA website. For more information get in contact at 087 9046140 or visit their website at http://ballinasloe.gaa.ie.
Irish Sea Salt Healing
Irish Celtic Salt Caves was founded by Ballinasloe Native John Bracken, a fourth generation healer, who runs a sister company called Irish Celtic Healing which is an already established business in Croffy’s Yard.
Through his work as a healer, John has come across so many people who suffer from respiratory difficulties. As there was a lack of facilities in town and hinterland, he came up with the idea to establish Halo Therapy Salt Caves and Gift Shop.
The Salt caves are newly built and boasts six Himalayan salt therapy rooms, all different sizes to cater for private groups, families and individuals. They have been designed to enhance well-being in a relaxing environment, ambient music and loungers and chairs allowing for people to enjoy the salt therapy session, which lasts for 40 minutes.
The therapeutic surroundings leave customers rejuvenated and refreshed. The salt caves also have a specially designed Childrens Salt Cave allowing for everyone to avail of the benefits of these caves.
Salt Therapy reduces the symptoms of upper and lower respiratory conditions, made entirely of mineral-rich Himalayan salt which purifies the air to promote health and wellness. The salt caves also use a halo generator to disperse medical grade salt particles in the air throughout the room, which is a powerful, natural treatment to treat conditions such as asthma and respiratory difficulties. The salt also has an anti-inflammatory action when inhaled, the salt absorbs pollutants and allergens. Inhaling the particles opens the airway to reduce inflammation and improves the ability to live well.
Currently there is one full time member of staff, Receptionist Therese Reynolds and Frankie Coyne a staff member who runs the Irish Celtic Healing with the intention of creating more local employment and the possibility of two more positions as the business grows.
Ballinasloe Salt Therapy is natural and effectives for numerous ailments such as allergies, skin health, respiratory health, COPD and for relief of stress and anxiety. The caves are for all ages, adults and children benefit greatly from salt therapy and respond quickly to its natural healing benefits.
Centrally located in Croffy the location is very accessible for those who are local to th’s Yard with ample free parking for those who wish to travel from neighbouring counties within a 20 mile plus radius to the newest and largest salt caves in the East Midlands and West region.
The Salt Caves have an adjoining gift shop on the premises, with a wide range of connected products available, Himalayan salt lamps, handmade Himalayan and wild Irish seaweed bath salts and Himalayan hand and foot scrub. The stores are open seven days a week and are also wheelchair accessible.
Irish Celtic Salt Caves are present on social media on Facebook (see below) and Instagram: @irishcelticsaltcaves
They can also be contacted by email for enquiries or by email, phone and WhatsApp. TEL: 0874682146 / 0909645582 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
First Novel For Ahascragh Writer
Lisa Geraghty lives in Ahascragh with her son Donnacha, daughter Maeve Ann and Irish Wolfhound ‘Mac’.
Originally from Castleisland and from a family of six children, she has always been proud of her roots and the opportunities that she was given over the years. Lisa, a veterinary surgeon by profession, works as a college lecturer in Athlone Institute of Technology, where she trains veterinary nurses and bio-veterinary scientists. She enjoys working with students and is an advocate for self-care, mental wellbeing and work-life balance in the veterinary profession. Lisa regularly publishes articles on employment law and veterinary practice and is a co-author of the book Veterinary Law and Practice in Ireland. “More Than” a Match is Lisa’s debut novel.
At the beginning of the first lockdown, Lisa began writing blogs. An avid fan of writing, she had only ever written scientifically. Publishing a few employment law articles, a peer reviewed paper on antimicrobial resistance and is the co-author of ‘Vetinary Law & Practice in Ireland. Her love for blogging had led her to delving into non-fiction articles that were published in local papers. Lisa had been suggested by a few friends to write novels and she had many themes in her head for a long time all they needed was a story.
Lisa explained: “I knew I wanted to write a story about a strong woman, a character that could empower other women. The ‘Me Too’ movement was well underway at the time. The themes I wanted to encapsulate were that people are flawed, we all make mistakes and have to learn to live with the consequences, I wanted to address the theme of stress and mental illness and the message that it is possible to heal and be well and move on. I also wanted to include the theme of bullying and the destructive force that it can be in people's lives, especially when it happens behind closed doors.”
More than a Match tells the story of Jennifer Burke – a successful lawyer with a husband who worships her and two beautiful, talented teenage daughters. Or at least that is what she has always told herself. However, as the years progress, somewhere inside of Jennifer the splinters begin to deepen. When her mental health is shattered by a life-altering diagnosis she discovers how fragile her world has become.
Lisa stated: “This is a story of fear and loss, of desperation and pain, of hope and survival, The question is: when a woman’s strength is tested to the limit, can she stand and fight for her life? Jennifer is a real woman, raw and flawed. Her story is one that, I hope, will resonate with all women at some point in their lives.”
The book has been reviewed 21 times on amazon and has gained an average rating of 4.8/5 stars. One reviewer identified as ‘Domreads’ stated: “I loved the book and cannot wait for future adventures of Jennifer Bourke. Lisa’s style of writing allowed me to become totally engrossed in what Jennifer was going through and feeling. All this despite our realities being worlds apart. I also felt the way the issues with mental health were covered in the book as well as matters relating to treatment, coping strategies and simply living with mental illness will help to normalise and de-stigmatise the same.”
It is available in Salmons Department store in town where it is locally printed by KPW. It is also Available on Amazon for £11.21.
Nicola Mullarkey is a Lawrencetown native now living out in Ahascragh with her husband Damien and son Rian. Nicola currently works as a Senior Clinician in Jigsaw Laois/Offaly supporting young people’s mental health
Becoming a new mother Nicola had questioned from the start how she had been left so unaware of the struggles of childcare and these struggles burdened her somewhat. Nicola had turned to the internet for answers, however, Google is not the most empathetic of search engines and failed to answer the questions of a postpartum mother. Hearing and speaking about similar stories, Nicola received validation but was disappointed at the difficulties she faced in searching for answers.
Nicola stated: “The older my baby gets the more strongly I feel about maternal mental health and how it should be talked about and supported. Being a mental health professional myself, it was something I took for granted, that information and support would be easily accessible.”
Nicola realised that there was a huge need for more mental health services for mothers and expectant mums to be.
She then established her MindMama Instagram page where information is readily available, a place for compassion, not criticism, space where those experiencing postpartum stress can feel safe and supported. This page highlights the good, bad and ugly of parenthood and the journey of pregnancy.
“I work very hard to provide informed, relevant and helpful supports for mothers and expectant mothers. The information I provide is both formal and informal. I feel strongly that there needs to be less judgement and stigma for Mums and parents. There is a strong belief that we are not meant to talk about the difficulties we experience in pregnancy and motherhood and that has to change.” said Nicola.
Nicola has fought hard to normalise the hard parts of pregnancy, to make communication easier, and give courage to those who seek support. With a strong message that if parents are supported from conception to birth and beyond, they are empowered to create confident and competent children for the future.
Nicola possesses a modest following of over 500 people. She is honoured to have this many people follow her page. If the page helps just one person, then it has worked.
Nicola exclaimed: “I have been so lucky with the following my ‘Mind Mama’ page has accrued. There has been such positive feedback from people with regards my posts and stories. I keep a mix of informing material and personal experiences to help people see that I am just a Mum, same as everyone else, trying to support others.”
Currently, Nicola operates from Instagram @mindmama_irl. Her dreams for this page would be continued collaborations having participated in two podcasts on this topic previously. She has been given great opportunities to talk about issues with Derek Wheatley @wheatleytheweekly and Amanda Gurman @honest.as.a.mother on their podcasts.
“I would love to link in with other creators and really open this topic up in the creative way Instagram facilitates. I have a lot of subjects that I have yet to discuss so watch this space.” Said Nicola.
For more information on the mind mama page and regular updates follow Nicola’s Page on Instagram @Mindmama_Irl
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