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Brenda gets to point of infertility problems



Date Published: {J}

A Galway woman who says acupuncture helped sort her fertility difficulties changed careers so she could help others experience the joy of parenthood.

The high flying executive with a pharmaceutical company turned her back on what was a fulfilling but demanding career to become an acupuncturist.

You could say that the world of pharmacology is on the opposite spectrum to acupuncture, which is an age-old Chinese therapy and regarded as ‘alternative’ by many working in conventional medicine.

But Brenda Aylmer sees no such division and regards what she is doing as “East meets West” because as she says herself, she is completely open to conventional medicinal approaches to fertility problems.

“I started in nursing at the age of 17 and then became a medical rep with a pharmaceutical company so, up until last year, I have always worked in Western medicine.

“But it was when I went to have our second child that I knew it wasn’t happening as fast as it should so someone suggested acupuncture and within six months I had conceived. I was intrigued by it so much that I signed up to do a course on it so I could find out more about it. I became fascinated by the whole philosophy of acupuncture and how it works on the whole body.”

All this time, Brenda, then a mother of one, continued to commute to Dublin from Craughwell where she lives, to work with a large pharmaceutical company and at weekends travelled to County Clare to study acupuncture.

She actually became pregnant before she had finished the course, which spurred her on even more to finish it and go into practice so she could spread the word.

A redundancy offer at work last summer was timely and having graduated from her acupuncture course with distinction, she decided it was time to go into practice.

Brenda opened her own clinic, the Genesis Fertility Acupuncture Clinic in Oranmore just before Christmas, where she deals specifically with fertility issues, anything ranging from irregular periods to menopausal problems. She offers natural fertility care, support during infertility treatment, pregnancy and birth.

“I don’t like the word infertility. I prefer the word, sub-fertile. I think it’s more positive and that there’s more room for the possibility of believing you can conceive.”

Brenda doesn’t rule out the possibility that being a high flying executive doing a lot of driving may have led to stress which may have prevented her from conceiving. But she firmly believes the acupuncture helped her.

“We had contemplated going for fertility treatment but we didn’t have to in the end. I would never advise clients against going for IVF or other treatments but I strongly believe that the acupuncture can be used as a support system.

“The road of going for fertility treatments is a very lonely one but acupuncture can help on so many levels. It’s true that when a couple present with fertility issues, it is always the woman who is tested first because it is the more obvious starting point, but I have treated men. It is healthy for the couple to be involved, not just the woman.”

Because Brenda started as a nurse and then worked with pharmaceuticals, she recognises the important role of Western medicine and is the first to advise a woman over the age of 35 who is not getting pregnant to see her GP.

Having gone through fertility issues herself she appreciates how women start getting panicky when it doesn’t happen.

“When women embark on fertility treatments, they may feel a sense of it being out of their control as they are introduced to various treatments and regimes.

“As well as doing acupuncture, I also advice a change of diet and to take up yoga. I did that myself and that helped too, as did exercise and stress management.”

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

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



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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Archive News

Galway have lot to ponder in poor show



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013




GALWAY’S first serious examination of the 2013 season rather disturbingly ended with a rating well below the 40% pass mark at the idyllic, if rather Siberian, seaside setting of Enniscrone on Sunday last.

The defeat cost Galway a place in the FBD League Final against Leitrim and also put a fair dent on their confidence shield for the bigger tests that lie ahead in February.

There was no fluke element in this success by an understrength Sligo side and by the time Leitrim referee, Frank Flynn, sounded the final whistle, there wasn’t a perished soul in the crowd of about 500 who could question the justice of the outcome.

It is only pre-season and last Sunday’s blast of dry polar winds did remind everyone that this is far from summer football, but make no mistake about it, the match did lay down some very worrying markers for Galway following a couple of victories over below par third level college teams.

Galway did start the game quite positively, leading by four points at the end of a first quarter when they missed as much more, but when Sligo stepped up the tempo of the game in the 10 minutes before half-time, the maroon resistance crumbled with frightening rapidity.

Some of the statistics of the match make for grim perusal. Over the course of the hour, Galway only scored two points from play and they went through a 52 minute period of the match, without raising a white flag – admittedly a late rally did bring them close to a draw but that would have been very rough justice on Sligo.

Sligo were backable at 9/4 coming into this match, the odds being stretched with the ‘missing list’ on Kevin Walsh’s team sheet – Adrian Marren, Stephen Coen, Tony Taylor, Ross Donovan, David Kelly, David Maye, Johnny Davey and Eamon O’Hara, were all marked absent for a variety of reasons.

Walsh has his Sligo side well schooled in the high intensity, close quarters type of football, and the harder Galway tried to go through the short game channels, the more the home side bottled them up.

Galway badly needed to find some variety in their attacking strategy and maybe there is a lot to be said for the traditional Meath style of giving long, quick ball to a full forward line with a big target man on the edge of the square – given Paul Conroy’s prowess close to goal last season, maybe it is time to ‘settle’ on a few basics.

Defensively, Galway were reasonably solid with Gary Sice at centre back probably their best player – he was one of the few men in maroon to deliver decent long ball deep into the attacking zone – while Finian Hanley, Conor Costello and Gary O’Donnell also kept things tight.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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