Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us


Galway couple turn stories for their own son into trilogy for children!



John O'Connor and Carina Ginty with their two sons Cillian (6) and Breen (4) at the launch of Captain Cillian.

What happens when you combine salty old tales of the sea with a little bit of Irish and the adventures of a mini-maritime skipper? You get Captain Cillian – the brainchild of a Galway couple who combined fun with learning in a unique new trilogy of books and more.

Carina Ginty works in learning and teaching development in GMIT; her husband John O’Connor is a graphic designer – and the Cillian is their six year old who was a new-born when the concept first began to take root.

It finally came to fruition last week with the First Class pupils of Scoil Íde in Galway city helped launch the Captain Cillian collection – appropriately on the shores of Galway Bay off Salthill Prom.

In essence, it’s an ocean adventure book collection for children aged from three to nine.

Each story takes children on a journey of discovery where they will explore Ireland including the Wild Atlantic Way, learn about ocean facts and key words in the Irish language.

And at the end of each story children will complete a quiz, puzzles and some creative playtime activities.

So while the young readers are enthralled by the little Irish explorer who sails around Ireland and the world, the books most definitely have education – as well as entertainment – in mind.

“The idea of Captain Cillian started back in 2008, when I was undertaking a PhD in GMIT examining the value of marine tourism in Ireland and how we engage children from an early age with the sea. Together with my husband John, who is a very creative graphic designer, the Captain Cillian character came to life,” explains Carina.

The books are suitable for home play activities and bedtime reading – but the collection is also a great teaching resource for the classroom, with four key learning themes centring on exploring Ireland; ocean facts, learning Irish, and how to create and play.

Carina works in learning and teaching development in GMIT and prior to this worked in marketing roles for technology companies, while John works with Proactive Design & Marketing in Galway.

Carina loves the sea, travelling and developing educational resources and John loves running along Galway Bay and bringing ideas to life through design.

“Together as a team and under the guidance of our two sons Cillian (6) and Breen (4) we created Captain Cillian. After many cups of tea, consultations with advisors, long walks on the famous Salthill Prom, Captain Cillian’s ship finally set sail in October 2015!” says Carina.

Captain Cillian was a natural choice of name as the couple’s first son is called Cillian who was born at Christmas 2008.

“We felt it was a great Irish name that would travel well and being a Captain of a ship, it also connects with ocean explorations and discovery. What makes the Captain Cillian book collection unique is the fact he is a young Irish ocean explorer with an Irish identifiable brand that will appeal to national and international audiences with connections to Ireland,” she adds.

Captain Cillian adventure books are priced at €6.99 each or the Adventure Pack or Birthday Gift Pack is currently selling for €25, including shipping worldwide.

“Alternatively clubs or schools can avail of the Captain Cillian fundraising programme during the year, where we will donate 20% of sales proceeds back to the participating organisations from purchases made.

“Funds raised could be used to buy equipment, technology devices, arts and craft supplies, painting or decorating, or pay for class tours or adventures. The process is easy and school or club orders can be placed by contacting,” says Carina.

The Captain Cillian learning adventure books are currently available to buy online at Plans are also progressing to place the book collection in retail outlets and visitor centres.


Connacht Tribune

West has lower cancer survival rates than rest



Significant state investment is required to address ‘shocking’ inequalities that leave cancer patients in the West at greater risk of succumbing to the disease.

A meeting of Regional Health Forum West heard that survival rates for breast, lung and colorectal cancers than the national average, and with the most deprived quintile of the population, the West’s residents faced poorer outcomes from a cancer diagnosis.

For breast cancer patients, the five-year survival rate was 80% in the West versus 85% nationally; for lung cancer patients it was 16.7% in the west against a 19.5% national survival rate; and in the West’s colorectal cancer patients, there was a 62.6% survival rate where the national average was 63.1%.

These startling statistics were provided in answer to a question from Ballinasloe-based Cllr Evelyn Parsons (Ind) who said it was yet another reminder that cancer treatment infrastructure in the West was in dire need of improvement.

“The situation is pretty stark. In the Western Regional Health Forum area, we have the highest incidence of deprivation and the highest health inequalities because of that – we have the highest incidences of cancer nationally because of that,” said Cllr Parsons, who is also a general practitioner.

In details provided by CEO of Saolta Health Care Group, which operates Galway’s hospitals, it was stated that a number of factors were impacting on patient outcomes.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading

Connacht Tribune

Marathon Man plans to call a halt – but not before he hits 160 races



Loughrea’s Marathon Man Jarlath Fitzgerald.

On the eve of completing his 150th marathon, an odyssey that has taken him across 53 countries, Loughrea’s Marathon Man has announced that he is planning to hang up his running shoes.

But not before Jarlath Fitzgerald completes another ten races, making it 160 marathons on the occasion of his 60th birthday.

“I want to draw the line in 2026. I turn 57 in October and when I reach 60 it’s the finishing line. The longer races are taking it out of me. I did 20 miles there two weeks ago and didn’t feel good. It’s getting harder,” he reveals.

“I’ve arthritis in both hips and there’s wear and tear in the knees.”

We speak as he is about to head out for a run before his shift in Supervalu Loughrea. Despite his physical complaints, he still clocks up 30 miles every second week and generally runs four days a week.

Jarlath receives injections to his left hip to keep the pain at bay while running on the road.

To give his joints a break, during the winter he runs cross country and often does a five-mile trek around Kylebrack Wood.

He is planning on running his 150th marathon in Cork on June 4, where a group of 20 made up of work colleagues, friends and running mates from Loughrea Athletics Club will join him.

Some are doing the 10k, others are doing the half marathon, but all will be there on the finishing line to cheer him on in the phenomenal achievement.

Get the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading


Galway ‘masterplan’ needed to tackle housing and transport crises



From the Galway City Tribune – An impassioned plea for a ‘masterplan’ that would guide Galway City into the future has been made in the Dáil. Galway West TD Catherine Connolly stated this week that there needed to be an all-inclusive approach with “vision and leadership” in order to build a sustainable city.

Deputy Connolly spoke at length at the crisis surrounding traffic and housing in Galway city and said that not all of the blame could be laid at the door of the local authority.

She said that her preference would be the provision of light rail as the main form of public transport, but that this would have to be driven by the government.

“I sat on the local council for 17 years and despaired at all of the solutions going down one road, metaphorically and literally. In 2005 we put Park & Ride into the development plan, but that has not been rolled out. A 2016 transport strategy was outdated at the time and still has not been updated.

“Due to the housing crisis in the city, a task force was set up in 2019. Not a single report or analysis has been published on the cause of the crisis,” added Deputy Connolly.

She then referred to a report from the Land Development Agency (LDA) that identified lands suitable for the provision of housing. But she said that two-thirds of these had significant problems and a large portion was in Merlin Park University Hospital which, she said, would never have housing built on it.

In response, Minister Simon Harris spoke of the continuing job investment in the city and also in higher education, which is his portfolio.

But turning his attention to traffic congestion, he accepted that there were “real issues” when it came to transport, mobility and accessibility around Galway.

“We share the view that we need a Park & Ride facility and I understand there are also Bus Connects plans.

“I also suggest that the City Council reflect on her comments. I am proud to be in a Government that is providing unparalleled levels of investment to local authorities and unparalleled opportunities for local authorities to draw down,” he said.

Then Minister Harris referred to the controversial Galway City Outer Ring Road which he said was “struck down by An Bord Pleanála”, despite a lot of energy having been put into that project.

However, Deputy Connolly picked up on this and pointed out that An Bord Pleanála did not say ‘No’ to the ring road.

“The High Court said ‘No’ to the ring road because An Bord Pleanála acknowledged it failed utterly to consider climate change and our climate change obligations.

“That tells us something about An Bord Pleanála and the management that submitted such a plan.”

In the end, Minister Harris agreed that there needed to be a masterplan for Galway City.

“I suggest it is for the local authority to come up with a vision and then work with the Government to try to fund and implement that.”

Continue Reading