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

Archive News

State-of-the-art treatment for pets is the cat’s whiskers



Date Published: {J}

When James Dunne talks about his patients who need orthopaedic treatment, including hip replacements, physiotherapy and maybe even hydrotherapy, he isn’t referring to human beings.

Instead, James, one of the vets in Galway City’s well-known Ark Veterinary Clinic, is talking about small animals – mostly dogs.

It might seem a bit strange to hear dogs and cats referred to as ‘patients’ but as James asks rhetorically, “what else would you call them?”.

“A person’s dog or cat is a member of their family and I’m not sure what else you’d refer to them as,” he says.

From toothpaste to peanut butter treats and cups to weigh their food, everything you could want for the dog or cat in your life is available in the reception area of Ark in Knocknacarra.

And beyond reception, there’s more, much more. In addition to its many other services, Ark is one of just a few practices in Ireland offering hip replacements for animals with problems such as arthritis, when other treatments, including anti-inflammatories and pain killers have failed.

These cutting-edge orthopaedic procedures are carried out by James, who has specialised in that area. They are followed up with physio from chartered physiotherapist Suzanne Costello, who treats humans during the week.

James’s veterinary colleague in the Knocknacarra premises is Aidan Miller, who specialises in treating pets with heart problems and issues relating to skin and internal organs.


Ark is one of the best-known veterinary practices in Galway, having been established in 1976 by David FitzGerald and Séamus McManus in the city’s St Mary’s Road.

Over the decades Ark began to outgrow its St Mary’s Road accommodation and in 2010 it opened this new facility while retaining the original premises.

The Knocknacarra practice has three veterinary nurses and a receptionist as well as two vets. In this place where animals are king there is no shortage of space – and a range of machines that any human hospital would be proud of.

These include top class X-ray machines, scanners, anaesthetic machines, dentistry facilities and examination tables with inbuilt weighing facilities. There is a lab for blood samples and there are two operating theatres for animals needing treatment. One of these is reserved for orthopaedic surgery only, and has a filtered air system, to ensure optimum hygiene.

“Bone and joint surgery is the cleanest surgery and it’s best to keep it to a room that isn’t exposed to other operations,” says James, as he gives a guided tour of the premises, explaining that the most sterile rooms are farthest away from the public space.

James, who was reared in Bushypark on the outskirts of G

alway City, had never intended to focus on small-animal practice when he was training at veterinary college in Dublin.

But in 1998 he took a job in England in a small animal practice, with 25 vets, where he worked for six years. It was there he developed an interest in surgery. “I spent a number of years working for a very experienced surgeon and learned new techniques from him.”

In his final three years there, James worked fulltime in orthopaedic surgery.

When Ark contacted him about joining them, he and his English-born wife Alison, a pharmacist, decided to relocate to Galway.

“As a student I had seen practice with them and liked their approach. Their standards are high,” he says simply.

Ark’s interest in cutting-edge orthopaedic surgery for animals is not new.

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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


Continue Reading