Rise in Sea Levels and Temperature Predicted for Irish Sea

Rise in Sea Levels and Temperature Predicted for Irish Sea-image

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

The Irish Sea will experience a rise in sea levels of almost half a metre and significant changes in temperature according to new research published today by engineers at the National University of Ireland Galway’s Ryan Institute. The research suggests that by the end of the century the Irish Sea will be warmer with sea surface temperature increases of around 1.9 C. Such temperature increases may have significant impact on physical and transport processes within the Irish Sea, as well as implications for ecosystems and fishing. Researchers at the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway used the latest three-dimensional hydrodynamic modelling technologies to compute future changes. “The research presented in this paper is the first model-based projection of the Irish Sea future climate and in this regard it is the most comprehensive study of this region”, explains Dr Mike Hartnett of the Ryan Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway. “The Irish Sea, being semi-enclosed, has a unique and complex geography, which influences its currents and our specific finding will help us better understand what lies ahead for these vital waters which link Ireland and the UK.” Warming in the deep channel in the western Irish Sea will be generally weaker with seasonal variability subdued due to a large heat storage capacity. The warming will be largely stored in the surface layer of the water column leading to strengthening of stratification and a considerable decrease in the thickness of the mixed layer. The consequences of this will be changes to water circulation, expected to be of particular relevance to fisheries, pollutant transport and the ecosystem. Dr Hartnett said: “Future changes to oceanographic parameters, flushing times and hydrodynamics of the Irish Sea are likely to alter the habitat and distribution of marine species; the finding of this research are therefore of great interest to ecologists and the fishery industry among others.” With potential sea level rises in the order of 0.47m coastal flooding due to storm surges is likely to be more severe in the future. Recent flooding events such as the 2009 flooding of Cork City illustrate the vulnerability of coastal communities. It is likely in the future that more extreme coastal urban flooding will occur. “This research confirms previous tentative estimates of sea level rise and also provides significant new detailed information regarding changes in temperature and water circulation patterns around our coast”, added Dr Hartnett. The research is published in this month’s edition of the science journal Continental Shelf Research. This research was carried out under funding from the Environmental Protection Agency, Ireland and the Higher Education Authority/Programme for Research in Third-Level Institutions. -ends- 

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NUI Galway to Lead an EU Project to Develop ‘Bioartifical Organ’ for the Repair of Spinal Cord Injuries

NUI Galway to Lead an EU Project to Develop ‘Bioartifical Organ’ for the Repair of Spinal Cord Injuries-image

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Scientists at NUI Galway hope to develop a ‘bioartificial organ’ for the repair of spinal cord injuries. The Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at the University is leading an ambitious new €4.2 million European project, which someday may help people living with spinal cord injury. The aim is to create a polymer conduit infused with the stem cells and other supportive factors that will help heal patients with spinal cord injury. There are approximately 350,000 people living with spinal cord injury (SCI) in Europe today, and current treatment is highly limited. Most clinical effort is concentrated on rehabilitation and vast resources are directed to improving quality of life for these patients. “Put simply, bioartificial organs are those which are grown in a lab”, explains Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB, a Science Foundation Ireland funded Strategic Research Cluster. “Around the world, researchers are trying to grow bladders, tissue or liver. With this particular project, we are looking to create a type of organ which would join-up a severed spine. This is frontier research, so we may be many years from success. However, our NeuroGraft consortium will bring together their synergistic expertise to develop cell seeded, functionalised bioartificial organs as valuable solutions towards spinal cord repair.” The novelty of the NeuroGraft proposal is that the functionalised multichannel conduit will provide physical, chemotropic, and neuroprotective cues which mimic the natural 3D cellular and molecular regenerative environment of the neural space. The NeuroGraft concept will be realised through the consortium, consisting of one academic and four industrial partners including groups from Vornia (Ireland), Stemmatters (Portugal), Biomatech SAS (France) and Obelis (Belgium). Regulatory advice is incorporated at an early stage in the development cycle, to facilitate the translation of the novel bioartificial devices to the market in as short a timeframe as possible. The NeuroGraft consortium will validate the safety, efficacy and biodistribution of the functionalised bioartificial organs developed in a pre-clinical model of spinal cord under GLP conditions. It is envisaged that these studies will facilitate progression to clinical trials of the technology (post project) and the development of a marketable product within six years of the completion of the NeuroGraft project. The project, called the “Development of Functionalised Cell Seeded Bioartificial Organ for Transplantation in Nerve Repair”, is funded by an EU-FP7 grant. Professor Pandit added: “We are delighted with the success of this proposal. This funding allows technology developed at NFB to be further developed so that it reaches the patients that have currently no such available treament. Over the years, we have established strong links with key industries and academic partners throughout Ireland, Europe and further afield that give us the capability to address tissue degenerative conditions or injuries through increasingly sophisticated biomaterial-based platforms, including those previously thought to be untreatable. This success is primarily due to the range of specialist expertise in biomaterials research that has been established under the Strategic Research Cluster programme funded by Science Foundation Ireland.”   -ends-  

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NUI Galway Celebrate James Joyce with Pre-Bloomsday Recital

NUI Galway Celebrate James Joyce with Pre-Bloomsday Recital -image

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

NUI Galway alumni and friends will celebrate the connection between James Joyce and Galway City with a pre-Bloomsday recital in Newman House, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin on Thursday, 14 June at 6.30pm. The recital is part of a series of  Bloomsweek recitals featuring Ireland’s leading classical guitarist, John Feeley, accompanied by NUI Galway graduate and James Joyce enthusiast, Professor Fran O’Rourke of UCD who will also be providing background information on Joyce. During the recital, Galway native John Feeley will be using will be James Joyce’s own guitar, which had been on display at the Joyce Tower Museum for the past 45 years. However, in the last year it has been carefully restored and it is now ready to be played again. The fact that Joyce studied in Newman House should also add extra resonance to the occasion. Professor O’Rourke said: “The guitar first features in Weiss’s iconic photograph of Joyce, taken in Zurich in 1915 and has been in the Joyce Tower Museum in Sandycove since 1967. Having heard a similar vintage guitar, it occurred to me that the Joyce guitar might be restored. I put the suggestion to Robert Nicholson, Curator of the Museum and with the expert work of Gary Southwell, it is now ready to be heard again.” Joyce was both an excellent singer and an accomplished musician, and music played a large part in his life and he incorporated it into almost all his works. Joyce’s major connection with Galway was through his wife Nora Barnacle from Bowling Green, just down from St. Nicholas’ Cathedral. Nora provided the inspiration in Joyce’s work for characters such as Molly Bloom, Greta Conroy and Anna Livia Plurabelle, among others. Joyce visited Galway and Nora’s family on several occasions and developed a deep interest and affection for the city and Joyce country which he maintained all his life. The recital is open to graduates and friends of NUI Galway. Tickets are €10 and are available online from NUI Galway Alumni Office, www.nuigalway.ie/alumni. For further information contact the Alumni Office at 091 492721. ENDS

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Shaking the Foundations of Geo-engineering Education Conference at NUI Galway

Shaking the Foundations of Geo-engineering Education Conference at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The first international conference in NUI Galway’s new Engineering Building, entitled Shaking the Foundations of Geo-engineering Education (SFGE 2012), will take place from 4-6 July. SFGE 2012 is Ireland’s first major geo-engineering conference since the European Conference on Soil Mechanics and Foundation Engineering held in Dublin in 1987. Geo-engineering (or geotechnical engineering) is the branch of civil engineering associated with the engineering behaviour of soil and rock and encompasses the design of building foundations, retaining walls, slopes, embankments, excavations and tunnels. The conference title is a pun on the fact that foundation design is a key part of the work of a geotechnical engineer. Dr Bryan McCabe, Lecturer in Civil Engineering and SFGE 2012 Chair, said: “This conference will explore key challenges, both technical and pedagogical, faced in the education and training of students of geotechnical engineering and related engineering disciplines. This will be achieved through a series of presentations and facilitated discussion workshops. Active engagement with the significant body of teaching and learning research, accumulated over many years, is what will set SFGE 2012 apart from previous international conferences of this type.” Renowned international keynote speakers include: Professor Paul Mayne, Georgia Tech; Professor Steve Ressler, US Military Academy at Westpoint; Professor John Atkinson, City University, London and Coffey Geotechnics; Dr Brian Simpson, Arup Geotechnics, London; and Professor Rich Felder, North Carolina State University. During the three day event, Professor John Burland, Imperial College London, will also be honoured with an award for his lifelong contribution to education in geo-engineering and will deliver a special invited lecture. Professor Burland is renowned for his role in stabilising the Leaning Tower of Pisa. SFGE 2012 will also incorporate a workshop of the popular ASCE Excellence in Civil Engineering Education (ExCEEd) programme which will have an appeal beyond geo-engineering to academics and practitioners in science and engineering. Those interested in attending can register online at http://www.sfge2012.com. For further details on SFGE 2012 contact Dr Bryan McCabe at 091 492021 or bryan.mccabe@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

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Well-Being is Focus of Conference at NUI Galway

Well-Being is Focus of Conference at NUI Galway-image

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

‘To measure social progress and national well-being we need something more than GDP’ A conference at NUI Galway on Friday, 8 June, will address the issue of ‘Overcoming Barriers to Well-Being in Ireland’. The conference will feature the latest international thinking on the concept of well-being, and showcase research across themes including: Predicting Healthy Behaviour; Well-being in Youth; Family, Community & Society; Physical Well-being; and Positive Approaches. The conference is hosted by the Health and Well-Being priority theme at the Institute for Business, Social Science and Public Policy at NUI Galway.  Dr Michael Hogan and Dr AnnMarie Groarke from the School of Psychology at NUI Galway, are co-leaders of a research cluster within this theme which brings together experienced academics currently engaged in Health and Lifespan research. According to Dr Hogan, “Internationally, there is increasing interest in, and analysis of, human well-being and the economic, social, environmental and psychological factors that contribute to it.” Helen Johnston, author of Well-being Matters: A Social Report for Ireland, will deliver a keynote address on Why Well-being Matters, based on the findings of the report published by the National Economic and Social Council. Alex Zautra, Foundation Professor of Clinical Psychology, Arizona State University, and author of Emotions, Stress, and Health, will deliver a second keynote address on Social Intelligence and Community Well-being: Charting Paths to Resilience, based on recent well-being research conducted in the US. Dr Hogan adds “Current thinking suggests that to measure social progress and national well-being we need something more than GDP. Facilitating the transfer and exchange of knowledge to bring about greater well-being for everyone is a major goal of science. However, the relationship between science and public policy is complex and there is a need to create new spaces where dialogue is fostered and where knowledge is translated into action.”  The event will feature an Interactive Management system design workshop. Interactive Management is a collaborative design process that allows a group of individuals with a vested interest in solving a problem to work together. Professor Benjamin Broome, Arizona State University, will assist with the design and facilitation of the workshop. -ends-

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Museum Art Exhibition at NUI Galway

Museum Art Exhibition at NUI Galway -image

Thursday, 7 June 2012

‘The Fall then Rise of Sleeping Finch’ NUI Galway will host an art exhibition, The Fall then Rise of Sleeping Finch by the University’s Artist-in-Residence Marielle MacLeman. The exhibition will be opened by NUI Galway Secretary, Gearóid Ó Conluain, on Wednesday, 13 June at 5pm. The exhibition will run from 14-27 June, from 11am-4pm Monday to Friday, and 1pm-5pm on Saturday in the University Art Gallery in the Quadrangle Building. The Fall then Rise of Sleeping Finch recalls historical museum keepers and collectors who, suffering insanity or incompetence, made obstacle courses of taxidermy, destroyed entire specimen groups through disapproval or embellished others in gold for aesthetic improvement. Marielle MacLeman presents a selection of work from her residency at NUI Galway’s Zoology and Marine Biology museums as the fanatical, furtive creations of Albert Finch Esq. as he attempts to recreate pieces that fell foul of his museum predecessors. In the exhibition Finch is an avid hobbyist, heraldry enthusiast, revivalist and recycler. His ‘remakes’ are rendered in cocktail sticks, pencil shavings and reclaimed papers from the museum floor. He catalogues the classes of the Animal Kingdom in ‘skeletal fly posting’, which form backdrops for his paper beasts mounted on shields hacked from chopping boards. Where others regard taxidermy as trophy, Finch crafts medals and rosettes for his prize-winning specimens. Marielle MacLeman is a visual artist based in Galway. Working across mixed media wall-based work and site-specific installation, her work often employs rigorous processes to explore sites and subjects with lost or changing roles. Marielle is particularly interested in exploiting materials not traditionally associated with fine art techniques. She studied Drawing and Painting at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design in Dundee, Scotland and began a residency at NUI Galway’s Museums in 2011. The residency has been supported by an Arts Council Bursary Award and a Galway City Council Individual Creative Artist Award. -ends-

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NUI Galway Academic Leads International Travel Medicine Conference

NUI Galway Academic Leads International Travel Medicine Conference-image

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Dr Gerard Flaherty, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Medicine and Medical Education at NUI Galway, has been elected as President of the Travel Medicine Society of Ireland during the 4th Northern European Conference on Travel Medicine (NECTM). The conference is taking place this week in Dublin. An experienced travel medicine physician, educator and researcher, Dr Flaherty has served on the Executive Council of the Society since 2007. During that time he was appointed as a Fellow of the Faculty of Travel Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow where he serves on the Faculty Board. He is also a member of the editorial board of the journal Travel Medicine and Infectious Diseases in the UK. Dr Flaherty was instrumental in securing the Society’s bid to host the prestigious NECTM conference which has taken two years of detailed planning and organisation to bring to fruition. As Chair of the scientific committee of the NECTM conference, Dr Flaherty is responsible for every aspect of the scientific sessions. Dr Flaherty said: “It has been an enormous privilege engaging with our 12 European partner societies in developing an innovative and educational programme. We have enjoyed welcoming approximately over 700 delegates from the UK and mainland Europe to Ireland and we hope that many of them will return to Ireland in the near future as holidaymakers.” A diverse range of topics will be discussed at NECTM, reflecting the broad scope of travel medicine, including preparation of humanitarian aid workers for travel, serving the needs of disabled travellers, travelling with young children, travellers’ diarrhoea, accessing medical care overseas, psychological trauma in travellers, pandemic influenza, and malaria. Over a hundred Irish and international speakers will contribute to the programme of the conference, which was opened on Wednesday, 6 June by the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin, Dr Bill Tormey. The Minister of Health, Dr James Reilly, will host a reception for the delegates at Dublin Castle tonight (Thursday, 7 June). Dr Flaherty looks forward to his new role as President of the Travel Medicine Society of Ireland, saying: “I aim to raise the profile of the specialty of travel medicine or emporiatrics which is only 25 years old. There is a need to ensure that all travel medicine practitioners in Ireland apply the highest standards of clinical practice in preparing their patients for travel overseas and in assessing the ill returned traveller. To this end, I intend to put education and research top of my agenda for this Presidency.” For further details please see www.nectm.com. -ends-

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NUI Galway Students Scoop Top Prize at Enterprise Ireland ‘Think Outside the Box’ Awards 2012

NUI Galway Students Scoop Top Prize at Enterprise Ireland ‘Think Outside the Box’ Awards 2012-image

Friday, 8 June 2012

A team of students from NUI Galway has today (Friday 8 June 2012) been named ‘College Entrepreneur of the Year 2012’. The students won the prestigious top prize of €10,000 at this year’s Enterprise Ireland Think Outside the Box Awards, with their project DRS.ie. This year celebrates the 30th year of the prestigious awards, which are co-sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland, Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, Mammoth Advertising, Intel and Grant Thornton.  The winning team are First Year Engineering students at NUI Galway and  beat off stiff competition with their project DRS.ie.  This stands for Drag Reduction Systems. The team has invented a drag reduction device which can reduce the drag between a truck and its container load so significantly that it will reduce fuel consumption of the truck by 8%. The team is represented by students Justin Conboy, Dearbhaile Forde and Garrett Archbold. Mary Dempsey, College of Engineering and Informatics, NUI Galway said: “The innovative drag reduction system is an example of the outstanding design capability of NUI Galway engineering students. Engineering in NUI Galway provides an excellent environment in which our students are given space to be creative and inventive. Ireland's path to recovery will benefit from people like Justin and his team and I admire his confidence to follow through with his creative passion, to patent his design and win this prestigious all Ireland competition. I am very proud of our engineering students." The Think Outside the Box Awards are aimed at encouraging students into business as a career option and this year attracted submissions from over 360 third level students from colleges across Ireland.  With its biggest ever prize fund matching the Award’s 30 years in existence, €30,000 in cash prizes and €30,000 in consultancy fees are available for winners to help them make a serious start at making their idea a commercial reality.   In addition to winning the top prize, the winning team will also receive €5,000 in branding consultancy from Mammoth Advertising and mentoring from Enterprise Ireland/Invest NI to develop the commercial viability of their overall concept.  The ‘Most Technologically Innovative Idea Award’ of €5,000, co-sponsored by Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys and Enterprise Ireland, went to the AWAMA project from Queen’s University Belfast. Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys are also providing intellectual property consultancy and protection for all the finalists. The Emerging and Dynamic Company of the Year Award of €5,000, co-sponsored by Grant Thornton and Enterprise Ireland, went to Zooplar from UCC. Grant Thornton will also provide business plan development advice to the finalists. Zooplar also won an all expenses paid trip to Poland from Intel, to participate in the Intel Challenge Europe Technology Entrepreneurship Competition. Congratulating the award winners on their success, Tom Hayes, Head of Micro Enterprises and Small Business at Enterprise Ireland said: “This competition is focussed on giving students hands on experience in entrepreneurship and establishing a business to help them discover their flair and talent. Once again, we have been hugely impressed by the quality of the submissions from across the colleges. These young people show all the hallmarks of the innovative and resilient entrepreneurs and management teams that are so critical to setting up successful new businesses and creating much needed jobs. They are our successful entrepreneurs of the future. It is tremendously encouraging to see their energy and their enthusiasm, and I congratulate all of them on their achievements.”  Bill Scott, Invest NI’s Executive Director of Regional Business, said: “Young people in Northern Ireland are great at generating new business ideas and entrepreneurial talent. Competitions like this provide a platform for them to demonstrate their highly innovative concepts and the commercial skills required to take them forward. Invest NI is pleased to play a part in promoting and encouraging entrepreneurship and is focused on supporting young people to engage in entrepreneurial activity, as we need them to grow our future economy.” For more information on the Think Outside the Box Awards visit the website on:  www.thinkoutsidetheboxawards.co ENDS

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NUI Galway to Lead a European Research Project to Restore Blood Vessels

NUI Galway to Lead a European Research Project to Restore Blood Vessels-image

Friday, 8 June 2012

A consortium led by the Network of Excellence for Functional Biomaterials (NFB) at NUI Galway has secured €3.7 million to fund research into a medical condition called ischemia. The condition occurs when blood supply to a tissue is limited, an example being ischemic heart disease, the most common cause of death in the western world, from which 16 million European adults currently suffer. The funding award has been made through the EU-FP7 grant programme under the Marie Curie Initial Training Network, the official project title is ‘Development of Biomaterial-based Delivery Systems for Ischemic Conditions - An Integrated Pan-European Approach’. “Our focus is on therapeutic angiogenesis, which aims to form new vessels to supply the ischemic tissue and restore function”, explains Professor Abhay Pandit, Director of the NFB. “One possibility in this field is to supply the local microenvironment around the damaged tissue with the appropriate biological signalling factors, through the use of functionalised biomaterials.” Ischemia is not limited to heart disease and the research will have a wider scope across other medical conditions. Ischemia has a number of causes such as blockages, as in the case of cholesterol blockages in atherosclerosis or the clotting that may cause ischemic stroke, inflammation as in ischemic colitis, or conditions such as sickle cell anaemia. Acute limb ischemia occurs when blood supply is lost to a limb, with delayed treatment leading to morbidity, amputation and even death, with around 50,000 cases in the US annually. The research consortium, led by Professor Pandit of the NFB, includes academic groups from the Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH), Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche in Italy, Universidad de Valladolid in Spain, University of Brighton in the UK, University Hospital Basel in Switzerland, Vivasure Medical in Ireland and Selyno Biomedical in Israel. The funding provides for the recruitment of early stage and experienced researchers aiming to improve their career prospects in both public and private sectors, thereby making research careers more attractive to young people. This will be achieved through a trans-national networking mechanism, aimed at structuring the existing high quality initial research training capacity throughout European member states and associated countries. Speaking about the award, Professor Abhay Pandit, said: “The Marie Curie Initial Training Network award will fund the training and development of researchers in biomaterials and regenerative medicine research over a four-year period beginning in October 2012. This programme will foster increased scientific dialogue between lead academics, industry and clinicians; transfer key scientific and experimental knowledge between the institutions involved enabling the consortium to widen the scope of their work; encourage researchers to stay in Europe, and attract researchers from around the world to conduct research in the EU. About 40% of this funding will remain in Ireland. We are extremely privileged to be considered for this highly competitive award.”   ENDS

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Scan This! Galway Pirate Treasure Hunt

Scan This! Galway Pirate Treasure Hunt-image

Monday, 11 June 2012

NUI Galway’s Digital Enterprise Research Institute is helping Galway Simon Community to raise funds in a fun, and innovative way. The two organisations have teamed up to organise a pirate treasure hunt with a difference for the Volvo Ocean Race finale in Galway, 30 June – 8 July. The Galway Pirate Treasure Trail of QR codes is a family-friendly treasure hunt where would-be pirates will use the latest mobile phone technology to navigate their way to the treasure. Families and groups of friends can follow a series of QR codes through the most interesting corners of Galway’s medieval city. Every pirate treasure clue will be revealed by scanning the QR code at each waypoint. The trail will guide teams on a leisurely and fun treasure trail of Galway City and the tented Volvo Race Villages. There will be prizes for the teams with most points based on the clues uncovered. Most smart phones now have a Quick Read (QR) code scanner. Tickets are available on GalwaySimon.ie at €10 for the Family Treasure Hunt or €20 for the History and Gourmet Treasure Hunts. This Pirate Treasure trail was developed in cooperation between the Digital Enterprise Research Institute at NUI Galway and Galway Simon as an innovative way to show people around the most interesting streets and corners of this buzzing city. Dr Brian Wall, Operations Manager at the Digital Enterprise Research Institute (DERI) says “DERI is very pleased to contribute technological expertise to such a worthy cause. DERI researchers are already unlocking large chests of ‘knowledge treasure’ that are available on the web so it is fitting that we are involved with Galway Simon on this project.” He added: “We are always looking for new and interesting ways for our team of technical experts to help the broader community and we think this will be a really enjoyable way to demonstrate just a little bit of what our research teams at NUI Galway can do.” Established in 2003 by NUI Galway, with assistance from Science Foundation Ireland, DERI has now grown to become the world’s largest semantic web research institute, and it engages with companies, from start-ups through to multinationals, to develop new web solutions. Professor Stefan Decker, Director of DERI adds: “Galway now has an internationally leading research and industry cluster in the ICT sector, and this treasure hunt highlights some of the cool things that can be done with computer science. Fun events like this are great for getting children interested in IT and hopefully will encourage them to become the innovators of the future.”  NUI Galway is education partner of Volvo Ocean Race Galway, and will bring its considerable experience in the field of volunteering and community engagement to the event. Galway Simon is actively seeking retailers in Galway to partner in the Treasure Hunt. Contact Paul in Galway Simon at 091 381828 for partnering details. -ends

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