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After thirteen years, the Babor— childrenÕs festival is all grown up



Date Published: {J}

The organisers of this year’s Baboró Festival for Children, which was launched on Monday evening, have decided that in the midst of all our economic doom and gloom, people need to be entertained and cheered up. And so, instead of cutting the programme of events at the 14th Festival, which runs from October 11 to 17 they have gone for both quality and quantity.

There are dance performances, theatre clowning, puppetry and music catering from all age groups – from year-and-a-half olds to 15-year-olds, although even 90-year-old ‘youngsters’ will find plenty to please. The companies taking part come from as close by as Connemara and as far away as Italy, taking in Germany, France, Spain and Scotland along the way.

This year there’s even a Silent Disco for kids. Although silent discos – where people dance collectively, but wear headphones, so they can all listen to their own choice of music – are common among adults, this is a first for kids, says Baboró General Manager, Teenagh Cunningham, adding that it’s the brainchild of Gugai, the music programmer of the Róisín Dubh pub and is being co-presented with Róisín Beag.

This won’t be the first time that Baboró has broken new ground. The young people’s event which started in the 1990s as a section within Galway Arts Festival, was first held independently in 1997 and at that time was moved to October from July to make it more accessible for school groups.

It has expanded its remit steadily over the years and, although it’s still described as a festival, it’s much more than that, thanks to an outreach programme for schools and communities, its development work with young Irish companies who produce work for young people,and its role as a forum where international producers can see quality Irish work for young people.

But for most people who’ll be attending the event in October, the programme is what matters and it promises plenty.

There are three reasons why Baboró didn’t have to cut its programme this year, explains Teenagh.

The first was that medical technology company Medtronic has come on board as sponsors; the second is that the festival has a massive box office target with an audience capacity of 20,000 people. The third, and from the audience point of view, the most important, is that Baboró’s Artistic Director Lali Morris “was very judicious in her programming”, according to her colleague.

“The shows are all fantastic quality, but there are also recognisable names,” she says, giving four examples – The Gingerbread Man, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Jack (as in Jack the Beanstalk), and The Secret Garden are all based on well known works.

“With shows like this, new people will come along, while those who are familiar with Baboró will take a punt on all the shows.”

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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