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April 19, 2012



Date Published: 18-Apr-2012


Foreign games

On Wednesday, a meeting of the Galway Co. Board Gaelic Athletic Association was held in Athenry. The Secretary (Mr. L. Lardner) read a letter from Mr. A. C. Harty, Secretary Athletic Council, with reference to the permit applied for by the Ballinasloe Asylum Sports Committee to hold a Sports Day under the G.A.A. rules.

The Council considered that the Co. Board was acting within its province in withholding the permit, but pointed out that as the I.C.A. had disappeared from the West, even if a sacrifice had to be made, they should keep that body from again resurrecting itself in athletics in the West.

The Chairman explained that the Ballinasloe Asylum Sports Committee had applied to them for a permit to hold their sports under the G.A.A. rules, and they refused to sanction the permit owing to the action of Dr. Kirwan, the R.M.S. in fostering foreign games in the institution.

They objected to former members of the G.A.A. who became warders and attendants in the institution playing foreign games, as some all-Ireland hurlers from the county have done. He remembered being one of a deputation that waited on Dr. Kirwan, who stated that he never asked one of the officials to play hockey. The officials, he pointed out, were afforded the accommodation of Gaelic games. There was never any pressure brought to bear on them to play hockey or any foreign games.

Williamstwon UIL

A meeting was held of Williamsown U.I.L., Rev. Fr. Fallon, P.P., presiding. Following a long discussion on the Home Rule Bill, the Rev. Chairman said he would be glad to attend the National Convention and he hoped the branch would send a worthy representation if only to show their gratitude to Mr. John E. Redmond and his colleagues for having wrung from the British Government what purported to be the best measure of self-government that has hitherto been offered to the Irish people.


Leprechaun found

An extraordinary report that a leprechaun had been captured at Barnaderg near Tuam has resulted in an influx of credulous visitors to the village. During last weekend, the house in which the leprechaun was stated to be held in captivity had been besieged by people, who, disappointed in their foolish quest, spread the report still further rather than admit their own simplicity.

The owner of the house told “The Connacht Tribune” Tuam correspondent how the absurd story originated. Her young son, she said, had formed a habit of putting a black kitten into a box. Other children of the village asked him what was in the box, and he said a leprechaun.

The children talked about the mysterious box and its occupant, and the report that there was a leprechaun in the house spread rapidly.


One night a youth concealed himself behind the box when some visitors asked to be allowed to see the Greasaidhe (leprechaun). They heard the words “beig amagh me” (“let me out”) coming, as they believed, from the box. When the visitors left, they were convinced that the box really contained a leprechaun.

The fantastic report continued to circulate and some of the visitors went so far as to described the “little man”. One night at 10 o’clock, four men called at the house and asked to be allowed to view the captive. They were informed that it was the joke of the village and they replied that they had cycled fourteen miles, having been told that the leprechaun had been seen in the house.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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