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Arts festival in the black



Date Published: 26-Jul-2007

Galway Arts Festival is on target to break even this year if the current level of tickets sales continues, says its Artistic Director Paul Fahy.

The 30th festival will close this Sunday night with a special tribute concert to musician Donal Lunny to mark his 60th birthday. That gig in the Radisson, which will include many of his musical collaborators over the years, including members of the band Moving Hearts is sold out.

However, at 4pm on Sunday evening the Festival will show a special screening of Follow The Music, Nuala O’Connor’s documentary on Lunny, which was broadcast earlier this year as part of RTÉ’s Arts Lives series. Admittance to the screening, at the Town Hall is free, but tickets are required and are available from the Box Office.

Some events, including dance show from the Stephen Petronio Company, are totally sold out, but there are tickets for other shows, says Fahy. “We have tickets for Particularly in the Heartland, which runs at 8pm nightly until Sunday in the Town Hall and there are also tickets for Get Your War on, in the same venue at 10.30pm. We still have a few left for Laura Veirs on Friday night in the Róisín Dubh, and for Guy Pratt in Cuba, also on Friday. Cora Smyth and Sean Horseman’s show in Druid on Saturday and Sunday is selling well, but there are some tickets available.”

A new show, which will celebrate the launch of Róisín Elsafty’s CD Má Bhíonn Tú Liom Bí Liom will take place in Cuba*, Eyre Square on Saturday at 4. The Barna sean nós singer will be joined for the concert by Donal Lunny and Máirtín O’Connor among others.

Free street events have been taking place throughout the festival with the main outdoor event to date being last Sunday’s Macnas Parade, The 9th Wonder of the World. Its theme was the glitz and glamour of mid 20th century Hollywood, but the company managed to incorporate the troublesome cryptosporidium parasite that caused Galway’s water crisis into the spectacle.

It was one of the items, along with colourful sunflowers, New York cops, dancing chunks of birthday cake and over the top movie types, as well as a superb ‘gameshow’ float entitled The Buck Stops Here, that entertained the crowds, backed by music from the era. There was much that was lovely about The 9th Wonder of the World but it suffered from being quite short and it ended abruptly.
There will be further free street performances this weekend with Belgian company Cirqcumstancia presenting Cirque Diabolique from tonight, Thursday until Saturday at 10.30pm nightly. Close-Act, from Holland which last week brought dinosaurs onto Galway’s streets will return this weekend with XL Insects, a display of loud and raucous giant insects. They will be out and about on Friday and Saturday at 4pm and 9.30pm.

(See more in Life magazine)

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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