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Archive News

August 4, 1991



Date Published: 04-Aug-2011


Drowning rescue

On last Friday as a hooker from Oranmore was proceeding under full sail to Ballynahown for a load of turf, it was caught in a sudden squall, and sunk immediately in Galway Bay, close to the Castle Point at Inverin.

The occupants of the boat were two brothers named Pat and Michael Barnangham,

of Illauniddy, and both were unable to swim, but as the boat was sinking, they managed to secure an oar each, which they placed under their arms, and by this means kept afloat.

Their cries for help came to the attention of Bartley Conneely and Martin McDonagh, who were lobster-fishing in the vicinity, and they immediately rowed their canoe to their assistance of the drowning men, who were by this time in a very exhausted state.

Owing to the fragility of the canoe, the men could not be taken into it. A rope was therefore cast to each man, and they were towed along, eventually being put on board a hooker going to Costello Bay, where they subsequently landed safely.

Were it not for the courage and coolness displayed by Conneely and McDonagh, there is not the slightest doubt that those two men would be drowned. It is hoped that the Royal Humane Society will grant a reward to both men for their gallant and heroic conduct on the occasion.


Galway treasure

A remarkable story relating to gold and precious stones having been placed on the coast of Galway was told at Kilkenny, when George Skelkings, aged about 30, was charged with having obtained £3 from a traveller by false pretences, and also with being an alien who had landed in this country contrary to the Aliens Order.

District Justice O’Shea dismissed the first charge, and applied the Probation Act on the charge of being an alien, with a view to the circumstances being reported to the Alien authorities.

The traveller, in evidence, stated that Skelkings said he was born in Galway, and when two years old went to Russia and lived through the revolution, after which he went to Finland. He said he had been in the Russian Air Force.

Defendant said that when he was finished his course in the Russian Air Force, he was detailed by his commander to place a certain amount of money on the coast of Galway, the idea being that the owner of the money was afraid that Russia would overpower England at that time, and that he wanted to get to America.

Later, in Kilkenny, defendant made a suggestion about going to Galway, and witness sent him £3.


Racing history

The accents of half a dozen nations intermingled with those of the home racing fraternity when the three-day Galway Race meeting got underway at Ballybrit on Tuesday and was highlighted by the Players’ Navy-Cut Amateur Handicap where J.R. “Bunny” Cox made racing history by bringing home 100 to 8 shot, Old Mull, half a length clear of Hunch and Don’t Comment.

Plate Day was again the day of greatest spectacle and a heart-warming day for the punters who had made Clipador favourite. Bright sunshine and colourful frocks, costumes and millinery made it a gaily fashionable occasion. Rain washed the colour from Hurdle Day, but there was nevertheless a big rain-coated attendance.

All in all, this was the greatest race meeting held at famed Ballybrit. It was an occasion of tote and attendance records and excellent fields in keen contest, but apart from exceptions like Clipador, it was not a money-making meeting for punters.


Traveller hardstands

At least five hard stands for itinerants to be provided in immediate city areas – that’s the key recommendation in a blueprint unveiled this week in an effort to finally resolve the contentious traveller accommodation problem in Galway.

The plan, put before city councillors who were meeting behind closed doors on Tuesday, reportedly paves the way for sites to be agreed upon this month.

Pool hazard

Allegations that the pool at Leisureland is dirty and dangerous have been dismissed by both the Manager and the Chairman of the Board of the centre, following incidents after which two people had to be hospitalised in the past week.

In one case a person had to be given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by one of the lifeguards because there was no oxygen in the oxygen cylinder. In the second, a man who got into difficulty and was lying at the bottom of the pool almost went unnoticed because the water was so cloudy.


For more articles from our archive see Days Gone By in this week’s 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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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