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Childhood memories write stuff for Christina

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Date Published: 31-May-2012

BY KATIE FINNEGAN

GALWAY woman Cristina Galvin has scooped the €10,000 prize in the Irish Times Powers Short Story competition – a reward of over €20 per word.

“I’m delighted, I’m completely shocked. It’s like a blessing, I feel really lucky,” said Cristina when she discovered she had won the competition.

The story, entitled “Après-Match” focuses around a young child and her father eating chips in the car after the county final “looking out the windscreen at the rain pinging the puddles, wipers going swish, swish, thwack, swish, swish, thwack.”

The story is based on Cristina’s own childhood experience with her mother. “Myself and mum used to go to see the ballet in Cork Opera House. It was the only time we got together. We used to get chips afterwards and I loved eating them in the back of the car. I decided to write the story based on those experiences and it seems to have resonated with people,” she said.

Over 4,000 entries were received from writers all over the country and Cristina, originally from Moycullen but now living in Salthill, was named the overall winner last Saturday when her story was published in The Irish Times Saturday Magazine.

Cristina, a Yoga teacher worked in research into HIV in Russia and the USA and returned to Ireland in 2007 to carry out research on gerontology in NUIG where she was welcomed with 80 days of rain.

“I’ve been writing since before I could speak. I’m always scribbling bits. I’d love to be able to give it all my time.”

She is currently between jobs and has decided to spend the prize money on something special. “I nearly had to move out of my place, and then my car died. I don’t want to just use the money to pay boring bills. I’d love to use it for something to do with writing. I could go to a cottage in Donegal and write for a couple of weeks – someone else suggested that I go and get a proper computer.”

 

Cristina says that she couldn’t have gotten this far if it hadn’t been for Susan Millar du Mars and her husband Kevin Higgins who run creative writing workshops around the city.

“She was great. She really is an inspiration. She gives you lovely constructive feedback and is so encouraging and creative. She planted the seed in my head to undertake the MA in Writing at NUIG and even after I completed the course, I would go back to her for classes.”

Cristina completed the MA in writing at NUI Galway three years ago and has been longlisted in the New Writer of the Year competition on the Over the Edge writers’ blog(overtheedgeliteraryevents.blogspot.com). Over The Edge is a professional literary organisation based in Galway. They organise the Over The Edge: Open Reading series in Galway City Library as well as the popular Friday evening Writers’ Gatherings.

 

Gerbrand Bakker and Willy Vlautin’s Lean on Pete have been 2 authors who have inspired Cristina and she also admires her father, Gerry Galvin, a chef and former restaurateur, and the author of two cookbooks, The Drimcong Food Affair and Everyday Gourmet. No Recipe, his debut collection of poetry, was published in 2010.

For Après-Match, she says she used short story writer Raymond Carver’s style as a inspiration.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Galway have lot to ponder in poor show

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

SLIGO 0-9

GALWAY 1-4

FRANK FARRAGHER IN ENNISCRONE

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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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