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Christy Moore and Julie Feeney top music bill at Clifden festival



Date Published: {J}

By Denise McNamara

Folk legend Christy Moore and Athenry composer Julie Feeney are top of the musical billing for this year’s Clifden Arts Festival, with over 100 events organised throughout the 10 days – many of them free and ticketed events on sale from as little as €5.

Among the other big names to make an appearance in the capital of Connemara over the ten days are author Edna O’Brien, who will be in conversation with Des Lally, and economist, author and broadcaster David McWilliams who will give a performance in the wake of his sell-out one-man show on the economy in Dublin.

Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin, speaking ahead of the official launch at the Connemara West Leisure Centre, said the festival holds a very special place in the rich calendar of festivals and events.

“Now in its 33rd year, the country’s longest running community arts festival promises ten days of highly emotive, energetic and world acclaimed national and international artistic talent combined with many Galway, Clifden and Connemara based artists,” she stated.


Reggae outfit The Channel One Band kick-off the festivities at the launch. This band founded the London mental health charity Sound Minds and campaign regularly on mental health issues. They won the national UK Community Care Award for Mental Health in 2005 for their work in schools combining music with mental health awareness training. The biggest draw over the festival is Christy Moore who is in concert with Declan Sinnott on Saturday, a stalwart of the Irish folk music scene who never fails to impress an audience.

Another massive crowd puller will be the award-winning Julie Feeney on Tuesday next, who will play her unique brand of quirky tunes with the National Chamber Orchestra in an intimate concert, following a sell-out show at the National Concert Hall and ahead of a tour in China, US, France and the UK.

The festival will also feature the Contempo Quartet on Monday 20th, trad music from Shaun Davey and Rita Connolly this Friday 17th, folk and blues from The Henry Girls, also this Friday.

David McWilliams will take to the stage on Thursday 23rd, while Edna O’Brien will hold court on Friday, 24th.

RTE Drivetime’s Mary Wilson will be in conversation with Four Savvy Women which will feature Suzanne Kelly, Sara Burke and Tara Buckley. Each year the Clifden community schools are at the heart of the festival – from Monday 20th to Friday 24th they play host to a blend of artistic talent from different genres including theatre, dance, poetry and music with captivating performances from theatre group Fidget Feet, who specialise in aerial dance and contemporary circus. There will also be a performance by the group Cups and Crowns.

The visual arts programme features an Art Trail Exhibition of artists who live or are inspired by the Connemara landscape, including the internationally acclaimed artist Dorothy Cross.

Along with a display of works from established and renowned artists such as Ger Sweeney and Bernard O Scanaill, new talent is also being encouraged with a dedicated exhibition for emerging artists. The exhibition entitled Assemblage features the work of eleven artists from GMIT and CIT through different media including paint, sculpture and installation art.

There will be readings from poets Tony Curtis, Michael Coady and Rita Ann Higgins as well as singing classes from Marie Sheridan. Tickets are still available for a selection of performances. A full programme of events is available on the website

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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