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City experiences its third wettest June in 56 years

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Date Published: 03-Jul-2012

BY FRANK FARRAGHER

Three years ago when the Volvo Ocean Race sailed into town, the city enjoyed a balmy week of weather . . . alas this morning the mini armada docked after a very wet June, and with little prospect of any Mediterranean conditions on the way.

However it’s not all bad news on the weather front with the prospect of fairly decent days on Friday and Sunday, while during the week we will also enjoy some bright interludes.

It was a very wet June in the city with rainfall for the 30 days coming in at 172.6mms (6.8 inches), according to the NUI Galway Weather Recording Station, making it the third wettest sixth month of the year since recent records began in the city in 1966.

The month of June might be mid-summer, but according to Frank Gaffney’s Climate of Galway records, over the years it has often delivered serious deluges both locally and nationally.

Our wettest ever June in the city was in 1998 (Galway went on to win the All-Ireland football final!) when 196.mms (nearly 8 inches) of rainfall fell, while it was nearly as wet in June of 2008 which brought us 194.6mms of precipitation.

“It was a very soggy June, but down through the years we’ve had some very wet Junes, so I suppose it’s no big surprise. Even though it was very wet, there were other parts of the country that suffered heavier downfalls,” said Mr Gaffney.

Just up the road at Knock, Co Mayo, the June rainfall came in it at 230mms or over 9 inches, while rainfall in Dublin was 178.5mms and 186mms in Roches Point in Cork. There was serious flooding in Belfast and Cork last Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

Weather experts are attributing our dank Summer so far to the influence of the Jet Stream, a high altitude, fast-moving air mass moving from West to East that at present is blowing in a series of depressions from the Atlantic.

This brings with it a mix of wind, heavy rains, showery spells and occasional brighter interludes . . . and that is basically the scenario that lies ahead for the rest of this week.

Today (Tuesday) will be cloudy and wet, and while Wednesday will start fairly dry and bright, heavy showers will develop later in the day, some of them possibly thundery. Thursday will have some bright spells but those will be squeezed in between some very heavy showers.

Friday looks like being the best day of the week, bright and sunny with just the risk of the odd shower, but rain will return for a time on Saturday while the prospects look reasonably good for Sunday. All through the week, it will be mild with temperatures of between 17° and 21° Celsius.

According to the BBC’s long term weather forecast for the month of July, the prospects for any settled conditions to return over the coming weeks seem remote.

“Hopes of a more settled spell of weather in the near future are slim. After an exceptionally wet June, the start of July continues on an all too familiar theme. The ‘lows’ keep rolling in,” the BBC July forecast states.

The month of June gone by was slightly cooler than normal: 13.2°C as compared to the average of 14°C. The warmest day of the month came in at 20.9°C and the coolest the thermometer dropped to was 6.6°C.

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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