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Craughwell just edge home in close contest

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Date Published: {J}

BY EAMONN McLOUGHLIN

Indie band Bell X1 who are currently touring the US and Canada to mark the release of their new album, Bloodless Coup, are looking forward returning to the Big Top on July 16 for their Galway Arts Festival show.

“It’s always great to play in the Arts Festival” explains vocalist Paul Noonan from his Toronto hotel room. “We had an amazing gig when we played the Big Top before.”

Known for their entertaining live performances, Bell X1 will be joined in Galway by Duke Special and New Zealander Liam Finn.

Liam, the son of the famous Neil Finn of Crowed House, has already established himself in his own right having opened elsewhere for acts such as Eddie Vedder and Wilco. This will be his first time sharing a stage with Bell X1 and Paul is looking forward to bringing Liam Finn to Galway.

“I’m a massive fan of his father, Neil Finn,” he explains

Belfast based Duke Special, recognised for his distinctive style and theatrical performances has supported Bell X1 the past and Paul feels his addition to the Big Top line up will create a night to remember. “The Duke is wonderful live as well; he really connects with the audience.”

Bell X1 will finish the first leg of their current tour in Galway, and Paul is excited about the visit. “They always seems to bring out something special in Galway, it’s amazing being in the Big Top with 10,000 people singing along with your songs. You feed off it, food for the soul.”

While the Big Top offers a great buzz, Paul also enjoys some of the smaller, intimate venues which the band are known to play, describing them as “a different animal”.

The Kildare band will showcase material from their fifth album, Bloodless Coup when visiting Galway.

“We chose the name as a reference to the romantic notion that change can be driven by collective will of the people,” explains Paul. “Ireland is in a state of flux at the moment and there’s lots of frothy searching, who we are and why are we in such a mess. We all need to step up and play a part and within the artistic and wider community there is a desire to do so.”

The past few years have seen Bell X1 making major artistic and career strides but the group has been honing its sound since its formation in 1999, and its members have been making music together since the early ‘90s. Having met at school in Kildare, Paul Noonan, Dave Geraghty, Dominic Phillips and Brian Crosby first recorded as members of Juniper, whose lead singer was Damien Rice. After Damien departed to launch his solo career, Paul Noonan (vocals) Dave (guitar), Dominic (bass) and Brian (guitar and keyboards), regrouped and renamed themselves Bell X1, borrowing the name of the first plane to break the sound barrier.

Their debut album, Neither Am I in 2000 was followed by Music in Mouth (2003) and Flock (2005). In 2008, Brian Crosby decided to leave and the following album, Blue Lights on the Runway was the first release without him.

For Bloodless Coup, Paul, Dave and Dominic brought two new people into the studio fold – Rory Doyle on drums and Marc Aubele on keys and guitar.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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Archive News

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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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