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Enemies get together with friends to ring in the New Year



Date Published: {J}

There’s an opportunity to welcome the New Year with some ringing in your ears as two excellent instrumental rock bands play Róisín Dubh on December 31. And So I Watch You From Afar and Enemies are on the bill, as are violinist and beat-maker Daithí, Sleep Thieves and Toby Kaar.

Enemies are a four piece who formed in the village of Kilcoole, County Wicklow in 2007. They are Lewis Jackson (guitar), Eoin Whitfield (guitar and drums), Mark O’Brien (bass) and Oisín McMahon Trench on drums. They released their debut album We’ve Been Talking in 2010.

That record, and the subsequent 7-inch Coco et Moi, were simultaneously released in Ireland and Japan. The band forged the Eastern connection during their very early days as a group, with their music being picked up two labels over there.

“It was definitely very strange at the start for us a band, because the first time we went over we weren’t even known in Ireland,” says Lewis Jackson. “When we went over there, we were playing to 600 or 700 people a night in Tokyo. It was out of this world. Every year, when we plan tours we’re like ‘OK, we’re going to Japan’. People there really seem to dig the music.”

Enemies’ Japanese fanbase has solidified the group, making it a long-term project. Lewis also enjoys the cultural differences between Ireland and there.

“It really is a completely different world,” he says. “Even just the crowds, they turn up a few hours before the gig happens and they’re all ready for it to kick off. Most of the time they’re really silent for the entire gig but are completely engaged. They stick with you for as long as you’re going – it’s been good for us!”

Enemies are part of The Richter Collective, a Dublin based label that is home to acclaimed bands like Adebisi Shank, And So I Watch You From Afar and 2011 Choice Prize nominees The Cast of Cheers. The Richter Collective was founded by Michael Rowe, who had released Enemies on his previous label, Popular.

“It was a natural progression,” Lewis says about joining Richter. “Which was really cool, because it was nice to be there from the start. It’s such a great label for us. It was set up in 2008, and I started working there in 2009. I was really interested in working in music and I didn’t really know how to go about it. And the guys were like ‘come on board’ and they showed me the ropes.”

It’s hard for Enemies’ guitarist to pinpoint his role in the label, which generates a lot of buzz in the music press and the blogosphere.

“It’s kind of been ever-changing,” he laughs. “I look after the live aspect of the label, setting up tours. I also run a PR company called Heavyweight Press and that looks after all the acts, in-house.

“The idea with Richter, from the start, was to set up a central hub, so that we could mostly do everything ourselves. And make the whole thing, not just as cheap as possible, but also to have it work the best it could.”

Starting a business in 2008, at the start of the economic downturn, was a bold, even foolhardy, move. However, Lewis and his workmates seem to be weathering the storm.

“Well, I won’t lie – it’s been difficult,” he says. “But it seems to be going really well for us. When we set up, it was already a difficult time. In terms of shows, it’s been going really well. I think once you keep changing, and trying to make it work, then it seems to work!”

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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