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February 16, 2012



Date Published: {J}


Birthday milestone

Within view and hearing of the deep sounding Atlantic waves, in the village of Aillebrack, some eight miles from Clifden, is the cottage home of Thomas Malley, a respectable farmer who has just completed his 106th year. In the same house, his father and grandfather have lived and died.

Comforted and cared for by many members of his family, a son is now qualified for the old age pension, and the great grandchildren are attending a local school. Still hale and hearty, there is a prospect of many more Connemara winters before him, his only physical defect being a little deafness.

Ever active in his habits and an early riser, Malley is now much concerned in the progress of his spring work and has given directions to procure a certain class of new spade.

Licensing case

At Milltown Petty Sessions on Tuesday, District-Inspector Fitzgerald, Dunmore, prosecuted Mrs. Giblin, licensed publican, Pollaturick, Milltown, for a breach of the Licensing Act. Four men named Michael Feerick, Martin Feerick, Thomas Feerick and Patrick Keely were charged with being on the premises.

Thomas Feerick, in reply to Mr Hosty, solr., stated that after the remains of his mother were brought to the chapel he and his cousins and Keely came to Giblin’s public house.

They knocked at the kitchen door, Mr. Giblin opened it, and witness asked him for the car to take the remains to the graveyard. Mr. Giblin promised to give the car. Martin Feerick came in and asked for a drink, saying that he was after coming home from England that morning and Martin and he went to get a drink. Witness, with the others, went out. There was nothing said about getting a gallon of porter.

After legal arguments, the Bench consulted, and the Chairman announced that by a majority the cases were dismissed. He considered there should be a conviction.


Arson attempt

Another attempt at an outrage on the Lord Gough estate has been reported. This time it was frustrated through the vigilance of the guards. While patrolling, the vicinity of the estate a few evenings ago, the Gardaí discovered some smouldering sacks around the entrance gates on the Ennis-Limerick Road. The sacks were found, on further investigation, to be saturated with petrol or paraffin, and it was obvious that an attempt had been made to set them alight.

It seemed from the appearance of the sacks and the scene that those who had placed them there had been interrupted in their work while attempting to set them alight and that they heard the Garda patrol. Escape is easy, as the place is deeply wooded in parts. The sacks, which were smouldering, showed that the attempt at lighting them was recent.

For some years, there have been periodic attempts at making trouble on the estate; there were some recent attempts and shooting and other lesser attempts on the estate lands from time to time. The guards’ strength had been more than doubled in the district; there are now over 20 Gardaí.

The normal strength in Gort station was six men and a sergeant. Recently the strength of the local Gardaí has been supplemented by extra members of the Detective division from Ballinasloe headquarters and other districts.

There are over 2,000 acres on the estate and there has been agitation to have it divided for years. This is believed to be the cause of the many attempts made there recently – none of them serious. Some months ago, shots were fired from a distance at the house of a local farmer, who, some time previously, had transactions regarding the purchase of lands on this estate.

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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