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February 29, 2012



Date Published: {J}


Shooting ‘curse’

At both masses in St. Brigid’s Church, Portumna, on Sunday, Rev. James Spelman, C.C., spoke in condemnatory terms of the shooting outrage recently perpetrated in the town. He said it was a painful matter for him to allude to, and he could not understand how any man could take a gun in his hands and fire into an innocent man’s house where the man was with his wife and family. He said a curse always followed such outrages, and although the guilty parties might escape the law, still the vengeance of God would sooner or later come on them.

The Claddagh King

There has been some difficulty in connection with the Congested Districts Board new fishing boat in Galway, “The Claddagh King”, as a result of which the crew of six Claddagh men have been replaced by another six also from the city. We may state that a sum of £1,500 has been spent on this boat, which is in charge of an instructor, Mr. Meadows, and also a Danish instructor.

The latter was engaged to show the Claddagh men how to work a Danish fishing net, an affair with huge wings and capable of very remunerative returns. The water engines of the boat are 60 horsepower, and the speed is 8 knots an hour. It seems that the difficulty was that the men were not inclined to face the slender, but continuous work necessary to acquire the training which the C.D. Board are anxious to impart.

They failed to turn out in the morning, with the result that Mr. Micks thought it necessary to intervene, as he happened to be in Galway on Monday on a private visit. As indicated, the boat is now going on satisfactorily, but doubt is expressed as to whether, in all circumstances, the entire project will justify the money that has been spent on it.


Bad road

When Mr. Harry O’Toole raised a question about the disrepair of a road in Lettermore na Coille, Connemara, at the weekly meeting of the finance committee of Galway County Council on Saturday, the secretary (Mr C.I. O’Flynn) said that people were constantly sending in petitions about repairs to roads.

These people did not realise that the County Council could not spend money on roads for which provision had not been made in the Council’s roadworks scheme.

Mr O’Toole: I understand that, but there are 168 families in Lettermore na Coille that never voted Imperialist anyway; they voted our way, and a certain man who thought otherwise got £300 changed from this road to elsewhere.

Secretary: The reason of that change was that this road was a stop-end road and you could not spend money on it.

Mr. O’Toole: It is the only village in all Connemara where there is nothing doing.

Secretary: I wrote to these people during the week and explained that it was a stop-end road and I suggested that they send a petition to Mr. McLaughlin, of the Office of Public Works.

In reply to a further question by Mr. O’Toole, the secretary said he would write to Mr. McLaughlin, but he was afraid it would not be effective; he believed that all the relief money had been allocated.

Railway station fire

Athenry railway station had a narrow escape from being considerably damaged by fire on Sunday morning, when it was discovered that two lorries, the property of the Great Southern Railways Company, were in flames. The fire was first seen at 3 a.m. by people living in the vicinity of the station, Mr. P. Hahessy, Athenry station master, was the first to arrive on the scene. Member of the railway staff did valuable work in saving the buildings.

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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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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