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Galway owners banking on Cheltenham success



Date Published: 10-Mar-2010

You won’t be able to get a pint for love nor money in the Park House Hotel come 3.20pm next Tuesday as all the staff – and customers and guests – will be glued to Cheltenham coverage on TV where proprietor Kitty Carr’s horse Go Native runs in the prestigious Champion Hurdle.


But it’s odds-on the champagne corks will be popping and the Moet flowing a few minutes later at the Forster Street venue if the Noel Meade trained six-year-old gelding can make it passed the post first – if he wins, Kitty and the five others in the Galway Docado Syndicate are in line for a £1 million sterling bonus payout.


Having already pulled-off a shock 25/1 win in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle in Newcastle in November and the Christmas Hurdle on St Stephen’s Day at Kempton, victory for Go Native next week will secure the Hurdling Triple Crown and more than treble his career earnings to date.


And he’ll no doubt swell the coffers of Park House staff and customers as well, who by now have claimed part ownership of the horse.


“All the staff will be excited on the day and they’ll all be watching the race. The public, customers and staff have been fantastic. We’re just getting great support. The staff have done very well out of him so far. I think he’s won about eight races and a lot of them were when he was 20/1 or 22/1, so they’ve done very well,” she says.


Race goers are renowned for their superstitious rituals and when Kitty strolls into the parade ring in Cheltenham just after 3pm next Tuesday, she’ll be decked out in the same stylish outfit she has worn on previous occasions Go Native romped home.


“I’m very superstitious so I’m wearing the same black and white outfit I wore when he won in Kempton. I wore it last year when he won on the first race on the first day of the Cheltenham festival and I kept it. Then I wore it again a few other times he won and when I wore it when he won in Kempton everyone was saying ‘you can’t change now’ so I’ll have to wear it again for luck!”


Kitty, the other members of the syndicate – her partner Éamon Doyle, sister Maura and her husband Sylvie and their son and daughter Tom and Ann Marie – family, friends and customers of the hotel are all travelling over to Cheltenham on Monday. They are staying in the Castle Hotel and plan to stay until Thursday or Friday “if all goes well”.


If Go Native wins the bonus, trainer Meade will collect £150,000, the horse’s groom Alan McIlroy will get £100,000 (he has already earmarked buying a Manchester United season ticket for himself and his son Jack with the winnings) with £50,000 shared among the other stable staff and £700,000 to the syndicate. “It is a lot of money and we’ll probably put it in the kitty – not me kitty but the Kitty,” she laughs.


See full story and Cheltenham preview in this week’s 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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