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Hit play ‘The Parting Glass’ visits Galway



Date Published: {J}

“Put aside any reservations you have about men and football, or sad endings and come out and see it. You’ll be glad.”

That’s the advice of actor Ray Yeates who stars in Dermot Bolger’s one-man show The Parting Glass, about a returned emigrant’s experience of contemporary Ireland in the boom to bust years.

The Parting Glass, which is on its way to Galway as part of a national tour, is set on the infamous night that Thierry Henry’s hand caused Ireland’s exit from the 2010 World Cup. Dermot Bolger uses that incident as a metaphor for the deception experienced by people in post boom Ireland.

“It’s a play about human life and our times,” says Ray, who plays the central character of Eoin as well as a host of other roles. Eoin “is like the rest of us – he doesn’t have any answers to what’s going on either”.

Eoin, who emigrated to Germany to find work during the 1980s, settled there with the help of his wife Frieda and son Dieter. But he returned to Ireland at the height of the boom, and just in time for the bust.

Although it’s a stand-alone drama, The Parting Glass is a sequel to Dermot Bolger’s previous drama In High Germany, which was set during Euro ’88 and captured the mood of a generation of Irish people forced to emigrate out of economic necessity.

The Parting Glass shows that while some things have changed, that haven’t as it offers a passionate and funny meditation on the character of Eoin in mid-life and Ireland in mid-bust.

Since it was first staged in Ireland last year, it has toured extensively, including to New York as part of the city’s Off Broadway Underground Zero theatre festival. There the production received record audiences, standing ovations and several four-star reviews.

Here at home The Irish Times, The Sunday Business Post and The Irish Examiner gave it rave reviews, while the UK’s Guardian also gave it four stars.

“The play makes a variegated and eloquent comment on maleness, friendship and fatherhood, and every Eoin and his son should see it,” according to The Irish Times.

Ray agrees and has additional observation.

“One woman in the audience commented that it’s a rare play about male friendship, because it isn’t at the expense of women. It’s about soccer, it’s about men, it’s about the economic situation and it’s about the relationships between men and women.

It’s sad and funny and mad and very current,” he concludes.

The Parting Glass is directed by Mark O’Brien and designed by artist Robert Ballagh, with lighting design by Conleth White.

It visits Áras Éanna, Inis Oírr, Galway this Saturday night, May 28, starting at 8.30pm. Tickets at €5/€10 area available at www.araseanna,ie or Tel: 099 75 150.

It’s at the Town Hall Theatre, Galway City on Tuesday next, May 31 and Wednesday, June 1 at 8pm. Booking at and at 091 569 777

Tickets for the Town Hall cost €15/12.

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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