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ItÕs time that those New Year Resolutions came off the rails



Date Published: {J}

Right around now, the last of the New Year’s Resolutions should be coming off the rails – and as one of the smug abstentionists who think Resolve is a sachet that cures hangovers, it’s one of the happiest times of the year.

Part of my excuse is, admittedly, a complete lack of willpower but that is compounded by the notion of conforming to some sort of ancient custom of using the New Year to turn yourself into something you’ve never been before.

The good news is that, apparently, there aren’t as many falling foul of the Resolution Game as before because the gyms have yet to experience a post-Christmas tsunami of tellytubbies and the smokers haven’t been persuaded to cover themselves in patches.

But you can still see too many of them as you drive along the Prom or gaze into gyms as you pass – be careful, this could get you arrested – these enthusiastic converts who think that walking like a demon possessed (arms swinging, legs pumping) will shed the three stone piled on by 30 years of Guinness.

Maybe it’s those television ads that trigger the guilt – there are more ads for nicotine patches on at present that you’d need to cover a gable wall with them to stop your chimney smoking.

Gymnasiums are trawling the streets for new members with special offers that lure you in, convinced that once you get a taste for tearing your own hamstrings, you’ll be hooked for life.

The HSE is offering us all sorts of advice about how to clean up our act – which is a little ironic given that, if they cleaned up theirs, we mightn’t have over 500 people suffering every day on hospital trolleys.

Everywhere you look, there are people being pulled along by dogs straining at the leash or jogging on footpaths, causing no end of disturbance for those of us who use these paths at a sedate pace for their proper purpose – as a smooth surface to get us from A to B.

The only consolation is that most of them will be back to normal by this weekend, having either given up gracefully or inflicted some damage to a muscle they hadn’t felt any connection to since they last did PE classes at school.

If you really want to quit some bad habit or take something up to help you live longer, you should do it sometime around March and tell nobody what you’re up to.

That way, you’re not another sheep following the rest of them and failing at the first hurdle because you hadn’t really got Christmas out of your system in the first place.

Equally, if you fail in March no one will even know you’d started so there’s no loss of face – and you can start again in April if you’re that determined to see it through.

Mind you, all of this advice comes from someone who has never made a resolution – New Year or otherwise – in his life; someone who has never given up something that others might consider bad for him and equally who has never taken up anything others would suggest might do him some good.

The last time I was in a gym, it was a school gym sometime before my Leaving Cert in 1981 and even then I knew it wasn’t a relationship that was destined to stand the test of time.


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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