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Archive News

June 10, 2010



Date Published: {J}

Tramcar struggle

A reliable correspondent sends us an account of a sensational struggle on one of our local trams, which certainly had an exceedingly ugly side. On an evening some time ago, as he travelled to Salthill with a friend from abroad, the latter missed a half-sovereign from his pocket after having paid for tickets.

Suspecting that he had given it in mistake for sixpence to the conductor, he demanded he should turn out all the money in his bag. The conductor showed his money, but it did not contain the missing half-sovereign, which, our correspondent alleges was found concealed in the conductor’s mouth, and only displayed after a sharp struggle, during which the driver came forward and raised his whip in defence of his companion.

Sheriff’s sale

On Saturday the machinery, type, etc., of the ‘Western News’ office was sold on the instructions of the Sheriff, by Mr. E. Rothwell, auctioneer, Ballinasloe. The warrant under which the goods were seized was for £1,230 7s. 6d., being judgment in a libel action at the suit of Mr. N. O’Carroll, Master of Ballinasloe Workhouse, against Mr. Wm. Hastings, proprietor of the ‘Western News’. There was some bidding for the different lots offered, which were in each case purchased by the judgment creditor.

Rent demand

A deputation of the labourers from Athenry waited on the District Court on Saturday, requesting a reduction of rent. Mr. McDonogh gave notice that he would move a reduction at next meeting.

At the passing of this Labourers’ Act in 1906, members of Parliament preached off many platforms that these cottages would not exceed 1s. per week, whereas it would require 2s. 6d. a week to save the ratepayers.

No blame can be attached to the sites committee in Athenry, so far as the Local Government Board arbitrator and his high award is concerned, as he came and went without anyone being apprised of his visit. He gave the full amount the Act allowed, £60 per statute acre.


Playful monsters

Large shoals of basking sharks (Liabhan Greine) are now frequently seen off the Southern Connemara coast at Lettermore and Lettermullen. Reports of their presence also came from the Aran Islands. At Lettermore and other places off the mainland, they have done a great deal of damage to nets and other fishing gear.

A fisherman called Flaherty, from Lettermullen, had a thrilling experience a few days ago. When he was rowing ashore with a load of weed one of the monsters rose within a few feet of the currach. Accidentally, he struck it with the oar and immediately it leaped clear of the water, nearly swamping the frail craft with the resultant splash. For a few minutes, Flaherty was in a perilous position until another currach which was following, witnessed his plight and came to his assistance.

It is many years since the monsters have been seen in such numbers on the western coast. For the making of ‘Man of Aran’ actors and photographers had to travel to Inishbofin, to find one. Local people are at a loss to account for the sudden return of the monsters.

Office robbery

A robbery took place in the farmyard office of Mr. R.M. Burke, Tohermore, Tuam, on Wednesday night last. A sum of £3 is missing. It is believed a key was used by the thief, as he did not make a forced entry into the office, but the cash-box was forced open and left there with the balance of the money it contained amounting to £7 or £8 more.

Mr. Burke was away in Dublin since the previous Monday. The office was locked in the usual way by the clerk on Wednesday and on the following morning when he opened the door and entered the office, he found that the cash-box had been forced open. The Gardaí are making close inquiries into the affair.

Electorate figures

In the Galway constituency, there are 111,000 available electors in a population of 169,366 inhabitants. The figures present a striking contrast to those of a century ago at the general election in 1832. At that time in Galway County, there were 3,057 voters in a population of 394,887 inhabitants. In the Galway Town Constituency, which is now merged in the county, the electorate numbered 2,062 in a population of 35,150 inhabitants.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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