Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Archive News

Lots to celebrate but cause for sadness too



Date Published: 03-Jan-2013

 IN a year where there was little reason for optimism on the economic front, the Galway arts community demonstrated that creativity can shine, even in bad times.

Theatrically, the high point of 2012 from a national as well as a local level was Druid Theatre’s celebration of Tuam playwright, Tom Murphy. DruidMurphy – consisting of three plays, Conversations on a Homecoming, A Whistle in the Dark and Famine – opened in London’s Hampstead Theatre in June before travelling to New York’s Lincoln Center. It then returned to Ireland in July for a sell-out run at Galway Arts Festival and a national tour.

The first of the trilogy captured the darkness of smalltown Irish life in the 1960s and the second explored the fate of an Irish family who carried their old tribal ways with them, when they emigrated to England. Famine, meanwhile, was Murphy’s exploration of how the great hunger of the 1840s affected one Mayo community and destroyed everything that had held people together.

The good news for those who missed out is that Druid will return with two of the three plays this April, for a nine-venue tour that will last to June. Conversations on aHhomecoming and A Whistle in the Dark will be performed in Galway, Tralee, Dublin, Portlaoise, Ennis, Letterkenny, Longford, Dún Laoghaire and Limerick.

Druid are among the best funded theatre companies in Ireland and their reputation assists them in getting support from other organisations, such as NUIG, in order to showcase their work internationally.

Other local groups are still trying to fly. One such is Decadent Theatre, run by Andrew Flynn, which embarked on an Irish tour of Conor McPherson’s Port Authority in October, despite getting no subsidies to assist with the production or tour. Decadent had already toured John Patrick Shanley’s powerful play, Doubt in February and it would be good to see a group of that calibre getting more State support, as they help keep Galway audiences in quality shows throughout the year, even on a shoestring.

The arts community also said farewell to another hugely significant figure in March when the Manager of the Town Hall Theatre, Michael Diskin, died.

Galway born Michael, who had previously served as Arts Festival Manager and Manager of Galway Arts Centre, became Manager of the Town Hall when it opened in 1995.

After a three-year career break from 2007-10, when he spent some time managing Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, he returned to the venue, and worked right up until his death.

A new name to emerge on the literary world in 2012 was Menlough born writer Mary Costello, who showed that persistence, coupled with talent, can pay off. her debut short-story collection, The China factory has received rave reviews and saw Costello, who now lives in Dublin where she is on a career break from her teaching job, long-listed for the Guardian First Book award in September.

She is currently working on her first novel and that’s something to look forward to.

All told, 2012 was an eventful year for the arts community locally, with much to celebrate, but also sadness at the deaths of people who had contributed so much over the years.

For more of the Arts Review of the year see 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

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


Continue Reading