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Archive News

March 17, 2011



Date Published: {J}


Child neglect

At the Children’s Court, a man from Middle Street was summoned for ill-treating his child, who appeared together with her mother. The police evidence was that on last Tuesday night, she complained at the barrack at a quarter to ten o’clock, that the door had been locked, and that the child and herself had been put out.

Complainant: Were you thrown down the stairs that night. Mother: I might have told you that.

– Had you a pair of black eyes. – I had a small bit. I only got a clout on the nose, and, as a rule, a clout on the nose always blackens the eyes.

The Head Constable said he found the door locked at two o’clock, and the woman going around the town at that hour with the child. He had to go to the R.O. and get a ticket of admission for her to the workhouse. Mr Shiel said it was the defendant who should be in jail.


The Inspector of the N.S.P.C. gave a vivid description of the squalor and want in which husband and wife lived. The room they occupied presented a woeful appearance – no furniture, no bed, a blanket torn in two, the place wet and filthy, and giving off a cold, intolerable stench. They couple had a cat-and-dog life. The husband accused the wife of drinking, and the wife accused the husband of the same.

Only for the kindness of the woman’s mother, the child would suffer badly.

The Head Constable said he had seen cases against the defendant for the last twelve months. The woman said her father would take the child, and asked that it should not be sent to an industrial school.


The Inspector said the grandfather would not be able to exercise control over the child. The latter protested that he would be; he had a pension and his son earned 17s 6d. a week. The magistrates sent the child to an industrial school, and sentenced the father to a month’s imprisonment.


Housing problems

There was a full attendance at a special meeting of Ballinasloe Urban District Council on Wednesday to meet Mr Wren, Local Government Housing Inspector. Some difficulty had arisen regarding the Council’s position in respect of nine families who were evicted from condemned houses and who were in occupation of the fever hospital at the workhouse buildings.

Recess hotel

Mr. P. Joyce, Recess, has just completed the building and fitting of his new hotel at Recess on the site of the former Garda station and near that of the old Railway Hotel. Standing on the main road amid beautiful surroundings with splendid mountain and lake scenery, the new hotel should draw good crowds for fishing and shooting. The premises are licensed.

Dead baby found

The dead body of a male infant was found under a clump of briars in a field wrapped in a sheet at Cussan, Athenry, on Sunday morning and on the evening, a female from Athenry was charged in connection with the affair at a special court.

The body was discovered by a farmer whose sheep were caught in briars. He and another man opened the parcel, which was tied with a rope. Dr. George Joyce, Turloughmore, said he examined the body. It was partly decomposed. The child was over a month dead; it was a still-born child. The defendant was charged with the alleged concealment of birth of a child.

Rates protest

One hundred farmers were present at a meeting of the Agricultural Ratepayers’ Association in the Town Hall, Galway, Dr. Powell presiding. The Chairman said that the urban area was the hardest hit in the country. For every acre of tillable land valued at £2 10s. there was £2 13s 11.5d paid in rates. No relief was, he said, granted to farmers in the area under the agricultural grant, and no special privileges, such as water, sewerage, light, etc., were received.

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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