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Archive News

One-stop shop in Athenry proving healthy option



Date Published: 14-Feb-2013

WITH people becoming more conscious of their general well being and physical conditioning, one well-known Galway sportsman has come up with a novel idea to promote health and fitness in Athenry and its surrounds.

To most, Menlo native Seamie Crowe will need little introduction, having enjoyed success in a myriad of sports, including Gaelic football, hurling and soccer. However, it is his new health and fitness centre, entitled ‘District’, in Raheen Industrial Estate in Athenry that is causing a stir these days.

In many respects, it is an ambitious concept – to, basically, create a one-stop shop to meet all of a person’s health and fitness needs. As a result, District not only boasts of a state-of-the-art gym – an impressive facility by any stretch of the imagination – but also an indoor astro-turf pitch and two mirrored dance studios, one of which houses Hession’s School of Irish Dancing, which is run by Seamie’s wife and professional performer Mary.

A myriad of additional services – including a wellness centre and a physiotherapy clinic – and other activities are also offered. These activities vary from kettlebells and Pilates to circuit training and other specialised classes, along with accommodating a wide range of teams and clubs.

The whole process to get the centre to this point in time – it is due to be officially opened in March – has taken Crowe 18 months. Initially, it was just an empty warehouse but the 32-year-old says from Day 1 he saw the potential in it.

“I started building it one section at a time,” continues Crowe. “The gym was first and we began doing classes, such as circuit training. Then I got the studio built for the Hession School of Irish Dancing and they started straight away. It was just a snowball effect after that; bit by bit, I kept adding to it.”

To date, the success of District – so called because of the variety of sports, services and activities it offers – has been down to ‘word of mouth’, particularly from the teams which have availed of the strength and conditioning training that Crowe provides.

“It is all functional training we do and it is sports specific [to the group training]” outlines Crowe, who has undertaken a number of health and fitness courses over the last decade and is certified accordingly. “So, if you are training GAA or soccer – we have also had rugby in the past – it is geared towards that. Having played these sports myself, I know what is required to meet the needs of the players.”

Indeed, Crowe can certainly offer a wealth of experience and his roll of honour is as extensive as it is impressive. Taking a brief overview, he has won two Gaelic football county championships and an All-Ireland senior club title with Salthill/Knocknacarra; he claimed an All-Ireland Junior ‘B’ hurling crown with Menlo Emmetts; and he has collected a plethora of silverware with local clubs Mervue and, in later years, Athenry FC.

He first sprang to prominence, though, back in 1996 when he joined Wolves in the English League and over the next six years he enjoyed and endured – in equal measures – all the trials and tribulations of life as a professional footballer.

“I will say it straight out, at the end of the day, anyone going over to England, if you are good enough you are going to make it. Hand on heart, maybe I just wasn’t good enough to make it as a professional footballer at the highest level.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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