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Archive News

Students get to the heart of the matter



Date Published: 12-Nov-2009

One of Galway’s biggest industries this week joined forces with youngsters from a number of schools in the county, as the students learned how to design the high tech medical devices which have saved lives of heart patients, and created thousands of jobs in Galway.

Stents are used in battling heart disease, and are placed in diseased arteries to keep them open and improve the blood flow – without which patients with narrowed or damaged arteries could be in danger from heart attack.

And this week, as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, engineers from Boston Scientific in Galway, mentored students at special classes in the Galway Education Centre, where the pupils designed stents using a 3D software design package known as SolidWorks.

The classes didn’t just teach the students about design – for ‘Design and Communication Graphics’ (formerly known as ‘Technical Drawing’) is a subject on the Leaving Cert and indeed last year a question on the Leaving Cert Honours Paper asked students to show a design and elevation for a stent using the 3D graphics SolidWorks program.

Design and Communication Graphics is also subject growing in popularity – 6,204 students took the Leaving Cert examination paper in 2009, compared with 5485 in 2008. So, the special classes as part of the Galway Science and Technology Festival, could also be a help to students in years to come in their Leaving Cert.

Studying the design of stents is also particularly appropriate this year – for 2009 is the 20th Anniversary of the first use of stents on patients in Ireland. They have saved thousands of patients’ lives, as well as saving them the trauma of bypass surgery. Stents are inserted through a major artery by doctors guided by x-ray.

In 2008 alone, a total in the region of 8,000 patients in Ireland had stent procedures carried out. In Galway two of the city’s biggest industries, Boston Scientific and Medtronic, are both involved in stent research and manufacture and employ thousands. Both companies are major sponsors of the Galway Science and Technology Fair.

The special classes began on Monday, with Scoil Caitriona National School, Renmore. They continued during the week with classes from Clarenbridge National School, and Scoil Einde, Salthill.

Said Scoil Caitriona teacher Anne Marie Duggan: “The pupils were fascinated – with each one of them having a computer to work on and running a program as advanced as SolidWorks. We had done a bit of work in advance in the classroom on stents and so they also understood the importance of stents in modern medicine.

“The classes provided a marvellous opportunity for them to work on advanced design concepts and, of course, some of them will probably be using a program like SolidWorks in years to come when it comes to doing their Leaving Cert. They also enjoyed themselves.”

The Galway Science and Technology Festival continues with special classes, demonstrations and visits to schools until November 22. The finale of the festival will be in Leisureland and The Galway Bay Hotel on November 22 when up to 40 interactive stands from industry and education will be visited by about 17,000 students from all over the west. The aim of the festival is to increase the uptake by students of areas such as science and engineering.

Among the festival sponsors are Medtronic, Boston Scientific, Hewlett Packard, SAP and Galmere Food, with involvement by agencies such as the IDA, Galway City Council, Galway County and City Enterprise Board, the Environmental Change Institute, Coillte, Galway County Libraries, Teagasc, An Garda Siochana, GMIT, NUI, Galway.

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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