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Tailor made to inspire a passion for fashion



Date Published: {J}

As she rushes into the café of the City Museum resplendent in her skinny white jeans, pink massive wedges and bright orange bag, you can certainly see why Orla Moore has inherited the mantle of fashion guru for hundreds of students.

Her style is eclectic, if not downright punky, reminiscent of her favourite designers, John Galliano and Alexander McQueen.

Fashion has always been a huge part of her life. The mother of five admits that as a child she would dress up as an ‘auld one’ – a baby pink two-piece suit resplendent with white hat and a pink ribbon reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth was a particular favourite when she was nine years old.

Now she’s getting older, it’s younger she’s dressing, she chuckles.

“I love very fitted clothes that are a bit fierce, a big high heel, a skinny jeans, a tight jacket. I like colour blocking at the moment – where you match mad colours together. It’s a big trend, though I don’t always follow trends – if it works, it works.”

A fashion tutor at the Galway Technical Institute (GTI), she has been inspiring fashionistas since joining the college in 2002 when she was instrumental in designing the first fashion course.

Today the fashion college, which has grown from 28 to 100 students every year, offers courses from its custom-built studio at Yeats Building, Fr Griffin Road.

Fashion Design Level 5 and 6 teaches the fundamentals of design, history of fashion, pattern drafting and garment construction. Not a year has gone by that a GTI fashion design class has not had a finalist or a winner in a major design competition.

The Business for Fashion course, FETAC level 5, appeals to students who wish to pursue a career in the area of fashion styling, PR, buying, retailing or merchandising. Fashion Industry Practice (Level 6) continues training in fashion styling, fashion retail display, buying and promotion.

It’s all project based learning, explains Orla.

“I see myself almost as a facilitator and motivator. Everyone is so unique. I try and trying out the best in them. It’s not about passing an exam for the Leaving Cert. Everybody has a different set of abilities, they have their own portfolio of talents. You need to bring out the strengths of people to help them develop their potential.”

Although she studied English and French at UCG (now NUI Galway), she never thought she would become a teacher. At school she loved English and writing but was also drawn towards fashion.

Her family ran a department store in Limerick, known as Noel McMahon’s, which sold everything from sports gear, bicycles, prams and even canoes. It also had a very busy clothes section which sold occasion wear for weddings as well as communion dresses.

“My mother would take me to the trade shows from when I was tiny. She was a bit of a fashionista. For my Confirmation we both designed outfits from the same fabric, I wore a blazer and a skirt, she wore a safari jacket and trousers – it was a big thing in the 70s. I begged her to wear these cork platforms. My grandmother had a fit but my mother bought them for me. I was nearly 6 foot standing beside everyone in their flat shoes,” she grins.

“She’d buy me anything – within reason. We got a lot of things made at the time and also bought them at trade shows. I had a lovely wardrobe of clothes.”

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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