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We long for sunshine but weÕre still happiest in the rain



Date Published: {J}

It’s amazing the things that can make you long for home – and more often than not they’re the things you outwardly claim you want to get away from.

Take our recent family holiday where we went to Turkey at a time of year when the heat tops 40 degrees and you realise that the country got its name because the natives, like the Christmas bird, live in an oven.

On your traditional package holiday, a day spent baking in the sunshine is inevitably followed by a night of cabaret or karaoke – or worse still, Mr and Mrs games involving bananas and balloons.

So as the sun set, the pony-tailed crooner with the guitar began his set with a version of Travis’ Why Does It Always Rain On Me – the chances of which were as remote as Greece sorting out its own debt crisis.

Just for good measure, his second song was Prince’s Purple Rain – and suddenly in the evening heat of Kusadasi, you were like the fella in the old Harp Lager ad, dreaming of Sally O’Brien and the way she might look at you…..but more than that, dreaming of rain, as you relaxed in a land where you truly could fry an egg on the rocks.

The reality is that, no matter how far we fly to see the sunshine, Irish people are made for the rain; despite the proliferation of tanning shops, we’re meant to look pasty or pink. And we’re meant to wear coats and sweaters.

We love the notion of sunshine, the joy of the rays on our back – but after two days of it, we’re salivating for the feel of the mist on our faces, the wind in what’s left of our hair, and the chance to wrap up well against the elements.

And that’s why our Kusadasi crooner sung about the rain when the rest of us were recovering from sunstroke – because he knew that, despite spending four hours to fly to the heat, what we really wanted was a light fall of rain.

And lest it be said that this is just about sweating in the sun, we’re equally thrown out of stride by snow – a light fall of it and we look like we’re reeling from an alien invasion. We cannot drive faster than ten miles an hour, and we can only walk if there are telegraph poles to cling to along the path.

People have to take days off work because they are house-bound by virtue of the two inches of icy snow on the doorstep. Pipes burst, attics flood, ankles break, cars won’t move – and the Taoiseach nominates a member of Cabinet to deal with the snow crisis.

These aren’t even weather extremes – that’s what you get when you see those television pictures of a hurricane off Miami or flooding in Thailand – but anything that moves more than five degrees from our seasonal norm is too much to handle.

The truth is that, while we yearn summer for sunshine or long for a White Christmas, we’re happiest on a grand, soft day when we’re dodging the drops and looking forward to savouring a nice pint in front of a pub’s big open fire.

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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