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A bad year on many fronts – but reasons for cheer musically



Date Published: {J}

The words ‘2010’ and ‘good year’ may not seem to belong in the same sentence, but the music of 2010 added a sparkling silver lining to the oppressively dark economic cloud.

The National returned with the superb High Violet, confirming them as one of the most vital bands of the past decade. Songs like Terrible Love and England took themes of loneliness and loss and turned them into something redemptive. The National stormed Electric Picnic and, earlier this month, played three sold-out shows in the Olympia.

The anticipation was even higher for Arcade Fire’s third album. The Montreal outfit had disappointed some fans with the brooding, but brilliant, Neon Bible in 2007. Yet they carried enough clout to headline this year’s Oxegen. They followed that performance wit the absolutely sublime The Suburbs.

Although it’s becoming harder to tempt punters into venues, Galway promoters are still bringing in big name acts. The Róisín Dubh brought in international artists like DJ Shadow, The Magic Numbers, Darwin Deez and Mark Lanegan.

Kelly’s Bar, meanwhile hosted Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – their third sell-out show in Galway in as many years. The Crane continues to bring in stellar folk/trad acts and Ger Wolfe’s show there was a 2010 highlight.

The country’s fiscal state may have angered us but our music still gives us reason for pride. So if you’re looking for stocking fillers, here are homegrown albums that got the Groove Tube buzzing this year.

Be It Right Or Wrong – R.S.A.G.

Kilkenny native Jeremy Hickey brought his one-man show back in 2010, following his Choice Prize nominated debut with an even better album. Talking Heads, Fela Kuti and honest-to-goodness Irish funk all combined to give 2010 a genuine toe-tapper.

National Cancer Strategy – Jinx Lennon

Dundalk firebrand Lennon continued to berate the state of the nation with his leanest and most accessible collection to date. Nothing But A Leprechaun, a tale of our leaders going to Europe with caps in hand was a premonition of things to come. But Jinx also explored break-ups on Refrigerated Couple and on Respect Yourself This Year gave an antidote to pessimism. Christy Moore is one fan; Jinx deserves thousands more. Surprise yourself and those within earshot of your stereo, and get this album.


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

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup



Date Published: 29-Jan-2013

Athenry FC 1

Kilbarrack United 2

(After extra time)

For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.

On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.

An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.

However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.

They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.

With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.

Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.

Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.

Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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