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A new view of Aran Islands at Kennys

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Date Published: 25-Oct-2007

Re:location, a photographic documentation of the Aran Islands by artist Doreen Kennedy will open at the Kenny Gallery this Friday, October 26.

These photomontages are created piecing together individual images of the island that have been captured by digital camera from one location.

They are stitched together in overlapping layers to recreate the location in a twodimensional format.

Kennedy’s intention……

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

Fireplaces of Ireland Ð how I have loved you!

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Date Published: 11-Apr-2013

 I’m sitting here waiting for the chimney sweep. With all my work inside this house, I’m suitably paranoid about fire, and although everything that can be is backed up online, I’ve a huge paper archive of newspaper clippings and novels and notebooks and gordknowswot that’s irreplaceable.

Greater than my fear of fire is my love of it, and the fireplaces of the West of Ireland have been a source of comfort and joy to me ever since I moved here.

Back in England we relied on mains natural gas, with old gas fires clicking up one, two or three bars of glowing porcelain heat. They were reliable and efficient, yet nothing more than functional.

A real fire glowing in the hearth offers so much more. Yes, I know that burning fossil fuels is wrecking the environment and that it’s terribly wasteful to have all that heat disappearing up the chimney, but I love a fire. These days everyone is getting stoves and ranges that run for a month on a single organic crushed leaf mould briquette, but staring at a lump of black metal just doesn’t do it for me.

My first house in Ireland was a tiny terraced cottage just off the Prom in Salthill. With low ceilings and a cupboard for a kitchen, myself and the other two fully-grown Englishmen who lived there made the house seem even more minuscule than it was, but of an evening we’d crowd around the fireplace, seeking warmth.

Sadly, we rarely found it, because we were new to the country and were buying sodden turf in bags from a local who should’ve known better. I can see the temptation in taking money from ignorant foreigners, but we were trying to live as you do, and you wouldn’t let us.

Instead we three alpha males argued and postured like bolshy bull elephants, each insisting that they alone knew how to build a ruddy fire, dammit.

For a while after that I lived in a flat with no fireplace, and boy did I miss it. Although it was a lovely modern place with spanky bells and fancy whistles, microwave and washing machine, it felt anodyne and cold. Where was I living? Anywhere. That flat could have been in any First World country, and no matter how warm it was, it left me cold.

Then I moved out to west Connemara, where I lived alone with my thoughts and a reek of turf outside. Through a long cold Winter I felt safe each time I cast a glance upon that turf, knowing that when hurricane force winds blew off the Atlantic and the power was cut off, I’d be safe as houses by my fire.

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

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Archive News

Victory for Galway Inter League teams fails to prevent their exit

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Date Published: 15-Apr-2013

 Mike Rafferty

IT was a case of so near and yet so far for two Galway Inter Leagues sides over the weekend. Despite registering impressive win over Longford at U12 and U15 levels, both teams failed to reach the knockout stages of the National competitions.

Having gone through a four match unbeaten run, the U15s were unfortunate to lose out to table toppers Roscommon on goal difference, while the U12 side can pin their downfall to a defeat against Mayo in their first outing.

In First Division League action, Knocknacarra are making a real fight for their survival and a smashing away win over Maree/Oranmore moved them out of the bottom two for almost the first time this season.

Meanwhile, Mervue United B were crowned as Second Division champions following a 2-1 away win over Renmore, while Corrib Rangers B look the likely favourites to follow them up following an emphatic away win over Kinvara United.

U15 INTER LEAGUE

Galway League 5

Longford League 0

The outcome was emphatic, but yet the visitors made home custodian James Grealis work extremely hard for his clean sheet as the hosts came up short in order to catch up with group leaders Roscommon in the goal stakes.

Backboned by five players from Renmore, the home side were in command from the off and while they were forced to retreat for spells, there was always a superior quality about their play.

Galway took the lead on 24 minutes when Ross Murphy broke through the middle to fire past Darren Farrell and there was nothing the goalkeeper could do as Ryan Forde quickly added a second.

A smashing counter attacking breakaway by Forde created the third on 49 minutes when he ran from his own half before despatching past Farrell for a smart solo effort and a 3-0 advantage.

Longford certainly asked some question of the home side for a spell thereafter, but Grealis continued to excel as a series of saves denied Ben Ryan (twice), Aaron Nally and Joe Kelly.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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