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Alan reaches for the stars in his dream job on radio

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 05-Apr-2012

Alan Murphy has become a familiar voice on Galway Bay FM over the last eight years, and in this time he has also found time to interview celebrities, cover showbiz news and write a weekly magazine column.


The Ballinrobe native recently moved to an earlier time slot of 8-10pm with his new show, The Social Network. As the title suggests, the new show relies heavily on Alan interacting with the listeners through social media. It offers music, chat and features on a range of topics but listeners are actively encouraged to have their say.

“It’s a really interactive show called The Social Network,” he explains.

“The whole point is that we use Facebook and Twitter and it is all about interaction. I have a lot of celebrity guests on the show so listeners can ask the questions for me and get in touch on Twitter. They can choose the music. We also have different slots on, like a fashion slot.

“No matter what we have, the listeners can get their questions answered, choose their music, or have their say on the show.”

The self-confessed Twitter fanatic enjoys the way the medium lets him connect with listeners.

“I’m a tweetaholic. I think it’s great. People tweet constantly throughout the show, whether it’s songs they want or opinions on an interview or just opinions on you. I love Twitter. Follow me on Twitter @AlsTheGreat.

“My show is really geared for young people but with something for everyone. It’s not just Rihanna pumping for a few hours. There’s a lot of chat as well as music. There’s a really young vibe going on and it’s just fun.”

The Journalism and Media graduate initially imagined a career in written journalism but the immediacy of radio instantly appealed and he secured a job in Galway Bay FM shortly before he graduated.

“I still love the writing side but I just love the buzz of radio and the whole live aspect of things. I always thought I’d be all about writing until I did radio and now I just totally love radio.”

One of his favourite parts of the job is interviewing people. He got the first of many celebrity scoops when he secured an exclusive interview with Paris Hilton.

“I’ve interviewed so many people over the last few years. I remember when I’d just been in Galway Bay for a few months, Paris Hilton came to Dublin. Nobody was getting interviews. I rang up and I was told that it was doubtful that I’d get an interview.”

However, his persistent approach and a coincidental contact in the PR agency earned him a one-on-one interview.

“So one of my first interviews was with Paris Hilton. I had to keep it up then. So I just applied, applied and applied again for big interview after big interview. In the beginning, you’d only get a couple and then I’d built up so many contacts that I got a lot of people. She was really big.”

Alan has interviewed numerous other big names but two of his favourite interviewees over the years have been Jedward.

“I’ve got to mention Jedward as well, because they are the funniest people to interview and the nicest people on the planet. They get such flak but you couldn’t meet two nicer people than Jedward. I’ve got to know them so well over the last two years. They’re the nicest people to their fans, they’re such brilliant role models, they don’t drink, they don’t smoke, and they don’t do anything wrong. They are so funny!”

His access to celebrities presented him with an opportunity to return to written journalism, and to get his own showbiz column.

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

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



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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