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April 16, 2010

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Underage drinking

Mr PM Cahill, licensed publican, Tuam, was prosecuted by Mr O’Rorke, D.J., for permitting persons (under age) on the premises, and also for selling liquor to such persons.

A woman names Mrs O’Rourke, mother of the boy found on the premises, was also prosecuted. Mr Glynn defended.

Constable Confrey deposed that on March 5th, he observed a little boy named Thomas O’Rourke leaving Mr Cahill’s premises with a parcel under his arm. Witness asked the boy what was in the parcel, and the boy stated it was port, and the he was after getting his mother’s order. Witness obtained a certificate that the boy was not yet thirteen years of age.

Mr Glynn explained that Mr Cahill’s premises were divided, and that the front portion was allotted for the sale of provisions. To enter the bar, people had to leave the front portion and pass through a hallway.

The hardship on Mr Cahill in the case, he said, was that the young fellow’s mother was in the habit, unfortunately, of sending him for drink to bring home. He was sorry to say that the little boy was so well up that when he goes with the bottle, he leaves it in the provision department, and when taken away, he goes home.

On the occasion in question Mr. Cahill had a new assistant named Mr. Cox in the premises. They were busy in the premises, and the little fellow asked why they were not taking the bottle. Mr. Cox immediately took and filled the bottle, and gave it to the young chap, instead of having it sent up, as was formerly done by Mr Cahill’s own workman.

Chairman: It was a market day?

Mr Glynn: Yes, and it is a great hardship on Mr Cahill.

Mr O’Rorke withdrew the first charge and in the second Mr Cahill was fined 5s and costs.

In the charge against Mrs O’Rourke, her son Thomas stated that she sent him for the port and gave him the money to pay for it. He took it home to his mother. Mrs O’Rourke was fined 10s and costs.


Buried alive

Two Galway labourers had a miraculous escape from living death in the early hours of Saturday morning last, when the trench in which they were working, at the entrance to the Dyke Road, Wood Quay, collapsed and buried them alive.

The two men are: Fergus Monahan,

Bohermore (widower), and Michael Hehir, Bohermore (married man). They started work on the trench at eleven o’clock on Friday night, as they were working on a night shift.

The trench, which was being dug for the purpose of laying new pipes to the waterworks, was being supervised by Mr. Alex Macdonald and his assistant, Mr. G Casserly, of Grealishtown, Bohermore, Galway.

It appears that the work was begun on the trench at 11 o’clock on Friday night. The men were digging all night, and at about 4.30am had reached the pipes. The trench by this time had reached a depth of about eight feet, and was three to four feet wide. In length it was about eight yards.

Messrs. Monahan and Hehir were standing in the bottom of the trench shovelling up the loose stone and rubble when the catastrophe occurred. The sides of the trench suddenly caved in before the horrified eyes of Mr. Macdonald and his assistant, and approximately forty tons of material buried the unfortunate men.

With great promptitude Mr. Macdonald sent for the Galway Fire Brigade, who were on the scene almost immediately. They started digging, and at first had to go very carefully, as they were afraid of hitting the buried mens’ heads. The scene was tense with emotion when, after twenty minutes’ digging, the head of the two unfortunates were uncovered.

They were, of course, unconscious, and the work of digging them out was carried on at a feverish pace. After about fifteen minutes the rescuers were able to lift them out of the trench. With all possible speed, they were rushed to the Central Hospital, Galway, where they are detained.

Mr. Alex Macdonald said that it was a horrifying experience.

“The work was proceeding without a hitch,” he said, “when suddenly the two sides of the trench caved in and the two men disappeared before my eyes. I sent for the fire brigade, and with the aid of my assistant, Mr. Casserly, immediately set about uncovering the heads of the men.

“I visited them in hospital this morning and I think they will be all right.”

On inquiry at the Central Hospital on Tuesday, a “Connacht Tribune” special representative was informed that Monahan was discharged from hospital that morning. Hehir’s condition is improving.

Trespassing sheep

A fine of 2s. 8d. and costs was imposed by Sean MacGiollarnaith, D.J., at Letterfrack district court on Stephen Walsh, Keelkyle, Letterfrack, for trespass of sixteen sheep, the property of defendant, on his land on March 23.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.


They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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