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April 8, 2010



Date Published: {J}

Lost money

It seems strange that lost property never turns up to the majority of people. Probably some at least of it is never found, which may account for the fact. Some weeks ago, the manager of the Anglo-Continental Oil Co. of Galway lost £7 between Clarenbridge and Athenry, and although every effort to get trace of it has been tried, the £7 cannot be recovered.

The English company says it must be paid up at once, and the local manager, who is not very opulent, has got to pay.

The rates

Two police barracks have been dismantled here during the past few months, at Gloves and Tourkeey, which meant a total of fourteen men. Not one of these men have been changed from Athenry, and have all found berths in different barracks. It is a public scandal the way in which the people of Co. Galway are being muleted in rates.

Fire threat

An important subject was brought under discussion at the last meeting of the Portumna Board of Guardians by the Chairman, Mr. Cosgrave. It was the importance of having a fire extinguishing apparatus in the Union. This is a matter that should receive the earnest and most careful consideration of the Board, for not alone would the Union and inmates be at the mercy of a fire if it broke out, but the town would be in a similar position.

Tuam town park

Should the Parkmore racecourse at Tuam be utilised as a town park? Is a question for which there seems to be some justification. It was introduced at a meeting held in connection with the Parliamentary fund collection.

Mr. Thomas Flatley, Bishop street, referred to the necessity for the purchase of some grass lands round the town for the townspeople, who, he said, had not even the grass of a cow.

Mr. Luke Mullen, D.C., remarked that they had a big town park, the racecourse, and why didn’t they go there.

The Chairman, Mr. M.C. Shine said that as the racecourse was mentioned, that it was originally the intention to let to to the townspeople, but no one looked for it.

Mr. Martin S. Walsh observed that the people were greatly disappointed over the racecourse. They expected it would be opened for the public to walk in on summer evenings, but it was easier to get into Galway Jail. There is no consideration for the people paying the money.


Saturday in Galway

Dear Sir,

I have heard it said by a man who has had thirty years’ driving experience that he would rather drive down Broadway than through Galway on a Saturday.

Horses and carts park indiscriminately in Shop street and one would need faultless brakes and nerves of steel to steer a way up the town.

No car of any description should be allowed to park in the main streets on a Saturday. It is a source of wonder to me that there have not been more accidents, but I attribute this mainly to the excellent driving sense of Galway drivers.

Licensing appeal

At a meeting of the licensed traders held at the Temperance Hall during the week, Mr. John Finn, presiding, the precarious position of the licensed trade was discussed at considerable length.

A resolution was adopted appealing to the Minister for Finance to reduce the tax on beer and spirits by at least 50%, as the sale of these commodities was practically at a standstill in town and country.

A reduction of 50% in respect of the annual licensing fee was also demanded in view of the fact that the liquor trade, upon which a largfe number of people in this country were dependent, had almost disappeared and that owing to the economic depression, traders who hitherto enjoyed the privilege of three months’ or six months’ credit to enable them to dispose of their goods, had in the present crisis to meet their liabilities on the “cash down” principle, this creating a good deal of misery and hardship among the traders.

The banks had also refused to give them an overdraft and how, it was asked, were the licensed traders going to maintain themselves and their families if some assistance from the Government was not forthcoming.

Trout fry

Ballinasloe Anglers’ Association has distributed 15,000 brown trout fry in the River Suck and its several tributaries during the week. The fry were hatched in the local hatchery at Ballinasloe and supplied by the Department of Fisheries.

The experiment, the first of its kind locally, had proved very successful. The local branch of the association intend to continue the restocking of the river and the several other rivers and tributaries for a few years, when it is expected to make Ballinasloe and its surroundings a happy and profitable hunting ground for anglers, where tourists may enjoy free fishing.

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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