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Attendance up for Mad Hatters Day



Date Published: 07-Aug-2012

 Attendance at the final day of the Galway Races on Sunday was up this year following a week of lower turnout as a result of wet weather conditions.

Over 600 more people went through the gates for the final day at Ballybrit for the very popular Mad Hatters and Family Day with over twelve thousand people attending.

Tote turnover was down just over €30,000 on last year at €373,337 for and the Bookmakers turnover was down €273,957 on last year at €733,194.

Award winning Galway milliner Mark T. Burke went in search of the most creative styles as patrons young and old donned an array of outrageous hats for the special occasion with a host of prizes sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock.

The overall winner in the children’s category was Lilly Walsh of Kilconieron, Loughrea, Co Galway with her: “We’re awful lucky with the hay” hat creation which took in the theme of our recent mix of summer weather and the tradition of saving hay ahead of the Galway Races.

Lilly won a family holiday for her parents and sibling, to Euro Disney Paris for three nights including flights sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock.

In the adults category the theme, “Sailing to Galway” was the creation from Pamela McNulty from Belfast. Her prize was a trip for two to Milan including flights and accommodation for three nights also sponsored by Ireland West Airport Knock.

The Connacht Tribune Handicap Chase was the feature race on the final day of racing with Paddy O’ Dea ridden by Mark A Enright first past the post.

On Saturday, the penultimate day of racing got underway with the Ladbrokes Red Day. The sun shone for the majority of the afternoon’s racing, which was enjoyed by loyal Galway racegoers, families and August Bank holiday visitors to Galway and the West of Ireland.

Attendance for Ladbrokes Red day was down 993 to 12,364 on last year. Tote turnover was down €115,917 to with Bookmakers turnover down a whopping 33% on last year at €872,729.

The colour of the day was red as ‘Ladbrokes Red Day’ ensured punters turned out in shades of striking red, from red dresses, accessories, hats and coats to shoes. All were out to impress renowned Irish fashion designer and judge, Heidi Higgins.

Triona Cross, Kilfeacle, Co Tipperary was chosen as the best dressed on Ladbrokes Red Day, receiving a €350 voucher for top fashion house LK Bennett and €250 in Ladbrokes Betting Vouchers.

JP Mc Manus’s Carlingford Lough ridden by John E Kiely, won the Ladbrokes Handicap Hurdle valued at €40,000.

Friday evening at Ballybrit has traditionally been a Galwegian’s evening, with many hitting the race track after the working week and more returning home to start the holiday weekend at Galway Races.

This year there was plenty for Galway people to cheer about. Winner of the first race, the 5.10pm on the card was Muzak owned by Galway man, Joe Monroe. Friday’s racing saw the first Galway trained horse win at Ballybrit in 3 years.

Guinness were once again the sponsor on Friday and the attendance figure was down just over five thousand to 20,368.Tote turnover was down 20% to €590,770 and Bookmakers turnover was down 40% to € 1,112,221.

The feature race of the day was ‘The Guinness Handicap’, valued at €60,000 had another good Galway connection in its name Inis Meáin which was ridden by Chris Hayes.

While the 2012 Galway Races Summer Festival wraps up for another year, the next race meet is just around the corner, running from Monday, September 10 for three days.

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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