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August 11, 2011



Date Published: 11-Aug-2011


‘No surrender’

On Friday last, the town of Loughrea was thrown into considerable excitement when it was discovered that a large force of police, under the command of Co. Inspector Holmes, was drafted into the town for the purpose of carrying out an eviction at the suit of Mrs. Cruise, of Leeson Park, Dublin, against Mr. John O’Loughlin, T.C., merchant tailor, and a member of the Loughrea District Council.

The Town Tenants’ Association got their forces ready, strongly barricaded the house, and placed between twenty and thirty men inside, with every appliance to give the bailiffs a warm reception. Boilers of gruel were prepared for the bailiffs, and a green flag with the words ‘No surrender’ was hoisted.

It would appear that when a rumour of the defence was circulated abroad, no bailiff could be got to carry out the eviction.



Tuam slums

The recent public inquiry into housing conditions in what has been called slum areas in Tuam, reveal a condition of affairs that call for immediate reform. It can be hardly imagined by the majority of people who have comfortable homes that there is at least one house in Tuam, as disclosed at the inquiry, where in one room a family of twelve have to live and sleep. How they manage to do so and be healthy is a mystery.

The town commissioners who have very properly brought in clearance orders to have 89 houses, the majority of which have only two rooms, the living room and one sleeping room, demolished in order that better houses be provided, have done a praiseworthy thing which will be of benefit not only to the people living in such condemned houses, but to the residents of the town generally, from a hygiene point of view.

There is however another side to this matter about which a note must be struck. Even in the case of many of those houses under condemnation, it was stated that the occupiers kept their old houses neat and tidy, and took a pride in the appearance of their homestead.



No tolls

During a discussion at a Galway Co. Council meeting, Mr. J. Mannion said there should be no tolls at all in this county. Athenry tolls were being discussed at the time.

Mr. J.J. Ruane had proposed that the arrangements for the letting of Athenry tolls be completed when Mr. Mannion said that in view of the small amount of money involved at fairs that all tolls be abolished. He pointed out that he was not talking about Athenry alone. He could foresee the time when the same would happen in his home town, Clifden.

He disagreed completely with a clause in the Athenry letting concerning a toll on all cattle over two years. “Who is going to run around after an animal to see if he has two teeth,” he asked.

Factory fire

Members of Clifden Fire Brigade fought a fire in Roundstone Seaweed Factory last week. Gardaí and local people helped bring the fire under control and damage was confined to machinery, but as a result, processing of weed has temporarily stopped and about twelve men are idle. There has however, been no cessation in the buying of weed and it is expected that processing will resume soon.



Bypass scrapped

Plans to build a bypass around Loughrea, costing almost three million ponds, have been scrapped by Galway County Council. It was proposed to build a 2.3 miles bypass to alleviate the traffic problem in the town, but this caused uproar among local traders, many of whom claimed they would lose their livelihoods because of the loss of vital passing trade.

And at Friday’s meeting of the Council, a motion from local councillor Matt Loughnane, who was one of the leading objectors to the planned bypass, asked that the plans be deleted from the Draft Development for Loughrea, was carried by twenty-two votes to two by the councillors.

Water shortage

Rain may be causing floods elsewhere, but a shortage of water is so serious in Kinvara that some households don’t even have enough to make a cup of tea. The water shortage is particularly serious in the village and in some parts of Doorus, and there is further worry that the influx of people for the Cruinniu na mBad festival this weekend will aggravate the problem.


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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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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