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August 16, 2012



Date Published: 16-Aug-2012


Galway murder mystery

Close upon two weeks have now elapsed since the hapless itinerant school-teacher from Derry, was, to quote the verdict of the Coroner’s jury, “feloniously and wilfully murdered by some person or persons unknown, in a field at Newcastle, Galway.”

The mutilated remains have been removed from the field where, in all probability, the foul deed was committed, placed in the morgue, viewed by the Coroner’s jury, examined by the doctors and then treated to a pauper’s funeral and buried away in the strangers plot at the New Cemetery.

The crime is still a mystery – a dark and dreadful mystery that human ingenuity does not appear able to fathom.

Alleged spy

A tremendous sensation was created in Galway this afternoon when it was leaked that a foreigner had been arrested on the sea-shore on suspicion of being a spy in the employment of a foreign power.

We learn that the gentleman who was placed under arrest is from Belgium and that he has been lodging in a house on the Grattan Road for the last fortnight. The position commands a full view of the Bay and of the depot of the Connaught Rangers in Renmore.


Injured tourist

A returned American was rather seriously injured at Inver races when he was knocked down and trampled on by a horse during one of the races. He was attended by Dr. Kelly for a fractured leg and other injuries and was then removed to Belmullet Hospital.

Summer tan

A sun tan aided by olive oil is costing more this year for olive oil has practically doubled in price since last summer. The reason for the sharp upward trend in price – 120s, a ton compared with about 67s last year – is due to two factors – the Spanish war and the failure of the olive crop last year in some of the Mediterranean countries. A more serious aspect of the rise in price is that hospitals, which are probably the largest users of olive oil, are laced with bigger expenditure than was contemplated at the beginning of the financial year.

The war in Spain and the armament programme in Britain and other countries is also accountable for the increase in the price of glycerine, which is also used largely for medicinal purposes. But as it is necessary for making high explosives the price is now over £100 a ton, against £60 last year.


Man dies at mass

An unknown man collapsed at mass in St. Mary’s Church, The Claddagh this morning and was dead on admission to the Regional Hospital, Galway. Gardai think that the man who was of a stout build and aged 60-65, was visiting Galway. They are checking hotels and guesthouses, but up to the time of going to the press the man’s identity was unestablished.

The Gardai are anxious to interview anybody who may be able to help them in their enquiries.

Cycling drunk

A fine of £10 was imposed on a man at Athenry Court for driving a pedal cycle at Northgate, Athenry, on July 22 while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drug to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control over the bicycle.


Luxury hotel

The refurbishment of an old derelict 19th century abbey into a luxury hotel and the development of a golf course on the edge of the city got the go-ahead from Galway County Councillors on Friday. The development at Glenlo Abbey, just half a mile north of Bushypark on the Clifden Road, was passed following weeks of delay which followed councillors’ demands for a full briefing on the details of the project.

It is planned to extend the existing but derelict Glenlo Abbey building and make it into a 20 bedroom hotel surrounded by a nine-hole golf course.

Festival final

The dedication of Galway people was very much in evidence when they turned out in their thousands on Sunday night to witness the fireworks finale of the tenth Galway Arts Festival.

The biggest surprise of the night was that the French group, “Ephemere and Theatre a Louer”, actually went ahead with their street theatre and fireworks display in the worst rain of the summer. The biggest disappointment was that the fireworks display from Fisheries Field was not worth getting wet for because the heavy rain created the most unsuitable conditions for what could have been a spectacular sight.

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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