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Archive News

August 4, 1991



Date Published: 04-Aug-2011


Drowning rescue

On last Friday as a hooker from Oranmore was proceeding under full sail to Ballynahown for a load of turf, it was caught in a sudden squall, and sunk immediately in Galway Bay, close to the Castle Point at Inverin.

The occupants of the boat were two brothers named Pat and Michael Barnangham,

of Illauniddy, and both were unable to swim, but as the boat was sinking, they managed to secure an oar each, which they placed under their arms, and by this means kept afloat.

Their cries for help came to the attention of Bartley Conneely and Martin McDonagh, who were lobster-fishing in the vicinity, and they immediately rowed their canoe to their assistance of the drowning men, who were by this time in a very exhausted state.

Owing to the fragility of the canoe, the men could not be taken into it. A rope was therefore cast to each man, and they were towed along, eventually being put on board a hooker going to Costello Bay, where they subsequently landed safely.

Were it not for the courage and coolness displayed by Conneely and McDonagh, there is not the slightest doubt that those two men would be drowned. It is hoped that the Royal Humane Society will grant a reward to both men for their gallant and heroic conduct on the occasion.


Galway treasure

A remarkable story relating to gold and precious stones having been placed on the coast of Galway was told at Kilkenny, when George Skelkings, aged about 30, was charged with having obtained £3 from a traveller by false pretences, and also with being an alien who had landed in this country contrary to the Aliens Order.

District Justice O’Shea dismissed the first charge, and applied the Probation Act on the charge of being an alien, with a view to the circumstances being reported to the Alien authorities.

The traveller, in evidence, stated that Skelkings said he was born in Galway, and when two years old went to Russia and lived through the revolution, after which he went to Finland. He said he had been in the Russian Air Force.

Defendant said that when he was finished his course in the Russian Air Force, he was detailed by his commander to place a certain amount of money on the coast of Galway, the idea being that the owner of the money was afraid that Russia would overpower England at that time, and that he wanted to get to America.

Later, in Kilkenny, defendant made a suggestion about going to Galway, and witness sent him £3.


Racing history

The accents of half a dozen nations intermingled with those of the home racing fraternity when the three-day Galway Race meeting got underway at Ballybrit on Tuesday and was highlighted by the Players’ Navy-Cut Amateur Handicap where J.R. “Bunny” Cox made racing history by bringing home 100 to 8 shot, Old Mull, half a length clear of Hunch and Don’t Comment.

Plate Day was again the day of greatest spectacle and a heart-warming day for the punters who had made Clipador favourite. Bright sunshine and colourful frocks, costumes and millinery made it a gaily fashionable occasion. Rain washed the colour from Hurdle Day, but there was nevertheless a big rain-coated attendance.

All in all, this was the greatest race meeting held at famed Ballybrit. It was an occasion of tote and attendance records and excellent fields in keen contest, but apart from exceptions like Clipador, it was not a money-making meeting for punters.


Traveller hardstands

At least five hard stands for itinerants to be provided in immediate city areas – that’s the key recommendation in a blueprint unveiled this week in an effort to finally resolve the contentious traveller accommodation problem in Galway.

The plan, put before city councillors who were meeting behind closed doors on Tuesday, reportedly paves the way for sites to be agreed upon this month.

Pool hazard

Allegations that the pool at Leisureland is dirty and dangerous have been dismissed by both the Manager and the Chairman of the Board of the centre, following incidents after which two people had to be hospitalised in the past week.

In one case a person had to be given mouth-to-mouth resuscitation by one of the lifeguards because there was no oxygen in the oxygen cylinder. In the second, a man who got into difficulty and was lying at the bottom of the pool almost went unnoticed because the water was so cloudy.


For more articles from our archive see Days Gone By in this week’s 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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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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