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Award-winning documentary ‘The Pipe’ now for sale on DVD



Date Published: {J}


An emotional documentary which chronicles how a West of Ireland community was torn apart by the Corrib gas pipeline is available for purchase from this weekend when DVD copies of The Pipe go on sale in shops throughout Ireland.

The feature length documentary, shot over four years by Galway-based film maker Richie O’Donnell, has won a number of awards at festivals on both sides of the Atlantic since its premiere at the Galway Film Fleadh last summer.

O’Donnell has just completed a distribution deal for both Ireland and Britain, with the result that DVD copies of the film will be available in shops such as Tesco and HMV from this weekend.

“It is an emotional film which people seem to want to have and I would imagine it will transfer well onto DVD,” said O’Donnell this week.

He has been amazed by the standing ovations the film has received in cities such as Toronto, London, and Boston. In the US, the film is seen to be hugely topical following the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico last year.

“People in the United States, the UK, or Germany just seem to ‘get it’. I guess they feel it could be about a community anywhere, dealing with a massive development which is backed by a Government which sides with the developer,” said O’Donnell.

“Energy also seems to be a huge story now, from the Gulf oil spill to the threat of disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan. People are acutely aware of how much the price of oil has gone up at the pumps. Here in Ireland, people are becoming more aware of the massive resources we have off the west coast.”

O’Donnell, a news cameraman for TG4, spent four years filming the lives of the ordinary people of Broadhaven Bay who became embroiled in a dispute with Shell over the controversial gas pipeline.

As the local residents fought to retain their way of life, O’Donnell realised that he was filming something special and received funding from both TG4 and the Irish Film Board to complete his first feature length documentary.

“Both TG4 and the Irish Film Board showed great trust in me, as I had never made a film before,” he told The Connacht Tribune. “I think we are very lucky to have both organisations here in Galway. They never tried to interfere with the editorial slant of the film.”

A number of international gongs have followed the Irish Film and Television Award (IFTA) for Best Documentary which The Pipe picked up in Dublin in February and O’Donnell felt that producing a DVD of the film was the next logical step after screenings throughout Europe and the United States.

"I didn’t set out to make a full-length film in the first place, as I was just working as a news cameraman and living on my uncle’s farm, which overlooks Broadhaven Bay. It happened almost organically,” said O’Donnell.

DVD copies of the film are available at a cost of €14.99 in branches of Tesco and HMV nationwide from this Friday (June 17). Copies can also be purchased online from the film’s

official website,

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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