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Brothers honour boy’s memory



Date Published: 17-Sep-2009

A Galway-based father will be joined by his brother as they attempt a daring scuba dive aimed at both making the Guinness Book of World Records and raising funds for sick children – in memory of his two year old son.
‘The World’s Longest Scuba Dive’ will begin at Scubadive West Dive Centre off the West coast of Galway on Saturday, October 10.
The world record attempt aims to raise funds for the St. Raphael’s Children’s Ward at Beaumont Hospital and the Galway charity, CD’s Helping Hands.
Declan Devane has been motivated to take on the fundraising challenge in memory of his two year-old son Cillian, who died on February 6 this year.
Declan, along with his brother Paul, hope to spend 40 hours underwater, under the supervision of dive-coordinator Gary Jennings and with the help and support of Scubadive West and a team of support divers. To set the record, the brothers will not be permitted to break the surface of the water for the duration of the attempt.
What sets this dive apart from other attempts is that it takes place in open sea rather than an aquarium or pool. In the uncontrolled natural environment the divers will be exposed to the elements and a water temperature of less than 15 degrees Celsius. The team are therefore attempting to claim the Guinness World Record for the world’s ‘longest cold, open saltwater SCUBA dive’.
Declan, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Nursing and Midwifery at NUI Galway, wants to honour his son’s memory and help other children who suffer serious illness.
“We hope that our efforts and peoples generosity will, together, honour Cillian’s memory, as well as all the children who suffer serious illness.
“By raising funds for St. Raphael’s Children’s Ward at Beaumont Hospital where Cillian was cared for so well, and for CD’s Helping Hands, which supports the families of sick children, we hope to give something back to those who helped us when our little boy was sick,” he says.
The Devane brothers have already had huge support from the scuba diving community, who are providing a range of standard and specialist equipment for the world breaking attempt.
Originally from Hollymount in County Mayo, and now living in Galway, the brothers have been amateur divers for a number of years but have never attempted something like this before. As younger brother Paul points out: “It will be October. It will be cold, it will be long. There will be no breaks, no meals, no toilet stops. We want to make it to 40 hours. That’s the equivalent of a working week underwater. It will be a challenge”.
To find out more about the world record attempt and show your support please visit www.worldslongestscubadive .com

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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