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Businesses feeling the pinch as flooding keeps shoppers away

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Date Published: 27-Nov-2009

THE city might have escaped the worst ravages of the deluge – but retailers lost hundreds of thousands of euro in business over the past week as shoppers stayed at home, due to the flooded roads and ‘don’t travel’ warnings.

It was one of the quietest weeks for months in the city centre from the Thursday morning of November 19 to Wednesday of this week, as main routes to the city – including the Tuam, Monivea, Dublin and Athenry roads – were closed for a time due to the flooding. Over the weekend, the rail link between the city and Dublin also fell foul of the weather.

With Gardaí and local authorities issuing warnings to the general public not to travel if at all possible, the streets of the city were semi-deserted over the weekend and into the early days of this week.

One shop-owner said that were it not for the customers from Connemara and the western fringes of the city – where the roads remained open – then the week would have been “a complete wash out” from a sales point of view.

“After a really tough year, this was the last thing we needed but hopefully the worst of the weather is over, and we can look forward to making up some ground between now and Christmas,” said Michael Coyle, Director of Galway Chamber of Commerce.

He said that given the desperate weather conditions which prevailed over the past nine days or so – and which caused so much destruction in more rural parts of Galway – it was perfectly understandable that the Gardaí and the emergency services advised people so strongly not to engage in any unnecessary travel.

“I suppose it is quite extraordinary that in 2009, the third largest city in the State can find itself cut off, not only from Dublin, but also Limerick and Sligo. At one point, our only direct transport link with Dublin was by air,” said Mr Coyle.

He added that if ever a crisis showed the importance of having proper infrastructure in place, it was this one, with the “day being saved” by the temporary opening of two sections of the new M6 motorway at Craughwell and Ballinasloe.

Mr Coyle said that after the slump of last week, the problems of a desperately bad year for the retail trade could be eased, if the people of Galway city and its catchment area ‘shopped local’.

“We need the people of Galway to come to town, see the range and value of goods on offer, and to buy at home. If this happens, it will be a great boost to business and it will end up saving jobs – it’s as clear-cut as that,” said Mr Coyle.

Continued on page 2

For further news on the flooding see pages 2, 11, 12 & 13 in this week’s City Tribune and further details from around the county in the Connacht Tribune

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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