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By-pass in trouble: will we ever see day itÕs completed?

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Date Published: {J}

I know of few things which have raised greater passions in recent years than the proposal to build the Galway City Outer By-pass. Countless columns of news and comment have been written about the proposal.

But, despite the objections which have inevitably arisen, and their need for the most careful consideration, I am still of the opinion that the greater good of Galway would be served by the construction of the by-pass.

That is why the speculation in the past week that it may be years before there is a by-pass – or indeed if there will be one at all – is bad news for Galway. If the worst outcome is realised and the by-pass were never to be a reality, then the city is in danger of being condemned to endless years of gridlock.

At the risk of all hell breaking loose in reply to this piece, can I say that the closest controversy to that involving the outer by-pass surely has to be the enormous row which erupted in the city some years ago about the construction of the sewage treatment station at Mutton Island.

The key issue there was the potential damage to the island, a controversy over how the island would ‘look’ after the scheme had been completed, what would be the implications for the Bay, and what would be the implications for the bird-life in the vicinity of Mutton Island.

Eventually, after the most incredibly protracted and oftentimes most heated public disputation, the Mutton Island scheme went ahead. The result was that, certainly, the look of the island changed and changed dramatically … but Galway Bay got crystal-clear water, we assured ourselves of Blue Flag status, and it is now possible to pass along the Grattan, and the Prom, and scarcely notice the treatment plant which is responsible for the clear waters.

No doubt there are drawbacks which people will point out … but I would like to pose the question as to whether in ten years’ time, if we got the Outer By-Pass, people would not accept that it had made a dramatic difference to the traffic and general quality of life in the city.

Of course, I have to accept that there would be a sacrifice demanded of some in the line of this new road. It is easy for someone writing in a newspaper to prescribe that others should make sacrifices … just as it is easy for road planners sitting down at a map table to draw a line on a map and then say how sorry they are for the inevitable impact which what line might have on some. No one likes the disturbance which such major schemes bring about.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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Archive News

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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