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Choice prize nominees, Halves look forward to free concert in Galway

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

Experimental three-piece Halves play a free gig in the Róisín Dubh on Thursday next, February 24.

The Dublin band – Brian Cash and brothers Elis and Tim Czerniak – released their debut album, It Goes, It Goes (Forever & Ever) last October and it has been nominated for this year’s Choice Music Prize.

Although their blend of acoustic and electric sounds was generating an underground buzz before the album’s release, critical acclaim is not a priority for them.

“It’s not something we think about whenever we set about to do anything,” says Brian Cash. “With the EPs and singles we did before the album we got a quite a bit of attention but nothing big. We’re used to our place, and our place was people saying nice things here and there but there was no media coverage.”

At the same time, Brian is a pleased to be among the Choice Prize contenders. The award chooses 12 acts, from chart-toppers like Imelda May to more unknown quantities like Halves.

“I kind of like that about the way they pick albums, they do pick a wide span of what’s going on,” he says. “There are so many different bands for such a small country. Personally, we’re looking at the list and think we’re the people who made the ‘weird Irish record’. So I don’t think that’s going to improve our chances but it’s lovely to be included.”

Halves started out as a quartet in 2006 and, in creative terms, hit the ground running.

“We just started and everything kicked off pretty quickly,” Brian recalls. “We decided we didn’t want to waste any time. As soon as we had our first three songs written we went into the studio and recorded them, and that’s out first EP. We never recorded any demos or taped rehearsals;we just made it after playing together for 12 weeks. And we’ve been busy ever since.”

After a string of well-received singles and mini-albums, Halves began to plan their full length debut.

“When it came time to talk about an album it was a weird transition point for the band,” says Brian, “because Dave, who’s one of the founding members, emigrated to Canada. It was very amicable, we’re still amazing friends. We had 80% of the album written.”

Canada proved to a lure for the rest of the band as well. It Goes, It Goes (Forever & Ever) was made in Montreal’s Hotel2Tango studios, where Godspeed You Black Emperor (one of the lads’ favourite acts) also recorded.

“We just decided to set a deadline,” says Brian. “We said ‘we’ll book a studio for six months time’ and we decided we wanted to do it in Canada. We started Googling and then I remembered Hotel2Tango from listening to Godspeed 10 years ago.”

Going to Montreal offered Halves a change of scenery but also gave them a chance to play some vintage instruments.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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