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Christy Moore and Julie Feeney top music bill at Clifden festival



Date Published: {J}

By Denise McNamara

Folk legend Christy Moore and Athenry composer Julie Feeney are top of the musical billing for this year’s Clifden Arts Festival, with over 100 events organised throughout the 10 days – many of them free and ticketed events on sale from as little as €5.

Among the other big names to make an appearance in the capital of Connemara over the ten days are author Edna O’Brien, who will be in conversation with Des Lally, and economist, author and broadcaster David McWilliams who will give a performance in the wake of his sell-out one-man show on the economy in Dublin.

Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport Mary Hanafin, speaking ahead of the official launch at the Connemara West Leisure Centre, said the festival holds a very special place in the rich calendar of festivals and events.

“Now in its 33rd year, the country’s longest running community arts festival promises ten days of highly emotive, energetic and world acclaimed national and international artistic talent combined with many Galway, Clifden and Connemara based artists,” she stated.


Reggae outfit The Channel One Band kick-off the festivities at the launch. This band founded the London mental health charity Sound Minds and campaign regularly on mental health issues. They won the national UK Community Care Award for Mental Health in 2005 for their work in schools combining music with mental health awareness training. The biggest draw over the festival is Christy Moore who is in concert with Declan Sinnott on Saturday, a stalwart of the Irish folk music scene who never fails to impress an audience.

Another massive crowd puller will be the award-winning Julie Feeney on Tuesday next, who will play her unique brand of quirky tunes with the National Chamber Orchestra in an intimate concert, following a sell-out show at the National Concert Hall and ahead of a tour in China, US, France and the UK.

The festival will also feature the Contempo Quartet on Monday 20th, trad music from Shaun Davey and Rita Connolly this Friday 17th, folk and blues from The Henry Girls, also this Friday.

David McWilliams will take to the stage on Thursday 23rd, while Edna O’Brien will hold court on Friday, 24th.

RTE Drivetime’s Mary Wilson will be in conversation with Four Savvy Women which will feature Suzanne Kelly, Sara Burke and Tara Buckley. Each year the Clifden community schools are at the heart of the festival – from Monday 20th to Friday 24th they play host to a blend of artistic talent from different genres including theatre, dance, poetry and music with captivating performances from theatre group Fidget Feet, who specialise in aerial dance and contemporary circus. There will also be a performance by the group Cups and Crowns.

The visual arts programme features an Art Trail Exhibition of artists who live or are inspired by the Connemara landscape, including the internationally acclaimed artist Dorothy Cross.

Along with a display of works from established and renowned artists such as Ger Sweeney and Bernard O Scanaill, new talent is also being encouraged with a dedicated exhibition for emerging artists. The exhibition entitled Assemblage features the work of eleven artists from GMIT and CIT through different media including paint, sculpture and installation art.

There will be readings from poets Tony Curtis, Michael Coady and Rita Ann Higgins as well as singing classes from Marie Sheridan. Tickets are still available for a selection of performances. A full programme of events is available on the 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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