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Cinemobile keeps on trucking as it celebrates 10th birthday



Date Published: {J}

For the past 10 years in villages and towns throughout Ireland, the Galway based Cinemobile has rolled into town, providing film fans in rural areas with an opportunity to catch a movie in most unusual surroundings.

When it arrives, it’s a large truck, but within 45 minutes that truck opens out to become a 100 seater-state-of the art cinema, fully heated, air conditioned and with Dolby Surround Sound.

Ireland’s first travelling cinema, which is described as by manager Noreen Collins as “a beautiful mix of high tech and Victorian fit-up theatre” was the brainchild of Film Fleadh founder Lelia Doolan, who first saw these machines in France and figured they’d be perfect for rural Ireland, where so many small cinemas had closed down during the 1970s and 80s.

The machine, which was built in France, went on the road in May 2001, funded under the Millennium Project. It was the second largest Millennium scheme after Dublin’s Spire, says Noreen.

“Initially it went all over the country; then more Omniplexes opened in different areas, so we have refined what we do,” says Cork-born Noreen, who has managed the not-for-profit Cinemobile for nearly six years.

Prior to that, she worked with Collins’ Press in Cork and before that again, with Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop in Galway’s Middle Street for seven years.

“A couple of years ago we started coming up with new programmes and instead of just visiting places once a year, we have started going once a month to places such as Portumna in Galway, Waterville and Cahersiveen in Kerry and Castletownbere in Cork,” she explains.

The Cinemobile’s remit is to bring film to towns without access to a cinema and towns like these are some distance from an Omniplex, she says.

For these visits, mainstream films are popular among viewers and The Guard has proven to be a huge Cinemobile hit this summer. Similarly with The Wind the Shakes the Barley a few years ago.

“We took the film to all the locations where it was shot in West Cork and everyone loved it, especially the older people.”

During the summer months, the mobile cinema travels to seaside resorts such as Lahinch and Kilkee in Clare and Ballycroy and Achill Island in Mayo, again showing popular films.

In its early days the Cinemobile was a month behind mainstream cinemas in the films it screened, now it’s just two weeks, says Noreen.

That’s because the mobile cinema has to wait for an available copy of a film to become available from distributors such as Buena Vista, Eclipse, Warner and Twentieth Century Fox, which own the rights to screen films.

In those places it visits monthly, the Cinemobile crew is also working with film fans, setting up film clubs to offer a greater choice.

“Because we are going every month we are building up a relationship with people. It’s about letting them decide what they want to see and then sourcing it for them,” explains Noreen.

The second aspect of the Cinemobile’s work involves visiting schools. Between 8,000 and 10,000 students a year use the venue, either for educational or entertainment purposes, depending on a school’s requirements.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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