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College sees Hugh add a new string to his bow



Date Published: 09-Mar-2012

 AGRANDFATHER’S love of music steered Hugh Kelly into a musical career which has in turn led him to introducing music to hundreds of people ranging in age from one to 80.

Hugh is the Director of Maoin Cheoil na Gaillimhe, the Galway Music Resource which is a dedicated school of music based in St Mary’s College. Hugh describes as “scandalous” the lack of a facility which allowed people of all ages access to the learning of musical instruments representing a broad spectrum of music styles.

For the past two years now, people of all ages have been adding a string to their bow, so to speak, by either learning a new instrument or immersing themselves in music appreciation classes but it is the uptake of the baby classes which has really surprised him and he aims to lower the age to three months next year, to a programme called Colourstrings.

This started out as a way of preparing infants for tuition in string playing but has been so successful in its first year that it is now expanded to incorporate a number of other instruments, including piano. Parents sit in with the children until they turn six.

There are 130 children under the age of six in the programme. “The younger children are like sponges. They soak up everything you teach them. I believe the first 18 months are the formative years and after a year of Colourstrings, I believe it.”

There are 200 more children in a similar programme in the national school in Furbo and Hugh hopes to introduce it to other schools. This summer six teachers will be travelling to the UK to train up for the programme which will mean it can be extended.

On the other end of the age scale, there are retirees coming in to learn how to play a range of instruments. One man was so happy that he brought all his buddies along and some of them have now formed an orchestra as an outlet for their musical abilities.

Another successful aspect of MCnG has been the opera appreciation classes in collaboration with the regular live Opera from the Met at the Eye Cinema.

“We also have regular concerts here in the college and only last week a musician who owns a Stradivarius gave a free recital and workshop. We have a wonderful relationship with St Mary’s, who from day one not only leased us office space but brought so much to the equation. There is a symbiosis between us and no doubt music will return to the curriculum here in St Mary’s as a result.

“We had looked at a few premises around the city – I worked on this project for a year before it actually opened for courses – but a chance conversation with someone led us to St Mary’s and I knew straight away that this was going to work,” says Hugh.

For more of this interview see this week’s City 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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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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