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Crowds flock to parades across county

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Date Published: 17-Mar-2010

Tens of thousands of people turned out for the various parades around County Galway and savoured the spring sunshine in the process.

One of the biggest parades to be held was in Ballinasloe where there were over 100 floats – organisers say it was the largest ever to take place in the town.

In the aftermath of the severe damage done following the November flooding, it was as if the town wanted to prove a point that community spirit is stronger than ever, such was the interest in the parade.

It was something of a novel event in Mountbellew where around 30 floats participated in the town’s first ever parade.

The parade was organised by Moylough and Mountbellew Business Association and attracted some imaginative floats from a number of the neighbouring villages.

The theme was “Keep the Home Fires Burning” which was promoting the shop local initiative.

In Tuam, the biggest cheer was reserved for the Tuam All-Star Gymnastic Club whose appearance on the All-Ireland Talent Show brought them to a new audience.

There was a green theme to the parade in Headford yesterday with a float representing the proposed new eco park attracting a lot of attention.

The go ahead has been given for the construction of a new green based business park which will created more than 40 jobs when fully occupied.

Some 20 floats participated in the Clifden parade which attracted a large crowd including a lot of visitors to the area as the tourist season shows some signs of kicking off.

Loughrea’s streets were awash with green, white and gold as hundreds of people turned out in the sunshine to watch the annual parade, in celebration of the national feast day.

An estimated 6,000 people thronged the route of the Oranmore parade which is now in its seventh year and the theme this year was Back to the Future, which was focussed on beating the current recession.

The 450 strong juvenile soccer club had a huge imput into this theme as they depicted the past, present and the potential they have in the future.

See full report and three pages of photographs in this week’s Connacht 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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Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

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