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Death in a downpour



Date Published: 19-Nov-2009

GALWAY has suffered one of the county’s blackest days ever of carnage on the roads this week as five women

were killed and another was last night fighting for her life in hospital after two separate car accidents in the county on Tuesday.

Four young women were tragically killed when the car they were travelling in was involved in a head-on collision with a yellow pick-up truck on the Galway side of the Galway/Mayo border between the villages of Ballindine and Milltown.

The victims, who were all passengers in the blue Peugeot, have been named as 19 year old Marie Ní Chonaile, daughter of Noel and Noirin, from Na Doireadha, Baile na hAbhann; TeresaMolloy (19), daughter of Kathleen and Pat, from Leitir Móir; 20 year old Sara Byrne, daughter of Tom and Tina, from Headford; and Sorcha Rose McLaughlin (19) from Mulgannon, County Wexford.

Sarah was a third year BA Gaeilge and Geography student, Teresa and Marie were third year students of the BA Gaeilge agus Léann an Aistriúcháin (Irish and Translation Studies), and Sorcha was a second year BA Geography and Applied Math Science and Dioplóma sa Ghaeilge (Irish Diploma) student.

The Health Service ExecutiveWest said the driver of the car, 21 year old Michelle O’Donnell from Kilronan, Inis Mór, was taken to Mayo General Hospital, Castlebar following the crash and was in a critical condition at the time of going to print – her family

was yesterday holding a bedside vigil at the Mayo hospital.

She remains in a critical condition this morning and was moved to Beaumont Hospital, Dublin late last night.

Michelle, a third year student BA Gaeilge agus Léann an Aistriúcháin, celebrated her 21st birthday two weeks and her father John is the coxswain of the Aran Islands Lifeboat.

The male driver of the truck – a Galway city native who lives and works in Ballindine – was also taken to Mayo General following the crash but was discharged yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon. The man is understood to have been trapped inside the truck and had to be freed by the emergency services – he escaped with just a fractured ankle.

It is also understood cutting equipment had to be used to free the women from the car. The women were Arts students at National University of Ireland Galway where they were studying Irish or involved with the Irish language.

All five lived together in rented accommodation in Galway City.

Yesterday friends and classmates were being comforted by bereavement counsellors at NUIG and lectures were cancelled at the Irish Department of the Arts Faculty.

The four fatalities came just hours after Sally O’Brien (58) of Williamstown, was killed when the car in which she was driving crashed into a house on the Glenamaddy Road in her native village at 9.20am on Tuesday.

The car in which the mother of twelve was driving struck a wall and she was pronounced dead at the scene.

For more on these stories see pages 1 and 2 of this week’s 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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