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Archive News

December 10, 2009

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

United Irish

An important meeting under the auspices of the local branch of the United Irish League was held at Headford on Sunday last. The meeting, though organised for the purpose of re-organising the parish branch, was attended by a large number of people who, in their frequent outbursts of applause in the course of the eloquent speeches delivered, displayed an enthusiastic spirit.

Bravery reward

Mr. Michael Fallon, of Salthill, has received a sum of £5 from the Carnegie Trust Fund for his bravery in rescuing Patrick Burke from drowning off the Sea Point Baths on the afternoon of Friday, August 20th last. Burke has gone out in a small boat some minutes previously with a neighbour named Denis McGrath, and when opposite the Sea Point Baths, the craft capsized and both men were thrown into the sea.

Fallon swam through one hundred and fifty yards of choppy sea, reaching the boat to which Burke clung, and sustained himself in safety until help arrived. Poor McGrath, who had tried to swim ashore on an oar, was drowned before help could reach him.

Fireman accident

Fireman Cummins, while engaged in pumping water into the engine for the 4.25 train from Galway on Saturday last at Athenry, fell from the buffer of the engine on to the platform and sustained injuries to his head. He was in the act of removing the hose from the engine at the time, and the hose gave way. He was conveyed to the County Hospital at Galway by the 8.50 train on Saturday night, where he was detained for treatment. He is now progressing favourably.

Animated pictures

Full houses were the order at the Court Theatre, Galway, during the week, the “draw” being the cinematography performances and variety entertainments of “The Enterprise Animated Picture Co.”. Rarely has such an opportunity been given to the people of Galway of viewing in animated pictures the most sensational events of real life and drama.

The “animated” pictures from real life include “Logging in Sweden” and “Boxing Champions”. Other pictures included: “A Little Child Shall Lead Them”, “Nocturnal Thieves”, “The Human Wheel”, “Following in Father’s Footsteps”, “A Constable Please”, “The Pony Express” and “Fairy Presents”.

The pictures come in ever-changing variety and there are no exasperating delays.


Crafty fox

The fox has been busy in Connemara this year, and flocks of geese, turkeys, hens and other fowl are reported to have suffered severe ravages. One man reports that he has so far shot three foxes not far from Clifden, yet his fowl continues to disappear. Another farmer not far away has lost 23 hens, and there are innumerable cases throughout the area where smaller losses are reported.

Home assistance

At the monthly meeting of the County Galway Board of Health and Public Assistance, the secretary, Mr. S. O’Gallcobhair said he had applied to the County Council for an instalment of the Council’s contribution to the Board and Mr O’Flynn had replied stating he could not understand why it should be wanted now as, in view of the unemployment assistance, home assistance should be reduced considerably.

Beet factory opens

Tuam enjoyed an historic day in the great Irish industrial revival movement when on Tuesday His Grace, Most Rev. Dr. Gilmartin, the Archbishop blessed the works, and Dr. Seamus Ryan, Minister for Agriculture, performed the official ceremony of opening the beet factory.

The town was gaily decorated with bunting, and flags were flown from practically every shop and house on the route to the factory. Owing to the lamented death of the Rev. Peter J. Kelly, Adm., who had been so prominently identified with the promotion of the case for having the factory established in Tuam, no bands were engaged to take part in the rejoicing.

Gaelicisation of Galway

“That we are of opinion that the time has arrived when an earnest attempt must be made to Gaelicise Galway City, capital of the Gaedhealtacht, and we demand that as a preliminary step all streets and public places in the city having any trace of the foreign connection in their names be altered to names in keeping with national tradition and the history of our country,”

The above resolution was passed at the annual meeting of the mid-Galway Comhairle Ceanntair, Fianna Fáil, Dr. T. Powell, ex-T.D., presiding.

For more times past see page 34 of this week’s Connacht Tribune

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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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Henshaw and McSharry set to field for Irish Wolfhounds in clash with England Saxons

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

CONNACHT’S rising stars Robbie Henshaw and Dave McSharry look set to named in the starting xv for the Ireland Wolfhounds who face the England Saxons in Galway this weekend when the team is announced later today (Thursday).

Robbie Henshaw is the only out-and-out full-back that was named Tuesday in the 23-man squad that will take on the English at the Sportsground this Friday (7.45pm).

Connacht’s centre McSharry and Ulster’s Darren Cave are the only two specialist centres named in the 23 man squad, which would also suggest the two youngsters are in line for a starting place.

Former Connacht out-half, Ian Keatley, Leinster’s second out-half Ian Madigan and Ulster’s number 10 Paddy Jackson and winger Andrew Trimble, although not specialist full-backs or centres, can all slot into the 12, 13 and 15 jerseys, however you’d expect the Irish management will hand debuts to Henshaw and McSharry given that they’ll be playing on their home turf.

Aged 19, Henshaw was still playing Schools Cup rugby last season. The Athlone born Connacht Academy back burst onto the scene at the beginning of the season when he filled the number 15 position for injured captain Gavin Duffy.

The Marist College and former Ireland U19 representative was so assured under the high ball, so impressive on the counter-attack and astute with the boot, that he retained the full-back position when Duffy returned from injury.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood should be commended for giving the young Buccaneers clubman a chance to shine and Henshaw has grasped that opportunity with both hands, lighting up the RaboDirect PRO 12 and Heineken Cup campaigns for the Westerners this season.

Henshaw has played in all 19 of Connacht’s games this season and his man-of-the-match display last weekend in the Heineken Cup against Zebre caught the eye of Irish attack coach, Les Kiss.

“We’re really excited about his development. He had to step into the breach when Connacht lost Gavin Duffy, and he was playing 13 earlier in the year. When he had to put his hand up for that, he’s done an exceptional job,” Kiss said.

The 22-year-old McSharry was desperately unlucky to miss out on Declan Kidney’s Ireland squad for the autumn internationals and the Dubliner will relish the opportunity this Friday night to show-off his speed, turn of foot, deft hands and finishing prowess that has been a mark of this season, in particular, with Connacht.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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