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December 16, 2010



Date Published: {J}


Tribune Editorial

Weighted with issues of the very gravest import for the future happiness and prosperity of Ireland and for the emancipation of the democracy of England, the second General Election that has been forced upon us within a single year is drawing to a close. Eleven months ago, the issue so far as it concerned Ireland was clear and straight, but it was not so well defined as it has been during the present momentous struggle.

At the January election, the factionists had the transient advantage which the concealment of their nefarious designs brought them, and they had the satisfaction of obscuring in some measure the issues at stake.

In the interval, the cat has escaped out of the factionist bag: it has been made manifest which side disruptionists are on. To-day there is no doubt about the purpose and object of the struggle. The two plain questions which the electors have been given to solve are: For or against the House of Lords? For or against Home Rule for Ireland? We have no doubt as to the ultimate solution that will be arrived at.

The democracy of England has put up a solid and united fight against the usurping autocrats; the Nationalists have completely routed the traitorous factionists. The magnificent rally of the Irish people under the banner of National unity has exceeded the anticipations of the most sanguine Nationalists.

Want of fuel

The need for fuel amongst the poor is really a great want just now, turf being almost impossible to buy. Worse still, it is that those who do not really want it badly are the very people to pay the highest price, or who could buy coal instead. Should the agent for the landlord consent to take the need of fuel into consideration, I trust he does so only in the interests of the poor.


Spill the whiskey

Mrs Delia Browne, publican, Bishop-street, Tuam, was prosecuted by Guard McGinn, food and drugs inspector, for refusing to sell him a quantity of whiskey out of a bottle she had displayed in the shop. Mr. F. Meagher, solr., appeared for defendant.

Guard McGinn said he went to defendant’s shop and asked for a half pint of whiskey out of a bottle bearing a label marked J.J. and S. and having a tap affixed to it. Mrs. Browne said: “For God’s sake, Guard, take it from another bottle. We got this whiskey in jars and it was muddy.”

Witness again asked her for a half pint of the whiskey in that particular bottle and Mrs. Brown said there was not a half a pint of whiskey in it. Mrs. Browne then took down the bottle and spilled the contents on the floor.

She said to witness: “You are the father of a family and don’t do anything to injure me. Take the whiskey from another bottle,” which she took off the shelf, but witness said he would not.

That evening, Mrs. Browne sent for him and apologised for what she had done and said it was Cassidy’s whiskey that was in the bottle which she spilled.

Mr. Meagher, solr., said the defendant had no experience of business before she married and took over the management of this business. The whiskey that was in the bottle the guard asked for was muddy and not on sale.

Mrs. Browne said she had the whiskey in the bottle to drain as it was muddy. None of that whiskey had been sold by her. Replying to Guard McGinn, she said there was a tap on the bottle. It was the even before the Tuam great October fairs, but if farmers called in for a drink of whiskey, she would not have supplied them out of that bottle because it was too muddy. Asked by the justice why she did not supply the guard out of the bottle he asked for, witness said that she was not selling that whiskey and spilled in the excitement.

Justice: Why didn’t you spill it before the guard came in? Witness: I had not much experience and never saw the whiskey muddy like this before. Defendant was fined 40s and ordered to pay 4s expenses.

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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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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