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December 22, 2009



Date Published: {J}

New Dean

The recent appointment of a Catholic priest as Dean in Residence in the University College, Galway, emphasises the removal of the ban which the Church in her zeal for the spiritual interests of her children, decreed wise to place on the educational system administered in the old Queen’s College, and marks the dawn of a new era in the history of higher education on the West.


Christmas behind bars

John Joe Garry, a well-known Galway character, will spend his Christmas in prison. John Joe has often been before the court hitherto, but never for such a serious offence as that with which he was charged at the City Petty Sessions on Monday before Mr. Kilbride, R.M., Colonel Woods, and Mr. James M. Campbell, when he appeared in the dock for the larceny of £3 from an Aran Islander.

The story of the larceny was told by Pat Connelly, of Aran, who related that he came into Galway on the 18th December. On the following day, he went into Lydon’s public house with an Aran man. He took out his purse to pay for a drink, and left it on a half-barrel. He paid for the drink with a half-sovereign. Garry was in the shop at the time. Witness knew him well and gave him a penny.

When down as far as Cooke’s, witness missed his purse, and he went back and reported the matter to the publican’s son. They searched the shop, and Garry came back with the purse. Mr Lydon counted £6 in it; the remainder was missing. Garry said he did not take any money out of the purse.

Constable McGloin found the £3 note subsequently in a hole in the wall with a stone over it. The Chairman said they had the record of the accused before them, and Sergeant O’Neill said he had nothing to add to it (laughter).

The accused was sentenced to two months’ imprisonment with hard labour, the Chairman of the Court remarking that it was a mean larceny.



Boisterous spirits

Christmas was celebrated, not wisely, but too well, by not a few in Galway and, because of the methods adopted in some cases to attract a wide audience to their displays of high spirits in the streets, it was only natural that Gardaí should be amongst those who witnessed the performances.

The next step in the scheme of things was to Eglinton Street Station, and here that boisterous spirit of gaiety quickly cooled off in the unsympathetic surroundings of a bare room.

Some of the festive ones became aggressive and some minor squabbles took place. One man was struck on the head with a bottle and was removed to the Central Hospital where he was detained.


Gaeltacht grants

The £2 grant for children in Gaelic-speaking houses is generally acclaimed as one of the most practical schemes that has become operational in the Gaeltacht. So far, it is not possible to ascertain how many will benefit in Connemara, but it is expected that the number will be very large.

From one school (Derryvoreada) at Recess, it is reported that £180 has been paid to date. The area is not wealthy, so the money has come at a welcome time.


Legion of Mary

A branch of the Legion of Mary has been established at Ballinasloe, having had the approval of the Bishop of the diocese. Rev. Fr. E. Hughes, Adm., St Michael’s, at last Mass on Sunday, spoke of the work and activities of the Legion in other parts of Ireland and throughout the world and said the cooperation and help of active Legionaries was needed to combat many of the evil influences which were at present creeping in and operating in the country.


Christmas rush

Business house owners in Ballinasloe report an extra rush during the Christmas holidays as compared to the past couple of years; there seems to be no shortage of money and there was an extra amount of shopping, and money was freely spent. There seemed to be no shortage of cash in the buying of Christmas presents, and the business houses in nearly all cases followed the old time custom of giving customers ‘Christmas boxes’ or presents.



For more, read page 22 of 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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