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December 24, 2010



Date Published: {J}


Riot in Craughwell

What may well be described as fierce faction fighting characterised the fair day of Craughwell on Friday last. From independent onlookers, who witnessed the regrettable affray, we learn that at about noon a number of men, probably less than a dozen, who have been prominently identified with the Craughwell branch of the U.I.L., which was recently reorganised on a wide basis, proceeded to go quietly home.

On their way down the street they were, it is alleged, set upon by a crowd of about a dozen men and boys armed with sticks and hurleys. The latter, it is said, were led by Mr. Tom Kenny, of Craughwell.

A melee ensued, and the Leaguers were forced to retreat. Speedily reinforced by a number of sympathisers, they returned, and the fight was renewed. There was, a spectator says, a great deal of shouting and brandishing of sticks, but nothing more serious appeared to have occurred until a force of about thirty police came upon the scene.

The latter separated the combatants after some little difficulty, drawing their batons and dealing out punishment on all sides. In the confusion that ensued, not a few of the combatants were felled, and one or two were badly beaten.

After the intervention of the police, quiet was for a time restored; but the Leaguers appeared determined to punish what they considered the unwarrantable aggression of those who had attacked their members.

In the result, they pursued Mr. Tom Kenny and some of his followers hot-foot into the house of the latter, but at the door, their progress was arrested by a cordon of armed police drawn across the roadway. The police threatened to fire on the pursuers if they ventured further, and the latter then drew off.

For the remainder of the afternoon, angry groups of men were to be seen moving about the village. Business was suspended, and the buyers who had come to the fair left Craughwell, declaring that they would never attend a fair in the village again.

Perhaps, this is the most serious outcome of the regrettable and wholly meaningless affray, for responsible men feel that irreparable injury has been done to Craughwell and the district by this unbridled outburst of blackguardism.


Abolition of dole

The abolition of the “dole” and the provision of work for men on public schemes at wages somewhat higher than what they would receive in unemployment assistance, is the basis for the “New Deal” for the Saorstat workless.

Experiments have been tried in various parts of the country, and reports are being studied to see if the plan is feasible for all the 26 counties. A considerably increased cost to the Exchequer is anticipated, and it is in this respect that the Government’s greatest difficulty has arisen.

The work will be chiefly for unskilled labour, and the amount of paid work given a man will be proportionate to the relief he now receives. For instance, a man in receipt of a “dole” of 18s a week will get twice as much work as a man only receiving 9s. Married men will thus benefit more than single men.

Money for works of public utility in each area will be allocated by the Department of Industry and Commerce on the basis of the amounts, presently given to that area for unemployment assistance, but on a higher scale.

Hidden revolver

“It is a most deadly weapon,” said Supt. Cronin at Tuam District Court when a gun of the blunderbuss type was produced in a case against Patrick Brennan, of Lehid, Kilconly. The superintendent added that the gun was a pattern that he never saw before and it was in perfect order.

Sergt. Moran said he found the gun concealed in a hay cock on defendant’s land. Defendant refused to take service of the summons and the guard serving him had to leave the summons on a drill where defendant was working. Defendant was very aggressive towards the guards on the occasion.

Defendant did not appear in court and a sentence of two months’ imprisonment was made against him.

Strange incident

The guards in the Gort district are investigating a rather strange incident happening at the house of John Melody, Tulla. One day last week a strange man visited Mr. Melody’s house and asked for work. On Mrs. Melody informing him that there was no work available, he asked if there was a gun in the house.

Being informed that there was, he searched the premises and, finding the gun, took it away with him without any apology.

Mr. Melody was not at home at the time. Tulla is about 15 miles from Gort.

Ballinasloe market

The heavy frost and the slippery condition of the road had an adverse effect on the Christmas poultry market in Ballinasloe on Wednesday. There were small supplies of turkeys and geese on offer. Prices ranged from 8d. to 10d. each. A good number of turkeys were disposed of at the previous market, Saturday.

The Mental Hospital require over one hundred turkeys to supply the Christmas dinner there to the patients and are buying most of the available supplies in the market. It is believed that there are large quantities of turkeys in the district which are being held over with the hope of better prices obtaining.

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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