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Director’s chair from The Quiet Man donated to city museum



Date Published: 14-Apr-2011



The Director’s Chair which was used by John Ford during the making of The Quiet Man in 1951 was donated by Ford’s Irish Godson, John Morris, to the Galway City Museum yesterday.

Mr Morris, who lives in Spiddal, is the son of the late Lord Killanin who worked with Ford on a number of Irish projects including the filming of The Rising of the Moon in Galway city centre in 1957.

Mr Morris, the husband of former RTE presenter Thelma Mansfield, has loaned the chair to the museum for a period of two years as well as donating other pieces of memorabilia from Ford’s time as a film-maker in Ireland.

“I’ve had a lot of stuff belonging to John Ford in the house for a while and my children did not want me to hand over the Director’s Chair,” joked Mr Morris yesterday.

Mr Morris was born during the making of The Quiet Man, when John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara were among a host of Hollywood cast and crew who relocated to the West of Ireland for the filming.

It is among a number of exhibits donated by Mr Morris which are set to feature in a forthcoming exhibition on 100 years of cinema in Galway.

The exhibition is scheduled to open in the summer.

For more on this story, see the Galway City 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

Galway braced for ‘dogfight’ against Clare in key battle



Date Published: 07-Mar-2013


GALWAY manager Anthony Cunningham says his side can expect “a dogfight” when they travel across the border to face fierce rivals Clare in their second round National Hurling League fixture at Cusack Park, Ennis on Sunday (2pm).

With Clare – back in the top flight of league hurling after a three-year absence – narrowly defeated by Waterford in their first round clash in Ennis, they will be looking to secure some valuable points if they are to avoid the drop back down to Division 1B this season.

Indeed, a joust against their near neighbours in what promises to be a pulsating derby fixture not only gives Davy Fitzgerald’s charges ample opportunity to record a victory, but it also could light the fuse on what they hope will be another season of much promise.

Certainly, Fitzgerald and Clare laid a solid foundation in 2012 by winning promotion from Division 1B before rattling Kilkenny in the National League semi-final. Although the Banner men were subsequently overturned by Waterford in the Munster championship, they did show a great deal of mettle when accounting for Dublin on a scoreline of 1-16 to 0-16 in the qualifiers.

That said, they were no doubt disappointed to lose their next game against Limerick – who they had beaten twice already in the league earlier in the year – as that defeat cost them a crack at Kilkenny, once again, in the All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Still, the building blocks had been positioned and further signs of improvement were to be seen when Clare defeated Tipperary by 1-21 to 1-13 in the Waterford Crystal Cup final last month – Colin Ryan (0-9, eight from placed balls) and Tony Kelly (0-5) both contributing handsomely in the win.

On the back of that, Clare were strongly fancied to overcome a Waterford side, shorn of the service of the retired John Mullane, in their opening NHL game in Ennis but the concession of two first half goals to Seamus Prendergast and Jake Dillon left them chasing a result.

Given that Clare would have been targeting their home games, in particular, against Waterford and Galway – their only other is against Kilkenny – in a bid to ensure survival, that opening day loss has to be viewed as a bitter blow.

Consequently, this is a must win fixture for Clare this weekend. “Absolutely,” recognises Galway boss Cunningham. “They were beaten at home in their first match so they are going to come out all guns blazing and it is going to be one hell of a dogfight, to be honest with you.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Archive News

St. Brigid’s have no answer as Loreto maintain dominance



Date Published: 13-Mar-2013

Loreto Kilkenny 1-11

St Brigid’s Loughrea 1-6

Eoghan Cormican at McDonagh Park

Loreto Kilkenny lifted the Corn Sceilge for the fourth year running following this comprehensive victory over St Brigid’s Vocational School Loughrea in a lacklustre All-Ireland college’s camogie final at Nenagh on Saturday.

Bridesmaids for a second consecutive year, St Brigid’s have to be extremely disappointed with their lethargic showing, underlined by the fact that they managed just three scores from open play over the hour and failed to raise a flag of any description between the 8th and 32nd minute of the contest.

No doubt, these were contributory factors in the defeat, with Loreto forging a sizeable gap during St Brigids’ barren period and though the Loughrea school pared back the margin entering the final quarter, they exhausted their full reservoir of energy in doing so.

When Loreto caught their second wind to move two points clear in the closing stages, St Brigid’s couldn’t summon a response. Put simply, the well in which they had visited on several occasions had run dry.


Last year’s final between these two camogie nurseries proved a terribly one-sided affair, but credit to St Brigid’s who ensured Saturday’s encounter was a much tighter battle. In saying that, many similarities were to be found.

For the second year in a row, St Brigid’s were unable to develop any sort of a rhythm, allowing their opponents dictate the terms of play and if wasn’t for the outstanding efforts of centre-back Marie Cooney, the margin of defeat would have been far greater.

Remarkably, all bar one of Loreto’s front six got on the scoresheet. Throw in an unrelenting work ethic all over the field and it’s easy to see why Saturday represented Loreto’s fourth successive All-Ireland college’s victory.

In any event, it was the Connacht champions who were quicker of the mark with Rachel Monaghan twice dissecting the posts in the opening eight minutes. A positive start by all accounts and given that 12 of the St Brigid’s side had lined out in the in last year’s decider, nerves were in a no way evident. Consequently, what transpired thereafter was simply baffling.

For the remainder of the half St Brigid’s would fail to add to their tally as Loreto assumed complete control, hitting five points on the trot. Roisin Breen, Marie Doheny and Orla Hanrick all found the range as Loreto headed for the dressing room 0-6 to 0-2 to the good.

It was one-way traffic and, were it not for the endeavours of Marie Cooney and to a lesser extent Niamh Murphy and Laura Sweeney, Loreto would have been out the gap long before the interval.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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