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Echoes of the eighties



Date Published: 07-Sep-2007

The debut album from Monaghan band The Flaws entitled Achieving Vagueness will be released on September 14 and the band come to the Róisín Dubh for a launch gig on September 16.

The Flaws are Paul Finn (vocals, ‘slow’ guitars) Shane Malone (’fast’ guitars), Dane McMahon on bass and Colin Berril on drums. With Achieving Vagueness they have produced a slick piece of eighties’ influenced pop that announces the arrival of a major new talent.

The band formed when Finn and guitarist Malone began playing together while studying in Dundalk. Finn, enjoying a rare day off before a blitz of performances and publicity, recalls how they got started.

“We decided to get a band practice going,” he says. “Our bassist came along shortly afterwards. We weren’t very good but we got a few gigs in the Spirit Store in Dundalk. Derek Turner, the guy who runs it, also has a studio and he asked to come in and do a demo for him.”

Although the resulting recording wasn’t…..

The Flaws powerful, sharp music makes their show in Róisín Dubh on Sunday, September 16. Unmissable. Tickets for the concert are available at the venue.Admission is €10/8 members, doors 9pm.

The Flaws will also be making an instore appearance in HMVat 4pm on Sunday, September 16 to mark the release of Achieving Vagueness. It is available on their own Arrivals label.

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

Mayo are ripe for an ambush



Date Published: 16-May-2013

 Dara Bradley

LOGICALLY, Mayo should win this handy enough. So the conventional wisdom goes. But when did logic ever enter the equation when Galway and Mayo cross swords in summer Connacht Championship battles?

Mayo come to Salthill on Sunday and are expected to account for the hosts with plenty to spare in the Connacht Championship quarter-final (throw-in at Pearse Stadium is 4pm). They’re the 2012 All-Ireland finalists and they’re on the hunt of three Connacht titles in-a-row, a feat they haven’t achieved since the 1950s.

Galway, in contrast, are low on confidence: Galway havn’t won a Connacht title since 2008, havn’t won a game in Croke Park in 12 years, and have crashed out of the championship through the back door pretty ignominiously over the past few years with a series of one point defeats against what would be traditionally considered ‘weaker’ counties.

Having lost – again – in the All-Ireland final against Donegal last September, all the talk emerging from across the border has been on how Mayo can go one better this year. There’s been double page spreads with Mayo men in national tabloid sports pages over the past fortnight, previewing the upcoming championship and there’s talk of another All-Ireland appearance this year.

There’s not a peep about a Connacht medal never mind an All-Ireland surrounding the Galway camp. Now, that might be a fairly accurate reflection of where both counties stand at the minute, but it’s a mindset thing, too.

Mayo see Galway as a means to an end; Galway are almost viewing this game as an end in itself, it’s their All-Ireland final. Mayo might just regret taking their eyes off the ball; already looking further ahead past this Galway game. They’re almost unbackable favourites. But viewed from a Galway perspective, Mayo have farther to fall. They’re ripe for an ambush.

Galway should at least have enough pride in the jersey not to roll over in their own back-yard – they’ll certainly aim to rattle them. Whether that’s enough, and whether they have the quality to topple them after rattling them, is unknown.

Certainly, the Galway team that was named by manager Alan Mulholland and selectors Alan Flynn and Donal Ó Fátharta, on Tuesday night, particularly the forwards, has the armoury to cause an upset.

Michael Meehan, the closer to goal he roams, has the potential to exploit any shortcomings in Mayo’s rearguard – he can be lethal and the sight of the Caltra man hitting the onion bag would prove a huge psychological boost and blow to the respective teams.

If Seán Armstrong brings his ‘A’ game, then he’ll trouble any defence. The Salthill/Knocknacarra man is named at corner forward but don’t be surprised if he moves to the ‘40, with another serious scoring threat, St James’ Paul Conroy named at centre-forward, switching inside, where his height and strength can cause bother.

Danny Cummins, who hit form in the league, and was probably Galway’s most consistent performer up front, completes the full-forward line with Tuam Stars Conor Doherty named at 12. One of two U21s from the All-Ireland victory against Cork, Tom Flynn will probably play a roving role at wing-forward, supporting his U21 captain, Fiontán Ó Curraoin who partners Niall Coleman in the engine room of centre-field. How they cope against the likes of Mayo’s powerful midfielder Aidan O’Shea will be a major factor in the outcome.

Gary Sice and Gareth Bradshaw are named at wing back, with the latter wearing the captain’s armband in the absence of Finian Hanley, who failed to shake off a shoulder injury.

In captain Hanley’s absence, 2011 All-Ireland U21 winning captain, Colin Forde from Killererin has an opportunity to stake a claim at full-back with Mountbellew/Moylough’s Gary Sweeney and St James’ Johnny Duane in the corners.

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

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Archive News

Tatoo artists Stephen and Nancy make their point



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

The Galway Bay Tattoo studio is far from the dingy and dirty dens often associated with bikers and heavy metal fans.

Located in Lower Fairhill on a corner, it is in fact, one of the nicest shop fronts in the city and is clean, airy and bright inside.

Opened three years ago, it is also an art gallery which not only displays the artwork of owners, Nancy Klein and Stephen Kennedy but that of their friends, a circle they have come to know since they arrived in Galway.

Nancy and Stephen are a couple who were attracted to Galway because of its creative and artistic reputation. They had both worked as tattoo artists in their respective native countries – Canada for Nancy and Australia for Stephen – and now say they have the “best clients” in Galway.

Both had travelled well before they met through mutual friends in Scotland eight years ago and yes, Nancy admits, “it was love at first sight. . . we were a couple by the next day”.

They are both mildly spoken and in their three years here they admit they have become friends with most of their customers!

Nancy says that some days, they just don’t get anything done as people stroll in one after the other for a chat. But you know by the way she says it that she doesn’t mind. They are both dedicated artists who eat, sleep and drink tattoos such is their obsession with their work.

“Yeah, I dreamed last night about a tattoo,” she says quietly to Stephen. Most nights they sit in and talk tattoos though sometimes they might go and see a band in any of the city venues.

They both have workbooks which catalogue their work. Stephen is into portraits of famous people and animals. These tattoos are major works, intricate in detail and can take hours to complete. A large work, like a sleeve, can take hours spread over a number of sessions.


Nancy says she gets tired on her feet, in her lower back and her eyes if she works for more than two hours at a time. “I also get hungry and I just cannot continue,” she says. But Stephen can work continuously for five hours without a break – that’s if a client can take it.

They both love what they do – that is obvious – and when not working on a live canvas, they sit in their office in the back drawing, sketching or painting. Some of their work is on permanent display in their gallery.

Stephen’s canvases show Johnny Cash and Elvis in lifelike images while Nancy’s artwork is more architectural, and equally intricate.

And while Stephen prefers big statements in his tattoo works such as portraits, Nancy’s work is more ethereal involving butterflies, flowers and fairies, though she too has big work under her belt and proudly shows her portfolio.

She does a lot of work on women, particularly on those wanting to cover up old tattoos or scars. Requests to cover up Caesarean Section scars are common, although she stresses that a scar has to have healed for at least three or four years before she will go near it.


They are both very much into hygiene and regulation though Stephen is amazed at how little their trade is regulated. Nancy hates the idea of cross-contamination and is meticulous when it comes to wearing sterile gloves.

They have a sterile container which is disposed of by bio-hazard specialists. They also have an age policy – strictly over 18 – though they know that not everyone in the industry is as conscientious.

“It is unusual that the tattoo artists in Galway get on so well. When we first came to Galway we worked for a year with a couple in the knowledge that we were always going to set up our own business,” says Stephen.

Apparently, the ink supplier often expresses his amazement at the camaraderie between the local tattoo artists saying it is not the case in Dublin or anywhere else.

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

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