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Epic performance by The National is cherry on top of great Picnic



Date Published: {J}

Everyone has their own particular Picnic. Some folks club together with friends and rent a mini-bus to bring them to Stradbally. The Groove Tube’s weekend began in the car park of the Headford Road shopping centre, getting some last-minute supplies (those earplugs were a godsend!). But hats off to the 900 people who took part in the Tour De Picnic – a fundraising cycle from Dublin to the Electric Picnic. Over €450,000 was raised for Temple Street Hospital – a great start to the weekend.

Friday, day one of the three day event, was an absolute scorcher. Sweaty punters were beaming as they carried their stuff to the campsites (Jimi Hendrix, Andy Warhol and Oscar Wilde lent their names to the temporary villages). Spirits were high. And why wouldn’t they be – most people hadn’t used the portaloos. Yet.

With the poles assembled and the groundsheets laid, it was time to head towards the arena. On the way in it was good to see the return of the Salty Dog – a stage built on a pirate ship.

At the main stage, one of the hotly-tipped acts of the weekend was making her entrance. Shortly after six, Janelle Monae kicked her set off. The diminutive American, in her trademark tuxedo, strutted across the stage but her vocals were hard to hear over the bass-heavy mix. Still, Tightrope proved why it’s one of 2010’s top tunes. Get dancing, y’all!

Up next, also on the big stage, were The Waterboys. Mike Scott and his band were making their Electric Picnic debut and boy did they deliver. Fisherman’s Blues, The Whole Of The Moon and Glastonbury Song were all blasted out, accompanied by the unmistakable fiddle of Steve Wickham. A cracking set.

On the food front, many punters were delighted to be reunited with Pieminister. The English based company were kept busy all weekend, doling out pies, peas, mash and gravy. Happy days. There were also stalls selling paella, pizza and, for the adventurous carnivore, ostrich burgers.

As night passed over Stradbally, one of the Picnic’s headliners took to the stage. Roxy Music were one of the biggest names on the bill but their set lacked the punch of a heavy hitter. Bryan Ferry was in good voice and charismatic as ever but a set short on hits left some feeling disappointed. Love Is The Drug sounded great but it’s a real shame Avalon, Dance Away and Oh Yeah were left out.

Clouds gathered overhead on Saturday morning but showers were intermittent and mercifully light. Seasick Steve tore it up on the main stage proving, yet again, that for festival organisers the wily blues man is as close as you can get to a sure thing. He was followed by Imelda May, who delivered a stomping set. The effervescent Dubliner even invited her parents on stage.

The line-up was top heavy with talent on the Picnic’s second day and tough choices had to be made. Seeing Steve Earle meant missing Hot Chip but the Texan-born songwriter did not disappoint. Opening up with Copperhead Road, Earle had the Crawdaddy tent won over from the get-go. He criticised Tony Blair before launching into Rich Man’s War, then followed it with a new song about the Katrina disaster in New Orleans. A riveting set from a righteous performer.

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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