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February 11, 2010

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Hunter confusion

Constable Colreavy summoned James Robinson and Martin Madden, Loughrea for having been unlawfully in pursuit of game at Aille on the 23rd ult. Dr. Comyn appeared for the defendants.

Constable Colreavy deposed that he met the defendants at Aille on the 23rd of last month. On questioning them, Robinson said they were out for a walk. Witness charged them with having game in their possession, unlawfully obtained, which they denied.

Witness then told them that if they did no give up the game, he would search them. They replied they would not allow him to do so. They both carried sticks, which the witness produced. He insisted on their giving up the game, and at length witness, with the aid of another constable who accompanied him, succeeded in taking two rabbits out of their pockets.

In a struggle which took place between Madden and Constable Leary, the head was pulled off one of the rabbits (laughter). James Robinson gave his name as “John Burns, Loughrea”. They had the defendants under observation for almost three hours. Defendants were wearing overcoats when they met them. They did not wear any during the time they had them under observation. They had six dogs, including two hounds, with them.

In dross-examination by Dr. Comyn, witness said he saw the defendant in pursuit of game on the lands of Aille grazing farm, occupied by Mr. Cooke. He was about a quarter of a mile away from them. There were times when he lost sight of them.

Witness was able to swear the defendants were the two men he saw going through the firs on Mr. Cooke’s farm on the date in question. It was not by the dogs he identified them. They did not say they were on Mr. Conway’s land. They said they were only out for a walk.

Constable Leary corroborated.

Dr. Comyn said he would examine James Robinson for Madden, as he could give no evidence on his own behalf.

James Robinson stated that Martin Madden was in company with him on the day on question on Mr Conway’s lands. They had leave from Mr. Conway to hunt on his land. Madden was not at any time during that day on Mr. Cooke’s land at Aille.

Cross-examined by complainant: Mr. Conway’s farm was to the right of the road leading to Loughrea. They spent the evening on those lands.

Martin Madden swore that Robinson was on Mr. Cooke’s farm that day, when he was ordered by Dr. Comyn, amidst laughter, to come down.

The Bench imposed a fine of 30s and costs in each case, with the alternative of 14 days in jail.


Turf scheme

During the week, an inspector under the Government’s Turf Scheme visited Tuam district and arranged for committees to be appointed somewhat on the co-operative system to carry out the scheme in these different districts.

Another inspector visited Tuam also in connection with the Government’s scheme for the allotment of plot for the unemployed. He explained that land can be acquired in and near the town, if necessary, by compulsion and the Government supplies seed, manure and implements free for the working of such plots.

The town board will lose nothing by introducing the scheme and the only rent payable by the tenants of such plots will be 1s a year. It was decided to appoint a committee of the town board to meet the organiser, I.T. and G.W.U. and ascertain the number of unemployed to qualify for such posts.

Shock accident

A shocking accident occurred at Rathruddy, near Loughrea, when a young man named John Madden, Cahernaman, farmer’s son, who was attending a thresher, accidentally got caught in the machine while in motion and had portion of his arm almost torn off.

Medical aid was requisitioned and it was deemed advisable to amputate the limb from above the elbow. Madden, who is an only son, was subsequently conveyed to Galway hospital where he lies in a critical condition.

The machine, worked with the aid of two horses, belonged to a man named Michael Joseph Callanan, Shrah, who was engaged at threshing operations at the house of a farmer named Patrick Callanan, Rathruddy, when the unfortunate accident occurred.

Cupid’s busy

The report of the Register-General for 1933 states that Cupid was more active in County Galway than in any other county outside Cork during that year. There was in Galway 669 marriages; Mayo 587; Roscommon 318 and Clare 329. Galway had 3,881 births during the year, against 2,031 for County Dublin, whilst the number of marriages in County Dublin was 650.

The Mayo births were 2,992; Roscommon 1,335 and Clare 1,606. Births in Galway and Mayo are up to the highest average for the whole country.

Illegitimate births in Galway during the year totalled 73; Mayo 31; Roscommon 23 and Clare 47. There were 12 deaths of women in confinement against 4 in Mayo and 2 in Roscommon.

For more, read page 34 of this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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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Henshaw and McSharry set to field for Irish Wolfhounds in clash with England Saxons

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

CONNACHT’S rising stars Robbie Henshaw and Dave McSharry look set to named in the starting xv for the Ireland Wolfhounds who face the England Saxons in Galway this weekend when the team is announced later today (Thursday).

Robbie Henshaw is the only out-and-out full-back that was named Tuesday in the 23-man squad that will take on the English at the Sportsground this Friday (7.45pm).

Connacht’s centre McSharry and Ulster’s Darren Cave are the only two specialist centres named in the 23 man squad, which would also suggest the two youngsters are in line for a starting place.

Former Connacht out-half, Ian Keatley, Leinster’s second out-half Ian Madigan and Ulster’s number 10 Paddy Jackson and winger Andrew Trimble, although not specialist full-backs or centres, can all slot into the 12, 13 and 15 jerseys, however you’d expect the Irish management will hand debuts to Henshaw and McSharry given that they’ll be playing on their home turf.

Aged 19, Henshaw was still playing Schools Cup rugby last season. The Athlone born Connacht Academy back burst onto the scene at the beginning of the season when he filled the number 15 position for injured captain Gavin Duffy.

The Marist College and former Ireland U19 representative was so assured under the high ball, so impressive on the counter-attack and astute with the boot, that he retained the full-back position when Duffy returned from injury.

Connacht coach Eric Elwood should be commended for giving the young Buccaneers clubman a chance to shine and Henshaw has grasped that opportunity with both hands, lighting up the RaboDirect PRO 12 and Heineken Cup campaigns for the Westerners this season.

Henshaw has played in all 19 of Connacht’s games this season and his man-of-the-match display last weekend in the Heineken Cup against Zebre caught the eye of Irish attack coach, Les Kiss.

“We’re really excited about his development. He had to step into the breach when Connacht lost Gavin Duffy, and he was playing 13 earlier in the year. When he had to put his hand up for that, he’s done an exceptional job,” Kiss said.

The 22-year-old McSharry was desperately unlucky to miss out on Declan Kidney’s Ireland squad for the autumn internationals and the Dubliner will relish the opportunity this Friday night to show-off his speed, turn of foot, deft hands and finishing prowess that has been a mark of this season, in particular, with Connacht.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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