Date Published: 31-Jul-2007
In one of the worst periods of carnage on Galway roads, five people have lost their lives in separate accidents over the space of three days — one of the victims had worked as a driver for the last city mayor.
Thirty-year-old Barry Kelly, from Church Street, Athenry — an estate agent who had worked as a driver for Mayor Niall Ó Brolcháin — died in a single vehicle accident on Sunday morning last.
The late Mr. Kelly had been driving his car at Clamper Park between Athenry and Craughwell at about 8 am when it apparently went out of control and crashed. Galway Fire Brigade members had to use cutting equipment to help release two other passengers who were in the car. Both were removed to University College Hospital — their injuries are not believed to be life threatening.
Former Mayor Niall Ó Brolcháin said that he and his family were devastated at the news of Barry Kelly’s death. “He was a man of very many talents who had great generosity of spirit,” said Cllr. Ó Brolcháin.
The Office of the Garda Ombudsman are investigating a road accident near Oughterard village in the early hours of Sunday morning which claimed the life of a pedestrian.
53-year-old David Solman, an employee of the Connemara Gateway Hotel, lost his life as he walked in the Glebe area — close to the hotel — when struck by a car being driven by an off-duty Garda shortly before 2 am.
Meanwhile at around 2 am on Sunday, a 23-year-old Glenamaddy man was killed in a single vehicle collision near the village of Williamstown in the North-East Galway area. His car had left the road ending up in a field.
Gary Keaveney was pronounced dead at the scene. He was an only child and is survived by his mother Mrs. Margaret Keaveney.
A 36-year-old man lost his life when the motorcycle he was riding went out of control on the main Ballinasloe to Shannonbridge Road at Sralea shortly at about 11.45 pm on Sunday night.
It is understood that the motorcycle struck a wall and threw the deceased onto the road where he was attended to by a number of local people.He was removed from the scene by ambulance and taken to Portiuncula Hospital where he died from his injuries.
The motorcyclist had been earlier observed by officers at a Garda checkpoint and was followed. A Garda Ombudsman representative has visited the scene of the accident to carry out an investigation. Part of the road between Ballinasloe and Shannonbridge remained closed on Monday while investigations were being carried out.
The dead man has been named locally as Gerry Carty (36) from Sralea, Ballinasloe.
Last Thursday night, a 48- year-old Abbeyknockmoy man was killed close to his own home when the tractor he was driving collided with a roadside ditch and overturned. John Joe Geoghegan, a single man, died at the scene of the crash which occurred at about 11.20 pm on the Abbey to Monivea road.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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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