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Flooding came close to marooning City

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Nov-2009

THE city came perilously close over the weekend to having all of its eastern and northern access roads rendered inaccessible due to the flooding disaster of the past six days.

Sections of the Dublin, Tuam and Monivea roads were all closed off due to rising levels of floodwater, and for a time on Saturday and Sunday, the Headford Road was also was in danger of shutdown, as the Clare River burst its banks.

This morning there are tentative hopes that “the worst may be over” as river levels began to stabilise, according to the OPW, and “hopefully gradually fall” over the coming days.

The sluice gates at the Salmon Weir Bridge have been opened to full capacity since November 12 last, to ensure that the Corrib can carry the maximum volume of water from its tributaries — primarily the Clare River — into the sea at the Claddagh.

Thousands of commuters to the city faced a nightmare journey when returning to work yesterday morning, stuck for several hours in bumper to bumper traffic.

The situation was worsened by rising water levels at the Clare River Bridge on the Curragh Line which led to flooding in this area from Sunday morning on, reducing traffic to a one way flow along the centre of the roadway.

The commuter problems were exacerbated by the closure of the Galway to Athlone main rail line service due to flooding of the Suck Bridge, just east of Ballinasloe, leading to the cancellation of services from Saturday afternoon on. A replacement bus service was put in place but this also ran into problems with the flooded roads — however Iarnród Éireann did manage to maintain a shuttle train service between Woodlawn Station in East Galway to the city, via Athenry.

This service was possible as Iarnród Éireann made use of a train that had been ‘docked’ in Galway when the Suck Bridge became impassable on Saturday. Myles McHugh, Services Planning Manager, with Iarnród Éireann, told the Sentinel that the company apologised for the cancellation of the services from Athlone to Galway, but added that it had no choice but to take this course of action from a safety point of view.

“Initially we had to close the line for a time from Wednesday to Friday because of flooding on the line near Kilconnell in East Galway but on Saturday afternoon, due to high water levels at the Suck Bridge, we had no option but to close the line on safety grounds,” said Mr McHugh.

He said it was the worst flooding problems that Iarnród Éireann had encountered ever on the line adding that in living memory it was the first time the service had to be cancelled because of high water levels. Severe flooding in Craughwell — and Ballinasloe, where hundreds of people had to evacuate their homes — prompted Galway County Council and the National Roads Authority to temporarily open sections of the new M6 in order to bypass both locations.

Craughwell has been impassable since last Thursday as has Labane on the main Galway to Limerick/Shannon Road. Crowe Street in Gort has also experienced severe flooding problems with a bypass system in place.

Several sections of the Galway to Monivea Road have also been closed off since the middle of last week as have parts of the main Galway to Roscommon N63 route between Loughgeorge and Moylough.

As well as Ballinasloe, a number of families in the Abbeyknockmoy and Corofin areas had to evacuate their homes last week as their houses were flooded, up to several feet high in cases.

Unfortunately another spell of heavy rain is due to cross the region this morning, but after that, Met Éireann are predicting an easing in the heavy rains for the following three days, although there is little prospect of any settled period of weather arriving with storm force winds predicted for tonight.

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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Archive News

BallinasloeÕs young squad aiming to floor Armagh junior champs

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

A new chapter in the history of Ballinasloe football will be written at Breffni Park, Cavan, on Sunday when Sean Riddell’s young side take on Ulster champions An Port Mor of Armagh in the All-Ireland Junior semi-final (2pm).

It’s the first competitive game outside the province of Connacht in 33 years for Galway football’s ‘sleeping giant’ with the enticing prospect of an appearance at Croke Park on February 9 on offer for the winners of what should be a competitive tie.

Ballinasloe have romped through Connacht since overcoming a couple of tricky hurdles on their way to collecting the Galway junior title, which was their target for the campaign this time last year.

With a return to Intermediate football secured, Riddell’s youngsters really have nothing to lose – while their triumphant march to county and provincial titles has revived memories of the club’s glory days when they contested three Galway senior finals in a row between 1979 and ’81.

Intriguingly, the seniors of St Grellan’s never got to play in Croke Park when they reached the All-Ireland final back in 1980 – they lost by 3-9 to 0-8 to St Finbarr’s of Cork in Tipperary Town.

This team’s progression has provided rich rewards for an abundance of hard work at underage levels in the past ten to 15 years and the current side’s ‘do or die’ attitude was very much in evidence in the cliffhanger wins over Tuam and Clifden in the domestic championship.


They are a well-balanced side who really never know when they are beaten and have an inspirational leader in county panelist Keith Kelly, whose exploits at centre back have been among the key components in their dramatic run to reach the All-Ireland series.

Riddell, who recalls playing senior football with the club during their heyday, is determined to get Ballinasloe back among the county’s leading clubs but, for the moment, he is delighted just to have a shot at getting to Croke Park in a bid to emulate Clonbur’s achievement in winning the title outright last year.

Riddell went to Newry on a ‘spying mission’ to see the Armagh champions overcome Brackaville of Tyrone by 2-9 to 0-11 in November – and was impressed by the quality of the football produced by An Port Mor in the Ulster final.

“They are a nicely balanced side who play good football,” he said. “There was a bit of the physical stuff you’d expect from two Ulster side, but I was impressed by their performance.”

An Port Mor became the first Armagh side to win the provincial junior decider. First half goals from Shane Nugent and Christopher Lennon sent them on the road to victory, before a red card for Brackaville captain Cahir McGuinness eased their progress to the All-Ireland series.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Coalition promised an ocean of reform Ð but the wind has gone out of its sails

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013


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