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Flourishing camera club puts focus on charity



Date Published: {J}

by Judy Murphy

Gorgeous photos at great prices are the promise this weekend when Galway Camera Club holds its annual exhibition in the Kenny Gallery. This event marks a new departure for the club which was formed in 1975, because for the first time ever, the photos at the annual end-of-year show are on sale, with all proceeds going to local charity, Camp Claddagh, the Galway branch of the Chernobyl Children’s Project.

The subjects range from the city’s Long Walk and Cathedral to seashells and rose petals, from Menlo Castle to scenes in Connemara, the Burren and South Mayo.

Some of the images are in black and white, but colour is the norm.

The price range is between €50 and €120 per photo, says John McHugh, of the Camera Club.

“We wanted to put a price on them that will ensure these pieces will sell; that people feel they are getting value and that the charity will get the money.”

The Camera Club, which is the largest in the country outside Dublin, meets every Thursday evening in Cluain Mhuire (GMIT), formerly the city base of the Redemptorist religious organisation.

According to John the club caters for “all shapes and sizes . . . and that’s just the cameras!”. But joking aside, this club is a real success story. And, while an interest in photography is obviously a help, you don’t need to be David Bailey to join.

“If you are a top class pro, honed in every aspect of technology, it caters for you, but it also caters for non ‘experts’. It’s for everybody and covers the spectrum. And it’s a great social outlet,” observes John.

Members come from all walks of life with doctors, solicitors, accountants, unemployed people and one qualified artist currently involved. The age profile is a wide one, ranging from 19 to 90.

There are seven professional photographers in the group and some members who were “rank amateurs” when they joined, are now professional, although John says that the club can’t necessarily take credit for their success!

There might be a perception that yo

u need money to join a camera club and that members compete to have the latest high-tech gadgets, but John, who is a glass designer in Greaney Glass, is keen to quash that notion.

“You can spend as much as you want or save as much as you want and still produce really good quality images. There’s an old saying in photography ‘it’s not the camera, it’s the lens’ and the lens behind the camera (i.e. your own eye) is very important.

“People can see things where other people will pass them.”

Indeed some people don’t even own a camera before they join the club. It sounds odd, but if you are a beginner, seeking advice on what to buy, what better place to get it?

You mightn’t need top-class equipment to be a good photographer, but certain attributes are required.

“An eye for beauty and an eye for the unusual,” offers John, who feels that “anyone can be a good photographer” by taking pictures of things that are pleasing to them.

And of course, there are certain basic skills that must be followed.

Firstly, says John, there is “the rule of thirds”, which dictates that you keep your main subject a third up, a third down and a third in from the sides.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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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