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Free haircuts for Freeman Tubridy!



Date Published: 13-Jul-2011

There are many privileges that come with being one of Ireland’s best known broadcasters – but until now, for Ryan Tubridy, that didn’t stretch to free haircuts for life.

However, as of this Saturday, the radio and TV star will not alone have his own thatch trimmed for free, he will also be able to avail of it for his grandchildren whenever they arrive, and he will be able to cash in on free potatoes and turf for life as well.

Because the adopted Galwayman will have the Freedom of Clifden and Connemara bestowed on his angular shoulders at a ceremony in the town this Saturday – and with that come the gifts that just keep in giving.

The Freedom of Connemara will entitle Ryan to free anchorage rights for life on Buttermilk Lake, free grazing rights for his sheep on the commonage of Clifden, free car parking, free Roundstone turf, free potatoes from Dan O’Hara’s homestead – as well as those free haircuts for life for himself and his grandchildren.

“At last something I can bequeath to my grandchildren,” he exclaimed as the list of privileges was revealed – but what most impressed him was the access to free Roundstone turf.

“I’m sitting here in Renvyle as we speak – on a week’s holidays – and I’m reading the sixth in the Jo Nesbo series beside a turf fire, even in July. I love the smell of turf and I love Roundstone because when I spent a great many summers in Roundstone getting to meet girls who would talk to a gangly Dub when the girls in Dublin wouldn’t!” he said.

The Late Late presenter, who is heading to the UK on Saturday week to begin an eight week stint filling in for fellow Irishman Graham Norton on his BBC Radio 2 Saturday morning show, quipped that it was ‘even better than a knighthood – even with one foot on either side of the water for the next few weeks’.

And while he joked that all of this was ‘a pleasant idea dreamed up by a few wily guys including my second cousin Brian Hughes’, his love affair with Clifden and Connemara is neither false nor recent.

“It’s always been part of my life; whether it’s a day on the Corrib fishing or a pint in King’s in Clifden or tennis in Renvyle – and I love that I can bring my own kids here as well as show them that you don’t need to be on a plane to go to a different country,” he said.

The Tubridy roots pre-date Ryan himself of course, because – as his Who Do You Think You Are? Programme showed – his great grandparents were the first husband and wife principals in the national school in Carraroe back in the nineteenth century, and more immediately both of his own parents’ families loved their holidays in the west.

“It’s very simple really – I have an innate love of the place and I know I keep going on about it but that’s how it is. Some people have Kerry, Gay has Donegal, Gerry Ryan had Dromoland Castle – and for me it’s Connemara,” he said.

See full story in 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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