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From Brixton via The Sopranos to Arts Festival

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Date Published: 20-Jul-2007

Steve Martin once said that “writing about music is like dancing about architecture”. If that’s true, then talking to Alabama 3’s Larry Love is like break dancing about the Empire State building. The Welshman was in gregarious form on a visit to Galway for last week’s Film Fleadh as he geared up for his band’s Arts Festival show in the Radisson on Wednesday, July 25.

Alabama 3’s first album Exile on Coldharbour Lane was released in 1997but Larry had been tinkering with the idea of a country/dance fusion for nearly a decade prior to that. NewJersey gangsters aside, Alabama 3 have built up a loyal following from their raucous reputation as a live band. “I could’ve done an Orbital, just me and the beats,” says the Welshman,“but I thought ‘No, I want to put a band around that’. Basically I found the fellas with the worst skin and most rotten teeth in Brixton, with smart clothes on, who could just about hold a tune down! “But they’re all impeccable players,” he adds more seriously.

“We’re a big band — there’s eight or nine of us on stage. I’m very proud of voodoo chemistry that is there.” “We can do a full on rock n roll set with the whole shebang, we can strip it down to just pure country thing or we can do a pure techno thing. It’s like father, son and the holy ghost: you’ve the mother ship Alabama 3, then the Alabama 3 unplugged, then the Alabama 3 sound system that’s the paramilitary wing!”

For those going to see Larry and co in action, it’s the mother ship that’ll be landing in the Radisson! Alabama 3 are still capable of delivering an incendiary set on Wednesday July
25. Tickets for their gig are available at www.galwayartsfestival. com, at the festival booking office on Merchants Road and by phone, 091-566577.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Early tries scupper Wegians in Bateman Cup

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Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

WOMAN TOLD TO LEAVE GALWAY OR FACE JAIL

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Killimor wary of favourites tag for semi-final

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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

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