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Funnyman Tommy seeks new horizons with Sky



Date Published: 05-Dec-2012

Tommy Tiernan’s current choice of reading material isn’t exactly what you’d describe as lightweight. Lined up alongside the popular comedian are the first five books of the bible, The Glenstal Book of Readings and a tome entitled Sex, Marriage and Family in World Religion.

“I read a lot of serious material and a lot of depressing stuff,” he explains. Fortunately, for his thousands of fans, that material provides the starting point for hilarious observations on Irishness, family life and religion, which he’ll be sharing with people on his World Tour of Galway this month.

“I’d be very drawn to religion,” he says, adding that on a recent work trip to England he found himself attending Mass in London a few times.

He describes himself as having “a religious instinct”; one which is not “at home in the Catholic Church, but it’s not at home outside it either”.


He’s happy to talk about religion, but right now, he’s most excited about a short, autobiographical drama, which he wrote, acted in and directed for Sky 1. It’s part of the Little Crackers series that gave birth to Chris O’Dowd’s Moone Boy.

Although the story is autobiographical, he decided to shoot it in Brighton to differentiate it from Moone Boy, which is also set in the 1970s. Tommy’s Little Cracker, which sees him make his debut as a director, is based on autobiography, but “wouldn’t be strictly true”, he laughs.

He is hopeful it will open new doors to him in terms of directing, and has a meeting scheduled with Sky for January about a possible series.

“The signs are good, but you never know until you start shooting,” he says. He is optimistic though, and has been giving a lot of thought to where in Galway it will be set, because the location will be a vital component.

“I was really upset with [John Michael McDonagh’s film] The Guard. There were a lot of great laughs in it and it was great to see bits of Galway on the screen but it was a non-Galway story super imposed on the place.” He compares it to Bob Quinn’s film from the 1970s, Poitín, “which came from the stones”.

That’s the approach Tommy favours, and while a story hasn’t suggested itself yet, the location will be crucial. He’s torn between using Connemara with its “extremity of landscape which is perfect for storytelling”, or basing it in Galway City, where “you’d have to make a story out of a specific place”.

Either way, he’d like to make it as Irish as possible, although it’s being made for English television. He recently saw DruidMurphy and was impressed with the fact that Tom Murphy’s writing made no concessions to US or American audiences. “Yet the reviews from the UK and America were phenomenal,” he notes.

It’s the same with stand-up, he feels. “The reason I always found American comics so exciting is that they were American and weren’t trying to be universal.”

At the moment, the Sky project is still tentative, but he’s enjoying the creative process and the prospect of doing more directing.

“It just seems right. I’m comfortable making decisions – even if they are the wrong ones.”

For more, read 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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