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Galloping through pink city will live long in the memory



Date Published: {J}

Well, just when it looked like the entire future of air travel lay with ordinary folk like us travelling on Ryanair and carrying suitcases the size of a pound of butter, Emirates came along this week with their idea of flights to Dubai from Dublin that waken up whole new possibilities.

I’m not saying that the flights will be cheap. Far from it – this will not be some kind of crazy sale like €2 to Brussels.

However, it conjures up the image of Dubai, its massive development, and the dreams of faraway places which might never be reached without something such as the Dublin-Dubai connection.

For too long, the image conjured up of international travel has been a bit like something out of 1984, with everyone conforming to a particular standards, getting cheap fares all right, but being herded – in my opinion – into smaller and smaller spaces by the Ryanair concept of making fares cheaper every day.

Michael O’Leary of course knows that when it comes to cheap fares, nobody can match him and, when it comes to discussion about air travel, all he has to do is publish large full page newspaper ads rubbishing the opposition, or keep his mouth shut, say nothing, and let his prices speak for themselves.

The exotic connection which was well and truly sold by three hostesses wearing the Emirates uniform and hat, will open up places such as the Middle East – a glorious base for world travellers, though it would of course be better if the area were not open to violence, especially in the form of the ‘Spring Revolution’, which has been going on now in a number of countries for months.

For instance, some years ago, I stayed in East Jerusalem in a Christian Arab quarter and we got to visit the Basilica which houses the tomb of Christ. Indeed we visited the tomb itself and lit candles there even as an international guard was changing.

However, the streets of Jerusalem have hardly been the safest place in recent years, though I would dearly love to walk again in the footsteps of Christ in Jerusalem leading to the mound where he was crucified. It is an extraordinary experience . . . hardly matched by Bethlehem at Christmas, despite the popularity of the visit to the reputed birthplace of Christ.

My most memorable holiday in the region came courtesy of Royal Jordanian who took a number of journalists on a trip of a lifetime some years ago, culminating in a business to the extraordinary city of Petra.

Much of the trip involved following in the footsteps through the desert of Lawrence of Arabia, nights spent under canvas in the desert, and examination of extraordinary ruins such as those of the City of Garish and Petra. Petra was built by the Nabataens as their capital city around 600 BC. They built dams and waterways, leading to it becoming a leading trade centre.

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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