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Galway braced for Ocean Race bonanza



Date Published: 10-Mar-2010

The Volvo Ocean Race Village is expected to generate up to one million visits after it arrives into Galway Docks for the ‘grand finale’ of the race in 2012; an event which is expected to bring a boom of up to €80 million for the local economy, the Connacht Tribune has learned.


And Let’s Do It Global – the organising committee which secured Galway as the finishing port – are expecting between 40,000 and 50,000 corporate guests alone for the event, which will include a closing ceremony and awards presentation.


Although the event will only last between eight and ten days, local organisers are confident it will be far bigger than the stopover last June.


The Let’s Do It team are confident that they can raise the €20m required to host the event and get the Green Dragon back in the water – already, the Government has pledged €4m.


As well as in-port racing in Galway Bay when the fleet of Volvo Open 70 boats arrive from twin city Lorient in France, the organisers are studying the logistics of a ‘round Ireland’ race which would last two to three days.


John Killeen of Let’s Do It Global told the Connacht Tribune: “To say it will be huge is a bit of an understatement, to be honest. Because this is the end of it, people will come and stay longer. It will be between eight and ten days, which includes two weekends.


“The Race Village will be much bigger. The final party will need a tented village for 5,000 people, so there are a lot of challenges facing us.


“The two largest throughputs during the race are the start and finish.

Last year, we had 650,000 visits in Galway, so we’d expect to exceed the one million mark. It’s a tremendous achievement, a great day for Ireland and I’m especially delighted for the people of Galway. They got behind us last year, and showed us what a great people we are and place we live,” said Mr Killeen.


He explained that the final will take place towards the end of June, when many Europeans take their annual holidays.


“It’s been pushed out, there’s no exact date yet, but it will be later in June, that’s because that’s the time when Europeans take their holidays. There’s the potential that we will have 40,000 to 50,000 corporate guests alone,” he said.


An Taoiseach Brian Cowen, the Let’s Do It Global team, and Knut Frostad, Chief Executive of the Volvo Ocean Race were in Dublin yesterday lunchtime (Wednesday) to sign the contract for Galway as the finishing port.


Speaking to the Connacht Tribune, Ocean Race Chief Knut Frostad praised Galwegians for the party atmosphere at the Race Village during the stopover last year, which played a major factor in securing the ‘grand finale’ for 2012.


“To get the finish of the event is a great achievement for Galway. It is a very iconic part of the route. Everybody around the world will remember where the race started and finished.


“Galway has a great arena, it’s fantastic for the in-port racing, and a good port to get everything together in the one place,” said Mr Frostad.


Galway beat off intense completion from other European cities vying to host the finish, including Amsterdam and Stockholm.


See full stories 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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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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