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Galway wave energy projects scoop €2m funds

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Oct-2009

FOUR companies involved in developing ocean energy technologies in Galway received a rare boost despite the recession this week with the news they will receive grants of up to €2m.

The State energy agency, Sustainable Energy Ireland (SEI), announced grants of €4.3m for 10 Irish companies researching wave energy which will result in the creation of ocean energy devices that can generate renewable electricity.

The agency said the funding will enable the companies to take their proposals and prototypes to the next stage of development. Among the companies with links to Galway which received the grants of between €20,000 and €2m were Wavebob Ltd, Ocean Energy, Key Engineering Services and Seapower.

Wavebob and Ocean Energy have been trialing their prototype wave energy converters in Galway Bay. Key Engineering Services is conducting an industry-led feasibility study of wave energy devices. Sea Power received funding to further the development of a C pump.

Tonn Energy, a joint venture between Wavebob and Swedish electricity utility Vattenfall, received further grant assistance from the IDA for the development of the world’s first fully commercial ocean
energy generator. Significant research and development work will be undertaken at the national wave energy test site at Belmullet in North Mayo.

After three years of testing its 30kW wave-power devices in Galway Bay, Wavebob plans to put its fourth-generation prototype in the water at the beginning of next year. It is currently developing a 250MW demonstration project with Vattenfall.

Experts believe that over 75% of the country’s electricity demand could be met through wave energy off our shores. The Government’s energy white paper in 2007 includes targets of 75MW generated from ocean energy sources by 2012 and 500MW by 2020, which will be connected to the national electricity grid.

The industry body, Marine Renewables Industry Association (MRIA), has stated that Ireland’s offshore renewable energy resources have significant development potential and are considered among the best in the world.

A marine research project that may predict storms, coastal flooding and further gas and oil exploration in Galway Bay is one of the key components of the Government’s smart economy strategy for the next ten years.

The so-called Smart Bay project, which is being supported by IBM and Intel, aims to establish a Marine Research, Test and Demonstration Platform in Galway Bay. The first plank of the programme
began a year ago with the installation of a series of buoys with sensors attached around the bay.

The data collected from the sensors read oceanographic data such as climate, wave and tide activity. It uploads data directly to the internet that will then be analysed using a range of technologies to produce and collate useful marine and coastal information for businesses, researchers, local authorities and beachgoers.

The project could benefit aquaculture, tourism, climate research, fishing and the environment. As well as gaining greater understanding into marine ecosystems, this data will be used for new oil and gas exploration, as well as giving advanced information on coastal flooding, storm surges and rising sea levels.

While only in pilot scheme right now, it will be developed into a full-scale national platform with upgraded fibre and wireless throughout 2010-11. The Smart Bay project is one of six points included in the Government’s new smart economy strategy to create a digital Ireland in 30,000 new jobs are predicted to be created in the technology sector through digital and clean technology over the next five to 10 years.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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