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Haven of canine comfort for dogs waiting to be adopted



Date Published: {J}

Galway’s Town Hall Theatre will host a special screening of the classic Disney animation All Dogs Go to Heaven next week to raise funds for the Connemara-based dog rescue Madra.

Thanks to the good work of the volunteer organisation, all dogs aren’t going to heaven as soon as they otherwise might but new arrivals at Camus could be forgiven for thinking they had, given the quality of care and facilities provided by the shelter.

Madra – which is short for Muts Anonymous Dog Rescue and Adoption – is the Ritz Carlton of dog rescues. Dogs are brought to the shelter from a variety of sources and are assessed on arrival, after which they are treated by a vet. They are vaccinated, wormed, microchipped and neutered and undergo a process called temperament testing.

Residents are housed in purpose-built, insulated kennels with adjoining outdoor runs and overhead infrared lamps to keep them toasty on long winter nights. The dogs are walked individually a minimum of three times a day and the kennels are supervised around the clock.

Despite the plush facilities, the organisation recognises that a species that craves affection and that thrives as part of a human pack has needs that cannot be fulfilled within the confines of the shelter. Accordingly Madra has a creditable record in finding homes for its residents.

Under the management of registered dog trainers Marina Fiddler and Tara Nic Dhiarmada, Madra finds suitable homes for rescued dogs that come into its care within an average of one month of arrival and re-homed more than 600 dogs last year.

“It’s just not right to keep a dog in the kennels for longer than six months and we have a cut-off point at that stage when we make a really big push for a dog to be re-homed or at least make sure it gets a break in a foster home,” says Marina.

“They can get institutionalised and left behind and could be here for years if they stay longer than that, so we will try to find a home for them in the UK or make a huge effort to advertise looking for a home on message boards or the internet.”

Certain breeds can be harder to find suitable homes for than others and there have been a few characters at the shelter that have ended up staying for longer than the six-month cut-off point. Two Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Dillie and Matilda, were residents for more than a year but enjoyed regular breaks in loving foster homes during that time.

Finding suitable homes for dogs at Madra and matching the right dog with the right owner can be a fun process that Marina says she enjoys.

“It’s like playing matchmaker with my friends,” she laughed. “It’s kind of fun. We do home checks to assess suitability but there are no rigid rules and nothing is ruled out, whether it’s an apartment or a home with no garden or fencing.”

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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