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Home joy at last for United



Date Published: 28-Aug-2007

GALWAY United handed their manager the perfect birthday present on Friday night when they finally recorded a win at home thanks to second half strikes from Wes Charles and David Cooke.

Tony Cousins was due to blow out the candles on the cake on Saturday, and he will have done so with a puffed out chest after watching his side record a deserved victory over Sligo Rovers, only the third time United have beaten their provincial rivals in 16 games, a run that stretches back eight years.
Charles and Cooke on target against Sligo
The fightback against Drogheda, and in particular the second half display against UCD two weeks ago, suggested United were a far better team than their league position suggested.

However those displays came away from home, and it is their home results — without a win in 11 games before Friday — which has seen United involved in a season-long struggle at the foot of the table.

It doesn’t get any easier for Cousins’ side — their next three games are Cork (A), Drogheda (H) and Shamrock Rovers (A) — and no one is suggesting for one minute that they are now safe, but with that winless burden now removed, they can kick-on and realistically aim for a mid-table finish.

While it was Charles and Cooke who got the goals, the foundations for Friday night’s win were…..

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

Drinks battle brewing as kettle sales go off the boil



Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

You’d have thought there might have been three certainties in Irish life – death, taxes and the cup of tea – but it now seems that our post-tiger sophistication in endangering the consumption of the nation’s second favourite beverage.

Because with all of our new-fangled coffee machines, percolators, cappuccino and expresso makers, sales of the humble kettle are falling faster than our hopes of a write-off on the promissory note.

And even when we do make tea, we don’t need a tea pot – it’s all tea bags these days because nobody wants a mouthful of tea leaves, unless they’re planning to have their fortune told.

Sales of kettles are in decline as consumers opt for fancy coffee makers, hot water dispensers and other methods to make their beverages – at least that’s the case in the UK and there’s no reason to think it’s any different here.

And it’s only seems like yesterday when, if the hearth was the heart of every home, the kettle that hung over the inglenook fireplace or whistled gently on the range, was the soul.

You’d see groups gathered in bogs, footing turf and then breaking off to boil the battered old kettle for a well-earned break.

The first thing that happened when you dropped into someone’s home was the host saying: “Hold on until I stick on the kettle.”

When the prodigal son arrived home for the Christmas, first item on the agenda was a cup of tea; when bad news was delivered, the pain was eased with a cuppa; last thing at night was tea with a biscuit.

The arrival of electric kettles meant there was no longer an eternal search for matches to light the gas; we even had little electric coils that would boil water into tea in our cup if you were mean enough or unlucky enough to be making tea for one.

We went away on sun holidays, armed with an ocean of lotion and a suitcase full of Denny’s sausages and Barry’s Tea. Spanish tea just wasn’t the same and there was nothing like a nice brew to lift the sagging spirits.

We even coped with the arrival of coffee because for a long time it was just Maxwell House or Nescafe granules which might have seemed like the height of sophistication – but they still required a kettle.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Archive News

Gilligan lands Thyestes Chase as Jadanli returns to form in spectacular fashion



Date Published: 31-Jan-2013

Galway’s most successful trainer of recent years emerged from a prolonged spell in the doldrums in spectacular fashion last week when stable star Jadanli triumphed in the €80,000 Goffs Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, one of the most prestigious handicap chases in the Irish racing calendar.

Craughwell-based Paul Gilligan had endured a lengthy lean spell since the heady victories at the Cheltenham and Fairyhouse festivals in the Spring of 2010, but the ex-invalid Jadanli had him beaming with delight as he floored odds of 25/1 when hanging on by a head from another long-shot, Tarquinius, in a frantic finish to the annual showpiece at the Kilkenny venue.

It was Jadanli’s second time in the big race limelight as he had won one of the most important novice chases of the season, the Power Gold Cup, at Fairyhouse three years ago after overcoming a serious tendon injury.

“He’s had plenty of problems. Any time you get a horse back after problems, it’s an achievement in itself. He came back from leg trouble to win the Power Gold Cup, too,” reflected a thrilled Gilligan.

The only Grade 1 winner in the field and, at 11, the veteran contender, Jadanli put a hugely disappointing run in the Welsh Grand National in his previous outing behind him in dramatic fashion when taking up the running heading to the second-last fence and going clear over the last.

But it required all his battling qualities to edge out the gallant runner-up after a nerve-tingling battle up the home straight. A mistake from Tarquinius at the third-last had given Jadanli and Andrew Lynch the upper hand and he just managed to hold on by a head from the renewed challenge of Gordon Elliott’s grey in an absorbing finish to the three mile, one furlong contest in testing conditions.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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