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Imaginative Fred take adventurous route with their toe-tapping pop

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Date Published: {J}

By Jimi McDonnell

The Galway Arts Festival gets a burst of colourful pop when Fred play Róisín Dubh on Saturday, July 17. The Cork based band won a lot of new fans with their last album Go God Go (2008), with singles from the record enjoying extensive airplay. The quintet are currently working on the eagerly awaited follow-up.

“Since January we’ve been writing and demoing,” says lead singer Joe O’Leary. “We’re quite slow with it, as per usual. Nothing too strange there! We got off to a great start but we’re up and running again [after slowing down]. That’s basically what we’re concentrating on this year. We’re doing a small bit of gigging but not a whole lot.

“We write collaboratively,” he adds. “So it’s always ten times slower than you’d write on your own. But then the results, we like to think, are better. The idea is to go recording the album towards the autumn.”

Shortly after the release of Go God Go, piano player Eibhlin O’Gorman left Fred. She was replaced by Carolyn Goodwin, who has slotted seamlessly into the band’s line-up.

“She’s nearly in two years!” Joe says about Carolyn. “Things change and suddenly they’re normal again a few years later. Carolyn’s writing now as well, so that’s interesting because she brings a whole different aspect.”

Joe is looking forward to airing some new material in public, having been confined to the studio for the past few months.

“The fun is the gigging,” he says. “When you get out and a play a new song – you can’t beat that. We did a couple on our German tour in April. We did some great cities – Berlin, Munich, Hamburg and Cologne.”

Fred’s trip to the German capital was particularly memorable.

“It was mad, we were there the night of the neo-Nazi riots,” Joe recalls. “We were kept away from it; the police are well organised. The Nazis kind of took over May Day; kind of made it a neo-Nazi day – I don’t understand the difference between Neos and Nazis; are they not all the same?

“They just go around break a few shop windows, burn a few cars,” he continues. “In return they’re given a good old showering and battering by the cops. It was good to be around that energy!”

Joe, Jamin, Carolyn, Jamie and Justin will be in cracking form when Fred make a welcome return to the Róisín Dubh for the Arts Festival. They are an irresistibly upbeat band when they play live, a group you can enjoy without having to know all their tunes.

“We haven’t played Galway in a good while,” says Joe. “Hopefully this’ll be a rocking one. I’m looking forward to being out on the road again to be honest. We’ve had the heads down a good bit, stuck in rooms looking at computer screens. It’ll be more interesting being in a big room in front of loads of people!”

Catchy singles like Running and Skyscrapers from the album Go God Go saw Fred get some well-deserved exposure. They were invited to play on-air by Ryan Tubridy, Tony Fenton and Ray D’Arcy. Does Joe feel under pressure to deliver more radio-friendly fare?

“The honest answer is no,” he says. “You don’t feel pressure but you don’t want to let it slip. The most pressure we put on ourselves is just to write a decent song. Even if it’s in a different style or it’s not radio friendly – as long as it’s decent.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

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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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