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International and local acts for Galway Early Music Festival



Date Published: 09-May-2012

Galway’s own Cois Cladaigh Chamber Choir will be among the attractions in this year’s Galway Early Music Festival which will take place next weekend, May 17-20.

Cois Cladaigh, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, is a perfect act for the Early Music Festival, as it specialises in European music from the late 15th and early 16th centuries, while also performing a formidable repertoire of contemporary choral music.

The choir’s Galway concert, on Thursday next, May 17, will feature “a mixture of church and non-church music – music from the church and from the house”, according to its director, Brendan O’Connor. “There will be Italian, English, a bit of French and a bit of Spanish thrown in.”

Cois Cladaigh has a very busy programme lined up for the year, with a lot done and more to do, according to its director.

In February the group performed a free city concert under guest director Donal Doherty from Derry. It has also hosted visiting choirs from Dublin and Derry, while last weekend members travelled to Cork for that city’s International Choral Festival. Later this summer the choir will embark on a tour of Clare Island, Inishbofin and Inis Oírr. There will also be appearances at Galway Arts Festival and Galway Jazz Festival.

Cois Cladaigh boasts 42 members on a good night, according to Brendan, explaining that most members are local, there are also people who come from Athlone, Limerick, Ennis, Roscommon Town, Ballyhaunis and Westport. The group rehearses from 8-10pm one night a week, and then socialise afterwards.

“We have a very faithful group of people and because they have been together from such a long time, they have a wide repertoire, so we’ll be able to get it to the stage pretty quickly,” he says of the Early Music Festival concert.

Some of the church songs that will be aired in Galway were performed in Cork last weekend, when Cois Cladaigh took part in a Mass during the International Choral Festival.

Last November the choir was invited to perform at President Higgins’ inauguration in Dublin Castle and as a result of that, has been invited to sing at the International Day of Commemoration, also in Dublin Castle on July 8, to mark the contribution of Irish men and women who have died in past wars and on peacekeeping missions. Also in July, to mark Dublin’s nomination as European City of Science, Brendan will combine his love of science and music, when he will lecture during the day and then lead Cois Cladaigh at night in a collaborative music event with American vulcanologist John Delaney, harpist Kathleen Loughnane and piper Eugene Lamb.

But next up for the choir is the Early Music Festival with its theme of Social Harmony: When Tradition and High Art Meet, something Cois Cladaigh’s programme will embrace.

French musician Francois Lazarevitch will continue the theme with 1000 years of Bagpipe in France on Friday, May 18 at 1pm in The Chapel of the Poor Clares. That musical extravaganza will showcase the bagpipe in all its diversity and outline the role it has played in France’s musical and cultural heritage.

Other musical highlights include Les Musicians de Saint Julien and Francois Lazarevitch as they perform Le Berger Poet / The Shepherd Poet at St Nicholas Collegiate Church at 8.30pm. This will feature a selection of French pastoral music of the 18 century and intimate pieces for flute, musette and hurdy-gurdy.

For more, read 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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