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January 21, 2010

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Athenry cottages

At a meeting of the Loughrea Guardians, a letter was read from Mr. J. Broderick, contractor, Athenry, requesting the Council to take over possession of the six cottages at Caheroyan which he had completed since September last.

Mr Flannery believed that the tenants for those cottages were at present living in very bad houses. It was a hardship on them to be kept so long out of the new houses.

Mr Sweeney (engineer) though it would not be advisable to let them into the new cottages until the houses adjoining them were completed.

It was decided to adjourn the matter for a fortnight, the engineer stating that he would be prepared to give a certificate in the meantime; the rents of all contracted cottages in the union to be fixed on the same date.

Woodford pump

Dr. Keary, in his report, stated that last week, for the third time, he reported the Woodford pump out of order. Since then, he has discovered quite accidentally that someone had gone through the form of repairing it. He had tried twice, and failed to get any water out of it.

He recommended that payment be absolutely withheld until the pump was so repaired that water could be got out of it and the well there properly cleaned, and lot left, as at present, liable to pollution by surface washings.

An order was made to serve notice on the contractor to attend to the matter at once, cheque to be withheld in the meantime.

Poisoning rumour

Fortunately the rumour is false, which was circulated a short time ago, that an attempt was made to poison a certain family at Casegar by placing poison in a tub from which they took water for drinking purposes. The analyst’s report states that there was no trace of any poison whatever in the water submitted to him for analysis.

Railway accident

One morning last week, the 4.25am train from Galway to Clifden dashed through the railway gates, which are adjacent to the Maam Cross station.

The morning was dark, and the lamp, which had been suspended from its usual place, was quenched.

It seems that the gatekeeper should have the gates open by the time the train was to pass through. However, he regrets the accident very much, and it is the first time there has been any neglect in his department.


Racecourse landmine

In the early hours of Wednesday morning, a land mine set in one of the stables at Ballybrit, the famous Galway racecourse, the property of the late Mr. Martin McDonogh, T.D., now owned by Mr Thomas McDonogh, CoC, UDC, HC, exploded.

The roof of the stable was damaged and the door was blown away, and other minor injuries were caused to the premises. The stable is one of a series of such buildings in which Mr. McDonogh’s breed mares and other racing stock are kept, but fortunately none of the animals were housed in the premises at the time.

Galway Gardaí are pursuing inquiries and developments are expected in the course of a day or two.

Hard labour

Two months with hard labour was the sentence imposed at Killimor Court on a boy from Killeen, Tynagh, who was stated to be the leader of a gang of other boys who held up younger boys on St. Stephen’s Day and robbed them of 6s. which they had collected while out in the village as ‘wren boys’.

Supt. Delaney, Loughrea, said there was no redeeming feature in the boy’s case. He was the leader of three other boys, who waylaid two younger boys who were coming along the road as ‘mummers’.

One of the three boys, in a statement, said that the defendant held up the boys and took whatever money they had collected from their pockets, believed to be about 6s. in all.

Pitch negotiations

Negotiations are proceeding between the Tuam GAA Club and the Tuam Race Company for the purchase of about five acres of the racecourse as a Gaelic field. It is understood that the outstanding issue is the price. The GAA Club has offered £500, and the company are claiming more.

There is an alternative field in the offing on the Bishop Street-Dunmore Road, but no decision has been definitely come to yet. It is practically certain, however, that a full-sized field with ample accommodation for big game spectators will be provided in Tuam this year.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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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Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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