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January 26, 2012



Date Published: {J}


Land grabbing

A Meelick correspondent reports that much indignation is felt in the district in regard to a local case of land grabbing. An acre of garden was purchased from the planter for £30 which had been in possession of a local fisherman for 30 years, who, however, was willing to give it up to the evicted tenant, and to whom people did not object as he had no other land.

When the purchase was effected, indignation was manifested in a large meeting of the surrounding tenantry, and on the following morning a crowd of men gathered upon the land with horses and ploughs They first ploughed the plot and the harrowed wheat into it. The grabber was shouted down and a bonfire was lighted in the evening in honour of the day’s work.

Labour trouble

Arising out of the postponement by the Urban Council til the end of March of consideration of the demands made by the newly-formed Labourers’ Association for higher wages and shorter hours, the men engaged in direct labour on roads left off work on Saturday morning. A circular setting out the men’s demands had also been left with the various employers in the town

The Chairman of the Labourers’ Association went to work as usual, but meeting with a hostile reception had to discontinue the delivery of bread for his employer, and then left. Nearly all the men engaged in Messrs. Flanagan’s and Conroy’s continued at their work, but those employed in scavenging of the town struck.

In some cases men, receiving the wages claimed, left their work in sympathy with the other strikers. A number of the traders of the town, as well as their assistants, have set themselves to meet the situation by delivering their own goods as well as by carting supplies from the railway station.


New school funds

At a public meeting at the Town Hall, Ballinasloe, ways and means of finding funds to run the big bazaar in May were discussed. Father Hughes, Adm., St. Michael’s, Ballinasloe, presided. The bazaar is in aid of funds for the new boys’ school.

Father Hughes said the new school would cost about £9,000 – £3,000 of which would have to be raised locally. Already, nearly £2,000 was paid out. It was hoped to have circulars issued setting out the various items of the elaborate programme, which would include the bazaar, and it was hoped to have a display of fireworks and perhaps, the Army band, as well as a prize scheme and the sale of tickets, with stalls, sales etc.

Kinvara fighting

“Kinvara is unique in having fighting on the streets and in the use of sticks on fair days,” said Mr. W.P. Cahill, D.J. at Kinvara Court on Friday, “but,” he added, “the people would have to make up their minds to fall into line with the rest of the county and the sooner they do this the better as heavier fines will be inflicted in future. People in this town are too ready to use sticks at almost every fair. The use of sticks is dangerous as it might mean the difference between a fine and more serious charge.

“At almost every court following a fair, we have cases here of street fighting,” said the Justice.

‘Flu epidemic

The ‘flu epidemic is tightening its grip in many districts. In the belt of country from Swinford to Kilkelly in Mayo, whole villages are in its grip and in many cases where whole families are down, the doors are left “on the latch” so that the neighbours can come in and attend to the wants of the stricken people. Castlebar area has up to the present been particularly free in this respect, but there are a few cases as well as a mild outbreak of typhoid.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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