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Jive, quickstep or waltz – if you like music you can learn how to dance

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Date Published: {J}

Eveybody with any kind of an ear for music can dance, it might just take a little practice – that’s the firm belief of Niall Doorhy, who is offering social dance classes around County Galway.

A native of Loughrea but now living in Tuam, Niall was born into a family that had music running through their veins. Niall’s grandfather Paddy Doorhy was an accomplished fiddle player and played with the first Ballinakill Ceili Band.

Niall’s Dad, also Paddy Doorhy, played drums and toured extensively with many bands and noted musicians. Niall’s sister is singer/songwriter Linda Welby who stormed the Irish country music charts in 2009 with her debut album A Story To Tell.

Niall gets his dancing inspiration from falling in love with the music and heritage that has been part of his life as far back as he can remember.

“I am lucky to be born into a very musical family. There was always music in my home. Local musicians would gather at our house and music would be played till daylight. I would waltz in the smallest of spaces with my sisters or my mother.”

Niall has been dancing for many years and because of his patient manner and ability to make dancing look easy he has adapted a way that brings unconfident people to dance for the first time in their lives.

“I teach Jive, Waltz, Foxtrot, Quickstep and various other social dances that you will see at weddings and other events all around the country. I also teach couples who may be getting married and are daunted by the prospect of taking to the floor at their weddings. I teach for two hours a night. It’s great fun and a great way to exercise and stay fit.

“My method is very simple; this is not a course, these are weekly training classes. The more you come the better you get. You do not need to book and you don’t need a partner. You also pay as you go. I teach both men and women in all the dance styles.

“It is my belief that everyone can dance. If you like music then you will learn to dance. The basics are very simple to learn, after that it’s up to you how much you want to practice. The only difference between a good dancer and someone who can’t dance is practice.”

Niall began his teaching career last year in The Well, Moate, Co Westmeath one evening a week and after only a month of classes the attendances got so large he was forced to open a second evening of dance classes in the same venue.

People were just flocking through the doors, it was very nervy at first but then I made the decision to extend the classes to a second night and thankfully it worked. I ran dance classes there all year”.

The 36 year old, who now has over 4,100 friends on his Facebook page, thinks that Ireland is a changing country with people looking for new ways of enjoyment and socialising.

“Alcohol, Gyms and clubbing are all expensive ways of enjoyment. Dancing is for free and it’s a natural icebreaker. You can hop on a floor in any venue and people will see that you are enjoying yourself. Ireland has suffered recessions in the past in those times people took to the dance floors as a means for socialising and enjoyment. When we had no money we had music and dance. At that time a lot of children would have learned to dance through their parents but sadly in the latter years this almost died out and today most people now rely on dance teachers to help them take to the floor.”

He stresses that dancing is a great opportunity for people to meet and to make friends and try something different. It can open up new doors for people socially.

Venues at which Niall will hold classes include;

The Ard Ri House Hotel, Tuam, starting Wednesday, September 15; Fallon’s Bar, Ballygar, starting Friday, September 17; McCarthy’s Bar and Lounge, Kilbeacanty, Gort starting Sunday, September 19, 7:30pm – 9:30pm. All week night classes are from 8pm – 10pm and the cost of class is €10 per night.

For more information call Niall on 0879181863 or on facebook: Niall Doorhy Dancer.

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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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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