Date Published: 30-Apr-2010
IT’S shaping up to be one whale of a Galway exiles party this weekend in the Big Apple . . . but Joe Kernan will be keeping his mind firmly focused on football matters when his charges take on New York in Gaelic Park on Sunday.
With 500 plus Galway supporters taking to the skies over the Atlantic for this Connacht championship preliminary round tie (4pm New York time, 9pm Irish), a good Irish hooley looks to be guaranteed.
Joe Kernan had his selection business seen to before Galway got airborne on Thursday from Dublin Airport, with Padraic Joyce making a welcome return to attack where he will wear the no. 14 jersey.
Joyce’s return, after a long lay-off due to Achilles tendon trouble, will be a major draw with the GAA fans in New York, in a week where Michael Meehan was also confirmed as Galway captain for the coming season – Joe Bergin is the vice-captain.
A number of players won’t be travelling to New York because of a clash with third level exams, including Sean Armstrong, Paul Conroy, David Reilly, Conor Healy and Gareth Bradshaw.
Michael Meehan is making steady progress following the knee injury he suffered against Kerry and he should be on course for a gradual return to action in three to four weeks time.
“Michael has to take things slowly and steadily with his knee injury. He won’t be rushing back but overall the prognosis is good – things could have been an awful lot worse,” said Kernan.
The Corofin duo of Kieran Fitzgerald and Alan Burke come into the full back line with Damien Burke moving to no. 7. Barry Cullinane partners Niall Coleman at midfield. Gary Sice and Joe Bergin flank Fiachra Breathnach on the ‘40’ while the full forward line of Eoin Concannon, Padraic Joyce and Nicky Joyce has plenty of scoring power.
“It will be a wonderful weekend for Galway people in New York especially with 900 booked in for the Friday night cruise on the Hudson River.
“But we have to retain our focus on the game itself. This is the start of the championship for us – we are over here to play a football match and to win it,” said Kernan.
Galway Football Board Chairman, John Joe Holleran, said that he was heartened by the level of support Galway would enjoy over the weekend in New York.
“It looks as if well over 500 people will travel to support the team and that’s encouraging in these tough economic times.
“Over 900 people will attend the function on the yacht in the Hudson Bay on Friday night. It will be a great social weekend but there’s a match as well and we want Galway to put in a good performance,” said Holleran.
The three deck Cornucopia Majesty, which hosts the party, is one of the world’s biggest yachts and is a venture organised by Dunmore exile Jimmy Glynn.
It will though be a ‘dry night’ for the Galway squad with their first few pints coming on Sunday night . . . hopefully after a Connacht semi-final place against either Mayo or Sligo on June 27 has been booked. Then the real business will begin.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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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