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June 10, 2010

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Tramcar struggle

A reliable correspondent sends us an account of a sensational struggle on one of our local trams, which certainly had an exceedingly ugly side. On an evening some time ago, as he travelled to Salthill with a friend from abroad, the latter missed a half-sovereign from his pocket after having paid for tickets.

Suspecting that he had given it in mistake for sixpence to the conductor, he demanded he should turn out all the money in his bag. The conductor showed his money, but it did not contain the missing half-sovereign, which, our correspondent alleges was found concealed in the conductor’s mouth, and only displayed after a sharp struggle, during which the driver came forward and raised his whip in defence of his companion.

Sheriff’s sale

On Saturday the machinery, type, etc., of the ‘Western News’ office was sold on the instructions of the Sheriff, by Mr. E. Rothwell, auctioneer, Ballinasloe. The warrant under which the goods were seized was for £1,230 7s. 6d., being judgment in a libel action at the suit of Mr. N. O’Carroll, Master of Ballinasloe Workhouse, against Mr. Wm. Hastings, proprietor of the ‘Western News’. There was some bidding for the different lots offered, which were in each case purchased by the judgment creditor.

Rent demand

A deputation of the labourers from Athenry waited on the District Court on Saturday, requesting a reduction of rent. Mr. McDonogh gave notice that he would move a reduction at next meeting.

At the passing of this Labourers’ Act in 1906, members of Parliament preached off many platforms that these cottages would not exceed 1s. per week, whereas it would require 2s. 6d. a week to save the ratepayers.

No blame can be attached to the sites committee in Athenry, so far as the Local Government Board arbitrator and his high award is concerned, as he came and went without anyone being apprised of his visit. He gave the full amount the Act allowed, £60 per statute acre.


Playful monsters

Large shoals of basking sharks (Liabhan Greine) are now frequently seen off the Southern Connemara coast at Lettermore and Lettermullen. Reports of their presence also came from the Aran Islands. At Lettermore and other places off the mainland, they have done a great deal of damage to nets and other fishing gear.

A fisherman called Flaherty, from Lettermullen, had a thrilling experience a few days ago. When he was rowing ashore with a load of weed one of the monsters rose within a few feet of the currach. Accidentally, he struck it with the oar and immediately it leaped clear of the water, nearly swamping the frail craft with the resultant splash. For a few minutes, Flaherty was in a perilous position until another currach which was following, witnessed his plight and came to his assistance.

It is many years since the monsters have been seen in such numbers on the western coast. For the making of ‘Man of Aran’ actors and photographers had to travel to Inishbofin, to find one. Local people are at a loss to account for the sudden return of the monsters.

Office robbery

A robbery took place in the farmyard office of Mr. R.M. Burke, Tohermore, Tuam, on Wednesday night last. A sum of £3 is missing. It is believed a key was used by the thief, as he did not make a forced entry into the office, but the cash-box was forced open and left there with the balance of the money it contained amounting to £7 or £8 more.

Mr. Burke was away in Dublin since the previous Monday. The office was locked in the usual way by the clerk on Wednesday and on the following morning when he opened the door and entered the office, he found that the cash-box had been forced open. The Gardaí are making close inquiries into the affair.

Electorate figures

In the Galway constituency, there are 111,000 available electors in a population of 169,366 inhabitants. The figures present a striking contrast to those of a century ago at the general election in 1832. At that time in Galway County, there were 3,057 voters in a population of 394,887 inhabitants. In the Galway Town Constituency, which is now merged in the county, the electorate numbered 2,062 in a population of 35,150 inhabitants.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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Moment of truth for Galway U21s

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 01-May-2013

 Dara Bradley

FOUR matches, four victories, one after extra-time, a Connacht title, four goals and 56 points scored, four goals and 30 points conceded, a heap of wides from their opponents, sinews strained, buckets of sweat and blood spilled.

It’s been one hell of a roller coaster campaign for the Galway U21 footballers but all that will be forgotten come 7pm on Saturday evening at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick when they cross swords with Cork for the honour of being crowned Cadbury’s All-Ireland champions.

Six weeks ago as Galway set out on their 2013 U21 journey against Sligo in Tuam, the May Bank Holiday weekend final was always the target. They took each game as it came and now it has come down to this – 60 minutes of football to decide who the best U21 team in the land is.

And while there were times along the way when Alan Flynn’s charges looked like they’d fall off the wagon, against Mayo, against Roscommon and again against Kildare, Galway showed resilience and mental strength to time and again bounce back and defy the odds. Often down, never out. It is that perseverance that will stand to Galway in the heat of battle this weekend.

Cork has won an All-Ireland at this grade more times than any other county since the competition’s inception in the 1960s. The most recent of their 11 titles was won in 2009, and they’ve claimed a three-in-a-row of Munster titles with a defeat of Tipperary last month.

Interestingly, five players – Alan Cronin, Jamie Wall, John O’Rourke, Tom Clancy and Damien Cahalene, the son of former inter-county player Niall – that are expected to start this Saturday lined out in each of the last three Munster finals, so they have experience of playing in the pressure cauldrons.

Galway aren’t as experienced. True, a couple of players already have a All-Ireland medal from 2011 – a year Galway beat Cork in the semi-final – but there are a lot of young guns in the panel. Of the squad of 33, about 19 of them are young enough to play U21 next year as well, while eight or nine of the starting 15 will be eligible next year, although you wouldn’t think it given the levelheadedness they’ve displayed throughout the past six weeks.

Galway had plenty to spare over a hapless Sligo outfit in Tuam the first day out, winning by 16 points, which didn’t flatter them, but old rivals Mayo in the following game at the same venue was a different story. After a tense and tight hour of fare, Galway took the spoils after showing immense character to dig it out by two points in a dogfight, 0-9 to 0-7.

Fighting qualities were needed again in the Connacht final in Hyde Park against Roscommon – Galway were minutes from being knocked out of the championship when a heroic comeback, three points in as many minutes from Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s Shane Walsh, rescued extra-time, a period which Galway never looked like losing.

The Tribesmen took their chances when they presented themselves, a trait that also saw them knock-out Kieran McGeeney’s highly rated and much fancied Kildare outfit in a thriller at Tullamore a fortnight ago.

The Lilywhites were wasteful, true, but that’s their problem, and Galway just had too much natural footballing class to take their chances and emerge with a deserved five points, 2-10 to 2-5 victory, despite 19 wides from the vanquished.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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GalwayÕs U-13 and U-16 sides both through to national finals

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 14-May-2013

Mike Rafferty

It proved to be a very successful weekend for Galway Schoolboy soccer as two representative sides qualified for national finals at the end of the month.

It was drama all the way in Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday afternoon as the U-13 side drew 1-1 with the Midlands League, but came through the dreaded penalty shootout to prevail by 5-4.


Meanwhile the U-16 side had to travel to Cork, where they emerged 2-1 winners following a very impressive performance. For the second game in succession, it was the goals of the Connolly brothers that proved crucial to both team’s success.

Andrew lines out with the U-16 side and he notched both their scores in terrific away win, while younger brother Aaron was on target for the U-13 side and also converted the winning spot kick.

Mervue United captured a third consecutive Connacht Youth Cup with an impressive 4-1 win over Castlebar Celtic in Milebush on Saturday.


Galway League 1

Midlands League 1

(AET-Galway won 5-4 on pens)

A low scoring contest might indicate few chances, but one has to credit two outstanding defences whose splendid covering and marshalling of the front men was a joy to watch.

Galway’s Oisin McDonagh and Adam Rooney never put a foot wrong in central defence, while full-backs Byron Lydon and Matthew Tierney were equally efficient in defence, and getting forward with regular forays.

Further afield, they matched the visitors in terms of intensity and creativity and in the second half in particular should have pulled away from a Midlands side that won the U-12 national title last year.

The visitors certainly offered the greater attacking threat in the opening half, but found home custodian Mark Greaney in top form. Galway’s best chance fell to Joshua Quinlivan, but he pulled an effort wide of the target.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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