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Liam Mellows come up well short in first round defeat

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 29-Apr-2013

Loughrea 1-13

Liam Mellows 0-9

John McIntyre in Gort

LOUGHREA, the team which has little difficulty in reaching county finals but, frustratingly, has a major difficulty in winning them, served notice that they are intent on another long haul in the title race when emphatically dismissing Liam Mellows on Saturday evening.

In the first senior championship game to be played in Gort in over 50 years, both clubs didn’t allow the unfamiliar but well presented venue to impact on the competitiveness of this first round clash, at least initially, until the greater firepower and experience of last year’s finalists gradually underlined the gulf in quality between the teams.

The city men, with three minors in their starting line up, were particularly lively in the opening quarter and though they eventually trailed by 1-6 to 0-3 at the interval, it was far from a lost cause with wind advantage to come. Unfortunately, for Mellows, they never remotely threatened a successful comeback on the resumption.

A lack of penetration up front together with the failure of their high profile players, David Collins, John Lee, Tadhg Haran and Aonghus Callanan to have a sustained influence on the action didn’t help the team’s cause nor did a long scoring drought which extended to over 20 minutes.

Furthermore, they only managed four points from play over the hour despite having numerous chances, with corner forward Conor Hynes’ radar particularly malfunctioning, as Mellows ended up with 11 wides and no great prospects of a protracted championship campaign either.

To be honest, opponents Loughrea were much more vibrant than the small crowd probably anticipated. Despite a sixth county final defeat over the past decade last November, their resolve and commitment remains unflinching. Some of their old soldiers, like Damien McClearn and Gavin Keary looked as keen as ever, while Johnny Maher remains a handful on the edge of the square.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel. 

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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Archive News

Life is so easy when everyone else is wrong!

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 02-May-2013

 Dear Mum,

I know it’s a while ago now, but I’m sorry that I argued with you. I felt terrible as soon as I put the phone down, and even though we speak nearly every day, the fact that I’ve not yet apologised properly has been on my mind for weeks.

Maybe I just felt so comfortable with our chitty-chatting that I thought I’d get away with saying how George Osborne had managed to enrage me. I know that no matter how much I tried to explain my outrage, you would respond with classic Daily Mail stances.

I’m not suggesting that you are unable to form your own opinions. I remember well the dark and fearsome atmosphere in the family home decades ago when life was tough for the Adleys, and it looked like you might vote for the SDP, rather than the Conservatives.

Dad didn’t know what to make of it, but I was impressed. It was a huge opinion shift for a woman who had spent all her adult life campaigning and fundraising for the Tories.

As you know, I lost my interest in party politics when New Labour arrived on the scene. Even though it was great that their victory broke the sequence of four successive Conservative governments, Blair’s rebranding made my old socialist party sound like a jazzed-up washing powder.

Trouble was mum, you and I were coming at our conversation from completely separate perspectives. You sent me to Public School, so I know well the Camerons, Osbornes and Blairs of this world. I know them for the self-serving ignorant little twits they are, so when Osborne asked why the English should have to support a Dole culture like that enjoyed by child-killer Mick Philpott, I just lost it a little in the noodle.

However much I insisted that there is no Dole culture being enjoyed by people like Mick Philpott, because Mick Philpott is a crazy evil man, and that by making such a comparison Osborne was not only trying to scrape some political kudos from the bottom of a stinking barrel, but also, in the process, demonising all other families on the Dole, you kept referring to the way Philpott had exploited all his women to increase his Welfare payments.

I’m sorry that I lost it, but that sounded so Daily Mail, and I can only take so much of George Osborne’s knee-jerk bigotry. You see, despite the way the English middle classes depict themselves as quintessentially conservative with a small ‘c’, there are few people I’ve ever met more conservative than the Irish.

When they’re not comfortable with their own status quo, they borrow someone else’s and stick to that like a mouse in a glue trap. To satisfy this appetite for conservatism, Ireland actually has two Daily Mails: one of them is called the Irish Independent.

So no, I didn’t mean to offend you, and yes, you’re right, Philpott was just doing it for the money and the power, but isn’t that central to Conservative policy?

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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Archive News

Deserted hotel to be turned into a community centre

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 14-May-2013


City planners have given the green light for the transformation of a deserted hotel in Doughiska to a community centre, with multi-denominational worship area.

The DRA Development Company Ltd (Doughiska, Roscam, Ardaun) has been granted permission for a change of use of the hotel – formerly known as the Racing Lodge, Amber Lodge and Blackrock House Hotel – for use as community, educational and pastoral facilities.

Planners have ordered that all uses of the building must be strictly ‘not for profit’.

The plan – which will serve a population of more than 10,000 and almost 40 nationalities – is now contingent on the purchase of the hotel for €520,000 from owner Stephen Harris.

The project will include the refurbishment and reconfiguration of the existing ground and first floor levels to provide general purpose accommodation for the community, while there will be shower and changing facilities in the basement. There will be seating for a congregation of up to 270.

Planners attached a condition to the permission which stipulates that “all uses associated with this community, education and pastoral facility shall be allied to community use and shall be operated on a not-for-profit basis, these terms of usage also applies to all sub-letting arrangements”.

The community group is understood to have already paid a deposit to Mr Harris – the developer behind the collapsed Harrmack Developments.

An independent ‘donor’ has provided a €100,000 interest-free loan, the City Council has committed to €200,000 and the Galway Diocese has expressed an interest in providing 50% of the funding for the project, in return for a lease which will guarantee Mass times.

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