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May 13, 2010



Date Published: {J}

Clonbrock ‘strike’

The emergencymen are still engaged at Clonbrock. The armed garrison is still retained. It is a shame to have to announce that a few Killure men have weakened the workers’ cause by their action.

They have worked in conjunction with those who have deprived the labourer of fair wages. Even while a settlement was pending, Killure labourers have been procured to strengthen the landlord’s forces. It is not the first time that Killure has defied and betrayed the Nationalists of Ahascragh. Their race with the rent to the rent office is still remembered.

Lahiff Estate, Gort

The estate of Mr James B Lahiff, J.P., Gort, is not yet settled, and the people of the town have realised that unless they had a strong organisation, they would continue to be at the mercy of the landlord, who, in the absence of organised public opinion, could do as he wished.

Wherever the Town Tenants’ League is properly organised, the tenants are as safe in their houses as if guaranteed by Parliament.

There are many typical cases of hardship in our towns. For years, the landlord extracts rent from tenants. The houses get into disrepair and the landlord refuses to put them in order.

The public health authorities will not compel the landlord to do his duty towards the tenant, nor will the public health authority themselves put the places in repair as they are entitled to do so under the Housing of the Working Classes Act, and charge the landlord with the expense.

Mr. Lahiff has not yet agreed to sell his town property, and he selfishly deprives the Town Tenants of the benefit of the Land Act.

Guardians adjourn

The meeting of the Galway Board of Guardians was adjourned on Wednesday.

Mr. J. Lee: “It is with much regret I propose that the sympathy of this Board be extended to Queen Alexandra and the other members of the Royal Family, and not only them, but the whole British Empire, of whatever creed or political opinion, on the loss they have sustained through the death of King Edward VII.

“He was the greatest benefactor of Ireland that ever occupied the English throne, and the greatest king that ever ruled over the destinies of a nation. He was popular in every court in Europe, and respected in all parts of the civilised world. I propose that this meeting adjourn as a mark of respect to his memory.”


Factory accident

Judge Shannon dismissed a claim of Laurence Mulvanny, fitter, 1 Old Court, Old Bawn, Tallaght, at Dublin Circuit Court for compensation at the rate of 30s per week from December 7, 1934, for injuries received while working as a riveter for the Irish Sugar Co. at their factory at Tuam on August 23 last.

He received 30s per week until November 16. He had continued to work until October 5, when Dr. Waldron, who was attending him, advised him to take a rest.

Dr. Leyden attended him in Dublin from October 5 until November 16, when Dr. Robinson recommended him to resume work. He was then given work which, he said, was too heavy for him.

Mr. C. Casey (instructed by Mr. C. M. O’Brien) for applicant; Mr. J. P. Murnane (instructed by Messrs. Hoey and Denning) for respondents.

Dr. A. Channee, who examined applicant on April 26, said he considered him fully fit to do his ordinary work as a fitter.

Judge Shannon said the weight of medical evidence governed his decision, but he allowed applicant four weeks’ compensation at 30s per week from December 6.

Record crop

Mild weather during the early part of the year has resulted in a blaze of blossom throughout Connemara at the present time. Wherever fruit trees grow, the air is heavy with the scent of flowers and on the wide stretches of bogland, the yellow-gold of the gorse spreads out like a burning sea.

Everything that bears fruit will be heavy laden in the mellow autumn of the year, and all the signs point to a record crop for the fortunate growers of fruit.

Mayoral salary

When the old Galway Corporation was dissolved in 1841, Edmond Blake, a member of one of the Twelve Tribes, had been Mayor for ten years; but, although he was entitled to an annual salary of £300, he never had been paid a penny of it.

In full settlement of all his claims against the Corporation, however, Mr. Blake agreed to accept the Civic Sword and Great Mace, which thereupon passed into his keeping. In 1908, he died at the age of 92, bequeathing the relics of Galway’s greatness to his family.

Some time ago, it seems, the Civic Sword and Great Mace were offered to the National Museum, which refused to purchase them so now they are being put up for sale in London. It seems such a pity that such historic objects should be allowed to leave Ireland, and to fall into the hands of any “parvenu” who cares to pay the price for them.

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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