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May 19, 2010

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

Tribune’s Nationalism

Speaking at the meeting of the Loughrea Town Tenants’ Association on Sunday last, Mr. John Roche, M.P., declared that the Connacht Tribune was the only genuine Nationalist newspaper now printed in the County of Galway.

It had done invaluable service for the Irish Party and the Irish people since its inauguration a year ago, and every Nationalist in the County should give it his whole-hearted support (applause).

He hoped that the reports of their branch meetings would not be sent to any other of the so-called Nationalist newspapers, but that the people would stand by the paper which had stood by them so well (applause).

Farms division

The land question at Athenry is assuming an agreeable aspect. Quite recently, two farms of one hundred acres and one hundred and seventy-five acres, have been handed over for division amongst the tenants. The former is in the Browne estate, and is known as Glove’s farm, and the latter is on the Graigue Abbey estate.

Trustees were appointed on behalf of the tenants to take over the management of the farms pending the division of them by the Estates Commissioners.

Clear out

At Dunmore Petty Sessions, a tramp named Patrick Donnellan was charged in custody for drunkenness at Dunmore on the previous day. Constable Manning, who prosecuted, stated that complaints had been made to the police that the defendant had been annoying a trader in the town.

Defendant, in reply to the bench, stated that he had no money, He would leave the town if he got a chance.


“Clear out of the town, immediately,” directed the chairman, in discharging the defendant.

Prospects of peace

For a considerable time past, the land agitation at Athenry has caused much turmoil and the district was in a very disturbed state, Extra police were stationed in the district, and in consequence the people were heavily taxed. Now that the land question is on the eve of settlement, it is hoped that that part of the country will again become the quiet and peaceable district it was previous to the agitation being started.


Good Friday drinks

At Derreen District Court on Friday last, before Mr Sean MacGiollarnaith, D.J., Patrick Joyner, licensed publican, Barnaderg, was prosecuted for a breach of the licensing laws on Good Friday, April 9 – Supt. Cronin prosecuted, and Mr. F. Meagher, solr. appeared for the defendant.

Guard Conlon said he visited the premises at 10.15pm and found ten men there. One of them ran away. The men gave different excuses that they had been there to purchase tobacco, cigarettes and groceries.

Mr. Meagher said that the offence was admitted. Three of the men found on the premises had been working for Mr. Joyner and the others went in after them. They did not get a drink. The defendant was not long in possession of the premises and up to this, the licence bore a good record, and he (Mr. Meagher) asked the Justice not to spoil that record by endorsing the licence on this occasion.

The Justice said the offence was a very serious one owing to the fact that it was committed on Good Friday. However, owing to the good record up to this, he would not endorse the licence, but fine defendant the substantial sum of £2 to remind him he must be more careful in future.

Nine men were fined 2s 6d each, while the man who ran away was fined 5s.

Whiskey guarantee

The Trade Department, Local Government, doubtful of the age of the whiskey supplied by contract to the Ballinasloe Mental Hospital, have asked for a guarantee of the age of the whiskey supplied at £7 per dozen bottles and also asked to be supplied with a sample of the whiskey.

The discussion on the query was the subject of some humorous passages at the Hospital Committee meeting. An acknowledgment of samples of the whiskey and margarine supplied to the Department was read by the R.M.S. and the committee decided to leave the testing to the Department.

Sewerage delays

The delay in having a start made with the Tuam sewerage scheme is causing concern in the town owing to the very dangerous state of the existing sewerage. At a meeting of Tuam Waterworks Committee, members felt the delay is a decided menace to public health.

The committee expressed their fear for the effects of the present state of the sewerage, especially during the summer months, and called on the Minister for Local Government and the consulting engineer to expedite matters and have the plans completed which were definitely promised on March 23 last.

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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Archive News

Rory takes on fresh challenge as lauded DruidMurphy returns

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 03-Apr-2013


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Archive News

After twenty years Sarah lands dream role in Druid

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 04-Apr-2013

 Sarah Lynch has been living and breathing Druid Theatre since she wangled a job as a runner fresh out of college two decades ago at age 20. After holding down just about every role imaginable there – from company manager to director to stage manager – her appointment as general manager to one of the country’s most prestigious theatre companies last October seemed almost inevitable.

Because once she had tasted the fruit of Druid she was going nowhere . . . and going everywhere. Sarah’s tenure at Druid since 1998 has brought her on a journey that has reached just about every corner of the globe and almost all the islands off Ireland in between.

After graduating from Limerick with a degree in French and English Sarah spent a stint teaching in a secondary school. But it immediately became clear that wasn’t the road for her.

“One thing I was always certain of was I’d be involved in the performing arts, whether on stage or off stage or behind it. The immediate reaction of the audience is such a buzz,” she grins.

Her earliest memory was of her grandfather, Bud Clancy, on stage with his trumpet and dance band. “I must have been three or four because he died shortly after that. But it never left me. I got bitten by the bug. I started playing the trumpet. A friend of my grandfather taught me how to play and I was with the Limerick brass and reed orchestra known as the Boherbuoy Band, I was just a kid with all these adults.”

She learned to play other brass instruments such as the French horn and cornet before turning her hand to the guitar and song-writing. “I taught myself guitar. Sometime I tinker on the piano and I think that’s my next instrument. I love percussion. You can’t get me off a drum kit for love or money. Many is the night I’ve made a fool of myself on one of those,” she laughs.

In 2010, Sarah released her debut album, Letter to Friends, which was launched by playwright Enda Walsh, whose short play, Lynndie’s Gotta Gun, she had directed as part of the 2008 Galway Arts Festival.

The collection of songs was produced by Wayne Sheehy, a musician she had met when opening for Juliet Turner on Turner’s Burn the Black Suit tour.

“I could probably have done it ten years ago but for the manic schedule with Druid and touring so much,” she reflects. “I haven’t done much with it since. I used to play gigs in the Róisín Dubh. The bigger twin is theatre at the moment. The bigger twin bullies the other twin. You don’t get much time to do music.”

After fleeing the classroom, Sarah knocked on the door of a former college mate, Andrew Flynn, now with the Galway Youth Theatre, who kindly offered up his couch. He also managed to get her a job as a runner – the person who does everything from making tea to helping with props – on a Druid production of As You Like It.

“I remember working with Mark O’Halloran, I had great fun with him. There was Helen Norton, it was Maeliosa Stafford directing. He’s coming back to the Druid after ten years to star in Tom Murphy’s A Whistle in the Dark. He left me as a runner, now I’m general manager.”

Much of Sarah’s time behind the scenes at Druid has been spent on the road. In 2009 alone, Druid toured to Australia, Canada, the UK and the USA presenting 364 performances in 26 venues.

Indeed so much of life has been out spent living of a suitcase that she gave up her base in Galway to move back in with her family in Caherdavin, on the Galway side of Limerick city.

The tour of the Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh was so long the crew were instructed to pack two suitcases, one with summer clothes, the other winter gear, as they would be spanning the seasons. Her job now entails a lot of commuting, but driving is where she gets a lot of thinking done.

Sarah’s decision to apply for the more home-based job of general manager was one she made discreetly while on the Druid Murphy tour around the US. She had to undergo her interview in between shows at the Lincoln Center in New York. It was the most nerve wrecking experience of her life, she admits.

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

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