Date Published: 27-Aug-2012
By Dearbhla Geraghty
Missing: Ferret! Hardly a notice you would expect to see coming through your letterbox, but that is exactly what greeted hundreds of householders in the Cappagh Road area on Friday morning.
Lithuanian couple, Agnes Puskoriene and Remis Puskorius, were due to celebrate six years of marriage on Saturday, but their plans were temporarily put on hold when one of their three pet ferrets, Adena, went missing.
Agnes, a photographer who rescues these unwanted and abandoned pets, and her husband found both Adena, a four year old albino ferret, and Oscar, a two year old ferret polecat mix, had got out of the house through a ventilation hole.
She grabbed a box of ‘ferret treats’ and went outside with their dog, Savannah, who managed to sniff Oscar’s scent and lead them to his hiding place – two hours later.
Unfortunately, the search for Adena was not so straightforward. Agnes printed posters and hundreds of flyers, and started dropping them around houses; she rang radio stations, contacted local papers, and drove to the various vets and pet shops in the city.
A difficult 24 hours passed without their “white fluff” in the house, but the search never stopped.
“That afternoon I printed another set of flyers asking people to check their sheds thoroughly, not forgetting any ventilation gaps they might have near the ground,” she recalls.
“An amazing lady, Yvonne, had organised a search party and looked around the estate and park while we were out. She called me and said that kids had seen some strange white animal around the apartments outside our estate.” Another lady reported spotting the animal running across the road towards the local park . . . but searches were fruitless.
As soon as the sun rose the following morning, on Sunday, Agnes and Remis formed a search party through placing invitations on Facebook, and handed out more flyers.
That night at 12.14am, they got a call from a neighbour who apologised for ringing so late. He had seen Adena outside his house.
“I don’t think I heard the rest, as I jumped, put one of my legs half into my trousers, hopped down into the office to Remis and we both bolted down the stairs and into the street,” she says.
They eventually located Adena – 48 hours after going missing – walking from the house next door into their own front garden, much to the delight of her ‘parents’, and siblings waiting at home.
Apart from being a bit dirty, Adena did not look like she had gone hungry, and was back to normal very quickly.
“I cannot thank everybody enough who helped me and offered me help – these people know who they are and without you I would have been in pieces!”
Agnes runs a community called Irish Ferrets, which occasionally rescues unwanted and abandoned ferrets, and tries to disperse the misconception that ferrets are wild animals, rather than pets.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel.
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
Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup
Date Published: 06-Mar-2013
New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit
A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes
Date Published: 11-Mar-2013
Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?
Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.
But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.
While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.
So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.
It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.
Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.
While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.
It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.
But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.