Date Published: 12-Apr-2012
The International Eucharistic Congress is set to return to Ireland in June after a gap of 80 years and one Mervue woman recalls the impact that the Congress had when it first came to these shores.
Ireland hosted the 31st International Eucharistic Congress in June of 1932 and it generated an amazing atmosphere in the relatively-new Irish state. The occasion was celebrated throughout the country but the main events were held in Dublin, including an open air Mass in Phoenix Park which attracted an estimated one million people.
Molly Clancy, from Walter Macken Place, lived in Monivea back then and she was in her second year in the Presentation Convent Secondary School in Athenry when the Congress came in 1932. The 95-year-old vividly recalls her trip to Dublin for this historic occasion.
“I can remember everything and it happened 80 years ago,” Molly told the Galway City Tribune.
“It was wonderful. I’ll never forget the Congress. There was a wonderful spirit and a lot of that was throughout the year.”
Preparations for the Congress was ongoing in the run-up to the event and the arrival of such an important church event to these shores was hugely anticipated in the thirties.
“It was very exciting. Our religion was very strong at the time. We prayed at home and we read spiritual books. Religion was discussed in the home. People were great Catholics. Religion was the number one thing in your life. It was all that mattered. We went to work to make a living but religion was the main thing.”
She travelled down to Dublin with a friend and stayed with her friend’s aunt in Dublin.
“We arrived in Dublin on the Wednesday. I was so excited about the Congress that I took little notice of all the buildings and certainly wasn’t thinking of visiting the shops. My friend’s aunt had tea ready for us as we were to go to Mass shortly afterwards in the nearby church. The Mass was in Latin. The choir sang the Kyrie, the Gloria, the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei in Latin. It was all so wonderful and uplifting.”
She recalls the statues, holy pictures, pictures, lights and bunting outside people’s houses as they travelled home after Mass. Midnight Masses were held throughout the city and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was then held in many chapels.
They travelled to the Phoenix Park on the Thursday for the open air Mass, with the large crowds ensuring that progress through the city was slow.
“It was trams we were going in back in those days. We left at 9 o’clock and arrived at Phoenix Park at about 12noon.”
For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup
Date Published: 29-Jan-2013
Athenry FC 1
Kilbarrack United 2
(After extra time)
For the second year in succession Athenry were done in extra time in the FAI Junior Cup as last season’s beaten finalist’s came from behind to snatch an excellent game in Moanbawn on Sunday afternoon.
On a heavy pitch that was only playable following extensive groundwork by club officials all morning, the home side were by far the better side in the opening half, but failed to take advantage of a number of opportunities that came their way.
An Alan O’Donovan penalty gave them a merited advantage just after the restart, but thereafter were on the back foot as Kilbarrack took over, but for all their pressing, the home rearguard were dealing comfortably with their forays.
However they were struck a body blow just six minutes from time, as big striker Keith Kirwan was left all alone at the far post to head the equaliser and from that point on the Dubliners were the better side.
They started off the extra time in the ascendancy and enjoying all the momentum before striking for a good winning goal on 104 minutes. A strong bench allowed them to make some necessary changes and it was not a facility that was available to Athenry manager Gabriel Glavin.
With Gary Forde and Gary Delaney out through suspension following their sending off against OLBC in the previous round, and Seamie Crowe injured, it left their bench rather threadbare with just a number of young squad players available.
Playing with the aid of the slight incline and any wind advantage going, the home side had a Connor Cannon effort on target in the opening minute, while John Meleady was just over with a flick at the other end.
Meleady then tested Andrew Walsh who saved comfortably, before the goalkeeper pulled off a brilliant double save on 14 minutes.
Firstly he went full length to push away a Meleady shot and was then back on his feet to parry David Jackson’s close-range rebound.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.