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Moycullen residents show depth of community spirit



Date Published: 29-Oct-2009

Twenty five years ago over 30 young families moved into a new housing estate in what was then the sleepy village of

Pairc na gCaor wasn’t the first estate in the village – Woodlands was built already – but it was unique because it was the concept of Fr Harry Bohan, a Clareman who established the Rural Housing Organisation, with the view of building communities rather than houses in rural areas.

On Saturday night fr harry, had he been in The Crossroads pub in Moycullen village, would be proud and happy that his vision had been more than realised as residents and former residents gathered for a reunion.

In October, 1984, the first few families moved into the estate of cute dormer bungalow houses right in the village, close to amenities, another of Fr Harry’s stipulation as well as the houses being very affordable – they started out at about £22,000 for the two bedroomed, £27,000 for the three bedroomed but they were all sold for below the £30,000 mark as the RHO was a non-profit making organisation.

It was the £50 deposit that attracted me. Like many in the mid-eighties ‘savings’ were for other people, not me and if it wasn’t for this scheme, I may never have gotten onto the property ladder.

Having gone to Spiddal school, rivalry with Moycullen was strong and wouldn’t have been my first location choice.

For starters, we were all in the same boat on the estate, newlyweds starting families but as well as the camaraderie between us, we got a great warm welcome from the locals. Jack Kyne’s tiny corner shop was where An Cearnog Nua centre is now. It closed after last Mass and closed at 6pm weekdays, so at that time we were “living in the sticks.”

But Pairc na gCaor got bigger, attracting a few retired couples which made for a good mix and the village grew accordingly.

Mickey Lee, who owned Lee’s Bar at the time (now The Crossroads) built a new carpeted lounge to meet local demand.

Mickey graciously popped into the reunion on Saturday night where he reminisced with his former customers, many now friends and golfing buddies but interestingly almost all of them have remained in Moycullen, if not in Pairc na gCaor.

The first baby born into the estate, Aoife O’Brien cut the cake and many brought photographs which were passed around and the subject of much sentimental talk and amusement as many saw younger versions of themselves. Most of us believed we had aged well.

The estate too has aged well and the saplings seen in early photographs are now mature trees adding much greenery to the estate.

Many have built on porches and small extensions, enhancing their properties. Many have stayed put but others, like ourselves,
moved not too far away to bigger houses but most of us are still in touch.

The lovely family who bought our house dug up the front garden to lay new pipes for a ground floor extension and found a tiny gold Claddagh ring in the soil. It was a gift from a friend for our first born, Louise and she had constantly worn it as a child but had lost it obviously.

What a surprise for her – and us – to see it again and what a lovely gesture of the other family to pass it on to us. The very kind of spirit Fr Harry had hoped would be nurtured through his housing schemes.

The eleven years we lived there were our best, happiest years, and that was mainly because of the friendships built in those early years.

There was always someone to mind a sick child for you, if there was a family gathering, everyone brought a dish or a bottle and we had parties at the drop of a hat.

In recent years I have noticed that the estate has kept up this community spirit with summer barbecues held on the green – new housing estates are too worried about public liability and insurance costs to even fry a sausage on the green, let alone throw a party.

It was great to see us all together again under the one roof just like the good old days. We haven’t noticed that the men have gone grey or bald or that the toddlers are now grown men and women, old enough to socialise with us.

On Saturday night it was like the clock had turned back. A large notebook was passed around for comments, the same book was written into four years ago for the 21st anniversary. Here’s to the 30th and many years to come.

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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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.

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