Date Published: 02-Jun-2010
A GROUP of thirty musicians, singers, dancers and artists from Galway will travel to the Scottish city of Stirling next Sunday for a festival which will explore and celebrate the common traditions of Ireland and Scotland.
And, after a week in the city which is home to the historic Stirling Castle and close to the site of the Battle of Bannockburn, the 30 performers will be joined on their journey home by Scottish performers and dancers for the second leg of the festival which will take place in Galway City.
This event, The Galway-Stirling Sessions has grown out of The Galway Sessions, an annual celebration of traditional Irish music which is organised by Mick Crehan of the city’s Crane Bar, himself a well-recognised musician.
The Galway Sessions are now an established part of the local calendar but it was a chance encounter five years ago between Mick and Stirling politician Fergus Wood that led to this musical co-operation between the two cities.
“As well as being a politician with the Scottish National Party, Fergus has many hats,” says Mick. “He is a farmer, an activist and a musician with the Kinlochard Ceilidh Band.”
That band travelled to Galway five years ago to play for the wedding of a Scottish man and Galway woman. Before they arrived for the weekend, Fergus did some research and discovered that the Crane was a renowned Irish music spot. He contacted Mick, explaining that they would love to do a gig there.
“So we had a full Ceilidh band on stage on the Friday night,” laughs Mick. “They did the wedding the following day and I thought that was that. But on Sunday, Seán Ryan and myself were having a few tunes in the Crane and they joined us.”
The following year, the band returned to play at the Galway Sessions. Mick and Fergus, who is now Provost or Mayor of Stirling, realised they both had an interest in the shared cultural heritage of Scotland and Ireland. In the last couple of years they have been involved in establishing links between the cities’ universities and their business communities.
Stirling is a city full of historic monuments with the castle and a museum to William Wallace as well as its castle, but because it’s equidistant from Glasgow and Edinburgh, its visitors tend to be day trippers. Fergus has been deeply impressed with Galway’s ability to attract and keep tourists, partly because of its many festivals and hopes that Stirling can learn from that. But this month the focus will be firmly on arts and culture.
For more details see Judy’s column on page 31 of this week’s Connacht 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.