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New mobile amongst the fastest in the world



Date Published: 12-Nov-2009

Galway now has some of the fastest mobile broadband you can get in the world. It will be spread to the rest of the country over the coming year, but Meteor has chosen us as the first place to experience their new high-speed service – twice as fast as any previously available.

 Why? Maybe they just like us. But my guess is that Galway is a good size. (Microcosmopolitan, as it were.)

They have some of the new high-speed masts up and working in Dublin and Cork too, but coverage there is far from complete. Dublin’s too big, Cork is too insanely hilly, Galway. . . is just right. They can already provide coverage to the entire city centre and some of the suburbs.

So the modem you need to receive it – or dongle, to use the technical term (seriously) – is on sale here exclusively. Right now you can receive mobile broadband at speeds that put most fixed-line services to shame. That’s the theory, let’s test it.

Sitting in Eyre Square – well, O’Connell’s pub in Eyre Square. . . – I’m currently getting between four and five, even six Megabits per second. At the press launch earlier we were getting 10 Mbps or so – but then there was a phone mast right outside the window. (Actually now I notice I have a direct line of sight from here to the mast on the post office, but maybe Meteor don’t have an aerial on that one.)

Obviously speeds are going to vary depending on your location, and I will be testing it at various points around the city in the coming week. But even at this rate, it’s faster than almost all – if not all – fixed-line broadband available. Remember, this is the tested speed I’m actually getting, not what they’re claiming I "can" get.

What’s so good about such high speeds? Well it’s lovely to be able to watch videos on YouTube without them stuttering, yeah, but that doesn’t matter much to me. What matters is that this is now becoming fast and effective enough to really take the place of fixed-line. Six months ago I decided to cancel my ADSL (the technology that sends broadband over the phone lines) and go mobile-only.

In doing so I obviously saved money over having both, but I lost out on speed. With this service though I can get speeds as good as I used to – better in fact. What’s more, pricing is also becoming keen.

This had been my main criticism of Meteor, but now they’ve restructured their rates to go head-to-head with the 3 network, previously the lowest. It will be interesting to see how 3, O2 and Vodafone respond.

Competition is now intense in mobile broadband, whereas for ADSL it ranges from poor to effectively non-existent. The reason almost goes without saying: Eircom owns all the phone lines. They are under no obligation to upgrade the infrastructure, and they were under no pressure to – until now. Unless they change their attitude, Eircom will find that it has suddenly gone from being the monopolistic controller of the nation’s telecoms infrastructure to the owner of a lot of useless old copper wire.

The nice irony is, of course, that Meteor is part of the Eircom empire. Downfall it seems comes from within.

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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