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New road is a highway to hell

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Date Published: 01-Oct-2009

THE reality of life along the new Galway to Dublin motorway at New Inn has been revealed to be an isolating and extremely difficult experience for many farmers, homeowners and senior citizens whose properties are dotted along the route.

The Connacht Tribune this week spoke with a number of those living on the border between New Inn and Cappataggle, whose homes and lands are nowin the shadow of the massive highway.

Pensioner, Mary Kelly who lives alone has been cut off from many of her neighbours and has had her view of nearby villages, townlands and even the morning sun completely blocked out by the raised road that passes by her front door.

“One time I used to look forward to seeing the sun rise over the hills early in the morning when I would look out my window or I would look across at Highpark, but now I have this big heap of clay outside my front door and I can’t see anything,” she said.

Mary (67), who uses a walking aid says she gets “very depressed” at times when she thinks about being blocked off from all her neighbours on one side of her and the fact there is only limited access to those coming to her house from the cross at New Inn.

The bus which arrives three times a week to take her to the local Day Centre has difficulty turning when it comes to collect her and apart from that there are few who bother to make the journey to visit her now.

“I am hemmed in here and I am isolated. They did tell me before it was built that the road would be close to me, but I thought itwould be easier than this,” she says.

Meanwhile, Mary’s neighbour, John Dooley is under constant pressure to try and keep his farm in working order as his fences are constantly being broken down and his farm is still split to some extent as a result of the works.

“It’s a nightmare trying to get anything done. They are more interested in finishing that road than anything else and they don’t care what we have to go through or how we suffer,” he said.

While John had been assured any fences that had been knocked during construction work would be mended properly, he has had a number of instances in recent weeks where he has moved stock to fields that had been out of bounds for some time only to later find half his cattle heading off down the as yet unopened stretch of motorway.

“The worst thing is there is nobody you can attack over it and no one you can ring up and give out to and there’s no point in giving out anyway cos you’ll only end up giving yourself a heart problem.”

“I blame the NRA and the County Council for it, they should have some control over what goes on but they seem to leave everything to the crowd contracted to do it and they don’t care,” he said.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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