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New work and familiar faces provide Arts Festival mix

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Date Published: 24-May-2012

 NEWwork and familiar faces form part of the line-up for the 2012 Galway Arts Festival which will run from July 16-29, with the programme being launched this weekend.

Festival Director Paul Fahy has reiterated his commitment to producing new Irish work with a new play, The Great Goat Bubble by Julian Gough, which is a co-production between Galway Arts Festival and Dublin’s Fishamble Theatre.

This follows the success of last year’s critically acclaimed show, Misterman, a co-production between the Festival and Landmark Theatre, which has since toured to New York and London.

The Great Goat Bubble, set on the platform of Ballinasloe train station in 1986, is an acerbic take on the Irish property boom, according to Paul. Two characters are waiting for the train to Dublin where Charlie Haughey is opening the Irish Financial Services Centre.

One is an orphan, Jude, who has previously appeared in Julian Gough’s novels, Jude – Level One and Jude in London. The other is Ethiopian Dr Ibrahim Bihi, who caused a financial meltdown in his own country as he pursued the great goat dream, which saw everybody want to own their own goat – then everybody wanted a bigger and a better one. So he flooded the market with goats . . . until it collapsed. Now he is pursuing the next big thing.

Mikel Murfi, who directs comedy of economic triumph and catastrophe, was the unanimous choice of both the Arts Festival and Fishamble for this piece, according to Paul.

Julian’s script doesn’t contain a huge amount of stage directions, which gives the director a lot of scope, so both Paul and Jim felt that Mikel – formerly of mime company Barabbas – was perfect to draw the physicality of the text. The Great Goat Bubble will be at Druid Theatre from July 12-29 and will preview in advance of the Festival.

Another co-production is The Outgoing Tide, featuring Festival favourite John Mahoney. This is being staged in conjunction with Chicago’s Northlight Theatre. The cast also includes Thomas J Cox and Rondi Reed – like Mahoney,

a Tony Award winner. Reed previously visited Galway in 2010 when she appeared in Steppenwolf’s production of Sideman.

The Outgoing Tide was first staged Chicago 18 months ago and is now being remounted as a co-production, Paul explains. It’s the story of Gunner, a man at a crisis point in his life, who gathers his family at a fishing resort to tell them of his decision for the future. But his wife and son have other plans.

“It’s poignant and light-hearted and addresses serious issues that we might all have to face at some time in our lives,” says Paul. It’s at the Town Hall Theatre, from July 17-21

Druid’s production of three Tom Murphy plays on the theme of emigration – Conversations on a Homecoming, Whistle in the Dark and Famine – is a major undertaking with the Arts Festival and NUIG both being involved.

DruidMurphy previews this week at the city’s Town Hall Theatre and opens in London’s Hampstead Theatre next month as part of that city’s Cultural Olympiad. It’s playing Galway Arts Festival from July 23-28, with the full cycle of three plays at the Town Hall Theatre on July 26 and 28.

For full previews of more theatre, music, comedy visual arts and talks see this week’s Tribune.

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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Archive News

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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