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November 22, 2012



Date Published: 21-Nov-2012


Prepared for siege

At a meeting of the Loughrea Town Tenants’ Association, the Chairman, Mr. P.J. Finnegan, said one of the principal objects of the meeting was to see how they could best protect a fellow tenant, and save her from the tyranny of a ruthless landlord. He referred to the case of Mrs. McGann, and he believed that if they considered for a moment the past associations of that lady, they would do all in their power to see her right.

Messrs. O’Loughlin and Delaney reported that they had waited on Mr. Golding, solr., for Mrs. K. Hyor, Dublin, in reference to the case, and on behalf of Mrs. McGann, they had offered a sum of £20, on the understanding that she would be allowed to dispose of her interest in the house.

Mr. Golding agreed to place the offer before Mrs. Hyor, but she, it would see, refused to accept it, as notice of eviction had been served on the Union on Saturday, and the eviction might take place any day. Several members advocated that measures be taken to offer stubborn resistance to the eviction.

Mr. M. Ward, T.C., said this was a case of a poor widow, losing all she held dear on earth, her husband, and he might say, her whole family. She ran into arrears, which unfortunately had increased, though the stubbornnesss of the landlord, and now, when Mrs McGann offered a settlement, which her landlady’s solicitor considered reasonable, the misguided lady living in Dublin rejected it.


Now their Association was called upon to step in. Messrs. Broderick, Sweeney, Gurby and others having spoken, it was decided to take steps at once to resist the eviction. On Tuesday, large number of willing hands were at work barricading the entrances, and generally preparing a warm reception for the evictors.


Sprinkling sheep blood

How sheep are killed in farmhouses in Craughwell in order to celebrate the custom of sprinkling blood on “St. Martin” was told at Kinvara District Court on Friday, before District Justice W.P. Cahill.

Richard Tarpey and his servant, P. Skehill were summoned by Guard McNaught, Craughwell, with causing cruelty in a sheep they were slaughtering on the occasion.

Guard McNaught described how when he entered Tarpey’s yard at Ballyglass, he saw a sheep tied up by the four legs on a box. Its throat was cut, but it was not dead, as there was a tremor in the body.


Dr. A.D. Comyn, solicitor, who defended, asked the guard if he were a farmer’s son, or if he were acquainted with the methods of the farmer. The guard said he was not, but he had a butcher, an expert witness, who would tell the court what he thought about the method employed in killing the sheep.

Dr. Comyn: We don’t want to hear that. If the guard ever saw a sheep killed in a country house, in order to “give blood to St. Martin”, he would understand how the people kill them in the country. I have seen them killed in this way in the country myself, and for generations sheep have been killed in this way. This was St. Martin’s Eve, and the sheep was killed in the ordinary way that sheep are killed in country homes – tying it up and cutting its throat.

Tarpey said he always killed a sheep for St. Martin’s Day and this was the way it was killed. This was the way he killed sheep all his life.

The Justice, dismissing the case, said he was by no means giving his blessing to the methods employed in killing sheep. Farmers, of course, he added, have not the modern methods employed by butchers, but in the circumstances, he believed that Tarpey took all reasonable precautions not to inflict unnecessary punishment on the sheep.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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