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ÔHackerÕ takes on a whole new meaning for golfers



Date Published: {J}

The term ‘hacker’ has been familiar to golfers going back into the ages, while it’s also been a regular part of the language of computer users in the more modern era.

In one sphere it meant someone breaking into your computer system, while in the other it was a put-down for someone who might be more charitably described as hardly the most adept at the game of golf.

The life-long friends who play for a few euro may be as close as you will find, but a casual passerby listening to some of the exchanges on the golf course might be led to believe from the tone of some of the abuse heaped on playing partners that the enduring friendship of decades could be under threat. ‘Hacker’ is the most charitable term.

In view of this, I find it possible to believe that Brian Cowen and Seanie may not in fact have engaged in conversation on Anglo Irish Bank in that game in Druid’s Glen!

However, a whole new meaning to the term ‘hacker’ has come into use in recent months among golfers in Galway – for even the most computer illiterate of them have had to become familiar with terms like ‘internet’ and ‘logging-on’, not to mention becoming accustomed the time on the ‘server’ being the dictator of their lives on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Fact is, that no matter what it says on RTE, on Big Ben, or on the Grenwich Mean Time signal, the only time that matters is what I call ‘Galway Golf Time’ – the time as shown on the corner of your computer screen when you log-into the Galway Golf Club website and go to the page which allows you to book a time on the tee for the following Saturday or Sunday.

You see, the computer has replaced the tried and trusted butt of the pencil in the world of Galway golfers. Time was – a few months ago – when a sheet of paper went up in the clubhouse and you used that butt of a pencil kept behind your lug to physically write down your name at the preferred time you wished to play the following weekend.


It took me some time to realise that ‘Galway Golf Time’ could be different to all others by some significant seconds. My method of judging the time to log-on used to be listening for the start of Donncha O Dulaing on Failte Isteach on a Saturday night at 10pm. I have to confess to being a fan of some of the come-all-yez in which he revels, not least Delia Murphy with Three Lovely Lassies From Banion.

But then, to my horror, I discovered that ‘the time’ in the rest of the world doesn’t matter a jot on a Saturday night – it’s the time on the Galway Golf Club server which dictates. And, one second late, and you are in for a shocker . . . for, out there, are hundreds of other golfers all with their fingers poised over the keyboards of computers, and all waiting to get a tee-time.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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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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