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On your bike is the way to travel around East Galway



Date Published: {J}

SEVEN Springs East Galway Cycling Club may still only be getting off the ground, but in a mere matter of months the cogs have certainly begun to turn on the county’s newest sporting addition.

Chairman of Seven Springs is Brian Martin, who reveals that it has been 15 years since a cycling club operated in Loughrea and its surrounds. However, with the growth in the number of cyclists now out on the roads locally – some of whom are members of Predator Triathlon – a genuine need for a new cycling club was identified in the East Galway area.

“The cycling club has come out of the Predator Triathlon Club,” outlines Martin, a Fermanagh native now living in Loughrea. “I spoke to the lads here and they all were in agreement that there was an opportunity and a need for it. So, we formed a committee and registered the club with Cycling Ireland. That was about eight to 10 weeks ago.”

Indeed, all seven on the Seven Springs committee are also members of Predator Triathlon Club. These include Kevin Coughlan (Secretary), Martin Grealish (Treasurer), Niall Callanan (PRO), Damien Muldoon, Noel Murray and Colin Duane.

“We have 32 paid members but with the time trial league starting now on Thursday evenings, a lot of people have been waiting for that to meet us and join,” continues Martin. “This is the first evening (last Thursday) of the time trial and it will be running for six weeks in total. The first stage is from Coldwood NS to Oranmore and back, but the course changes every week. So, we will probably pick up another 10 or 15 members in the coming weeks.

“Currently, we are only taking aged 16 and upwards, but next year we are hoping to expand and take in the underage. There is a lot of work to be done to do that, such as legal and what have you. To be honest, we just needed to get the club off the ground this year first. As we get more members who are parents, hopefully the juvenile side of the club will then follow.”

In the two months or so that Seven Springs has been together, the club has already run – and continues to run – numerous cycles on Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings, which leave from SuperValu, Loughrea at 7pm and 10am respectively. These cycles are broken down into various sections, with the leisure and beginners group cycling between 40 to 50km and the more experienced exponents doing between 65km and 70km.

“On any Tuesday or Saturday, we are turning out 10 to 15 cyclists in a group. It is a great facility for any cyclist, rather than cycling on your own. You have the safety of the group while the camaraderie always makes the miles pass that little bit easier, again rather than riding on your own.”

Indeed, Martin – who had been competing with Western Lakes CC in the Connacht League in recent years – has been impressed by the standard of many of the new cyclists, with Loughrea hurler Eddie McMahon among those to catch the eye. “He is a very promising cyclist,” praises Martin. “He is very strong and very good on the bike.”


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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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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