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Power twins on song as musical gets Irish premier



Date Published: {J}

The Power twins from Mervue couldn’t be better named because they truly are an incredible force together when it comes to anything musically theatrical in this city.

Born ten minutes apart, they were cute from day one and even cuter when they started entertaining at family gatherings. There was no stopping them.

The Galway Musical Society’s latest offering, A Tale of Two Cities, which opens in the Town Hall Theatre next Tuesday, will be the brothers’ 21st directing project.

They have been involved in musical shows for 27 years but just a few weeks ago when they were designing flyers for the new show, they realised that this indeed was their 21st anniversary.

Brian and Seán have been part of the city’s musical scene since they first started performing in Tops of the Town,(variety performances staged by staff groups from all over Ireland), with the Credit Union, with CIÉ, with Thermo King and with Digital.

Brian explains that to become involved, you had to either be employed by these companies, or have a family connection with them, and sure enough every year, the pair got a part. “Dad worked in CIÉ, and we had family working everywhere else!”

They say they got their music from their late father, Bernie, who was a box player. He played hurling with Galway too and indeed was the youngest player ever to stop Cork’s Christy Ring from scoring in a game. The brothers are proud that their dad was a member of the first Connacht team to win the Railway Cup.

It seems that everyone on the Power family was involved with the St Patrick’s Brass Band; well everyone except Seán and their sister Helen. There were six boys and one girl. And mum, Teresa.

Brian was a percussionist but in the early days Seán preferred Irish dancing and singing ballads.

But trad was soon replaced with pop once the boys got older and the influence of television began to grab a hold. And yes, identical twins doing a song and dance routine were a bit of a novelty. These days the never perform in their own shows, preferring to direct and produce but they are still able to sing in harmony and will do when asked.

Seán says: “Some new members of GMS who had never heard us sing were surprised last week at the launch of the show to hear us doing a two-part harmony of Brown Eyed Girl.”

They are often asked to perform at charity concerts and they sang together last week at a reunion.

The thing about the Powers is that they started performing long before the glut of performing schools, or before reality talent shows became popular on TV or on YouTube, Seán points out.

“There is so much talent around now among the young because they have so much more confidence and they know how to move and dance from seeing it all around them on TV, the internet.

“The Tops of the Town competitions were so popular because there was so little contemporary entertainment. We loved it, of course and we haven’t stopped really.”

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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