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RAW has recipe for Sunday night success

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}

The Clinic may be gone but the breathing of new life into Raw ensures RTE still has a Sunday night drama series on its hands that’s worth staying in for.

In fairness, anything that has Charlene McKenna in it is worth the admission fee on its own; she was superb in Pure Mule, but Raw gives her the platform to show her full range as Jo Jo Harte, the feisty, mouthy sous chef with the big heart of gold.

For those who missed the first series, Raw is a restaurant in downtown Dublin where the good times used to roll but where the marriage of co-owners Mal and Tanya unravelled and spiralled out of control even faster than the economy.

So the doors closed and the staff dispersed to the four corners, none of them achieving anything even bordering on job satisfaction – to the point where they didn’t even think twice before running back to Raw as soon as they got word it was re-opening.

The Clinic connection is copperfastened by the arrival of actress Aishling O’Sullivan as Raw’s new owner, Fiona.

Because she was Dr Cathy Costello, wife and business partner of the clinic’s original owner Ed; then partner on all fronts of Dan the plastic surgeon man, and finally last seen clinging to life outside the Clinic after she was run over, before she eventually died.

But apart from the new boss and a new waiter in the person of former banker Dylan, it’s all of the old team at Raw back together – albeit a different Raw, representing a changed environment with the emphasis now on value for money as opposed to spending like the last days of the Borgias.

The strength of Raw is the variety and depth of the characters; Jo Jo positively steals the spotlight but there are equally rounded contributions from babe magnet Bobby behind the bar; head chef Geoff and boyfriend Pavel, and Jo Jo’s brother Shane, back in Ireland after a broken marriage and seeking a change of career.

The storylines positively belt along, but – unlike The Clinic – they never resort to the unbelievable. Each week sees new dimensions (Jo Jo and Shane’s mother arriving to stay, and then revealing she has cancer, for one; Fiona’s mysterious sister, Kate, for another) but this doesn’t feel the need to find a parallel plot under every stone.

The title doesn’t come from the food; it’s more the raw passion that’s around every corner and the reality is that the restaurant is more of a backdrop than a focus point.

RTÉ is to be complimented for continuing to make such fine drama in the face of tough economic choices – and even if we’re down to one right now, it’s a reason to keep paying the licence fee.

On the other hand, there are a couple of turkeys being served up from Donnybrook just now – That’s All We Have Time For is just an awful rip-off of Have I Got News for You, starved of scriptwriting standards or production values and a dreadful vehicle for the undoubted talents of presenter Barry Murphy. Maybe he should do it as Bill O’Herlihy in his Aprés Match guise.

Your Bad Self – the new vehicle for another former Clinic star and rugby WAG Amy Huberman – received loads of coverage after finishing week one with a bestiality sketch, but the real reason it should be panned is that it is simply appalling. One clever line surrounded by half an hour of dross.

Then there’s Katherine Lynch, a woman who has all the appearance of someone who once came up with enough material for one good sketch and then made the fatal mistake of trying to build an entire career around it.

Her latest regurgitation of hackneyed old clichés is currently lulling insomniacs everywhere into a well-deserved night’s sleep as she pedals the same old smack for all it’s worth.

Her Single Ladies series is getting a run on Wednesday nights but her characters haven’t improved with age; Singing Bernie Walsh has her moments,, but Leitrim lesbian Liz Hurley or man-mad middle-aged Sheila Chic are two-dimensional caricatures that wouldn’t be out of place on a drag night in your local progressive pub.

Singing Bernie Walsh went on a trip to London last week and that had its moments, as you looked through your fingers at the cringe-making propositions she put to unsuspecting English patsies.

Looking like Geri Halliwell would in her Union Jack mini if someone had pumped her up like a car tyre, Bernie tried out for a pole-dancing post in Peter Stringfellows’ latest emporium.

And while she saw advertising possibilities in the launch of the Pikey on the Pole, Peter was suitably unimpressed by the whole palaver – which is much the same as the rest of us felt at home.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

Moment of truth for Galway U21s

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 01-May-2013

 Dara Bradley

FOUR matches, four victories, one after extra-time, a Connacht title, four goals and 56 points scored, four goals and 30 points conceded, a heap of wides from their opponents, sinews strained, buckets of sweat and blood spilled.

It’s been one hell of a roller coaster campaign for the Galway U21 footballers but all that will be forgotten come 7pm on Saturday evening at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick when they cross swords with Cork for the honour of being crowned Cadbury’s All-Ireland champions.

Six weeks ago as Galway set out on their 2013 U21 journey against Sligo in Tuam, the May Bank Holiday weekend final was always the target. They took each game as it came and now it has come down to this – 60 minutes of football to decide who the best U21 team in the land is.

And while there were times along the way when Alan Flynn’s charges looked like they’d fall off the wagon, against Mayo, against Roscommon and again against Kildare, Galway showed resilience and mental strength to time and again bounce back and defy the odds. Often down, never out. It is that perseverance that will stand to Galway in the heat of battle this weekend.

Cork has won an All-Ireland at this grade more times than any other county since the competition’s inception in the 1960s. The most recent of their 11 titles was won in 2009, and they’ve claimed a three-in-a-row of Munster titles with a defeat of Tipperary last month.

Interestingly, five players – Alan Cronin, Jamie Wall, John O’Rourke, Tom Clancy and Damien Cahalene, the son of former inter-county player Niall – that are expected to start this Saturday lined out in each of the last three Munster finals, so they have experience of playing in the pressure cauldrons.

Galway aren’t as experienced. True, a couple of players already have a All-Ireland medal from 2011 – a year Galway beat Cork in the semi-final – but there are a lot of young guns in the panel. Of the squad of 33, about 19 of them are young enough to play U21 next year as well, while eight or nine of the starting 15 will be eligible next year, although you wouldn’t think it given the levelheadedness they’ve displayed throughout the past six weeks.

Galway had plenty to spare over a hapless Sligo outfit in Tuam the first day out, winning by 16 points, which didn’t flatter them, but old rivals Mayo in the following game at the same venue was a different story. After a tense and tight hour of fare, Galway took the spoils after showing immense character to dig it out by two points in a dogfight, 0-9 to 0-7.

Fighting qualities were needed again in the Connacht final in Hyde Park against Roscommon – Galway were minutes from being knocked out of the championship when a heroic comeback, three points in as many minutes from Kilkerrin/Clonberne’s Shane Walsh, rescued extra-time, a period which Galway never looked like losing.

The Tribesmen took their chances when they presented themselves, a trait that also saw them knock-out Kieran McGeeney’s highly rated and much fancied Kildare outfit in a thriller at Tullamore a fortnight ago.

The Lilywhites were wasteful, true, but that’s their problem, and Galway just had too much natural footballing class to take their chances and emerge with a deserved five points, 2-10 to 2-5 victory, despite 19 wides from the vanquished.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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GalwayÕs U-13 and U-16 sides both through to national finals

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 14-May-2013

Mike Rafferty

It proved to be a very successful weekend for Galway Schoolboy soccer as two representative sides qualified for national finals at the end of the month.

It was drama all the way in Eamonn Deacy Park on Saturday afternoon as the U-13 side drew 1-1 with the Midlands League, but came through the dreaded penalty shootout to prevail by 5-4.


Meanwhile the U-16 side had to travel to Cork, where they emerged 2-1 winners following a very impressive performance. For the second game in succession, it was the goals of the Connolly brothers that proved crucial to both team’s success.

Andrew lines out with the U-16 side and he notched both their scores in terrific away win, while younger brother Aaron was on target for the U-13 side and also converted the winning spot kick.

Mervue United captured a third consecutive Connacht Youth Cup with an impressive 4-1 win over Castlebar Celtic in Milebush on Saturday.


Galway League 1

Midlands League 1

(AET-Galway won 5-4 on pens)

A low scoring contest might indicate few chances, but one has to credit two outstanding defences whose splendid covering and marshalling of the front men was a joy to watch.

Galway’s Oisin McDonagh and Adam Rooney never put a foot wrong in central defence, while full-backs Byron Lydon and Matthew Tierney were equally efficient in defence, and getting forward with regular forays.

Further afield, they matched the visitors in terms of intensity and creativity and in the second half in particular should have pulled away from a Midlands side that won the U-12 national title last year.

The visitors certainly offered the greater attacking threat in the opening half, but found home custodian Mark Greaney in top form. Galway’s best chance fell to Joshua Quinlivan, but he pulled an effort wide of the target.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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