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RAW has recipe for Sunday night success



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



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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