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Remembering Galway schooldays and those ties that bind

Dave O'Connell

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Sara Grundy

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

It was that teak tough Galway footballing legend Bosco McDermott who summed it up best, when he ruminated on school days and why they stay with you forever.

“When we meet people from our own class or of other classes or of other years, there’s something between us – it’s the shared experience we had. And that shared experience creates a bond…it’s person to person, and I think that bond is unbreakable,” he said.

And he’s right – the guys you went to school with may drop in and out of your life at irregular intervals, but when you do meet, there is no strangeness.

You’re never stuck for something to talk about, even if it is only the good or bad old days; you seamlessly pick up the pieces from wherever you left off – last year or decades ago when you sat in the same classroom.

You don’t even have to have been in the one school at the same time; as Bosco acknowledged, it’s enough that you went to the same school at all, because even if the decades divided you, the experience was much the same.

All of this is brought to mind because of a wonderful new DVD released this week on the first 100 years of St Mary’s College, Galway, which happens to be my old alma mater and the school where Bosco sat as student and teacher.

His grandchildren now attend and his son and namesake is hugely involved in the Parents’ Association – so these truly are ties that bind.

It’s produced by Kieran Concannon, the incredibly talented Inishbofin man whose previous work includes two acclaimed documentaries for TG4 – one on his neighbour island of Inishark, which is now uninhabited, and the other on our own Connacht Tribune.

And it covers that century in some detail, with segments like wonderful and rare footage from the early years like the Corpus Christi procession of 1924 that traditional started on the college grounds before winding its way through the city.

There are evocative photos of classes from the early years with the well-scrubbed young boarders looking like something out of Tom Brown’s Schooldays, but this isn’t just looking at a romantic past – the current crop of students and their facilities feature heavily as well.

One young student in particular stands out in this context – Diarmuid Mulkerrins from Moycullen, is the third generation to attend St Mary’s following in the footsteps of his grandfather Martin Mulkerrins, who finished there in 1955, and various uncles on both of his parents’ sides.

He’s the third of his own family – talented handballers all – to go there, after international champion Martin and Diarmuid’s older brother Dara. Two more, Fiachra and Evan, are now in First Year.

For more, read  this week’s Connacht Tribune.

CITY TRIBUNE

Mayor Mike is quiet on renaming Queen Street

Dara Bradley

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SIPTU trade union rep and former Sinn Féin City Councillor Mark Lohan proposed late last year that Queen Street should be named in honour of Cllr Mícheál Breathnach, who was killed by the Black and Tans in 1920. Mayor Mike Cubbard has yet to reply to his request.

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

Mayor Mike Cubbard revealed some Republican leanings early in 2020 during the Black and Tans commemoration controversy.

Mayor Mike was flung into the national spotlight in January when he followed the lead of other mayors and refused an invitation from the then Fine Gael Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to attend a commemoration of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC).

Speaking from the high moral ground at the time, Mayor Mike said: “Attending this event would be hypocritical of me as they directly opposed those whose lives were lost creating the free Ireland we enjoy today. History cannot be re-written.”

A united Ireland, he added, was “something I want to see happen”.

It played well with among some Celtic-jersey-wearing nationalist-leaning people in his support base, and he even attracted a swell of support from Shinners . . . although they returned to their natural Sinn Féin home in the General Election in February, electing Mairéad Farrell as a TD in Galway West.

Interesting, then, that Mayor Mike has stayed stumm about another issue that could have reconnected him with grassroots Irish Republicans in Galway.

Mark Lohan, SIPTU trade union rep and former Sinn Féin City Councillor, wrote to the CE of Galway City Council, Brendan McGrath, and Mayor Mike, late last year, calling for Queen Street, off Eyre Square, to be renamed Cllr Mícheál Breathnach Street to honour the man killed by the Black and Tans.

What better way to mark the centenary year of the assassination of the Galway Sinn Féin Councillor by RIC and British Army forces in 1920?

McGrath said the Council would look into it, which was good of him, and just before Christmas, Gary McMahon, Acting Senior Executive Officer at Corporate Services responded.

He said “unfortunately it is not possible to progress your request at this time”.

“Further consideration of this item would, in the first instance, require it to be tabled for discussion with members of the Corporate Policy Group and further consideration with the Coiste Logainmeacha (Placenames Committee).

“I will seek to place this item on the agenda for a meeting of the CPG during the first half of 2021,” added McMahon.

Not totally ruling it out and at least it was a response from City Hall. Lohan said he had yet to hear back from Mayor Mike on the matter.

(Photo: SIPTU trade union rep and former Sinn Féin City Councillor Mark Lohan proposed late last year that Queen Street should be named in honour of Cllr Mícheál Breathnach, who was killed by the Black and Tans in 1920. Mayor Mike Cubbard has yet to reply to his request.).
For more Bradley Bytes, see this week’s Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Connacht Tribune

Double trouble as past and present show State’s failings

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Catherine Corless...her work prompted public inquiry.

World of Politics with Harry McGee

This week offered two very good examples of the failings of Irish society – past and present – with the publication of the report into the mother and baby homes, and the coronavirus crisis unfolding before our eyes. The 6,000 page report on 18 institutions – operating at various times after the foundation of the State in 1922 right up to the 1990s – was inspired by the research of Galway historian Catherine Corless, and her invaluable work in understanding why there was such a discrepancy between the mortality records and burial records at the Bon Secours-run home in Tuam.

As is usual with Irish politics, there was a row about its launch. The Minister for Children, Roderic O’Gorman, had promised survivors of the homes that they would find out about its details before anybody else.

Unfortunately, as so often happens these days, somebody in Government decided it would be a good idea to leak the main findings of the report ahead of its launch.

O’Gorman was incensed; he demanded an investigation and wrote to survivors telling them he was “deeply angered” by all that had happened.

You can see why. In the past, survivors of these institutions have learned of very important and salient information through the media, rather than from Government.

On December 3, O’Gorman promised survivors that he and the Taoiseach would disclose the main findings to them first, and then host a seminar (it’s web-based now, because of restrictions) and only then would the report be published.

But what happened on Sunday played puck with the plan. It also served as a huge distraction from what should have been a formal process, where the pain, the suffering and heartbreak caused by these cruel institutions were fully acknowledged and apologised for.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

Don’t turn up your nose at those smells making Covid comeback

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

There are few things in life that epitomise the joy of anticipation better than opening a brand-new book; the smell of the crisp pages, beautifully bound to reveal its story in your hands and your imagination.

Equally, when you think of a summer’s day, it’s the smell of fresh cut grass that most often springs to mind; the mere thought of it is enough to bring a smile to your face through your mind’s eye.

The association between summer and fresh cut grass is so strong that one band, the Hot House Flowers, built an entire career around it, releasing the same song over and over again.

There are other smells of nature that heighten the senses in summer of course – newly mown hay for a start – and at other times, you know you’re in farming country when the smell of freshly-spread silage wafts in through the car window.

Our eyes may be the most critical of our senses in that, without them, life is a whole lot more difficult to lead – but smell is the sense that can lift you to a higher place.

Think of the aroma that escapes from a bakery or a cake shop; it can have you salivating when you’re not even hungry.

And we all know why so many coffee shops have extractor units that diffuse the smell of roasting coffee beans out onto the street; the Pied Piper of Hamlin wouldn’t work any better in getting you to literally follow your nose.

There’s also the other side of smells – and it’s not just silage.

If you want to quit drinking, for example – or more precisely, to give up drinking nights out – just set yourself a mission of dropping into a pub first thing in the morning, before it’s spic and span and ready to open its doors to the public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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