Date Published: 20-Dec-2012
A ceremony took place in Dublin last week in memory of the late Micheál Ó hEidhin, from Spiddal, who worked as a teacher and Department of Education Music Inspector.
Micheál, who was born in 1938 and died last January, played the concertina, piano and piano accordion and launched an award-winning CD Ceol Sidhe, in 2011. He was a collector of music and Irish language songs. His best known collection of songs, Cas Amhrán, was published in 1976 and distributed by the Department of Education to every primary and post-primary school in Ireland. It is still widely used today.
Micheál combined his experience in education and his love for Irish music to devise a groundbreaking course for certification in the teaching of Irish traditional music, an Teastas i dTeagasc Ceolta Tíre (TTCT). This certificate in teaching folk music, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Europe, was first run in 1980. He designed the syllabus for the Scrúdú Ceoil Tíre Exam System which was the first formal exam in Irish traditional music.
Micheál had many friends throughout Brittany and his links with Lorient date back to his great friendship with Polig Montjarret, a founding member of Festival Interceltique de Lorient. Micheál was highly respected as an adjudicator at home in Ireland and in Lorient for such competitions as The Macallan/Mc Crimmon Trophy for pipers and Loic Raison Trophy for Celtic groups, La Bolée des Korrigans.
Micheál designed the rules and regulations for this competition where groups perform Celtic music respectful to tradition but open as well to contemporary styles and instruments.
Micheál’s dream was to establish workshops in Irish traditional music, language and dance at Festival Interceltique de Lorient. Many visitors to the festival over the past 30 years benefited from this realisation. Sadly, Micheál passed away on January 29 and for his many friends, it was a lonely return to the Lorient Festival in August without his presence.
However, all are proud to carry on with Micheál’s work ensuring the perpetuation of his vision – the preservation of Irish traditional music, language and song and its development into the future.
By Mary Murray and Kathleen Nesbitt.
The way we were – Protecting archives of our past
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
Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr
Date Published: 23-Jan-2013
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.