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Roger bids to restore the sparkle to Salthill

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 30-Aug-2012

THERE was a time when Salthill was a holiday resort, when it came alive in the summer and local people made their living working hard running B&Bs, cafes, bars and shops aimed at serving visiting families from all over Ireland and further afield.

But as holiday trends changed and Irish families discovered the sunny beaches of Spain, Salthill lost its way. In the 80s there was an attempt at regenerating the area when the Government introduced tax breaks for building holiday apartments.

Then the recession hit and suddenly everyone was in the same boat, although in Salthill’s case, this may finally help restore the resort to its former glory.

Roger O’Sullivan, local businessman and chairman of the Salthill Tourism and Development Association (STADA), believes his native neighbourhood has everything.

It is this belief and passion that is partly driving a hugh effort to create a thriving community as Roger believes without community, nothing can progress.

Roger is third generation in the family business which established the Galleon Grill in Salthill. Four years ago, he returned from the UK to take over the reins when his father John retired.

But being an energetic thirtysomething, Roger isn’t content just to manage the family business, he wants to enhance Salthill because he sees what he describes as “the bigger picture”.

“The way I see it, we should be doing everything to make Salthill a happening place, somewhere where people want to come to either live, holiday or socialise.

“In the last five years, we have seen an increase in the number of new cafés and bars opening, which is breathing new life into the area. We have also managed to create a community spirit and have enjoyed a good few events locally like Tostal, the Mumford & Son gig in the Park, a nine-day Salthill Festival to coincide with the Volvo Ocean Race Finale at the Docks and recently we brought the Titanic here from Mayo and that has drawn a lot of visitors.

“We have also seen a lot of activities on the Ladies Beach, water sports at Rusheen Bay and the Ironman at the weekend, which was a great coup to get last year.”

Roger is certainly full of energy and enthusiasm and is rediscovering old friendships in the area. In fact, like the Galleon, many of the local businesses have now been taken over by the next generation, his own peers.

You could say that Roger and his peers possibly have a wider view of what Salthill should be or could be and that this has injected new life into the neighbourhood.

To hear Roger talk of Salthill, he could be an estate agent selling the area to a prospective buyer.

“Older people will remember Salthill as a place to go for the nightlife but it has changed so much, even in the last five years. It has the natural amenities and beauty of the sea and all the water activities around that. It has the Prom, which has really become popular in recent years by anyone who loves walking. We have free parking – that’s really a draw. And we are now developing a real community and it feels like an urban suburb, so close to the city centre, where families and retired people alike can live.

“The business community is really growing. The day the generator broke during our recent Festival and within a short time a number of local businesspeople were down with jump leads was the day I realised we were finally a community. It made my day.”

Roger was referring to the day the inflatable village feel flat during the Salthill Festival. Thankfully, it happened early in the morning and was fixed before the general public was aware that it had ever happened.

 

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Archive News

Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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