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Rory Gallagher tribute band play Galway on farewell tour

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Date Published: {J}

The music of Rory Gallagher will be celebrated when Sinnerboy play the Róisín Dubh on Saturday, February 27. The show is also part of the band’s farewell tour, but front man Barry Barnes plans to keep on playing Gallagher’s music.

“I’ve got a solo tour of Holland and a solo tour of Greece coming up,”he says. “It is, of course, still Rory. And I will get another band together. But the thing about it is Dave [Burns, bass] and Steve [Tansley, drums] are so good that I couldn’t just turn up six months later with an inferior product. We’ve been working together for a very long time, it’s a great band and it’s very tight. To find that calibre of musician is difficult.”

Barry organised his first Rory Gallagher tribute show in 1996, one year after the bluesman’s death. It took place in Manchester, where Barnes is based. What began as an informal celebration eventually led to Barnes taking Gallagher’s music on the road.

“That concert was at a local pub in Manchester, very low-key,” he recalls. “Just a lot of my pals, jamming with my band. The place was full, it was packed and I had a lovely time. Then in the morning my wife said when I came down ‘you’d better listen to this’. She pressed the button on the answer phone and a voice said ‘hello, my name is Donal Gallagher. I’m looking for Barry Barnes because I’ve heard he did a tribute to my brother. Get in touch’. So I got in touch with Donal and we’ve been friends ever since.”

Like any true Rory Gallagher fan, Barnes can pinpoint the exact year he first the Ballyshannon born legend play.

“1969 –yes I am old!” he laughs. “I was 17 and it was at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester. I walked in and I was really disappointed because I’d seen Jimi Hendrix and I’d seen Cream, and they all used this great big wall of Marshall amplifiers.

“All I saw was this was tiny Vox amplifier on a kitchen chair. And a tiny drum kit and a tiny bass amp, and I thought ‘I don’t think I’m going to like this, this is going to be a bit light for me’.

“Anyway,” Barry continues. “Rory walks in, plugs his Stratocaster into the Vox – and, well, it changed my life really. It was magnificent, absolutely magnificent, and I’ve been a total fan ever since. My hero.”

Rory Gallagher never attained the level of superstardom that many felt was his due. Guns N Roses guitarist Slash has spoken of his admiration for Gallagher, as has U2’s The Edge, but he never sold the volumes that his admirers have.

“I was watching a Wim Wenders film the other day about all the guitar players that brought the blues back to America, like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck,” says Barry. “And these things never mention Rory. If you asked any of those guys, in their heart of hearts, who they look up to and they’d say Rory and Jimi [Hendrix].

“However, I’ve stopped being angry about it because Rory himself didn’t want it,” he adds. “He actively turned down stardom. He was very in touch with the blues, really faithful to the blues and he didn’t really want it. So I can’t get too angry about it.”

Last year, bassist Dave Burns and drummer Steve Tansley decided that their next tour with Sinnerboy will be their last. Barry will continue to play Gallagher’s music as a solo act, but understands why the lads are leaving.

“We are the biggest Rory Gallagher tribute in the world but we can’t make a good living at it,” he says. “If we were a Rolling Stones tribute band, or a Queen band, people would flock to our gigs. But it’s very difficult to find enough Rory fans. It’s sad, but it’s because he was so low-profile.”

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

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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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