Date Published: 08-Aug-2011
By Bernie Ní Fhlatharta
The rejection of an offer of the gift to Galway City of a 30-foot-high sculpture from its sister city Chicago has led to a row.
Four years ago, Galway presented a six foot bronze sculpture to Chicago following a sculptural competition. Gráinne, by Maurice Harron, stands proudly in a mainly Irish neighbourhood park, the Heritage Green Park near St Patrick’s Old Church in the Windy City.
It was the first part of a sculpture exchange between the two cities.
So two years ago, the American committee overseeing their side of the Galway-Chicago Sister City relationship sent a three foot maquette (a sample replica) of their gift.
It was to have been made by Matt Lamb, an Irish-American artist based in Chicago whose work is being exhibited in two Galway locations this week, the Bailey Allen on the NUIG campus and in the Galway City Museum.
The completed sculpture – ironically titled, in the circumstances, Umbrella of Peace – if commissioned, would be almost 30 foot high and made of brushed steel.
But Galway City Councillor Pádraig Conneely has criticised the decision to reject the gift, made by a Galway Sister City committee, and is calling on the city to be more pro-active in the promotion of public art.
He says he is disappointed that it had taken two years for the committee to make a decision and that the decision has been to reject it.
“I know it is a committee decision but I know that there are individuals on that committee who were in favour of the Matt Lamb piece and had no problem with it being erected somewhere, such as Eyre Square.
“The 82 years old artist was in Galway at the weekend and is an internationally renowned artist who is also the creator of the Umbrellas For Peace programme.
“The sculpture by him was never commissioned by the Chicago committee because they were waiting for the Galway committee to make up their minds. It would have cost them $80,000 and was to be a gift to the people of Galway.”
A spokesman for Galway City Council stressed that the Galway committee was made up of a number of people from a variety of backgrounds and did include the City Manager and that it had been a committee decision to reject this particular proposal.
“It was rejected for a variety of reasons including location, logistics and health and safety issues. This was a committee decision but it was decided at a joint committee meeting last week between the Galway and Chicago personnel that the matter would be looked at again by the City Council’s public art committee, one that was set up recently to assess public art following a protocol,” he said.
Read more in today’s Connacht Sentinel
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.