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Archive News

September 20, 2012



Date Published: 19-Sep-2012


Murder case interest

Interest in the murder of Miss Sarah McGrorey, the itineratnt school teacher, whose mutiliated body was found lying in a field at Newcastle, beyond the Workhouse, on the second day of Galway Races, appears to increase rather than to abate.

On Wednesday morning, the Sickeen man who stands charged with the commission of the crime, was brought from the prison to the Co. Court, large crowds of people watched his progress. All the galleries of the Court were packed before noon, the attendance being noteworthy on this occasion for the number of well-dressed ladies who took their places amongst the onlookers and awaited patiently the arrival of the Resident Magistrate.

A feature of interest is the commemoration of the crime by the people of Newcastle, who have gathered a number of stones from the seashore and placed them flat upon the grass where the dreadful deed occurred, in the form of a cross. Between the shoulders of the cross is the inscription “I.H.S.” and below, the initials of the murdered teacher.

When Mr. Joseph Kilbride, R.M., arrived, exactly half an hour late, Head-constable Killackey, who conducted the case for the Crown, called Sergt. Golding, of Dominick Street station and asked him exactly two questions.

“You are still pursuing inquiries, and have reason to believe that you will be able to connect this man with the crime with which he is charged? – I have

And you pray for a remand for eight days? – Yes.

The prisoner was remanded.


Ballinasloe hospital

The question of a district hospital for Ballinasloe was mentioned at the meeting of the Mental Hospital Committee on Monday, when the committee decided to take over a new farm in Garbally of almost seventy-five acres. It was mentioned that the Galway Board of Health were looking for a site for the purpose of building an hospital in Ballinasloe, and the committee expressed their willingness to offer the Board of Health a site on the new farm and fixed the price at £100 per acre.

The news of the proposed restoration of the district hospital in Ballinasloe will be welcome to the people of the area, who have been long and anxiously awaiting its re-establishment, and for which a protracted agitation has been going on.

The local Government Department also informed the committee of management that the Minister could not see his way to authorise a grant for the purchase of this new farm, and that he had nothing to add to previous correspondence regarding the matter.

Serious accident

There was a serious accident on the main Galway-Tuam road on Sunday evening, a 22 year-old man from Annaghkeen, Headford, was knocked unconscious off his bicycle, when cycling with a companion towards Tuam, by a motor car proceeding towards Galway or Headford.

Up to a late hour on Monday evening, the man’s life was not considered out of danger, and he was in such a weak condition as to be unable to give any account of the accident.

New housing scheme

The Local Government Department has sanctioned £4,000 as the first instalment of the loan of £31,000 for the erection of eight-four houses at Cloonthue and Galway Road, Tuam. The Commissioners have also asked the Department to sanction payment of £1 per house to the clerk (Mr. John Whyte) for the large amount of extra clerical work he had in the preparation of the scheme, and which the scheme will entail on him in the future.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past



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



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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.

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