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September 23, 2010



Date Published: {J}


Athenry arrests

On Thursday, a rather brutal exhibition of police force was witnessed on the streets of Athenry – an exhibition which, I am glad to state, is of rare occurrence owing to the sober and respectful attitude of the inhabitants. As a result of Thursday’s accident, serious injury has been sustained by an unfortunate man who was arrested, and he has been confined to his bed, attended by Doctor Quinlan.

The facts, it would appear, are that a labourer named Pat Collins had some drink in Mr. Corbett’s public house, at Northgate-street, and while in the shop had some difference with Mr. Campbell, the manager.

A number of police were inside in an ante-room, and, hearing the argument in the shop, came to the rescue, with the result that Corbett was arrested. From Northgate-street, to the barrack is a considerable distance, and along the route the unfortunate man Collins received, it is alleged, brutal treatment. Some of the witnesses shouted “Don’t murder the man”, whilst others cried “Shame”.

Collins is a delicate man who has been unable to work for some weeks past. He is 5ft 4in in height and weighs eight stone. Three burly policemen were engaged in the arrest. Either of them could have conveyed him to the barrack without resistance or difficulty.


Air crash

Lieut. Felix Vaitkus, a Lithuanian-American airman, who was on his way from New York to Kovno, landed for petrol at the Green Hill Field, near Ballinrobe, the property of Mr Stanhope Kenny, shortly after ten o’clock on Sunday morning,

having accomplished the North Atlantic flight in 22.5 hours.

Unfortunately, in seeking to “pancake” the heavily loaded plane into the small six-acre field, the airman smashed his right wing and landing gear, and slightly bent his propeller points.

A local farmer who helped him to alight as he was backing his way out of the cabin asked him where he had come from.

“From New York,” the tired airman coolly replied. “Then you are amongst friends,” said the farmer, “for I have relatives in New York.” The plane was seen flying over Headford between nine and ten on Sunday morning, and later it was seen over Clifden.

He felt himself compelled to land because his petrol supply was running low, and he had received bad weather reports from Athlone radio station, which had kept in touch with him throughout the dramatic all-night flight all the way from Nova Scotia.

He was flying a single-engined Lougheed-Vega 620 horsepower plan, which he had christened Lithuania II and his destination was his own country. The flight was financed by leading businessmen in New York and by the Lithuania Aero Club.

Workers’ protest

At a special meeting of the Athenry post office workers the following resolution was passed unanimously: “That we hereby enter a formal protest against the delay on the part of the Minister for Posts and Telegraphs in reaching a decision on the wage claim put forward by the Executive of our Union in September 1934, and we regret that we are compelled to take this action by the low level of economic subsistence which our members have to endure.

“Four of our members, who are married men with families, are subsisting on weekly wages ranging from 12s. to 25s. per week. The remainder, although established officers, feel the strain of the present high cost of living.

“We earnestly urge that the tradition of poverty which had been associated with the post office since it was first instituted may now be set aside once and for all, and that the new foundation will be laid on which an indispensable body of State servants will find themselves treated as befits responsible citizens.”

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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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Archive News

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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