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Show some resolve Ð and donÕt stick to hardy annual resolutions



Date Published: {J}

Wouldn’t the world be a much duller place if any of us ever stuck to our New Year’s resolutions?

We’d all be teetotal, ultra-fit, non-swearing, non-smoking, generous, cheery individuals who would inspire others to react by punching us squarely in the face.

Every year we plan to lose weight; every December we wonder how we managed to get even heavier. We vow to spend more quality time at home and then spend more time complaining about how claustrophobic it’s become in the house.

We hit January determined to stick to a budget this year, but as successive Ministers for Finance have shown only too well, that’s never as easy as it might first appear.

Then there’s the twin pursuit of helping others and at the same time enjoying life more – how do you square that particular circle? And why is that that people choose the start of a new year to ‘learn something new’? Do they consciously wait until the old year is out before striving to fill that yawning gap in their knowledge bank?

So, instead of the old traditionals, how about a few new ideas in keeping with these straitened times? Wear a jumper to work – it allows the bosses to turn off the heating so they save money and we save the planet.

Solve your money problems – get yourself a Ministerial pension or, if you’re really ambitious, one like the deal Michael ‘Fingers’ Fingleton dreamed up for himself to mark his exit from Irish Nationwide.

Or else reduce your debts – simply ignore those brown envelopes from the bank manager. Watch less television – go to a pub that doesn’t have Sky Sports. Go back to school – this one is especially for teachers.

Don’t decide to quit drinking and spend more time with family at the same time – one resolution will undoubtedly result in you breaking the other. Reduce stress at work – take sick days even when you don’t need them. But don’t necessarily use them to spend more time with the family (see above).

Protect the English language – its not gr8 to txt msgs that r n a language most of us don’t understand. Write a book, a complete work of fiction that ably demonstrates the limitless boundaries of your vivid imagination – remember, it worked for Bertie Ahern.

Walk more – this is in keeping with the ultimate objective of the Green Party, who are working hard on taxing petrol and diesel into the spectrum of a luxury item.

Most of all, don’t implement any of your New Year Resolutions until the end of the first week in January. This will mean two things – you’re not under the same pressure as everyone else at the start of another year….and you’ll be the last one in your group still clinging to an unbroken resolution.

Lose the strain – take the train

It’s been some time since I left the car at home to take the train to Dublin, but after having my eyes opened by the positive changes, it certainly won’t be anywhere near as long before I do it again.

Like many more out there, I come from a time when travelling by train meant either Saharan heat – leading to third degree burns of the ankles if you touched the grills through which the furnace was being pumped – or frostbite that couldn’t be offset with thermal underwear.

The tannoy allowed us all the experience the trauma of what it was like to be hard of hearing as you struggled to make out a single word that was said.

Back then the only thing guaranteed was that you’d never get a seat – now it is a veritable luxury to let the train take the strain as you sit back and enjoy the ride. The carriages are warm but not stifling; the announcements are informative but not intrusive, delivered in both Irish and English with the sort of melodious voice that would be tailor-made for late night radio.

The messages may well be automated but somewhere within the bowels of Iarnróid Eireann there lies the next Terry Wogan. You can enjoy reserved seating – at least on a Sunday afternoon; I’m not sure if it works at rush-hour.

There are comfortable clean seats, and in every carriage, an information panel telling you distance to next station. We’re not train commuters by nature in the west, but colleagues of mine used the train to get to and from work during the recent flooding – and they too were hugely surprised at the changes that have made travelling by rail a whole lot more comfortable.

Once the Galway to Limerick link opens, that facility will be available to an awful lot more – and you can claim part of the fare back against your income tax.

As to value for money, it certainly is if you’re travelling alone and you book on Internet. It’s not €10 one way all the time, however, as you might think from their ads but it’s more competitive now that the Greens have got their way on a carbon tax on motor fuel.

A family rate might be a good idea even if you have to travel off peak, because it’s still cheaper for a family of four, for example, to travel to Dublin by car. But equally – and even allowing for the new motorway – it’s still fast at two hours and 40 minutes.

But best of all, there is no stress, no tolls and a chance to use the phone or drink coffee without incurring two penalty points in the process. And – all the moreso given that Swine Flu still hasn’t gone away – that’s not something to be sneezed at.

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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