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Singer Tommy Fleming returns to Galway



Date Published: {J}

Sligo singer Tommy Fleming will give a concert in Leisureland on February 20 as part of a nationwide tour which has seen him sell out venues such as Belfast’s Ulster Hall, the National Concert Hall in Dublin and Portlaoise’s Heritage Hotel.

The tour follows the release of his latest album, Song for a Winter’s Night in December.

Tommy, who is one of Ireland’s biggest selling solo artists, has built up a hugely successful career at home and abroad since he first caught the ear of singer-songwriter Phil Coulter in the early 1990s, while playing with a local band. Shortly afterwards Coulter invited him to become a guest singer on the Derry man’s tours, which he did, taking in venues from the Cork Opera House to Carnegie Hall.

Tommy then spent three years with Galway based trad group de Dannan before leaving to pursue a solo career. His first solo album, Different Side of Life was released in 1996, followed by Restless Spirit on the Dara label in 1998. Despite a huge set back when he broke his neck in a car crash that same year Tommy has enjoyed great success since then.

A year after the accident he started working on The Contender, which saw him focus on songs by Irish writers, But, he wasn’t content to be slotted into one genre and followed on with Sand and Water, featuring work from such varied talents as Tom Waits, Dan Fogelberg, Callum McCall and John Hurley.

Tommy is famous for his own arrangements of Danny Boy, Isle of Innisfree and Hard Times. He also covers songs from different genres, such as You Raise Me Up to Bridge over Troubled Waters, Summer in Dublin and Something Inside so Strong. Basically, as he says himself, he is interested in focusing on songs “that tell a good story”

He has described singing “as an extension of myself. I sing everywhere, even when I’m not getting paid to sing”.

Tommy’s Voice of Hope album, recorded at Knock Basilica in 2004, was the Number 1 selling CD and Number 2 selling DVD in Ireland during 2005 and 2006. It stayed in the album charts for 26 weeks after its release in October 2005 and re-appeared there in November 2006. This album continues to sell and was Tommy’s most successful release ever.

Last December, the singer returned to the Knock Basilica for a special concert to mark the fifth anniversary of the first staging of this event.

A Journey Home, meanwhile, which was recorded at the INEC, Killarney in 2007 went on to be one of the biggest Irish releases of 2007/08. The DVD was Number 1 for 10 weeks and the CD reached multi-platinum status after a few short weeks of sale. This album and DVD continue to sell all over the world.

Tommy spent much of last year touring other parts of the world, and along with selling 150,000 concert seats in Ireland, he also sold-out a 20 date Australian tour, finishing with a three-night run in Sydney. A return visit and a further tour to Australia are now planned for October.

Meanwhile, Galway fans of the man with the distinctive soaring voice can catch him in Leisureland on February 20.

Tickets for Tommy’s Leisureland show are available from Zhivago, 091-509960 and Ticketmaster outlets.

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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