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Store your memories in your head Ð not on your mobile



Date Published: {J}

The curse of the mobile phone was bad enough when it just meant there was no longer anywhere to escape to – but since they added so many apps and facilities, it has turned into a complete nightmare.

Take the video facility on your average smart phone – and I wish to God somebody would. You cannot go to a concert now without a sea of the bloody things in the air recording whatever performer is on stage from a distance you couldn’t make out your own mother from.

Once they waved cigarette lighters in the air; now it’s a sea of phones – and I’ve yet to meet anyone who has subsequently watched the fruit of their cinematography talents once the recording has been saved into the phone.

The other one – which is equally annoying if you’re standing beside the person or you’re the recipient of their largesse and stuck at home – is when a concert-goer thinks that what someone half asleep at home really needs is a quick blast of audio from a gig they didn’t actually want to go to.

So you ring them as Blondie launches into Heart of Glass at the Arts Festival Big Top and you tell your friend to just shut up and listen as you give them a blast of the classic on a dodgy phone when, if they really wanted to hear it, they could play the album in surround sound stereo at home.

But I’ve a solution for this one which I deploy at every opportunity – as soon as our phone recorder swings into action and holds his mobile in the air for full acoustic effect, I launch into an off-key version of the song with only half the words so that he or she quickly pulls away the phone with a look of disdain of their face and a sense of achievement on mine.

Of course you cannot blame this phenomenon entirely on the phone – there are mini-recorders, Flip cameras, little digital recorders that make James Bond’s gadgets look like something out of The Flintstones.

The aforementioned Flip, for example, is about the size of a large cigarette lighter but can store two hours of material before you have to download it onto your computer and store it in a place you are never likely to access again.

You go to any sporting occasion now and everyone’s a photographer; as the professional snapper lines up the teams he or she is swept aside by a sea of parents who cameras and phones to give an U-12 challenge match all of the importance of a World Cup Final.

The phone means you’re never out of touch which can be a good thing – but it should be taken off people if they’re going to have a few drinks. Because to adapt an old TV message about drinking and driving, a phone in the hands of a drunk is a dangerous weapon.

Of course, the real dangers are in texting either current or ex wives or girlfriends and telling them something for better or worse that you wouldn’t have the heart or courage to do in the cold light of day – but that’s a column for another time.

This is about bothering them in your

deluded notion that they’d much rather be out there with you than tucked up under the duvet asleep and taking the mature approach to work in the morning.

And yet, after giving out about them all, I have to admit that I too have phoned sleeping people from the O2 when Paul McCartney was belting out the best of the Beatles; I’ve videoed Leonard Cohen from three fields away, and I have audio recordings on my phone that have all of the acoustic brilliance of a karaoke night in a very crowded pub.


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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