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Super thrills, super memories, super festival: Super 8!



Date Published: 15-Nov-2012

I’ve just had a fantastic adventure involving my distant past, cutting edge technology, passion, expertise, a missed flight and the discovery of lost treasure. Best of all, the whole thing was pure Galway!

Last time I was back in London I found an old 1960s vanity case in one of my mum’s cupboards. Clicking open the little metal clasps I revealed a collection of old cine films.

Swallowing hard, I tried to keep down deep emotion.

Nobody in the family had seen these little babies for 40 years. I snuck them into a carrier bag and brought them home with me.

Googling ‘Super 8 conversion to DVD Ireland’ brought up a link to a company called Super8Ireland. Where were they based? How far would I have to drive, only to find out I couldn’t afford to pay for the conversion?

Where else of course than Dominick Street, Galway City! Any doubts I’d felt about the enterprise vanished. This was starting to feel as if it was meant to happen, and by the time I’d spent a half hour in the company of Julien Dorgere, I was more than sure.

Even though he’s from France and I’m from England I knew he was pure Galway. Passionate about his work, brimming with love for music and film, he exudes a calm confidence and no shortage of style.

How did he end up in the West of Ireland?

“I came here working as a translator and conference interpreter, missed the plane from Galway back to France at the end of the year and decided to stay. I worked as a translator, while having my Super8 website ( on the side.”

More pure Galway than I ever imagined. There are many reasons we blow-ins end up here in Galway, most of which start “Came for a few days, got drunk…” and end “… ran out of money…” But the missing of that plane sounded more kismet that craic-driven.

Soon Julien was working full time with Super8, bombarded as he was by customers who wanted to digitise their old films. At the same time he kept his beloved 8mm format alive by supplying cine equipment, films and advice to film shooters worldwide.

Having worked on film and music collaborations with Donal Dineen, Vivienne Dick and Mike Smalle, Julien performed as Mr Weasel at the Galway Arts Festival, DEAF, Tulca Visual Arts Festival, Artisit! and the Electric Picnic. But that wasn’t enough for this French Galwegian.

He also wanted to celebrate the 8mm format, so he did what many Galwegians had done before: he created a festival.

More of that later. I want to get back to my adventure, which culminated three weeks after my initial meeting with Julien, when I returned home with 10 beautifully formatted DVDs, guaranteed to generate much happiness within my family this Christmas.


Plonking myself down in my chair, I watched the first 10 years of my life unfold.

For more, read this week’s Galway City 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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