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Talented trio, Miracle Bell are determined to make musical mark



Date Published: {J}

Up-and-coming electro-pop band Miracle Bell will open for The Coranas in the city’s Black Box, Dyke Road this Sunday, December 19. The band are Dave Prendergast (vocals/guitar/synth), John Broe (guitar/vocals/synth), and John Rigney (drums/vocals/samples).

The band was started originally started by Dave and John Rigney, with John Broe joining the fray not long after.

“They started a cover band, honing their skills I suppose,” recalls John Broe. “Dave is my cousin. I said to him ‘I play piano if you want that. He said ‘I’d love it’ – and I ended up playing guitar in the band!

“We only became a real band two years ago, when we started writing our album in a huge house down in Monasterevin in Kildare,” he adds. “We released the album in May and we’ve been on the up since then.”

The band found the ‘huge house’ through the popular website It afforded them the space and seclusion needed to write tracks for their debut album, Light Shape Sound.

“It was a six or seven-bedroom house,” recalls John. “It had two studios, one for our sound engineer and one for us. And a whole big rehearsal room as well. It was the best experience of my life, so far, but it got a little bit tough towards the end.”

The three lads, and their sound engineer Peter Lee, had hoped to oversee all aspects of the recording. As the process went on, though, they realised they needed an experienced hand to help them finish it.

“We were having a tough time deciding on the best production so we got in Ciaran Bradshaw; he worked with Dark Room Notes and a good few other bands,”John says.

“We didn’t know what he would bring, but it was actually unbelievable. He completely polished the sound. Most of the synth sounds we had, you could say, sounded a bit amateur and he brought a whole new way to how it should sound. “

Bradshaw’s experience in the industry, and fresh ears, helped Miracle Bell to gel better in the studio.

“He had a really good way of making us work together and not take the heads off each other,” John says. “He had a big influence on the sound of the record – I had a few synth sounds that I really loved and he would shoot me down and say ‘it’s been done, forget it. Let’s try a different sound’.”

Some bands spend years working on their music, only to falter at the end when they try to tweak the album into perfection. But there was relief in the Miracle Bell camp when they released their debut in May.

“We had pushed back the release about three times at that stage,” explains John. “We were hoping for a distribution deal, which we eventually got, with RMG. That pushed us back about three months because if we didn’t get it, there was no point releasing a physical album. You can’t get it into the shops.”

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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