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Tara is bookies’ favourite



Date Published: 12-Jan-2010

A GALWAY woman’s dream of recording an album came one step closer to reality at the weekend after she was voted through to the semi-final of one of the country’s biggest and most popular entertainment shows.

Tara Burke McDonnell, who lives in Knocknacarra, wowed the five judges on the All-Ireland Talent Show on RTÉ One on Sunday and was chosen as their top act of the evening.

The 24-year-old, who works in Townhouse bar in the city, also impressed viewers who voted her as their top act in their thousands of texts and phone calls.

Tara – daughter of Ann Burke of Carna, or Nan Tom Teamín as she is known, a renowned sean-nós singer and two times Corn Uí Ríoda winner – sang a beautiful sean-nós version of Will You Go Lassie, Go. Tara was praised by the judges who voted her the best act on the night and she also received the highest number of votes from the viewing public.

Following her powerful performance, Boylesports has installed Tara as the 10/3 favourite to win the show outright. She will sing again in the semi-final of the competition at the end of February.

Meanwhile, this weekend Connemara duo Emma O’Sullivan, Sean Nós dancer, and John O’Halloran, box player, will be hoping to wow the judges and qualify for the semi-finals when they represent the west this Sunday.

Emma O’Sullivan (24) from Renvyle, will this Sunday showcase her expertise in Sean Nós dancing in which she is the current All-Ireland Champion. Together with her musical partner, well-known Galway box-player John O’Halloran, Emma hopes to make it through to the next round of the competition with support of the people of Galway.

Emma, daughter of chef Tim O’Sullivan of Renvyle House Hotel and his wife Carmel, took up Sean Nós dancing just four years ago while a business and marketing student at GMIT.

Since then she has showcased Sean Nós dancing in the US, Europe and the Philippines. Last Hallowe’en she was crowned All-Ireland Sean Nós champion and now teaches the traditional dance full-time. She regularly performs at Renvyle House for guests and wedding parties.

A friend of the Mulkerrin Brothers who won last year’s competition, Emma hopes the exposure on the show will heighten the profile of Sean Nós dancing and bring it to a mainstream audience.

Emma will be accompanied by John O’Halloran, originally from Inisboffin and who is a well-known resident musician in Galway.

“We are asking the people of Galway and of Connacht to support us this Sunday by texting or phoning in their vote that will send us through to the next round of the competition. Please tune in to the show on Sunday evening at 6.30pm and give us your vote!” she said.

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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