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The joy of books Ð be they battered or brand new

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: {J}


Trading problems

Apropos of fairs and markets, a county correspondent writes to call attention to the fact that the Galway markets on Saturday will suffer considerable injury from the fact that the coal and timber yards are closed early on Saturday. He recently came to Galway, and, having disposed of a load of hay, visited a city timber yard where he had hitherto dealt, but found that it was closed.

This, as my correspondent points out, results in considerable inconvenience to county people; and for his part, he is seriously considering the transfer of his custom to Tuam.

Burglary epidemic

There appears to be an “epidemic” as it is called, of burglaries in Galway at the present time. On Tuesday night, the premises of Messrs. John Griffin and Sons, Army and Navy contractors, Cross Street, were broken into from the rear, and the till was rifled.

Fortunately however, it contained only a few shillings in coppers.

The robbers made an attack on the safe in which there was between £180 and £200 in gold and notes. They endeavoured to remove it because they were unable to force it, or dreaded the alarm which such procedure might give, but hearing a noise upstairs, they decamped.

Next morning, Mr. Griffin, on entering the shop, found the safe removed from its usual position. He “smelled a rat”, and going to the till, found it empty. In the words of the poet, “The bank was still there, but the waters were going”. He reported the matter to the police, who are now prosecuting searching inquiries.


Migration scheme

Two Irish Land Commission inspectors visited Rosmuc on Friday and received over one hundred applications for sixty holdings which will shortly be available to migrants at Gibbstown, County Meath. Twenty-seven families have already left South Connemara under the migration scheme, and the rush of applications for buildings now available is the result of encouraging reports from these migrants. It is expected that sixteen families will leave from Knock, Spiddal within the next month.

Ballinasoe floods

Heavy rain fell in Galway on Sunday morning, followed by high winds. Hundreds of acres along the banks of the River Suck and Shannon tributaries are flooded for the past week. Around Ballinasloe the floods are larger than any seen for many years, and the force of the gale which accompanies the heavy rains last week did some damage to outhouses, sheds and haggards in many parts of the county.

Tracts of pasture lands for miles between Ballinasloe, Banagher, Shannonbridge along the Suck’s banks are flooded to several feet, and stock have had to be removed to higher pasture lands.

For the week, Connemara was a wilderness of snow, sleet, rain and storm.

Restlessness in children

Advert – A common cause of restlessness in children is constipation. When a child’s bowels are full of poisonous fermenting waste-matter, natural rest is impossible. The safest way to give your child a thorough internal cleansing is ‘California Syrup of Figs’, which is a pure fruit laxative.

It sets up a natural movements that carries away all the clogging, hard waste-matter and leaves the little inside sweetened and clean. Once a child has got rid of all that disagreeable sour matter that has been upsetting him, he sleeps soundly and wakes up the picture of brightness.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy



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

Ruby ready to rock again and Bob is worth a big flutter in Gold Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 06-Mar-2013

New edge to Galway hurling championship title pursuit

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Archive News

A battle of talent and the ability to pull in public votes

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta



Date Published: 11-Mar-2013

Here is a question. And there is no holiday or grand prize for getting the answer. But can anyone name the people who have won The Voice of Ireland and what has become of them?

Over across the water in the UK they have The X Factor and while I hate the concept of it, it has produced a few stars even though they don’t last long in the whole scheme of things.

But The Voice of Ireland seems to generate false excitement with the winner ending up become more anonymous than they already were. And it is costing families a fortune in the process.

While the programme is a ratings winner, strangely, it has resulted in those getting through to the final stages investing huge amounts of money in the hope that they will receive enough votes to get through to the next stages.

So, suddenly, it is not about the voice or the talent involved, it is all about votes and who the participants can convince to pledge their support for them. So it is obvious that talent goes out the window.

It means that someone with half a talent could realistically win the whole thing if they generated enough support behind them. From now on, the judges will be taken out of the equation and it will be left to the public to generate income for some phone operator.

Those who get through to the live performances have to engage in a massive publicity campaign in an effort to win votes which makes this whole effort a pure sham. It is no longer about their ability and just an effort to win appeal.

While the initial process does involve some vetting of the acts, now it becomes a general election type exercise in which the most popular will win the competition and the judges will have no say whatsoever.

It is a bit like the recent Eurosong in which the judging panel across the country voted for their favourite song, which incidentally was the best of a very bad lot, but then this was overturned by the public who chose a relatively crap song to represent us.

But again, this was all down to convincing the public about who to vote for rather than having any bearing on the quality on offer. There are times that genuine talent becomes overlooked because of the need to extract money from the voting public.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

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