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There must be a Santa Claus, if that loser Ian Beale . . .



Date Published: {J}

There must be a Santa Claus if that loser Ian Beale in EastEnders succeeded in getting Janine into ‘the scratcher’ for the night . . . or was it a feverish moment I endured during a battle with a bout of something that felt close enough to the A(H1N1) with which they have now been threatening us for months.

From this, you will gather that I was stricken by ‘the male flu’ in the past week, with much of the time being spent in loud sighs and moans on the couch in front of a blazing fire and the telly, as I tried to comfort myself with hot drinks, fistfuls of paracetamol, and lashings of tender loving care.

Wearing a dressingown voluminous enough to have got Napoleon safely back from Moscow, and between thunderous sneezes, heart-wrenching coughs, occasional high-pitched tortuous breaking of wind, and gasps ‘yes please’ to the odd fry-up, I have become one of the greatest living experts on ‘the soaps’ once again.

A week of this clinging to life is what has prompted me to ask if there simply hasn’t to be a Santa Claus – if Ian Beale can end up in the morning curled up in Janine’s bed on EastEnders?

I have to preface this by saying that in the face of such an offer myself I would have had to come up with a loud groan, and a reply like “no thanks . . . I’m not a well man . . . and I’m a happily married man”.

Now, let’s face it. Janine is hardly the most attractive personality in the world. You mightn’t want to marry her . . . but she makes up for not being the nicest person on the planet by being quite fetching and rather well upholstered. While you mightn’t particularly want to ‘take her home to Mum’, Dad might find her tolerable on the eye.

Schemer that she is, Janine can have her pick of those in the men in the neighbourhood, so how did she end up with loser Ian? Two empty bottles of wine in the kitchen, and Janine standing at the bedroom door in a rather fetching black number, and with tears welling-up in her eyes, and looking at Ian snoring in the bed, told the sad story.

Hope for us all guys yet, in a week that was, in many respects, tears all the way. Lest perhaps this should engender a flow of ‘get well soon cards’, can I say that while there were times when I was very low indeed with the ‘male flu’, what reduced me to tears was the soap opera involving not just ‘the soaps’, but also some very moving moments from the Budget coverage.

Before I go on to the drama in the Dáil, can I draw your attention to another highlight from ‘the soaps’. Kevin, the garage owner in Coronation Street, got away with one of the most unique excuses I have ever heard for a man delaying the business of leaving the wife and moving in with the girlfriend with whom he has been canoodling for months.

Kevin and Molly have been grabbing a quick snog for ages now, but very rarely seem to get the opportunity to go ‘all the way’, because of the sheer difficulty of getting a few moments alone. Why I remember one of their afternoon trysts in his home when two kids came home early and it went from passion to panic in the bedroom upstairs in a matter of seconds.

For more, read page 17 of 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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


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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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