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Time to forget flooding and freezes



Date Published: {J}

It is a phenomenon that has survived fundamental changes in Ireland’s social and economic fabric and, when it opens on Monday, the Galway Novena is likely to prove as popular than ever.

The city is bracing itself for the nine day event, which begins with a ceremony at 7.45am on Monday, and ends with another at 9.30pm on Tuesday week.

For many, it will mean dedicating an extra hour of their day, before, during or after work, to prayer time; others will travel on special buses from around the region for the ceremonies; some who have been away from the Church for many years will pay a visit; and, indeed, for others, the area around the Cathedral will be one to avoid during that time.

Fr Michael Cusack, the director of this year’s Galway Novena, says there has never been a better time for an injection of hope, in a year that has brought bank bailouts, clerical abuse reports, flooding, unemployment, recession, and increasing hardship in the lives of so many. The theme for the event is: ‘Lord that I may see! Seeking a vision for our day.’

Since 1982 people have been attending this great church event in the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas

“(They’ve) brought to it their joys and worries, their successes and failures, their pains and hopes and somehow have found consolation and support by the very fact that so many others share the same journey in life,” says Fr Cusack CSsR.

This year he expects that there may even be bigger crowds attending the Novena since so many people are “truly struggling and needing support”.

“This has been a very difficult year for so many people and more than ever before we need to know that we are not alone. The most important message that the Novena should bring is a message of hope and consolation.

“This Novena is always a time of great solidarity and really ignites the community spirit in the people of Galway and the surrounding towns and villages. Our doors are open to all and all will be welcome. The Novena is only possible because of the hard work and effort of so many dedicated women and men.”

There will be six daily sessions from Monday to Saturday: 7.45am, 11am, 1.10pm, 3.30pm, 7.30pm, and 9.30pm.

The times differ slightly on a Sunday: 9am, 10.30am, 12.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm, and 8.15pm. The 4.30pm session that day will be the Novena of all Nations, a true celebration of cultural identity and a time of special prayer for the people of Haiti.

Other special events that have been planned throughout the nine days are the Candlelight Prayertime at 9.30pm on Tuesday (remembering survivors of abuse); on Friday (praying for students and youth) and on Monday week (praying for families and relationships).

There will be a special celebration with anointing of the sick and aged at 11am on Saturday.


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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