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Top national and international acts on bill for Westport summer festival

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 18-Apr-2012

The stunning setting of Westport House in Co Mayo is the venue for what promises to be one of the most exciting musical events of the Summer when the Westport Festival of Music and Performing Arts takes place on the weekend of June 23-24.

 

Set on a picturesque 400 acre site within walking distance of the centre of the town, the festival will have a capacity of 10,000 and promises a ‘family friendly’ vibe with on-site camping and a Pirate Adventure Park on the grounds.

International headlining acts confirmed so far include former frontman of The Kinks Ray Davies, 1980s superstar Lloyd Cole, former Spiddal residents The Waterboys, Marc Almond of Soft Cell, television star Jools Holland, bluesman Eric Bibb, Alison Moyet, and folktronic songstress Beth Orton.

There is plenty of home-grown talent, too, including such legendary Irish acts as Horslips, The Chieftains, The Dubliners, Hothouse Flowers, The 4 of Us, and Jerry Fish.

Newer acts include Galway’s own Kanyu Tree, riding high on the success of their debut album, and they will be joined by the likes of Damien Dempsey, David Kitt, The Riptide Movement, Bipolar Empire, Cars Love Girls, and Rainy Boy Sleep.

The organisers are promising a “relaxed and friendly” vibe in the wonderful grounds of Westport House and it is hoped that the Westport Festival will become an annual event for years to come.

“The promoter has been looking for a site in the West for a good sized festival for some time and Westport House have long considered hosting one on their beautiful grounds but the time had never seemed right. It just came together at the right time on both sides,” said Aileen Galvin, a spokesperson for the promoters.

“There is an incredible sense of ‘working together’ in Westport and everyone from hotels to B&B’s, restaurants to coffee shops, bars to clubs have come together to promote the festival. Westport is a town that is well used to accommodating and entertaining slews of tourists and visitors and the infrastructure is already in place to cope with an influx of people over the weekend.”

With no Oxegen this year, there will be fewer major outdoor festivals for punters in Ireland in 2012 and the organisers are hopeful of attracting older music fans and families for what is an incredible variety of bands over two days.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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