Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Archive News

Tourism flagship building all set to make its final bow



Date Published: {J}

Call me nostalgic, or sentimental, but I believe that when a major building in the modern history of a city like Galway seems about to ‘make its final bow’, then the event should be marked. That’s why the decision last week that gave the go-ahead for the demolition of the Corrib Great Southern Hotel should not go without a mention.

As yet, we do not know what precisely will replace the building . . . the indicators some time ago would appear to have been that the space would be marked by something as unremarkable as a car park. Maybe, in other times, before the economy fell off the cliff 18 months ago, it might have been replaced by blocks or apartments, or some ambitious project involving houses, apartments and shops.

It is sad to see what I would have regarded as one of the ‘tourism flagships’ of Galway, disappear. It is still a fine building, it is surely in an ideal location for an hotel – on the eastern approaches to a city which is daily getting nearer to Dublin, and to markets on the eastern side of the country. Just a few years ago it had a fine reputation as an upmarket hotel and conference centre that seemed to be trading well.


One of the problems with the decision to close and sell the building which was taken some years ago was that, certainly in my memory, we never got a breakdown in the figures as to how the hotels in the Great Southern Hotels chain were functioning on an individual basis.

All of the hotels in the group were under the wing of the Dublin Airport Authority which made it abundantly clear that it might know about running airports, but it did not want to know anything about running the hotels chain. It simply wanted to get them off its books.

The crisis broke some years ago when, in a statement to the annual meeting of the Dublin Airport Authority, it was made quite clear that the hotels were losing money, but perhaps even more importantly, that the DAA wanted nothing to do with the hotels. They were simply an encumbrance on a body which was wrestling with a huge development in Dublin and regarded anything in Galway, or Cork, as of nuisance value and a distraction.

However, for a time, those with a sense of history, and with a knowledge of the previous years, might have considered that maybe someone would again step in to save one of Galway’s most important pieces of tourism infrastructure – and I say that despite the fact that over recent years, we had had the construction of thousands of hotel bedrooms, many of them funded by tax breaks that seemed to go on forever and took no logical look at the eventual maximum possible size of the Irish hotels market.

There was a time when a slightly different attitude was taken. I have to go back to that old rascal Charles J Haughey who, when he was the man in charge of the moneybags, answered a direct appeal on the future of the Corrib Great Southern, by asking for a detailed case to be made, and then announced that there would be a multi-million investment package which was aimed at making The Corrib a conference venue, and growing its potential business, and giving it a real spruce-up.

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

Continue Reading

Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr



Date Published: 23-Jan-2013


Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads