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Toy Show evokes memories of many a Christmas past



Date Published: {J}

They are a very unusual ‘match’, but the technologies of the war in Afghanistan and children’s toys came together at the weekend on the Late Late Toy Show . . . and not a comment was passed.

One of the least sophisticated toys on the show was Thomas the Tank Engine – where you shine a light and the engine follows the light.

Only a few weeks ago in Afghanistan, we were being shown the same technology in action except that this time it was aboard a drone 5,000 feet away from its target, but using laser light to ensure that it would not miss its target and would slavishly follow to where it was being sent.

For the rest, a lot of the technology was of a kind that children from 40 years ago would not even have dreamt – my first Late Late Toy Show was in the early 1970s when the emphasis was on dolls and dolls houses. Now the kids can get right in on the action.

Only seconds before the show began, there was an advert for Xbox 360 Kinect, which meant the kids can get right in on the action from Walt Disney in a way that my generation could only do with wooden swords and pirate eye patches bought in the local toy shop.

Ryan Tubridy certainly has the agility and the build to present the show – looking like a gangly 15 year old – and he certainly joined in the fun with the kids. He is better than Pat Kenny, but still does not quite fit the bill . . . but what we are looking for here is possibly a magician who can transfer himself/herself into the world of children. Now there’s a thought, does it always have to be a man?

The dilemma that has always faced this programme has be

en trying to get the balance right between the number of toys shown and the number of kids who show they can sing and dance. They call it the ‘Toy Show’ but there have been years when it was a ceaseless parade of, admittedly, talented young kids, and we just did not see enough of the toys.

Certainly, Tubridy loaded the beginning of the show with the toys to give us some idea, but only some, of the extraordinary range of stuff that will be played with for five minutes on Christmas morning and then kicked around the place.

This year, there seems to be an even greater crossover between toys and products and young stars – for instance there is the usual Barbie but then there is One Direction, Justin Bieber . . . many of the long-suffering fathers who were watching the show will be familiar with young master Bieber from the constant entreaties from the back of the car to put on the CD of Justin Bieber’s Baby.

The extraordinary quality of the animation and response in offerings like Xbox 360, the Nintendo 3DS series, the Wii and Playstation 3 show what a change has occurred in recent years in the whole animation area which has come from artists in Walt Disney Studios drawing each individual frame to the point where computer generated figures have made this a whole new world for kids – and the not so young.

For more, read 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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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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