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Tragedy spurs Paul to world dive record



Date Published: 18-Oct-2012


City scuba diving enthusiast Paul Devane admitted that the memory of his late two year old nephew Cillian drove him on through extreme boredom, agitation, and cold when he broke the record for the world’s longest cold water dive off the coast of Connemara last week.

The 33-year old managed to spend 13 hours and four minutes in 12.5 degrees of sea water, breaking the record set in Malta last February, to reclaim the Guinness World Record which was set by his older brother Declan at Killary in 2009.

Paul had set an original target of 15 hours for his record attempt on Tuesday, but admitted that the extreme cold and boredom challenged him to the limit from the eighth hour of his dive – which was watched ‘live’ on-line by 11,000 people across the globe – as he counted down the minutes and hours.

Once Paul broke the previous record of 12 hours and 34 minutes under floodlights on Tuesday night, he signalled to the support crew on a boat hovering above that he would aim for the 13 hour mark before calling it quits at that stage.

Sibling rivalry also drove him on, as Paul abandoned the first record attempt in Killary in 2009 – due to a problem with a piece of toiletry equipment in his suit – when elder brother Declan set the original record of 11 hours and 42 minutes. Three years ago, Paul was forced to surface after eight hours.

“Declan and I had always been joking that he had the record over me, so I was determined to try again after his record was broken in Malta in February of this year,” admitted Paul yesterday.

“The lads were telling me that I was getting agitated as the dive went on. Some people were joking that it was a ‘double’ world record as I’ve never been known to spend 13 hours off my mobile phone! I was tired when I came out of the water and the paramedics took to me to an ambulance for 40 minutes to help me warm up. My muscles were really sore after spending that much time underwater.”

He said that he learned a lot from the first record attempt in 2009 and, while his first reaction was “never again” just after he completed the dive, he admitted that he might be tempted to go again if another diver attempts to break his new record in the future.

Full details of Paul’s successful world record dive can be viewed at, where donations can still be made to the Clifden RNLI and the Hand in Hand charity.


For more on this story, see the 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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