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Walter Mitty & Realists free gig

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Date Published: 13-Nov-2009

INDIE rock sensations Walter Mitty & the Realists, who play the Roisin Dubh on Thursday, November 26, have been lighting up venues nationwide since they formed in Limerick a couple of years ago.

Niall McTeigue and Conor McTeigue, both featuring on guitar and vocals, are the front men with the group, while Colin Bartley plays bass and Paul O’Shaughnessy is on drums. Conor, now based in Galway, recalls how they got started.

“Well, myself and Niall are brothers,” he says. “So that’s how we know each other! He was mates with the lads, he had a few songs and they just started playing together. I joined them after about six months, when they started getting gigs.”

In October 2008, Walter Mitty & the Realists applied for the prestigious Indie Week festival in Canada. Not only were they accepted, the four-piece won the annual competition, gaining a fan base and management in the process.

“We heard about the festival online,” explains Conor. “It’s an industry festival really. Once we got over there we made loads of contacts and took it from there. “We did eight gigs in nine days. By the time we did the last show people were following us from gig to gig. There were showcase gigs, there were about 500 bands playing. It went really well. It’s a really exciting music scene over there.”

Walter Mitty & the Realists returned to Canada last March to build on the good work done by winning Indie Week and they were signed up by management company Cool planet. Getting international representation so quickly is an indicator of just how impressive the band are live, but it was never part of a specific plan the band had.

“It totally just happened,” says Conor.

“We went over not knowing what to expect at all. We threw caution to the wind and said let’s go over and see how it goes. It couldn’t have gone better; it was a total shock. I guess people take more notice of you when you’re from somewhere else. It’d be a like if there was a Canadian band playing over here you might take more notice of them.”

Walter Mitty & the Realists play an incendiary combination of dance and rock, recalling bands like Talking Heads and The Rapture, and their gigs are roof-raising affairs.

Whena gig takes off, is it hard to stop the music becoming rushed and messy?

“Not really, I don’t think so,” says Conor. “The live thing is the part that comes easiest to us. We love playing the live gigs. It’s high energy. The recording is more difficult, trying to translate the live energy into it.

“It depends as well. When you’ve a good crowd, you’ve a good gig. You reflect off the crowd a good bit as well.” A three-track demo recorded by Walter Mitty & the Realists caught the ear of Limerick based Fergal Lawler, the drummer from The Cranberries.

He was so taken by the quarter that he offered to record their debut album green Light go.

“He has a studio in his house,” says Conor. “We recorded down there over the last year or so. He recorded and produced the album and ended up playing on nearly every song, one way or other, bits of percussion and odd bits of vocals as well. And keys as well, actually; he really got involved.”

Transferring the mad energy of their live shows into the studio was a tricky but ultimately successful process. “It wasn’t that the recording was difficult but the live gigs – a big percentage for the crowd is that it’s visual,” Conor says.

“When they see a band interacting with the crowd or really getting excited about it they respond better and get into it a bit more. When you’re recording onto to a CD it’s hard to get the atmosphere and live energy into it. The process itself was fine; it was just initially we weren’t sure we’d be able to get the live vibe.”

Walter Mitty & the Realists put on an unmissable live show. They are a band who always win a crowd over and do their utmost to get punters going.

“That’s definitely the aim anyway,” says Conor. “That’s what it’s all about for us, hoping that people are going to enjoy it. They seem to a fair bit of the time. As long as the crowd are enjoying it for the majority, that’s the main thing.”

Walter Mitty & the Realists play Roisin Dubh on Thursday, November 26. Doors 9pm, admission free.

 

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

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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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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

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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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