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We need to hear more of ÔMammyÕ on morning radio



Date Published: {J}

On the Bank Holiday Monday, it is usual for RTE Radio 1 to give us an extra hour of Maxi and music in the morning before a later start of Morning Ireland at 8am. I find it a blessed hour of peace.

One must suppose that it is some RTE ‘nod’ towards the fact that most of the country is still in the bed and would like some respite from the cares of the ordinary working day.

As someone who made my crust from reporting the news – good and bad, but probably mostly bad! – it may sound like a strange thing to say, but I welcome the break from mostly the miseries of the day which are reported day-in-day-out by Morning Ireland.

Maybe it’s that we have had more than our share of the ‘bad news’ in recent years . . . 450,000 unemployed, thousands of young people with little or no hope, a banking system which was corrupt and where people should have been charged with ‘reckless trading’ and which now seems quite capable of bringing down the whole country in its wake.

However, I don’t want to start sounding like ‘one of those news bulletins’ when what I am advocating is that, maybe, we might benefit from the occasional story where it’s not all moaning. And I wonder if I’m right in thinking that perhaps somebody in RTE Radio news is beginning to think the same way.

I have the very definite impression from recent editions of Morning Ireland that – as in the case of the Cork Jazz Festival and the Wexford Opera Festival – they made a conscious effort to inject something other than bank disasters and misery into the news.

It made a very great change from the mornings when even two hours of programme time still does not seem to leave enough ‘space’ to deal with all the horror billions.

Perhaps I‘m reading a little too much into the Cork Jazz Festival coverage, but in journalistic terms we are very much out of the ‘silly season,’ which comes in Summer and especially in August . . . but here was a news flagship that had developed a ‘softer edge’ in introducing us to the start of the day. They have also been doing other stories in the show which I think tend to ‘soften’ the image of the show.

Journalists have their job to do and one cannot blame them for a fairly unremitting story of disaster if a crisis has hit our finances such as that of the past few years. But there was a sharp reminder some years ago, when a strike crippled the news reporting business on RTE, that the listeners might just be able to manage without a service, or with a lesser one.

That happened when RTE Radio simply broadcast music at the times when major bulletins or news shows might normally have gone out over the airwaves. In essence, the service became somewhat reminiscent of RTE Lyric FM. It’s heresy for someone from the news end of industry to say it, but . . . it became a rather pleasant experience.

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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