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When studying science was a Ôpain in the assÕ Ð literally!

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Date Published: {J}

FEARS were expressed last night that two of the cityÕs biggest ever proposed developments could be jeopardised by new safety rules.

The Û2 billion transformation of the Docks could be affected by regulations governing the distance that must be kept between the storage of hazardous material Ñ such as the oil tanks at the Docks Ñ and any new development, a meeting of Galway City Council was told.

And, City Manager Joe MacGrath confirmed to the Sentinel after the eeting that, unless the two existing oil depots are moved, any new plans for the revamp of Ceannt Station could potentially also be affected.

In December 2005, more than 2,000 people living near a fuel depot in the South East of England were evacuated from their homes when two blasts at Buncefield Oil Depot caused massive fires. At least 43 people were injured in the blaze, two seriously, and the incident caused chaos on the surrounding road network.

British authorities decided that the 250-metre development exclusion zone around tankers containing hazardous material should be extended to 400 metres.

In March 2007, the Irish equivalent, the Health …………..

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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Early tries scupper Wegians in Bateman Cup

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Date Published: 24-Jan-2013

WOMAN TOLD TO LEAVE GALWAY OR FACE JAIL

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Killimor wary of favourites tag for semi-final

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Date Published: 30-Jan-2013

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