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Why couldnÕt they have given us the wine lake instead?



Date Published: {J}

If the nitwits who thought that free cheese would somehow sweeten the pill of the bitterest budget in the history of the state, they picked the wrong stock of EU surplus to dip into.

Because if they really wanted to cheer us all up after they mortgaged our future generations through mismanagement and sheer greed, they’d have found a wine lake so that we’d all get a few free bottles.

Cheese, after all, only gives you nightmares if you eat it late at night – wine on the other hand will have you sleeping like a baby, deluding yourself that the reality was all a bad dream as opposed to the cheese causing one.

A wine lake would have taken away so much of the pain and they wouldn’t even have to bottle it for us – if they dug out those water tankers we had during the cryptosporidium and filled them with rioja or rosé, we’d come out with our buckets to fill them for domestic consumption.

That’s presuming of course that Europe’s wine makers didn’t keep the best stuff for themselves, and simply put the wine made from sour grapes into EU storage.

But presuming the wino was up to scratch, then, indeed, we might also welcome a pound of Edam or a cut of brie to go with the cheeky red or dry white so that we’d rediscover our sense of community by having the neighbours over for a wine and cheese reception during Brian Lenihan’s ‘sackcloth and ashes’ budget.

Wasn’t there a beef mountain at some stage as well – not a mountain as such but weren’t there refrigerated container ships anchored off the coast with enough steak on board to feed an army?

Why didn’t they think of that instead of cheese – or did the vegan-loving Greens rule out any meat eating even if it was already dead and doomed to eternal life at sea?

Did we have a milk lake at one stage as well? Then again, who’d want to accept a litre or two of sour milk when we could be toasting each other’s good health with a drop of Blue Nun?

Even a distribution of the butter mountain would have been a better option; not that we’d eat it of course because the health police insist that a million margarine substitutes in a tub are better for our hearts than the real thing.

No, what we’d do with the butter mountain is sculpt it into a ski slope so that Galway could hold the downhill skiing slice of the Winter Olympics.

And when it was all over, rather than being left with a white (or indeed yellow) elephant, we could then give it to the poor people to put on their bread.

For those of us reared in a time when a choice of cheese stretched to either Galtee or Calvita and when every portion came individually wrapped in silver foil that only a scissors could cope with, all of this might be seen as a symbol of our Celtic Tiger era when we became all sophisticated and held dinner parties to show off our new €50,000 kitchen extension.

For more, read this week’s Connacht 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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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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