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Why donÕt we learn to say what we really mean?



Date Published: {J}

Imagine how awful life would be if you actually could hear the grass growing – particularly if you were a farmer or living in the country where the cacophony of growing green vegetation would be like the crowd at Croke Park at the end of the All-Ireland Final…every day of the week.

But people really do say the stupidest things – and because they never stop to think, we also seem to take these wise old sayings as fact.

And yet in reality, how strange would it be if you really did have a chip on your shoulder? And is it anything like have a kebab all down your front?

Why should you beware of Greeks bearing gifts? Although that’s unlikely given their current economic predicament – they cannot afford to keep themselves, never mind buying presents for the rest of us.

If you were a very important person in New York – would that make you the big cheese in the Big Apple?

Sticking with important people, Cavan men have long been accused of having the ability to peel oranges in their pockets and it’s not meant in a complimentary way – but how handy that would be on a wet or cold day….being able to prepare your fruit for eating without taking your hands from the warmth of your coat.

If there’s no rest for the wicked, how come so many of them spend 23 hours a day locked in a jail cell?

Why is it high praise to say a man calls a spade a spade – what else would he call it?

When you roar at your children: “Pocket money? I’ll give you pocket money”….why do you then always let them down?

If you truly wore your heart on your sleeve, wouldn’t there be a very real risk of infection?

Did anyone really have to point out that, if it ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it? Ditto, isn’t it stating the obvious that tomorrow is another day – or pointing out that you can’t get blood out of a stone.


And who was the eejit who said it was better to give than to receive? Probably someone who never got a present.

If the pen is mightier than the sword, why didn’t Bush bomb Iraq with biros?

Wouldn’t a knight in shining armour seem rather stupid, if the enemy could then see him riding over the horizon with the sun reflecting off his squeaky clean suit?

Shouldn’t you at least do an inventory before definitely rejecting all the tea in China?

Shouldn’t it be a given that nobody holds a candle to you – why would your friends knowingly burn you with the flame?

On the same subject, if you meet up with an old flame, are you playing with fire?

And who was it that decided that a bird in the hand was worth two in the bush? John Terry? Ashley Cole? The entire Chelsea squad?

Have they never been to Shepherd’s Bush?

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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