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Why going grey is no longer quite so black and white



Date Published: {J}

By complete accident it seems that I might finally be coming into fashion for the very first time in my life – because it appears that nature has provided a head of greying hair at a time when supermodels are paying small fortunes for that exact same look.

Obviously it’s not exactly the same look because they spend considerably more than the twelve euro it costs me to have a trim that is the barber’s equivalent of mowing an ever balding lawn – but at least we’re on common colours.

Just when blonde and brunette became yesterday’s look is of course completely lost on me, but the news that grey is the new black will come as good news to tens of thousands of Irishmen who never previously saw themselves at the cutting edge of hair fashion.

Of course there was that trend of shaved heads for a while – and many Irish males managed that look with little or no razor work at all – but this is a whole new phenomenon.

Kate Moss favours the grey look and other ‘household names’ such as Pixie Geldof, Pink and Lady Gaga have all dyed their manes a shade of grey.

Some call it silver but there’s no mistaking what it really is; it’s the moment when the bright you things want to look just like their nanas.

And it’s only a wet week ago that women in particular went into convulsions at the sight of a solitary grey hair.

If you pulled out the single strand, the legend has it that ten more would grow in its place and before you knew it you’d look like Grandma Moses.

But now the trendy young things are no longer running away from those grey days – they’re embracing them, running up to greet them, moving onto grey years ahead of nature’s schedule.

The irony of course is that not one of these new silver foxes is actually grey at all – they’re all dyeing their hair to look like old people while old people are still opting for shades of blonde or mahogany that wouldn’t look natural on a polished sideboard, let alone the top of your head.

The fashionistas say that the trend of grey hair first became popular in Asia as a break from basic black – and with all due respect, blonde Asians would, quite frankly, look utterly ridiculous.

Apparently the trick is to not go all grey. They suggest streaks of grey through a darker hair colour which is a style adopted by stars like Kate Moss and Nicole Kidman.

A man could get silver highlights in his hair – some of us are lucky enough to have them for free. The other option is to stop dying your hair and celebrate your natural grey – this can be liberating…just ask Marty Whelan.

Bizarrely, stylists say grey hair can actually make you look younger, cool and rebellious – which means that ad for the dad, going for a job interview and dyeing out his grey roots to ensure he looks younger, is now aimed in the totally wrong direction.

It also means that your average granddad is no longer an arthritic bag of brittle bones; they’re now the new cool generation which will take some time to adjust to.

Apparently this is all some sort of backlash to the eternal quest for anti-ageing techniques that have seen women inject botulism straight into their forehead to get rid of their lines to a point where they can no longer frown.

They’re injecting collagen into their lips until they look like particularly hungry trout; they’ve been nipped and tucked within an inch of their lives, removing the bags under their eyes to the point that they appear to have descended from some ancient masters of the Orient – but now their blonde tresses are turning to grey.

All of this should be greeted with a degree or bemusement by those of us who never put a drop of dye within an ass’s roar of our heads because the last thing we ever thought we’d be was trendy.

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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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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