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Why weÕre genetically predisposed to feeling down in the mouth

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Date Published: {J}

IN many ways, recession and our current economic crisis should suit us, because Irish people are never as contented as when they are deeply unhappy – and conversely the things that make other nations happy only seem to add to our woes.

Think of the weather for example – we complain about the rain and wind through the eleven months of the year, as though it was our national pasttime. And then when the sunshine comes, we go beetroot red, irritable and unable to walk more than a hundred yards as we secretly long for the return of a drop of rain.

We give out about the price of the pint and then drink more of it by way of protest; we drive miles out of our way to buy petrol that’s half a cent cheaper, never calculating the cost of getting to the cheaper pump in the first place.

We fly to exotic places with wonderful, organic ethinc food and stirring local brews to sate our every appetite – and then we complain that you couldn’t get a fry or a decent pint of Guinness anywhere….not even in Dicey O’Reilly’s original Irish bar in downtown Mogadishu.

More to the point in the current climate, when the economy is going down the toilet and we’re all in debt to the point that our grandchildren would be lucky to make inroads into it, we should be taking to the streets in anger at a predicament that was not of our making.

Maybe it will still happen when they put a tax on the houses they’ve already made a fortune on through stamp duty, but there’s nothing in our past to suggest we’re ready to march on the Dail in unison.

Instead we get upset to the point of apoplexy because a Government Minister has a good car or the Cabinet meets in Farmleigh. And for the rest of the year we give out that nobody uses Farmleigh at all, despite all we spent on it.

If we get a bad meal in a restaurant, we tell the waiter that everything was fine when it wasn’t and then we do two things – we bitch about the place to everyone we know and we never go back.

So we have a confused and confusing attitide to life; we seem lifted by depression and unhappy when everything in going swimmingly.

To emphasise the point, if you ask the ordinary man or woman in the street how they are, the response is likely to be one of quiet resignation topped off with the old Irish attitude – sure it could be worse.

These days, a simple ‘how are you’ can lead to a twenty minute diatribe – and at the end of it, you’re still not sure whether the question has been answered in the positive or the negative.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

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Athenry fail to take chances as they bow out of Junior Cup

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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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