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World-class athletes set for Ironman

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: {J}

BY ENDA CUNNINGHAM

Up to 60,000 spectators are expected along the route for the Ironman 70.3 Series triathlon this Sunday, which is expected to generate a €5 million cash windfall for Galway.

And a further tourism spin-off is likely to be created when the city, Salthill and parts of Connemara are showcased to tens of millions of TV viewers around the world.

Around 2,400 competitors from 42 countries around the world will take part in the gruelling endurance race, while they are likely to bring up to 6,600 members of families and friends.

The Ironman 70.3 – so called because it involves a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile cycle and 13.1 mile run – will be screened on TG4 and Setanta in Ireland, as well as Channel 4 in the UK.

It will also be screened on America 1, ESPN and Canal+ as well as in their ‘partner’ syndicated territories across the globe. Setanta alone will be broadcasting the event highlights on their networks in Australia, the UK and Asia, while foreign print journalists – from specialist triathlon magazines in the likes of the US, UK and Germany – will also be in Galway.

A TV company from the UK has already arrived in Galway, and will be recording all the events and putting together a highlights package for all the TV networks.

Galwayman Eoin McCormack of E&R Events – which secured the rights to run Ironman 70.3 in Ireland for the next five years – said the response to the event has been overwhelming.

“This is a huge event for the region and for the country. We have people competing from all over the world; Spain, Portugal, Sweden, France, Germany, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Bahrain. We even have people from São Tomé and Príncipe (off the west coast of Africa near the equator)!

“This is the biggest triathlon event in the world. It’s like bringing the PGA Golf Tour to Ireland. There were 60 cities around Europe that wanted the Ironman franchise. And we got it,” said Mr McCormack.

He got the idea to bring the event to Ireland after seeing it in action while living in France, and approached Ironman chiefs with his business partners and fellow Galwaymen Ronan Gilligan and Ruaidhrí Geraghty.

“It’s been a phenomenal success thus far. It’s the second biggest Ironman of its size in Year One, we are the success story of Ironman internationally. The triathlon is the fastest growing individual sport in the UK, there’s a shortage of events there, so there’s huge potential for us to bring people to Ireland.

“We had to shut race entry down after 2,500, it was a huge response. It’s overwhelming, but we’re not really surprise to be honest. Ironman is a very powerful brand, and the market is there for it.

“We didn’t even have to launch our marketing in America, and we got 100 entrants from there. In all, there will be 500 people coming from the States,” said Mr McCormack.

Galway in Days Gone By

The way we were – Protecting archives of our past

Judy Murphy

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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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Archive News

Real Galway flavour to intermediate club hurling battle in Birr

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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Date Published: 23-Jan-2013

images/files/images/x3_Courthouse.jpg

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Archive News

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

Bernie Ni Fhlatharta

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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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