Monthly Archives: October 2011

All Blacks Rugby World Champions 2011:Dave Gallaher Remembered

New Zealand Captain Richie McCaw raises the Web Ellis Trophy, October 2011.(Image screen grab Sky Sports)

The New Zealand All Blacks have been crowned champions of the world after a thrilling game against France in the final of the 2011 Rugby World Cup. We in Ireland have a very special link with the legendary All Blacks and share their pride on this momentous occasion.

As a Donegal woman living in Munster and now a Munster Rugby supporter, I have a particular affection for the All Blacks on two counts: Firstly, in 1978 Munster became the only Irish side to win a victory over the mighty All Blacks when on 31 October they beat them 12- 0 in Thomond Park, Limerick. This win is one of the proudest moments in Irish rugby history. Secondly, over 70 years earlier, the first touring side to play Munster was the famous “Original” All Blacks who lined out against them in the Markets Field, Limerick in November 1905. Munster were defeated 33–0. On that day, the victorious New Zealand All Blacks were captained by an Irishman from Donegal, the legendary Dave Gallaher.

I grew up in Donegal and am very familiar with one of Donegal’s most beautiful villages,  Ramelton, which sits on the banks of the River Lennon. In this village on 30 October 1873 my namesake David Gallagher was born into a relatively comfortable family. His father was a shopkeeper, his mother a school teacher. When David was 5 years old, the family left Ramelton for the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. They settled in Katikati, on the North Island where David’s mother Maria, became the local schoolteacher. Maria died in 1887 at the tragically young age of 42, leaving 11 children without a mother.

Two years later, the 17-year old Dave Gallaher (as he was now known) went to Auckland and played rugby – first for the Parnell Club and then the Ponsonby Club from 1896. In that year he also debuted at provincial level. His rugby career was interrupted when in 1901, he joined the New Zealand Contingent of Mounted Rifles to fight in the Boer War. At a farewell dinner, it is reported that the popular rugby player was ‘presented with a well filled purse of sovereigns’.

Safely home, he resumed his rugby career and played for New Zealand in the first ever encounter with the British and Irish Lions in 1904, and in 1905  he captained the legendary ‘Originals’ All Black team that toured Britain, France and North America.

The 1905 Original All Blacks.

The 1905 Original All Blacks (Image via Wikipedia)

This was the first time that the New Zealand team toured beyond Australasia and it was the first time that the name ‘All Black’ had been used. The 5-month tour was a triumph for Gallaher’s team as they scored 976 points and conceded only 59 in 35 matches. They won 34 and lost only 1 against Wales (controversy still rages about a referee decision that cost them the match!).

Dave Gallaher (Image via Wikimedia)

Following retirement as a team player, Dave Gallaher remained an influential figure in rugby. He continued as a selector for Auckland and for the All Blacks from 1907 to 1914. He co wrote a coaching manual, The Complete Rugby Footballer, that is still widely consulted to this day.

Dave volunteered to fight in World War 1 and it is believed that he changed his date of birth to enable him to do so, as he was exempt from conscription because of his age. (His youngest brother Douglas had been killed in action in France the previous year.)

Following training in England, on 26 June 1917 his unit went into  action in the Third Battle of Ypres where they fought in the La Basse Ville area.  At the rest camps in late August intensive training began for the battle that became known as Passchendaele. About the same time the region experienced the heaviest rain in 30 years that effectively turned the area into a muddy swamp. On October 1, he marched through the battle ravaged town of Ypres, and 3 days later….

”In drizzly rain, he had advanced through the deep mud of a small river and up the slopes ready to take over from the leading battalions for the second stage of the attack. A strong westerly wind chilled him to the bone and he waited for his orders. It was as he took over that his men came under heavy fire from a German stronghold named Korek, situated on the highest point of Graventafel ridge, and Dave Gallaher became one of the 330 New Zealanders to lose their lives in what is known as the Battle of Broodseinde

Gallaher had been hit in the head by shrapnel and died some hours later, on October 4, just weeks short of his 44th birthday. Of the 9 brothers in the Gallaher family, 5 fought in the Great War. Douglas  was wounded in action at Gallipoli on May 4 1915 and killed in action at Laventie, France on June 3 1916. Dave was killed in action on 4 October 1917 and Henry was killed in action on 24 April 1918. Henry’s twin brother Charles, was shot in the back in Gallipoli and survived for some years with a bullet lodged close to his spine.  Laurence survived the war without any recorded injury.

The Grave of Dave Gallaher (Image Wikimedia.commons)

Dave Gallaher is buried at Nine Elms Cemetery, Poperinge, Belgium, not far from The Island of Ireland Peace Park in Messines, Belgium. His grave, which bears the New Zealand emblem the Silver Fern, so proudly worn on the All Black shirt, has become a place of pilgrimage for All Black teams touring  France.

 

The All Black Kit with embroidered Poppy (Image .commons)

The All Blacks have also been known to wear an embroidered poppy on the jersey sleeve to honour their countrymen who died in the battlefields of Europe during both World Wars. 12 All Blacks died in World War 1 and 2 died in World War 2. Their team proudly remembers them and all New Zealanders who lost their lives on fields of conflict.

Bronze at Eden park Stadium, Auckland.

The name of Dave Gallaher lives on and continues to be remembered in the world of Rugby. In 1922, the Gallaher Shield became the trophy for Auckland club competitions and since 2000 the Dave Gallaher Cup has been awarded to the winner of the first rugby test between New Zealand and France in any year. Standing outside  Eden Park Stadium in Auckland  is a bronze statue of Dave Gallaher. Standing 2.7 metres high, this imposing statue is fitting testament to the esteem in which Dave Gallaher is held.

Meanwhile in Donegal, Dave Gallaher is proudly remembered. His home town Ramelton has honoured him with the lovely Dave Gallaher Park .

Dave Gallaher Park, Ramelton, Co Donegal. (Image Ramelton Tidy Towns)

Just up the road in Letterkenny, the local rugby club has named their home ground ‘Dave Gallaher Memorial Park’. There was great excitement in the area in 2005 when the All Blacks visited Donegal to connect with and honour the remarkable Dave Gallaher, who changed the face of rugby forever.

October 23 2011 is a proud day for New Zealand and for the All Blacks.  It is also a proud day for Donegal and for Ireland.  All Blacks Abú!

References

The history of Wales versus New Zealand at Rugbyrelics.com

Rugby History at Rugby Football History- Rugby at War.

History Learning Site – Passchendaele at  http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/battle_of_passchendaele.htm

Ramelton at http://rameltontidytowns.squarespace.com

 

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Filed under Family History, Irish Diaspora, Irish History

Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action 2011

Seven  Silver Surfer Awards for 2011 were handed out in the ceremony at Google Headquarters in Dublin recently. Three finalists were shortlisted in seven categories. The shortlisted entrants were chosen for the dedication and passion they showed in their quest to get online, regardless of their age.  Hearty congratulations to all the amazing people who were nominated and a ‘well done’ to the award winners!

The recipient of the Golden IT Award was 90-year-old Larry Wilmott.Larry lives in a nursing home and has over the past 3 years learned all about computers. He is now active on Facebook, Twitter and Skype.  Larry’s achievements were recognized by Sarah Jenkinson who works at Larry’s nursing home and who nominated him for the award. 

Dorothy Harrington, a 76-year-old grandmother-of-four from Sandymount, Dublin,was the overall winner of the Google Silver Surfer Award with Age Action. Dorothy, proudly nominated by her husband Paddy, sold their home online, saving a small fortune in professional fees. She then went on to find a new home online, where they now live.  She also makes Christmas cards and conducts  much of their business online and has enormous fun doing so.

The Family Tutor Award is open to anyone UNDER the age of 50 and the winner was the lovely 12 year-old  Aine Fleming  from Kildare, who patiently helped her grandmother get to grips with her laptop, and who says that accessing the internet has changed her life for the better. Aine’s Aunt, Kathleen King, nominated Aine  for the award.

Penny Pennefeather,62, from Wicklow computerized the scoring system for her Bridge Club of over 400 people and enthusiastically undertook to help other members come to grips with the new system. Nominated by her daughter, Jane Court, Penny was the worthy winner of the Hobbies on the Net Award.

The Winner of the Most Dedicated IT Learner Award was 53-year-old  Bernie Wansboro, from Swords, Co Dublin who taught herself basic computing skills using computer manuals. She then bought a laptop that has opened up a whole new world for her.  Bernie nominated herself for this category, and anyone who has ever tried to read a computer manual can only be in awe of her wonderful achievement!

James Richardson from Dublin was Winner of the IT Volunteer of the Year Award. This award which was open to people of all ages went to 63-year-old James who has helped over 1,500 older  people learn basic computer and word processing skills over the past 7 years. James was nominated by colleagues who  are impressed with his patience and empathy at the community based non-profit organization in Coolock. 

The winner of  the Social Networker Award was myself, 63-year-old Angela Gallagher,from Co. Limerick.  With the initial help and extraordinary patience of my son Damian, who lives a considerable distance away,my blog and Facebook page got up and running.  ‘ A Silver Voice from Ireland’  looks at issues facing older people as well as  our social history and our diaspora and has opened up a whole new world to me. 

Speaking at the awards ceremony the  Minister for Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources,  Mr Pat Rabbitte said: “The Internet is no longer the exclusive domain of the young or indeed the technically oriented.  A happy convergence of peer pressure, reducing costs, more user-friendly devices and smarter software design is encouraging us all to go on-line. Today’s winners are champions in the application of peer pressure. They have not let their age hold them back from being part of Ireland’s digital society and are setting a wonderful example for people of all ages.”  
Sinéad Gibney, Social Action Manager, Google Ireland said: “This year we have seen a 50% increase in nominations for the Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action which shows how many people over-50 are determined not to be left behind by new technology. At Google we are committed to helping people of all ages get online and to help them get the most from the Internet. These awards provide us with a fantastic platform to celebrate older people who have embraced modern technology and are reaping the benefits it has to offer. Everyone shortlisted today should be very proud of their achievements.” 

Age Action Chief Executive Robin Webster said: “Computer skills are becoming increasingly important for everyone, enabling a person to keep abreast of what is happening in society and providing them with the means of having their voice heard.  Some older people are still unsure as to whether or not they will be able to learn how to use a computer. Today’s winners should be an example to them of how people of all ages can attain these IT skills and how these skills can greatly enrich the quality of their lives. I would urge all older people who do not know how to use a computer not to be afraid and explore it. Learning how to use a computer and how to navigate the Internet can be a life-changing experience.”

Thanks to Google for a wonderful event, and to Age Action, a very special charity deserving of our support.  Ciara Sherlock Events Manager at Age Action Ireland was extraordinarily friendly and helpful. Minister Pat Rabbitte and three of the candidates in the upcoming Presidential election in Ireland   – Michael D Higgins, Martin McGuinness and Sean Gallagher, together with the MC – TV Personality  Derek Davis,made it a very special and memorable event for all the participants.  Thank you all!

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Filed under Celebrations in Ireland, Living in Ireland, Social Networking, Uncategorized

The Silver Voice Blog wins Social Networking Award

Séan Gallagher, Presidential Candidate, presents the Social Networking Award.

Age Action Ireland is a charity which promotes positive ageing and better policies and services for older people. In association with Google they run the Silver Surfer Awards, which celebrates older people who have embraced information technology for pleasure or as a way of enhancing their lives. Nominations were sought for 5 categories – Most Dedicated IT Learner; Hobbies on the Net; IT Volunteer of the Year, Family Tutor and  Social Networking Award. In addition the hunt was on for a person over 90 for the Golden IT Award and an older person who embraces internet technology with a sense of fun for the title ‘Google Silver Surfer of the year 2011 with Age Action’. The awards ceremony was held at Google HQ in Dublin on 27  September. Noted Irish TV Personality Derek Davis was Master of Ceremonies, while Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte was also in attendance. Three of Ireland’s Presidential Candidates,  Michael D. Higgins, Martin McGuinness and Sean Gallagher, were on hand to present the awards.

I was both surprised and shocked to discover that this blog led to my being

Damian Shiels, who nominated me for the award, and Michael D Higgins,Presidential Candidate.

shortlisted in the Social Networking category, and even more astonished when it was revealed that The Silver Voice had won! There were some truly special nominees and winners present on the day, and I was humbled to be among them. I would like to thank Age Action Ireland and Google for a wonderful day out, and for organising a marvellous event.  Damian Shiels was the person who nominated me in the first place and it was good that he was also present to share the occasion. Many thanks as well to those of you who read my (sometimes diverse!) ramblings, and hopefully there will be many more posts to come in the future!

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Filed under Blogging, Older Generation, Social Networking