It is 10 years since Ballinasloe last hosted a fleadh and the local Ceoltas Branch is looking forward to this being a real restart after Covid 19.
The Galway County Fleadh will take place this year from the 20th to the 22nd May 2022. It has been 2 years since a Galway Fleadh has been hosted by any town or branch due to the pandemic, so excitement is high for the influx of music, song, dance, craic and visitors to the Ballinasloe area for the weekend.
The weekend will begin with an Official Opening and Session on Friday the 20th of May. Saturday the 21st of May will see the start to the weekend of competitions, which will be held in Ard Scoil Mhuire and Scoil an Chroi Naofa school complexes.
Over 1500 competitors will assemble over the two days with the hopes of securing a qualifying position to the regional fleadh – Connacht Fleadh 2022 to be held in Sligo. Saturday will see Under 10, Under 12 and Under 15 Competitions being held in a large variety of Instruments as well as singing and Comhra Gaelige.
Sunday sees competitions in the Under 18 and Over 18 ages groups, as well as dancing. Throughout both days a large entry is expected for Grupai Cheoil and Ceili Band competitions in all ages.
17 Branches from all over County Galway will have participants in the competitions which should manifest a large influx of visitors to the area for the weekend. The competitions are open to the public to attend and all are encouraged to hear and see the great talented performers.
On the Saturday night of the Fleadh, there will be a Ceili held in Gullanes Hotel as well as numerous pub music sessions throughout the weekend.
More details and a timetable will be issued closer to the time. For more information, please check out the website www.galwaycomhaltas.ie or follow us on Facebook/Instagram @galwaycomhaltas
The Red light has finally turned Green for Irelands festivals, and the energetic organising committee of Féile Cheoil Larry Reynolds in Ballinasloe are now confirming their 9th year’s festival dates, will take place from Thursday 8th September to Sunday 12th September 2022.
For the past two years the committee and loyal audience were denied hosting this great gathering of musicians, singers’ crafters and dancers lost out in the celebration of music, culture and heritage that this festival has become known for.
This year’s festivals plans are now well underway for concerts, high energy sessions, workshops, masterclasses, céilí, crafters and more. Whatever route you take, Ballinasloe has a great gateway open to all, with plenty of places to stay, wine, dine and shop.
If you have a note, a step or neither, the festival caters for all ages and interests and promises to be to a safe, lively, fun filled celebration of music, laughter and good craic amongst friends. For further updates keep an eye on their website, social media pages and posters.
Now, more than ever, festivals have substantial operation costs, and this year the organisers are hosting a fundraising event of a difference, in what promises to a great night of nostalgia and memories. They are hosting the ‘Joe Dolan Tribute Show’ featuring Paschal Brennan and his 3-piece band in Gullane’s Hotel, Ballinasloe. Friday June 17th 2022.
Get your tickets early to avoid disappointment as the saying goes “There’s No Show like the Joe Show”. Tickets are available from committee members and on the festival website.
After a fantastic previous season, medals, trophies, shields and even a new club makeover, St. Cuans Utd are now ready to move onto what promises to be a better and bigger season.
The club also prepare to enter girl’s teams for the first year ever as the RDYSL have amalgamated with the Midwestern Girls League. This gives the girls in our community a fantastic opportunity to play in more competitive games of soccer. A 2-day Girls Soccer Launch was held recently for all girls interested and it proved to be a great success with many new faces turning up.
Registration took place for all underage players recently and saw fantastic numbers register for the upcoming season.
St. Cuans have also formed their first ever womans soccer team and hope that this can be the start of something great and create the chance for all women interested to get involved in the sport.
There will be an opportunity for underage players to register after registration day, but the club are trying to get this done as soon as possible before matches are announced. If you are interested in joining contact Tom (Director of Football) on 087 4610583 or Mary (Secretary) 087 9290193. With the addition of the new teams, the club are seeking new coaches, men and women. If you are interested in being involved with coaching or for any other queries, again contact Tom or Mary on the numbers listed above or send an email to email@example.com.
The GAA season is well and truly underway in Ballinasloe with all age groups back training.
Their Nursery programme is also up and running on Saturday mornings from 10.30am to 11.30am and is open to new members, boys and girls, to come and try it out. The age groups catered for in this programme are Boys U7 (years of birth 2015/2016/2017) and Girls U6 (Years of Birth 2016/2017). It introduces this age group to both Hurling and Football in a fun way and is a great for developing their coordination and general fitness.
The main emphasis is making sure that the kids have fun and enjoy themselves in a safe supervised environment. For more information on this programme contact Shane Kenny on 086 3624580 or Gary Coyne on 086 3871872.
This season the club are doing a major promotional drive on the weekly lotto as it’s one of the club’s main income generators. You can do the lotto from your own home by logging on to www.ballinasloe.gaa.ie and it only costs €2 per play. You can become a club lotto member by filling in a simple online form and automatically have your numbers entered every week.
Ballinasloe GAA Bingo takes place every Tuesday night at 8pm. Doors are open from 7pm onwards and you’re welcome to have refreshments and chat with friends before bingo starts. Refreshments are available again at the break. To accommodate as many people as possible the committee have decided to restart their online bingo. The online bingo will run alongside the hall bingo. Books are on sale in the hall for the hall bingo and books for the online bingo can be purchased by clicking on the link on our website www.ballinasloe.gaa.ie or our Facebook page, Ballinasloe Bingo.
The Club’s youth club is proving to be very successful, every Friday night from 7.30pm in the clubhouse for boys and girls in 6th Class, 1st year and 2nd year. It's open to all club members in that age group and they can also bring a friend who's not a member. It only costs €3 for admission. For more information, contact Kathryn Gibbons on 087 9046140.
You can find more information on all the club's activities on their Facebook page Ballinasloe GAA.
There were lots of amazing engineering-based science activities throughout the school to celebrate engineering week. Pupils got plenty of opportunities to apply their science knowledge to a wide range of hands-on challenges along with engineering-based homework activities taking place during the week - allowing many parents to got involved too!
The pupils at Scoil Muire gan Smál really enjoyed the events organised for Seachtain na Gaeilge 2022. The children had lots of activities to do - quizzes, art competitions, céilí, games and they had a chance to read books in Irish in class. There were prizes for the children who took part in the various competitions and for the students who used the most Gaeilge during the week!
There was a fantastic reception for the local heroes from the victorious Padraic Pearses club when they came to visit the school recently. With 7 past pupils on the squad, children and staff supporters of the club donned the red and white and cheers and chants echoed around the Astro-Turf area as they celebrated the clubs’ historic achievements.
Teacher and ICT co-ordinator Ms. Regina Power organised her annual St Brigid's Cross Fundraiser in aid of The Ballinasloe Social Services. This fundraising initiative is the brainchild of Ms. Power and Ms Blade and has been hugely successful over the past number of years in raising thousands of euros in support of this worthy cause. This year, Ms Power managed to galvanise staff, teachers and community alike and succeeded in planning and overseeing the production and sale of St Brigid's crosses to raise a sum of €2,713.14.
Children of all ages and a few adults too, really got into the spirit by dressing up for World Book Day in the school. There were wizards and witches, superheroes and villains, fairy tale characters and animals of all types to be seen throughout the school. Even Captain Underpants, a rather scary bandit and a really mischievous chicken managed to sneak their way into school today!!
Creagh N.S. has a long and proud tradition of taking part in the St Patrick's Day Parade. This year was no different as they entered a group with the theme of celebration, which focussed on the celebration of sport, culture, community and the environment, winning first place in the education category.
The full throated roar in stereo from An Tain and across to Joe’s through the St. Patrick’s Day crowd in the Square confirmed with beaming smiles to many that Flooring Porter had been victorious in the famous Cotswolds Mecca of National Hunt Racing.
The Flooring Porter story started in spring 2018 when a group of lifelong racing fans spotted a young horse for sale on a Facebook ad. The four-man syndicate of Edward Hogarty, Kerrill Creaven, Alan and Tommy Sweeney of South Roscommon extraction bought him from trainer Gavin Cromwell for €5,000 after going to view two different horses.
Our superhero horse name came about because Hogarty owns a local flooring business in Woodmount and Creaven and Alan Sweeney owned the local Birchgrove Pub at the time. The iconic black and white jockey colours represent a pint of porter.
In 2021, the mount was backed 12/1 to win the Paddy Power Stayers Hurdle in Cheltenham. And after an impeccably judged front-running ride by Danny Mullins, Porter romped home.
The victory caused outright jubilation around the area, says Edward Hogarty: "The feeling after Porter crossed the line in Cheltenham was of sheer joy for the whole parish, never mind just the syndicate members and our families. No one expected it and everyone benefitted from his victory. It’s unbelievable, the amount of people that come into our shops and tell me that Flooring Porters winnings are paying for their paint, rugs, or their flooring. So many local people have benefitted from it and it’s really great to see,” he added.
"From lifelong racing fans sitting at home watching races, to having your own horse crossing the finish line first in a grade one race, it really is an unbelievable feeling," says Ed.
He will go down in history books for being one of the only horses to win the Stayers Hurdle twice in a row!
Seldom has a victory been celebrated so wildly at the festival or at home. Ed said: "I have three beautiful children, but Thursday was definitely the best day of my life. It was incredible.”
"We came back to Joe's in Ballinasloe on Friday and the publican there told us he hadn't seen scenes like it since Italia '90! I'm only 39 and won't be 40 until May, but I've already had my two hips replaced. These have been the best few days of my life. I'll never forget them."
When asked did they clear a million from the bookies he laughed “ We had a few quid on all right, but we definitely didn't win a million!" states Edward.
He said: "It's amazing to see what Flooring Porter has done for the four of us. He's shown that syndicates can have success on the biggest stage and you don't need to be a multimillionaire to own a racehorse. And, the craic is mighty too!"
Mountbellew might have their Bobby Joe – but Ballinasloe is getting mighty fond of Flooring Porter!
By Ray Jordan
After Napoleon Bonaparte's defeat at Waterloo the French Monarchy was reinstated leading to a period of fear and uncertainty among the French people. This ended in 1848 with the Declaration of The Second Republic. The Ganaveen farm visitor Prince Joseph Charles Napoleon Bonaparte was elected to the new Assembly along with his older cousin Prince Louis who was voted in as President.
His cousin our visitor, was part of The Emperor's Government and as such was a very important person indeed. His reasons for visiting Ireland for a holiday in 1857 were to pay a visit to Donegal where his father's first wife Betsy Patterson's father had come from, and secondly he wished to see the Great Telescope at Birr.
Having explored his Donegal connections Prince Joseph sailed on his own Yacht from Derry to Galway. On mooring off Galway he was greeted by a 21 Gun Salute from a Naval ship anchored in The bay. This caused great panic in The Cladagh where the people thought the French were invading!
He boarded a train at Galway and was met at Ballinasloe by the great and the good of the town and escorted to a dinner in his honour. His Confessor The Abbe Cruise who had Ballinasloe connections told him the story of the Battle of Aughrim in 1691 and its link to General San Ruth and the French fallen at that most deadly affair.
He continued his journey by coach to Birr where he viewed the Telescope called Leviathan which was in it's time the largest such instrument in the world. On this occasion he continued his journey in stages to Limerick where his yacht was moored waiting to take him to Kerry and later to Cork and home to France.
The Emperor on hearing the Aughrim story from Joseph, ordered a set of vestments to be made in Paris and they were delivered to The Parish Priest of Aughrim in 1858 around the time St. Michaels Church was dedicated. The vestments bearing the Imperial Symbol of The Bumble Bee may be seen in Aughrim and Loughrea museums.
Prince Joseph's second visit in 1860 was for a far more down to earth reason and was motivated by the Emperor's wish to improve French agricultural practises which were uneven and led to food shortages. On this visit Joseph arrived in Dunlaoire or Kingstown as it was known then and spent his first day at The Model Farm attached to The Albert College which has since become part of U.C.D. It is recorded that in the afternoon he dined at The Gresham Hotel before rejoining his Yacht.
Early the following morning he travelled to Westland Row by train and from there to The Broadstone Station by Cab. It was noted he personally chose the poorest cab for himself.
From The Broadstone Station he travelled to Ballinasloe and this time was met by Lord Clancarty who treated him to breakfast at Garbally. After breakfast he escorted him to Lismanny to meet Alan Pollok the owner of the most modern and innovative Farmstead at Gannaveen.
This farm and the one at Lismany were arguably the most modern in the world at that time and was developed and owned by a Scotsman named Alan Pollok. He had bought 39,000 acres mostly of the Eyre's Estate in Galway from The Encumbered Estates Board and had intended breaking it up into 4,000 acre units for renting out to suitable tenants.
Even by today's standards it was remarkable, and on the cattle side it could in one Byre - house over two hundred in two rows of individual pens accessed in the centre for feeding via individual troughs and at the rear for disposal of waste material. The by-product of the animals was turned into gas and was used to light the sheds and also to power various milling engines.
An article the following year in The Dublin Builder of Nov.lst 1861 gives a fuller description of the scale of Pollok's undertaking which had attracted French attention and resulted in the visit of such an important observer. Apart from some fine stone buildings, there is very little evidence to be seen today of the experiment set up along the lines of Scottish Improvers.
Prince Joseph returned to Ballinasloe where Lord Clancarty showed him various other farms and then departed by train for Dublin. Having made his way back to Dunlaoire he boarded his yacht and set sail for France.
Even by today's standards he accomplished a lot in two days and this mind you in 1860!
By Barry Lally
Availing themselves of the opportunity in the months preceding the outbreak of civil war in 1922, on a night in May, some local members of the anti-Treaty I.R.A. mutilated and decapitated the bronze statue of the Third Earl of Clancarty that had stood on its plinth within a railed enclosure on Station Road since 1874. After sectarian slogans had been daubed on neighbouring walls, the severed head was carried into town and thrown through the plate-glass window of Rothwell’s shop on Dunlo Street.
Almost 500 people were killed in the Belfast between July 1920 and July 1922 and in February 1922 the Weaver Street killings were particularly horrid.
And at the same time that local Protestants were being intimidated, Catholic ex-members of the RIC were being shot at and beaten, and Catholic farmers who owned more land than the neighbours thought was justified were the targets of agitation and animal maiming.
A hundred years ago in the April/May months in our locale saw ugly sectarism rear its head. It accelerated the continual decline of the protestant community which began from 1914-1918 , when a considerable number of local men were killed in WWI. Another factor is that the sons and daughters of the Protestant merchant class did generally not return to town after their education. They married coreligionists and lived elsewhere but many of the businesses on Main Street and the town centre remained in Protestant hands well up until the late 70s .
The establishment of the State of Northern Ireland in June 1921 had been followed by attacks on Nationalist areas in Belfast, which continued into 1922 and resulted in thousands of Catholics being driven from their homes. The formation of the Provisional Government of the Irish Free State on 14th January 1922 heralded the beginning of a progressive breakdown in law and order.
In Ballinasloe, burglaries, particularly of business premises, became virtually a nightly occurrence. Though not yet officially disbanded, the R.I.C. had in effect been stood down, and on 18th March Inspector Taylor handed over the Dunlo Street barracks to Commandant Beegan, 3rd Battalion, I.R.A., when it became the local headquarters of the Republican Police, an untrained body not answerable to the Provisional Government.
The previous month, the Regiment of Royal Dragoons, as well as the Black and Tans, had left the town, which was to remain without a statutory police force until the arrival of a contingent of the recently-formed Civic Guards at the end of September.
During the months of May and June 1922, prior to the outbreak of the Civil War, a determined effort was made to rid Ballinasloe of its Protestant community, which comprised approximately 8 per cent of the town’s population. At the same time a similar campaign was waged against former members of the Royal Irish Constabulary, in the course of which two men were seriously wounded in a gun attack, while others were beaten and ordered to leave the area.
Contemporary press reports paint a vivid picture of what was happening. On 10th June “The Connacht Tribune” published the following account: “Robert Orr, Brackernagh, a Protestant, who had been employed as a carpenter at Garbally, and who has a wife and three or four daughters and an invalid son, was visited by a number of armed men at about 3 o’clock on Friday morning. When they were admitted they asked for arms,but got none as none were to be had. The family were then huddled into one room and were threatened with disastrous consequences if they cried or made a noise. Orr, who was at the bedside near his invalid son, was beaten, but not seriously, on the head and received a black eye. One of the raiders, it is stated, told Mrs. Orr that she would have the leave the place by Monday. When she mentioned travelling expenses and asked where she was to get the money, one the raiders retorted by asking where did the Belfast refugees get the money. The house was then systematically gone through, the raiders breaking all before them, delph, furniture, lamps, windows, glasses, teapots, etc. – in fact there was nothing that was not broken into smithereens. Even items of food – bread, flour, milk, sugar – were spilled on the floor, and next morning the house presented a wrecked and dilapidated appearance.
“Mrs. Orr and the rest of the family were grief-stricken at the turn events had taken. She said they preferred to work with a Catholic any day to one of their own creed, and referred to the kindly manner they had always been treated by Catholics. They built this house themselves, and have been 40 years living there. They are natives of the County Monaghan, to which place with their personal belongings, a quantity of which was disposed of, they took their departure on Monday.”
A week later another report ran as follows: “If the campaign against Protestants which has been carried on in Ballinasloe since the end of last month is continued in similar intensity for a few weeks more, there will not be a Protestant left in the place. Presbyterians and members of the Church of Ireland, poor and well-to-do, old and young, widows and children, all alike have suffered in intimidation, persecution and expulsion. The campaign is carried out in the night-time, by unnamed persons, who give no reason for their action. The system which usually is followed is, first, the dispatch of an anonymous letter giving the recipient so many days, or hours to clear out. If this notice is disregarded, bullets are fired at night through his windows, bombs are thrown at his house, or his house is burned down. In one case, an old man who had not left when ordered to do so was visited by a gang who smashed everything in his cottage – every cup and every saucer, and then compelled him to leave the town, with his crippled son, the two of them destitute. The list of those proscribed is added to constantly, and every Protestant is simply waiting for his turn to come.”
The campaign of intimidation was not without its critics, religious and political. Speaking a half-past eleven Mass in St. Michael’s Church on Ascension Thursday, Fr. John Heenan C.C. said that he was informed that on the night previous a bomb was thrown into the drapery establishment of Mr. Wood, Main Street. That was the worst of the outrages yet committed. It was a crime against the Catholic Church and religion; it was an outrage against the teachings of the Church. And yet some people would try and find an excuse for this horrible act whereby lives might have been lost. “In the Bishop’s, in my own, and in the name of the clergy, and in your name, I tender my sympathy to the victim of last night’s diabolical outrage, and I denounce it as a crime against humanity and the great God of heaven.”
Again in St. Michael’s Church, at 10 o’clock Mass on Pentecost Sunday, referring to the attacks on retired policemen and Protestants, Fr. Thomas Naughton C.C. said: “Lest by our silence we may be taken as condoning these outrages, I think it is our duty to say a few words, and only a few words. They are outrages and crimes unchristian, and absolutely against the law of God. . Our silence does not by any means imply that we condone these offences, or that we encourage them, or anything of the like. We denounce them in the strongest terms as unchristian. We denounced them when they were committed by the Black and Tans, and we denounce them now when they are committed by our gallant Irish, who try to masquerade under the name of the Irish Republic.”
At last Mass on the same day, Fr. Thomas Maloney C.C. spoke of those who disregarded the 5th and 7th Commandments Those who committed those outrages were good at heart, but were led astray by their passions. “I tell you without the least fear of being wrong that any man or woman who goes out in cold blood and deliberately destroys life or property, no matter to whom the life or property belongs, is walking straight on the path to hell, and people who instruct them to commit those deeds are equally guilty. I do not say this in any bitterness or condemnation, but in order to appeal to those people to desist from such cruel acts in future.”
In the Market Square, at a public meeting on 15th June in the run-up to that month’s General Election, Frank Fahy T.D. (Anti-Treaty) stated they were not in favour of persecuting people on account of their religion as had been done lately in Ballinasloe. He did not want the votes of men who persecuted others on account of their religion, and neither did the other men on the platform. “Because Belfast lost its civilization, were they, in God’s name, to follow in the footsteps of Belfast and disgrace themselves? They would not do it. The seizure of grasslands and the persecution of Protestants was done by selfish people for a selfish end. There were men coming out now who were seizing the property of others and persecuting Protestants, but they would not help during the last three years when they wanted them to do so”.
On the same occasion, George Nicholls T.D. (Pro-Treaty) – portrayed in later life in our photograph - said “there was a lot of unadulterated blackguardism going on in Ballinasloe which was done by men who were never in the Sinn Féin movement, who were friends of the police and the British Army when they were in the country, and as soon as the police were gone started the robberies, plundering’s and burnings. The proper place for them was in the jails”.
The club had a number of athletes competing in the Galway Indoor event in Athlone Institute of Technology earlier this month.
Caoimhe Kilkenny won silver in the girls u17 60m and 200m, Kate Kilkenny took gold in the girls u13 600m, Eva Ruane won silver in u16 girls 800m and Lisa Herrity winning bronze in a very competitive 60m sprint.
The club was also well represented at the Connacht Indoor Competition which was also held in Athlone Institute of Technology recently. Their athletes Lisa Herrity, Carrie Stephenson, Eva Ruane, Kate and Caoimhe Kilkenny all competed on the day. A highlight from the day was Kate Kilkenny winning bronze in the u13 girls 600m and bagging a new PB. And her sister Caoimhe also took home bronze in the u17 girls 60m sprint.
If you are interested in joining the club, there is a registration form to be filled out. Athletes need to be 7 years of age, they get 4 taster sessions before they commit to joining the club. Fees are €60 for one athlete, €110 for two, and €150 for a family of three or more.
As agreed at the last EGM, going forward all athletes will need to pay the registration fees, no matter what time of the year they start. The year runs from January to December and the club train every Tuesday and Thursday at the Dunlo Recreational Track from 6-7pm. For more information on joining the club contact club secretary Antoinette Stephenson on 087 2859167 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Sports clubs in Ballinasloe received over €600k worth of sports capital grants announced by the Government in Spring. Due to unbelievable work from clubs, boards and volunteers– as it is a very competitive process and the work is in hours preparing a strong application- clubs in the community will now be able to upgrade their facilities for all their members to avail of.
The six clubs that received funding were Ballinasloe & District Tennis Club, Ballinasloe GAA, Ballinasloe Golf Club, Ballinasloe Rugby Club, Ballinasloe Snooker club, and Ballinasloe Town AFC. Galway County Council also received €150,000 for upgrading the changing facilities in Leisure Centre and Pool Complex. The news was met with great delight from all the sports administrators.
Stephen Kerr Secretary of Ballinasloe GAA explained: “We are getting €25,000 and it will be used to remove the old timber ball stop nets on existing 2 pitches which are over 14 years old and replace with them with Galvanised Octagonal Column Poles. We also intend on extending one of the existing nets which is adjacent to the main road as it is very dangerous with balls going out on the road. We need to raise around €15,000 ourselves. And we would estimate that it would cost approximate €2million in present-day costs to provide the existing current facilities.”
Johnny Walsh Club Development Co - ordinator of the Town AFC stated: “After securing a substantial €100,000 grant from the Sports Capital Programme, the Club Committee are currently finalising preparations for the next phase of Development Works at the Curragh Grounds. These works will involve a full upgrade of the astro turf pitches, new gates, perimeter fencing and ball retention netting at the astroturf pitches and upgrading of floodlights for the pitches.”
P.R.O. of the Tennis Club Garry Zancanaro also expressed the club’s delight at the news: “The grant will be used for the second stage of the development: groundworks, building a third court, lights and artificial surfaces for the three courts, security system, lighting and a small clubhouse/storage facility. Having started from zero last year, the first phase of groundworks and two tarmac courts cost €82,000 and was completed using another grant, our own funds from many years of fundraising, and a loan to cover the shortfall. The land is leased from Galway Council. We must raise €7,500 to match the grant.”
Golf Club board member Barry O’ Keefe also gave a statement on behalf of the club: “We were delighted that the Club was approved funding of €102,218. This grant is ring-fenced for course equipment and our ongoing drainage program. Work on the construction of buggy paths in the lower section of the course is also well underway and is due to complete before Easter. This will be a fantastic addition to the course meaning that all 18 holes will be accessible to persons using golf buggies. The parking facility for buggies beside the clubhouse is also being extended to account for the great buggy usage.”
Rugby Club PRO Kevin Keane stated: “Brilliant news for our club with the announcement of the Sport Capital Grants. We have been awarded €100,989 in grant aid under the scheme for the improvement and updating of the club facilities. A huge endorsement of the work being done in the club and its value to the local community. We are thrilled for everyone involved in the successful application.”
Ballinasloe Snooker Club also received €6,779 which will go towards upgrading their current facilities on Society St at the Emerald Ballroom.
The news is a very welcome boost to the area and adds to the list of nearly €15 million of Government investment in Sporting, Leisure and Amenity facilities under the Sports Capital Scheme over the past two decades.
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