Certainly the society is one of the oldest still currently in existence in NUIG, it has been in existance since at least the 1950s, but likely alot longer even than that. It is also one of the most prestigious societies having world renowned lecturers speak on multitudes of topics, the society has also had Presidents of Ireland past and present address and speak to the society. The Arts Ball is the oldest formal ball in the college still taking place. It has took place every february each year without exception for at the very least the last fifty to sixty years. Like the Arts Ball, An Cumann Staire now and in its previous incarnation has always been at the heart of university life in UCG and NUI Galway.
The bulls depict the ancient saga of the Táin; a story at the heart of history of Irish mythology. The oak tree is that of the Uí Chonchúir who built a fort at the bottom of the Gaillimh river and who were the last kings of Connacht and Éire. The Ancient Book reflects the ethos of History and literacy which are at the heart of a spirit of learning and education in the society. In Irish folklore salmon is a symbol of knowledge and also salmon is a fish native to the river Corrib. The De Burgos, founded the mediaeval walled city of Galway and the castle is represented on the coat of arms.
CCS - IHSA
The society hosted the IHSA annual conference in 2008 and 2012 in recent years. Also Galway hosted it in 2004, the first time it had done so since 1993. Before then it is uncertain when else it had taken place in Galway, though it was definitely hosted by the society in 1964 and 1977. That time it took place in the Great Southern Hotel(Now the Hotel Meyrick). Former Cumann Staire Reachtaire, Tonaí is the current IHSA Webmaster and is heavilly involved in the administration of the Association. You can visit the IHSA Website here.
There was an initial enthusiasm shown for the ISHA events and there was a lull with no Galway participants for allmost two years, Cumann Staire representatives though now still regularly attend ISHA conferences The Cumann Staire have attended ISHA seminars and conferences in Zagreb, Bucharest, Pula, Ljubljana, Budapest and Tartu amonst others, participating in workshops. You can see ISHA's website here.
Changes and Transition
The society has undergone a considerable shift in the last decade, re-inventing and reorganising itself. The society renamed itself An Cumann Staire in 2007 and there was the creation of a society coat of arms. You can read the inspiration for the coat of arms here. It also made itself a blingual society with the promotion of the Irish language at the center of the ethos of the society. There was also the adoption of a new extended constitution in 2009. The society also expanded its horizons, becoming an ISHA section in 2008. Cumann Staire has been quick to move with the times and was one of the first societies to create their own website. The society has a website and has pages on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Wikipedia, engaging with its members.
It has seen a significant change over the years, especially recently. Over the last 10 years, the Arts Ball has seen its attendance figure rocket to more than treble those who attended back in 2002. Now it is able to generate considerable amounts of money to be raised for charitable causes, far beyond what the other campus balls have donated.
There has always been high demand among students for tickets, the demand much higher than the supply. Indeed, memorably one year there were students camping outside in tents to ensure they got much sought after tickets. In 2006, a new approach was taken, the ball extending its capacity significantly to cater for the demand. The Ball since then has almost doubled in size and changed venue, created the only dedicated ball website introduced and eventually did away with an online booking system. In 2011 the Ball had 1,700 attendance, the biggest in its History. It now now encompasses several different rooms and stages. It is now usually held in the Salthill Hotel on the third Wednesday of February.
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