Galway’s heroic attempt to get into the transatlantic business

Thu, Jan 14, 2021

Reading through William Henry’s comprehensive digest of the story of Galway * from its original foundation on the banks of the Corrib to the present day, I am reminded that there was an extraordinary burst of optimism and creative energy in the middle of the 19th century despite the ravages of the Great Famine barely a decade before.

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Galway’s Pro-Cathedral, a building of some significance

Thu, Jan 07, 2021

At early Mass on Christmas morning 1842, there was a dreadful accident at Galway’s Pro-Cathedral during which 37 people were killed, and many more were injured. Known as the Parish Church, and completed just twenty-one years before, it was by far the largest Catholic church in the town, surprisingly built in preCatholic Emancipation times.

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The long journey from Bowling Green was over

Thu, Dec 10, 2020

The Joyces finally arrived in Zurich on 17 December 1940 exhausted after weeks of torturous negotiations with the German, Vichy-French and Swiss authorities. They had sought refuge in Switzerland during World War I, now they hoped to do so again. To add to the stress of it all they had to leave their daughter Lucia behind in a psychiatric hospital in Brittany which was behind German lines. Joyce hoped that once settled in Zurich he could use all the influence he could muster to have her follow them to safety.

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Ulysses - and gun fire in Galway

Thu, Dec 03, 2020

Nora’s last visit to Galway in April 1922 did not go well. Galway, as well as the country, was caught up in a deadly Civil War. The anti -Treaty forces had occupied the Connaught Rangers’ Barracks, Renmore, while the pro- Treaty forces occupied the Great Southern Hotel. The Galway to Dublin train was regularly fired upon from the barracks. There were sporadic gun fights around the Custom House, and the Masonic hall, as both sides struggled for possession. It was a dangerous time and people were fearful.

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‘I have never loved but once in my life’

Thu, Nov 26, 2020

‘Well what do you have to say to Jim now after all our little squabbles he could not live without me for a month can you imagine my joy when I received a telegram from London a week after Jim and georgie on their way’…….wrote Nora in her unpunctuated flow of words, to her partner’s sister Eileen from her mother’s home in Bowling Green, in July 1912.

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‘The image of your girlhood will purify my life again.’

Thu, Nov 19, 2020

‘My dear little runaway Nora, I am writing this to you sitting at the kitchen table in your mother’s house! I have been here all day talking with her and I see that she is my darling’s mother and I like her very much. She sang for me The Lass of Aughrim, but she does not like to sing me the last verses in which the lovers exchange their tokens. I shall stay in Galway overnight…..’

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A chance to walk through history

Thu, Nov 12, 2020

By the 16th century Galway was a compact, well laid out town, with handsome buildings, protected by a strong wall. The wealth of the so called Tribal families, originally Anglo/Normans, built up over decades of canny, and adventurous trade, bought them total control of the municipal authorities. Loyalty to the English crown rubber-stamped their laws to keep the native Irish out of the town. They built large houses in a style that reflected their power, while meeting the aesthetic standards of their European contemporaries. Galway was a place apart from the rest of the island.

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Theobald Wolfe Tone - A hero without blemish

Thu, Nov 05, 2020

The Criminal Conversation case taken by Richard Martin against John Petrie, in 1791, the seducer of his wife Eliza, which was extensively covered in the newspapers of the time, and no doubt read with enormous enjoyment by society in both England and Ireland, nevertheless, did not go entirely in Martin’s favour.

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The ‘vicious appetite’ - the most human of all frailties

Thu, Oct 29, 2020

Mrs Eliza Martin, threw caution to the wind, and settled down to live openly with Mr John Petrie, a merchant, at his London house in Soho Square. Her flaunting of the end of her 13 years marriage to Richard Martin, a man of legendary accomplishments, and the owner of vast lands in Connemara, who was not a man to be reckoned with, left society wondering what his response would be to this embarrassment.

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‘Betrayed into ruin by the arts such as the weakness of humanity’

Thu, Oct 22, 2020

Such is the weakness of man, it seems, that even the mighty Daniel O’ Connell may have succumbed to the allures of the fair sex, committing an indiscretion in his youth, which came back to haunt him in later years when he and his wife Mary shared ‘abiding affection’.

Following the death of Daniel’s uncle, Muirís a Chaipín, their immediate financial difficulties were resolved, and they were living in his home at Derrynane House. The last six years of Mary’s Iife were probably their happiest together, and they were rarely apart despite a pamphlet published by Ellen Courtney, stating that Daniel O’Connell was the father of her illegitimate son. His enemies leapt on the story with joy, and no doubt it was avidly read by the whole of Ireland, and beyond.

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What if a man was abducted and forced into marriage?

Thu, Oct 15, 2020

Daniel O’Connell has weaved in and out of the Diary columns in recent weeks and unexpectedly he appears again, not as the great political champion that he was, but in the interesting study of Marriage in Ireland 1660 - 1925. *

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‘I could not think of marrying such a barbarian.’

Thu, Oct 08, 2020

In 1839 Catherine Cohalan, from Aughrim Co Galway, was abducted from her home by a man named James Cohalan probably a cousin. Here her seizure had been agreed by the couple beforehand because Catherine did not want to marry Michael Campbell, a man whom her father had arranged for her to marry the following week.

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Widow Wilkins and the delicate matter of her ‘breach of promise’

Thu, Oct 01, 2020

The case of Blake v Wilkins in 1817 was so eagerly anticipated that every lodging house in Galway, ‘even the humblest in the town was' was filled to overflowing.

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Lady Gregory’s ‘Book of the people’

Thu, Sep 24, 2020

Augusta Lady Gregory, writer, folklorist and great patron of the arts, who died at her home at Coole Park in 1932, reappeared during the Druid production of five of her plays each evening this week. Druid is no stranger to magic, and such is their skill that Lady Gregory (Marie Mullen) makes several appearances inviting the audience to follow her for yet another of her plays performed in different locations around her home. From the edge of Coole lake to the old stables and yards, her ghostly figure seductively beckoned. The audience followed enchanted, moved by the strange power of her deceptively simple plays.

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‘It is rather the want of the middle class…’

Thu, Sep 17, 2020

For any visitor to Dublin in the early 19th century, to miss seeing the great Daniel O’Connell would have made their visit almost worthless. William Makepeace Thackeray, on the threshold of becoming one of the greatest writers of the English language, spent three months touring Ireland in 1842 collecting his impressions of the ‘manners and the scenery’ of the country and its people, for his successful Irish Sketch Book published some years later. Back in Dublin at the conclusion of his tour he lost no time heading to the Mansion House to see the Liberator in person.*

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‘Ireland will be poor no longer’

Thu, Sep 10, 2020

From the comforts of Ballynahinch, such as they were at the time, William Makepeace Thackeray continues his exploration of the surrounding countryside as he gathered information for his successful Irish Sketch Book published some years after his tour in 1842.

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There was a story told of a mermaid seen at Killala Bay

Thu, Sep 03, 2020

Continuing his wry and sardonic observations on the personalities, and the heaving populated life that he encounters on the roads, towns and villages along the way, the young William Makepeace Thackeray continued his journey through Connemara. In 1842 he spent four months on an extensive tour of this island, and later published his observations in the well received Irish Sketch Book to which he added numerous drawings mainly of the people he met. Yet for all his sceptical comments he is genuinely moved by the landscape of Connemara, and writes eloquently on intimate moments.

As his ‘car’ passes through Oughterard he exclaims ‘a more beautiful village can scarcely be seen than this’. He is on his way to stay three days at the Martin estate at Ballynahinch, and to test the legendary trout lakes around it. From there he would visit Roundstone, and Clifden before heading into the mountains of Co Mayo.

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There was a story told of a mermaid seen at Killala Bay

Thu, Sep 03, 2020

Continuing his wry and sardonic observations on the personalities, and the heaving populated life that he encounters on the roads, towns and villages along the way, the young William Makepeace Thackeray continued his journey through Connemara. In 1842 he spent four months on an extensive tour of this island, and later published his observations in the well received Irish Sketch Book to which he added numerous drawings mainly of the people he met. Yet for all his sceptical comments he is genuinely moved by the landscape of Connemara, and writes eloquently on intimate moments.

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William M Thackeray enjoys a play, and continues his journey

Thu, Aug 27, 2020

‘Aughrim is no more, St Ruth is dead,

And all his guards are from the battle fled,

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E-paper

Read this weeks E-paper. Past editions also available from within this weeks digital copy.

 

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