Introducing Ireland’s Love Club!

Fri, Aug 23, 2019

Welcome to Ireland’s Love Club, a revolutionary approach to dating - where together, we will create a platform that will change dating forever.

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The magic of radio in days gone by...

Thu, Aug 22, 2019

When I was boy, as soon as school ended, my mother whisked us off to her home in west Cork, where my brother, sister and I spent most of the summer. It was a very different place to Galway. We enjoyed large family picnics, long afternoons fishing and rabbit shooting (everything was eaten), and picking fruit and vegetables in my grandparents’ large garden. Looking at old black and white photographs our everyday clothes were zipped corduroy jackets, short pants and wellies.

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How Aran looked in the 1930s

Thu, Aug 15, 2019

When Thomas H Mason stepped onto the pier at Kilronan, Inishmór, in the summer of 1932, he described his feelings of surprise and sense of confusion. Writing in his masterly The Islands of Ireland * he realised that he was plunged into an Ireland he did not recognise. As an Irishman coming from the east coast, and geographically still in Ireland - he believed that he could have been 1,000 miles from Dublin.

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How Aran looked in the 1930s

Wed, Aug 14, 2019

When Thomas H Mason stepped onto the pier at Kilronan, Inishmór, in the summer of 1932, he described his feelings of surprise and sense of confusion. Writing in his masterly The Islands of Ireland * he realised that he was plunged into an Ireland he did not recognise. As an Irishman coming from the east coast, and geographically still in Ireland - he believed that he could have been 1,000 miles from Dublin.

At that time he had never seen a currach, nor men and women dressed in home-made clothes, woven and knitted from the wool of their own sheep. Their features, he observed, were somewhat different from people on the mainland. They all spoke in Irish. ‘I felt a sense of wonder and interest which is common to travellers in strange places.’ As time passed by, of course, and Thomas found comfortable lodgings with Mrs McDonagh in Kilmurvey, he began to explore the Aran islands at his leisure. He became charmed by its spectacular landscape, the people and their stories.

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Dear Mr Semple I am that girl……

Thu, Aug 08, 2019

Anne Root (formerly Browne) was about 16 years-of-age when she went to work for the Blakes at Menlo Castle. She was employed as a housemaid, and joined two other house staff, a parlourmaid, and a cook Delia Earley, with whom she shared an attic room. She and Delia became warm friends, and shared a terrifying ordeal when they were trapped together on the roof of the castle as it burnt in a raging fire on July 26 1910.

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Tragedy at Menlo Castle

Thu, Aug 01, 2019

Week II

In the early hours of July 26 1910 Menlo Castle, on the bank of the river Corrib, was totally gutted by a fire. Sir Valentine and Lady Blake’s daughter, Ellen, was lost in the flames. The cook Delia Early, who lived on the attic floor, jumped to her death. Delia shared a room with housemaid Anne Browne, who waited until her clothes were in flames, before jumping. She landed on a pile of hay placed by other household staff to break her fall. Severely injured and burnt, Anne was driven on an open truck, slowly into the Galway Infirmary, lying on a door to ease her movement and pain. Local farmers gave her milk to drink to try to cool her down.

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The joy of crowds

Thu, Jul 25, 2019

Looking at the happy crowds in Galway for this year’s Galway Arts Festival, I can appreciate that the sense of joy and surprise is heightened because it is shared on a huge scale. The crowd itself is a key part of the attraction. People lose their inhibitions among the horde.

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A god with feet of clay

Thu, Jul 18, 2019

Week VI

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Charles Lindberg lands in Paris - heralds new era of air travel

Thu, Jul 04, 2019

Week IV

If Capt J Alcock and Lieut AW Brown were shy public speakers almost to the point of being self-deprecating about their extraordinary achievement of flying the Atlantic in, what we would consider to be, a primitive machine, the next to fly the Atlantic was the polar opposite.

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A letter to Elsie

Thu, Jun 20, 2019

Week II

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‘A new breed of pilot emerged’

Thu, Jun 13, 2019

In April 1913, the Daily Mail offered £10,000 (about €500,000 today)

‘to the first person who crosses the Atlantic from any point in the United States, Canada or Newfoundland to any point in Great Britain

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June 6 – The day democracy returned to Europe

Wed, Jun 05, 2019

The battle for Normandy June-August 1944, launched on D-Day exactly 75 years ago, marked, after Stalingrad, the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany. It was a major battle. The Allies suffered 209,672 casualties of whom 36,796 were killed. Some 28,000 Allied airman were lost in the months preceding and during the campaign.

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‘What do you think of that, Mr McDonogh?’

Thu, May 30, 2019

I think that even today if a 21 years old woman applied for permanency to her job as Galway county surveyor, which she held from December 1906 for five months, and was turned down due to her young age and lack of experience, most of us would not be surprised.

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‘What do you think of that, Mr McDonogh?’

Wed, May 29, 2019

I think that even today if a 21 years old woman applied for permanency to her job as Galway county surveyor, which she held from December 1906 for five months, and was turned down due to her young age and lack of experience, most of us would not be surprised.

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The ‘blue moonlight’ of Galway 1893

Wed, May 22, 2019

Our Swedish journalist Hugo Vallentin arrived in Galway in the late summer of 1893. He had spent the previous weeks travelling through Dublin, Cork, Killarney and Limerick, assessing people’s reactions to the progress of Gladstone’s Second Home Rule act, which he believed was a question of interest to the whole ‘civilised world’.

He was not reluctant to express, in forthright terms, his pro-Home Rule sympathies in his articles to his liberal Stockholm newspaper, Aftonbladet. He describes in some detail the poverty that he sees, and criticises British landlords and legislators, who he believed displayed an incredible ignorance of Ireland and its people. But coming to Galway he experiences another shock. Despite the poverty, and the many half-ruined buildings, he is abruptly brought into the new modern age of electricity.

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A Swedish view of Ireland 1893

Thu, May 16, 2019

Near by the ruins of Menlo Castle, built by the Blake family in 1569, is the village of Menlo, a small attractive cluster of houses, that appear to have grown near each other by accident, as it zigzags down to the river bank. There is no village centre as such, but its very irregularity has made it a desirable place to live. Today it is a prosperous suburb of Galway city.

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Two funerals at Menlo Castle cemetery

Thu, May 09, 2019

I have mentioned recently Sir William Wilde’s energetic guide to Lough Corrib - Its shores and Islands (published 1867), and his excitement as he and his family steamed across Ireland from Dublin, to begin their long summer holiday at their holiday home, Moytura Lodge, Cong, at the very north of the lake. From steam train to the Eglinton steamer, which left Galway every day to service the villages on the lakeshore, including Cong, the Wildes steamed passed the ancient home of the Blakes at Menlough (Menlo)* located just before the river enters the great lake.

Built in 1569, this original tower house saw many additions during its three and a half centuries, until a fire, and tragic loss of life, destroyed it in 1910. It has remained an ivy-clad ruin ever since; yet its distorted beauty holds our gaze as we pass it today.

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