‘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

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

Advertisement

‘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.

Read more ...

‘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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

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.

Read more ...

Elizabeth and Lily Yeats find a new home at Thoor Ballylee

Thu, May 02, 2019

Two remarkable women, overshadowed by two remarkable brothers, were remembered on Sunday at the opening of The Studio, a meeting and workplace for artists and craftspeople, at Thoor Ballylee, in south Galway.

Read more ...

What should it be... Lough Corrib and Loch Coirib?

Thu, Apr 25, 2019

‘Westward Ho! Let us rise with the sun, and be off to the land of the west - to the lakes and streams - the grassy glens and fern-clad gorges - the bluff hills and rugged mountains - now cloud-capped, then revealed in azure, or bronzed by evening’s tints, as the light of day sinks into the bold swell of the Atlantic….’ So begins Sir William Wilde’s famous Lough Corrib - Its Shores and Islands (published 1867), adorned with wonderful woodcuts, as he calls us all to join him as if in a bi-plane, to swoop and dive over its 200km of clear water, fed from rushing streams off the Connemara mountains, giving life to its foreshore and islands where people have lived since the dawn of time, fishing its shallows and its dark deeps; and where monks sought an earthly haven for prayer and solitude.

Read more ...

Sir William Wilde - broken by the death of his children

Thu, Apr 18, 2019

Seven years after the Mary Traver’s case, in which Sir William Wilde, a famous doctor and socialite in the Dublin of the mid 19th century, emerged legally unscathed, but socially damaged, a far worse scandal threatened to ruin his reputation entirely.

Read more ...

Mary Travers and the price of her honour

Thu, Apr 11, 2019

Week II

In 1864 just when Sir William Wilde had begun to build the holiday home of his dreams, overlooking the upper Lough Corrib, near Cong,* his family was involved in a vicious libel case that was to cost him dearly.

Read more ...

The priest who robbed the National Museum

Thu, Apr 04, 2019

With March zooming off into the distance, our gratitude to St Patrick for giving us the opportunity to be an island of saints and scholars begins to wane. But no such relief was given to the saint himself. Our forebears couldn’t wait till he died before they were taking bits and pieces from his body and clothes for relics. As his teeth fell out they were snatched up, and given as sacred objects to make early Christian churches more attractive for a deeply spiritual and suspicious people, who had recently set aside their gods of nature, and embraced a more intangible Christ. An old holy tooth was just the sort of tangibility they could understand. At least one church, Cill Fiacail (‘The church of the tooth’) near the town of Tipperary, bears testimony to this bizarre but common practice.

Read more ...

The priest who robbed the National Museum

Wed, Apr 03, 2019

With March zooming off into the distance, our gratitude to St Patrick for giving us the opportunity to be an island of saints and scholars begins to wane. But no such relief was given to the saint himself. Our forebears couldn’t wait till he died before they were taking bits and pieces from his body and clothes for relics. As his teeth fell out they were snatched up, and given as sacred objects to make early Christian churches more attractive for a deeply spiritual and suspicious people, who had recently set aside their gods of nature, and embraced a more intangible Christ. An old holy tooth was just the sort of tangibility they could understand. At least one church, Cill Fiacail (‘The church of the tooth’) near the town of Tipperary, bears testimony to this bizarre but common practice.

About the year 1820, a man named Reilly, said to be a native of Sligo, went about Cong in Co Mayo, claiming to have the good saint’s tooth in a little shrine. He was making a tidy sum “performing cures upon man and beast”. Ladies and ewes were said to hold the relic “with special regard”, and far and near the population and the flocks “were the better of the blessed tooth.”

Read more ...

‘I am an international socialist,’ shouted Pádraic Ó Conaire

Thu, Mar 28, 2019

In his famous statue of the writer and Irish scholar Pádraic Ó Conaire, the sculpture Albert Power presents a brilliant likeness to the man Galway knew as he went about the town. Liam Ó Briain, a friend and fellow Irish enthusiast, remarked that Albert Power had captured exactly how the man looked. Meeting Ó Conaire in town one evening, Ó Briain remembered that he looked in reality as he is on the statue: ‘the stick in his right hand, the little hat on his head’, a face that could show his ‘puckish humour.’ *

Read more ...

Padraic Ó Conaire could write ‘pretty racy stuff’

Thu, Mar 21, 2019

Week III

Although Padraic Ó Conaire often had the look of an angel, he could write pretty racy stuff. His book Deoraíocht (Exiles) ranks as one of the most colourful and audacious Irish language novels ever written. He presented a different Ireland in this and other books, an Ireland riddled with envy, alcoholism, terminal poverty and destitution, mental illnesses, emotional and physical abuse As they sank into anonymity, the ‘exiles’ experience the successes and failures of their new life. Published in 1910, it reflected real life, its sorrows and struggles. At a time when book-banning was seen as an attempt to keep Ireland pure and ‘clean,’ the book was immediately banned.

Read more ...

Galway Observer, May 27, 1922

Thu, Mar 14, 2019

“On Thursday night a crowd numbering several thousand assembled inside the Square, and two men set to work sawing at the base of life-size bronze monument of Lord Dunkellin, a brother of the notorious landlord, Lord Clanricarde of Portumna. In a scene reminiscent of the downfall of Saddam Hussain’s statue in Baghdad, shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, a rope was fastened around Dunkellin’s neck, and with a mighty pull, down it fell amidst great applause.”

Read more ...

Michael Collins remembered a debt for ‘measly £10’

Thu, Feb 21, 2019

An Taibhdhearc, Ireland’s only Irish language theatre, situated in Middle Street, the very heart of Galway, grew out of a conversation between two remarkable men, Professor Liam Ó Briain and Dr Séamus Ó Beirn.* Both men, passionate Irish speakers, believed that a lively Irish language theatre would promote Irish in an imaginative way.

Helping to run the theatre, acting in many of its plays (many of which he translated from French and Spanish into Irish), as well as his duties as professor of romance languages at UCG, absorbed Ó Briain’s immense energies once Ireland achieved its independence, and he got war and politics out of his system.

Read more ...

Friends in strange places.

Thu, Feb 14, 2019

Our friend ‘Captain H’ who had ingeniously planted a dictaphone in the confessional under the stairs in the Town Hall prison, was up to his old tricks again. Somehow he had managed to plant a ‘friendly’ Sergeant Gates who chatted and smiled, and was a friend to all, and dangerously caught numerous snatches of conversation from the hundreds of prisoners within. These were reported to Captain H.

Read more ...

A prison drama in the Town hall

Wed, Feb 06, 2019

November 1920 was the most vicious month in the War of Independence. Murder and mayhem were commonplace. The authorities reacted with vigorous severity. There were shootings and public beatings, buildings and homes burnt, and printing works wrecked. There was a sweeping roundup of the usual suspects, numbering in their thousands. The old gaol in Galway, and gaols throughout Ireland, were full to bursting point.

Read more ...

‘Muishe, is it yourself that’s in it, Mr O’Brien?’

Thu, Jan 31, 2019

Liam Ó Briain, professor of romance languages UCG, was arrested by the Black and Tans on November 21 1920. He was taken to the RIC barracks, at that time in Dominick Street, and then up to the army barracks at Earls island, where he was identified. Other men arrested stood in line. They were watched by ‘pompous young officers’ who, with ‘a hand on their guns’ ‘sniggered’ at the standing prisoners. They went up and down pulling hands out of their pockets. Ó Briain, in his recently published essays on his experiences,* did not sound too concerned. He was well known to the police authorities. Because of the murder and mayhem during the week of his arrest, he must have been expecting to be picked up.

Read more ...

E-paper

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

 

Page generated in 0.0690 seconds.