The Parochial School

Thu, Aug 22, 2019

This is the time of the year when children are preparing to go back to school, a time when many of us would think back to our own schooldays, the happiest days of our lives.

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Street festivals

Thu, Aug 15, 2019

The first street festival held during the Quincentennial year of 1984 in Galway was organaised by High Street, Cross Street, and Quay Street from April 23 to 29. It was opened by Mayor Michael Leahy with the Army Pipe Band, St Patrick’s Brass band, St Patrick’s Boys' Band, Renmore Brass Band, and the Dockers Fife and Drum Band all playing on the streets. Later that evening, Gerry Macken’s Big Band played to a huge crowd from the back of a large truck which was drawn up across the street at the crossroads.

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Street festivals

Wed, Aug 14, 2019

The first street festival held during the Quincentennial year of 1984 in Galway was organaised by High Street, Cross Street, and Quay Street from April 23 to 29. It was opened by Mayor Michael Leahy with the Army Pipe Band, St Patrick’s Brass band, St Patrick’s Boys' Band, Renmore Brass Band, and the Dockers Fife and Drum Band all playing on the streets. Later that evening, Gerry Macken’s Big Band played to a huge crowd from the back of a large truck which was drawn up across the street at the crossroads.

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Lifesavers all

Thu, Aug 08, 2019

Tuesday November 20, 1984, was a sad day in Galway. It was the day Jimmy Cranny died, and though he had no family, his extended family of many thousands of people he had taught to swim mourned him and marked the passing of a legend. He could be seen at the seashore virtually every evening of the summer for many, many, years teaching children the basics of swimming, and as some of them progressed to competitive swimming, he provided early morning training sessions for them at the canal on a daily basis.

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One hundred and fifty years racing at Ballybrit

Thu, Aug 01, 2019

We know that horse races were organised in different parts of County Galway from the middle of the 18th century, in places like Kilconnell, Eyrecourt, Rahasane, Ballinasloe, Ballymoe, Carraroe, and Bermingham House near Tuam. They were known as ‘racing matches’. In 1764, there was a five day meeting held at Knockbarron near Loughrea, and between 1829 and 1857, 15 meetings were held in Kiltulla near Ballybrit. In 1867, a series of races was organised at Bushfield near Oranmore.

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Forthill Cemetery, 1905

Thu, Jul 25, 2019

It is often said that one cannot claim to be a true ‘old Galwegian’ or ‘auld shtock’ unless one has some relations buried in Forthill Cemetery at Lough Atalia. It is probably the oldest cemetery in Galway. The Augustinians have been associated with it since the year 1500. The Augustinian convent or priory was built there by Margaret Athy at the request of a friar, Richard Nagle, and it probably stood on level ground at the upper level of Forthill. The grounds of the priory extended quite a bit along the shores of Lough Atalia, at least to the site where St Augustine’s Well is today. Nothing at all remains of the priory except some drawings on the 1625 and 1651 maps.

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The Forster Park Hotel

Thu, Jul 18, 2019

There was a long discussion at an Urban District Council meeting in July 1935 about whether to allow purchasers of plots in front of the house at Forster Park, recently occupied by Dr Michael O’Malley, to proceed with the building immediately, or to force them to defer construction until the road along the Promenade had been widened. The plots had been advertised as building sites. One of the objectors said, “We are a long time looking for a town planning scheme in Galway, and now that we have it, I strongly object to this building. We have one of the finest hotels in the country (The Eglinton) and now you want to destroy it.”

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Mount St Mary’s

Thu, Jul 11, 2019

In the late 12th century, the Diocese of Annaghdown came into existence in the area surrounding the city of Galway. In 1324 it was united with Tuam, but the Anglo-Norman families refused to accept direction from Tuam. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII made St Nicholas’ Church a Collegiate Church governed by a warden (not a bishop) and eight vicars. Edmund ffrench, the last warden, was made Bishop of Kilmacduagh in 1824. On April 27, 1831, the Bull ‘Sedium Episcopalaism’ was issued by Pope Gregory XVI erecting the Diocese of Galway. On October 23, 1831, the first Bishop of the Diocese, George Joseph Plunkett Browne, was consecrated, and in 1844 he was succeeded by Laurence O’Donnell. John McEvilly became Bishop in 1857.

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Menlo oarsmen

Thu, Jul 04, 2019

One of the great sporting achievements of the last century was the remarkable success of a group of Irish speaking farmers and local men from Menlo. During a very wet spring when they could do little work on their farms or on the bog, as they watched rowing crews going up and down the river, a group of them decided to form a rowing club. They asked to become members of Menlo Emmetts Hurling Club and adopted the name. Many of them would have spent a lot of time on the river, but that did not mean they knew how to handle a racing boat. When they took their clinker out for the first time, it took them a good while to steady the boat. A local man watching, described them as “The Wobblers” and this name stuck for a few years.

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Hughes’ Pub, Woodquay

Thu, Jun 27, 2019

Sixty years ago yesterday, on June 26 1969, Michael Hughes opened his pub in Woodquay. Our photograph (which was taken in 1953) shows what it looked like before Michael took it over. It was known as Molly Greaney’s and that is the lady herself on the right. Next to her is her brother Tommy who worked as a rep for Dwyers of Cork. The next two men with caps are Brendan Noonan and his brother, and their father is the man with the hat. They were carpenters. The man in the foreground is Tommy O’Brien who worked with an oil company. We do not know who the two men in caps on the left were.

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Our Lady's Boys' Club

Thu, Jun 20, 2019

This club is one of Galway’s treasures. It was founded in 1940 by Fr Leonard Shiel SJ at a time when there were no after-school recreational facilities for working class-area boys in the city. The Jesuit Community gave them the use of a clubhouse at the back of the Columban Hall and here the boys were involved in many activities that helped prepare them for life. They were taught loyalty, self-respect, how to help others, and the importance of team spirit. Much of this was through the medium of sport — soccer, swimming, boxing, Irish dancing, table tennis, snooker, etc.

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St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church and the city

Thu, Jun 13, 2019

Next year the magnificent building of St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, this venerable edifice in the centre of our city will celebrate

700 years of continuous Christian worship in Galway. The church is the largest medieval parish church in Ireland and its history is a kind of microcosm of the history of Galway. It is thought that it was first built early in the 14th century. There was a legend that a man from the Aran Islands died in the 16th century, aged 220 years who could remember a time when the building did not exist. It sounds like a good story.

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Tonery’s Pub, sixty years in Bohermore

Thu, Jun 06, 2019

Jim Tonery opened his pub in Bohermore 60 years ago yesterday, on June 5, 1959. It was formerly owned by Johnny and Kate Martyn. The inside walls were whitewashed to keep them clean and also disinfected. Barrels were stored against the back wall and sometimes used as seating with planks on top. One had to be careful when entering as there was a small step down just inside the door, and if you missed it and staggered, you were likely to hear Mrs Martyn say, “Go back to where you came from, you have enough in already”. Johnny Martyn was a blacksmith and he had a forge attached to the pub where he shod horses, made gates, etc.

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Tonery’s Pub, sixty years in Bohermore

Wed, Jun 05, 2019

Jim Tonery opened his pub in Bohermore 60 years ago yesterday, on June 5, 1959. It was formerly owned by Johnny and Kate Martyn. The inside walls were whitewashed to keep them clean and also disinfected. Barrels were stored against the back wall and sometimes used as seating with planks on top. One had to be careful when entering as there was a small step down just inside the door, and if you missed it and staggered, you were likely to hear Mrs Martyn say, “Go back to where you came from, you have enough in already”. Johnny Martyn was a blacksmith and he had a forge attached to the pub where he shod horses, made gates, etc.

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Madden’s garage, 1936

Thu, May 30, 2019

The Madden brothers came originally from near Ballinasloe. They emigrated to the US and when the depression happened, one of them, Jackie, made up his mind to remain in America, but the others decided to return to Galway and set up in business. Two of them, Willy and Charley, developed the nurseries on Taylor’s Hill, Miko opened a garage in Woodquay, and Jimmy built this garage at Nile Lodge with the help of his brother Willy. It was on a terrific location, situated on a junction of the two main roads from the city to Salthill.

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Madden’s garage, 1936

Wed, May 29, 2019

The Madden brothers came originally from near Ballinasloe. They emigrated to the US and when the depression happened, one of them, Jackie, made up his mind to remain in America, but the others decided to return to Galway and set up in business. Two of them, Willy and Charley, developed the nurseries on Taylor’s Hill, Miko opened a garage in Woodquay, and Jimmy built this garage at Nile Lodge with the help of his brother Willy. It was on a terrific location, situated on a junction of the two main roads from the city to Salthill.

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Medieval Galway

Thu, May 23, 2019

This very stylised plan of Galway was made in 1583 by Barnaby Googe and is the earliest surviving map of the city. It shows the walled town as it stood at the end of the medieval period. Galway was packed with houses: the D-shaped circuit of walls with mural towers and gates was complete; there was only one bridge over the fast flowing river, which was also an important salmon fishery, and it possessed a wharf or landing place for ships. The parish church of St Nicholas and the central market place with its market cross were prominent in the townscape, which was structured around the northeast/southwest axis of Shop Street branching into Main Guard Street and High Street/Quay Street.

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The ‘blue moonlight’ of Galway 1893

Thu, May 23, 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’.

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Medieval Galway

Wed, May 22, 2019

This very stylised plan of Galway was made in 1583 by Barnaby Googe and is the earliest surviving map of the city. It shows the walled town as it stood at the end of the medieval period. Galway was packed with houses: the D-shaped circuit of walls with mural towers and gates was complete; there was only one bridge over the fast flowing river, which was also an important salmon fishery, and it possessed a wharf or landing place for ships. The parish church of St Nicholas and the central market place with its market cross were prominent in the townscape, which was structured around the northeast/southwest axis of Shop Street branching into Main Guard Street and High Street/Quay Street.

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Druid, forty years in the lane

Thu, May 16, 2019

Druid Theatre Company was founded in May 1975 with the initial aim of providing theatre entertainment for tourists in Galway. It opened with three full length plays on successive nights in the Jesuit Hall. The season was a success so they made the very brave decision to operate the company on a full-time basis. Their productions were presented on a fit-up basis, as were a number of lunchtime shows in the Fo’Castle in Dominick Street. They converted this latter venue into a fully equipped pocket theatre seating 47 people. It was a popular venue, well supported, but there were problems with regard to backstage, storage, and office space.

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