Father Griffin Road

Thu, Dec 05, 2019

This view of part of Father Griffin Road was taken from Father Burke Road c1955. In the foreground you can see the land being levelled and prepared for the building of the Technical School.

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My mother had an affair with Gay Byrne

Thu, Dec 05, 2019

My mother, who religiously listened to the Gay Byrne Show, operated a kind of censorship. There were certain topics she did not want me to hear. For two hours, five days a week, she would shut the kitchen door, and listen to Gay with the volume turned down. On one occasion I came into the room. She asked: “What do you want?” Nobody needs an excuse to go into one’s kitchen, so I’d rather indignantly replied: “Nothin’.” “Well,” she said, “I’m busy.” And that meant scram.

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The Western All-Stars, 1963

Thu, Nov 28, 2019

After the war, there was a bit of a building boom of dance halls around the country. Radio had introduced popular music to the general public and more and more people wanted to move to the music, so dance bands began to form. Some of those in Galway were Des Fretwells’ Band, Maxie Dooley’s Musicmakers, The Bill Keaveney Orchestra, and Gerry Cahill’s Dance Band. They played the popular music of the day, were mostly seated on stage and reading the music from stands in front of them. Then along came Bill Haley and rock and roll and everything changed. The showbands had arrived. Music stands were forgotten, musicians played standing up and literally began to move with the times.

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B Connolly Sons & Co, The Connaught Buildings

Thu, Nov 21, 2019

The Connaught Buildings in Mainguard Street were established in 1861. The complex formed the business of Bartley Connolly and Sons. He advertised extensively as “By Special Appointment, Purveyor to HRH the Duke of Edinburgh; and to his excellency The Lord Lieutenant, and Chief Executive for Ireland.” They were major wine importers, spirit merchants, family grocers, and Italian warehousemen.

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Independent Radio Galway

Thu, Nov 14, 2019

In 1978, RTE was on strike for some time which meant the repair shop in O’Connor TV had nothing to do, so John O’Sullivan and friends built a 30-watt transmitter and this prompted Tom O’Connor, John O’Sullivan, and Eamonn Geary to get together and set up a pirate radio station called Independent Radio Galway. Their studio was in an attic in the courtyard behind Cahill’s shop in William Street, and when this space became too small, they moved to a larger room over Garavans, where Johnny Waldron’s Joke Shop is today. The 199 metre aerial ran from the top of Glynns to the top of Gleesons. Their furniture consisted of two tables, a few chairs, the home-made transmitter, two turntables, and a few minor pieces of equipment.

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Diving at Blackrock

Thu, Nov 07, 2019

Up until the mid-19th century, there was a cluster of thatched cottages at Blackrock. on the Night of the Big Wind [January 6, 1839] these were literally blown away by the ferocity of the storm and the tide and most of the occupants had to move inland. They were mostly fishermen and there had always been a tradition of fishing in the area. Blackrock was also a favourite place for men bathing, and in 1885, Mr Moon and some of his friends decided to place a springboard there. Unfortunately they did not have ‘planning permission’ from the owner of the land, Colonel O’Hara, and he had the board removed and made it difficult for the bathers to get to the rock at all. It ended up in court and the urban council stepped in and signed a lease giving a public right of way to the bathing area.

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Diving at Blackrock

Wed, Nov 06, 2019

Up until the mid-19th century, there was a cluster of thatched cottages at Blackrock. on the Night of the Big Wind [January 6, 1839] these were literally blown away by the ferocity of the storm and the tide and most of the occupants had to move inland. They were mostly fishermen and there had always been a tradition of fishing in the area. Blackrock was also a favourite place for men bathing, and in 1885, Mr Moon and some of his friends decided to place a springboard there. Unfortunately they did not have ‘planning permission’ from the owner of the land, Colonel O’Hara, and he had the board removed and made it difficult for the bathers to get to the rock at all. It ended up in court and the urban council stepped in and signed a lease giving a public right of way to the bathing area.

In April, 1904, the urban council sought tenders for the erection and maintenance of the springboard at Blackrock. This structure was quite primitive and consisted of a wooden walkway with the board at the end, all supported by some metal poles. It was eventually replaced by this more elaborate structure much further out into the water which we see in our photograph today (which was kindly given to us by Cliona Clarke). Swimming galas were held here, usually under poor conditions, the idea of a swimming pool with lanes was a pipe dream then.

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Queen’s College, Galway/UCG/NUIG, one hundred and seventy years

Thu, Oct 31, 2019

The history of Galway as an educational centre dates from the close of the Middle Ages. The Free School of Galway became so celebrated for its classical learning that it had more than 1,200 students from all over the country attending its courses under Alexander Lynch in 1615, when it was suppressed by King James I.

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The Turf Market at Raven Terrace

Thu, Oct 24, 2019

I am afraid I made a bags of this column two weeks ago when I printed the wrong photograph which did not relate to the printed text. So this week I am giving you the text again, this time with the appropriate photograph.

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Galway Simon, the early years

Wed, Oct 16, 2019

The Simon Community takes its name from Simon of Cyrene who helped Jesus carry the cross. It was founded in London in 1963 by Anton Wallich-Clifford and a branch was set up in Dublin in 1969. Early in 1979, Frank O’Leary OFM spoke at a meeting in Galway entitled Poverty in Ireland about the work of Simon in providing shelter, friendship, and acceptance to homeless people. Two psychology students, Margaret Brehony and Kathy O’Grady, drew attention to the fact that there were rough sleepers in Galway too.

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The turf market at Raven Terrace

Thu, Oct 10, 2019

Turf was an important and indigenous fuel and so turf markets were an important factor in Galway life (long before anyone ever thought of carbon emissions), especially at this time of year as one prepared to head into winter. Farmers from Rahoon or Barna or surrounding areas would bring their neatly stacked cartloads of turf into town and sometimes go from door to door trying to sell their product. Those who did not have particular customers more often than not would go to designated turf market locations such as Eyre Square, Woodquay, the Small Crane, or Raven Terrace/Garryglass at the corner of Wolfe Tone Bridge. There was a weighbridge opposite where the fire station is now, and this was often used in their transactions. Having sold or bartered their turf, the farmer would then deliver it to the customer.

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Balls Bridge, 1685

Thu, Oct 03, 2019

This drawing is of a detail from “A Prospect of Galway” drawn by Thomas Phillips in 1685. It shows the southern end of the middle suburb with Balls Bridge on the left, and the bit of an arch you can see on the far right was part of the West Bridge. Balls Bridge is the bridge over what is now the canal between Upper and Lower Dominick Street, and the buildings we are looking at would be the backs of Lower Dominick Street as seen roughly from across the road from where the Fisheries Tower is today. The West Bridge is where O’Brien’s Bridge is today.

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Tim O’Leary’s shop, Lower Salthill

Thu, Sep 26, 2019

Tim O’Leary was a native of Roscommon who came to Galway to work as a buyer for Moons. He eventually bought this corner building opposite the Industrial School and changed it into a thriving business. It was a high-class grocery which sold fruit, minerals, and all kinds of confectionery. He operated it almost like a modern day supermarket in that you selected your own goods and brought them to the counter to pay. He had an ice cream saloon attached — “Try one of our ‘Frigidaire’ ices” — and would prepare “special gift parcels of sweets, chocolate, fruit and cakes at shortest notice for hotel guests”. He was a very entrepreneurial and imaginative businessman who worked very hard. He did deliveries all over Salthill and, as most houses left the key in the door in those days, he would just walk in, put the groceries on the kitchen table, and be gone quickly. My mother used to say she was always glad she was not in the bath when he arrived.

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Tim O’Leary’s shop, Lower Salthill

Wed, Sep 25, 2019

Tim O’Leary was a native of Roscommon who came to Galway to work as a buyer for Moons. He eventually bought this corner building opposite the Industrial School and changed it into a thriving business. It was a high-class grocery which sold fruit, minerals, and all kinds of confectionery. He operated it almost like a modern day supermarket in that you selected your own goods and brought them to the counter to pay. He had an ice cream saloon attached — “Try one of our ‘Frigidaire’ ices” — and would prepare “special gift parcels of sweets, chocolate, fruit and cakes at shortest notice for hotel guests”. He was a very entrepreneurial and imaginative businessman who worked very hard. He did deliveries all over Salthill and, as most houses left the key in the door in those days, he would just walk in, put the groceries on the kitchen table, and be gone quickly. My mother used to say she was always glad she was not in the bath when he arrived.

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The Warwick Hotel

Thu, Sep 19, 2019

Mrs Holmes was a relation of the O’Hara-Burkes who owned Lenaboy Castle and the Lenaboy Estate. She persuaded them to sell some of their land, ‘the lower pasturelands’ farthest away from the house, down near the gates of the estate to be precise. There, she built the house in our photograph, which became known as Greenmount. She ran it as a B&B but eventually it became too big for her and she converted some farm buildings in what we now know as Lenaboy Park and built herself a small house.

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Reconstruction of the Galway Fishery

Thu, Sep 12, 2019

Based on the McMahon Report, a survey involving the engineers of the Commissioners of Public Works in consultation with local businessmen and anglers, works were undertaken to improve drainage, to facilitate navigation, and to provide waterpower to the many mills in Galway. Waterpower was the bedrock on which the industry of Galway city was based, and by the mid-19th century there were some 30 mills in the city with associated headraces and tailraces which resulted in an intricate network of small waterways, which greatly added to the charm of Galway.

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The Lynch window

Thu, Sep 05, 2019

In 1807, the Reverend Edward Mangin wrote a three-volume romantic novel entitled George the Third in which he headed one of the chapters “Which would not have appeared had it not been written”. In it he invented a story about the Mayor of Galway, James Lynch Fitzstephen, hanging his son. Thirteen years later James Hardiman published his History of Galway in which he slightly changed, and greatly elaborated on, the story. This gave Mangin’s story a much wider audience, especially in this country, and so the legend became history. It was copied by many writers over the last 200 years, books written, plays written, films made, etc.

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ANCO, fifty years a-growing

Thu, Aug 29, 2019

The year 1967 saw a great change in Galway as the industrial estate was being developed as a result of the Government’s decision to designate Galway as a development location, a place which would be the commercial, financial, educational, health, social, and administrative centre of the region. The IDA was buying land and building factories in anticipation of attracting industry to the county. It is a measure of its success that within two years, on Monday November 10, 1969, ANCO (An Comhairle Oiliúna) opened a new training centre on the estate.

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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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E-paper

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

 

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