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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.
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.
At about 3pm on the afternoon of Saturday, November 20, 1920, William Duffy of Cloghscoilte near Barna was driving cattle locally when one of them got stuck in the mud. William noticed part of a coat sticking out of the gap, so he went for his neighbours Patrick and Thomas Lydon, and later Patrick Cloherty and Patrick Concannon from Truskey joined them at what turned out to be a grave. They uncovered part of the body and realised that it was that of Fr Griffin. They decided to wait until it was dark so they covered up the body again, afraid that the Tans might return to remove it. William Duffy rode on horseback into Fr O’Meehan in Montpellier Terrace to inform him of the tragedy. Fr O’Meehan, Fr Sexton, and Canon Considine then hired Patsy Flaherty’s side car and went out to Clochscoilte.
Michael Joseph Griffin was born on September 18, 1892, in Gurteen in east Galway, one of five children of Thomas Griffin and Mary Kyne. He was educated locally, then in St Joseph’s College, Ballinasloe, and finally in Maynooth. He was ordained in April 1917 and was seconded to the Galway diocese. He worked for a year in Ennistymon and in June 1918 was transferred to the parish of Rahoon which stretched from the river out to Furbo and Corcullen. He developed a great rapport with the children of the parish, spoke in Irish to young and old, organised feiseanna, currach races, and donkey races on Silver Strand.
On Saturday November 14 1920, Fr Michael Griffin was lured from his house on Montpelier Terrace by three men. By the Monday, there was no sign of him.
OF LATE, it has been in vogue for male publishers to publish young women poets. Some people think this has something to do with feminism. However, male publishers tend to be less interested in emerging woman poets over 40 – an age when many women, having raised families, begin seriously writing poems.
Through the generosity of the people of Athlone area, The Knights of St Columbanus were able to afford approximately €4,500 to local charities including the Father PJ Hughes Mission Fund, before Christmas of last year.
Patrick Joyce was born at Lisheenagaoithe, near Headford, on May 23, 1868. He became a monitor teacher in 1884, taught in Cloghanover School for two years, later as principal of Trabane, and then Tiernee in the parish of Carraroe. In 1892 he married Margaret Donohue. He was eventually appointed as principal of Barna National School and his wife taught in Boleybeg National School.
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. *
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.