A “to let” advertisement in a Galway newspaper in April 1860 promoted the fact that Seamount Villa contained a parlour, drawing room, six bedrooms, a kitchen, water closet, a coach house with some stabling, and a small garden. The grounds were nicely laid out and had an approach to the sea. George Fallon who lived at ‘The Baths’, Salthill, would show the place to prospective customers.
In 1895, the building, which was situated near Blackrock at the end of the Promenade, was occupied by Sebastian Nolan who at one time lived at Ballinderry Castle near Tuam. He was an eccentric and cranky man who fell in love with an east Galway girl who shunned him and joined the Mercy Nuns. When he died in 1907, he left some money and property, including Seamount Lodge, to the Mercy Nuns. It was part of Nolan’s will that the produce from his vegetable garden would go to the Magdalen House in Forster Street. Because of some legal difficulties, the nuns were unable to occupy Seamount for some time.
Eventually, in 1927, Doctors Morris and Mahon leased the building as a nursing home. Miss Kelly was the matron. It was a kind of small maternity hospital and a generation of Galwegians were born there.
In April, 1940, 14 patients had to be hurriedly removed when the building took fire. Most of them were carried out on stretchers or mattresses in their sleeping attire. This removal took place under the supervision of Dr Morris. Lying on the lawn outside, the patients watched the blazing building until the ambulance arrived to take them to Galway Central Hospital and St Bride’s Private Nursing Home. Some of them were later placed in the front portion of the building, which was not involved in the fire.
The fire was first noticed by two ladies on holiday who immediately raised the alarm. For over an hour, the fire brigade under Captain T Duggan, the police, and members of the LSF as well as holidaymakers, fought the blaze and succeeded in confining it to the rear wing, thus saving the main portion of the building. Furniture, bedding, hospital equipment, and other valuable material was saved by a large band of voluntary workers.
The lease on Seamount expired in 1952, and the building was handed back to the Mercy Sisters. It then became a hostel for student nuns at UCG. It was eventually sold in the early 1970s. The building was demolished and replaced by the houses that are there today.
Galway City Museum will host a lecture on the subject of the “Russian Revolution and Pádraic Ó Conaire” on Saturday next at 2.30pm. Pádraic was an early supporter of the revolution and what it stood for, and wrote a good deal about it in his beautiful Irish language. It sounds like a fascinating subject. All are welcome, but it might be advisable to book.