Part of Forster Street, 1905

This photograph, taken from an old glass slide, shows some important personage in an escorted carriage leaving the Great Southern Hotel. There are some mounted liveried gentlemen in front and two RIC men on horseback behind the carriage, which is hidden by the RIC men. You can see a policeman on foot to the right of our picture.

The tramlines in the foreground lead to the terminus which was in Forster Street, which was named after the Blake-Forsters, an eminent family, several of whom were mayors of Galway. The street was known as Boherbeg (as opposed to Bohermore ). It appears on an 1820 Eyre document as ‘The Mail Coach Road’. The small black hut you see on the right was a toll booth, known locally as ‘the custom box’. It was the busiest toll booth in Galway and in the 12 months leading up to May 15, 1913, the authorities collected £654 10s 2d here. They paid out wages of £56 5s 6d in that time, so the profit to the city was £598 4s 8d, a lot of money in those times.

The pub on the corner (later Fox’s ) was then owned by Holland’s and was known as The American Bar. Next door was Lizzy Rooney, then Mrs Donoghue’s, Sarah Cannon’s, Mike Gallagher’s, Durkan’s, and Amby Roche’s. The tall building was Powell’s. Part of the ground floor was occupied by a lady known as ‘Girleen Grealish’ who had an ice cream shop. There was a large archway in the building which led into the tram yard. A Walsh family lived in this building too. Next door was Mahon’s Hotel, formerly known as Madigan’s.

In the distance, you might be able to just about see the Clifden Line railway bridge which crossed the street near the Magdalene Laundry. Under the bridge were two houses occupied by Kennedys and Nees.

On the opposite side of Forster Street (where Garvey’s is now ) was Michael John Lydon’s pub. Next door was Kathleen Ita O’Donoghue who composed poetry and printed beautiful Christmas cards. Next door was Tessie Lydon’s house, then Fahys the coachbuilders, Greaney’s Public House, Miss Kyne’s Flour Shop, Duffy’s, Flattery’s, Joyce’s, Tom Fahy’s (previously Billy Forde’s ), Murty Rabbitte’s, John Mahon’s, Phillips’, “Copper” Walshe’s, Johnny O’Leary’s, Nurse McKeon’s, the gate of St Patrick’s Church, ‘Mamo’ Spellman’s, Harry Clare’s, Isaac’s, Mike Spellman’s, and finally King’s.

In Frenchville at the time lived Mary Heffernan, Christy Burke, ‘Tomeen’ Cullinane, then Gallagher’s workshop, a blacksmith’s forge, and Healy’s Manure Store.

The Old Galway Society will host a lecture this evening entitled “The Claddagh Ring and other Love Tokens”. It will take place in the Victoria Hotel starting at 8pm and will be presented by Phyllis McNamara. All are welcome.

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