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THE BOYS CLUB

Thu, Jun 23, 2016

“Our Lady’s Boys Club has taught me three things. First it has taught me a better knowledge of my Religion and its principles; secondly it has taught me to seek to improve myself, and thirdly it has taught me that real happiness is to be found in helping others rather than in seeking self.” These words, spoken in 1960 by a young man who had grown up in the club and was by then a member of its committee, summed up beautifully the work the club has tried to accomplish since its foundation in 1941.

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The Custom House

Thu, Jun 09, 2016

In 1232 AD, the Anglo-Norman De Burgos came to Galway where they ruled for a period of time. They built a castle and defensive fortifications including the old city walls and a medieval hall, the Great Hall of the Red Earl, Richard De Burgo. The street we now know as Flood Street was originally named Earl Street or Sráid Tobar an Iarlaigh, and the lane beside it was known as Red Earl’s Lane or Boaher an Iarlaigh.

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‘No time for fainting’

Thu, Jun 09, 2016

‘The small girl smiles. One eyelid flickers. She whips a pistol from her knickers. She aims it at the creature’s head. And bang bang bang, she shoots him dead.’

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He went to jail to save his father

Thu, Jun 02, 2016

Hubert Reynolds was born in St Patrick’s Avenue in 1902 and shortly afterwards his family moved to Queen Street. He followed a family tradition when entering the service of the Railway Company as a 15-year-old in 1917. He was a boy porter and earned 10 shillings for a 60 hour week. From his boyhood, he took an active part in the National Movement and joined Fianna Éireann. During the War of Independence, he was engaged on communications work.

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The ‘New’ Cemetery

Thu, May 26, 2016

In the second half of the 19th century, the overcrowded condition of the graveyards of Galway was an issue which faced the Town Commissioners. At a meeting in mid-April 1873, one person mentioned that in the previous 30 years, almost two and a half thousand burials had taken place in the little cemetery in The Claddagh, largely as a result of the Famine and its aftermath.

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A letter from the sheriff

Thu, May 19, 2016

On the night of August 18, 1882, five members of one family, John Joyce, his wife Brighid, his mother Mairéad, his daughter Peigí, and his son Micheál, were murdered in Maamtrasna on the Galway/Mayo border. The motive for this multiple murder is unclear, but John was suspected of sheep stealing, his mother of being an informer, and his daughter of cavorting with the RIC who would have been the natural enemy of the locals. Two members of the family survived the horrific attack; a nine-year-old boy, Patsy, who was badly injured, and his older brother Máirtín who was working for a family in a neighbouring farm on the night.

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St Patrick’s Brass Band

Thu, May 12, 2016

One of Galway’s most enduring, most enjoyable, and most enjoyed institutions is the community based musical group, St Patrick’s Brass Band. The band was founded in Forster Street in 1896 and they have been entertaining Galwegians since.

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Newtownsmith

Thu, May 05, 2016

There is a very interesting map of “St Stephen’s Island” in Mary Naughten’s excellent little history of the Parish of St Francis in Woodquay. It is dated 1785 and shows the beginnings of what would be now known as Newtownsmith. It consisted mostly of small houses, yards, malt houses, and a burial ground. This ‘new town’ was largely built by the governors of the Erasmus Smith estate. In this suburb, a county courthouse was erected between 1812 and 1815, and a town courthouse during 1824. In 1823 it was objected that there were several suitable sites for a new courthouse ‘immediately in the town’ and that it was ’quite idle’ to lay foundations in Newtownsmith, or in any part of the suburb.

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Connacht Rugby

Thu, Apr 28, 2016

The first team to represent Connacht in rugby played against Leinster on December 8 1885. At that time, the game in the west was played by just a few schools. In the city, it was really only UCG and the Grammar School who played with any regularity. By the beginning of the last century the Jes, the Bish, and St Mary’s were competing. The growth of the game was interrupted by World War I and by the War of Independence, but it improved a lot after the truce.

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‘Shoots’

Thu, Apr 21, 2016

Many people will remember ‘Shoots’ as one of the most lovable and delightful characters on the streets of Galway. He was a small man with a big moustache, big glasses, and a big personality. His real name was Michael Tuite. He was reared in Artane in Dublin but came to live here at a time when it was mostly cowboy pictures that were shown in our cinemas. Michael was a fan and began to act as if he himself was a cowpoke. Galwegians gradually changed the greeting “Howya Tuite” to “Shoots”, probably with a little help from the man himself.

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Geraghty’s men’s shop

Thu, Apr 14, 2016

“Good clothes are needed by the men of today and Geraghty & Sons can supply the perfectly tailored suit you need in 4 days. Tailored in our own workshops. Have your clothes made by the men with five generations of Tailoring experience behind them. See our range of suitings, serges and overcoats. 50 shillings, Suit or Overcoat. Customers own materials made up at reduced prices. Special terms for C.M. & T. To the trade. Geraghty & Sons, Lombard St. Galway.”

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The Collegiate Church

Thu, Apr 07, 2016

The Collegiate Church of St Nicholas of Myra is the largest medieval parish church in Ireland and its history is a kind of microcosm of the history of Galway. The earliest part of the present church dates from the beginning of the 14th century and includes the chancel with its three windows in the south wall. However it is possible that there was an earlier structure on the site. There is a legend that a man from the Aran Islands who died in 1580 aged 220 years could remember a time when the church did not exist but that just sounds a likely story. The records that exist suggest that the church was founded in or about the year 1320.

In 1484, Donatus O’Murray, the Archbishop of Tuam issued letters under his seal which gave the church “Collegiate” jurisdiction by which it was to be governed by the mayor and burghers of the town. This was confirmed by Pope Innocent VIII the following year and so many of the local parishes were granted to the college that its area was as large as a small diocese.

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George Nicolls, c1887-1942

Thu, Mar 31, 2016

George Nicolls (Seoirse Mac Niocall) was born in Dublin but his professional career brought him to Galway town, where he worked as a solicitor and coroner for the West Riding District of the county. A committed nationalist, he became involved with Sinn Féin in 1907 and also served as president of the county board of the GAA. Nicolls was the IRB Centre for Galway town. On November 31 1913, he presided over a meeting in the Town Hall, for the purpose of formally establishing the Irish Volunteers in the county, and subsequently chaired the ‘monster public meeting’ in the Town Hall on December 10, at which 600 individuals signed up for the Volunteers. Nicolls also established a pipe band (Cumann Píobairí na Gaillimhe), where all but three were IRB members. It toured the county, playing at events such as GAA matches and concerts, which provided opportunities to recruit new members.

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The Galway Volunteers

Thu, Mar 24, 2016

Just a few weeks after the Irish Volunteers were formed in Dublin, a meeting was set up in the Town Hall on December 12th, 1913 to establish a Volunteer force in Galway. There was a lot of excitement and expectation as Eoin McNeill, Roger Casement and Pádraic Pearse told the packed hall that their main objective was to win Home Rule but the movement was also formed to protect them from the Ulster Volunteers. The meeting, which was chaired by George Nicholls, was a major success and some 600 men joined up that evening.

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St Patrick’s Day parade in Galway, 1916

Wed, Mar 16, 2016

This parade started from the Square in the following order: Eyre Square North – Industrial School Band; Galway Urban District Council; Galway Board of Guardians; Students of UCG; AOH. Eyre Square East – The Monastery School Fife and Drum Band; UIL; Town Tenant’s League; Galway Woollen Manufacturing Co; and the Irish National Foresters.

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The Eglinton Canal

Thu, Mar 10, 2016

One hundred and sixty eight years ago this week, on March 8, work started on the cutting of what we know as the Eglinton Canal. There had been previous attempts to open a passage from the river to the sea. As far back as 1498, the then mayor had a plan to connect the Sandy River with Lough Athalia. It was Alexander Nimmo who first mooted the idea of a canal in 1822. If steamboats could travel from the docks to the Corrib, it would greatly enhance the commercial importance of the city and a valuable connection with the hinterland would be established. His original plan was that this connection would start at the top of Woodquay, where McSwiggan’s is today, go along Eglinton Street and down the west side of Eyre Square to the docks. The cost proved to be prohibitive and there were a lot of objections from people who owned land or a business along the route.

The actual construction of the canal, as we know it today, provided much needed work and relief during the Famine. The filling they dug out was used to fill terraces in UCG and also to fill in the causeway behind Claddagh Quay. The Claddagh Basin was constructed to cater for the 300 boats which were operating out of the fishing village at the time. Canal locks were constructed at the Basin and at Parkaveara, and the project included five swivel bridges.

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Republican prisoners in the Town Hall

Thu, Mar 03, 2016

This remarkable photograph was taken in 1920/21. It shows a group of republican prisoners who are being held in the Town Hall. They are surrounded by barbed wire and are being carefully watched by a soldier you can see standing beside the tin hut. He is wearing a ‘Brodie’ helmet which was a steel combat helmet invented by Englishman John Brodie during World War I. There were probably more soldiers on duty inside the hut watching the detainees, the photographer, and anyone else who might have been was passing. A notice on one of the windows reads “No one is allowed within ten yards of this building.”

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Nineteenth century Galway elections

Thu, Feb 25, 2016

Elections in the 19th century were a great deal more lively, entertaining, and violent than those of the present day.

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Dick Martin’s desperate struggle to retain his Galway seat

Thu, Feb 25, 2016

The present national election is a mild and gentle affair, compared to some previous occasions though none reached the madness and abandonment of the notorious Galway election of 1826.

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Seamus Carter, athlete, Gaeilgóir, patriot

Thu, Feb 18, 2016

Seamus Carter was a fluent Irish speaker who was a member of the Gaelic League since its inception. He was the secretary of the Oireachtas when it was held in Galway in 1913, the famous photograph of which hangs in the Town Hall.

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