Lord Dunkellin’s statue

Thu, Oct 21, 2010

In 1873 this imposing statue was unveiled in Eyre Square in honour of Lord Dunkellin, son of Lord Clanricarde and heir to the family estates. He had a distinguished military career before being elected MP for Galway City in Parliament. He held the seat for eight years before being elected for the county in 1865. He died in 1867. There was a very large gathering in the Square on the day of the unveiling with lots of toasts and speeches. The sculpture was a very fine one by the distinguished artist John Henry Foley.

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The Order of Malta in Galway

Thu, Oct 14, 2010

The Order of Malta was founded in the 12th century in Jerusalem to care for Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land and along pilgrimage routes through Christian Europe. Subsequently they were known as the Knights Hospitallers and when they came to Ireland they maintained hospitals for the sick, the poor, and the needy, and hostels for the use of travellers. The order is involved in many charitable activities, the most important being the administration of the Order of Malta Ambulance Corps.

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College House, a brief history

Thu, Oct 07, 2010

This photograph was originally taken in 1983 as the corporation was preparing to knock down the high wall that ran around St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church and replace it with the railings that had surrounded Eyre Square… one of the better Quincentennial projects that helped improve the face of Galway.

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A Yorkshire man in Galway

Thu, Oct 07, 2010

On October 22 1959 an unusual play opened at the Royal Court theatre, London; a theatre never afraid to be different. It had after all presented John Osborne’s Look Back in Anger* three years previously - a play which rocked the establishment, and transformed English drama for ever. The critics adored it, it played to full houses every night, and it made lots of money for everyone concerned.

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John Wilson Croker - the Galwegian who invented conservatism

Thu, Sep 30, 2010

The Tory Party in Britain can count among its leaders Winston Churchill, Harold MacMillan, and Margaret Thatcher, and is now led by the Eton and Oxford educated David Cameron, who hails from Berkshire, a traditional Tory heartland.

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Castlegar Athletic Club, a brief history

Thu, Sep 30, 2010

The Castlegar Hurling Club ladies’ committee decided to hold a parish sports day on National Children’s Day, Sunday June 8 1975. They enlisted the help of Seán Duffy and Patsy Durnin in the organisation of the event, which turned out to be an outstanding success. As a result, they decided to enter a team of 40 athletes in the County Community Games. Seán Duffy organised training sessions twice a week, a banner and a set of green and white singlets were purchased, and there was great excitement as the big day approached. This excitement reached fever pitch when Ann Fahy won the gold medal in the girls’ under-14 100 metres, and Patricia Grealish brought home a bronze medal in the girls’ under-12 200 metres.

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Pioneers of industry in Galway

Thu, Sep 23, 2010

There were very few industrial plants in Galway in the 1950s. Galway Textile Printers, known locally as the cotton factory, had just opened; there was the hat factory, and there were some small units around town, but that was it. Then the Lemass era arrived, and there was a change in government policy as the government began to actively encourage industries from abroad to locate here.

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Is Ms Jennifer Sleeman a bit of a crackpot?

Thu, Sep 23, 2010

I have always thought it strange why so many women feel isolated from the Catholic Church, when it has at its centre a woman, Mary - the Mother of God. It is not right that many women feel they are ‘second class citizens’ within a church that attempts to reach out to all. Surely without Mary, the New Testament would be worthless. Surely after the Nazarene Himself, the Mother of Jesus, who is venerated by the Catholic and Orthodox churches, is the first and greatest saint in heaven. Mary is revered by all Christian churches, and honoured by Islam. At the very first council of the Church, at Ephesus four hundred years after Christ, she was declared to be the Theotokos, Mother of God (the actual God bearer). But even before that her image, holding the Child, was etched into tombs in the Roman catacombs. Being the Theotokos, Mary could have become remote, unreal from the human experience. After all we are told that she was born free from Original Sin, which as a total ‘theological illiterate’ I don’t fully understand; but I accept the logic that if Mary was not the mother of God, then Jesus was not God. I believe that He was. Yet despite the supreme position of Mary many women feel isolated, uninvolved, as if they have no contribution to make.

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Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe

Thu, Sep 16, 2010

On the 1820 map of Galway, the site of the Taibhdhearc was part of the then Augustinian Church. When the present church was built in the 1850s the site became derelict. The late Ned Joyce remembered a large tree growing on the site, a tree which stretched across the street to a tenement known as ‘The Windings’. The occupants used to hang their washing on the tree on fine days.

In 1912 the Augustinians built the present building as a parish hall, which functioned as a social club where they put on dramatic productions as well as playing billiards and table tennis, etc. This club became defunct and, in 1928, a committee of 10 under the chairmanship of Dr Seamus O’Beirne took it over and equipped it as a theatre. Their idea, and that of the Government of the time, was to use An Taibhdhearc and An Céad Cath, the Irish speaking army battalion based in Renmore Barracks, as vehicles for the regeneration and promotion of the Irish language in Galway. The committee invited Mícheál Mac Liammóir and Hilton Edwards to produce the first play which was Mícheál’s own Diarmuid agus Gráinne.

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The Corrib Club

Thu, Sep 09, 2010

“The Galway Corrib Club held their annual regatta on the splendid river of the Corrib at Menlo. The day was as fine as ‘sunshine and pageantry’ could make it, and the ivy-mantled Castle of Menlo, the residence of Sir Thomas Blake, Bart, was decorated with flags of all nations, and waved gracefully in the breeze. There was not a ripple on the bosom of the lake unless what was created by the oars of the several beautiful little crafts which were constantly scudding up and down the river, freighted with some of Nature’s fairest daughters. There was a band in attendance and during the day discoursed some beautiful music. Great credit is due to the commodore, PT Grealy, Esq, and the members of the club for the satisfactory manner in which the whole arrangements were carried out. After five races between four oared gigs, outriggers and punts, the sports of the day terminated with a duck race, which was most amusing. At seven o’clock, the amusements terminated and the delighted spectators returned home, highly pleased with the day’s sport. Although there were places of refreshment, there was not a man to be seen the worse for liquor, so that the whole affair was a complete success.”

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The Eglinton Canal

Thu, Sep 02, 2010

In 1498, during the mayoralty of Andrew Lynch, an attempt was made to open a passage from the River Corrib along the Sandy River and through land to Lough Atalia, thus connecting the river to the sea.

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Galway’s rich heritage

Thu, Aug 19, 2010

This photograph of the interior of St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church was originally taken c1890 and was given us by the National Library. The Leper’s Gallery can be seen over the arches to the left.

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The Dunne brothers busking in Galway

Thu, Jul 29, 2010

Busking is the practice of performing in public places for tips or gratuities. The earliest buskers in Galway were probably singers who would sing on the street, and then knock on doors in the hope of getting money or food. In the early 20th century, Johnny Doran and his family would move around playing in different places, including the races, and then in the evening outside the Imperial Hotel. Paddy Philbin, who later became a dancing master, would dance for him and they drew big crowds. Later came the Reaney brothers who played in various locations in Galway city and county.

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Fifty years of soccer in Mervue

Thu, Jul 22, 2010

In the mid fifties, the corporation began to build the houses that make up what we now know as Old Mervue. Many young families moved to the area, and for the children, the open green areas in from Plunkett Avenue, and between Clarke and McDonagh avenues, became their playgrounds. They played all kinds of games here… Gaelic football, athletics, and especially soccer. It was on these green spaces that many well-known footballers first developed and honed their skills.

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The egg and butter market, Woodquay

Thu, Jul 08, 2010

This photograph of that part of the Woodquay market at the corner with Eyre Street, was taken c 1890. It was here that country women gathered to sell their eggs and country butter. The market had a long tradition in Woodquay even at that time.

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Some Galway fires

Thu, Jun 24, 2010

The following are some of the fires that occurred in the city in the last century.

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The Galway sessions

Thu, Jun 17, 2010

Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann in Galway was formed in the mid-fifties by schools inspector Pádraic Ó h-Eidhin and by Dr Galligan. Groups of musicians began to meet in St Patrick’s School, the Industrial School, and Mattie Forde’s Eagle Bar on the corner of Henry Street and William Street West. This represented the first stirrings of general interest in Irish traditional music in the city.

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In the end the Mayos didn’t say much

Thu, Jun 17, 2010

In the early 1990s the Mayos in Galway were getting so uppity that it was decided that action would be taken. It is believed that Seamus Keating, the legendary Galway city and county manager, and a Tipperary man to boot, was never slow in taking the hard decision. Exasperated by the controls exerted by the Mayos, their prestigious positions in all walks of life in the city, their swagger about the place, and the whingeing by the few Galwegians left on his staff at the unfairness of it all, one day he pressed the red button on his desk.

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The Queen’s Gap

Thu, Jun 10, 2010

Hardiman tells us, “There was from time immemorial a gap in the river called the Main Gap, through which small boats, sometimes with difficulty, passed up and down the river from the lake to the sea. This particular gap was always kept open from February to August, when all others were shut. The proprietors of the fishery, finding that it diminished the value of the weirs, caused it to be closed. This became the subject of legal contention, but it was finally decided that the gap should be, and it has ever since accordingly been, kept open.”

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