St Patrick’s Day parades of yesteryear

Thu, Mar 16, 2023

St Patrick may never have made it to Galway, I could not find any legend that associates him with the city, except maybe for anyone who went to Athenry to get their arse painted green. The anniversary of the saint’s death has been celebrated for many generations and the central focus of the day was usually the parade.

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The Royal Galway Yacht Club

Thu, Mar 09, 2023

Our first illustration today is a drawing by MJ Tighe, architect, Galway, of the proposed new clubhouse for the Royal Galway Yacht Club at the corner of the Gaol River and the Eglinton Canal. The club was founded and received Royal Warrant in 1882. It was established as a social combination to promote sailing and rowing on the bay and lake, and the enjoyment of all the amenities of the Corrib Lake and River. They managed to survive and carry on for some years in difficult circumstances.

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The Galway Workhouse

Thu, Mar 02, 2023

The first formal meeting of the Board of Guardians of the Galway Workhouse took place in the Town Hall on July 3, 1839, and the building opened on March 2, 1842, one of many such workhouses built around the country. On March 16, the first pauper died from old age and destitution. The numbers of inmates gradually increased to 313 by May 1845, after which the Famine made a huge impact on the project. It was originally designed for 800 destitute persons but this quickly increased to 1,000. Included in the complex was an infirmary for sick paupers but this rapidly became the hospital for the city’s poor.

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The Galway Isolation Hospital

Thu, Feb 23, 2023

The possible introduction of cholera and smallpox from abroad concerned the Government, and so the Cholera Act of 1893 empowered sanitary authorities to enter lands for the construction of isolation hospitals.

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Kirwan’s Lane, a bird’s eye view

Thu, Feb 16, 2023

This lane is one of the most attractive in Galway and one of the most historic. There were originally 14 lanes in medieval Galway and this is one of the few that still exist. It dates back to the 16th century. As our photograph shows, it must have been very impressive back then.

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George Chambers’ photographic archive

Thu, Feb 09, 2023

George Chambers was born in England in 1873. He lived at Temple Fortune Lane in Middlesex. He travelled extensively and this included several trips to Ireland. In 1929, he toured parts of West Cork and Wicklow; in 1931, he visited Galway city and the Aran Islands and on subsequent trips he went to the Blasket Islands, to Achill and Clare Islands, and to various other islands off the coast of Donegal.

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Remembering ‘Williameen’ McDonagh

Thu, Feb 02, 2023

We have two photographs today of groups from Our Lady's Boys' Club. Firstly, a club rugby team that made history by winning the Connacht Junior League for the first time in 1959, and secondly, some club members taken on the annual camp in Lough Cutra Castle, c1956.

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Joe Young’s aerated waters

Thu, Jan 26, 2023

Joseph Young was appointed manager of Messrs Thomas Tracey’s Mineral Water Works and Licensed Premises in Mary Street after the death of Thomas Tracey. He later married the niece of Mrs Tracey, Miss Edith O’Connor of Clifden, and Mrs Tracey signed over the works to Joe Young on the marriage.

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The Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club

Thu, Jan 19, 2023

This club, originally established in 1864, must be one of the oldest in Galway, if not one of the oldest amateur sporting clubs in the country. Unfortunately, the minutes of the club meetings for 1864 and 1865 cannot be found, but we are fortunate that Maurice Semple had access to the minutes for most other years and published them in a book entitled A Century of Minutes, the Story of the Corrib Club, 1864 – 1966.

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Upper Salthill, a bird’s eye view, c1945

Thu, Jan 12, 2023

This aerial photograph was taken c1945. On the left you can see the Eglinton Hotel which was originally built in the 1860s. Up to that time, Salthill was a small village that included Lenaboy Avenue and the area between what we know as Seapoint and the Bal. The construction of the Eglinton was on a scale not seen before in Salthill, and it extended the village to the west. It came at a time when locals were beginning to promote the village as a resort, a destination for tourists.

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In their green and black jerseys, we remember them still

Thu, Jan 05, 2023

Father Tom Burke’s Hurling Club was founded in 1898. It was called after the very famous Galway-born Dominican priest and preacher whose statue can be seen today on Father Griffin Road. Its membership was composed in the main of fishermen from the Claddagh. In their very early days, teams had 21 players.

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Wilfrid Scawen Blunt in Galway Gaol

Thu, Dec 29, 2022

Blunt was an aristocratic English writer, a person of remarkable ability who, as “the best looking man in England was credited with having refreshed the blood of several ancient families”. He was always against colonialism and sympathetic to small nations, so it was no surprise that he became an ardent supporter of Home Rule for Ireland. In 1887, he was in Ireland to study the grievances of the people when he heard that evictions had recommenced on the 56,000-acre estate of Lord Clanricarde in Woodford.

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Santa Claus comes to Galway

Thu, Dec 22, 2022

St Nicholas of Myra is the patron saint of archers, sailors, merchants, repentant thieves, brewers, pawnbrokers, unmarried people, students, and children. He is also the patron saint of Galway, and our oldest church, St Nicholas' Collegiate, is named after him. He was a legendary giver of gifts, particularly to the poor. He would hand coins in through windows or open doors, and if they were closed, sometimes he would put them down the chimney. This was the origin of the tradition of Santa coming down the chimney bearing gifts. The tradition was good for business for chimney sweeps, it would be difficult to explain soot marks on the floor on Christmas morning.

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John Keady, a tribute

Thu, Dec 15, 2022

Now that we are reaching the end of saturation coverage of the World Cup and watching some of the best soccer players in the world, you might wonder where it all began for some of them, how they got themselves on to the world stage, and how much they owe to the unsung people without whom they would never have succeeded, the referees whose dedication to the game make all of those matches possible.

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Rats ate the nuns’ Christmas dinner Week IV

Wed, Dec 14, 2022

In the hopelessly disorganised Allied army which fought Russia in the Crimean War 1853 - 1856, 15 Sisters of Mercy from Ireland played an heroic role in establishing revolutionary nursing practices in the chaos of the terrible hospitals of the day. They undoubtedly saved hundreds of lives, and brought comfort to the young injured and dying men, and laid out principals for modern nursing which were widely regarded as the standard for decades to come.

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There was only going to be one ‘Lady of the Lamp’ in Crimea

Thu, Dec 08, 2022

Week III
The Crimean War was a chaotic affair involving Russia, the Ottoman Empire, France and England, over an area disputed for centuries. It lasted from October 1853 until March 1856, costing some 600,000 lives. Initially, like all wars, it was believed that Russia’s land grab in the eastern Mediterranean, would be quickly stopped; but as the months dragged on the armies on both sides were not prepared for the harsh, winter weather, and the length of the conflict. A number of fierce battles were fought including the infamous ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’, and at Sebastopol, Alma and elsewhere causing thousands of casualties for which the military hospitals of the time were hopelessly inefficient, and unable to cope.

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The Galway starvation riots

Thu, Dec 01, 2022

Our illustration today was published in the Illustrated London News on June 25, 1842, and was intended to “Convey an idea of the desperation to which the poor people of Galway have been reduced by the present calamitous season of starvation. The scene represented above is an attack upon a potato store in the town of Galway, on the 13th of the present month, when the distress had become too great for the poor squalid and unpitied inhabitants to endure their misery any longer, without some more substantial alleviation than prospects of coming harvest; and their resource in this case was to break open the potato stores and distribute their contents, without much discrimination, among the plunderers, and to attack the mills where oatmeal was known to be stored.

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Galwegians RFC, one hundred years

Thu, Nov 24, 2022

It is fairly certain that rugby football was being played in Galway before the formation of the IRFU, but the lack of surviving minutes of meetings or records makes it difficult to pinpoint the actual beginnings of some clubs. We know that in 1886 there were four clubs in existence, Queen’s College (now UG), The Grammar School, Galway Town, and Old Galwegians. These latter two clubs amalgamated in the 1909/10 season and called themselves Galway Town. They were a successful club. World War I and its aftermath ruled out competitive rugby but in the resumption, in 1921/22 they again won the senior cup and then, for some reason, decided to change the name again, this time to Galwegians RFC.

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The Salmon Weir Bridge

Thu, Nov 17, 2022

The foundation stone for this bridge was laid on June 29, 1818, by William Le Poer Trench and the structure was completed the following year. The original purpose was to connect the new County Courthouse with the County Gaol on Nuns' Island. It is a fine gently humped five-span bridge which was originally known as ‘The New Bridge’ or ‘Gaol Bridge’.

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The Galway shawl

Thu, Nov 10, 2022

The Galway shawl was a specific type of heavyweight shawl worn by women during the cold season. It was very popular during the 19th century and was still being worn by a few older, more traditional, women up until the 1950s. It was worn by women all over Ireland, but for some reason was known as the Galway shawl. It was a winter-weight outer garment and was worn over a lightweight one.

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