'Only a rale good horse can win it'

Wed, Jul 28, 2021

That was the answer the journalist PD Mehigan got when he asked a breeder to explain the magic of the Galway Plate some 80 years ago. An examination of the records bore out that theory for him - no bad horse, or middling horse, has ever won the Galway Plate.

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The Galway minor hurling team, 1941

Wed, Jul 21, 2021

For me, hurling is the ultimate game, but it is more than just a game, a team contest of speed, skill, style, hand-eye co-ordination, a national passion which is woven into the social fabric of Irish society, a game that is played for pride, not money, and quintessentially Irish. As a lady once said, “When you think of it, apart from the Irish language, there is nothing more Irish in this country than the game of hurling.” The game has always flourished in Galway and this county has made a major contribution to its history.

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Endgame of the War of Independence - Galway July 1921

Thu, Jul 15, 2021

On July 9 1921, the British Government entered talks with Sinn Féin resulting in the Truce coming into effect on July 11 at midday.

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The changing face of Salthill

Wed, Jul 14, 2021

This 1948 photograph was taken from the old RIC barracks which was opposite the Banba Hotel . The bit of a wall you can see in the immediate foreground was part of ‘The Lazy Wall’. There was a concrete seat running along the other side of this wall and it was there people known as the ‘Fámairí’ used to congregate, people mostly from farming families. When they had the harvest in, they would come to Salthill on holiday and often meet with the same people as last year. They would sit here and gossip, smoke their dúidíns and sometimes paddle in the sea beside them.

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Galway online lecture on the Truce and the Civil War

Thu, Jul 08, 2021

An online lecture examining the Truce between the IRA and the British government in 1921 and the Civil War which broke out the following year, takes place this weekend.

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Druid, the expression of imagination

Wed, Jul 07, 2021

It is hard to believe that it was 46 years ago this week that Druid Theatre first tread the boards. The location was the Jesuit Hall and the play was The Playboy of the Western World. The following night, they put on It’s a two foot six inches above the Ground World by Kevin Laffan and on the third night, it was The Loves of Cass Maguire by Brian Friel.

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Galway to host online conference on the War of Independence

Thu, Jul 01, 2021

JULY 11 marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the War of Independence. Ireland’s fight for self-determination, and its aftermath, will be examined from a Galway perspective at an upcoming online conference.

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The Currach Races, Salthill

Wed, Jun 30, 2021

The Currach Races … An Tóstal … Rásaí na gCurrachaí … 60,000 people plus in Salthill … lines of people four and five deep along the Prom … Every vantage point taken … specially designed currachs everywhere, up on trailers, sitting on grass verges, at the water’s edge … Always a crowd of people inspecting them … The currachs on the sea like tiny insects, indistinguishable in the mist and drizzle … Mountainy men and island men … báinín … Bréidín … beautiful handknit Aran croiseanna … Caps … caps … thousands of caps … women in many different styles of shawl … some red petticoats … stalls everywhere selling minerals, sweets, fruit … many stages erected along the Prom hosting sean nós singers, dancers, traditional musicians … The atmosphere of a massive aeríocht … Programmes written in the old Irish script … strange accents from Donegal … Three-card trick men … canoe races between the currach races … Trawlers marking the race route … Kerry accents … canúint Chonamara … A cluster of bookies at Blackrock … Bottles of stout and lemonade … Gaelinn spoken in lilting Cork accents … Gaeilge spoken by Aran Islanders who had come in on the Dún Aengus … A marquee for food at Blackrock … another for visiting crews … The Joyces of Inis Bearacháin … Bands playing at the Ladies Beach and at Blackrock … Currach men from Mayo, Sligo, and Clare … Commentary on the races blaring from speakers all over Salthill … A festival dance in the Hangar. This was the All-Ireland Currach Racing Championship which was first held in 1953 in the Claddagh and thereafter for several years in Salthill. The Prom provided the ideal viewing stand, the oarsmen provided the excitement, and the crowds provided the atmosphere.

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June 1921 - Britain continues to deny policy of reprisal killings and house burnings in Galway

Thu, Jun 24, 2021

The election, on May 24 1921 in the six counties of what was to become Northern Ireland, resulted in the Unionist Party winning 40 of the 52 seats. Catholics in the six counties would now be forced to stare down the barrel of partition and sectarianism as a new order was set in place.

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Joseph Gaynor, a Galway busker

Wed, Jun 23, 2021

Busking is the practice of performing in public places, street performances for tips or gratuities, voluntary donations. It may come from the Spanish word buscar – to seek (fame and fortune), or the Latin word buscare – to procure, to gain.

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The Dún Aengus

Thu, Jun 17, 2021

The first steamer service to the Aran Islands began almost 150 years ago, in 1872, with a paddle tug called The Citie of the Tribes. She was operated by the Galway Steamship Company and was also used to tow barques and other sailing vessels to and from Galway port.

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Old Galway newspapers

Wed, Jun 09, 2021

The first book printed in Ireland was The Book of Common Prayer in 1551. As printing became more sophisticated, newspapers became inevitable. The first gazettes were published originally in manuscript – the word gazette being derived from gazetto, a coin of Venice, the amount paid for reading the news. The earliest printed newspapers began to appear around the end of the 16th century. These were small, quarto in size, printed on one or both sides of the page, or of four pages containing intelligence of public interest which were variously called 'Books of Newes', ‘Newe Newes’, 'Wonderful Newes', ‘Bloody Newes out of Ireland’, etc.

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The ‘amusements’ in the Fairgreen

Thu, Jun 03, 2021

It is good to see the funfair being set up at the moment along the Prom, a sure sign that the summer is on the way. There has been a history of summer funfairs in Galway for well over 100 years, though they were always known here as ‘the amusements’. In the early days, the Toft family used to organise them in Salthill Park. Occasionally, the neighbours used to object to the noise and the traffic, and on at least one occasion, they were invited next door on to the site in front of Dr O’Beirne’s house (where Leisureland is today).

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The egg and butter market in Church Street

Thu, May 27, 2021

Some weeks ago we wrote about the virtues of country butter being sold at the Saturday Market, but it seems there were occasional vices there too. The ink was hardly dry on the paper when David Barrett sent us an account of a court case that took place at the Galway Petty Sessions in September 1910 before the magistrates Messrs J Kilbride and JS Young. District Inspector Hildebrand prosecuted Mrs Sarah Bane, Moycullen, on three different counts of selling butter that was unfit for human consumption to Kate Hoare, Mary Griffin, and Norah Joyce. Mr Cooke, from Blake and Kenny solicitors, appeared for the defence.

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Clay pipes and dúidíns

Thu, May 20, 2021

In the days before cigarettes were invented, clay pipes were very popular and could be found in most houses in the country. They were mainly used by working class people, easy to purchase, mass produced, cheap and light, and smoked by men and women. The short stemmed version was known as a dúidín or dudeen in Ireland, as a cutty in Scotland, and a ‘nose warmer’ in England. The longer version was known as the Beannacht Dé pipes or ‘The Lord ha’ mercy’ pipe, as that was how people invariably responded when you gave them one, “Beannacht Dé leat”.

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Murder in the city, intimidation in the county - Galway, May 1921

Thu, May 13, 2021

The Government of Ireland Act came into being on May 3 1921, resulting in a parliament for the six northern counties and devolved powers for the 26 counties.

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Reilly’s Hotel, Salthill

Thu, May 13, 2021

This small hotel owned by Mrs B O’Sullivan was prominently situated in Salthill (near where Seapoint is today), fully licensed, hot and cold running water in all bedrooms, and had a large bungalow in the grounds at the back.

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May Sundays in Menlo

Thu, May 06, 2021

“Boats from the Long Walk as well as the Boraholla boats were plying, and the shouting of the boatmen 'Who’s for Menlo, twopence a head, children free' rent the air …. It is a slow voyage but no-one minds. Joe Banks, piper to the King plays ‘The Rakes of Mallow'. Joe Kelly is piping in another boat, which is occupied by the Mayor of Galway …… Sweet vendors were working night and day preparing sugar-sticks and kiss-pipes which were sold in colours of red and white at a half-penny each ….. the cries of different vendors of eatables and drinks rent the air: ‘Cider a penny a glass …. The real juice of the American apple; Guinness threepence per pint and minerals twopence per bottle’ is the shout …… Puritans and temperance fanatics were unknown …. The ladies in the enclosure, which was at this side of the castle, with their sunshades and costumes of mid-Victorian days, looked beautiful. The villagers and colleens with their shoulder-shawls and neat pinafores were a picture of neatness and comeliness. They were all dressed — not undressed as they are today. Lady Blake hands the prizes and cups to the successful crews. The Miss Blakes are chatting in good old Irish to Maureen, Shawneen and Paudeen.”

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Calling all Salerno girls

Thu, Apr 29, 2021

The words of the late John O’Donohue, “The beginning often holds the clue to everything that follows” could be said to be prophetic if applied to the date of May 1, 1952, in Salthill. On that day, the courageous Sisters of Jesus and Mary opened a national school in what had been a small hotel known as Dalysfort House or Allen’s Hotel in Árd na Mara. They called it Scoil Íde and had 43 pupils. I don’t know if the teachers, Sisters Immaculata and Celine, had any idea of what kind of impact that beginning would make on education and social life in Galway, but if they had, it would have been beyond their wildest dreams.

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April Fools and the valley of death - Galway 1921

Thu, Apr 22, 2021

Major General Henry Tudor arrived in Galway for the weekend on April 1 1921. On Saturday morning he inspected the RIC, then made his way to Lenaboy Castle to inspect the D Company Auxiliaries.

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