This was Seapoint Corner c1865. The buildings we see, running from the left, are Prospect Lodge; Corrig View; Elm View; Prairie House with the balcony, which was built 1855-1861 by Colman O’Donohoe who had obviously spent some time in America; Beachmount; Villa Marina, which had the sign Michael Horan, Grocer over the door; Sunnyside Lodge; Seapoint House; then a gap which led into Seapoint Terrace; and finally, the thatched building which was George Fallon’s Baths. The sign on his gable read Hot Baths and Bathing, No Refunds and his family operated the baths business at least from 1855 to 1894
George Fallon was also the lessor for a number of years of Seapoint House. It was a bathing lodge which was let out. An 1849 advertisement described it as follows: “This desirable bathing residence is commodious and for the immediate reception of a respectable family. Also, Seapoint Terrace which is fitted up in a very neat manner, amply furnished and capable of accommodating a large family. Both lodges have Coach Houses and Stabling attached.” The first ladies’ beach in Salthill was created just behind his baths, but that Relief Committee construction was destroyed by a violent storm in 1869.
In 1894 Mrs Frances Cremen and her two children, James and Mary, took over Seapoint House and the Fallon bathing business. Within four years, they had constructed new baths and bathing boxes adjoining the house. Frances died in 1919 and her children took over the business. A local paper declared: “They constitute an essential feature of holiday pleasures at Salthill and are patronised by practically every visitor who comes to our seaside resort for the summer. The premises have a freshness and cleanliness about them that of itself is invigorating, the attendance is admirable, and they are under careful management of the courteous proprietor, Mr J Cremen.”
In 1944 the baths complex was bought by Noel Finan and he built the iconic Seapoint ballroom and restaurant on the site. These opened to the public in 1949. It was intended to build new baths at the back of the ballroom but this never materialised.
All of this information comes from a newly published book entitled Salthill, A History, Part 1 written by Paul McGinley. It is the profusely illustrated result of a extraordinary amount of research. The headings in the book include Salthill’s townlands and burial grounds, villages and demesnes, the fishing tradition, na Fámairí, trams, trains, and horses, famines, famine roads, etc. This is a remarkable collection and highly recommended, an important addition to every Galwegian’s library. Available in good bookshops priced €30