Cloran’s Cross

In May, 1846, as part of a Famine relief project, 175 people were employed to build a road linking Dangan to Salthill. Part of that road was known as Bóthar na Mine (the Road of the Indian Meal ) because all of the wages were used to buy oatmeal. I have never been able to find out how, when, or why this name was translated into English as Threadneedle Road.

Our photograph was taken at the top of Threadneedle Road where it intersects with Taylor’s Hill and Kingston. The crossroads was known as Cloran’s Cross and the road we are looking at was Cloran’s Road which led to Rahoon. I presume Cloran was a man who lived locally. The topography of Salthill was generally flat and undulating and this cross was the highest point in Salthill, 250 feet above sea level. No matter which way you approached it, you were going uphill so the concrete seat we see on the left was often used by walkers. From here they could relax momentarily and enjoy panoramic views of the bay.

Most of the land to the right of our photograph was part of the estate of James O’Hara of Lenaboy Castle, some 237 acres mostly of woodland and parkland. The agricultural land to the left was in olden times of little military or strategic significance. On the road to south Conamara, it was described as being ‘as ugly as flatness, sterility, and want of wood can make it’. Much of the soil in the area developed originally under forest vegetation. The removal of this cover left the soils exposed to leaching, and as a result, they progressively degraded. A long period of human interference considerably changed the soils so they are varied and consist of shallow brown earths, gleys, podzols, and redzinos. The value of sea manure was abundantly shown by patches of cultivated soil in the landscape.

Taylor’s Hill and Kingston were known as ‘An Bóthar Árd’, the main road from the west into Galway. The sea road, ‘Bóthar na Trá’, was the minor route. Today, Cloran’s Road is no longer a narrow Famine road but a very busy three lane thoroughfare and the concrete seat has been replaced by traffic lights.

This photograph was originally taken by the late Donal Taheny about 1950, just before the road widening scheme began. Donal was a very popular teacher in the Bish who now has a plaque in his honour on the wall in front of St Patrick’s School.

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