There was a long discussion at an Urban District Council meeting in July 1935 about whether to allow purchasers of plots in front of the house at Forster Park, recently occupied by Dr Michael O’Malley, to proceed with the building immediately, or to force them to defer construction until the road along the Promenade had been widened. The plots had been advertised as building sites. One of the objectors said, “We are a long time looking for a town planning scheme in Galway, and now that we have it, I strongly object to this building. We have one of the finest hotels in the country (The Eglinton ) and now you want to destroy it.”
At a council meeting the following October it was suggested that ‘the building should be in conformity with the rest of the houses in the locality, and not the ‘cheap-jack’ type of house that would destroy the whole of Salthill. The proposed hotel would have 20 bedrooms and would cost £3,500, with extras £4,000.
The hotel was first called the Éire Hotel, later the Claremont, and was second from the left of a terrace of four houses that were built at the same time. It was owned by James Cunnane who eventually sold it to Ken Toft. The Bermingham family also lived on this terrace, as did the Gilmores who occupied the premises on the right, once known as The Dawn Hotel. They moved to San Antonio Terrace and sold this house to Jack and Ethel Cheevers, who eventually bought all four houses and converted them into the Forster Park Hotel. The hotel had a cocktail bar and a spacious lounge, a wine cellar, and bottling stores, although they occasionally had flooding problems with the basement. The building had an elegant façade then, complete with railings. It is not so elegant today.
The area on the right became known as The Park Café and became a great haunt for Salthill teenagers in the fifties and sixties … probably the first place in Salthill to serve hot dogs. It also had a large clientele of people on their way to Seapoint or the Hangar, especially those who had come in from the country.
And now a request, some friends of the Sisters of Jesus and Mary in Ballybane plan to compile a history of the work of the sisters in Ballybane over the years. If you have any photographs or memories of your involvement with the Sisters in Ballybane, could you please share them with the project and drop them into the special box at Ballybane Library, Castle Park Road. Phone 087 340 38115 for more details.