Tuesday November 20, 1984, was a sad day in Galway. It was the day Jimmy Cranny died, and though he had no family, his extended family of many thousands of people he had taught to swim mourned him and marked the passing of a legend. He could be seen at the seashore virtually every evening of the summer for many, many, years teaching children the basics of swimming, and as some of them progressed to competitive swimming, he provided early morning training sessions for them at the canal on a daily basis.
He was also very involved in further training numbers of these people in the skills of life-saving. When the Irish Water Safety Association was set up in the early 1970s by Minister Bobby Molloy, life-saving classes became a lot more organised and widespread and most swimmers were encouraged to take part in these. This created a lot more awareness of potential hazards and dangers and also generally made our seashore and river much safer to swim in as more and more people obtained water safety certificates.
Our photograph today was taken outside the Rosary Hall on Taylor’s Hill c1970 and shows a group of young swimmers who were about to receive their life-saving certificates from the Bishop.
They are, front row, left to right: Dympna McNicholas, Susan Small, Angela Lawless, Paula Kennedy, Patricia Small, Susan Kennedy. Second row: Jimmy Cranny, Elizabeth Byrnes, Margaret Walsh, Irish Red Cross, Dolores O’Donnell. Third row; Desmond Kenny, chairman Irish Water Safety Association; Michael Browne, Bishop of Galway; Col Jim Griffin, Irish Water Safety Association; Aedin O’Driscoll, Mary McNicholas. Fourth row; Bríd Conneely, Olivia Croke, Francis Clarke, Mary Rose Tobin. Fifth row: Denise Clarke, Evelyn Murphy, Bridget McCarroll, Hilary Keaney, Pádraic Storan, Cynthia Kennedy. Sixth row: Tom Croke, Mick Cunningham, Frank Phelan, Billy O’Connor, Conor Kenny. In the back row are Joe Healy, Ricky Byrne, Donal Henderson, Pete Phelan, Canon Glynn, and Eamonn O’Carroll.