Father Griffin Road

This view of part of Father Griffin Road was taken from Father Burke Road c1955. In the foreground you can see the land being levelled and prepared for the building of the Technical School.

Much of the land in this area was described in 1681 as “the wett piece of ground mearing on the highway to Kilcorkey” and was known as ‘Feeney’s Marsh’. Later it was part of the Colohan Estate, the Colohans lived in a large house at the Crescent and their lands extended all the way to the sea. Father Griffin Road was constructed in the early 1930s. Before that, the main thoroughfare was Munster Avenue which connected to Trimm’s Lane (now Whitestrand ) and went from William Street West to Grattan Road. The swampy ground to the rear of the Technical School was locally known in the 1930s as ‘Tom Mannin’s Bog’.

Part of the area was used as a dump. In 1938, after Dr O’Beirne brought to public attention the fact that it was the cause of some disease, the then minister convinced the corporation to expend £50 on having the dump put into a proper sanitary condition. At the time, there was also flooding reported at the back of Curley’s premises on Fr Griffin Road.

O’Flaherty’s Garage was the first building on the road. It was known for a time as ‘The Gaeltacht Garage’, it was designed by MJ Tighe and opened in 1932. Across the road, O’Broin’s shop opened in 1934.

The houses in the part of Fr Griffin Road we see in our photograph were all built around that time. The first house on the left of the terrace was Keegan’s and later belonged to the professor of classics who was known as ‘Ma’ Heavey. Next door to her lived Joe and Madge Stewart and beside them was Molly Delaney, who worked in the Warwick Hotel. The Duignan family lived next door, Peadar was a popular singer and dancer who was elected as a TD for Galway West. He served for three years but did not contest the 1954 election. His wife was a charismatic and much loved teacher of the naíonra class in Scoil Fhursa for many years and was universally known as Bean Uí Duignan. The last house on the terrace was Hogan’s, later Wilson’s.

The gap beside it was a vacant site.

The next block was owned and built by the Lally family. On the left they had a toy shop which they opened every summer and Christmas, and on the right, they had a high class grocery and provision business. This building was eventually taken over by Dermot and Della Nolan. It is known as Anton’s today. The roadway beside it is Fr Griffin Park.

The two buildings on the right of our photograph belonged to Claremorris brother and sister Jack Caulfield and Margaret Garvey who bought the site, built the houses, and moved to Galway. A feature of these houses were the letters in relief on the gables just under the roofs, C for Caulfield and G for Garvey. The G is still there. The Caulfields eventually sold the house to Mrs Nora McCaffrey. Margaret Garvey had a drapery shop there while her niece Rita Lally kept students.

 

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