At the beginning of the last century, Beatty Brothers had a foundry in Mill Street. In 1913, they advertised ‘a desire to announce that their factory was fitted with a first-rate plant for the manufacture of spades and shovels. Tons of them were sold last season’.
The foundry was eventually taken over by the Galway Foundry and Engineering Company which expanded the business. In addition to the spade and shovel factory, it did a lot of foundry work, metal gates, plough metals, brass metal castings, fancy metal railings, turnings of all descriptions, etc. In 1934, it announced that it had purchased the premises known as The Old Distillery on Nuns’ Island, and that it was going to convert the place into a workshop. At the time, the foundry employed 87 hands and was hoping to double that number.
Sadly, on the night of October 3, 1937, the Mill Street premises were gutted by fire. The whole building was a mass of flames, some 100 feet high. Galway Fire Brigade played four lines of hose on the building and there seemed little hope of saving it. Then Tim Duggan of the Fire Brigade smashed the front door with an axe and dashed into the blazing building with a line of hose. As the full pressure of the water came on, huge clouds of smoke billowed up. The Garda had to move a large crowd of onlookers back. The whole of the front of the building including the storerooms and offices was gutted. All hands were back at work the following day trying to fill orders. They worked mostly from the Nuns’ Island premises where a further 60 men were employed.
So today, we show you some of the men and the youths who worked in the foundry in 1936. They are, back row, left to right: M Donoghue, W Flynn, D Canavan, E Cubbard, G Graham, S Murphy, C McDonagh, M Geary and M Costelloe. Centre row: J Riddle, M Costelloe, T Lee, N Conneely, T Riddle, S Sullivan, M Kelly, C McDonagh, T Sullivan. In front are: P Geary, M Laffey, R Lally, P McDonagh, R Cantwell, N Lamb, and P Laffey.