The cinema site, Salthill

Lenaboy is the name of one of the townlands of Salthill. It derives either from the Irish Léana Buí, the yellow fields/land or Léana Báite, the sunken or drowned land. The latter explanation is the most likely as we look at this photograph of “The Cinema Site” taken from the main road at Kingshill in Salthill. It was so-called locally because James Stewart & Co tried to build a cinema there in the 1940s. Unfortunately, because of the boggy nature of the ground, the pylons they were sinking in order to put in a foundation kept sinking and disappearing and so the project was abandoned. In the 1960s an enormous amount of filling was gradually put into the site, and eventually, John King built a block of apartments there.

The house in the foreground on the far left of our photograph (the side of which we can see ) was known as St Joseph’s and was built by the Clancys. It was occupied for a time by Jack Keogh when he was building the Warwick Hotel. In 1946 the Kenny family took it over, and in 1968 they opened the first art gallery in the west of Ireland there. There were no foundations under this house, it was built on a raft. Mick Hession’s house was just to the right, out of picture.

The houses in the background were on New Avenue which would later be known as Lenaboy Gardens. Those who lived there in 1946 (including the area where the Sacre Coeur was later ) were J Gallagher, Delia Creighton, Kate O’Beirne, James Murray, Gerard Gately, Michael Hennessy, William Donnellan, Inspector Murphy (later Nellie Donnelly ), Edward Lyons, Martin Carney, Cornelius Lynch, Frank Fallon, Agnes McDonagh, and W Henry Culliton. Our photograph was taken in 1948 and shows houses occupied by (from the left ) McLoughlins, Glynns, Reidys, Carneys, Kellys, Fallons, Miss Donnellan, and the last one was used by staff from the Warwick Hotel. Most of the houses were built by Ned Donnellan, the last four having just been built when this image was taken.

The Old Galway Society is hosting a lecture this evening in the Claddagh Hall at 8pm. The title is “Anthony Raftery, Gaelic Poet and Patriot” and it will be given by the historian Gerry Burke. All are welcome.

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