It is hard to believe that this is what the centre of Salthill village looked like exactly 100 years ago. The house on the left belonged to a Mr Kelleher who was a member of the RIC. It later became a guest house called the Rockville which eventually expanded into a small hotel and, like many such premises in Salthill, it was fully licensed. It had high standards, the porter always wore a white coat and the waitresses wore proper uniforms. The distinguished writer Donal Mac Amhlaigh worked here for a while during the fifties.
The small shop next door belonged to Mrs Loughnane. She sold groceries and sweets here and had an advert for Fry’s Chocolate in the window. The adjoining house was called ‘Vale View’ and was owned by Mrs Sinnott. She later bought the shop and combined the two buildings as a lodging house. She let the shop to Alfie Curley who ran it as a grocery for many years. Alfie was a small stocky man, always very neat and tidy, always dressed in a white coat or apron. He kept a ‘book’ for many households in Salthill so that they could get their shopping and then pay at the end of the week or month.
The house behind the tree was called ‘Glen View’. It had a coach house at the rear and a lane at the side of the house to enable the coaches to drive around the back. It was at one time owned by the chief warden of Galway Gaol and later by a Mr McGrath, and was run as a boarding house/small hotel.
Among those who stayed there for the week leading up to July 21, 1900, were Mr Jas Egan, Athlone; Mr A Fitzgerald and Miss Fitzgerald (sister ), Tullamore; Mr T Burke and Miss Kilgannon, the hotel, Mountbellew; Mrs Dolan and Mr Jas Dolan (son ), Williamstown, Moate; Mr PJ O’Connor RIC. and Mrs O’Connor, Balla, Co Mayo; Mrs Flattery, Miss Flattery and Master Flattery, Claddagh Lodge, Tuam.
This house was later taken over by the Costelloe family. These buildings were more or less opposite from where the church is today. At the time this photograph was taken there were no buildings across the road from those in our photograph, there was just a long high landlord’s wall at the edge of the O’Hara estate. As two of our houses were called ‘Vale View’ and ‘Glen View’, it is fair to assume that there was some kind of valley opposite, behind the landlord’s wall, that led over to Stiff’s Hill which would later be known as Hallinan’s Hill.