An American barber shop in Eyre Square

John Joseph Grant emigrated to Brooklyn in New York where he learnt the haircutting trade and obviously made enough money which enabled him to come home in 1912 and set up his own business here. He also picked up quite a few tips on advertising as well, as you can see from our illustration which was published c1913. In addition to being a skilled barber, he certainly was not shy about promoting his wares – his advert is full of superlatives. “I guarantee to cure dandruff – the most modern and up-to-date barber’s shop in the Provinces – shaving soap solely manufactured by J.J. Grant – you will never get bald if you use Grant’s Imperial Hair Tonic (He must have sold this product out as he himself went bald in later life ).

In 1931, he was given the hairdressing contract by Galway County Council for the Emigration Station at the docks at 1s. 6d. each for ladies and 9d. for men. This prompted Máirtín Mór McDonagh to comment, “They are most ungallant to be charging the ladies more than the men”.

In addition to the services mentioned in the advert, he also advertised as follows –

“Are you troubled with dandruff? I guarantee to cure it for you.”

“Ladies & Gents scalp and face massage by electricity.”

“Switches and curls &c. made and dressed”.

"Tinting a speciality, Eugene Permanent Waving, Pastiche ad Hairwork of all kinds made to order."

"Violet Ray and High Frequency Treatment."

"Avoid blood poisoning – use the new ‘Rotesca’ for removing hairs from the nostrils, ears and eyebrows, safe and hygienic. Ask for particulars."

“Ladies combings made to order from 1/6 an ounce and upwards.”

“Support home-made articles by using Grant’s celebrated Galway-made shaving soap.”

“Razors honed, ground and set.”

“Shave by electricity, get an electric razor and shave without brush, soap or water. The only hairdressing salon in the British Isles shaving by electricity [1938]."

JJ and family lived over the shop which was on the west side of Eyre Square. The business eventually passed on to his son Luke who ran it for many years until it closed down c1980. Among those who trained with him were Seán and Mícheál Thornton, Chick Gillen, Con Healy, Paddy Barrett, Paddy Dowling, Jimmy Curley and Christy Archer.

The photograph was taken outside the shop c1935 and shows, in the back row: Luke Bernard Grant, ---- , John Joseph Grant. In front are Jim O’Beirne, ---- , Lunn Grant and Con Healy.

Finally, the indefatigable Willie Henry has a new book being launched in Galway Rowing Club on Sunday next at 4pm. It is titled Woodquay, An Ancient Heritage and is profusely illustrated, another Henry triumph. All are welcome on Sunday.


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