O’Flaherty’s Garage

Patrick O’Flaherty bought an old thatch cottage in 1901 and converted it into a two-storey house which would become Numbers 15 and 16 Upper Dominick Street, part of which became a small shop operated by his wife Aggie (née Staunton ) and part became O’Flaherty’s Garage. They operated a hackney service and advertised “Galway’s leading hire service in luxurious charabancs and motors (touring and saloon ). All tours through beautiful Conemara radiate regularly from O’Flaherty’s”.

It was Patrick who did the funeral arrangements for Fr Griffin in spite of warnings from the Black and Tans. They later caught him and killed him. In 1927, a local newspaper stated that, “The enterprising motor garage proprietor Michael O’Flaherty (son of Patrick ) was the proud possessor of a fleet of modern omnibuses and charabancs. His principle, which might well be emulated by those desiring to encourage local manufacturers and traders, was to purchase engines and chassis and get the bodies built to his own design at home. He was the first in Galway to give an order for a motor body to the local firm of Messrs Fahy Brothers, Coach Builders, Forster Street, and since then, they have built 17 bodies for him, including motor hearses.”

Up until 1927, the mail vans travelling between Galway and Gort/Ballyvaughan, Galway and Shrule and Galway and Carraroe were run by O’Flahertys and they also served the useful purpose of carrying passengers. When the Post office introduced their own vans to convey the mails and in order to meet the inconveniences which the discontinuance of the passenger services would cause, O’Flaherty's introduced a charabanc service for the Conamara districts.

Their service department was in Pump Lane. At the end of 1932, they moved the service station out to part of what had been known as Feeney’s Marsh, described in 1681 as the “Wett piece of ground mearing on the highway to Kilcorkey” and part of what was locally known as Tom Mannin’s Bog. That ‘highway’ would eventually become known as Fr Griiffin Road. Our illustration is a drawing of the proposed building in splendid isolation with a large wall around the boundary. It was the first building on the road and our photograph, taken in 1934, shows many of the staff (most of whom had worked in Dominick Street ) posing with the taxi fleet. They include, from right to left, Michael O’Flaherty, Mick Hennessy, Michael Tyrrell, Jimmy Flynn, Tommy Hamill, Michael Feeney, Eddie Halloran, Willie Tyrrell, Pat Tyrrell, Stanley McCarthy and John Fahy.

The two cars on the right are new 1934 Dodges, the next two are old Dodge 8s. The one far left is a Fiat limousine and the car on the ramp is a Vauxhall which belonged to Abby Toft. Petrol was about two bob (10 cents today ) a gallon. Notice the height of the petrol pumps. The school in the distance is the Claddagh National School and the Technical College has not yet been built.

Michael O’Flaherty was a member of the Urban District Council, and his son Paddy, who would carry on the business, was an elected member of Galway Corporation who served a term as Mayor.

The building was extended in the 1950s and the façade changed slightly. The garage closed in 1991 and was demolished to make way for a retail/apartment complex. The undertaking business is still being carried on in Munster Avenue by Paddy’s daughter Caitríona.


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