Fresh herrings, scibs, and red petticoats

This photograph of a very animated open air fish market was taken about 100 years ago, and shows lots of creels, scibs, various types of basket, a wondrous variety of patterned shawls, petticoats, and práiscíns. There seems to be more selling than buying. It must have been very colourful and competitive… just imagine them all calling out, in lovely Galway accents, “Fresh herrings”, “Johnny Dory”, etc.

The fish market used to be on Bridge Street until they opened the original Wolfe Tone Bridge in 1887. The bridge made it easy for Claddagh women to congregate in front of the Spanish Arch to sell their wares. The fishermen never did any of the selling, it was always the women. Not all the women came to this spot, many walked the streets or the roads in the suburbs with a scib full of fish on their head, knocking on doors trying to sell their product.

Note the boats moored in the bay, the elegant electric light pole to the right of the arch, and the equally elegant gaslight to the left of the arch.

The house we see on the left was occupied by Stephen Joe Joyce who ran Ruane’s fish packing factory in Spanish Parade. Next door was Connolly’s pub (with the porch ) and in the corner lived a Mr Lynskey who was a rope and twine maker. Beside him was Tierney’s grocery, which later became Kelly’s shop, and by now was owned by Tim Shea. The little house beside the arch belonged to Anna Marie Dillon from Nuns Island.

Johnny Beatty had a forge in the ‘blind’ section of the arch at the time. The high stores you see behind the arch belonged to Tom Keane, and were used for storing carrigeen moss.

Christmas quiz results

We had a very large entry for our Christmas crossword. Thanks to Dick Byrne for compiling it, and thanks to you all for entering. The answers to the clues across were as follows.

Clues across: 3, chicken; 5, longline; 7, gift; 11, bakery; 13, dockers; 14, folk; 15, Enda; 16, Claudes; 18, toyshop; 20, pig; 21, fish; 22, hat; 24, Pádraic; 26, hotel; 28, cup; 30, Danny; 32, pawnshop; 34, The Halls; 36, Maddens; 40, convent; 41, porter; 43, Wards; 44, Tofts arcade; 47, Ned Joyce; 49, Winnie; 50, club; 53, Four Corners; 54, Lydon; 57, cowboy; 58, Bal; 59, street; 60, Lancers; 65, tenor; 66, pictures; 67, the Odeon; 69, Eglinton; 73, St Nicholas; 76, Whitehall; 77, Atlanta; 78, hands.

Clues down: 1, Lydons; 2, market; 3, church; 4, cakes; 6, GSR; 7, GOC; 8, turf; 9, Savoy; 10, Marian Café; 12, Aylwards; 13, Delia Lydons; 17, the Castle Inn; 19, pilot; 23, chips; 25, news; 29, Pro Cathedral; 31, Herterich; 33, heart; 35, lateen; 36, Meyrick; 37, Druid; 38, Elwoods; 39, GAFF; 41, Poor Clares; 42, rig; 45, slaughterhouse; 46, Glynns; 48, Earl; 51, scallop; 52, green; 53, fife and drum; 55, dog; 56, Focastle; 58, band; 61, Woolworths; 62, Truelight; 63, Donnellans; 64, Astaire; 65, The Casbah; 68, Hickeys; 70, and; 71, coffee; 72, Galway; 74, pucán; 75, bay.

The photographs were A, Whitehall, Dunne’s Stores; B, William Street, Lazlos, John Margetts; C, 18 Eyre Square, now AIB; D, Eglinton Street, Garda barracks; E, Nuns Island, (the name of the horse was Dobbin ); F, Shop Street, Lifestyle, Mr O’Connor.

The first all correct answer out of Dick’s hat came from Mairéad Concannon, Renmore Road. Congratulations, Mairéad, and enjoy your prize.


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