A procession on O’Brien’s Bridge

Our photograph today is of a group from the Sodality in the Jes being led by Bobby Molloy with the IHS flag. They are crossing O’Brien’s Bridge as part of the annual Procession of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Willy Forken is in front of the right hand row, and among the others are Johnny Holland and Johnny Whelan.

Processions were very big affairs. The line-up for the 1954 one was, Section A: Dominican Convent, Presentation Convent, Convent of Mercy, St Nicholas’ Girls’ School, Scoil Fhursa, and the Girl Guides. In Section B were the League of the Cross, Cathedral; Children of Mary, Convent of Mercy; Children of Mary, Presentation Convent; Children of Mary, Cathedral; St Ignatius’ Sacred Heart Sodality; St Joseph’s Sacred Heart Sodality; Cathedral Rosary Confraternity; Arch Confraternity of Cincture, Third Order of St Francis; Nurses of the Central Hospital; and lady students, UCG.

Section C: Men students, UCG, and professors; St Joseph’s School Salthill band; St Nicholas’ Boys’ School; St Brendan’s School; Monastery and Nuns Island Schools; St Joseph’s College; St Ignatius College; Coláiste Éinde; and St Mary’s College. In Section D were St Patrick’s Band; Youth Confraternities; CYMS; Country Sodalities; Holy Name Society; Sodality of the BV St Ignatius; Sacred Heart Sodality, St Joseph’s; Sacred Heart Sodality, Cathedral; Arch Confraternity of Cincture, Third Order of St Francis; Galway branch of the Amalgamated Society of Woodworkers; Red Cross, Ambulance Unit; Knights of Malta; the Military; and the Corporation.

Finally, in Section E were Patrician and Christian Brothers; students of St Anthony’s College and Cluain Mhuire; and clergy in vestments (vesting in St Mary’s College ).

The instructions to all city sodalities were to assemble at their own churches and proceed, with medals and ribbons and religious banners at head, to St Mary’s College where all taking part in the procession would take up their places. Each sodality should appoint its own marshals. Benediction would be imparted in the grounds of St Mary’s and then the procession would go via Henry Street, Dominick Street, Bridge Street, Shop Street, and William Street to Eyre Square, where the final Benediction would be given. The Rosary would be recited during the procession and the school children would sing the hymns at intervals as directed. While the Blessed Sacrament was being taken back to the Cathedral, all were to remain in their places for the singing of ‘Faith of Our Fathers’.

Though many of the streets and buildings along the route were decorated with flowers, little altars, holy pictures, banners, and flags, the whole affair was very solemn. The centre of town was brought to a standstill.

In the background of our photograph (for which we thank Gerry Forken ) you can see the Bridge Mills and the Galway Arms Pub.

The Galway Archaeological and Historical Society will host a lecture in the Harbour Hotel on Monday next, March 11, at 8pm. The title is ‘Mainistir Ua gCormacáin, The Abbey of the Cormicans in Galway’ and it will be given by Patrick Larkin. All are welcome.


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