Market Street, one hundred years ago

The title of this photograph is ‘Old Building, Market Street’ and it was taken about 100 years ago. The building in the foreground was at one time occupied by the Augustinian nuns who were based in Galway (where the Mechanics is today in Middle Street ) before 1651. The last Augustinian nun to die in Ireland is buried in Forthill. These sisters formed part of the same Augustinian Order as the friars, as do their contemplative successors today in countries like Spain and Italy. Continuing persecutions and other historical pressures saw to the end of these nuns in Ireland, though some lingered on in Galway up to the middle of the 19th century.

Notice the dressed stone windows on the facade.

By the time our photograph was taken, the building was occupied by Michael John Cosgrave. He was known as the “Potato King”, and some of his stock you can see stacked in front of the ‘shop’. The large pile you see to the right of the door was of cabbages and what you see hanging on the wall on either side of the door are rabbits, of which he was a well known stockist. It would be interesting to note what health and safety would make of his food display. Next door to him on the right was Michael John Horan, and the house on the corner of this street and Abbeygate Street was occupied by a Mrs Darcy who had a sweet shop there. Peter King and his wife Delia lived across the street and they also sold vegetables. Maggie Kelly lived beside them.

To the left of Cosgraves was the old De Burgo Mansion, the beautiful carved doorway of which you can see jutting out into the street. In a previous article, we showed you a close up of this doorway with an oriel window overhead, but by the time this picture was taken it had disappeared. The date of the ornate doorway was believed to be 1602.

The building next to it was the original offices of the Connacht Tribune. It had bars on the windows. In the distance, you can see the white facade of College House which is a car park today.

This photograph is one of a number of Old Galway images which form part of a food exhibition currently running in the Galway City Museum as part of the Galway Food Festival. Well worth a look.

This evening at 8.30pm in the Mercy Convent, Newtownsmith, the Old Galway Society will host a lecture by local historian Luke Nolan on “The Battle of Aughrim”, and all are welcome.

On Monday evening, April 14, the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society will present a lecture by Dr Nessa Cronin in the Harbour Hotel starting at 8pm. Her subject is “The Mapping of the West of Ireland” and all are welcome.

All are welcome too to Luke Nolan’s return when he gives the An Taisce lecture in The Ardilaun on Wednesday next, April 16, on the subject of “Kilconnell Abbey”.


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