Lower Dominick Street about one hundred and fifty years ago

According to Hely Dutton, Dominick Street was built in the early part of the 19th century. It was outside the old city walls and was an indicator of how Galway was beginning to expand at the time. This photograph, which was taken c1965, is probably the earliest existing image of the street.

The Eglinton Canal had recently been constructed and the bridge we see in the foreground was completed in 1851. It was known as Ball’s Bridge or Ballsbridge, maybe the engineer who built it or designed it was named Ball. It was a bascule bridge which swung open to one side, and was made from timber with a steel frame. It was hand operated, and when opened it allowed boat traffic to move up and down the canal. To the left, just out of picture, was the Lock House, occupied by a Mr John Keogh who operated this bridge and the canal lock at Parkaveara.

According to Griffith’s Valuations (1855 ), the house we see on the right, Number 1, was occupied by Maria Browne. Next to her was Thomas Palmer, then Maria Burke Lloyd. No 4 was vacant, Robert Martin was in No 5, next door was Henry Clements, then Richard Doherty, Patrick Staunton, Mary Birmingham, Locke S Mangan. James Martyn was in No 11, next door were Ambrose Rushe and Thomas Palmer, Martin King and William Costelloe were in No 13, beside them were Walter Burke, Thomas Craven, and Mary Burke, then John Curran. Ambrose Rushe and Thomas Palmer also occupied. On the far side of the street, at the northwest end, lived John Morris, next to him was Jonathan Faherty, then Locke S Mangan, and Denis Corcoran. No 21 was vacant, Walter Burke was in No 22, next was John Coen, then Nicholas Colahan, and beside him, James Lynch. The Commissioners of Excise were in No 26 as were Maria O’Connor and Alexander McLellan, next was John Semple, Francis Derham, vacant, Patrick Moran, and finally the house we see on the left was occupied by Anne Little.

Between the time this photograph was taken and 1873, a post office had opened at the far end of the street on the right, another sign of the city expanding. Notice the gaslights and the neat footpaths.

This remarkable photograph is another one of those found in an album which was recently discovered in Chetham’s Library in Manchester. There are some 100 photographs in the collection of the city and county of Galway. Chetham’s digitised them and put them on its website and as a result, it had a communication from a Mr Brett Fitzgerald in Australia. Mr Fitzgerald’s great grandfather was Frederick John Hasler (possibly also known as Hazlier ) who rowed with Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club, and is recorded as having taken part in a number of races on the river. He was a photographer who was based in No 18 Dominick Street (next to where the Galway Arms is today ). In 1869 he emigrated to Australia where he continued his rowing career and later married and had children. When his great grandson Brett saw the Chetham’s Library photographs online, they looked familiar, and he realised that he had original copies of many of them in his possession, which would indicate that Frederick Hasler was the photographer who took those photographs in the 1860s.

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