The Crescent from Murray’s shop

This photograph of The Crescent, which was originally known as Palmyra Crescent, was taken c1940. Palmyra in Syria is very much in the news these days, but I cannot think of any reason why someone would name a road in Galway after it.

The Crescent is one of the more elegant and interesting roads in Galway, not least because of the shape of the street and all the trees planted there. The original Crescent consisted of numbers 6 to 9, of three bays each and two storeys over a basement. They have simple pedimented door cases, cornices, and blocking courses and they date from the early 19th century. The first two houses are of two bays and three storeys with parapets and mid 19th century cement decoration, and Number 8 has Georgian glazing bars. Most of the rest of the houses date from the mid 19th century. The area was originally known as Sherwood’s Fields. 

The houses were occupied at one time by (from the left ) Dr Jack Little, Dr Gerry Little, Mrs Sohan who had a pawn shop in Abbeygate Street, Dr Conor O’Malley, O’Dohertys, Dr Sandys, Dr Sean O’Toole, the Misses Corbett, Miss Dolly Thompson, Dr R O’Shea, Dr Sean McLaverty, Dr Anna McMahon, and Dick Emerson.

A little further on from this photograph, Montpelier Terrace dates from c1840, Devon Place from c1850, and Ely Place some 10 years later again. Most of the buildings in The Crescent are occupied today by doctors’ surgeries and solicitors’ offices, which may explain why there are some 50 names of occupiers listed in the 1911 census.

The photograph was taken from Murray’s shop. It was a confectionery, grocery, a post office, and a terrific ice cream parlour. It was a kind of local hub, busy because of the bus stop outside the door and because of its proximity to the Estoria and Scoil Fhursa. If you could not get into the serials on a Sunday afternoon in the ‘Shtoah’, you would wait till the advertisements came on and all the kids came out to buy sweets. You would run over to Murrays, buy an ice pop, and run back holding your ice pop in front of you and hoping that it would be your ticket and that you could sneak in with the rest. Notice the telephone kiosk on the far corner and the freestanding post box on the Scoil Fhursa corner. The post box was later situated in front of Murray’s.

The Old Galway Society starts its new programme of lectures this evening in the Victoria Hotel at 8.30pm when Patrick Lonergan, professor of drama and theatre studies, NUIG, will talk on the subject of “The Abbey Theatre, Galway and Irish History”. All are welcome.

The Galway Archaeological and Historical Society starts off its new series in the Harbour Hotel next Monday, September 14, at 8pm with a talk by Dr Joe Mannion on “Some Elizabethan Sherriffs in County Galway” and, again, all are welcome.

Correction: Apologies last weeks picture of a minor hurling team was from 1957 and not 1958.


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