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In 1912, the county of Mayo had been through seven challenging decades of continuous population decline. The reasons for such a plummet in numbers were multiple. High infant mortality, disease brought on by poor diet, a demanding lifestyle, and high emigration tested the people of Mayo’s strength to the limit.
Fifty years ago this weekend, on October 1 1966 to be precise, the last issue of the Galway Observer newspaper was published. It was founded in 1881, published on a Thursday (which was a half day in Galway) and circulated extensively in the city and county. In 1905 it declared itself as the “official advertising medium for the following public bodies – The Galway County Council, The Galway Town Council, Galway Rural District Council and Board of Guardians, Loughrea Rural District Council and Board of Guardians, Gort Rural District Council and Board of Guardians, Clifden Rural District Council and Board of Guardians, Galway Harbour Board, etc, etc.
Dangan House, “beautifully situated on the banks of the fine river Corrib” directly opposite Menlo Castle, was built in 1684 as the seat of the Martin family. ‘Humanity Dick’ Martin was brought up there. John Redington purchased Dangan Demesne from Anthony Martin about 1830 and became the proprietor of the townland. It was, for a short time afterwards, converted into an Ursuline Convent. The nuns were there from 1839 to 1844. Dangan House was left to the Board of Guardians of the Galway Union for an auxiliary workhouse until 1854. The only trace of the original Martin building today is the tea-house folly which is on the banks of the river. A nearby property known as Dangan Cottage was leased by a number of American artists in the 1870s but was described as a ruin in the 1890s.
This parade started from the Square in the following order: Eyre Square North – Industrial School Band; Galway Urban District Council; Galway Board of Guardians; Students of UCG; AOH. Eyre Square East – The Monastery School Fife and Drum Band; UIL; Town Tenant’s League; Galway Woollen Manufacturing Co; and the Irish National Foresters.