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Between the years 1845 and 1855 more than 2.1 million people emigrated from Ireland. They streamed into Liverpool, Manchester, Boston and New York. Many were diseased, hungry, dirty, broken spirited, with barely any personal belongings. Some embarked actually naked.
In the early decades of the 19th century fortunes were made in giving hundreds of thousands of emigrants safe passage to America. As the decades slipped by the numbers grew into millions. Liverpool had the main transatlantic business for these two islands, but Galway, situated some 300 miles closer to America, and with the onset of powerful steam-driven ships, believed that a better and quicker service could be provided.
The unfortunate collision of the Indian Empire into the well marked Margaretta Rock in the middle of Galway Bay was a blow to the newly established Galway Line. But by no means was it a knockout. Galway’s vaulting ambition to open a new ‘highway between the old and new worlds’ took on an even more determined energy. The exploitation of steam-power, driving ever bigger ships and faster trains, led to wild speculation as to what could be achieved even from Galway, in the middle of the 19th century.
Sinn Féin’s ultimate aim is to build an Ireland of equals. This will only be achieved by getting rid of Partition, reuniting our country, and achieving full national independence.
Sinn Féin’s ultimate aim is to build an Ireland of Equals. This will only be achieved by getting rid of partition, reuniting our country and achieving full national independence.
In June 1858 Galway town was in a fever of wild speculation and excitement. Its vision for a magnificent transatlantic port off Furbo, reaching deep into Galway Bay, where passengers from Britain, and throughout the island of Ireland, would be brought to their emigration ship in the comfort of a train, now faced being scuppered by the apparent criminal intent of the two local pilots.
A plan to kill a Tuam man in 1883 led directly to a total of nine deaths including six hangings, one of which is now believed to have been a miscarriage of justice, according to The Queen v Patrick O’Donnell, a new book by Connemara-based author, Seán Ó Cuirreáin, which is to be the basis of a forthcoming TG4 drama-documentary.
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The election, on May 24 1921 in the six counties of what was to become Northern Ireland, resulted in the Unionist Party winning 40 of the 52 seats. Catholics in the six counties would now be forced to stare down the barrel of partition and sectarianism as a new order was set in place.
In 1887 Arthur J Balfour, a quintessential English unionist, was appointed chief secretary of Ireland by his uncle Lord Salisbury, the Conservative prime minister. No one expected much from this man whose appointment appeared so nepotistic as to suggest he was an incompetent. He was far from that.