Fair Day In The Square, 1946.
July 17th, 2008
This unusual view of a fair in the Square was taken in June, 1946 from the first floor of the Royal Hotel. It was one of Galway's most popular haunts and was advertised as having "Electric Light throughout, every modern convenience, best cuisine and wines, hot and cold water in bedrooms, seating accommodation in dining room for 200 guests, private sitting rooms, free garage, first class billiard room, terms modest, phone Galway 2."
I am not quite sure exactly what kind of fair it was. There are some calves in a pen in the left foreground. There is an interesting variety of carts on display, and all of them seem to be empty. The picture was taken just after the war so there are not too many motor cars around, and they are all neatly parked along the footpath. The square looks quite clean in spite of the number of horses.
The truck on the left was set up as a stall and was probably selling cheap second-hand clothes which were known as 'Johnny Cheaps' or Charley Cheaps.' Whatever he was selling has managed to draw a crowd.
To the right across the street was Frank McDonagh's Fashion Salon. They advertised themselves as "High class drapers, tailors, milliners, dressmakers and outfitters. We specialize in Irish Linens, Irish Suitings, Irish Rugs, Irish Poplins, Irish made raincoats. Agents in Galway for Gaeltacht Industries. For high grade quality, variety and value, you cannot do better than Frank McDonagh's. Phone Galway 64." No wonder they called it The Popular House.
On the corner was Walsh's Pub and family grocery. On the opposite corner along railings was where the Spailpins used to gather in the morning when they were looking for work. This 'Human Fair' was very demeaning but very necessary for the men who waited here for farmers or business people or fishermen to offer them a few days work
As you can see the railings were still around the square, adding a certain elegance to the area.
This photograph was taken by Hans Wild and is shown courtesy of the Hulton/Getty Collection.
Finally this week, I came across a fascinating website which is a gallery of photographs of wild birds taken in the general Galway area by Thomas Cuffe. These high quality images are wonderful and well worth a look at. The address is www.iol.ie/~birdsgalway.
Please forward any queries/comments to email@example.com
|View the Old Galway Archive|