This photograph of Mary Jordan from Chapel Lane (also known as Dogfish Lane) in the Claddagh was originally taken on the 27th of May, 1913. She is dressed in her finest clothes as she would have for Sunday or for a special celebration. She is wearing a red petticoat without any black velvet bands around the bottom. I have heard that if a woman had one black band on her petticoat , it meant that she was single�.if she wore two bands, she was 'bespoke', or engaged to be married.
Mrs. Jordan is wearing a starched white cotton apron over her petticoat. She is holding this up at the front, but we can see from behind that it would reach below the petticoat and cover it completely. On top, she has a beautifully patterned shawl wrapped around her in a hug-me-tight fashion. Finally, she is wearing a fabulous red cloak, it's edges bound with a gold or yellow binding. It is difficult to tell, but this cloak could have been made of red flannel. It is a tailored garment with a hood type area added and folded back and worn partially covering her head. She does not appear to be wearing a cap.
The cloak would have been saved for special occasions. They could only be worn by those who could afford one as they had to be especially made by a tailor. Some women would have been lucky enough to inherit one as an heirloom.
Some women wore blue cloaks, and occasionally some wore black cloaks which had a peaked hood and were fastened under the chin by a strap with a button either side that attached to two button holes on the cloak itself.
According to James Hardiman, the ancient Irish habit for a woman consisted of "A blue mantle, a red body-gown, a petticoat of the same colour and a blue or red cotton handkerchief bound around the head".
This is another of the colour photographs taken by two French photographers in Galway in a week in May 1913�.probably the first ever colour photographs taken in Galway. As we told you last week, the BBC are making a documentary on these pictures which can be viewed in the Kenny Gallery in High Street. If you think you are related to, or know any of the people in the photographs, or indeed where they lived, please contact Tom Kenny at 091 534767..
Finally this week. Old Mervue is now 50 years old, and the residents are getting together to celebrate this anniversary on Saturday, starting with Mass in the Holy Family Church at 6.30 pm. Buses will leave the church and the Old Mervue bus stop after the Mass for Cloonacauneen where there will be a buffet, a band playing, lots of crack, and no doubt lots of nostalgia. Tickets , which include the bus trips there and home , are only 25 euro and are available from Eithne Feeney, Pearse Avenue, phone 091 75189.
Our thanks to Heather Finn for her help this week.
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