Patrick O'Flaherty bought an old thatch cottage in 1901 in what would become nos.15 & 16 , Upper Dominick Street, and converted it into a two storey house, part of which became a small shop operated by his wife Aggie (nee Staunton), and part of which became O'Flaherty's Garage. They had a hackney service to Carraroe, and stabled the horses out the back. Later, they had garage accommodation for 30 cars, and advertised themselves as "Galway's leading hire service in luxurious charabancs and motors (touring and saloon). All tours through beautiful Conemara Radiate regularly from O'Flaherty's".
It was Patrick who did the funeral arrangements for Fr. Michael Griffin, in spite of warnings from the Black and Tans. Later, they caught him and bayoneted him to death. In 1927, a local newspaper stated that "The enterprising motor garage proprietor, Michael O'Flaherty (son of Patrick) was the proud possessor of a fleet of modern motor omnibuses & charabancs. His principle, which might well be emulated by those desiring to encourage local manufacturers and traders, was to purchase the engines and chassis, and get the bodies built to his own design at home. He was the first in Galway to give an order for a motor body to the local firm of Messrs. Fahy Brothers, Coach Builders, Forster Street, and since then, they have built 17 bodies for him, including motor hearses".
Their service department was in Pump Lane. At the end of 1932, they moved the service station out to Father Griffin Road, while retaining the showrooms and works in Dominick Street. It was one of the earliest buildings on Fr. Griffin Road. Their phone number was Galway 49, and they were agents for Dodge and Standard cars. The cost of a funeral then was £17-10-0. Among those who worked for O'Flahertys then were Mick Hennessy, Michael Tyrrell, Jimmy Flynn, Tommy Hamill, Michael Feeney, Stanley McCarthy, John Fahy, Willie Tyrrell and Eddie Halloran, who was also the caretaker, and lived upstairs. The garage was subsequently extended. The section where you can see the name 'O'Flahertys', and beyond it were added on.
Todays photograph of the Fr. Griffin Road garage dates from the fifties, and was kindly given to us by Paddy Fox.
Michael O'Flaherty was a member of the U.D.C., and his son Paddy, who would carry on the business, was a member of Galway Corporation, and served a term as Mayor. The garage closed in 1991, and today is a retail/apartment complex. The undertaking business is still being carried on in Munster Avenue by Paddy's daughter, Caitriona.
Please forward any queries/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org