Our Ladys Boys Club was founded in 1940, by Father Leonard Shiel SJ. The main object of the club was "To provide for the relief of poverty by serving homeless kids in need, by promoting human services which would meet long term means, and by these means to encourage their development, and give their lives a dignity which is their birthright".
It's headquarters were, and still are in Sea Road. At the time , there were scarcely a dozen youth clubs in the country, and the government provided no out of school education for young people. There was a great need for social and recreational facilities. Such activity was virtually non-existent in many parts of Galway.
The critical core of the club has always been it's generic youth club which meets several evenings a week. The Jesuit Order were great supporters, providing spiritual guidance as well as the building which housed the club. The primary aim in those days was to show the boys ways and means of securing their own destiny. Tuesday and Friday nights were for the Juniors (the 15-16 age group ; Wednesdays were for Intermediates (over 16s) and Saturday nights were for seniors. Activities included soccer, rugby, Irish dancing, boxing, swimming, life-saving, table tennis, rings etc.all for a nightly fee of one penny. The rosary was recited, and tea with bread, butter and jam was served to the members, an important supplement to their diet for many of the boys.
In the fifties, the emphasis was on finding jobs for the members, and on educating those who were going to emigrate in basic life skills. The club adapted and changed as new challenges presented themselves, and it is just as busy today as ever it was, though the needs and problems are different. It would be impossible to quantify what OLBC has done for thousands of young Galwegians down through the years, and indeed what it has done to make Galway a better place to live in.
From the beginning, an annual 'Camp' was organised, a week long holiday for boys who would never otherwise have a holiday The recreational element of the outing is it's principal benefit. Competition and achievement are important, but so also are participation and cooperation. It is the highlight of the club's year, but as always, it costs money, and as always, OLBC are depending on the generosity of the people of Galway to finance the project. So, as the boys set off on the 66th annual camp this weekend, we are appealing to you to support this wonderful cause, and make a donation to Jim Cunningham, President OLBC, Mary Street, Galway, to any member of the Jesuit Community or committee member of OLBC.Please be generous.
Our photograph today dates from the mid sixties and shows a group of the boys with Michael Browne, Bishop of Galway. Included are Ger Tierney, Willy Connell, Paddy Cronin, Sean Flaherty, Noel Riordan, Jimmy Morris, Brian Cassidy, J.Cronin, Joh Cleary, Paddy Brennan, Miceal Conneely , Michael Corbett, Christy Deacy , Tom O'Halloran , Mike McHugh, Paddy Hickey , John O'Connor , J.King , Ger McHugh , Tommy Murphy and Joe Sherlock.
Please forward any queries/comments to firstname.lastname@example.org