Living conditions were very bad in the Claddagh during the Famine. Most people there made their living from the sea but they refused to adapt to new and more effective fishing techniques which would have improved their catches, and so their income was affected and poverty ensued. Most of the fishermen there had put their nets in hock just to keep their families alive. Equally, Claddagh people were opposed to education, as their sons would grow up to be fishermen, they felt no need to send them to school.
Galway Rovers Rugby Football club first played competitively in 1899. In 1907, they won the Connacht Junior Cup, which had been presented two years previously to the Union by Professor Alfred Senior. The club disbanded after that, probably during World War 1, but it was revived by a man named John L. Sullivan in 1931.
Hely Dutton, in his survey of County Galway in 1824 wrote “In every considerable town there is a market for fat cattle and sheep once a week. The earliest cattle fairs in Galway were held at Fairhill (hence the name) but in the 19th century, they moved to Eyre Square. It was where the farmer sold his product to other farmers, to butchers and to visiting dealers. It was where town and country met, where the rural people would come to town to sell, then buy whatever necessities they needed before returning home.
In 1851, a sub-post office opened in Salthill where the Bal pub is today. In 1859, Salthill was brought within the town postal area. In those early days, the post was delivered on foot. The first bicycle postal delivery was in 1901. From 1914 to 1926, Michael O’Flaherty of Dominick Street and Mike Ruane of Henry Street had a horse and van which they used to deliver letter and parcel post to the Salthill area.
The original purpose of the structure that is the Salmon Weir Bridge was to connect the New County Courthouse with the County Gaol on Nun’s Island. Urban folklore has it that they built a tunnel under the river at the time in order to transfer prisoners from one building to the other, but why would they construct a crossing over and under the water at the same time. It does not make sense. The building of the seven span bridge started in 1818 and finished in 1819.
Coláiste Éinde was founded very shortly after the State itself was founded. The aim was to educate boys through the medium of Irish so that they would go on to St Patrick’s teacher training college, get secure employment for life, and in turn, teach a new generation of boys through Irish. It started life in Furbo House, an old house belonging to the Blake family. A domestic problem arose within the family who owned the house, so the school’s stay there was brief and they had to leave at Christmas 1930. The college was transferred to Talbot House in Talbot Street, Dublin, the following month.
The area we know today as Devon Park was originally part of the O’Hara Estate which was the land around Lenaboy Castle (now St. Anne’s on Taylors Hill). The main gates to this estate were, and are, next door to the Warwick Hotel. Part of the estate wall ran along the main Salthill Road.
Devon Park as we began when Bertie Simmons broke through part of that wall and built two houses, one on the corner of the main road that became Mitchell’s (where the fish shop is today) and one behind it where the Hartigan family lived. There was a small dirt lane running past these houses and then the Gleasons who were in the construction business moved in and built what was known as ‘The Gleason Estate’ ...the crescent of houses running up the hill to Lenaboy. Then the Corporation built Devon Park, two wings of council houses running parallel to the main Salthill Road. These houses are described today as ‘Old Devon Park’.
The Dominican and Ignatian Dramatic Society (known as the D. & I.) was set up by Fr. Peadar Feeney S.J. in the late 1950’s. Most of the members were past pupils of St. Ignatius College or The Dominican Convent Taylors Hill. They staged a play every year for several years with any profits accruing going to the two school funds.
Fr. Feeney placed a heavier emphasis on elocution rather than on acting. The cast rehearsed in the Santa Maria Hotel and most of the productions were staged in the Rosary Hall and were reasonably successful, plays such as The Barretts of Wimpole Street, Macbeth, Murder in the Cathedral, Rebecca, The Admirable Crichton, A Man for All Seasons etc.