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Old Galway

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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.


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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.


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In the years following the establishment of the Defence Forces, various classes of Army Reserves were experimented with between 1927 and 1939. In May 1927, a Class A Reserve was formed consisting of NCO’s and men transferred to the Reserve. In January, 1928, a Class B Reserve was set up with the object of building up the infantry arm of the Defence Forces. One joined voluntarily, but in doing so, committed to three months initial training and one month’s annual training thereafter. This group had practically ceased to exist by 1934.


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The first church in the Barna area that we know of was a small stone building with a thatched roof on the right of the road down to Silver Strand, just opposite the entrance to Tobar Éanna. You can still see some of the remains there. It was in use until December 1839. On June 4th, 200 adults were confirmed by Bishop Browne there.


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The Galway Board of the Town Commissioners was established in the early 1830’s and one of their first objectives was the provision of gas lighting in the city. In December 1836, they invited a Mr. Lyddle from Glasgow to do a survey of the town and he recommended the establishment of a Galway Gas Company. His advice was taken. Shares were snapped up, an agreement was reached between the company & the Town Commission and the Rev. D’Arcy was appointed company secretary.


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“The only occupation is fishing; they never trouble themselves with tillage; a milch cow and a potatoe garden are rare among them ------, then on shore they are principally employed in attending to, and repairing their boats, sails, rigging, cordage etc .., and in making, drying or repairing their nets and spillets, in which latter employment they are generally assisted by the women who spin hemp and yarn for the nets...


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The Sisters of Mercy came to Galway on May 1st, 1840. They started, in extremely difficult circumstances, in Lombard Street with 3 postulants. The need for uncloistered sisters who would be free to go about the streets and visit the poor in home, hospital and jail was very great at the time. They were out and about the day after their arrival. An epidemic of cholera had broken out and they helped to nurse the ill and alleviate distress. They quickly prospered to become “Reputedly the best institution that ever was in Galway”.


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This photograph was taken looking west from where Seapoint is today. The house in the picture was roughly across the street from the Bon Bon. It was once an RIC barracks and was latterly occupied by Monica Wallace. There was a concrete bench along the wall in front of the house which was known as “The Lazy Wall”, a place where old and countrified people, known as “The Fámairí” , would relax and chat and gossip. They came not for the views but for the conversations. Many arrived after their crops had been harvested. They usually brought their own food in the form of home-cured bacon, fresh eggs, butter, cooked chickens and cakes of bread.”You rented a room and you ate yourself”. They would use the family kitchen of the house in which they were staying and consider themselves part of that family for the duration. There was a small bit of beach below the wall where the patrons could bathe or paddle.


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