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Old Galway

REMEMBERING ‘WILLIAMEEN’ MCDONAGH

by Tom Kenny

We have two photographs today of groups from Our Lady’s Boys Club. Firstly, a club rugby team that made history by winning the Connacht Junior League for the first time in 1959 and secondly,  some  Club members taken on the annual camp in Lough Cutra Castle,  c.1956.

The rugby team is, back row; Michael Crean, Tony Maher, Tommy McDonagh, Michael Cunningham, John O’Shaughnessy, Des O’Shaughnessy, Michael O’Shaughnessy, Tom Cunningham and Des Kenny. In front are Aidan McCaffrey, Paddy McDonagh, William McDonagh, Paddy Beatty (captain), Brod King, Eamonn Griffin, Joe Geoghegan and Jim Cunningham.

The Lough Cutra group are, front row; Paddy McDonagh, Jim Cunningham, Fr. Michael McGrath SJ, Michael Darcy, William McDonagh. 2nd row; Michael Burke, Leo Crean, Des Fitzpatrick, Seanie Flaherty, Peter Griffin, Michael Carrick, Patsy Burke. At the back are Tommy Cunningham and Joe Geoghegan.

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JOE YOUNG’S AERATED WATERS

by Tom Kenny

Joseph Young was appointed manager of Messrs. Thomas Tracey’s Mineral Water works and Licensed Premises in Mary Street after the death of Thomas Tracey. He later married the niece of Mrs.Tracey, (Miss Edith O’Connor of Clifden) and Mrs. Tracey signed over the works to Joe Young on the marriage.

Hardiman, in his 1820 history of Galway, wrote about a well that was reputedly 1,000 years old, described as a “Chalybeate spring of the same class as the celebrated Scarborough Waters, outside the East Gate was in great repute here. A spa house has been erected over it by a Mr. Eyre and is much frequented”. Hardiman attributed the numerous instances of longevity in the area to the tonic quality of the water in this well.

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THE CORRIB ROWING AND YACHTING CLUB

by Tom Kenny

This club, originally established in 1864, must be one of the oldest in Galway, if not one of the oldest amateur sporting clubs in the country. Unfortunately, the minutes of the club meetings for 1864 and 1865 cannot be found, but we are fortunate that Maurice Semple had access to the minutes for most other years and published them in a book entitled A Century of Minutes, the Story of the Corrib Club, 1864 – 1966.

The inauguration of the club took the form of ‘a rowing match’ between W. and P. Daly in one boat and a Mr. Hasler and Robert Evans in the other. ‘A respectable assemblage thronged the banks on either side and all present seemed very much interested in the contest’. The clubhouse was already in existence and on that inaugural day, a large number of young gentlemen of Galway gathered there for the occasion. Their first meeting was a success and the committee felt confident that the members would find “The manly sport of rowing to be both pleasurable and profitable”.

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UPPER SALTHILL, A BIRD’S EYE VIEW, c.1945

by Tom Kenny

This aerial photograph was taken c.1945. On the left you can see the Eglinton Hotel which was originally built in the 1860s. Up to that time, Salthill was a small village that included Lenaboy Avenue and the area between what we know as Seapoint and the Bal. The construction of the Eglinton was on a scale not seen before in Salthill, and it extended the village to the west. It came at a time when locals were beginning to promote the village as a resort, a destination for tourists.

The building to the right of the hotel was a pub (said to be the oldest in Salthill) owned by a Mr. Connolly at the turn of the century. In 1903, Martin Donnellan who was working with the Union Pacific in Colorado, told his brother-in-law Mr. Madden that he was coming home and instructed him to buy the pub. In fact, he bought three houses in the terrace as well and when Mr. Donnellan came home, he called the terrace Atlantic Terrace and the pub he named the Atlantic Bar. It is known as Lonergan’s today.

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IN THEIR GREEN & BLACK JERSEYS, WE REMEMBER THEM STILL

by Tom Kenny

Father Tom Burke’s Hurling Club was founded in 1898. It was called after the very famous Galway-born Dominican priest and preacher whose statue can be seen today on Father Griffin Road. Its membership was composed in the main of fishermen from the Claddagh. In their very early days, teams had 21 players.

The club lapsed for a while prior to 1912 when it was revived by John Joe McNamara and Michael John Noone with a little help from Father (later to become Canon) Davis and Fr. Nicholas Fegan. Father Tom’s heralded their revival by winning the County Junior hurling Championship in 1912 and again in 1913. They also won the Galway City Challenge Cup in 1912.

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WILFRID SCAWEN BLUNT IN GALWAY GAOL

by Tom Kenny

Blunt was an aristocratic English writer, a person of remarkable ability who, as “the best looking man in England was credited with having refreshed the blood of several ancient families”. He was always against colonialism and sympathetic to small nations, so it was no surprise that he became an ardent supporter of Home Rule for Ireland. In 1887, he was in Ireland to study the grievances of the people when he heard that evictions had recommenced on the 56,000-acre estate of Lord Clanricarde in Woodford.

John Dillon and William O’Brien, both MPs had already attended a protest meeting in Woodford on October 17th, 1886, with 4,000 other people. They drew up a ‘Plan of Campaign’ to seek ‘a reasonable and fair reduction in rents due’. Clanricarde’s agent was ‘determined to resort to every measure that might be necessary to enforce his claims and would expend whatever funds were necessary for the purpose’. A year later, O’Brien decided to organise another meeting on the estate and invited Blunt to attend. The meeting was proscribed but they held it anyway, at midnight on bitterly cold night. O’Brien publically burned a copy of the Lord Lieutenant’s proclamation with Blunt standing by his side.

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SANTA CLAUS COMES TO GALWAY

by Tom Kenny

St. Nicholas of Myra is the patron saint of archers, sailors, merchants, repentant thieves, brewers, pawnbrokers, unmarried people, students and of children. He is also the patron saint of Galway, and our oldest church, St. Nicholas Collegiate is named after him. He was a legendary giver of gifts, particularly to the poor. He would hand coins in through windows or open doors, and if they were closed, sometimes he would put them down the chimney. This was the origin of the tradition of Santa coming down the chimney bearing gifts. The tradition was good for business for chimney sweeps, it would be difficult to explain soot marks on the floor on Christmas morning.

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JOHN KEADY, A TRIBUTE

by Tom Kenny

Now that we are reaching the end of saturation coverage of the World Cup and watching some of the best soccer players in the world, you might wonder where it all began for some of them, how they got themselves on to the world stage, and how much they owe to the unsung people without whom they would never have succeeded, the referees whose dedication to the game make all of those matches possible.

One such referee in Galway is John Keady from Bohermore who has given a lifetime to the game. As a youth, he played soccer with the Galway Hibernians team who won the under-15 Galway League in 1955. They beat Boys Club 3 – 2 in the final, Pete Reilly scoring all the goals for them. Our first photograph shows that team, they are, front row, left to right; Eddie Conneely, John Keady, Brian Delargy, Bernie Cooley, Ted Fitzpatrick, Michael Keady. Back row; Mick Killeen, Peter O’Connor, Brod King, P.J. Connolly and Mixie Glynn.

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