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by Tom Kenny

Our photograph of William Street shows the horse-drawn open-topped summer tram heading towards the terminus on Eyre Square.

The building on the left was advertised as follows; “If you want to save money go to the great London and Newcastle Tea Shop, the best and cheapest house in town for teas, sugars, groceries and provisions. And with a present or discount to the value of sixpence given with each pound makes it the best value in the country”.

Next door was the Galway Restaurant, open from 8am, Breakfasts, luncheons, dinners and teas served at the shortest notice. Cheapest and best value in Galway. The building beside that on the corner was Sweeney’s Drapery Shop.

The building on the next corner, seen to the left of the tram, was known as Edinburgh Buildings. It functioned as a hotel and the ground floor was occupied by John Gallagher, a victualler. He was appointed by the Galway Fishery in 1899 as their agent as they would no longer be retailing fish at the Salmon Weir. Mr. Gallagher wished to announce to the Nobility, Gentry and Public-at-large that salmon will be supplied every day at his establishment direct from the Fishery whether whole or as cuts to suit the customer. He also stocked a large quantity of Cork Ferkin butter as well as Matterson’s hams and bacon.

The building opposite the tram on the right (with the gaslight on the façade) was a chemist shop owned by A.P. Wallace; “Doctor’s prescriptions accurately compounded with the best drugs; large assortment of patent medicines; depot for the most up to date medical, surgical and toilet requisites; photography a speciality, full stock of cameras, plates etc. developing and printing done on the shortest notice”. Next door was Ward’s hardware shop where they sold leather, stationery, and had a fancy goods warehouse. Beside that was Joseph O’Sullivan, Victualler; “Supplies at all times the best descriptions of beef and mutton with lamb and veal in their proper season, Fowls kept suitable to the season”.

Next door were two premises owned by J.J. O’Flynn, his select family grocery and wine and spirit business which was known as the Shamrock Bar and a fancy goods shop that specialised in pipes and tobacco.  The next building was Thomas J. Cahill’s general drapery and fancy goods warehouse. You can see some of the stock on display in front of the shop. Finally, on the far right was M. Shea’s grocery and butcher shop.

It is interesting how often the word ‘best’ appears in terms of quality and value in the adverts of these William Street businesses. This photograph was taken on April 1st, 1904.