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Old Galway

The Galway Hurling Club, 1884-1934

Old Galway 2016-08-18

An intriguing report appeared in the Galway Express of March 21st, 1903 which stated, “At Prospect Hill on St. Patrick’s Day, two hurling matches were played between the Gaelic League v Queen’s College, and Castlegar v Bohermore. The National Independence Band, The Forster Street Fife and Drum Band and the Industrial School Band, with several thousand people, attended. In the match between the Gaelic League and Queen’s College, the League won by 3 – 3 to 2 – 0. Castlegar beat Bohermore”.

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The Evils of Mixed Bathing

Tom Kenny Scans cropped 04082016

In 1925, there was a major debate in the Urban Council about a Garda report that they two men from County Offaly who had been swimming in the sea in Salthill without any bathing costumes had been apprehended, and how should the Gardaí deal with them. The debate was about the evils or otherwise of mixed bathing in Salthill.

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The Turf Market at The Claddagh

Old Galway 04 08 16

This photograph of the turf market at the Claddagh, near Wolfe Tone Bridge, was taken by the journalist Lillian Bland in 1908. This market used to take place regularly as farmers, mostly from the Barna/ Furbo area, sometimes even Spiddal , would bring their cartloads of beautifully stacked turf to town. They were hoping to barter or sell their produce and then do their shopping in town. They often carried loads of hay, sometimes loose, sometimes tied, and large cans of milk, also for sale. There was a weighbridge on the other side of the cottages in our photograph which was often used in these transactions.

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A brief history of Galway Trams and Buses

Old Galway 28 07 16

An entrepreneur named Mr. Berry was probably one of the first people to organise buses in Galway. He had over a dozen horse drawn vehicles that plied regularly between Eyre Square and the Eglinton Hotel. The fare was one penny. Each vehicle was marked to carry a certain number of people and the police were vigilant to see that there was no overloading. In 1868, he bought a new bus that was allowed to carry inside and outside passengers. This could travel on longer excursions, to Barna and Oughterard etc, but an accident on Knockbane Hill seriously affected his business.

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Long Walk, After the Rain, 1908


The Spanish Arch was originally an extension of the city walls from Martin’s Tower to the banks of the river. It was built in 1584 as a measure to protect the city’s quays. It was known as Ceann an Bhalla or ‘The Head of the Wall’. In the 18th century, Long Walk was built by the Eyre Family as an extension to the quays, and a breakwater to construct a mud berth. A number of arches were constructed to allow access from the town to the new quay but some of these were wrecked by a tsunami which occurred after the 1755 earthquake in Lisbon.

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Geraldine Plunkett and Tom Dillon, 1940


Geraldine was a daughter of Count George Noble Plunkett and a sister of Joseph Mary Plunkett. She became Joe’s aide-de-camp and knew all the 1916 leaders. She and Joe lived in Larkfield cottage in Kimmage where they stored guns & ammunition, and a lot of drilling etc occurred. Joe brought in Michael Collins to help her with the family accounts.

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Macnas, 30 Years of Mayhem and Magic

Old Galway 2016-06-16

MACNAS , noun, the frolic-like behaviour of a young calf let out to grass for the first time after being kept inside all winter; joyful abandonment; dalliance; wantonness.

It is hard to believe that Macnas is 30 years old, it seems to be one of those organisations that stay forever young. It was set up by Ollie Jennings, Páraic Breathnach, Tom Conroy and Pete Sammon. They had been greatly influenced by a number of groups who had come to the Galway Arts Festival, Footsbarn, 7.84, Els Commediants etc. They decided to form a company to create spectacles that would be a kind of amalgam of all these groups but with a unique ‘Galway Accent’.

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Dangan House,1965

Dangan House

Dangan House, “beautifully situated on the banks of the fine river Corrib” directly opposite Menlo Castle, was built in 1684 as the seat of the Martin family. ‘Humanity Dick’ Martin was brought up there. John Redington purchased Dangan Demesne from Anthony Martin about 1830 and became the proprietor of the townland. It was, for a short time afterwards, converted into an Ursuline Convent. The nuns were there from 1839 to 1844. Dangan House was left to the Board of Guardians of the Galway Union for an auxiliary workhouse until 1854. The only trace of the original Martin building today is the tea-house folly which is on the banks of the river. A nearby property known as Dangan Cottage was leased by a number of American artists in the 1870’s but was described as a ruin in the 1890’s.

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