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Old Galway

THE UNVEILING OF A PLAQUE TO FR. GRIFFIN

by Tom Kenny

On November 14th, 1920, a young curate, Father Michael Griffin was lured from his house at No. 2,  Montpelier Terrace by the Black and Tans. Whatever ruse they used to get him out of the house, it was not to go on a sick call, as he did not take the holy oils or the Eucharist with him, but went peacefully. He went missing and volunteers and search parties were organised and combed the city and surrounding countryside looking for him. A week later his body was found buried in a bog at Clochsgoilte in Barna. There was an international outcry. He had worked in the parish of Rahoon since June, 1918 and was hugely popular. He spoke in Irish to young and old, organised feiseanna, currach races and donkey races on Silver Strand. He was very republican and was suspected by the Tans of having heard the last confession of the informer Patrick Joyce, which was probably the reason why they abducted him and tried to extract the identity of Joyce's killers from him.

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PERRSE'S GALWAY WHISKEY

by Tom Kenny

The name Persse is synonymous with Galway, the first members of the family having arrived in this country with the Cromwellians and many of them making significant contributions to life here since, the best known being Isabella Augusta Persse who later became Lady Gregory.

The family involvement with the alcohol trade began about the year 1800 when Henry Stratford Persse and Robert Persse established a porter brewery at Newcastle. It was in an ideal location, close to the river, and had a natural continuous supply of water to power the equipment. It was capable of producing 3,000 to 4,000 barrels of porter a month. The brewery was initially successful but sadly eventually went bankrupt. It was purchased by a man named Adams who moved the business to Madeira Island, thus leaving the Newcastle site available for the establishment of a distillery there.

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THE ROCKLAND HOTEL

by Tom Kenny

In 1923 Forster Park, the residence of Gerald Cloherty, clerk of the crown and peace for County Galway, was sold to surgeon Michael O’Malley. In July 1935 The Connacht Tribune reported that the purchase of plots in front of the house recently occupied by Dr O’Malley, and the question of allowing the purchasers to proceed with the building immediately, or to force them to defer until the road along the Promenade had been widened, was the subject of a long discussion at the Urban District Council meeting.

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THE FISHMARKET

by Tom Kenny

The village of the Claddagh was a unique collection of thatched houses arranged in a very random fashion, occupied by a few thousand souls. They had their own customs, spoke mainly in Irish, intermarried each other, had their own code of laws and elected their own king. He was quite powerful in many respects and usually solved local disputes. Claddagh people rarely went outside the village to courts of justice. Virtually the entire male population was involved in fishing, but when they landed their catch, it was the women who took over. They were the members of the family who went out and sold the product.

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MOON’S

by Tom Kenny

This building was designed by a Mr. Farquarson around the year 1812. It has a three storey façade. The bays on the ground floor are articulated by paired fluted ionic pilasters while on the first floor, there are round-headed windows with moulded architraves which are flush with the wall surface and on the second floor segmented – headed windows similarly treated. The exterior has been preserved unchanged since it was built and is one of the most attractive corners in Galway, complemented by the rounded corner of what used to be McNamara’s and the elegant corner of what used to be Dillon’s.

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IN MEMORY OF PA BOYLE

by Tom Kenny

In 1940, Shantalla was just green fields with an occasional farmhouse. A decade later, it was a sprawling housing estate with a large young population. They were slowly developing a sense of community, but sadly, they had no facilities such as parks or pitches to play games on.

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AUGUSTUS JOHN’S CARTOON OF GALWAY

by Tom Kenny

Augustus John was one of the great painters of the last century. He knew and painted many of the most famous people of his time, including prominent figures of the Irish Literary Revival such as Yeats, Seán O’Casey and George Bernard Shaw.

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THE INDUSTRIAL SCHOOL BAND

by Tom Kenny

In 1852, Fr. Peter Daly purchased the estate of Kilcorkey from the Encumbered Estates Court. The owner of an adjoining site subsequently disputed his title to a particular plot and brought proceedings against him. Peter Daly, however, proceeded to construct on the plot in question a building he described as “A Benevolent Home for aged respectable females whose circumstances would render them unable to afford themselves a comfortable home”. An attempt was made to settle the case out of court but it failed and, in court judgement was given for the plaintiff Miss Grattan Esmonde. She was given possession of the house in August, 1863.

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