James Hardiman, in his history of Galway, lists seven holy wells in Galway, St. Bride’s in the eastern suburbs; St. Anne’s towards the west of the town near the strand (on Whitestrand Avenue); another further along the shore (St. Enda’s Barna ?); St Bridget’s at the bottom of Red Earl’s Lane on Flood Street; St. John the Baptist’s on Lough Athalia; one dedicated to the Blessed Virgin on Lough Athalia and one dedicated to St. Augustine on Lough Athalia. The last three were all above the high water mark, and on his 1818 map, Logan attributes all three to St. Augustine. O’Donovan’s Ordnance Survey Letters refers to a stone with a cross cut out on each of these three wells.
“Our Lady’s Boys Club has taught me three things. First it has taught me a better knowledge of my Religion and its principles; secondly it has taught me to seek to improve myself and thirdly it has taught me that real happiness is to be found in helping others rather than in seeking self”. These words, spoken in 1960 by a young man who had grown up in the Club and was by then a member of its committee, summed up beautifully the work the Club has tried to accomplish since its foundation in 1941.
In 1232 AD, the Anglo-Norman De Burgos came to Galway where they ruled for a period of time. They built a castle and defensive fortifications including the old city walls and a medieval hall, the Great Hall of the Red Earl, Richard De Burgo. The street we now know as Flood St. was originally named Earl Street or Sráid Tobar an Iarlaigh and the lane beside it was known as Red Earl’s Lane or Boaher an Iarlaigh.
Hubert Reynolds was born in St. Patrick’s Avenue in 1902 and shortly afterwards, his family moved to Queen Street. He followed a family tradition when entering the service of the Railway Company as a 15 year old in 1917. He was a boy porter and earned ten shillings for a sixty hour week. From his boyhood, he took an active part in the National Movement and joined Fianna Éireann. During the War of Independence, he was engaged on communications work.
In the second half of the 19th century, the overcrowded condition of the graveyards of Galway was an issue which faced the Town Commissioners. At a meeting in mid-April 1873, one person mentioned that in the previous 30 years, almost two and a half thousand burials had taken place in the little cemetery in the Claddagh, largely as a result of the Famine and its aftermath.
On the night of the 18th of August, 1882, 5 members of one family, John Joyce, his wife Brighid, his mother Mairéad, his daughter Peigí, and his son Micheál, were murdered in Maamtrasna on theGalway/Mayo border. The motive for this multiple murder is unclear, but John was suspected of sheep stealing, his mother of being an informer and his daughter of cavorting with the RIC who would have been the natural enemy of the locals. Two members of the family survived the horrific attack; a nine year old boy Patsy who was badly injured, and his older brother Máirtín who was working for a family in a neighbouring farm on the night.
There is a very interesting map of “St Stephen’s Island” in Mary Naughten’s excellent little history of the Parish of St. Francis in Woodquay. It is dated 1785 and shows the beginnings of what would be now known as Newtownsmith. It consisted mostly of small houses, yards malt houses and a burial ground. This ‘new town’ was largely built by the Governors of the Erasmus Smith estate. In this suburb, a county court house was erected between 1812 and 1815, and a town courthouse during 1824. In 1823 it was objected that there were several suitable sites for a new courthouse ‘immediately in the town’ and that it was ’quite idle’ to lay foundations in Newtownsmith, or in any part of the suburb.