This remarkable photograph was taken in 1920/21. It shows a group of republican prisoners who are being held in the Town Hall. They are surrounded by barbed wire and are being carefully watched by a soldier whom you can see standing beside the tin hut. He is wearing a ‘Brodie’ helmet which was a steel combat helmet invented by Englishman John Brodie during the First World War. There were probably more soldiers on duty inside the hut watching the detainees, the photographer and anyone else who might have been was passing. A notice on one of the windows reads “No one is allowed within ten yards of this building”.
Elections in the nineteenth century were a great deal more lively, entertaining and violent than those of the present day.
In 1826, Humanity Dick Martin ran in an election against James Lambert. Martin was anxious to win because as a Member of Parliament, he could not be pursued by his numerous creditors. There was a lot of violence between rival factions, major riots, houses burned, many injured and at least one man being killed. Martin won by a landslide, but a Parliamentary enquiry found fraud on a massive scale, and also that the local authorities did nothing to quell the rioting, so Lambert was declared elected.
Seamus Carter was a fluent Irish speaker who was a member of the Gaelic League since its inception. He was the secretary of the Oireachtas when it was held in Galway in 1913, the famous photograph of which hangs in the Town Hall.
He was a noted athlete in his young days, a prominent member of the Galway City Harriers. He was an avid reader and was regarded as a brilliant conversationalist whose stories were often laced with humour. He started work as a teacher in Galway, but then joined the County Council where he worked in the Courthouse for over 30 years, ending up in charge of the expenditure branch. He lived in Shantalla, with his wife, four sons and a daughter.
“The accession of His Majesty King George V was proclaimed in Galway at 2 o’clock on Saturday (21st of May, 1910). The ceremony was performed by the High Sherriff, Mr. Cecil R. Henry, and took place opposite the Courthouse. On the steps of the building there was a fashionable gathering. Outside the hollow square formed by soldiers and police, the crowd was one of immense proportions. About one hundred men of the Connaught Rangers, with their band and the King’s colour, under Major Sarsfield, were formed up in line opposite the Courthouse, and an equal number of the Royal Irish Constabulary, drawn from Galway and outside stations, filled up the remaining sides of the square. They were in charge of Co. Inspector Flower, Districts-Inspectors Mercer and O’Rorke.
“With its old houses --- straw for their roofs and rock and mortar for their walls, and every little end of a wall whitewashed a hundred times in blue or white or thin pink --- the Claddagh was lovely, and from a distance it did the eye good. It was quaint, of course, but also a home-like little village ; it had sand for its walks and a turfy marlish stuff for its floors, and always curls of smoke from its square low chimneys.
During the War of Independence, the Volunteers, for organisational purposes, divided the country into divisions. Connacht and County Clare were split into 4 such sections. In each of these, the members were divided into Brigades, Battalions, Companies and Flying Columns. The First Galway Brigade was divided into three Battalions, Castlegar, Claregalway and Headford.
The above is the title of a newly published folding map by the Royal Irish Academy. It has been compiled by Jacinta Prunty and Paul Walsh using the extensive topographical information which they collected while working on a forthcoming book entitled ‘Galway’ in the Historic Towns Atlas series.
John O’Dowd was a Galway born printer who went to work in Kilkenny and became involved with the formation of a junior soccer league in the area. In 1931, his widowed sister, Mrs. Brigid Mulryan from Woodquay died and left four children. John gave up his Kilkenny job and returned to Galway to mind the kids. He worked for a while in the Connacht Tribune and later in the Galway Printing Company.