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.
The first team to represent Connacht in rugby played against Leinster on December 8th, 1885. At that time, the game in the west was played by just a few schools. In the city, it was really only UCG and the Grammar School who played with any regularity. By the beginning of the last century the Jes, the Bish and St. Marys were competing. The growth of the game was interrupted by World War 1 and by the War of Independence, but it improved a lot after the truce.
Many people will remember “Shoots” as one of the most lovable and delightful characters on the streets of Galway. He was a small man with a big moustache, big glasses and a big personality. His real name was Michael Tuite. He was reared in Artane in Dublin but came to live here at a time when`it was mostly cowboy pictures that were shown in our cinemas Michael was a fan and began to act as if he himself was a cowpoke. Galwegians gradually changed the greeting “Howya Tuite” to “Shoots”, probably with a little help from the man himself.