“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.
Barna had a hurling team in 1964 and handball was very popular in the area but anyone wanting to play football would have togged out for An Spidéal. Local games were played in Sean Lydon’s field along the shorefront halfway between the Church and Barna school. Kevin Curran and Nicholas O’Fegan were the founders of Barna GAA Club in 1965 and they managed to field minor and junior teams that year. Their junior team had the honour of playing the Club’s first competitive match on May 30th, 1965 against a Bohermore selection known as John F. Kennedy’s. Kennedy’s won by a point.
As we come to the end of the Walter Macken centenary, we thought it appropriate to reprint the only known piece of poetry that he wrote. It was first printed in 1963 in ‘Criterion’, a UCG magazine that was edited by Kevin Brophy at the time. It is homage, ómós if you like, to an old fisherman and reflects Macken’s love of fishing, of the Corrib and of his understanding of people. The photograph of himself and his wife Peggy was taken in the garden of their home ‘Gort na Gainiv’ near Oughterard c.1960.
George Nicholls was a young solicitor who worked in G.C. Conroy’s office in Francis Street. In 1912, he set up a pipe band known as “Cumann Píobairí na Gaillimhe”, the only band with an Irish language name to play at O’Donovan Roass’s funeral to which they travelled in the company of Padraic Pearse. Our photograph was taken that year. Nicholls was the nerve centre for the IRB in Galway. He later became the town coroner.