Galway In Days Gone By

The Turf Market in Claddagh in 1908. The area pictured is occupied by Galway Fire Station today.
The Turf Market in Claddagh in 1908. The area pictured is occupied by Galway Fire Station today.

1917

Solicitor’s ambush

An extraordinary story of how a solicitor lay in ambush in connection with the house of his client that had been robbed of its marble mantelpieces and all its woodwork was told when Mr. Hildebrand, D.I., prosecuted Mr. James Lyons, Oranmore, for the theft of timber from the unoccupied hill of Mr. G.W.F. Kelly, of Rockhill.

Mr. M.L. Colohan, solr., of Ballinasloe, who was acting for the owner, proved that he went to Rockhill, and while concealed in the yard, he heard footsteps. On looking out, he saw defendant taking away small pieces of timber.

This house, added Mr. Colohan, had been completely robbed of all its woodwork. The timber work, floors, doors etc. had been taken, and fine marble mantelpieces had been smashed into pieces. Sometime previously, the Sinn Féiners had asked Mr. Kelly for permission to hold a dance in one of the barns.

This permission was granted, and the only excuse defendant could put forward for being there was that he went to see the dance house. Lyons was given an excellent character. He had been for 30 years around the place, and nothing had ever been brought up against him before.

He was convicted of the offences, and allowed out under the First Offender’s Act upon entering into his own recognisance of £5 to come for judgment when called upon during the next twelve months.

1942

Serious typhus outbreak

Next Monday’s Spiddal Fair is banned. Schools are closed and meetings of any kind in the area are forbidden, while Dr. C.F. McConn, acting County M.O.H., Dr. P. Geraghty, and a special staff strive strenuously night and day to subdue a typhus outbreak which has assumed alarming dimensions.

The disease, which made its first appearance in the Spiddal area in July, has spread through the district from Salahoona into Furbough and north to Bol Uisge.

Owing to lack of beds in Galway Fever Hospital, the Irish College at Spiddal has been converted into a temporary hospital.

To date there are seven active cases and seventeen convalescent cases.

Dr. McConn told our representative that typhus came from dirt. “Any type of vermin will carry it,” he explained, and added that the state of some of the houses in the Spiddal area was greatly to be deplored.

“The origin of this fever is a few dirty houses, and it is a terrible thing to see others suffering on account of the dirt of the few,” he said.

Dr. McConn said that all buses passing through the infected area were disinfected and vacuum cleaned. No lorries were drawing turd from the particular area at present.

Until such time as the fever was completely under control, no migratory labourers are allowed to leave the area unless they first get a clean bill of health from the medical officer.

Up to the time of going to Press, there were fourteen patients in the temporary hospital at Spiddal.

Dr. McConn said that there were a number of attempts at concealment by people living in the fever area, but he was going through the whole area and testing every individual person in it.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.