Galway In Days Gone By

westerly side of Seapoint Ballroom and the sea wall.
westerly side of Seapoint Ballroom and the sea wall.

1916

A degrading practice

It has been brought very forcibly under our notice during the week that the excursionists from Dublin on Sunday left with anything but good impressions of the Claddagh.

The famous fishing village was bedecked to welcome the visitors; but as they passed through, they were accosted by swarms of little children who begged for pennies.

As our informent listened to the monotonous “Gie’s a penny,” the blood mounted to his cheeks.

“I actually witnessed the degrading spectacle of children begging from factory hands poorer than themselves – accosting little girls earning not more than a few shillings a week. And yet the parents allow, and even, I am forced to confess, connive at this, although there was never so much money coming into houses of this class.”

Much more was said which had better not be repeated in print. For the honour of Galway and the Claddagh, this degrading survival of darker days should be ended once and for all.

There is, of course, a law against mendicancy. That law can, and ought to be enforced, and the responsibility brought home to the parents who lend themselves to a practice that saps and undermines every vestige of self-respect and that turns out a thriftless citizen dependent upon others.

But there is a moral law which is higher still, the law that would scorn to brand with the stigma of beggary the springtime of the little lives committed to its care, that would sacrifice a right hand before it would consent to the perpetration of what can go by no other name that that ugly-sounding one, “imposture”.

We trust it may never again be necessary that this unpleasant, and, happily circumscribed, phase of local life may be introduced into our columns.

We trust it may never again be necessary to say to Galway fathers and mothers, however poor or humble they may be, “O, shame! Where is thy blush?”

1941

New meat factory

Ballinasloe’s new meat factory was officially opened on Monday, when up to one hundred lambs and sheep were slaughtered on the premises. Later the dressed carcases were despatched to other centres for distributions.

The factory is in part of the old workhouse premises, where the most modern equipment, costing several hundred pounds, has been installed. When, a few weeks hence, more machinery is installed the factory will be one of the most modern as well as one of the largest in the country.

It will be capable of dealing with several hundred carcases per week, and should prove a boon to local farmers who have suitable sheep and lambs for disposal in a ready local market.

Don’t deserve plots

Ballinasloe Council’s solicitor has received instructions to proceed against allotment holders who failed to return spades, shovels or other implements lent by the Council.

In a communication from the Department of Agriculture, an inspector who visited the allotments in Ballinasloe said there were several plots overgrown with weeds. No attempt was made to clean up the plots, and action should be taken against defaulters.

Lighting difficulties

While ‘Summer Time’ continues the country people will not fare so badly, but from now onwards every ensuing month will deprive us of approximately two hours of daylight, and the glow of the kitchen hearth will be a very inadequate substitute for candles and lamps.

The Government seems to have overlooked the fact that farmers require artificial light for other than domestic purposes. We have heard of cases of sick animals which had to be tended throughout the night in complete darkness save for such feeble occasional illumination as could be provided by striking matches, or lighting small wood fires.

This is bad enough just now, when there are only a few hours of complete darkness, but what will the farmers do when the sun sets at 4.15 and does not rise again until 8.40?

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.