Galway In Days Gone By

Charles Haughey, Minister for Finance, lays a wreath at the statue of Liam Mellowes in Eyre Square in Galway in Easter 1969, watched by an attendance including members of the Old IRA who served with Liam Mellowes during the 1916 Rising.
Charles Haughey, Minister for Finance, lays a wreath at the statue of Liam Mellowes in Eyre Square in Galway in Easter 1969, watched by an attendance including members of the Old IRA who served with Liam Mellowes during the 1916 Rising.

1918

Prominent Sinn Féiner arrested

On Thursday morning, Mr. Lawrence Lardner, Athenry, was arrested and conveyed to Galway, and charged before Mr. J. Kilbride, R.M., with illegal drilling at Athenry on March 16 and 17.

Head-Constable Sweeney, Athenry, verified an information in which he stated that at 8.50p.m. on March 16, he was on duty at Athenry railway station, accompanied by Constable Burke, and he saw some eighty Volunteers lined up in two ranks on the platform. Lawrence Lardner, who was in charge of them, gave the command “left turn”, “quick march”.

Witness went up to him and asked him was he drilling the party. Accused replied “I am”. Witness told him he was acting illegally. Accused said “I do not think it is illegal” and marched them into the main road when he gave the command “halt”, “form fours”, “quick march”.

He then brought them to Murphy’s Hotel, where they were halted, and addressed by Frank Fahy, who came from Dublin by train. After the address, accused gave the command “Battalion”, “right turn”, dismiss”.

On St. Patrick’s Day, witness saw accused wearing a Volunteer uniform and in charge of the Volunteer contingents who attended the Sinn Féin demonstration at Athenry. After the meeting, he marched some of the contingents to Murphy’s Hotel, where he gave the command “halt”, “left turn”, “dress up”. He afterwards took out a whistle on which he sounded a long call as a signal for the contingents to be dismissed by their commandants.

Accused declined to cross-examine, and, on refusing to give bail, was remanded in custody for eight days.

1943

Air raid exercised

High officers from Civil Defence Headquarters in Dublin were keenly interested spectators of A.R.P. work in connection with air raid exercises which took place in Galway and Salthill last Sunday. The object of their visit was to ascertain at first hand the state of preparedness here, and we understand that at a meeting of the coordination committee, they expressed considerable satisfaction at what they had seen. The siren car set out on its warning rounds at 2.15pm, and promptly at 3pm, a high explosive bomb dropped on the East side of Eyre Square, wrecking that popular hostelry, Bailey’s Hotel, and adjoining houses and rendering twenty people homeless.

There were a number of casualties and some unfortunate people were trapped in the debris, their rescue being made more difficult by an outbreak of fire in the ruins. A huge bomb crater was created in the street and live electric cables which had been flung down, increased the danger for all concerned.

Of course, the onlookers saw nothing of all this. To their uninformed eyes, the East side of the Square was just the same after the bomb fell as it was before that incident. Instead of being trapped in the debris, the occupants of the adjacent houses were standing at their windows, viewing the operations. Only a great circle chalked in the roadway marked the “crater”.

But when the defence organisations hastened to the scene, it was very different. The L.S.F. took charge of the street and cordoned off the danger zone; rescue and demolition squads dashed up in their lorry, and the firefighters also made a swift appearance, while the first-aid workers attended to the casualties and placed the hospital cases in ambulances. There were two other “incidents” at the Fish Market and in the vicinity of Salthill Post Office.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.