Galway In Days Gone By

Boy pupils of Mrs. B. Smyth's School of Music, Abbeygate Street, Galway.
Boy pupils of Mrs. B. Smyth's School of Music, Abbeygate Street, Galway.

1918

Air visitant

On Friday a carrier pigeon of a beautiful hue visited the gate lodge of Portumna Workhouse, and partook of crumbs of bread from Michael, the intrepid gatekeeper. A casual, who was present, observed something peculiar on both legs and immediately seized the bird.

Upon examination, it was found he was a pigeon of a strange species. On one leg was an aluminium ring, lettered and numbered, and on the other leg was a ring, also lettered and numbered.

Next morning in the small hours, Michael, at the gate of the Union, was aroused from his slumber by a loud knocking, and was at once confronted by Constable Hayden, R.I.C., who demanded and took possession of the pigeon.

At the time of writing, the visitant is a prisoner of the R.I.C. barracks. Nothing definite has leaked out as to where he was bound; although garlands of strange and romantic stories are already woven round his appearance in the district.

Six months dead

On Sunday evening, the dead body of an unknown man was discovered at a place called Caherlea, near Clonboo. The matter was reported to the police and Sergeant Hanglow, and some constables, proceeded to the place and had the body taken out.

It was in an advanced state of decomposition and appeared to be that of a man of the tramp class. The body was fully dressed and there was nothing in the pockets of the clothes.

When found, it was lying face downwards in the drain, which is about 6-foot wide, and 5 foot deep. An inquest was subsequently held on the remains. Dr. Golding deposed that the man was about six months dead. Death, in his opinion, was due to drowning. A verdict was returned accordingly.

1943

Murder trial opens

The trial opened in the Central Criminal Court, Dublin, on Tuesday, before Mr. Justice Overend and a jury, of Martin Griffin (48) of Bushypark, Galway, who is accused of the murder of his wife Bridget, aged 53, at their home on or about February 28th. Griffin pleaded not guilty.

Virtually all the Gardaí and detectives from Galway City gave their evidence in Irish. This necessitated the employment of an interpreter, with the result that the proceedings were slowed down considerably.

Since his mother-in-law signed over the place to his brother-in-law in 1925, there was ill-feeling between the accused and his wife.

In a statement, he said: “I got the hatchet in the stable. I came back then to the bedroom. My wife was then in bed between asleep and awake. She was inside, up against the wall. I hit her with the hatchet – with the back of it – on the left hand side of her head.

“She said something; I do not know what it was. Then I gave her a blow on the head. She rolled out of the bed. She never spoke to me or said anything. I saw her on the floor bleeding. I did not realise that I had done her in until I saw her bleeding on the floor.

“I put on my pants then and my shoes. I changed my shirt and my undershirt then. I saw there were spatters of blood on the pair I took off. When I changed my clothes I brought out the hatched to the harden and hid it in the manure heap in the laneway.”

Commenting on the accused man’s statement, Counsel said the statement was a clear confession of murder.

The law said that drink was not a defence unless it could be established that the accused at the time of the alleged murder was so drunk that he was incapable of forming the intention to commit the crim.

The accused man in this case might have been suffering from the effects of drink, but that did not justify the murder of his wife.

The hearing was adjourned.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.