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Galway in Days Gone By

A peep at life through an old set of drawers

Francis Farragher

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

A bit like moving house, an impending change in workplace location seems to bring its own pressures, mostly emotional.  I never realised that poring through old files, pictures, letters, CDs and books could transport the mind and spirit into a place that only seems to have been a day away . . . and yet in cases it’s been 30 years ago.

Most of us probably harbour some degree of a hoarding instinct. Little did I realise that I had stored up documentation about a new tractor model, the layers of the atmosphere, a trip to Italia ’90 or a printed weather forecast from a week in May, 2004.

Here and there on random TV viewing treks, I’ve come across programmes about ‘professional hoarders’ – the people who just cannot rid of anything in their houses.

The result of the fanatical hoarders tends to be pretty catastrophic with barely enough route space to access the rooms in the house. Junk takes up space – an awful lot of space.

And yet, I don’t how many times maybe around the garden shed or the farmyard when I’ve made a decision that a plant, piece of iron or rusty tool is of no use any more, only to curse aloud a few days later when the discarded item is just what I needed to plug some gap or hole.

I’ll invent a word for the practice – ‘hoardaphilia’ – and it’s not the easiest of conditions to shake off, even if strongly armed with a determined initial resolve to end up with a clean sheet in terms of both materials and emotion.

Going through old stuff for the purpose of discarding is in a way a bit like looking back on your life with all its little ups-and-downs . . . the parties, the retirements, the work colleagues we knew for years who are no longer with us.

It works in much the same way as a song or piece of music from the past that transports your mind back into a time and place now long gone from your life.

Years back, I had an old uncle blessed with a photographic memory but as the years rolled by and he slipped into his 80s, we would find it hilarious how he sometimes would miss out completely on a generation. Instead of the son or daughter, he’d actually be meaning the grandfather or grandmother. Over the past week, I kind of tuned into what was happening with him.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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During an ESB power strike in April 1972, petrol pumps had to be operated with a winder, but Declan Forde of Prospect Hill, Gawlay City, found a more novel way of doing it - using a bicycle. The back tyreless wheel of the bicycle was connected to the pump by a belt, with the pedals rotating as petrol was pumped. Declan commented at the time: "This unique method brought us more customers, because by using the bike we pumped the petrol three times faster than the ordinary ESB current." Also in the photograph are Pat Kenehan (right) watching Joe Flaherty operate the pump.

1921

Bad buying policy

It is interesting and useful to speculate how far the conditions that prevailed at Galway great annual fair on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week were due to its postponement on the one hand, and to the circumstances of our time on the other.

No doubt, the enforced adjournment and the uncertainty as to when the fair would be held combined to reduce the attendance.

It is possible that stock which, in the ordinary course, would have been taken to the fair had it been held at the appointed time, were disposed of by other means. Against this we have the fact that the fixture in point of attendance and sales was smaller than a normal monthly fair.

The truth is that cumulative causes contributed to its partial failure. Of these the postponement was only incidental. Only 159 wagon loads of stock left Galway during the two days against 259 at the annual fair last year and 360 the previous year.

Whilst the Midland Great Western Railway Company did all that could have been expected in the circumstances to assist in making the fair a success, the Great Southern did practically nothing at all. Six wagons were placed at the disposal of purchasers by the latter company on the Limerick-Sligo branch.

This is illustrated by the fact that most of those who attended Galway fair arrived on the evening before; few ventured to make the journey on the actual morning of the fair. Again, buyers report that owing to the difficulties of transport, and the recent unnecessary foot and mouth scare, they cannot tranship cattle to anything like the same extent as formerly, and owning to the prolonged drought, there is a shortage of grass for grazing in the rich midland counties where extensive buyers keep their stock from one fair to the other.

Apart from these causes, another much more interesting explanation is given. It is suggested is that the country farmer has not yet realised that there is a considerable drop in prices, and has not adapted himself to the new conditions.

This fall, it is clamed, is likely to be retrogressive under present conditions. The cost of living is falling, and must fall still further in order to restore “the economic balance”. Yet farmers prefer to hold back their stock in expectation, apparently, that something like old prices will be restored, rather than part with them. This, a cattle-buying expert informs us, is bad policy.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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High fashion at the Athenry Show on September 2, 1972.

1921

Careless farmers

The unfavourable spring and summer of 19230 were not altogether accountable for the partial failure of last season’s potato crop. Planting was deferred until three or four weeks after the usual time, and the spraying of the crop was very carelessly carried out.

Not more than half the usual quantities of spraying materials were sold last year in County Galway. The wagon loads of potatoes which County Galway consumers were obliged to get from other parts of Ireland to go to prove the care and attention taken from growers in other counties.

To meet the increased cost of labour and manures farmers must grow heavier crops, and avoid risks as far as possible. To do so, spraying must be carried out efficiently.

County Galway, with 24,000 Irish acres of potatoes, is the second county in Ireland in respect of area. The total yield in 1920 was about 100,000 tons below that of an average year, which was a serious loss to the farmers and a hardship on the townspeople.

We hope that the lesson of 1920 will not be forgotten, and that farmers will this year spray in time and thoroughly.

One of the farmer’s chief difficulties is keeping of his crops free from weeds. Unfortunately in this important matter some of our farmers are rather careless. They do not realises – probably through lack of education in the matter – that where a crop is allowed to get weedy, the material resources of the land are being doubly taxed, and the crop which it is intended to grow cannot be a viable, much less a financial success.

The farmer has no power over some of the circumstances which determine the success or failure of a crop, and it is, therefore, a short-sighted policy for him not to use every means in his power to check weeds over which he has complete control.

Our attention has been directed to this matter by the number of cornfields in some districts, which are covered with the weed well-known to farmers as “Baráiste”.

We cannot estimate the extent of the damage caused year after year to our corn crops, but it must be very considerable. The yield of gran is greatly reduced, and the quality seriously impaired.

Modern science has given us a simple, effective, remedy involving little labour. This remedy has been used successfully for some years past by the best of our farmers, but we deeply regret the lack of enthusiasm displayed by many of our tillers in connection with the destruction of this objectionable weed.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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Galway Sheep Breeders 49th Annual Show at Athenry Mart on September 21, 1972.

1921

Village halls

Young men and women of the present day expect and obtain more time for recreation than their parents. The monotony of young lives in the country districts leads to a desire to leave comfortable homes for the towns, or to emigrate.

In this work of reconstruction, which we hope will not long be delayed every means by which the young people can be induced to remain on the land must be considered.

Village halls can be made to play an important part in this respect by providing facilities for recreation and enabling those with progressive tendencies to continue with their reading and education after leaving the national schools.

To encourage a taste for reading and the acquirement of useful knowledge, every hall should be provided with a small library containing a selection of suitable books. The erection and equipment of such halls should not be left to voluntary effort, but should be looked upon as a national duty for which public money ought to be provided, and for which the country would be repaid in an enlightened, industrious and efficient rural population.

Custom House attacked

A large force of armed men raided the Custom House, Dublin, at one point on Wednesday, held up the staff and set fire to the building, which was completely destroyed. Yesterday morning the flames could be seen issuing from the surrounds.

The many Government departments in the building included the offices of the Local Government Board, Customs and Excise, Inland Revenue, the Old Age Pensions, and their valuable documents have been reduced to ashes.

From the housetops and the streets of Dublin on Wednesday afternoon, thousands witnessed the aftermath of one of the most serious assaults made by the I.R.A. upon the institutions of the Crown – the burning of the famous Custom House.

Following the burning, nearly a score were killed or wounded in a battle between the I.R.A. and R.I.C. Auxiliaries of the F and Q Companies.

The building was so badly devastated that to-day only the walls and a portion of the Local Government Board Office are still standing.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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