Expect fireworks over site of Galway’s Crimean cannons


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Expect fireworks over site of Galway’s Crimean cannons Expect fireworks over site of Galway’s Crimean cannons

Bradley Bytes – a sort of political column with Dara Bradley

When City Hall moves to Mervue next year, what will become of Galway’s two Crimean War cannons?

They used to take pride of place in Eyre Square. But in 2005, during the controversial revamp of the city’s pride and joy, they were moved to the lawn at the municipal building on College Road.

After over 150 years in the city, the local authority might opt to bring them to the council’s new, multi-million euro headquarters in Crown Square.

But that would be a mistake. And now is the time that Galway City Council should find a proper prominent position for these impressive artefacts.

The two Russian cannons were presented to the Connaught Rangers, an Irish regiment of the British Army, in 1857, at the end of the Crimean War.

When they were in the old Eyre Square, they were seen by thousands of people daily. Tourists loved them. And while the social media app wasn’t around then, they have ‘Instagramability’, as the mandarins in City Hall might say.

Over 20 years ago, the then city councillors bickered about the proposed revamp of Kennedy Square. Among the gripes was the removal of the statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire (a replica, popular with seagulls and visitors, has since returned to Eyre Square) and the Crimean cannons.

The Browne Doorway and statue of Liam Mellows were to go too, in the interest of progress and modernity.

At that time, Council officials said the cannons would go to the proposed new civic museum at Spanish Arch. They didn’t.

Now that they plan to knock City Hall at College Road, as part of a €55m relocation project, presumably the cannons will be on the move again, too.

The Spanish Arch, facing the water, would seem an obvious choice to put them. Or, how about just returning them to where they belong – Eyre Square?

Wherever they go, it’s time the elected members on behalf of the people, made their voices heard on this issue.

(Photo: Young spectators get a good view of the start of the STP Galway International Motor Rally at Eyre Square while sitting on one of the two Crimean war cannon guns on February 10 1973. The cannons were removed from Eyre Square when it was refurbished and placed on the front lawn at Galway City Hall in College Road. Seated on the cannon are Frank Hanley, Bernard Gaffney, John McGrath and John Lohan).

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