Galway In Days Gone By

Farmers demanding the draining of the Dunkellin River mount a protest in 1970.
Farmers demanding the draining of the Dunkellin River mount a protest in 1970.


Council bear garden

Tuam District Council chamber was converted into a bear garden during the progress of the quarterly meeting. There was a large attendance of members, and a few hundred road contractors occupied the benches behind the barrier. The report of Mr. M.J. Kennedy, Co. Surveyor, was read by the Clerk, and after some observations being made in reference to its proposals, Form 29 (the pay sheet) was submitted. They sheet was one of the best presented for a considerable period.

Shortly after the sheet had been read, and during the course of the Chairman’s remarks, a scene of disorder occurred in the gallery. Contractors groaned and hurled nasty epithets at Mr. Kennedy.

The business of the Council was suspended. Fruitless appeals for order and quietness, together with threats not to sign the pay sheet were made by the Chairman and several members. In the din of the confusion, all that could be heard was the violent brawling of the contractors.

It is many years since such disgraceful and uproarious conduct was witnesses. The Clerk, accompanied by members of the Council, approached the contractors to allay their excitement.

The Co. Surveyor moved in the direction of the disturbers, and immediately several members rushed in his direction, and prevailed on him to retire to the Clerk’s office rather than face the probabilities of rough handling.

On all sides, demands were made by members to requisition a force of police, but the request was declined by the Chairman, who was equally powerless with his colleagues in the suspension of the uproar. The Council was eventually forced to abandon the meeting, and proceed with the business of the Board of Guardians.


Black market oats

“They will prosecute people for paying more than the fixed price for barley, but they will not prosecute the shopkeeper who charges ten or fifteen shillings for a pound of team,” said Mr. McKeigue at the meeting of the Galway County Committee of Agriculture, when reference had been made to the Court proceedings in the South of Ireland against offenders against the Cereals order.

The Very Rev. P. Canon Moran, Chairman, remarked that the feeding of cattle was more important than the making of porter, the amount of which could be reduced. He referred to the position in regard to oats and said that there was a black market in oats, yet he had not seen anybody that was prosecuted for paying more than the fixed price for oats.

Mr. Stankard: Last year the Department fixed a price and when the time came, they got so blind and deaf they could not see what the merchants charged.

The Very Rev. Chairman: The ways of the Department are inscrutable.

The Rev. Brother Jarlath Edwards said that the trouble in regard to barley was that it might be required to mix with wheaten flour.

The Very Rev. Chairman: And you must always remember the drop of porter. That is the poison in the whole thing. There was never more porter drunk in Ireland than there was last Christmas.

Dangerous old buildings

Much has been written of Galway’s historical and archaeological interest, of its splendid examples of mediaeval architecture, but while all that has been written on the subject may be justified, there is another side to the picture – old walls and buildings that have no historic or archaeological interest, but which stand a danger to life and limb and to public health.

These old walls and buildings – some overhanging busy streets and dwelling houses and in danger of toppling over in gales – should be pulled down without delay.

Mr. M.J. Allen, solicitor, of the firm Messrs. MacDermot and Allen, solicitors, Galway, told a Connacht Tribune reporter that the Corporation had power to compel owners of old walls and buildings that were a danger to life by collapse or a danger to public health to have them pulled down, or, if it were an economic proposition to do so, to carry out such repairs as would make them safe.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.