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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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A fire at Forthill Street off Merchants Road in Galway in 1967.

1915

Shocking crime denounced

These are the salient sentences from the Public Letter which the Most Rev. Dr. O’Dea, Lord Bishop of Galway, sent to the Rev. Father Walsh, Parish priest of Ballindereen, in condemnation of the agrarian crime by which John Kelly, aged 79, lost his life at midnight on February 25. The Letter was ready by Father Walsh at both Masses in Ballinderreen on Sunday.

“Any of your people who know the perpetrators of this horrible murder should at once hand their names to the police and give evidence against them in open Court.

“I repeat that I hold your parish responsible till they show that they are Christians, by protesting publicly the horror that their feel at such an outrage perpetrated in their midst.

“Till then, the parish of Ballinderreen will be a by-word and a disgrace; and if nothing else can bring them to a Christian sense, I hope the good people of neighbouring parishes will take them in hands by making them feel that they are the lepers and the outlaws of these dioceses. These, I feel, are strong works, but they are deliberately chosen as true and just.

“I thank God that I have only one parish of Ballinderreen. This parish alone has already made me answerable before God for two brutal murders in the few years since I have become Bishop of these dioceses.

“I say, according to the words of Christ in a like case, the people of Ballinderreen are worse off than these pagan blacks of darkest Africa, and it will go harder with them on the day of judgement.

“If anyone asks, ‘Why does the Bishop blacken the whole parish for the crimes of a few?’, I answer, ‘What have your people done to show their horror of those crimes?’.

“I need scarcely add that this letter is not meant in the smallest degree as a reflection upon you, the parish priest, for I know you have done all in your power to civilise and Christianise your people. Rather, I pity you from my heart, and sympathise with you; because I feel that if all my people were like yours, I should regard it as a disgrace to their Bishop.”

1940

Daring poteen raid

One of the most daring raids ever carried out by Gardai in Connemara led to the discovery at dawn on Friday of a poteen-still working at full pressure in a house, on: the island of lnisheire, Lettermullen.

A ten-gallon keg had already been filled with “the fire water”, and the still had been put to “run” on a second keg when the Gardai arrived.

The Gardai dismantled the still, destroyed a large fifty-gallon vat containing two tons of wash and a large quantity of malt, and captured a still, a still-arm and a twenty-one foot copper worm.

The total cost of this seizure which is the biggest made within thirteen years is estimated at £75 and is believed to be the first ever made in a private house. The raid was carried out by Sergeant Patrick Rafferty and Guards E. McSweeney, B. McSweeney and M. McMahon, of Lettermore.

Proceeding at first to Creapach Island some distance from the mainland, the raiding party rowed across the bay and landed at the back of the island of lnisheire unseen. Hearing shouts coming from the direction of a lighted house, Guards E. McSweeney and M. McMahon carried out reconnaissances before proceeding inland. Creeping cautiously across the uneven ground, the guards arrived at the house unknown to the revellers inside.

Making a dash into the house, they found some men and women carousing inside, but seeing nothing to arouse their suspicion, they went into the kitchen where they found a poteen-still on the kitchen fire working at full pressure.

Two men lay fast asleep on a bed nearby while a fifteen-year-old boy tended the still. One keg was found to contain ten gallons of poteen made from barley and oats and the still had been put to “run” on a second keg.

The Gardai then returned to their station with their haul, having covered a total of thirty miles in carrying out the biggest raid with the smallest number of men that Connemara has known – a severe blow to the illicit traffickers.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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At the official opening of the new tile factory in Portumna on January 13, 1967.

1921

Tenants’ desperation

That the land question is far from settled in certain areas is obvious to those who have been reading the series of articles contributed to these columns by a correspondent in South Galway. The slowness of the Congested Districts Board has been proverbial.

Our correspondent suggests that failure to effect local settlements within a reasonable time, coupled with the inefficiency he charges, have brought about a condition of discontent which may result in a violent explosion at any moment.

No one could contemplate with equanimity such an outburst, for it might have an effect far beyond that intended and might endanger national peace at a period when its preservation is of supreme moment to the Irish people.

But it would seem indisputable that the Congested Districts Board is taking risks that no public body is entitled to take; and the completion of the division of the estates involved should be pushed forward in the public interest without further unnecessary delay.

The tenants on the Ardilaun estate at Cong have already taken the matter into their own hands. At a meeting attended by congests, some of whom walked fifteen miles to be present, it was declared that all confidence had been lost in the Congested Districts Board “which has long since practically ceased to function on this estate” and the tenants requested Dáil Éireann to take over the administration.

The facts in regard to the Ardilaun property are sufficiently remarkable to afford in themselves a damnatory criticism of the Board’s methods. It contains seven hundred householders, whose average valuation is from 15s. to £3. Congestion and poverty is abound; there is little untenanted land to relieve either.

Migration of bodies of tenants is the only real and permanent remedy. But nine years after the late Lord Ardilaun expressed his desire to sell, the Congested Districts Board has not, it would appear, put forward any real effort to relieve a distressing situation.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Prizewinners at Ballinasloe Show on October 5, 1970. From left: Matthew Conneely, Kilconnell, Matthew Conneely (Junior), John Callanan, Calla, Kilconnell and Seán Conneely, Kilconnell.

1921

Grim legacy

“What did we get from the Government in the Famine?” asked the Most Rev. Dr. Duggan. And the answer was, “The Poorhouses.” They came as a legacy of these grim years, a miserable palliative instead of a radical cure.

When 1845 opened, there were 114 of them throughout Ireland, and impoverished ratepayers had to pay for their upkeep. Their erection was, indeed, in some measure, instituted as a relief work.

The famine had swept over the land, leaving us the most tragic chapters in our history. Grim, black death in a country where there was plenty, if only it had been efficiently distributed, and kept for the hapless people at home.

The Irish Poor Law was rooted in misery, and continued throughout all these years as a cumbersome degradation, designed for the encouragement of the mendicant and the wastrel, to crush the last vestige of self-respect from those whom it once caught within its toils.

With the exception of the admirable boarding-out systems instituted by some of our more humane boards – notably Galway Guardians, whose clerk took a keen personal interest in making some of his charges into good citizens – we know no instance in which the vicious Poor Laws as operated in Ireland did anything but harm.

They ground down the ratepayers; they did not serve the poor in any measure commensurate with the expenditure involved in an army of officials, an array of buildings that badged with poverty one of the finest agricultural countries in the world.

Unions amalgamated

On the motion of Dr. Walsh, Galway Co. Council at its quarterly meeting on Saturday finally adopted a scheme for “the amalgamation of the county unions” – in reality, for doing away with the unions altogether as such.

The scheme under which the Poor Laws of the country will be administered on an entirely new basis, will be as follows: One central hospital for Galway with motor ambulances; one central home for the old and infirm in Tuam or Loughrea; children to be sent to an institution for which one workhouse may be used; unmarried mothers to be divided into two classes – first offenders to be dealt with in the same institution as the children and old offenders to be sent to the Magdalen Asylum; insane and epileptics to be put in a county home at present until they can be specially dealt with.

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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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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Some of the competitors show their prize-winning cakes and bread at Mountbellew Show on September 10, 1964.

1921

Tragedy and sorrow

Last winter was one of the blackest that Ireland has experienced in her long and chequered history. Men of sincere goodwill in all parties hope that we shall never witness its like again.

It has left the inevitable aftermath of tragedy, sorrow, suffering and present distress. It is the duty of all to help soften the bitterness of tragedy and sorrow, to alleviate suffering, to obviate present or future distress.

In the performance of this duty, no prejudice, no argument, no excuse can hold back the hand of charity, for it is a duty dictated by the laws of Christianity, sanctified by the kinship of common humanity since the world began.

“The White Cross”, we are told in the report of the delegation from the American Committee on Irish Relief, “makes appeal not in the name of any section of the people, but in the name of humanity. No political distinctions exist in suffering, and none must exist in relief. The men and women who constitute the Irish White Cross think differently on many thinks; they are united by the bond of charity”.

Risky business

We have, this year, a striking example of what a risky business our store cattle and sheep trade is. Many of our small farmers and farmers’ sons who have taken grazing during the past year or two have lost not only their savings of the war years but some of their capital.

The system most likely to give stability to farming in Co. Galway is one which the grazing of store cattle and sheep must give pride of place to the production of home-grown food.

The risk of loss on tillage farming can be controlled, to some extent, by sowing a variety of crops and by the careful selection of seeds and manures. A collection of kales and cabbages for stock feeding was an interesting feature of the County Committee’s educational exhibit at Ballinasloe Show.

Many of the varieties staged are little known or cultivated in this country, which seems extraordinary when we consider their many advantages.

Thousand-headed Kale, Drumhead, Flat Dutch and Savoy cabbages could supplement, or take the place of, the turnip crop in many districts where disease is prevalent, or where the land is otherwise unsuitable for the growth of roots.

It is only by the adoption of a system of mixed farming where sufficient food is grown for the number of stock on hands that steady prices can be obtained.

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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