Galway In Days Gone By

Photo of Galwegians in 1963 when Frank Duff founder of the Legion of Mary, a Catholic organisation for lay people, came to town. Frank Duff is in front behind the two children.
Photo of Galwegians in 1963 when Frank Duff founder of the Legion of Mary, a Catholic organisation for lay people, came to town. Frank Duff is in front behind the two children.

1918

Stinging criticism

A Dublin visitor who, with two companions, came to Galway on Race Week, and remained for some time following, writes to us a strong criticism of the conditions he found existing. “We had moderate means,” he says,” and found that we were mistaken for millionaires.

“It is true that the crowds were abnormal, and that money appeared to be exceptionally flush, but even this did not justify the appalling charge of £1 per might per individual for shared and crowded accommodation in a very third-rate private hotel.

For our amusements we also had to pay ‘through the nose’. A few hours’ dancing with interruptions, that hitherto could be had for a few shillings, ran us into £1 and as much as 30s. All this has led us seriously to revise out views about coming to the capital of the West for outr holidays.

Surely, we could get healthier and certainly more honest value elsewhere, and feel that we had not been fleeced?”

Our correspondent goes on to complain very definitely and specifically against the extortion that prevailed, mentioning that a fixed price of 3s. had been made for seats to the Racecourse, but that in practice, during the periods of greatest demand, it was found impossible to secure a driver who adhered to this figure.

Further, the trams, which, antiquated though they were, were a public convenience, had been permitted to go the way of most things in the old Spanish city that seeks visitors only apparently to fleece them unmercifully.  Our correspondent concludes by saying that he is voicing the opinions of many others who came to the west this year, adding: “That my complaint is justified is proved by the fact that a hotel proprietress boasted to me that she has had made as much during Race Week as would keep her in comfort for the winter however severe.”

Complaints like this can do no good, but are calculated to do infinite harm. Those who are interested in the development of the possibilities of Galway should secure that the causes of them are removed.

1943

Floods invade houses

Excessively high, wind-lashed tides and heavy Autumnal rains have given the citizens of Galway a foretaste of the serious damage and inconvenience that they must be prepared to encounter during the Winter if immediate steps are not taken to prevent flooding in various parts of the city.

The utterly inadequate street lighting in some of the flooded areas constitutes a grave additional danger to life and limb.

Recent flooding has been by no means confined to low-lying ground. Shantalla had an extensive visitation on Sunday when the road outside the Spires House Convent was inundated for a length of thirty yards, the water being in some places well over a foot deep.

Residents of Bohermore had a similar experience. For a distance of about fifty yards, the main road was flooded to a depth of two feet in places between Connolly’s Terrace and Lydon’s Terrace.

Bring back liners

Determined moves have been launched on both sides of the Atlantic to secure the return of liner traffic to Galway, suspended because of the war and not so far resumed. It is felt that with proper backing from each of the counties of Connacht, and also from Clare, so closely connected with the province, the plans now underway will be brought to success, with results that should benefit not alone the West, but the whole national economy.  The chief figure in the new campaign is Mr. Michael S. Synnott, a native of Abbeyknockmoy, Co. Galway, the head of a travel agency in New York, who after accompanying 300 tourists to Southampton, has just been home on a visit to relatives and friends.

Mr. Synnott is in a position to promise that some large parties will cross the Atlantic next year and thereafter under his charge, and he is naturally hoping that they will be able to come ashore in Galway rather than in Cobh or some English or Continental port.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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