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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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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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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

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President Eamon de Valera speaking at the opening of Coláiste Lurgan, Knock, Indreabhán, on August 4, 1968.

1921

Life in internment

A Gort man at Ballykinlar sends to the West and interesting account of the conditions in the internment camp, where so many men from our country are at present held prisoner without charge every having been preferred against them, without trial or conviction.

There are some disturbing features in his report, the cause of which might well be removed at this period when the Truce is being so well observed, when peace is in the air. For instance, he begins by the complaint that whilst the English papers are freely delivered, there is difficulty in getting their own papers.

“The camp,” he goes on, “is an improvement on the Earl’s Island death trap or the Town Hall poison den. There is a greater sense of security here than in either of those places. The food is inadequate, and doubtful of quality, as you may have seen by the Press. The men here have to put up a great fight against the ennui, which anyone acquainted with internment has experienced. Physical development classes and outdoor sports, football, handball and hurling, have kept their devotees fit and energetic, but the vitality is slowly and surely ebbing away.

“Exercises are being less violently participated in, brisk walks are being less frequently indulged in, and a general apathy and listlessness, hardly observable as yet, is, nevertheless, gradually setting in.

“The education board, which owes a lot to Mr. O’Connell, Duniry, to whom all students are deeply indebted, has been instrumental in endowing many of the boys with a liberal increase to their attainments (a description of the work would require a great deal of space), and has provided a much-needed antidote to the deterioration of the mind, which is so invariably associated with internment. The study of Gaelic has pride of place in the curriculum, and many students have made great headway. It is not unusual to find half-a-dozen in a hut almost at any hour carrying on a laboured conversation in Irish or debating some of the finer points in grammar. I believe one f the boys (none of them had a word of Irish coming in) passed for a fáinne at the recent examination.

“Hobbies in arts and crafts have an enormous sway, and a surprising amount of latent talent has been discovered and developed. Silver rings, chased, engraved and inset, have been made from silver coins, that, placed beside the finished works at Faller’s or Dillon’s, would not cause the designs to blush! Bones, more plentiful than meat at the cookhouse, have been manufactured into brooches of beautiful and distinctive design, which, I am sure, will be seen gracing the fair necks of favoured colleens later on.”

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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Some of the participants in the Kinvara Fancy Dress on June 11, 1967.

1921

Outdated laws

Ireland obtained her workhouses from the famine. They were erected to ameliorate a condition of things brought about by an alien government – a condition which historians unite in declaring could have been avoided.

On the 25th March, 1846, Tuam, Castlerea, Cahirciveen, and Clifden workhouses were opened, and a rate was struck on the Clifden union. The Tuam workhouse was contracted for July, 1840, at a cost of £7,600 for building and completion and £1,400 for fittings and contingencies.

It was made to accommodate 800 persons but in 1851 it housed no fewer than 2,881 paupers. Sheds had to be extemporised to afford a roof to those who had been stricken by the famine, and scenes of horror were enacted there during the period of the Black Death.

The workhouses also are a landmark of the fact that in these famine years Ireland’s population was reduced practically by half, and that so impoverished had the country become that it was unable any longer to maintain even the 4½ millions left without workhouses.

At present, on the eve of happier times, an effort is being made to reduce public expenditure and divert public monies into more profitable channels by amalgamating existing unions, and thus reducing their number.

Some have claimed that this is a question upon which the ratepayers ought to have been consulted and that in any drastic scheme of reform they should have a voice. None will dispute however that reform is absolutely necessary, and the sooner it comes the better.

The poor, no doubt, we shall always have with us, but when employment is revived throughout Ireland, and wages and the cost of living are reduced, we feel convinced that pauperism in this country will largely disappear and that public monies can thenceforth be utilised much more profitably than in maintaining an army of officials.

The neighbouring county of Mayo has drawn up an elaborate scheme of union amalgamation which the secretary of the county council has courteously forwarded to us. We hope to deal with this scheme fuller in our next issue.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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.

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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

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Prizewinners Christina McCormac and Maria Walsh, both from Caltra, at the Ballygar Fancy Dress in August 1970.

1921

Emigration rising

The emigration statistics just published show that during 1920 emigrants from Ireland numbered 15,585, compared with 2,975 in 1918 – in other words, emigration last year had risen to about half of what it was in the years before the war.

6,044 men and 9,487 women left Ireland during 1920. But it was pointed out that unlike Great Britain there is no excess of women in this country.

In June 1920, it was estimated that the Irish population was 2,261,000 males and 2,209,999 females, a total of 4,4470,999, or an increase of 86,392 on the census year of 1911. The overwhelming majority of emigrants last year went to the United States.

Connacht supplied 3,801 of those who emigrated, but the greatest number of emigrants came from the county of Antrim, which, including the county borough of Belfast, contributed 1,893 people to swell the population and work for the prosperity of foreign countries.

Let us all sincerely hope that in the new Ireland that is to be, many of those who have been compelled to leave their country will be enabled to return and find bread and work at home.

Irish lessons

Irish Irelanders will be interested on hearing that the Irish classes are now being opened in Galway. Irish classes are being conducted from 11 to 2 p.m. at the Commercial Boat Club, and night classes form 8 to 10 p.m. in the Town Hall.

There is no necessity to impress on the young men and young women of Galway the desirability of their attending these classes. It has been said with truth that if we have no language, we have no country, and during the present “big push” for our freedom it behoves all those who are not acquainted with the language of our country to do their utmost to learn it.

A ceilidh mór will be held in the Town Hall on Saturday, August 20, and it is hoped that the attendance will be large. Irish dances are the real “thing”, but it is unfortunate that they are not as popular as they should be.

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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