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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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Prizewinners at the Bish (St. Joseph's College, Galway), sports in 1969 being presented with their awards.

1919

Transatlantic flight

“I’m Alcock – just come from Newfoundland.” In this cryptic sentence Capt. Alcock, D.S.G., announced to the awestricken Marconi operators on Sunday morning that he and Lieut. Arthur Whitten Brown had just arrived from another hemisphere.

The £10,000 prize that had been awaiting some conquering man-bird more daring – and more fortunate – than the rest since April 1, 1913, had been won. The old world and the new had been bridged in flight.

The miracle of ether waves that sent the voice of man over vast spaces from hemisphere to hemisphere had been superseded. Man himself had come on the wings of the wind.

The Atlantic had been flown at the second attempt in a single night. That touching meeting in Derrygimla Bog on Sunday Morning, June 15, 1919, marked a new era in history and made County Galway forever famous.

When Alcock introduced himself to the wondering wireless men, he uttered an epic in six words, and changed, as with a breath, the current of history and romance.

Before we get down to the simple, unvarnished tale told by the pilot and navigator, whose names will rank in the history books with those of Columbus and Capt. Cooke, let us briefly sketch the main facts of the flight:–

The project of the Atlantic flight, originated by Lord Northcliffe in “The Daily Mail” on April 1, 1913, when a prize of £10,000 was offered, was suspended during the war. The offer was renewed last year, with the specific object of securing improved types of aircraft and engines.

In order that the flight should be a direct one, the course – Newfoundland to Ireland – was expressly mentioned, and keeping the same objective of direct flight in view, a time limit of 72 hours was fixed.

The glorious failure of Hawker and Grieve just a month ago is still fresh in public memory. In remote Co. Galway the sporting instincts of the people gave vent in great joy at their rescue in the mid-Atlantic.

First news in Galway

Late on Saturday evening the Editor of the “Connacht Tribune” received a telegram from the United Press of America, informing him that the airmen had started and were making straight for Galway Bay, where they ought to arrive within twenty hours.

On Sunday morning, the “Tribune” received another telegram, this time from the “Daily Mail” giving full particulars of the start of the flight. At the time that telegram was received the airmen had actually breakfasted in the bungalow of the Marconi Works, Ballyconneely, and the first brief message of their arrival had gone round the world on the wings of the Wireless Press.

A few minutes and the news of their arrival at 9.40 a.m., as we reckon Summer Time, was learned. The activity of the airmen from Oranmore told the City churchgoers on Sunday morning that something unusual was afoot. Soon the news spread like wildfire, and it formed the sole topic of discussion throughout the day.

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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Photographed at the Galway Races in 1961 were Miss Anne Gillane, Mrs. Seán Corrigan, Miss Gertrude Gilligan and Miss Emily Gilligan, all from Gort.

1920

Mad motorists

That traffic in Galway is ill-regulated and conducted without the smallest regard to the rules of the road or the interests or safety of those who use them is an assertion that is generally accepted even by those who are the worst offenders.

Yet a little attention to very simple and well-understood rules would enormously add to our comfort and convenience, especially on market days.

Recently there has been a considerable influx of country motors. Youthful drivers have shown almost criminal disregard for the traffic conditions of the City streets, which render driving at a speed of exceeding ten or twelve miles an hour, a dangerous a reckless proceeding.

Moreover, the lumbering military motor lorries have been, and are being, driven with an indifference that is no less culpable. We have heard complaints, even from those who are friendly to the soldiers, that drivers of these lorries never “give the road” to a passing vehicle.

Surely the Irish people have a right to use their own roads without being run down by mad motorists, whether they be reckless country youths who have never been taught the elementary principles of motor-driving, or ill-mannered and ill-disciplined soldiers?

Any clumsy fool can drive a car furiously on the middle of the road: trained drivers and gentlemen show that consideration for their own car and for other people which is the true hallmark of nobility of character.

City centre explosion

At ten minutes to three on Saturday morning the citizens of Galway were startled by a loud, dull explosion, which shattered the plate-glass window facing Shop-st. in the premises of Mr. Patrick J. O’Connor, who conducts popular tearooms, newsagency and fancy business in Mainguard-st., did some damage in the shop, and killed a pet fox terrier that was sleeping on the counter.

In view of recent happenings in the West and the attitude of intoxicated soldiers the previous night, no one dared to venture abroad, but Mr. Jordan who controls a boot shop next door, and whose sister is married to Mr. O’Connor, rushed to his neighbour’s aid, and found everything in the premises in a state of confusion, and the startled inhabitants rushing down the stairs in their night attire.

The little watch-dog lay dead upon the counter with a jagged wound on his side.

Mr. O’Connor is a young businessman who is exceedingly popular in the City. In politics, he is a Sinn Féiner; but it is inconceivable that any party or section of the community could have a grudge against him of a nature that would lead to Saturday morning’s outrage.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Galway in Days Gone By

Galway In Days Gone By

Stephen Corrigan

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The cocktail bar at Ballybrit draws the crowd at the Galway Races 1965.

1920

Terror in Tuam

As a police van was proceeding to Dunmore from Galway Assizes on Monday evening, with four armed constables, it was ambushed at Gallagh, three miles beyond Tuam, and two of the occupants – Constables Burke and Carey – were shot dead.

All was peaceable until five o’clock on Tuesday morning, when the sleeping inhabitants of the town were startled by volleys of musketry fire.

At first only a few shots were fired; then the fusillade became terrific, and it was accompanied by explosions, as if bombs and hand grenades were being hurled. It soon became evident that the firing was general throughout the town.

Children and women screamed, and all sought shelter in the rear of their premises, where they lay flat on the ground.

Subsequently, cheers broke out, and the Town Hall was found to be in flames. Apparently the cheering was the signal for the congregation. Soon after the outbreak the military who are stationed in Tuam came upon the scene, but were immediately afterwards withdrawn.

Mr. Quinn, a well-known solicitor, who witnessed the thrilling scene from the midst of two houses which were in flames, declared on Tuesday morning that he distinctly heard the officer calling off his men, and shouting “this is not our job,” the inference being that the military did not wish to be associated with the outbreak.

About six o’clock the orgy of outrage ceased, and the townsmen who ventured abroad found many houses in flames.

No harm in variety

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Barna (Galway) Feis which was held on last Sunday, was the large numbers who attended it. Rarely has such a fine gathering been seen at a similar function in a comparatively small village like Barna.

The competitions, too, were successful, but it would have been no harm if a little more variety had been introduced. The school children were very good, but one felt that something was wanting to make the whole thing more interesting; there was a lack of colour and variety in a programme that was followed attentively.

Singing and dancing constituted the entire programme. There were songs by school-children, by young people, and by adults, and there was dancing by the school-children. The dancing did not come up to the mark, and no first or second prize was awarded.

Some of the singing reached a fairly high standard, and “voice” could be detected.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Stephen Corrigan

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on

Jack Charlton receives some help from Galway Fisheries Manager Paddy Gargan while fishing for salmon on the Weir in the city on May 26, 1990. A report in the Connacht Sentinel details how Big Jack was watched by a group of around 30 people who applauded when he nabbed the tiny fish, causing him to smile and shout to the onlookers, "that's only the bait". Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

1920

Lighting up Portumna

Mr. Joseph P. Martin presided at the district meeting of the Portumna Rural District Council on Saturday. Also present: Messrs. J. D. O’Kelly, M. J. Lyons, John Banfield, Patrick Burke, John Daly, Patk. Martin, Thomas Abberton, Con. Tully, Patrick Sellars, Jerome Maloney.

A deputation from the Electric Light Company, consisting of Mr. A. E. Moeran, Dr. Kelly, Mr. J. J. Kearns, solr., and Mr. M C. Stronge, came before the council in regard to the striking of a rate on a certain area in the district for the public lighting of the town.

Mr. Hynes (Clerk) read the letter from the Local Government Board which stated the procedure as follows: To undertake the lighting the council should be invested with the powers of an urban authority. Before application for powers is made, the council should publish notices in the local Press and put up posters setting forth the application, giving particulars of the proposed area of charge, estimated cost of providing and maintaining lamps, estimated cost of providing and maintaining lamps, estimated annual poundage rate on the affected area.

The notices should specify the area of change as delineated on a map which can be seen at the clerk’s office, and any objection should be lodged with the clerk within a specified period. A map and tracing showing the position of the lamps and the proposed area should be indicated.

Ambushed at noon

While on patrol duty at Caltra, Ballinasloe, at noon on Wednesday, Constable Howley and Constable Donnelly were ambushed and seriously wounded by a party armed with shotguns.

Constable Howley received terrible injuries in the head and body, and his recovery is not expected.

County Inspector Taylour, and a party of military, accompanied by a Red Cross ambulance, left Ballinasloe in the afternoon and conveyed the wounded men to Ballinasloe infirmary. Constable Donnelly was wounded in the side and legs.

On Sunday some gunshots were fired from a wood at two constables at the cross roads, Prospect, Oranmore.

On Friday while Constables McCormack and McGovern, Loughrea, were serving jurors’ summonses for the assizes in the Peterswell District they were held up twice by masked and armed men who deprived them of their revolvers and ammunition.

Constable McGovern’s cape was also taken, but the money found on the police was returned. In the first raid the attackers numbered about twelve, and in the second it is stated that about eight took place.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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