Date Published: 05-May-2011
From reading Hugh Leonard’s marvellous book Home Before Night it becomes obvious that a whole generation in the days before the advent of television, based a substantial part of what might be termed their ‘social lives’ around going to the pictures.
Leonard recalls that on at least one afternoon in the week, he and his mother would head off to the local cinema.
As youngsters, we tended to go in large groups on a Friday night and again to the matinee on a Sunday afternoon, though we may have been unusual for a smallish town like Tuam that we had the choice of two cinemas, The Mall and The Odeon.
In those days money was not plentiful. Many families depended on having ‘a book’ in the local shop where they could buy items liked bread, cheese, sugar, tea, butter during the week ‘on tick’ and the entire amount was reckoned-up on a Friday evening with the shopkeeper.
In latter days of youth, I frequently got this job on reckoning-up evening when my father had been paid his few pounds on a Friday for the working week. Not a penny went astray, I can assure you, and my father went through the columns in ‘the book’ with all the acuity of the IMF.
The money for ‘the pictures’ came from what little was left over after a family of five kids was fed – perhaps my dad could not resist the pressure of other kids calling ‘are ye going?’ and those beseeching looks from his own.
And we had one stop he did not know of. There was a tiny shop on the way where you could buy cigarettes at an exorbitant price of 2d (that’s old pence) each! It was an extraordinary establishment.
In the window were melting bars such as Gifties, Cough No More, Black Jacks, Peggy’s Legs . . . and dozens of dead bluebottles and wasps lying on their backs. They had given up the ghost having sated themselves on sugar and simply lay down and died after the gorge.
It’s hardly any wonder then that when I turn on Turner Classic Movies and see John Wayne, Sterling Hayden, Richard Widmark, Alan Ladd, Jane Russell, or tune-in at Easter to major epics like The Robe, Quo Vadis, Spartacus, that the days of ‘the pictures’ come flooding back.
I also have an unusual link to the movies . . . over the Easter they showed that great old musical High Society on Turner Classic Movies and can I say that I saw it for the first time in The Children’s Home in Tuam on one of the rare special social occasions when they showed a film for the women who were resident of The Home.
Many of the women were unmarried mothers, others I think simply ‘put away’ by families in times when anyone ‘a bit wild’ was dangerously non-conformist.
My connection to The Children’s Home had begun in the 1940s when my mother died a month after I was born. A month old premature baby would have been an impossible burden for my father, with four other young children.
My father worked as the head maintenance man in The Home, it was a hundred yards from my ‘real’ home, and must have seemed like the most natural thing in the world to place me there. I spent a number of years in The Home in the extraordinary care of a woman called Mary.
For more read this week’s Galway City Tribune
Judge adjourns Connemara assault case
Date Published: 08-May-2013
A date will be set next October for the trial of a 52-year old Connemara man, who is charged with assaulting traditional Irish musician Noel Hill five years ago.
Michael Folan from Teach Mór, Lettermullen, is charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Noel Hill at Tí Padraig Mairtín Beag in Leitir Mór, on St Stephen’s Day, 2008.
The matter had been listed for trial on several occasions before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in the intervening period.
It was referred to the High Court in Dublin last year for judicial review after Michael Folan said he wanted his trial heard ‘as Gaeilge’and that a bi-lingual jury be made available to hear the case.
At Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Rory McCabe adjourned the case for mention to October when it’s expected a date will be set for trial.
Bank of Ireland Galway Shopping Centre branch to close
Date Published: 10-May-2013
Bank of Ireland’s branch at Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road is to close in July.
The branch is to merge into the BOI outlet at Galway Industrial Estate in Mervue.
Galway Bay fm news reports the 14 staff impacted are to be offered redeployment and there will be no job losses.
Galway RNLI rescues three people stranded on Hare Island
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway RNLI Lifeboat has come to the rescue of three students who got stranded on Hare Island after getting caught in the tide off Ballyloughan Beach.
The two girls and boy, in their late teens had gone for a walk and were spotted waving from the island by a local resident who contacted the emergency Services and Galway Lifeboat.
Conditions at the time (4pm) were very changeable with heavy showers.
Three members of the Lifeboat shore crew were working in the vicinity of the station at the time and launched the boat in six minutes.
The three students were picked up safely and brought back to the Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks where they were warmed up and given tea and did not require medical attention.