I.S.S.N. 16492684
VOLUME 34-35
- WINTER 2012
UIMHIR 34-35
Vol. 34–35 Autumn/Winter 2012
The Moyterra Vent Field. New Discoveries of Epic Proportions from the Deep.
Hung by Meyrick at Galway.
The Old Waterworks Galway.
The National Archives of Ireland provides on-line access to a very useful resource.
Captain Senan Meskell. A life in service of Galway’s Port.
The Mesolithic in the West – Reviewing the Evidence
Fieldwork around Rusheen Bay yields new archaeological folklore and place-name
Galway’s Titanic Links
The Henry Library. From Tuam to Galway
Galway Family History
Timetable of Heritage Week Events
Mayor Launches Museum Exhibition
Galway’s New “Dead Museum” at NUI Galway
Remembering Galway’s Trawler Fleet by Patrick Conneely.
B ook R e v i e w s
Dead Interesting. Stories from the Graveyards of Dublin, by Shane Mac Thomáis,
Mercier Press, Cork.
Highfield Memories - Scéalta Ghoirt Ard. Published by Highfield Park Residents
Nimmo’s Anecdotes and Recipes by Harriet Leander
Tribe A Portrait of Galway by Reg Gordan
Youth’s co rner
Documenting the Revolution
Metal Thieves
Corrib Research Project
Our front cover - Williamsgate Street Galway Summer 2012 Photograph J. Higgins.
Our back cover – The poster for the Uisce agus Beatha Exhibition with an image of Patrick Conneely whos article on the
Galway Trawlers features in this issue.
G A L W A Y ’ S
The Moyterra V ent Field, New Di scoveries
Of Epi c P roporti ons From The Deep.
The Celtic Explorer the national research vessel is a familiar sight
in Galway Docks and is one of our greatest assets in enhancing
our knowledge of the seas around us and further afield. It has led
the way in mapping the sea bed and in recording new and
exciting features and creatures for years. Equipped with a team of
geochemists, marine biologists, marine geologists, geneticists
and technicians from Ireland and further afield its work is of
international significance. In conjunction with the Marine Institute
it has made some astonishing discoveries as part of a research
campaign under the 2011 Ship Time Programme under the
National Development Plan.
Recently the VENTURE scientific expedition discovered a series of
previously uncharted groups of hydrothermal vents along the
mid-Atlantic ridge. These features are vents or openings through
which mineral rich sea water is heated by volcanic rock in the
earth’s crust below the sea. Around these openings in the sea bed
chimney like pipes made up of metal sulphides form and produce
gargoyle like natural spouts through which the boiling water
makes its exit. These vents attract a variety of marine species
which survive in complete darkness on bacteria fed by chemicals
in the water around the ‘chimneys’.
In a joint project led by Patrick Collers of the Martin Ryan Institute
in NUI Galway and Ian Copley of the University of Southhampton
they are cataloguing the species of marine life found around the
vents in what is now being called “The Moytura Vent Field”, after
the mythical Battle of Moytura. Orange shrimp, miniscule limpets,
scale-worms, eel-like creatures and mats of bacteria, a riot of
creatures and colour battle it out around the Moytura Field Vents.
The sub-sea world seems like a Gaudi grotesque structure with
natural ‘gargoyles’ and ‘monster chimneys’ and a swelling mass of
Celtic interlaced creatures from Jim FitzPatrick’s depictions of
Celtic Mythology-including the battle of Moytura. The sea floor
teams with life. The finders have in fact named some of the giant
chimney stack vents after characters from Celtic Mythology
including the god Balor of the Evil Eye and The Plain of the Pillars
recalling the field of standing stones described in the Moytura
The Marine Institute - Foras na Mara
The Marine Institute is Ireland’s national agency
for marine research, technology, development
and innovation. It seeks to assess and realize the
economic potential of Ireland’s vast marine
resource; to promote sustainable development of
the marine industry through strategic funding
programmes and essential scientific services; and
to safeguard Ireland’s natural marine resource
through research and environmental monitoring.
Ireland has a marine territory of 220 million acres
under the sea, over ten times its land area. The
Institute is responsible for promoting the
sustainable development of this resource through
co-ordinated and focussed research, leading to
sound and accurate management advice for
industry, the Government and the European
The Marine Institute’s essential research services
• National and European Union research and
development funding programmes
• Fish stock assessment
• Fish health services
• Marine food safety monitoring
The vent field which is 3,000m below the surface of the sea is
being recorded using a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) called
Holland I after one of the Irish innovators who first developed the
The fame of the new discovery is being spread far and wide both
in scientific papers and in a programme in the National
Geographic’s Alien Planet series.
The Celtic Explorer Research Vessel
Hung by Meyrick at Galway
In the aftermath of the great rising of 1798 a huge number of
people died and were made homeless. The revenge which was
wrought on the Irish population afterwards was ferocious and
even by the standards of the day a terrible vengeance was
exacted by the British Army, the Militias and the landlords in
whose interests they acted.
Many of those tried were members of the United Irishmen or
members of secret agrarian societies who banded together to
have redness against rack renting and evicting landlords and
those who tried to clear people off the land in order to make way
for sheep farms. The Society of United Irishmen started out
wanting reform and later became dedicated to a Republican
Revolution and the establishment of a Republic of Ireland.
Founded in 1791 it was banned by 1794 and then became a
secret society with widespread support among Catholics and
Presbyterians alike. Influenced by the French and other
revolutions it sought French help and though a French invasion
failed in December 1796 a rising up took place in 1798. This failed
after some months and a terrible retribution was made against
the population. Those who had sworn in members of the rising
seem to have been particularly targeted as well as those who
were suspected of membership of various agrarian secret
societies. Another rising, that by Robert Emmett took place in
1803 (Grahan, D. in Lalor, B. (2003), 1098).
Houghing or cutting the hamstring of an animal had been used as
a deep but cruel form of redness against evicting and unpopular
landlords and this form of agrarian protest went back at least to
the early 18th century when both cattle and sheep were maimed.
It became a means of struggle in 1711-12 in west Galway and
then spread to counties Mayo, Sligo, Leitrim and Clare. At that
stage it would seem that it was used as a political weapon to
attempt to stop landlords’ estates for grazing (Magennis, E. in
Lalor, B. (ed.) 2003, 503).
Among those hung at Galway in the aftermath of the Rebellion
were the following - Francis Brennan of Galway City who was a
flax dresser was accused of being a United Irishman and
endeavouring to administer unlawful oaths was tried in April 11th
1799 and hung at Galway on May 18th 1799. Francis was
probably enrolling people in the United Irishmen or recruiting
them into membership of agrarian secret societies. John Forbes
of Tullyra County Galway who was a wheelwright was tried for
being a United Irishman and appearing in arms at illegal
meetings. He was tried on the 26th of February and hanged at
Galway on the 28th of February 1799.
John Glynn whose place of abode was given as Ballymaguiffe
Castle, County Galway and who was a labourer was accused of
the crime of being a United Irishman, attending illegal meetings,
tendering unlawful oaths and houghing cattle. He was tried on
the 25th of February 1799 and was sentenced to death. He was
hung at Galway the next day, February 26th 1799. John Hardiman
of Ahascragh County Galway was tried on the 13th of April 1799
for being a member of the United Irishmen and ‘appearing in
arms as a rebel’ and was sentenced to death. He was hung at
Galway on the 29th of April 1799.
John Houghegan of Ballyglass County Galway, a herdsman was
tried for forceably carrying away the flesh of houghed cattle and
sentenced to be hanged. He was tried on the 12th of March and
hanged at Galway on the 18th of March. Michael Kearns of Tuam
County Galway a flax-dresser was tried for houghing cattle,
robbery and tendering illegal oaths on 15th of April 1799 and
hung at Galway on April 29th 1799. Francis Kirwan of Rock
Lodge, County Galway who had been a Lieutenant in the L. A.
Yeomanry became a United Irishman. He was accused of
tendering illegal oaths, exciting people to hough and maim
cattle, extorting money and conspiring to murder the revered Mr.
Wood and the Revd Mr. Mangen. He was tried on June 19th 1799
sentenced to death and hung at Galway on June 22nd 1799.
Richard McCabe of Moneen, County Galway was tried on March
4th 1799. He was a member of the United Irishmen and a
Committee man and was accused of ‘attending nightly and
unlawful meetings’. He was sentenced to death and his body to
be dissected He was hung at Galway on March 13th 1799. The
dissection was additional demeaning punishment designed to
ensure that his body was not returned to his relatives but was
taken away to be used by medical students. Patrick Naughton of
Castle Kelly, County Roscommon, a labourer was tried for
houghing, robbery and tendering illegal oaths on April 15th 1799
and sentenced to hanging. He was hung at Galway on April 29th
1799. James Winn of Castle Kelly County Roscommon was tried
for houghing, robbery and tendering illegal oaths on April 15th
1799 and hung at Galway on 29th of April 1799.
Lalor, B. (ed.) (2003), The Encyclopedia of Ireland, Gill and
Macmillan, Dublin 2003.
The Old Waterworks Dyke Road by
Redmond Burke.
Jim Higgins, the Galway City Heritage Officer brought me down
to visit the Old Terryland Waterworks. As we approached the
entrance gate, a beautiful stone
building with a slated roof
revealed itself through the trees.
The building laying in slumber
mode by the side of the Sandy
River. On further examination of
the site, an older stone structure
extended the building across the
river. I wondered about the
forgotten history that lies within
these walls. Looking across the
road, Terryland Castle with its
chequered history lay in ruins at
the foot of the Millennium
Bridge. This castle dating from
around the 1600 was once a
retreat house for the earls of
Clanrickarde. Two exciting
structures just a short walk from
the centre of Galway, how
G A L W A Y ’ S
History informs us that Galway was a small fishing village at the
mouth of the river Corrib. Water and Galway are entwined. In
cities water was available using traditional methods and some
cases water carriers were employed. By the 1800's pumped water
supply became possible by using water wheels and made
available only to the rich. This method is some what similar to the
mill wheel where water is fed to buckets in the wheel from the
headrace causing the wheel to rotate.
Samuel Usher Roberts, engineer and architect was born in
Waterford in 1821 and educated in England at Burney's Royal
Academy, Gosport. He entered the service of the Board of Public
Works in 1841 as a temporary drawing clerk. He worked as a
surveyor in County Louth, Meath and Monaghan before being
transferred to Co. Galway in 1848 as district engineer with
responsibility for the Loughs Corrib, Mask and Carra drainage
district. Samuel U. Roberts was appointed surveyor for Galway
city in 1855 as assistant to Henry Clements. He succeeded
Clements in 1858. Roberts designed the first water works in
Galway and Terryland was chosen as the site which was owned by
the Marquis of Clanricarde. The Marquis agreed to a long term
lease of the property. The waterworks opened in 1867 using a
Breast wheel and ram pumps. A ram pump is a simple device
where the energy of falling water is used to lift a lesser amount of
water to a higher elevation. In this case reservoirs located at
prospect Hill. The waterworks had to be manned at all times so as
to maintain a continuous flow of water and maintain the
the permanent position was filled because of her young age and
lack of experience. She was the first woman to graduate in Great
Britain and Ireland with a degree in civil engineering. All the
pumps were replaced in 1928 by the diesel engine and pern
vertical 3-throw ram pumps.
Frank Rishworth was professor of Engineering at University
College Galway, 1910-1946. He was educated at University
College Galway and graduating in 1898. After graduation, he
worked as a railway engineer in the United Kingdom prior to his
appointment as a lecturer in the School of Engineering, Giza,
Egypt. The Tuam local had a second job for a five year period of
time as second to the Chief Engineer on the Shannon HydroElectric Scheme from 1925 to 1930. He also served as a
consultant engineer to the Galway waterworks. By 1935 all
functioning pumps were replaced by Diesel engine pumps.
Frank Sharman Rishworth,
In 1935 the waterworks were extended to accommodate the
multi-stage centrifugal pumps which were operated by electric
motors. In 1942 chloramine sterilisation was introduced to
waterworks. During the 1940’s pipe extensions and pipe
replacements were carried out and Crossley oil engine driving
Gwynne water pumps were installed. Later on a Pulse-meter 5”
pump was installed. The waterworks became redundant and was
used for the last time in 1972.
• Breast Wheel.
• Ramp Pump
By the beginning of the 20th century the waterworks had reached
its limit and the water pressure from Prospect reservoir was too
low to supply the city. James Perry the county surveyor for
Roscommon was transferred to the western district of Co. Galway
in 1882. James Perry was born at Garvagh, Co. Derry in 1845 and
educated at Queens University Belfast. He worked on water
works at Beyrout, Syria and Belfast. Perry was appointed County
Surveyor of Roscommon in 1877. In 1888 with his brother
Professor John Perry (UCG), he set up an electric company in
Galway to supply private consumers. In 1889 the brothers
obtained the Galway electric lighting. In 1897 the Galway Electric
Company Limited was founded with James Perry as managing
director and chief engineer.
In 1904 the Derry born Perry upgraded the Old Galway
waterworks by replacing the breast-wheel with Gilke Thompson
type vertical turbines. The reservoir at prospect was replaced by
a new one at Coolough with a capacity of 500,000 gallons. In
1906 more improvements were made, turbine pumps were
installed and later a Cornish boiler and steam operated pumps.
This was James Perry's last important work. James Perry died in
1906 after a short illness. He was succeeded by his daughter Alice
Jacqueline Perry for a six month period but was looked over when
The original building you see as you look in from the gate has
three red doors, the middle door is the care taker’s entrance and
the other two are to the engine and motor rooms. The room
towards the front was constructed in 1935 to house the Electric
motor pumps. The caretaker had just two rooms with no toilet
facilities. In the 1901 and 1911 census, Thomas Corcoran was in
residence at the waterworks. The last live-in caretaker was a Mr.
In 2001 Jim Higgins the Galway City Heritage Officer began a
conservation initiative for the old waterworks by applying for
funding from the Heritage Council. Funding did come for the
initial restoration phase which was overseen by Jim Higgins. This
built on the extensive work done over the years by Michael
Kearney who has now retired but maintains an active interest in
the restoration work. Jim has the helpful support and
encouragement of Martin Lydon and Frank Clancy in seeing the
project to fruition and it is hoped that the buildings will be fully
restored by 2014. A lot of great work has been done on the
structure. The old building is waiting to be awakened from its
slumber where it can live into the future by showing it’s past.
There is great potential here and it would be great to see the Old
Waterworks operating as a museum showing off some of our
Industrial heritage within a short walking distance from the centre
of Galway City. Here there is a great opportunity to demonstrate
and educate enthusiastic students and the general public of the
history of the water works in Galway where they can see the
developments across its history.
Redmond Burke
Fawsitt Sarah, Chronicling the course of Galway’s first waterworks, 2003 The Irish Architectural Archive,
20 Apr 2012, The Irish Architectural Archive,
20 Apr 2012, The Irish Architectural Archive,
20 Apr 2012, 20 Apr
8835584798fbe03e4f33daa8d829779b, Hydraulic ram water pumps, 20
Apr 2012, designing a
Hydraulic Ram Pump, National Census 1901 and 1911
f, 25 Apr 2012
nuigalwayshistory.html, 25 Apr 2012, Frank Rishworth, 30 Apr
2010, Breast wheel picture,
30 Apr 2010, Ramp pump picture, 30 Apr 2012
The National Archives Of Ireland Provides
On-line Access To A Very Useful Resource
Patria McWalter
The National Archives have undertaken a 5 year project to
catalogue to international archival standards the registered
papers of the Office of Chief Secretary of Ireland from 1818 to
1852. The Crowley Bequest Project aims to facilitate public access
to one of the most valuable sources of original material for
research on Ireland in the first half of the nineteenth century. It
involves the archival listing of each item in the collection, and also
the conservation of the collection, with represents around 834
boxes containing approximately 1¼ million documents.
According to Dr. Julie Brooks, Project Archivist, “…the records of
the Chief Secretary’s Office constitute one of the most valuable
collections of original source material for research into Ireland in
the nineteenth and early twentieth century. They offer a rich
source for scholars of Irish political, social, economic, labour and
women’s history, as well as for local historians and genealogists.
The registered papers comprise the incoming letters, petitions,
memoranda, accounts, reports, and returns, received by the Chief
Secretary’s Office. Crucially, as well as including material relating
to all aspects of the administration of the country, a large
proportion of the registered papers are comprised of letters and
petitions from individuals and organizations across Ireland, on a
wide variety of topics relating to national importance, as well as
personal stories and plights. The registered papers, therefore, are
much more than the ‘official’ records of government; they offer a
window into the Ireland of the period.
The papers contain material relating to patronage; job
applications; appointments to government civil and military
posts; public health; fever epidemics; hospitals and asylums;
prisons and penitentiaries; crime and punishment; transportation
of convicts; the Irish judiciary and law courts; public works;
construction of roads bridges, canals and harbours; drainage of
bogs; Irish fisheries; trade and manufacture; early trade union
activity; famines; emigration; agrarian unrest; political
disaffection; illicit distillation; smuggling; education; poor relief;
charitable institutions; Catholic emancipation; religion; and
ecclesiastical appointments, to name but a few.1”
A keyword search of the database gives details of the related
records. For instance a search for ‘Claddagh’ results in one result,
a letter, dated July 1822, from Alexander Nimmo regarding the
establishment of public works in the harbor. If a researcher is
interested in viewing the original the reference code,
CSO/RP/1822/370, is required to request it when visiting the
National Archives in Dublin.
National Archives, (May 2012)
A search for ‘Galway’ provides some 500 results, relating to a
range of issues from correspondents from the whole county.
Examples of the subject matters are for instance;
• requests for government employment, such as
• a petition from Messrs James Knight and Peter D’Arcy,
Galway, County Galway: in opposition to shopkeeper, Edward
Murphy, for selling gun powder (CSO/RP/1818/376),
• a letter of recommendation for work of Dr Thomas L
Whistler amongst the people of Galway (CSO/RP/1822/796),
• a letter from Georgina Blake, 5 Gardiners Row, Dublin,
requesting financial support for Royal [marble] Quarry, Merlin
Park, County Galway (CSO/RP/1822/42) and
• a letter from Dr Edward Trevor, concerning arrangements for
relatives of convicts to be embarked on convict ship to New
South Wales (CSO/RP/1821/594).
The cataloguing project is made possible by a bequest from the
late Professor Francis J. Crowley, an American born of Irish
parents. In his will he bequeathed most of his estate to the
Republic of Ireland to be used for the preservation of records of
the history of the Irish people.
The project, and the website, is the result of 4 years work, and is
a good example of how the availability of funds to archives can
have in very meaningful and worthwhile results. Funding and
projects such as this can enhance a collection’s value and
accessibility, and by conservation to protect and extend its life.
The on-line catalogue, available at, should indeed be a
very useful finding aid and research tool to a whole array of
Patria McWalter, Archivist, Galway County Council
G A L W A Y ’ S
Captain Senan Meskell.
A Life in Service of Galway’s Port
By Derrick Hambleton.
Capt. Senan Meskell was Mary Hambletons (nee Ryan) Great
Grand Uncle. We lived for twelve years in his former home at No.
5 New Docks when we came over from London to live in Galway
in 1979. Mary’s only memory of him was as a schoolgirl, at the
time when she used to come up to Galway during the summer
holidays, from Limerick where she was from, to travel out to the
Aran islands to spend her summer in the Gaeltacht. She
remembers the smell of, and his fondness for brandy.
Though I never met the man (he died
on Good Friday 1962) I believe he
was a unique character in Galway;
and a man who had a great part to
play in forming the maritime history
of the city and in developing the
west of Ireland’s coastline, and in the
growth of its marine trade. Much of
his contribution is now forgotten as
Galway and its Docks are a changed
place. There should be more regard
for preserving any little part of this
important sector of city heritage,
especially with the scale of the
development taking place and more
In the grey Galway, of the early 1900’s, through to the mid 1950’s
when he retired his contribution to the development of Galway’s
maritime trade was vast and spanned over 40 years. This surely
deserves to be remembered but isn’t. We still have some old
black & white photographs and a few newspaper cuttings along
with most of his old sea charts and some other materials. We
believe that much more information on him might be gleaned
from the National Library and from other sources. Some personal
recollections of older people in the Claddagh and the Aran
islands could still be recorded. There is an old song in Irish about
the old Dun Aengus ferry and its skipper, Captain Meskell, which
is still remembered in the Aran islands. We would love to have the
words of this song if anyone has them. There is also a piece of
looped film footage in which he features, I remember coming
across it when it was being shown at an exhibition at the Galway
City library some years ago.
Unfortunately, Mary’s late brother Gerard gave away many pieces
of this material to a cousin (in Foynes I believe) who was intending
to write a book about Meskell. Since Ger died in 2002 I have no
way of finding out if any of this happened. I think that Ger lent
many other old photographs and ships documents as well. I
remember having in the house the original ships registration
papers, on linen, relating to some of the old boats he once owned
and that Meskell kept in Galway Docks.
His obituary in the Connacht Tribune, was written by someone
who obviously knew him well, but who remained anonymous, but
who stated that “he helped bring Liners to Galway”. Born on the
7th October 1880 in Askeaton, Co. Limerick (though it is
sometimes said that he came from Kilrush in Co. Clare), Senan
Meskell went to sea on small craft plying the River Shannon and
from what we understand, he first became a river pilot after
sailing as second mate, and then became a mate on ships
belonging to Glasgow company, Paton & Hendry.
Having received his Master Certificate in 1905, he continued to
sail with that company, then, J.N. Russell and Sons of Limerick
before he joined the Limerick Steamship Co., on their regular
Liverpool to the west coast of Ireland cargo service.
He came to work and live in Galway in 1912, still working for the
Limerick Steamship Co., taking command of their newly acquired
S.S. Dún Aengus on the Galway to Ballyvaughan and Aran Islands
service. He held that position until 1935, while at the same time
working as the Outside Pilot, which entailed boarding Liners and
other large ships off the Aran Islands. The work also involved
escorting them into Galway Bay to their final anchorages off
Mutton Island, or, if they were small enough into the docks.
Meskell subsequently became Chief Pilot at the Port of Galway,
and retained this position for over 20 years until his retirement.
Early years in Galway:
In July 1912, the M.V. Duras was replaced by the M.V. Dún
Aengus. The Duras was kept in Galway for towage duties and
relief work before being finally sold off. The Dún Aengus was built
in 1912 for the Congested Districts Board and was one of the first
steamships on the west coast. She used 5 tonnes of coal per
round trip to the Aran Islands.
During the Civil War, the Dún Aengus was commanded by the
State forces for a short period, when she was used as a munitions,
and hospital ship. She once carried 200 troops from Galway to
Clarecastle, and on another occasion 300 troops from Galway to
Cappa Pier and to Foynes in Co. Limerick. She was also used in
1936, to ferry several hundred men of General O’Duffy’s Irish
Brigade, in a storm, to rendezvous with a Spanish ship at the head
of Galway Bay where the men boarded the ship that was to take
them to Spain to fight on Franco’s side in the Spanish Civil War.
In May 1947, she ran aground at Kilronan, Inishmaan. The crew,
and twenty passengers were all rescued, and the 14 head of cattle
which had already been loaded swam safely ashore. This made
life difficult for the islanders, who had a lot of cattle awaiting
shipment to Galway for the annual May Fair. There was no other
ship in the area capable of carrying cattle at that time.
She was eventually salvaged by a Glasgow firm and shortly after,
resumed service. I believe that there was some sort of
government inquiry afterwards, and a hearing into the
circumstances of the grounding.
The development of Galway Docks was always in competition
with the Port of Cobh, Co. Cork, as both had become connected
to Dublin by rail in the mid 19th century. This was an important
feature for the speedy delivery of the Royal Mails, and
passengers, who were thence transported to America by sea.
The Galway Harbour Commissioners were always trying to gain
advantage over Cobh, which had facilities to tie-up larger vessels
alongside the quay wall. While in Galway the larger ships had to
anchor off Mutton Island, and use a tender to land passengers
and offload mails.
“It was while on a refit trip to Cobh in 1927 with the ‘Dún
Aengus’, that Meskell was invited on-board one of the North
German Lloyd liners, where he first met one of that company’s
Directors. A chance conversation he had with that German
businessman led to him telegraphing Galway to get someone
down on the overnight train from the Harbour Commissioners. It
was from that chance meeting that the scene was set for Galway
to once again regain its lost Liner trade.
After almost two years of preparation, negotiation, meetings and
conferences with disappointments and heartbreaks but finally,
triumph, the following year saw the Liner ‘Muenchen’ piloted into
Galway Port by Capt. Meskell and a new era had begun for the
Port. Behind it all one person loomed larger than all the others in
the ultimate achievement and that was Senan Meskell, for it was
he who first drew the attention of the representatives of the Lloyd
Line to the possibilities and in the ultimate it was the technical
considerations, anchorages, freedom from fog, tender services,
on all of which he had to advise and later operate that decided
the directors to use Galway.
How intolerant he was in those days of the comings and goings
and speechmaking of public representatives and officials, all part
of the general campaign, but to him a waste of time. A favourite
saying of his then and later when officialdom and red-tape
irritated him was ‘my job is to keep water under her keel and not
miss the tide’. And how he lived up to the latter in the early days
when the lack of facilities could mean a delay of up to six hours if
a tide was missed.
How he drove himself and his crew, men like Mike Folan, Tom
Anderson, Winters and the rest who responded so nobly and
often said they could never let him down. The chances he took
which a more cautious captain would not take were to him
carefully calculated risks the results of which subsequently fully
justified his action. In this way he was primarily responsible for the
reputation which Galway Bay built up as a safe Transatlantic portof-call”.
For the next decade, until WW2, he piloted into Galway many of
the Liners of all the major transatlantic shipping companies
‘Cunard’, ‘White Star Line’, ‘Holland America Line’ etc.
Shortly after the outbreak of war, Meskell acted as pilot for the
Norwegian tanker ‘Knute Neilson’ as she was bringing survivors
into Galway from the Donaldson Liner ‘Athenia’ which had been
sunk by torpedo from a German U Boat. The ‘Athenia’ with 1,400
passengers on board was sunk some 250 miles west of Inishtrahull
on the morning of 4th September, 1939. It was the first civilian
vessel to be sunk, just after the commencement of war.
A telegram had reached Galway Harbour Master Captain Tom
Tierney asking that provision be made to receive 430 crew and
passengers who were rescued by the Norwegian tanker. Just as
the survivors were boarding the tender ‘Cathair na Gaillimhe’ in
the bay, the Irish Lights tender ‘Isolda’ passed seaward at full
speed. She sailed in response to another wireless message which
had been received from the ‘Bosnia’ a Cunard White Star cargo
ship which was being shelled about 100 miles west of the Aran
Islands. It later confirmed that all but one of the ‘Bosnia’s’ crew
were picked up by another Norwegian ship. For hundreds of
people waiting on the quayside in Galway, the grim truth was
driven home, that the War was really on. The S.S. Isolda was later
attacked and sunk by a bomber off the Saltee islands, Co.
Wexford on December 19th 1940. One of the early incidents of
the war years, recorded on camera, was the visit to Galway in
June 1940 of the American liner ‘Washington’. The wartime
events in the Low Countries and in France and the expected
Blitzkrieg in Britain caused the American Government to urge its
own nationals to leave Ireland and Britain at once. About 2,000
Americans came through Galway, some staying for a week or two
prior to departure.
A newspaper photograph we have shows Meskell on the bridge
of the ‘Cathair na Gaillimhe’ with the ‘Washington’ anchored off
in the distance, with Meskells own ‘Nab’ drawn up alongside the
American vessel. Meskell owned several small boats in his time in
The ‘Nab’ was a motor vessel which he kept at the docks,
together with the ‘Éire’ a miniature steam vessel. Both of these
were looked after by Pat Lee. The tender ‘Cathair na Gaillimhe’
also ran excursions to Ballyvaughan, Co. Clare from Galway
Docks. But having been idle through most of the war years she
was sold for ₤1,000. She was towed to Cork in 1948, where she
was scrapped.
Meanwhile, Captain Meskell was an authority on navigation on
the west coast and one of the best known seamen of his time. He
taught navigation to students at GTI and made the fullest use of
every opportunity to develop Galway as a port and was one of its
greatest champions for almost half a century.
The Aran islanders loved him. He never let them down if humanly
possible and in the most vile weather, when one captain in a
thousand would not attempt it he would make it to the islands to
land essential supplies. Following his retirement he went to live in
Limerick with relatives, but he could not stay away from the city
of his adoption, and he returned to live out his days in Galway at
the old house. One of Mary’s maiden aunts, Maisie, came up from
Limerick acting as his housekeeper and to care for him until he
died. He became a well known figure sitting outside on the
window sill on fine evenings, chatting to old cronies and watching
vessels come and go. He had been pre-deceased by his wife
Kathleen, she died on St. Stephen’s day 1950 (Kathleen was taller
than him), and when he died on Good Friday 1962, he was buried
alongside her in Bohermore cemetery in a tomb he had already
designed for Kathleen and himself.
During the hard times and good in Galway, he had helped get
jobs for many young Claddagh men on merchant vessels passing
through the docks. Many a man started his career at sea through
the efforts of Captain Meskell. He became, at the invitation of
Bishop Browne, a trustee of the Claddagh Hall, where young men
from the Claddagh learned net mending and seamanship skills.
He taught the art of navigation at the Galway Technical Institute
and became a friend of many personalities. Included among these
was the Lord Killanin who, as a young law student in Cambridge
worked in his summer holidays on board the ‘Dún Aengus’.
Killanin once talked to me by phone from his home in Dublin, just
before his own death in 1994, about the times he had with
Meskell. Killanin remembered this relationship involving ‘the
consumption of a lot of drink in DeLargey’s’.
G A L W A Y ’ S
I have an original letter he wrote to Meskell, when he was a
student of 24, written from his college accommodation in
Cambridge, in which he talked about being ‘very sad’ about not
having the capital to purchase a boat, the ‘Seaflower’, a boat that
he had looked at with Meskell. Killanin had some scathing
comments to make about the state of modern Galway and it’s loss
of character, with all the new buildings etc, which made him ‘very
Meskell, himself had a history of conflict with officialdom within
the Galway Harbour Commissioners, and in 1938 an attempt was
made to reduce his involvement in the Galway Pilotage. This
emanated from moves made by them to give away some of his
pilotage work to another man. This was strenuously fought by
Meskell, who had numerous letters of support attesting to his
‘right to defend his hard-won livelihood and to claim the
protection of the Commissioners as an old servant who had given
them unstinted service’.
There was also a time when there were letters written to the
‘Connacht Tribune’ berating the failure of the Commissioners,
and Galway Corporation for their failure to provide proper port
terminal facilities for passengers disembarking at the docks.
Oliver St. John Gogarty, Councilor Fintan Coogan Senior and the
Very Rev. Dr. Michael Browne, Bishop of Galway all regularly
wrote letters to the papers reflecting on the fact that while Cobh
got government aid for a sustainable tender, ‘Galway had to rely
on CIE’ who were contracted by government to run the ferry
services to the islands.
One other incident which demonstrates his character was when,
at an advanced age in 1948, he heard shouts for help outside the
house and went out to see a young Michael Murray (still hale and
hearty), who had fallen into the docks. Meskell, who was then into
his 60’s dived in and rescued Michael from almost certain death.
All of above information was gleaned from family members and
from Meskell’s obituary printed in the ‘Connacht Tribune’. Also
many collected news clippings, and bits from the late Brendan
O’Donnell’s book on Galway ‘A Maritime Tradition’. I am sure that
with a little more effort, much of Meskell’s interesting life story could
be put together in the form of a book. And one day I will do it.
The Mesolithic in the West – Reviewing
the Evidence. Jim Higgins, Michael
Gibbons, Myles Gibbons & Rosemary
In many ways recent research confirms the view expressed in
many of our articles written over the last 20 years. We have
sought to set the early prehistoric material from the River Corrib
in particular and the riverine and coastal Late Mesolithic finds of
the West of Ireland generally in a wider context and to show that
there was a significant Mesolithic presence in the Corrib.
One could argue for a ‘Late Mesolithic Landscape’ in the Galway
Bay Region which involved movement of people following
maritime, riverine and lacustrine resources as food on a seasonal
basis over a large area around what was at that stage a shallower
bay and a much wider Corrib River and Lakeland landscape.
Some areas were very frequently visited for trade in stone for
tools and were complis networking sites for trade for hunter
gatherers. There may have been many places where stone was
quarried and worked for tools but are of the pivotal areas and
were on the south side of Galway Bay at Fisherstreet, Doolin
where a recently discovered site found by a local woman Elaine
O’Malley in 2009 is very important.
In terms of linking the new evidence and building up a picture of
early prehistory in the West of Ireland this is at Fanoremore Co.
Clare. At this location over the last two years Michael, Clodagh
and Elaine Lynch with volunteers from Burren Beo and students
from various universities have been making an immense
contribution to our understanding of aspects of Irish prehistory.
At the southern edge of the Bay the remnants of what must have
been a series of coastal middens occur. Some of these are almost
destroyed by wave action while others are much better preserved
periwinkles and cockles. The tool types include ground stone
axes of shale or Mudstone probably from the Fisherstreet Doolin
area along with elements of a broad-blade lithics tradition using
the same material. One artifact may possibly be a portion of a
partly finished roughout for a Moynagh Point though only a small
fragment of the artifact remains. An elongated tabular piece of
shale, probably from the Doolin area was also found. Several of
these are found among the Corrib finds and would probably have
been of an ideal shape for the manufacture of a projectile-head
like a Moynagh Point. This was found in two pieces separately in
two excavation seasons.
The axes made of shale or Mudstone from the same purtative NW
Co. Clare source have also turned up in numbers further to the
North and NE of Galway Bay and from the 1930s to 1950s many
examples which are now in the National Museum of Ireland have
been found in Tawin Island.
Excavations at Oranmore Co. Galway from the Oranmore to
Galway sewage pipeline in the early 1990’s provided evidence for
a Mesolithic presence. Some axe fragments of shale or mudstone
from site (Higgins 2000, 86-7) may be Late Mesolithic or early
Neolithic while some of the debitage may derive from a broad
blade lithic manufacture may also be of Late Mesolithic date. Half
a Bann flake from the site is of typical Late Mesolithic type
(Higgins 2000 op cit.).
Further North along Galway Bay dense shell midden deposits
were found in the grounds of Renville House in Renville park
(Oranmore) in the 1990s. There are reports of the discovery by
workmen of several mudstone/shale axeheads at that stage
during the making of pathways in the park (Paul Duffy pers.
The mudstone axes of North West County Clare again turn up in
large numbers in the Galway area. Several are from the Claddagh
area, formerly in the Claddagh Ring Museum, Quay Street and
are now in the National Museum of Ireland (NMI), Dublin and
include at least one of the mudstone/shale axes, a large number
of axes and fragments of ground stone axes of the same type,
seemingly of identical geology from the River Corrib between
Dangean and Menlo in particular. Many of these and a range of
other lithics which were found by divers in the Corrib in the 1980s
and previously in the NMI now form part of the extensive
prehistoric exhibition in Galway City Museum/Musaem Cathrach
na Gaillimhe.
While a good range of the material found in the River Corrib is
now in Galway City Museum some of the artefacts are
unaccounted for. A midden at Tullybeg near Renvyle Co. Galway
which was sampled and radiocarbon dated but not excavated
dates from the Late Mesolithic period. The midden material
consists mainly of periwinkles with the occasional dogwhelk and
limpet. No artefacts, animal bones or charcoal have been noted
at the site (Murray 2009, 1-3). The samples returned radiocarbon
dates of 5783±47 Before Present (UBA – 8883) and 6021±39 BP
(UBA – 10230), these give calibrated dates of Cal B.C. 4498-4026
and Cal B.C. 4756-4325 respectively.
Lynan 1922 mentions another midden site in the nearby townland
of Tullymore. No dating evidence for this site is yet known
however. The Belderrig area of North Mayo was previously best
known for its Neolithic settlement evidence and its tombs and
field systems. In recent years however the excavation at Belderrig
has produced occupation evidence. Late Mesolithic stone tools
charred chestnuts and fish bones but no molluscs. This material
spans from the mid 5th to mid 4th millennium B.C. (Warner and
Rice, 2007). The expanding evidence suggests that the presence
of Mesolithic peoples in the Galway Bay area and West of the
Shannon was widespread not rear, the voyage of discovery
Higgins, J. (2000) “260 Oranmore Sewerage Scheme” in Bennett I (ed.)
Excavations 1998, Summary Accounts of Archaeological Excavations in
Ireland, Bray, 2000, 84-87.
Higgins, J. (2000A) “310 Oranmore Sewerage Scheme in Bennett, I (ed.)
Excavations 1999 Summary Accounts of Archaeological Excavations in
Ireland, Bray 2000, 106-107.
Hughes, K.A. et al (2004) “Marine 04 Marine Radiocarbon Age Calibration,
26-0 ka B” Radiocarbon, 46 (2004), 1059-1086.
Lynam, E.W. (1922) “Prehistoric Monuments at Rinvyle, Co. Galway”, Journal
of the Royal Society of Antiquities of Ireland, 52 1922, 164-8.
Morahan, L. (2000) “311 Oranmore Site 28, 312 Oranmore Site 27, 313
Oranmore Site 17, 314 Oranmore Site 25” in Bennett, I (ed.) Excavations
1999 Summary Accounts of Archaeological Excavations in Ireland, Bray 2000,
Murray, E. (2009) “A Late Mesolithic Shell Midden at Tullybeg, Co. Galway”,
Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society 61, 2009.
Murray, E.V. (2007) “Molluscs and Middens: The Archaeology of ‘Irelands
Early Savage Race’ in Murphy E. and Woodhouse N. (eds.) Environmental
Archaeology in Ireland, Oxford 2007, 119-135.
Reimer, P.J., Mc Cormac, F.G., Moore, J., Mc Cormick, F. and Murray, E.V.
(2002) “Marine Radiocarbon Resevoir-Connections from the mid to late
Holocene in the Eastern Sub-Polar North Atlantic”, Holocene, 12 (2) 2002,
Warner, G. and Rice, K. (2007) Excavations in 2007 at Belderrig, Co. Mayo,
Stratigraphic Report Unpublished Report, University College Dublin, 2007.
Driscoll, K. (2006) The Early Prehistory in the West of Ireland. Investigations
into the social archaeology of the Mesolithic West of the Shannon.
Unpublished M. Litt. Thesis, Department of Archaeology, NUI Galway.
Gosling, P. (ed.) (1993) Archaeological Inventory of the County Galway Vol. 1,
West Galway, Dublin, 1993.
Fieldwork around Rusheen Bay yields new
archaeological folklore and place-name
heritage. Jim Higgins, Michael Gibbons
and Seán Ó Coisdealabha.
Fieldwork around Rusheen Bay and along the inner parts of
Galway Bay has led to the discovery of a number of previously
unknown archaeological sites and features. The field work has
also led to the identification of several Irish language placenames and folklore concerning the local topography. This
fieldwork is ongoing and is a continuation of work elsewhere
around Galway where new aspects of the local heritage continue
to be explored in an investigative and holistic manner.
At Rusheen Bay which is an important bird sanctuary and an area
of outstanding natural beauty and natural heritage significance, a
large weir of granite is visible in the wide river outlet to the sea
from the Lough Rusheen. Built of granite, the feature is difficult to
date as the stonework is untooled. Nearby along the coast the
cliff faces at Seawood point have middens. One Bronze Age date
was published some years ago from the cliff face at Silver Strand.
Ridges or ‘lazy-beds’ which occur on the edge of a cliff face and
which have been completely eroded away by centuries (or
millennia) of wave action were also found during fieldwork. These
narrow ridges may have been used for the cultivation of cereals.
The present sea level gives a false impression of what the
coastline of Galway would have looked like in prehistory. Between
Barna and as far east as Silver Strand a forested landscape of peat
with prehistoric trees embedded in it extended intermittently
between An Spideál and Bearna. It would seem that parts of this
drowned forest extended along parts of Silver Strand down to the
1950s or early 1960s when its last remnants were removed.
An early Neolithic boat found on the coast near Bearna some
years ago was embedded in peat and was accompanied by deer
antlers and various artifacts. It is now displayed in the Galway
Atlantiquarium at Salthill and is being preserved in water as part
of a joint project involving co-operation between the
Archaeology Department NUI Galway and the National Museum
of Ireland and the Heritage Council. Boats such as this may have
provided a means of transport to-and-from across Galway Bay
which in prehistory was much shallower than it is now. New
discoveries on Lough Rusheen, ancient piers at Mutton Island,
Roscam and Oranmore Castle and a history of other new sites
continue to add to our knowledge.
Galway’s Titanic Links
By Tommy Houlihan
This year marks the 100th anniversary of one of the greatest
disasters in maritime history. The tendrils of the terrible event
were to reach out over the years and touch the lives and
consciousness of many communities. One such community to
have a heightened awareness of that fateful night of the 14th
April 1912 when the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg and sank with
a loss of 1500 souls was St. John’s Terrace, Henry Street, Galway.
Some years following the sinking of the Titanic a survivor, Eugene
Daly and his family, went to live in number 7 on that street.
Eugene Daly, son of an RIC policeman, was born in Athlone, Co.
Westmeath, on 23rd January 1883. His father suffered a fatal
injury during a riot in Belfast, to where he had been drafted, on
the 12th July 1895. This was to have a profound effect on Eugene
and was to shape his future outlook in the years ahead. Eugene,
as the eldest, found himself taking on the responsibilities of
helping his bereaved mother take care of the family. Young Daly
went to work in the Athlone Woollen Mills and his mother
augmented the family income by taking in boarders. Eugene was
G A L W A Y ’ S
an active young man with musical and sporting inclinations. He
was a member of Clann Uisneach, a local pipe band in Athlone.
He was also a keen sportsman engaged in rowing on the
Eugene progressed well in the Woollen Mills and in due course
became a skilled mechanic but decided, after some seventeen
years, to emigrate to America, to make his fortune, in 1912.
Eugene was a prudent person and had saved wisely over the
years. This enabled him to pay £7-15s for his ticket and to have a
reasonable reserve to support himself upon arrival.
Having survived, by sheer luck, the sinking of the Titanic by
clinging to an upturned collapsible lifeboat, Eugene was rescued
by the Carpathia which he disembarked, at New York, on the 18th
April 1912. Eugene went on to establish a new life for himself in
Eugene and Lil returned to Ireland in 1921 to enable them to care
for his mother who was unwell. His mother recovered and went
on to live into her nineties. However Eugene was reluctant to
return to America and eventually it was decided to settle in
Galway where he found employment in a local Woollen Mills and
he and Lil settled in St. John’s Terrace. There the Daly family were
to have a baby daughter, Marion (Máirín) and settled down in a
Galway community who were to embrace the family and maintain
a curiosity and fascination in Eugene’s experiences in the short
lived Titanic. Eugene became well known accordingly and his
local fame was enhanced by his musical ability. He continued to
play the bagpipes and flute. Eugene was particularly handy and
he became renowned for fixing clocks.
He found work as a mechanic readily and eventually obtained a
position with Otis Elevator Company in New Jersey. Eugene
continued to take an interest in Irish affairs and a document shows
that he contributed to Cumann Na Saoirse , an organisation
operating the Defence of Ireland Fund (see facsimile).
Titanic 1/10th Scale Model, Promenade, Salthill.
Receipt for donation to Cumann na Saoirse.
Eugene successfully filed a claim, against the White Star Line, for
the loss of his bagpipes, on which he had played Eirin’s Lament
on the ferry from Cobh to the Titanic. His monetary compensation
was reasonably prompt.
On a visit to Michael Harlow, a former next door neighbour of the
Daly family in St. John’s Terrace, this writer was to be enthralled
by Michael’s clear recall of his former famous neighbour. Michael’s
stories added life to cold print and corrected a number of
inaccurate tales. Truth is stranger than fiction and even more
fascinating. Recalling details of Eugene’s lucky survival, and
rescue from the cold Atlantic before hyperthermia might set in,
Michael reminded this writer that Eugene was aboard the rescue
ship Carpathia within some four hours thanks to wireless
telegraphy. Eugene’s survival was the result of a number of
accidents resulting in a favourable outcome for him.
In the years that followed Eugene was to serve briefly in the
American Army, (having called up in 1917), and, before setting off
to war he married Lillian (Lil) Caulfield a young Mayo lady, to
whom he had been introduced by her brother Jim, in New York.
Outside No. 7 St. John’s Terrace. Tom
Houlihan and Mick Harlow
Eugene, Marion (Máirín), Lil Daly
Michael Harlow also pointed out the curious history of St. John’s
Terrace. The houses were initially built to accommodate members
of the RIC together with families from the vacated Shambles
Military Barracks in an attempt to consolidate and protect the
families during a turbulent time in Ireland’s history. The allocation
of houses saw the RIC families occupying the houses to the West
and Army families occupying the East of the terrace.
Another neighbour, the late Kieran Dooley, told of Eugene’s
insistence that Titanic’s Third Class Passengers were corralled
below decks to enable the evacuation of the First and Second
Class passengers as a priority. Eugene insisted that Third Class
passengers were held at gunpoint initially. Eugene was one of
those to take the initiative to secure the release of the Third Class
passengers and enable them to attempt to escape. He was
instrumental in helping his cousin Maggie Daly and her
companion into lifeboat number 15. For many years Eugene
carried his ticket (No. 382651) with him and would willingly show
same upon request. Eugene’s fame would be further reinforced
with the release of the film “A Night to Remember” which was
based upon Walter Lord’s book of the same title and in which
Eugene is mentioned. When that film was shown in a local
cinema, The “Estoria”, he was guest of the manager Frank Rafter
at its premier showing.
During the early years of the Second World War Eugene’s
daughter, Máirín became friendly with a young local Galway tenor
Michael Joyce. Michael, who was the nephew of a former town
crier and bill poster Ned Joyce of Whitehall, had a very good
singing voice. Neighbour Michael Harlow had a dance band at
this time and tenor Michael Joyce sang with the band on many
occasions. Michael recalled Michael Joyce “having a voice like
Frank Sinatra”.
Young Michael Joyce was sponsored by a local merchant family
and after the War was sent to London and Rome for voice
training. It was thought that he might have a future owing to the
quality of his voice. During this period Máirín and Michael got
married and moved in with Eugene and Lil and spent some years
there before emigrating to America in 1952. By this time the
Joyce family had three children.
Eugene and Lil then lived alone for nine years in St. John’s
Terrace. Lil died in 1961 and is interred in New Cemetery
Bohermore. Eugene’s health declined over following few years
and neighbours could see that he needed someone to care for
him and so informed his daughter. Michael and Máirín invited
Eugene to go and live with them and so he did flying from
Shannon this time. He spent a short time with his family in
America before dying on October 5th 1965.
Thomas Houlihan, author
at Lil’s grave New Cemetery.
Eugene Daly is buried in St. Raymond’s Cemetery, The Bronx and
this writer intends to take a stone from Eugene’s wife’s grave in
the New Cemetery and place it on the grave in America. Likewise
a stone from Eugene’s grave will be placed on Lil’s grave in
A Night to Remember (Walter Lord, Penquin, London, 1981).
Titanic (Anton Gill, Channel 4 Books, 2010).
Titanic Exhibition (Greenwich ,London, 1995).
Anecdotal Folklore Sources
Kieran Dooley, Galway 2005.
Michael Harlow, Galway 2012.
A Night to Remember,directed by Ward Baker (1958).
The Henry Library: From Tuam To Galway,
By Ruairí Ó hAodha.
Tuam Cat hedr al a nd it s Books
Tuam became an important place from about the twelfth century
onwards, when Toirdelbach Ua Conchobair unusually for a
Connacht man secured the high-kingship of Ireland. He more than
anyone made Tuam a centre of the O’Connor dynasty and in the
year 1127 work began on St. Mary’s Cathedral, which became the
mother church of the Archdiocese of Tuam. The cathedral
remained in the hands of the Catholic community until the
sixteenth century when it passed to the Church of Ireland. In
1561, during the upheavals of the Reformation and the Tudor
subjugation of Ireland, a Limerick-born Jesuit named David Wolfe
made a discreet but extensive visitation of many of the churches
in Ireland on behalf of the Pope. In Tuam he met Henry VIII’s
recent appointment to the archbishopric, Christopher Bodkin.
Bodkin impressed Wolfe by informing him that he had restored
order and worship to St. Mary’s after three centuries of neglect.
He claimed that the cathedral had been used as a fortress and
stable by the local gentry and that he had seen to its liberation at
no little cost to himself and his family. Wolfe noted in his report
that the cathedral was well looked after, with all that was
necessary for the divine office, and although he stopped short of
using the term library, he noted that Tuam Cathedral has
numerous books.
Uilliam Ó Domhnuill (William Daniel) was the state-appointed
archbishop from 1609 to 1628. In collaboration with his
predecessor and brother-in-law Fearganainm Ó Domhnalláin
(Nehemiah Donelan), and with the help Domhnall Óg Ó hUigínn,
the ollamh or master of the bardic school at Kilclooney near
Tuam, he oversaw the translation into Irish and the printing of the
Greek New Testament in 1602 and of the Anglican Book of
Common Prayer in 1608. Daniel was a very scholarly man who
uniquely for his time moved with ease between the worlds of
English Puritanism and the native Irish schools and seems to have
been well respected by those of influence in both English and
Irish-speaking Tudor Ireland. He was educated in Cambridge and
became one of the first fellows of the newly-founded Trinity
G A L W A Y ’ S
College, as his name appears in the college’s inaugural charter.
He was moreover a bibliophile as is attested to by a book,
bearing his signature which survives to this day in the Armagh
Public Library.
On an inside flyleaf of the book, along with various scribbling in
Irish, English and Latin, is what can best be described as a
shopping list of about forty other “Bookes bought at London
1595 September”. Although he may have been buying them for
himself, the way he divided the list by subject; Divinitie, Historica,
Geometry etc. suggest that he may have been stocking up the
new college’s library. It is not known whether he left any books
behind him in Tuam though an original edition of his Irish New
Testament was part of the library of Archbishop Charles Bernard
which was put up for auction shortly after Bernard’s death in
1890. A notice which appeared in the Tuam Herald following the
auction recorded that his 1602 Tiomna Nuadh ar dTighearna agus
ar Slanaightheora Iosa Criosd Re HUilliam O Domhnuill sold for a
mere ten shillings. During the brief period of Irish independence
in the 1640s when the Protestant bishops removed themselves to
Galway, the Catholics returned to St. Mary’s and the along with
restoring the altars and interior, Archbishop John de Burgo
established a library within its walls, stocking it with books he had
purchased through Jesuit contacts on the continent.
From that time until the nineteenth century there is little mention
of books in St. Mary’s, though it is known that many of the
churchmen had extensive libraries of their own. One figure who
stands out is the enigmatic Jasper Robert Joly, the son of a
wealthy Anglo-Irish family who succeeded his father as the vicargeneral of Tuam around the time of the famine. He amassed a
huge collection of books, maps and prints over his lifetime and
had a particular interest in Celtic music, Irish topography and the
history of Revolutionary France. Although it is not known whether
he bequeathed anything to Tuam it is not unlikely, as the Joly
Collection, which was originally given to the RDS and passed to
the new National Library in 1890, has at least 23,000 items. In the
nineteenth century Tuam’s population grew and the arrival of the
railways opened the town to significant in-migration, much of it
Protestant. The cathedral was greatly extended to accommodate
the growing numbers, and in 1861 the ‘old cathedral’, now the
Synod Hall, was fitted out specifically as a chapter room and
library with ivory inlaid Italian Renaissance stall-work and
eighteenth century George McAlister-designed stained glass.
Symbolism still visible on the room’s south facing doorstep and an
ornate stained-glass window on the cathedral’s interior would
suggest that the library may also have doubled as the Masonic
lodge (No. 161), which was active in Tuam throughout the latter
half of the nineteenth century.
The Henr y Li br a r y
The refurbishment in 1861 would suggest that there were books
present before this time, though it is difficult to be certain, as
there is no catalogue extant any earlier than 1886. In 1881 at a
meeting of the Tuam Diocesan Council, the Reverend Joseph
Henry offered his own “large and well-stocked library and
bookcases to the Diocese”. Joseph Henry was born around 1821,
the son of Hugh Robert Henry and Elizabeth, the daughter of Sir
Robert Langrishe, Baronet. The Henry family originally came from
Co. Kildare, but Hugh settled at Toghermore House, an estate
close to Tuam. Many of the family served as magistrates and
Justices of the Peace. They were popular and benevolent
landlords, who took care of their tenants and contributed much to
the local community over many generations. Joseph Henry
studied at Trinity College, Dublin throughout the 1840s. He was
ordained in 1852 and briefly served in a parish in Co. Mayo before
taking up the post of Consular Chaplain in Lima, following in the
footsteps of his brother James who became a successful
merchant in Peru. He remained in South America for twenty years
during which he amassed a large collection of books before
returning to the parish of All Saints at Blackrock in Dublin.
By his will, which was proved in September 1885 he left his books
and £15 a year for the purchase of new stock to the Tuam
Diocesan Council. The library remained in the Synod Hall of St.
Mary’s until 1985. Over the years this older section of the
cathedral deteriorated and the books became damp. It was
decided that the library should remain within the diocese and so
they were removed to St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Galway.
In the 1990s a special group, the ‘St. Nicholas’ Library and
‘Heritage Project’ was established to oversee the collection’s
restoration and to record and publish the funerary monuments of
St. Nicholas.
The project carried out other conservation work also and hold
numerous heritage exhibitions including some on Galway’s
Architectural Heritage, Heraldry, the Connaught Rangers and the
Henry Library. The project which ran from 1990-1992 was directed
by Jim Higgins with Anna McHugh and Treasa Moore as
assistants. A number of trainees underwent a course in book
conservation at Marsh’s Library in Dublin. They cleaned, waxed
and carried out minor repairs on the books. In 2006 the Henry
Library was given on permanent loan to the Special Collection’s
section of the James Hardiman Library, NUI Galway where they
are now housed.
There were three categories of the Henry Library printed over the
years; one by John Drought of Dublin in 1886, a copy of which is
on microfilm at the National Library, a catalogue produced by the
‘Church of Ireland Printing Company’ in 1917, which no longer
appears to be extant, and a 1926 supplementary catalogue
printed by O’Gorman’s in Galway which covered works added to
the library between 1914 and 1926. The collection was fully recatalogued following restoration at St. Nicholas’s in the 1980s.
The Henry collection has been described as a classic example of
a late Victorian library, including as it does theological, biblical
and classical studies. There are over 4,000 books in the collection
and just 110 that are pre-1800 in date. A quick comparison of the
lists from the 1880s and 1990s show that despite an increase in
the volume of stock over a century, a sizeable number of titles
disappeared between moves, especially some of the oldest
material, which included very early editions of the works of
Thomas Aquinas, Jean Calvin and Erasmus. Amongst the early
books still present are three by St. Bonaventure from 1596, 1609
and 1647. It contains numerous works on history, geography,
topography and travel, with small number of interesting titles on
polar exploration. The library grew through purchase and some
stock like bibles and prayer books were added to it over the years
by the closure of Church of Ireland buildings. There is a fine
collection of Francis Frith photos of the English cathedrals and
there is a near complete set of the Achill Herald, printed by the
evangelical Irish Church Mission Society at their unique
settlement on Achill from the 1840s to the 1870s, which would
be of great value to researchers.
The library is understandably very theological, though it does
contain much that would interest the students of classical studies
and has a number of titles that may be of interest to students of
Irish history, including 17 volumes of the works of James Ussher,
Leland’s History of Ireland (1773), and Froude’s The English in
Ireland in the Eighteenth Century (1842-47). There is also a
complete set of Samuel Lewis’s topographical dictionaries of
Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. There are some
biographical works, and those of Irish interest include H.J.M.
Mason’s Life of William Bedell (1843), LeFanu’s Seventy Years of
Irish Life, Prime’s 1862 memoirs of the Westmeath-born printer
and preacher Rev. Nicholas Murray and the complete works and
correspondences of Jonathan Swift (1767). In terms of local
studies along with material relating to the ninetennth century
Church of Ireland, there’s the Tuam Diocesan Council Reports
covering almost a century, from 1871 to 1951, T. J. Westropp’s
study of the fort of Dún Aonghusa (1910), Hubert Knox’s Notes
on the early history of the dioceses of Tuam, Kilalla & Achrony
(1904), and Sirr’s A memoir of the Hon. Power LePoer Trench, Last
Archbishop of Tuam (1845). A small number of other titles, like
J.J. Gaskins Varieties of Irish History (1869), Hutton’s 1907 verse
edition of The Táin, James Murphy’s 1913 history of the 1798
rebellion, The Forge of Clohogue, R.H. Murray’s Revolutionary
Ireland and its Settlement (1911) and McCarthy’s Book of Irish
Ballads (1853) are also all noteworthy.
(1886, January). Catalogue of the books in the Tuam Cathedral Library.
Dublin. John T. Drought.
(1926). Supplementary catalogue of the Henry Library, 1926, in
connection with St. Mary’s Cathedral, Tuam. Galway. O’Gorman
Burke, O. J. (1882). The History of the Catholic Archbishops of Tuam.
Dublin. Hodges, Figgis and Co. 150-151.
Connors, T. G. (2001). Surviving the Reformation in Ireland (1534-80):
Christopher Bodkin, Archbishop of Tuam and Roland Burke, Bishop of
Clonfert. Sixteenth Century Journal, XXXII (2).
Estate Record: Henry (Toghermore). In NUI, Galway’s Landed Estate’s
Database. Retrieved from
Higgins, J. and Heringklee, S. (1992). Monuments of St. Nicholas
Collegiate Church, Galway, Galway, 1992.
Higgins, J., & Parsons, A. (Eds.). (1995). St. Mary’s Cathedral, Tuam: an
architectural, archaeological and historical guide, Galway. The Friend’s of
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Tuam, 97-103.
Higgins, J. (2006, Autumn). Teachers of Wisdom to Posterity: The Henry
Library donated to NUI, Galway. Oidhreacht na Gaillimhe/Galway’s
Heritage, Vol. 10.14.
Tallon, M. (1959). Church of Ireland Diocesan Libraries, Dublin. Library
Association of Ireland. 20-23.
At the Heritage
Stand at Volvo Ocean
Race 2012. James
Reynolds Galway
City Museum and
Rosemary Kiely
Galway Family History Society West
by Redmond Burke
Who am I, what combinations of families made me? These are
some of the many questions that we may ask ourselves when we
stop and look back to a time that is gone. When we do look back
to find out who we are, we are looking at a web or a structure
whose roots are branched in all directions. The curiosity begins
and the investigation into the Family becomes a reality and
construction of a family tree a target.
The next question is how do I begin and who do I ask? A great
deal of information can be gained from old photographs, letters,
talking to older members of your family and neighbours. In the
olden days there were no filing cabinets so many important
documents were kept safe between the pages of books such as
dictionaries or history books. If you ever took the time to scan
through old books at your grand parents house you may well find
old receipts, addresses of relations in the U.S.A and Britain. You
may even find cherished moments, membership cards of
organizations long gone. After gathering as much information as
is possible, you then decipher as much as you can and record it in
a basic understandable structure. You are now well on the way to
creating your family tree.
Over the past 20 years Family history research has expanded
because of overseas interests mainly from Australia and the
Unites States of America. Family history research really started in
Australia where a great amount of information has been gathered
and made available. I had in the past the need to acquire
information from Australia concerning local subject matters.
Family History Societies have sprung up in every County in Ireland
and have employed genealogies and heritage experts to help the
public to gather coveted information and create their family trees.
Galway Family History Society West Ltd. was established in 1985
to transcribe and computerize sources for genealogical research
in West Galway. The Society offers a full genealogical service for
West County Galway (an area stretching from Dunmore in the
East to Kinvara in the South, and as far west as the Aran Islands.
Galway Family History Society West is an accredited IFHF (Irish
Family History Foundation) County Genealogy Centre and, as
G A L W A Y ’ S
such, has compiled and made available its database of
genealogical records to Roots Ireland as a commitment to
genealogical and historical data. The work of computerizing and
updating the records is ongoing. The Galway Family History
Society West databases include parish church records of
baptisms, marriages and deaths, census returns and gravestone
inscriptions. The Company also facilitates a local training initiative
providing vocational employment skills.
Galway Family History Society West is located in St Joseph's
Community Centre, Ashe Road, Shantalla, Galway City, Ireland.
Consultations are by appointment only, the last appointment
15.30 Monday-Thursday, and 12.30 on Friday. Galway Family
History Society West can also be contacted by:
Email: [email protected]
Online Research:
Galway Family History Society West archives.
Article and photographs by Redmond Burke.
St. Nicholas Collegiate Church Galway, Tour
Guide by Bridget Clesham, Galway, April 2012,
Price €4, pp.32. ISBN 978-1-906886-41-7.
This is a small all colour general guide to Galway’s sole surviving
medieval parish church. It features some good colour
photographs of various elements of the church and provides
some basic information on the visible architectural elements and
monuments rather than concentrate on the detailed history of the
buildings. Part of the pictorial map of the 1660’s (rather than
1651-2) which is reproduced in the booklet shows the church as it
was in the 17th century. The so-called ‘Crusader’s Tomb’ (for
which there is no evidence if any real link with the crusades) is
among the monuments featured. A selection of the carvings,
stained glass and views of the interior and exterior of the building
give a pleasant overview of some of the more interesting items in
this fascinating building. The three crowned hammers on one of
the 17th century gravestones are not the occupational symbols of
a goldsmith but are rather elements of the heraldry of a guild of
blacksmiths. The oculus in the chapel and in some of the windows
were alterations of the 19th century in that, though they are
original features, they were moved from elsewhere in the church
as 19th century illustrations were done for James Hardiman show.
A short ‘Further Reading’ section would be a valuable addition to
this neat little guide book. The quality of the paper and
photographs is high and the text is clear and readable and would
undoubtedly be an invitation to some visitors to delve deeper
into a study of this wonderful building.
Diary of Heritage Week Events 2012
H E R I T A G E W E E K E V E N T S C H E D U L E FO R T H E W E E K O F T H E 1 8 TH A U G U S T 2 0 1 2 T O 2 6 TH A U G U S T
D ate
Sat. 18
201 2
Eve nt
Au g.
S u n . 1 9 th
Aug. 2 01 2
M o n . 2 0 th
Aug. 2 01 2
T u e s . 2 1 st
Aug. 2 01 2
Wed. 22
Aug. 2 01 2
Loc atio n
Maritime photographic heritage
Galway City Museum/Musaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe, Long walk, Galway city.
The river Corrib research project. Talks and site
visit to Terryland castle.
Terryland Castle, Dyke Road, Galway city.
Galway’s photographic cycling heritage
exhibition/Oidhreacht rothaíocht na Gaillimhe.
Westside Library, Westside, Galway city.
Galway City Museum/Musaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe, Long walk, Galway city.
Maritime photographic heritage
Tour of new Cemetery Bohermore
Main gate at new Cemetery Bohermore, Bohermore, Galway city.
Guided tour of Mutton Island Lighthouse
Meet at inner gate to Mutton Island Lighthouse 10 minutes before starting time of
tour, Mutton Island Lighthouse, Mutton Island , Galway city.
Maritime photographic heritage
Galway City Museum/Musaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe, Long walk, Galway city.
Tour of new Cemetery Bohermore
Main gate at new Cemetery Bohermore, Bohermore, Galway city.
Guided tour of Mutton Island Lighthouse
Meet at inner gate to Mutton Island Lighthouse 10 minutes before starting time of
tour, Mutton Island Lighthouse, Mutton Island , Galway city.
Galway’s photographic cycling heritage
exhibition/Oidhreacht rothaíocht na Gaillimhe.
Westside Library, Westside, Galway city.
Maritime photographic heritage
Galway City Museum/Musaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe, Long walk, Galway city.
Tour of new Cemetery Bohermore
Main gate at new Cemetery Bohermore, Bohermore, Galway city.
Guided tour of Mutton
Island Lighthouse
Meet at inner gate to Mutton Island Lighthouse 10 minutes before starting time of
tour, Mutton Island Lighthouse, Mutton Island, Galway city.
4 . Galway’s photographic cycling heritage
11.00 2012.
Westside Library, Westside, Galway city.
exhibition/Oidhreacht rothaíocht na Gaillimhe.
urs . 2 3rd
T h urs.
F r i . 2 4 th A u g .
201 2
S a t . 2 5 th A u g .
201 2
Maritime photographic heritage
Galway City Museum/Musaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe, Long walk, Galway city.
Guided tour of Mutton Island Lighthouse
Meet at inner gate to Mutton Island Lighthouse 10 minutes before starting time of
tour, Mutton Island Lighthouse, Mutton Island, Galway city.
Galway’s photographic cycling heritage
exhibition/Oidhreacht rothaíocht na Gaillimhe.
Westside Library, Westside, Galway city.
Maritime photographic heritage
Galway City Museum/Musaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe, Long walk, Galway city.
Guided tour of Mutton Island Lighthouse
Meet at inner gate to Mutton Island Lighthouse 10 minutes before starting time of
tour, Mutton Island Lighthouse, Mutton Island, Galway city.
Galway’s photographic cycling heritage
exhibition/Oidhreacht rothaíocht na Gaillimhe.
Westside Library, Westside, Galway city.
Medieval walled towns day tour and talk.
Browne Doorway, Eyre Square, Galway city.
Maritime photographic heritage
Galway City Museum/Musaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe, Long walk, Galway city.
Galway’s photographic cycling heritage
Westside Library, Westside, Galway city.
G A L W A Y ’ S
Mayor Launches Major New Exhibition
entitled Uisce agus Beatha/Water and
Life at Galway City Museum/Músaem
Cathracht na Gaillimhe.
Mayor of Galway Councillor Terry O’Flaherty who at present is
enjoying her second term as Major of the city and who’s interest
in Heritage is widely known recently launched Uisce agus
Beatha/Water and Life Exhibiton at the museum. The exhibit
which is curated by Dr. Jim Higgins, Galway City Heritage Officer,
is funded jointly by The Heritage Council and Galway City
Council. Below we reproduced the text of her speech at the
launch on Thursday the 5th of July 2012,
“I am delighted to be back in Galway City Museum/Músaem
Cathrach na Gaillimhe to launch what will undoubtedly be a very
important and enjoyable exhibition. I was here recently for the
first event of my current Mayorship and was struck by the great
rate of development of the museum and I must complement the
hard working staff on how well it looks. Last year the National
Museum of Ireland showed great faith and confidence in this
great museum by providing on loan one of the largest launches of
prehistoric and medieval artefacts ever entrusted on loan to a
newly designated museum in the state. This illustrates the high
regard that the National Museum has in this institution.
the Atlantic. Photographs ranging in date from the 1870’s to the
1970’s feature in this exhibition and looking through them it is
remarkable how Galway has changed in that short period of time.
What I like about the images is that most of them are not
professionally taken photographs but are contributed by
members of the public as a result of an appeal by the Heritage
Officer in the local newspapers and on our local radio, Galway
Bay Fm. The exhibition therefore is a popular community based
one, to which the people of the city were invited to contribute
their photographs. Like Galway’s Cycling Heritage exhibition this
one too will get plenty of use. It will be here at the museum
throughout the summer until Heritage Week in August and early
September after which it will go to the schools and the various
libraries around the city so that it can be enjoyed by all.
I would like to pay tribute to the Heritage Council and the
Heritage Offficer Scheme, through them every community
throughout Ireland has gained, through grant schemes and
encouragement from the council. Without the Heritage Council
funding (which has been severely cut in the last few years)
exhibitions like this would not be possible. The present exhibition
is also of course subsidized by Galway City Council through the
Heritage Office and this institution Galway City Council’s Músaem
Cathrach na Gaillimhe/Galway City Museum and everyone
involved should be proud of this wonderful display”.
The exhibition which I have the pleasure to launch today has
photographs which are not as ancient but is just as important in
heritage terms. It has been curated by our Heritage Officer Dr.
Jim Higgins who also curated the first exhibition held in the
Museum in 2006 when a wonderful exhibition entitled Conamar
Cathrach/Fragments of a City highlighted Galway’s wonderful
Medieval sculpture. The present exhibition Uisce agus Beatha,
Water and Life is an especially appropriate one for Galway as we
welcome the Volvo Ocean Race on its return visit to Galway.
Water and Life features images of the river, lake and sea and
people’s inter-relationship with the Corrib River, Galway Bay and
Galway’s N ew “Dead Museum” a t
NUI Ga lwa y – The Zoology a nd
Mar ine Bi ology Mus eu m.
There was a time down until the
late 1960’s when there was a world
of museums at NUI Galway. The
oldest part of the Quadrangle
built in the 1840’s used to be
home to museums of geology,
botany, zoology, archaeology and
was a substantial ethnographic or
folk-life collection of these
wonderful collections only one
now remains in the Quadrangle –
the Geology Museum.
For many years, until the 1990’s,
the Geology museum and its
immense historical and research
significance lay unrecognized until it was cleaned and recatalogued with a new useful guide to its collections published.
The zoological collections were rehoused mainly in the Arms de
Brún when they left the Quad but now an important collection of
specimens and models of Zoological and Marine-Biological
interest are on display in the Martin Ryan Institute at NUI Galway.
This collection is partly housed towards the rear of the foyer and
in a large room behind the foyer and is really worth a visit.
Rememberin g Galwa y’s Trawler Fleet
By P at ri ck J. C o nneel y
My name is Patrick Conneely. Formally of New Docks, Galway. I
come from a seafaring family; my grandfather was a fisherman like
his father before him. My own father was a Navy man, fisherman
and marine engineer.
I always felt bad that the Galway sailing trawlers had mostly been
forgotten. Galway had a large sailing trawler fleet until 1946.
These trawlers came into Galway Harbour once a year to the old
Mud Dock to have their bottoms scraped and scrubbed. They
mostly lay at anchor on the roads near Mutton Island. They
carried a crew of six with one or two buckos (deck boys). The
buckos stood at anchor-watch and maintained the vessel at
anchor. Unlike the Claddagh boats, the trawler men from Galway
Bay to Killybegs, in Donegal, and as far south as Kerry Head.
Galway trawlers typically fished for cod, haddock, halibut, john
dory, spotted plaice, dover sole, gray sole, mary sole, magrum,
gurnets, whiting, pollock, ling and a variety of pelagic fish,
whereas, the Claddagh fishing fleet limited themselves to herring,
pollock, cod and mackerel. Galway trawlers unloaded their fish by
small boats that were rowed to the steps at the Mud Dock just
yards from my home where I was born. The Galway sailing
trawlers were steered by a tiller, there was generally no
wheelhouse. They were a two-mast vessel, carrying main, mainsail, main-top, mizzen-mast, mizzen-top, fore-sail and jib. Galway
trawlers gave employment to many people including fishmongers
(people who worked in the ice factory, people in the
transportation business). These people were employed because
much of the fish was transported to O’Hanlon’s fish market in
Dublin by train. Galway trawlers carried blocks of ice in their holds
packed in sawdust.
Many of the crews lived in the Long Walk, Spanish Arch, Quay
Street, Cross Street, Flood Street, Merchant’s Road and
surrounding areas. Long Walk got its name because cordage was
measured from end to end by a crew member taking a ‘long walk’
where rigging was stretched and measured for various sailing
ships. During World War II – I fished with my dad aboard the
‘Decision’, the last of the Galway sailing trawlers. She had a
Gardiner marine engine installed as an auxiliary and was owned
by the Delargy family of New Docks, Galway. I joined the
merchant navy and all of my professional merchant mariners
papers refer to the place I was born, the New Docks, Galway. On
board the sailing trawlers, the trawl was hand-winched by four of
the crew. The work was hard and laborious but was rewarding at
times. In heavy weather, we sheltered at times in the lee of the
Aran Islands. Sometimes, we sent our fish to market by way of the
‘Dún Aengus’, the Aran Islands ferry. My schooling was at the
Monastery at Market Street at the Technical School for
seamanship and my navigation skills were learned from Captain
Wooley of the first port of Galway Sea Scouts.
The Galway trawlers of days gone by should not be forgotten by
the citizens of Galway. It is part of our memory, of our seafaring
heritage, not to be lost like the disappearing dreams of
yesteryear. I have in my memory the names of our past trawler
fishing fleet and they include the following: The Rambler and The
Sunshine owned by the Anderson Family of Galway. The Lord
Marmion (Motor-Sailer Trawler) owned by the O’Donnell Family of
G A L W A Y ’ S
Galway, The Ocean Queen, The Mountain Hare, The Claddagh
King, Morning Star, The Neptune (lost during World War II), The
Irishman, The Irish Leader, The Shamrock, The Premier, The
Successful and last but not least, The Decision.
Galaway Bay Trawler
Skipper & Engineer
Michael Brendan Conneely
Captain Wooleys 1st Port of Galway Seascouts.
Future Merchant Mariners pictured in 1947.
Patrick J. Conneely Snr. is among them in the second row
and second in from the right.
Patrick J. Conneely Snr. in the
stateroom of the Keltic Dawn.
Dead In teres ting. S tories from the
Gr ave yar ds of D ublin .
by S hane M ac Thomá is , M er cier Pre ss, Cor k,
2 0 12 , 19 0 p ag es , p r ic e € 1 2 .9 5 (So f t ba c k).
Stories from a number of Dublin City
graveyards feature in this book
Graveyard, the Hugenot and Jewish
Cemetery and Bully’s Acre. The
subject matter is fascinating, the
people and historic events, the
cemeteries themselves are all written
about in an accessible and well
written manner. The book contains a
variety of characters from Ann Devlin
to Zozimus.
The authors segment on Ann Devlin
puts flesh on her bones, so to speak.
She is often referred to almost as a footnote to Robert Emmet
and his Rising of 1803. In fact however she had a long and
significant pedigree and was a strong minded Republican activist
in her own right. Though Mac Thomáis refers to her as ‘Ireland’s
first revolutionary woman’, she was hardly the first. Her aunt was
married to a Dwyer man and was the mother of the Wicklow
revolutionary Michael Dwyer. After the 1803 Rising, Ann and the
rest of her family including her eight year old sister were all
arrested. Ann was interrogated and tortured. She was half hung
from a cart in the yard of Dublin Castle but refused to betray
Emmett. She died in poverty in 1851.
The topics of cholera, body snatching, plague, poverty and
tragedy all occur. Triumph over adversity also feature in the life of
Christy Browne for instance. Father Browne, the changes of the
Light Brigade, Brendan Behan, Nurse Elizabeth O’Farrell, Luke
Kelly, Thomas Steele, Fenian Graves, Civil War Graves and various
national figures of every political hue from Frank Ryan to Éamon
de Valera and Eoin O’Duffy, John Philpot Curnan and Daniel
O’Connell all feature. A fascinating and delightful read.
Highfi el d Memories - Scéalta Ghoi rt
A r d . Publi shed by H ighfi eld Pa rk R es ident s
A ss o ci a tio n . Dr . J i m H ig g in s .
Patrick J. Conneely’s Grandson,
P. J. drafting this article.
This book of 224 pages is a charming
social history of a modern housing estate
and its context within an earlier historic
and archaeological landscape. It is a very
easy read and has been contributed to by
a large number of writers, mainly people
who have lived in or grown up around the
Highfield Park area or who moved there
over the years.
The purpose of the book is to celebrate the Highfield community
according to the book’s ‘Foreward’ and this really is what it
succeeds in doing through history, anecdote, and pictures. Tony
Flannery, Frank McHugh, Fiona Falvey, Seán Stafford, Úna
Breathnach, Helen Spellman, Gary Corless, Micheál Maye, Cathy
McMenamon and Rónán Mac Gearailt are among those who
contributed to the book.
Nimmo’s Anecdotes an d Recipes
b y H ar ri et L ean d e r, T he Va rs ity Pre ss,
2 0 1 1 Pr ice € 2 0 .
A wonderful book and a great gift
for anyone who has dined at
Nimmo’s and for anyone who
would like to re-engage with the
experience by following Harriet’s
opened her restaurant at
Nimmo’s in 1991 after a previous
eaterie on the site ‘The Blue
Raincoat’ had closed its doors, it
continued as Nimmo’s until 2004
and it is now Ard Bia at Nimmo’s.
The book is a labour of love
featuring many anecdotes, reminiscences as well as being a great
cook book. Illustrated with an eclectic series of photographs,
drawings, paintings, old postcards and other illustrative material
the publication is also a feast of imagery that varies between the
surreal to the sublime. The Joe Boske illustrations are as
wonderful as ever. I am old enough to remember it without its
medieval stone work and Ardfry House finial and its inserted
grotesque stone head (the building that is) before Alec Finn and
Leonie King bought its concrete shell and gave it its limestone
attire. Some other stones are from Arafry House, Co. Galway.
What was once an old garage located almost on the site of a
guard house with steps leading to the shore on the Long Walk
became a centre of culinary delight when it became Nimmo’s
restaurant. ‘Soups and Starters’, ‘Fish and Shellfish’, ‘Poultry’,
‘Meat’, ‘Dishes for Vegetarians’, ‘Vegetables’, ‘Sauces and
Stocks’, ‘Deserts’, ‘Cheese and Wine’ along with a section
entitled ‘Nimmo’s Buffet’ are the meat and vegetable section of
this book which runs to 169 pages and what a wonderful menu
the ‘Table of Contents’ make. Interspersed throughout are
thoughtful pieces, small essays on a variety of topics like ‘Little
did I know…’ which introduces the ‘history and prehistory’ of the
people behind Nimmo’s and how Harriet got involved in the
restaurant. Seamus and Kevin Sheridan had been running ‘The
Blue Raincoat’ there until October 1991 until it became Nimmo’s.
The people and the place are described with warmth and
affection and fourteen years of Nimmo’s was clearly a passionate
involvement with the place, the people and the food. There is
another section on ‘The building and its history’ and stuffed
between ‘The Shellfish’ and ‘The Poultry’ and ‘Neither Fish nor
Fowl’ is ‘A short history of Alexander Nimmo and why we chose
to name the restaurant after him’.
‘Nimmo’s events and other things we got up to’ is a wonderful
chapter of personal and sociable history which is wedged
between ‘The Meat’ and ‘The Vegetarians’. ‘All Those Galway
Events’ and ‘Sandra’s Stories and Memories of Her Time at
Nimmo’s’ is another very pleasant intermission. The book is a
delightful slice of Galway life. There is a section entitled
‘Goodbye, Farewell and Take Care’ at the end of the book which
starts with the sentence ‘There is so much more to tell about our
time at Nimmo’s…’ and so there is, Like Oliver in Oliver Twist, all
this reviewer can say is “Please, can I have some more?”
Tri be. A Portrai t of Galway
by Re g Gor da n, Gal way, 2011.
This excellent publication is
locally printed to a very high
standard by Castle Print in the
Liosbán Industrial Estate here
in Galway. In this wonderful
hardback book Reg Gordan
“attempts to document his
Tribe – the community that
gives Galway its life, character
and personality”. According
to the text on the dust jacket:
constraint, every image in this
book was conceived and
documented exactly as he
wanted. Each photograph has
captured the personality of his subject and when viewed as a
collection it captures the personality of the city, the book ‘Tribe’
is a document of Galway in 2011.”
The photographer Reg Gordan is a Dubliner who is proud of the
city he loves – Galway. So take the challenge, buy the book and
see how many of those who posed for Reg you know. Familiar and
some less familiar faces feature here; humanity in many forms, it
is well worth looking out for.
Youth’s Corner.
Th r ee enth usiastic yo ung visit or s to
Ga l w ay sh a re t he ir impr ess ion s of th e
city du r ing the Vo l vo Oc ea n Ra ce
Week 2012.
My t r ip t o Gal w a y and t he Volv o Ocea n Ra ce 20 12 by Jack
Long (age 9 ), Li mer ick .
On July 6th 2012 I went up to Galway to my aunt and uncle. My
brother Conor and cousin Luke came too. That day we went to a
lot of shops like Eason’s and Charlie Byrnes. The atmosphere was
great. There were truly lovely people there. The buskers were
really cool. They had native and foreign instruments and their
singing was very nice.
The next day we got up early to go to the Volvo Ocean Race, with
me was Conor, Luke and my aunt and uncle. While my aunt
parked the car the rest of us walked down to a great restaurant
G A L W A Y ’ S
for breakfast but before we
got there we saw the winning
team of the Volvo Ocean Race
eating breakfast in another
restaurant. One of them
(Bruno Jeanjean) was outside
on the phone. We saluted him,
then we went around the
corner after a few seconds he
came running behind us and
we got our photo taken with
After breakfast the five of us went to the docks. It was lovely, the
people were nice. The views were great. Then we saw the teams
go out on their boats. It was nice. We saw beautiful street art on
the wall. We met people from San Diego. We met a busker. We
went through the Spanish Arch to go to the carnival. We went on
the big wheel. We went on a few other rides too.
After that we went into the city and visited the stalls again. I got
a picture by James G. Miles. Then we went for a pizza. Everything
was great and everybody was nice.
Galway. After that we went on heart
pounding rides. We then went into a
shop called ‘Its Magic’, it is a beautiful
gift shop which I loved. I bought a
potato gun which fires out potato
pellets. After that we went home.
In Galway city there was a lot of
colour because of the flags
representing the countries that raced
in the Volvo Ocean Race. As well as
colour, Galway was packed with
smells, sounds and the fresh breeze of
the sea. The smell of food outside the
restaurants was lovely and the
fragrance of fish for sale was lovely
too. The sounds of people talking makes you feel like you are safe
in Galway with everybody near you. Whereas all you have to do
when you are at the docks is block out every noise apart from the
crash of waves to feel like you are the only person there and you
are all alone. My aunt and uncle are great for bringing Luke, Jack
and I to the Volvo Ocean Race. Galway city truly is my favourite
city indeed.
Conor Long (age 12 ).
Luke Dreelan (a ge 8), Dublin. Im pr essi ons of Ga lw ay.
I am Conor Long and I have recently visited Galway. Although I
live in Limerick I have many relations living in Galway, including
my aunt and uncle who brought us to see the Volvo race.
I went into Galway City the day we arrived, which was the 6th July
2012. I loved walking down Shop Street, it was packed and the
atmosphere lovely. I bought lots of books with my brother Jack
and my cousin Luke (Dizzy). We bought all our books at Charlie
Byrnes bookshop. It is my favourite bookshop in the whole world.
It sells books really cheap for usually 1 or 2 euro. It is huge with
every type of book you’d like. They sell books brand new and
second hand. I highly recommend that book shop to anyone who
visits Galway.
Galway is a great city and I should know about cities because I’m
a Dubliner! For instance, Charlie Byrne’s is a super book store,
definitely the best in Galway I think. I will give it a 10/10! There
are plenty of other shops – everywhere you look there are loads
of souvenir shops. Not to mention loads & loads of carnivals for
kids. There are millions of boats to watch and loads of
celebrations and lots of historical buildings. Galway is fab!
The next day we all had to get up early to go to the Volvo Ocean
Race, Luke, Jack and I were all very excited, we were all wishing
that we would have as much fun that day as we had the previous
night. Although we were hoping we would have a great day, we
almost knew that we would, after all it was Galway City, my
favourite city in the world.
So off we went to have our breakfast, on the way we bumped into
one of the sailors from Groupama, the winning boat in the Volvo
Ocean Race. We had our photo taken
with him. After a few hours of walking
through the streets of the beautiful
Galway city, we reached the docks to
see the boats leave Galway for the
last race. Soon after I got my photo
taken with the Volvo Ocean Race
trophy and then the five of us went to
the carnival beside the sea, there we
met two American people from San
Diego. They were really nice and we
talked to them, when we were
finished talking to them I said my
goodbyes to them in Irish. At the
carnival we went into the big wheel
to take brilliant aerial photos of
Documenting th e Revolution –
B ur ea u of M ilit ar y H is t or y
Collecti on N ow Avai lable On-li ne.
The dedicated website for the Bureau of Military History is now
available for the public to view following the official launch on
Tuesday 7th August by Mr. Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for
Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.
copper and lead from several Connemara churches has been
ripped off in the last few months as thefts of metal have increased
dramatically. A lot of hard work has been undone by the vandals
and thieves who commit these crimes and it seems difficult to
believe that the metal stolen in some of these robberies would
not be recognizable as being stolen. The stolen railings are highly
recognizable and photographs of the damaged roofs have been
provided to An Garda Síochána.
The BMH Collection, covers the period 1913-1921, is now
available to the public at
This is a joint initiative of Military Archives and the National
Archives and allows you to search throughout the BMH – free of
charge – to help you in your research.
As the web-site states, ‘The Bureau of Military History Collection,
1913 – 1921 (BMH) is a collection of 1,773 witness statements;
334 sets of contemporary documents; 42 sets of photographs
and 13 voice recordings that were collected by the State between
1947 and 1957, in order to gather primary source material for the
revolutionary period in Ireland from 1913 to 1921. The Bureau’s
official brief was ‘to assemble and co-ordinate material to form
the basis for the compilation of the history of the movement for
Independence from the formation of the Irish Volunteers on 25th
November 1913, to the 11th July 1921’ (report of the Director,
Along with the other major collection at Military Archives
covering the revolutionary period from 1913, (the Military Service
Pensions Collection), the Bureau is among the most important
primary sources of information on this period available anywhere
in the world. In 2001, it was decided to transfer the Bureau
Collection to the Military Archives and prepare it for the release
into the public domain. A team of archivists and support staff
prepared the collection for its launch in March 2003. A duplicate
set of the statements had originally been prepared by the Bureau
and this set was transferred to the National Archives, to allow for
greater public access to this fantastic primary source.
The Old Waterworks
Twice the Metal Th ieves C aus e
Crimina l D amage to a Protected
S tructu re
Dr. Shane Rooney demonstrates G.P.R.
The old waterworks which the City Council Office has been
restoring as a heritage facility has been raided twice in the last
few months. Thieves have, on two separate occasions ripped the
lead from the valleys between the roofs, stolen railings and sheet
lead and cast iron and have generally vandalized the buildings.
No sooner had the City Council repaired the damage to one area
and the criminals struck again causing huge damage to a second
building. This was despite nightly security patrols.
While the City Council has sufficient old slates to repair the
damage in the first instance, the stocks of old slates available to
match the original slates has now been exhausted. If anyone has
old slates to donate we would be anxious to hear from them. The
Danger to Waterworks roof
G A L W A Y ’ S
Corri b Research P roject
d is cov er ie s ar e hi gh ly si g nif ican t.
Ancient boa ts f oun d w hile rada r
su rvey probes th e groun d.
Trevor Northage prepares to launch
A license to use a detection device is one of the vital tools in the
Corrib Research Project’s ongoing research into the
archaeological, architectural, natural and cultural heritage of the
Galway River and the Corrib. Archaeologists Jim Higgins, Michael
Gibbons and Joe Fenwick, Geophysicists Dr. Eve Daly and Shane
Rooney along with Jeramy Sterling are behind the project which
also involves research into Terryland Castle’s history by Carol Ann
Ford and Redmond Burke. The underwater aspects of the project
are dealt with by Captain Trevor Northage and Rosemary Kiely.
Trevor has been re-surveying the entire bed of the Corrib and
making new navigational charts of the area. Trevor is working with
side sonar attached to his boat. He and Rosemary have found
numerous important new wrecks in the Corrib. These include
three dug-out canoes including a forty-five foot long example
with paddles still inside it. This craft may be longer than the
prehistoric dug-out canoe from Lurgan Bog which forms an iconic
exhibit in the National Museum of Ireland’s Prehistoric Ireland
exhibit in Kildare Street, Dublin. Trevor has continued to discover
spectacular finds which are reported to the National Museum’s
Underwater Archaeology Unit by the Corrib Research Project but
are left undisturbed and untouched on the river bed. Once their
co-ordinates have been sent to the relevant authorities more
archaeological investigations may be possible. Five dug-out
canoes were previously identified by divers during the 1980’s and
the locations of these were mapped by the late Etienne Rynne
and Peadar O’Dowd. The various proposals have been made for
new bridges across the Corrib and the local authority must ensure
that information on any archaeological potential in the river is
available in order to avoid any accidental disturbance to that
heritage. As well as building up a picture of “what lies beneath”
the non-invasive survey adds to our knowledge of the Corrib
Catchment area from prehistory to the recent past. Trevor has
worked closely with the Underwater Archaeology Unit of the
National Museum in identifying important wrecks across the
It is hoped that by working together with government agencies
and cultural institutions a good knowledge of the archaeological
heritage of the local authority area can be deepened and
widened. The local authority has also sought through the
Heritage Office and working through the Parks Section to build
up a picture of how Terryland Castle and Terryland House
developed over the centuries. Licensed use of Ground Probing
Radar (G.P.R.) and other forms of restitivity are being used to
explore the past using non-invasive methods.
Terryland Castle on one side, and the New Castle on the other
side of the River Corrib flank one of the most important river fords
on the Corrib and one which has been used for millennia. There
may have been a medieval castle at Terryland before the 17th
century fortified house was built. A large rubble mound near the
river may have been the remnants of the castle or might instead
have been formed by 19th century river dredging. A large 17th
century garden with walls, landscape features, a kitchen block
and a buttery lie in the same field as Terryland Castle and
Terryland House. We know this from cartographic evidence and
historic manuscripts including the letters of the various Earls of
Clanrickarde. Using non-invasive methods including restitivity
along with historical research the Corrib Research Project hopes
to build on the primary sources using modern exploratory
techniques. The project is part funded by Galway City Council
and the Heritage Council.
To book for the Conference, contact Cliona Clancy
at the Planning Department, City Hall, Galway
Galway City Museum /
Musaem Cathrach na Gaillimhe
June - September 2012
Galway’s Heritage/Oidhreacht na Gaillimhe is a
publication of Galway City Council and is edited
by Jim Higgins, Galway City Heritage Officer. It
is also available on the Galway City Council
website Copyright of the
Heritage Office and other contributors.
Back Issues of Galways Heritage /
Oidhreacht na Gaillimhe
Back Issues of this publication can
be consulted on the Galway City
website at