The Cork Examiner 30th June, 1843 p.1
Daniel O’Connell in Galway (abridged)
From an early hour the streets were densely thronged by the country people, who continued to pour into the town in countless thousands, exhibiting in their persons all the wild and picturesque costumes of the west. The women’s short dark-red flannel petticoats were surmounted by the deep blue or brilliant scarlet cloaks. The majority of the younger portion were barefooted, and had their heads uncovered, their hair hanging loosely over their shoulders. Nearby were the dark frieze coats and corduroy breeches of the men from the interior of the country and the light sky blue dress of the Connemara men, who had prepared themselves to come in thousands in boats. Owing to the lightness of the wind, only a comparatively small portion were able to enter the harbour in sufficient time for the meeting.
The dark blue of the Claddagh fishermen, the Aran Islanders in their hairy shoes of untanned calf-skin, and the Iar Connaughtmen, mounted on their untrained and unshod mountain ponies – all mingled together in the old streets, talking Irish in loud accents as they went along.
When twelve o’clock, the hour at which the procession was to set forth, approached, the throng in the neighbourhood of the Square and Market-place became extremely dense, while the excitement was increased by the arrival of the tradesmen, all ornamented with sashes and bands and carrying long white rods surmounted with ribbons, to take their places in the procession, and by the merry strains of the temperance bands, that were each carried in boats placed in carts, and profusely ornamented with flags and green boughs.
At length the loud shouts of that peculiar and most interesting body of men – the Claddagh fishermen – was heard as they approached to take their ascribed place at the head of the procession. They mustered nearly a thousand strong, and a large portion of them wore large white flannel jackets, ornamented with ribbons and pieces of various coloured silk, while their hats were quite concealed with ribbons, flower-knots, and ostrich feathers.
The tailors were allowed to take their position second in the procession, and the remainder of the trades, twenty-four in number, were placed by lot, as arranged at a preliminary meeting held on the preceding day, in the following order;
Millers, Wheelwrights, Hatters, Tobacconists, Bakers, Stonecutters, Ropemakers, Broguemakers, Printers (having a printing press mounted on a richly decorated chariot), Butchers, Plasterers, Shoemakers, Coachmakers, Shipcarpenters, Coopers, Chandlers, Cabinetmakers, Nailers, Sawers, Housecarpenters, Stonemasons, Painters, Smiths, and Slaters.