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The South Clare Railway – 1891

The Irish Standard, Jan 10, 1891 p.7
The South Clare railway works have been commenced at Miltown Malbay. Several landowners who refused to accept the offer of Mr. Murphy MP. are now willing to do so, and some have already given up the land through which the line is to run. A cargo of 300 tons of rails has been landed at Cappa Pier, and a large number of car man have been employed drawing the rails to the different working points of the line.

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Christmastime in Ireland – 1910

The Intermountain Catholic 1st January 1910 p.6

At Christmas time how the holly branches twine
In stately hall and cabin old and grey!
And red among the leaves the holly berries brightly shine
At Christmas time in Ireland, far away
And brighter than the berries are the kindly Irish eyes.
And cheery are the greetings of the day,
The greetings and the blessings from the Irish heart that rise
At Christmas time in Ireland, far away!

At Christmas time in Ireland you can hear the chapel bell
A-calling ere the dawning of the day;
You can see the people thronging over field and over fell
To the ‘early Mass’ in Ireland, far away;
And saintly are the ‘sagarts’ that before the altars stand.
And faithful are the flocks that kneel and pray
Ah, surely God must show’r His choicest blessings on the land,
At Christmas time in Ireland, far away!

At Christmas time in Ireland there is feasting, there is song.
And merrily the fife and fiddle play
And lightly dance the cailín and boys the evening long.
At Christmas time in Ireland, far away!
There is light and there is laughter, there is music there is mirth.
And lovers speak as only lovers may.
Ah, there is nothing half so sweet to any land on earth,
As Christmas time in Ireland, far away!

At Christmas time in Ireland there is sorrow too for those
Who scattered far in exile sadly stray
And many a tear in silence for a friend beloved falls
At Christmas time in Ireland far away.
But still amid the grieving is a hope to banish fears.
That God will safely send them back some day.
To know again the happiness that long ago was theirs.
At Christmas time in Ireland far away.

Denis A. McCarthy

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Galway for sale – 1850

The Adelaide Times, Saturday May 11, 1850 p.8
Mr Thomas Birmingham, writing to Mr. J. Grattan, from London says:-
I have accidentally discovered since my arrival here, that influential parties are projecting the purchase of the town of Galway, the entire town, nothing else will satisfy them, at a fair price, and then to establish the packet station for steamers &c. I cannot doubt my authority for this information, though undoubtedly this is a most desirable project to have realised; but would it not be advisable for Government and the representatives of Connaught to enable the proprietors of land and other property, in and about Galway, to estimate the prospective value of their properties before they are called upon to part with them, by declaring at once Galway a packet and commercial station? Then they could, with some degree of certainty, place a value on that property somewhere near the mark. I can hardly think this circumstance occasioned the failure of the meeting at Ballinasloe; but, at all events, it is high time that the public should know a little of what is going on here rather ‘sub-rosa’.

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Hallow E’En – 1938

Collected by Brian MacMahon from Nicholas and Mrs Mac Mahon
Toonagh N.S. Co. Clare
Principal Proinnsias Gordún

First Mammy makes a cake and puts a ring and a sixpence into it. Then whoever gets the ring will be married and whoever gets the sixpence the richest of the family. Then we get a long cord and hang it from the ceiling and fasten an apple and a candle on to the cord to see who would get a bite of the apple.

We get three saucers and we put water in one and earth in the other and salt in the last one. Then we put a handkerchief around someone’s eyes and he would put into one of the saucers. If he put his hand into the saucer of earth he would be first to die; if he put his hand into the saucer of water he would be be first to cross the sea and if he put his hand into the saucer of salt he would be first to be married.
Next we put two beans down on the flag of the fire and name someone to be the husband and wife. We leave the beans there until one of them jumps. If they did not jump the people they stood for would not marry. If one of them jumped the pair would not like one another and whichever of them jumped we would make a show of the person for whom it stood.

Here are some tricks. The First is pinning a cup of water to the wall. First you get a cup of water and a pin and be pretending to another person how to do it. You put the cup on to the wall and put the pin under it. Then let the pin fall and the person goes to pick it up. While he is bending down for it you spill the cup of water on top of him.
Another trick is to place a stick on the ground so that you cannot jump over it. To do this you get a stick and put it up near the wall.
Another still is to kiss a book inside and outside without opening it. Geta book and kiss it inside in the house and go out and kiss it outside.
Putting yourself through the keyhole is another. Write your name on a piece of paper and pass it through the keyhole.
Putting your right hand where your left hand cannot touch it is another. Place it on the left elbow.
The Schools’ Collection, Vol.0613, P.105

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Castlebar, Galway, Gort, Kinvara – 1910

The W.A. Record (Perth, WA: 1888-1922)
Saturday 28th May, 1910 p.4
Castlebar District Council has adopted a resolution calling on the County Council to refuse financial aid to the National University until the demand for essential Irish is acceded to.
The Committee adopted a further resolution expressing disapproval of the action of the Board of Studies of the National University regarding Irish and asking the County Councils to stand from rewarding pecuniary aid until Irish is fairly treated.

Lord Clanricard obtained a number of decrees against his tenants at Gort Quarter Sessions for non payment of rent, and the Irish Land Commission obtained 80 decrees.

Mr Duffy M.P. speaking at a large meeting in Kinvara organised to protest against a refusal by the trustees of the Sharpe estate of a reduction in rents to the tenants, said if the present dispute were not stopped it would eventually involve the other local landlords and the Government in a row, the consequences of which nobody could forsee. Rev. Father Keely, P.P. who presided, said the tenants were determined to persist in their agitation till they had conquered.

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Local Happenings – 1921

Collected by Mary Leary, Kinvarra, Co. Galway from Patrick O’Leary (age 70)
There is nothing as terrific as a house burning. It is dreaded by every-body. There is scarcely a town or city in Ireland without its share of ruins of burned houses. Galway comes under the rigour of burned houses as well as every other town and city in Ireland because in a town called Kinvara the ruins of a burned draper’s shop are to be seen.
This draper’s shop is supposed to be burned by the Black and Tans about the year 1921 when Ireland was infested with them. The burning occurred about eleven o’clock on a dark stormy winter’s night. The Black and Tans entered the shop in a wild fury and went to the kitchen where a range was. They spilled petrol in the fire which immediately burst into flames. The blaze immediately reached the roof overhead, and they followed from the roof to the ceiling and thus the goods caught fire.
The occupants of the shop tried to rush to safety and luckily enough they succeeded in escaping from the flames. Their attempts to rescue the contents of the shop were all in vain. All the goods that were in the shop were burned to ashes. Men from the neighbourhood did their best to quench the flames but it was impossible for them to overcome the raging flames. Water was brought in large quantities but the more water was thrown on the flames the wider they spread. Higher and higher they rose until the whole town was illuminated by their lights. The flames could be seen for miles and miles outside the town.
Many lives were in danger in the conflagration. A near-by public-house was beginning to take fire when the occupants luckily felt it taking root. They sprang at once for water and neighbours helped them to extinguish the flames.
No lives were lost in the burning. The fleeing of the occupants from the house at the beginning saved their lives. The wind blew very strong and this made the flames burn through more swift. On that account there was no possibility of saving the burning house. The ruins of the burned shop are to be seen in Kinvarra to the present day. Never will the terrific burning of the draper’s shop be in oblivion by the people of Kinvarra.

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Bird Lore – 1938

The Schools’ Collection

Crows are most common in this district. They never migrate. The crows build their nests on the tops of high trees. The robins build their nests in the holes of walls or in fences. Magpies build their nests on the chimney tops. The wrens build their nests on bushes or in holes of walls. Blackbirds and thrushes build their nests in ivy trees. The crow makes his nest from sticks and hay. The robin makes his nest moss and wool. The magpie makes his nest from earth and sticks. The wren makes his nest from moss and he puts feathers in the inside of it. The only birds that migrate are swallows cuckoos in this district. The swallows come to the district in the month of May and remain in it until August. The cuckoo comes to the district in the month of April and remains until September.
The weather can be judged by the behaviour of birds it is an old belief if the cuckoo sings on trees without leaves that corn will be scarce on that year. If the seagulls fly inland it is the sign of coming storm and rain. If the wild-geese fly inland it is the sign of coming snow. If the swallows fly high fine weather may be expected. For anglers in Spring it is always unlucky to see single magpies but two may be always regarded as a favourable omen and the reason is, that in cold and stormy weather one magpie alone leaves the nest in search of food the other remaining sitting upon the eggs or with the young but if two go out together it is only when the weather is warm and mild and favourable for fishing.

Collected by Eileen Dolan, Carnanthomas, and Ballymanagh N.S. Co. Galway, from Peter Fahy Roo, Craughwell. From

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Seaweed – 1854

The Courier (Hobart,Tas) 28th July 1854 p2
Enormous Demand for Seaweed (abridged)
The great demand for seaweed manure, the high prices it brought, and the great breadth of mind devoted to potato planting this season, may be inferred from the fact that it is computed by those who have had the best opportunities of forming an accurate estimate, that the very large sum of £10,000 has been paid for seaweed this season at the Galway docks alone. If we take into account the quantities which
have been disposed of at Oranmore, Kinvarra, Ballyvaughan, and the other creeks and landing places within the bay, the cutting of seaweed this season must have realised upwards of £13,000. It has been conveyed to a considerable distance, by boats along the lakes, by carts on the road, and even by railway. Perhaps in no former year has the use of it been more general, or the price paid for It so high, as in the present season.

Galway Packet.

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Kinvarra -1906

The Church of Ireland Gazette 1906 p 28
According to a poem by Mac Liag, the Secretary of Brian Boru (Trans. Os. Soc. v. 287) the old name of Kinvarra in County of Galway was Rinn Beara, or Ceann Beara, from Beara, a chief of the Firbolgs, who also flourished in Cloudland.
O’Curry, however (Lectures, pp. 292, 303) quoting from old tales, and Joyce (Irish Names i., 523) give Ceann Mara as the Irish form of Kinvarra. O’Reilly (Irish Dictionary) has sea as one of the meanings of Bar, and it appears to me that Beara, Bear, Ber, Bior, Bir are forms of Bar. to which also may be referred the renowned Bheurtha (Vera). This word Bar, meaning water or well, occurs in Tobar, a well, i.e. Do-Bar, and in Tiobraid, a well, an extended form of Tobar,which is preserved in the name of Tipperary, or “Well of Ara.” Mara (old Mora) is the genitive case of Muir, and Muir is from old Irish More, cognate with Latin Mare, Norse Marr. Anglo-Saxon and English Mere (cf. Merman and Mermaid), Welsh Mor, Gaulish Mori, Gothic Marei (from Mar),German Meet, and Sanskrit Mira.
J.F. Lynch