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Great Meeting in Gort – 1869

Tuam Herald 13th November, 1869 p.1
The Land Question (abridged)

Gort, Sunday Night
This patriotic little town may well take credit to itself for the support which it has this day given to the cause of tenant right in this country. It afforded not only to the people on this side of the extensive county of Galway, but to thousands in the northern districts of the county Clare, an opportunity of expressing their opinions on the present unsatisfactory state of the land laws in Ireland, and of pointing out the mode in which the tenant farmers of the country desire that they should be altered. Some influential gentlemen residing in the town and neighbourhood were anxious that the people should, in the form of resolutions, express their grievances with a view to their redress by a Ministry and by a Parliament which have already manifested an anxious wish to remove those evils which have been a source of misery and discontent to the country.

The notice by which the meeting was called was given only a few days back, and yet the meeting of today was a great success, keeping in view the fact that it was not a county meeting, but was composed mostly of people within a circuit of ten miles of the town. The Athenry and Ennis Junction Railway, however, ran special trains, and brought large numbers of people from longer distances. The train which left Ennis at eleven o’clock arrived in Gort at twelve o’clock bringing people from Ennis, Crusheen and Tubber, and the train from Athenry, which arrived shortly after, carried large number of tenant farmers from that station, from Oranmore, Crughwell (sic.) and Ardrahan. The traffic arrangements were under the direction of Mr. Thomas O’Malley, the manager, and were admirably carried out by Mr William Lawlor, the efficient station master of Gort.

Many of the farmers came in on horseback heading bodies of 400 or 500 people. Ardrahan furnished a contingent of about 400, and the united parishes of Ballymena and Crughwell sent by rail about 300 persons, who were accompanied by the Rev. Francis Arthur, P.P. and the Rev. M O’Flanagan, C.C. This body on entering the unfurled their banner, which had inscribed on it the mottoes, “Fixity of Tenure” and “Tenant Right,” and the Rev. M. Nagle, P.P., Kilbeaconty, accompanied a body of his parishioners, numbering, perhaps, five hundred. The Rev. John Barry, P.P., Behagh, and the Rev. Michael Killeen, C.C., accompanied about 800 from their parish, with banners bearing the words, “Fixity of Tenure” and “Tenant Right.” Numbers also came from Corofin, Ballyvaughan, Kilkeely, New Quay, Feakle, Derrybrian, Loughrea, and Kinvara.

A very large body of tenantry came on horseback from Kinvara, accompanied by their landlord, Isaac B. Daly, and Mrs Daly, who drove in their carriage, and who were loudly cheered. By one o’clock there could not have been less than from 10,000 to 12,000 people in the town, all evidently interested in the cause which brought them together. Previous to the commencement of the proceedings a procession was formed, headed by a number of young girls, some of whom were entirely dressed in green, and these were followed by well-dressed young men carrying green banners, having inscribed on them the words, “God save Ireland,” “fixity of tenure,” “tenant right,” and “Cead mille failthe,” (sic.) and the harp in gold was on several of them. There was scarcely a person in the whole procession, which walked round the market-square, accompanied by music, who was not in some way ornamented with green.

They cheered on passing the houses which by some patriotic device attracted attention. An excellent cast of the face of O’Connell was placed in one of the windows of Forrest’s Hotel, and beneath was a saying of the Liberator’s, “He who commits a crime gives strength to the enemy.” At Glynn’s Hotel, there was a sign on a green ground, and the words “Prosperity to Ireland.” These received respectful attention on the part of the people who, as the hour approached for the commencement of the meeting, assembled in front and around the platform which was erected in the middle of the square, and was so spacious as to accommodate about one hundred and fifty persons. On the motion of Mr. L. S. Mangan, Gort, seconded by Mr. Thomas Boland, the chair was taken amidst loud applause by the Very Rev. T. Shannon, P.P., V.G.

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Dear Granny – 1906

Weekly Irish Times

Saturday, April 14, 1906 p.4
The Children’s page – Prize Letters
Dear Granny,
This week I will tell you all I know about the town of Gort. It is built on the River Blackwater. The population is 1,339. The railway station is situated close to the town, through which the railway runs. The principal streets are The Square, George’s street, Bridge street, and the principal buildings are the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches, the Convent of Mercy, the National Bank, the Post Office, Courthouse, Workhouse, Polic Barrack, and National School. There is also in the town a Military Barrack, but there are no soldiers in Gort at present, and the apartments are occupied by private families. Saturday is market day, when the Square is crowded with carts of turf, potatoes, turnips, hay etc. Fish is also sold in The Square, which is brought in from Kinvarra, which is about seven miles distant. There are two postal deliveries in Gort – one in the morning, and one at noon. There is a good deal of employment given to girls in the Convent, where they make flannel, linen, lace, crochet, etc. Some of the work is beautiful and brings a high price.
I remain, dear Granny,
your loving grandchild,
Elizabeth Milne

My Dear Elizabeth,
I was much interested in your nicely-written letter, and I hope you will enjoy your prize.
Your affectionate Granny.

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Rowdy Dancers – 1951

Connacht Tribune 10th March, 1951 p5
“When the Kinvara dancers make up their minds to conduct themselves, it will be all right, but while they are rowdy as they have been, I must oppose any extension in the hours of dancing there,” remarked Supt. J. Dunning at Gort court on Saturday, when Mr. C. I. Foley, solicitor, applied for dance licences for two dates for Johnston’s Hall, Kinvara from the hours of 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Mr. Foley said that Mr. Johnston conducted his hall in a very correct manner. Supt. Dunning agreed, saying that it was Mr. Johnston’s patrons who created the disturbances.
the Justice granted the licences from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. and promised Mr. Foley that the position would be reviewed periodically. If there were no further complaints the hours could be extended.

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Tuam Herald 11th March, 1899 p4

A large and representative meeting of the electors of the parish of Kinvarra was held recently at Kinvarra for the selection of a candidate for the office of County Councillor of the Gort Division and of candidates for the District Councillorship of Kinvara, Doorus, Killinny, and Caherimore.
The Revd. John Moloney, P.P., presided and the attendance included the Revd. Father Davoren, C.C., and Messrs J.W.Brady Murray, John Flatley, William Flatley, Fergus O’Dea, John O’Dea, Doorus, John Quinn, PLG; Moyo Hynes, Ml O’Donoghoe, Martin Corless, Patrick Curtin, John Quinn (Kinvarra) Thomas Greene, (Loughcurra); F Green, P Hynes, PLG; M Brennan, Stephen Leech, Thomas Leech, John Morris, John Fahy, PLG; Thomas O’Halloran, John Finucane, Thomas Fahy, Patrick Hynes, (Croshooa); John Burke, Thomas Burke, Thos. Kavanagh, J O’Connor, Michael Howard, John Tierney, Wm Whelan, A Staunton, P Kennedy, Ml. Kennedy, William Connor, John Devonport, T. Doogan, Ml. Grady, E Holland, F Fox, Wm. Quinn, Michael Mooney, F Lally, T Lally and many others. Among the ladies present were the Misses Hynes, Mrs Cullinan, Mrs Watson, Mrs Johnston, Mrs O’ Halloran, the Misses Joyce and Mrs. O’Donnell.
The Revd. Chairman explained the provisions of the new Act and advised the electors to choose only honest, reliable, and competent men for the several offices.
Mr. John Flatley proposed and Mr. Fergus O’Dea seconded the selection of Mr. Brady Murray as a suitable candidate for the office of Co. Councillor of the division.
Mr. Brady Murray addressed the meeting and after alluding to his services as an active member of the Gort Board of Guardians and other public bodies, and his qualifications as a resident in the district, &c., explained that as a large ratepayer his chief object if elected would be to keep down the Rates, that he would strive to obtain payment of the full amount of the Agricultural Grant to which the Ratepayers and Cesspayers of the Union and Co. were entitled, and that he would use every effort to secure economy and efficiency in the expenditure of public money. so far as consistent with these principles he would advocate the improvement of the roads, and of markets and fairs, the improvement of the dwelling houses of the labouring classes and of the poor both in towns and country, the improvement of sanitary arrangements generally, and the improvements of the Hospitals, Asylums and Dispensaries of the County. He also advocated the extension of the Congested Districts Board, for the development of the agricultural, fishing, and industrial resources of the Union and District. He stated he was in favour of the establishment of a Catholic University and its endowment out of Imperial funds, and that he had been a consistent supporter of the movement for the Redress of Ireland’s Financial Grievances, laying special stress on the Relief of Local Taxation by the Government taking over the Asylums, Hospitals and the Dispensary system.
The meeting unanimously adopted Mr. Brady Murray as their Candidate for the County Council and also recommended the following candidates for the District Councillorship of the several Divisions;
Kinvarra – Mr Michael O’Donohoe, Mr Moyo Hynes, Mr Patrick Curtin and Mr John Fahy.
Doorus – M. John O’Dea, Mr John Quinn, Mr John Halvey, and Mr William Connor.
Killinny – Mr John Burke and Mr Michael Mitchell
Cahermore – Mr Thomas Clayton and Mr Ml. Grady.

On the motion of Mr. J. Quinn, seconded by Mr. Brady Murray, a cordial vote of thanks was passed to the Revd. Chairman, together with an expression of the deep regret of the meeting at his approaching departure from the Parish which has been in his charge for the last thirty years, coupled with their best wishes for his welfare and prosperity in his new Parish of Ennistymon.

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Brigade Exercises – 1966

Connacht Tribune
The three Kinvara Fire Wardens, Mr. Ritchie Johnston, Mr Mattie and Christie Ward, were last week the participants in a local fire-fighting exercise which was conducted by a visiting five-brigade crew. This fire-fighting exercise is an annual event and the visiting fire brigade demonstrated the various necessary procedures which are a part of saving lives and property. The scrutiny and experimental use of the local fire-fighting equipment attracted the attention of many onlookers.

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Declined 1855

Nation 7th April, 1855: Page 8
“The Sister at Scutari.” (There are one or two good lines in your poem: but that diffuseness which is the besetting sin of “easy writing” spoils it as a whole.) “Lines on a visit to Kinvara Churchyard.” you seem to be under the impression that imagination has some inveterate antipathy to common sense. For example, the lines –
“How solemn looks that massive pile.
Now stript of all except the aisle;
Its walls are crumbling fast away-
Like man himself, they too decay.”
Now, if there be really nothing but an “aisle,” how do you expect us to believe that there is a “massive pile” – looking solemnly all the while?


The Sister of Scutari may refer to Mother Mary Aloysius Doyle, Convent of Mercy, Gort, Co. Galway. She nursed with Miss Florence Nightingale in the Crimea

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The Galway Packet – 1859

The Irish Times 29th July, 1859 p1.

The Galway Packet Station

GALWAY, TUESDAY, 3, PM – Immediately after the conclusion of the crown business the doors of the grand jury room were opened, and your correspondent was admitted, who was the only representative of the press in attendance. The subject of the packet station and the subsidy was taken into consideration. The foreman (Sir Thomas Burke) in the chair. It was introduced by Christopher St. George, Esq., of Tyrone House, who after an able speech, which time does not admit of my reporting in full, proposed the following resolution:-

“We, the Grand Jury of the County of Galway, beg leave to express that, whilst we are steadfast in our opinion as to the inviolability of the contract entered into by the late government in respect to the establishment of a transatlantic packet station at Galway, we deem it necessary now to express in terms of the strongest disapprobation our condemnation of having referred to a committee of the House of Commons the consideration of this question which we had viewed as already determined on; and we further reprobate the formation of the committee.  We have to reiterate our previous statements as to the superiority of our claims to those of other applicants in favour of the measure, so vitally important to our local interests, and so replete with imperial advantages. We confidently expect that parliament will not only confirm the comparatively small subsidy of £78,000 in aid of the Galway packet station but will assist our exertions to obtain such loans of money as will improve our port.  We, on behalf of the county of Galway engage that, by all means at our disposal, we will advance the geographical eligibility of our bay for transatlantic communication.  We call upon the representatives of the county and of the town of Galway that they will hold as paramount to all other considerations the establishment of a transatlantic packet station at Galway, and we rely upon the exertions of the other representatives of Ireland so to act at this critical juncture that they will not suffer the interests of our common country to be overlooked.”

John Martin, Esq., of Tullyra Castle, said he had very much pleasure in seconding the resolution.

Mr. St. George said there was no precedent whatever for one government violating a solemn contract entered into by its predecessors in office.

The resolution was then signed by the foreman, on behalf of the grand jury, and it was resolved that a copy of it be transmitted to Lord Palmerston – Freeman Correspondent

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Kinvara – 1837

Burren Photo:EO’D

Tuam Herald 1837 p.2
The Poor Rates – Galway Union
The Railway, a remedy (abridged)
The impoverished state of the inhabitants and proprietors in this union has attracted my attention for some months past. I have over and over again endeavoured to impress upon the government and the nation at large, the rapid strides which poverty and destitution are making in this portion of Ireland, gifted by nature with advantages second to none in the empire. True the new College is building – the earthworks of a barrack begun – a fishery pier has been erected and the drainage of Lough Corrib is in progress – still the streets are as full of filth and of beggars as ever, trade seems paralysed, and the poor house filling fast. You meet few people at work – despair seems to pervade every countenance, and the only question asked, is there any hope for Galway? I emphatically answer – yes; there is hope. We are part and parcel of the United Kingdom, and our rulers must see the absolute necessity of coming to the rescue of a district blighted by the will of an all ruling providence. At Kinvarra, barricades are hoisted in a foolish mad attempt to keep their little corn, by a people driven by desperation to acts which in their sober moments they will sorely repent. This is not the way to correct the evil, rather let us endeavour to persuade the authorities to come to the rescue of this impoverished district. The potato failing again and again, dashed to the ground all hopes from the small occupier; his little corn barely sufficient to feed his family instead of the potato, his only stay, he finds must go to the support of his neighbour; he sees it certain that as long as he has anything left it will be taken to meet the necessities of the poor house. Until he himself becomes a recipient of relief, the number of contributors to the rate becomes lessened, and those to be supported by it increased – until wide-spread ruin desolate the entire union, indeed the entire county, nay, even the kingdom at large, eventually. Facts are stubborn things; therefore I make the following statement which I can prove beyond cavil, hoping it may have its use. The small occupiers in the vicinity of a demesne, about a mile or so from this town, used to work in the demesne, and thus pay their rent; that source once stopped, they yet continued by industry while the potato lasted, to pay their rent. I find in the tenants’ book their rents well paid up to, and for November, ’45; in ’46 partially paid; since then nil. How could they pay for one, two, three or four acres? The sea-weed laid on one acre or less under the potato, fed the family; since then nothing or next to nothing grew – the rents then mounting up – land useless unless money could be found to improve it. What was to be done in the absence of sufficient capital to cultivate the land? Why, to give the occupants such small sums as could be scraped together upon their giving up the land, in order to enable the poor creatures to seek out employment elsewhere, or to occupy a corner of the poor house. I subjoin a statement of the number of families who have been or are to be dealt with:-

Number of Families             ... ... 22
Contents of Farms              ... ... 25 Acres.
Yearly Rent               ...  ... ... £26
Arrears due               ...  ... ... 107
Money given or promised to be given on
getting possession of the land     ... £84

           MALES    FEMALES
    Aged          1         6
    Able bodied  29        33
    Young         9        15

    Total number who have left the estate with 
    their own free will and anxious  consent, 
    ninety three souls.

Here, then, besides the poor rates which have been paid, or are to be paid – upon 25 acres of an estate that used to be well paid, is a loss to the proprietor of no less a sum than £200, and the land now lying untenanted; but this is not all, he must share, in common with his neighbours in the electoral division, the maintenance, indoor or outdoor, of these paupers perhaps. I shudder to think of it; but I had, or conceive I had, no alternative. Upon examining the list and striking off the aged, who have a right to be cared for in the workhouse, and the very young (we have of male and female, able to earn their bread 62 individuals!) I think the land lord who parts people under these circumstances from the land, ought not to forget them altogether; he is bound to assist the poor law guardians in emigrating them – the only thing to be done with those deprived of land and house, and, in emigrating the parents, they will take some of the children, and send for others. In this way the poor-house would become a blessing to the district in keeping the poor until some provision be made for them. I found these poor persons unable to support themselves without constant labour, and that I was unable to provide them with; but I am sure if the Vice Guardians would rent those 25 acres, and set the labourers to trench and clear it of rock, after paying a moderate rent, which they should have it at, they could have a quantity of prepared soil which they could sell, freed from poor rate, for a good round sum which would help to pay part of the expense of the poor house. In this way, by a temporary advance for six months, a number of able-bodied poor might be employed, and the money got back in the sale of the prepared soil for a crop. Something of the kind should be attempted for the winter – preparing land for flax, green crops, oats &c. – the sale of the soil not doubtful if the land be well trenched and deep. I hope to get some money under the Land Improvement Act to employ the tenants now on the land, and others as labourers in the neighbourhood; but the grand employment will be the underworks of the railroad, if carried on immediately. 2,000 men could be employed between Mullingar and Athlone, county Westmeath; 1,000 between Athlone and Ballinasloe, county Roscommon; 1,000 between Ballinasloe and Kilconnell; 1,000 between Kilconnell and Esker College; 1,000 between Esker College and Athenry; 2,000 between Athenry and the boundary of the county of the town of Galway; and 3,000 from thence to the town. In all 10,000 men daily, and 50,000 sould fed by a loan of £300,000 to the Midland Great Western Railway Company, or by the government guaranteeing 3 and 1/2 per cent, to debenture holders of £5; in other words, by its agreeing each half year to pay £9,000 to these debenture holders in the first instance, taking the security of the entire line, 120 miles long, and which will have cost 1 and 1/2 million for the paltry sum of £9,000 each half year! Am I not justified, then, in not allowing my friends to despair, when with such ease the Prime Minister can set our people at this the greatest work ever undertaken in the province of Connaught. A small sum if contributed by the friends to Connaught, will enable this matter to be kept constantly before the British public thro’ the press, and in no better manner than in re-publishing from time to time, the resolutions of the most important meeding every held at Ballinasloe – that in favour of the Railway from Galway to Dublin and reproductive labour – at the last October fair of that town, presided over by the Earl of Clancarty and the Marquis of Sligo.
Thomas Bermingham, J.P.,
Honorary Secretary of the Ballinasloe
N.B. – The property alluded to is placed under the High Court of Chancery, and that excellent and human Master, “Litton,” will not hesitate to direct that assistance be given to take these poor people (now deprived of all means of support), out to America, if the Union – whose concern it now is – shall assist.