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Doorus Potatoes – 1891

The Irish Times 31st August, 1891

Potato Flowers
Photo: Keith Weller
Wikimedia Commons

I think it right that I should make public what I know on the all-important subject of the threatened potato blight.
On the 19th instant I inspected a field of potatoes on the estate of Comte de Basterot, in the County of Galway, at Duras, in the locality of Kinvara. The crop is a very heavy one, and the field is much sheltered by trees. On the 3rd inst. one rood was well dressed with the preparation of ‘Bonillie Borderlaise’ and quicklime. The remainder of the crop – about half an acre – was not sprayed. On the part dressed not a sign of disease appeared; on the rest of the crop it was quite evident. The “knapsack” used is the light Vermorel spraying machine.
Mr. John Quinn, Duras, Kinvara, Comte de Basterot’s agent and manager, prepared and used the mixture. A letter received from him today informs me that the experiment up to this is a complete success.
I shall be glad to give the recipe for preparation of mixture to anyone applying to me.
J. Murray Walker, Land Valuer
73 Waterloo Road,
28th August, 1891

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Doorus – 1938

Connacht Tribune 23rd July, 1938 p.5

Doorus view Photo; EO'D
Doorus view
Photo; EO’D

As will be seen from our advertising columns, Doorus annual sports will be held in Traught on Sunday, July 31. The committee have secured the services of the Athenry Pipers’ Bank. As this is the Band’s first visit to South Galway they are sure of a hearty cead mile failte, both in Dooras and Kinvara. The sports field is in close proximity to the already famous strand of Traught where tourists from all over the West come every summer to enjoy the beautiful scenery and natural bathing facilities offered there. Given a fine day, the public may be assured of enjoying the day’s outing.

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The Doorus Flamingo – 1967

Connacht Tribune 8th September, 1967 p.1 (abridged)

Flamingo flock, Brazil Photo: Cláudio Dias Timm Wikimedia Commons.
Flamingo flock, Brazil
Photo: Cláudio Dias Timm
Wikimedia Commons.

A south Galway ornithologist this week issued a “don’t shoot” appeal to local farmers and sportsmen. He believes that a strange bird that turned up on the shores of Galway Bay at Kinvara is a Flamingo!
Ornithologist Mr John A. Bevan issued the appeal after he saw the bird opposite the An Oige hostel in Dooras. The bird has marked similarities with a Flamingo. It is white in colour with a touch of pink on its breast and it has a hooked beak.
The Flamingo, sighted four times before in Ireland (between 1938 and 1947), is usually found only on the south-west coast of South America. Mr Bevan believes it must have escaped from captivity. A spokesman at Dublin zoo said: There are thirty Flamingoes here. It cannot be one of ours because their wings are clipped so that they cannot fly.
The area around Kinvara where the bird was sighted is a noted district for many types of wildfowl.

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County Council Elections – 1899

Tuam Herald 11th March, 1899 p4 (abridged)

Photo: Kinvara Stone EO'D
Photo: Kinvara Stone

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 Kinvarra, Doorus, Killinny and Cahermore.

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; Miko 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, (Corrishooa (sic.)); John Burke, Thomas Burke, Thos Kavanagh, J. O’Connor, Michael Howard, John Tierney, Wm. Whelan, A. Staunton, P. Kennedy, Ml. Kennedy, William Connor, John Davenport, 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.

(further details in Kinvara in the news-archives on

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Duras/Doorus – 1837

Newtown House, Doorus Photo: A McCarron Wikimedia Commons
Newtown House, Doorus
Photo: A McCarron
Wikimedia Commons
A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland
Samuel Lewis – 1837

DURAS, a parish, in the barony of KILTARTAN, county of GALWAY, and province of CONNAUGHT, 16 miles (E. S. E.) from Galway: the population is returned with Kinvarra. This parish, which is situated on the bay of Galway, takes its name from a small fertile island close to the shore, which was granted by Cromwell to Major John Walcot, whose grandson sold it to Mr. French, from whom it descended in the female line to the Baron de Basterot, its present proprietor. A great portion is rocky and incapable of cultivation; but some of the land is very rich and produces excellent wheat. Limestone is abundant, and much is quarried for agricultural and other purposes. The late Mr. French raised embankments in several places to prevent the encroachment of the sea, and built a long bridge to connect the island with the main land; great improvements have also been made by bis successor.

The principal seats are Duras Park, that of P. M. Lynch, Esq.; and Duras House, of the Baron de Basterot. Great numbers of oysters and other fish are taken off the coast, and about a mile and a half to the west of Duras Point a pier has been constructed, which, though dry at low water, is accessible to vessels of 60 or 80 tons’ burden at the return of the tide; the expense of its erection was partly defrayed by a grant from Government. From the west end of the pier a ledge of foul ground extends to Deer Island. Here is a large flour-mill, worked by the tide. The parish is in the diocese of Kilmacduagh; the rectory is partly appropriate to the see, and partly to the benefice of Ardrahan; the vicarage forms part of the union of Kilcolgan; the tithes are included in the composition for Kinvarra, which see.

In the R. C. divisions it is part of the union or district of Kinvarra; the chapel was erected by the late P. M. Lynch, Esq., and was enlarged and a spire added to it by his son, the present proprietor of Duras Park, by whom it has been also endowed with £10 per annum. On the island of Duras are the remains of an ancient friary, with a burial-ground; and there are the remains of a druidical altar, near which some ancient silver coins have been found.

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An Irish Ship canal – via Doorus and Island Eddy – 1884

 Island Eddy as it appears on 'A Map of the County of Galway in the Province of Connaught in Ireland' by WIlliam Larkin (London 1818).
Island Eddy as it appears on ‘A Map of the County of Galway in the Province of Connaught in Ireland’ by WIlliam Larkin (London 1818).

The suggestion of constructing a ship canal across Ireland, from Dublin to Galway, or Dublin to the Shannon, has been warmly taken up by eminent and competent men in London. Elaborate plans and surveys have been made at considerable expense, which have been submitted by Captain Eades, the great American engineer. The plans for the Irish Canal have been prepared by Mr. T. A. Walker, Great George-street, Westminster, who recently bored a tunnel under the Severn, the largest undertaking of the kind in the country.

Silently but steadily a staff of engineers have levelled the country between Galway and Dublin Bays, and the plan, although carefully prepared, is largely tentative, its object being to show the practicability of a project of the kind. The proposed canal would be 127 miles in length and would contain upwards of 30 locks. The estimated cost is, of course, ruled by the tonnage of the ships it is intended to accommodate. Thus if for ships of 1,500 tons the cost would be eight millions, for ships of 2,500 twelve millions, and for ships of 5,000 and upwards twenty millions sterling. If built on this scale, and it is considered that anything smaller would be a mistake, the canal would be 200 feet wide on the surface and 100 feet at the bottom.

Suez Canal, between Kantara and El-Fedane. The first vessels through the Canal. 19th century image. From "Appleton's Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art", 1869.
Suez Canal, between Kantara and El-Fedane. The first vessels through the Canal. 19th century image.
From “Appleton’s Journal of Popular Literature, Science, and Art”, 1869.
In considering these dimensions it must be remembered that the Suez Canal except at its mouth is not 80 feet wide. The depth would be from 30 to 35 feet, and the locks would be fitted with the newest hydraulic apparatus so as to make the process of lockage as simple and expeditious as possible. The passage through the canal would be effected through, a system of towage, although it is somewhat of an open question whether this would be preferable to permitting the steamers to work through.

It is estimated that the passage of a ship from Galway Bay to Kingstown would occupy between 24 and 36 hours. An alternative scheme of a ship railway, in which the ships would be carried in cradles, which, he says, could be constructed for ten millions by his plan, the duration of the passage through the island would, he declared, be reduced to 12 hours.

The proposed course of this great work will be of considerable interest.

The canal starts from Doores Strait (sic.), south of Islandeaddy, in Galway Bay, where the shallowness of the water necessitates the dredging of a channel for a considerable distance out. This proposed canal would give a depth of thirty feet at low water, and would be protected from the silting up of the sand by suitable works. The entrance to the canal would be by a sea lock 600 feet in length, capable of taking ships of 5000 tons. From this lock entrance would be gained to a dock of 29 acres in extent, constructed on an arm of the sea, known as present as Brandy Harbour. The first inland lock would be less than a mile up at Killemaran, (sic.) from whence the canal would pass close to Drumacoo, then turning slightly to the north by Kilcolgan on to Rahasane, and passing about five miles to the south of Athenry, and crossing the Athenry and Ennis Railway at Craughwell, where the fifth lock would be situated. The sixteenth mile of the canal brings it about one mile to the north of Loughrea, from which town there will be a feeder to supply fresh water from the lake which is ten feet above the level of the canal, the latter being 260 feet above sea level. From this point there is; a long straight line of canal without locks until it roaches Eyrecourt, whence an immense aqueduct is to be constructed to carry the canal over the Shannon

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Our Irish Theatre – Augusta Lady Gregory

Augusta Lady Gregory Project Gutenberg
Augusta Lady Gregory
Project Gutenberg
Our Irish Theatre: A chapter in Autobiography by Lady Gregory. New York: The Knickerbocker Press. G. Putnam’s Sons, New York, London. 1913. pp. 4-7

Later in the year I was staying for a few days with old Count de Basterot, at Duras, that is beyond Kinvara and beside the sea. He had been my husband’s warm friend, and always in the summer time we used to go and spend at least one long day with him,–we two at first, and then later I went with my son and the boy and girl friends of his childhood. They liked to go out in a hooker and see the seals showing their heads, or to paddle delicately among the jellyfish on the beach. It was a pleasant place to pass an idle day. The garden was full of flowers. Lavender and carnations grew best, and there were roses also and apple trees, and many plums ripened on the walls. This seemed strange, because outside the sheltered garden there were only stone-strewn fields and rocks and bare rock-built hills in sight, and the bay of Galway, over which fierce storms blow from the Atlantic. The Count remembered [Page 4]  when on Garlic Sunday men used to ride races, naked, on unsaddled horses out into the sea; but that wild custom had long been done away with by decree of the priests. Later still, when Harrow and Oxford took my son away and I had long spaces of time alone, I would sometimes go to Duras to spend a few days.Lady_gregory plY
I always liked to talk and to listen to the Count. He could tell me about French books and French and Italian history and politics, for he lived but for the summer months in Ireland and for the rest of the year in Paris or in Rome. Mr. Arthur Symons has written of him and his talks of race,–to which he attributed all good or bad habits and politics–as they took long drives on the Campagna. M. Paul Bourget came more than once to stay in this Burren district, upon which he bestowed a witty name, “Le Royaume de Pierre.” It was to M. Bourget that on his way to the modest little house and small estate, the Count’s old steward and servant introduced the Atlantic, when on the road from the railway station at Gort its waters first come in sight: Voila la mer qui baigne l’Amérique et les terres de Monsieur le Comte. For he–the steward–had been taken by his master [Page 5]  on visits to kinsmen in France and Italy–their names are recorded in that sad, pompous, black-bordered document I received one day signed by those who have l’honneur de vous faire part de la perte douloureuse qu’ils viennent d’éprouver en la personne de Florimond Alfred Jacques, Comte de Basterot, Chevalier de l’ordre du Saint Sépulcre, leur cousin germain et cousin [who died at Duras (Irlande) September 15, 1904]; la Marquise de la Tour Maubourg, le Vicomte et la Vicomtesse de Bussy, la Baronne d’Acker de Montgaston, le Marquis et la Marquise de Courcival, le Comte et la Comtesse Gromis de Trana, la Countesse Irène d’Entreves, and so on, and so on. I do not know whether the bearers of these high-sounding names keep him in their memory–it may well be that they do, for he was a friend not easily forgotten–but I know there is many a prayer still said on the roads between Kinvara and Burren and Curranroe and Ballinderreen for him who “never was without a bag of money to give in charity, and always had a heart for the poor.”

Augusta Lady Gregory
Augusta Lady Gregory

On one of those days at Duras in 1898, Mr. Edward Martyn, my neighbour, came to see the Count, bringing with him Mr. Yeats, whom I did [Page 6]  not then know very well, though I cared for his work very much and had already, through his directions, been gathering folk-lore. They had lunch with us, but it was a wet day, and we could not go out. After a while I thought the Count wanted to talk to Mr. Martyn alone; so I took Mr. Yeats to the office where the steward used to come to talk,–less about business I think than of the Land War or the state of the country, or the last year’s deaths and marriages from Kinvara to the headland of Aughanish. We sat there through that wet afternoon, and though I had never been at all interested in theatres, our talk turned on plays. Mr. Martyn had written two, The Heather Field and Maeve. They had been offered to London managers, and now he thought of trying to have them produced in Germany where there seemed to be more room for new drama than in England. I said it was a pity we had no Irish theatre where such plays could be given. Mr. Yeats said that had always been a dream of his, but he had of late thought it an impossible one, for it could not at first pay its way, and there was no money to be found for such a thing in Ireland.
We went on talking about it, and things seemed [Page 7]  to grow possible as we talked, and before the end of the afternoon we had made our plan. We said we would collect money, or rather ask to have a certain sum of money guaranteed. We would then take a Dublin theatre and give a performance of Mr. Martyn’s Heather Field and one of Mr. Yeats’s own plays, The Countess Cathleen. I offered the first guarantee of £25.