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Born in the village of Ardrahan – 1905

The W. A. Record (Perth W.A) 5th August, 1905 p. 12
Accompanying a recent contribution to the “Irish World’s” Gaelic Language Fund from a subscriber to that paper was the following terse poetic sentiment of the donor :
I’m just a plain hard-working man.
I was born in the village of Ardrahan,
And I like to do the best I can
To help dear Mother Erin.
For I spent many a happy day
In Galway, Tuam and Monivea,
Kinvarra, Gort and sweet Loughrea,
Athenry and old Kilclairin.
My hands are just as tough as leather,
My face is bronzed with wind and weather,
My heart is just as light as a feather,
As I mingle with the throng.
When times are bad I never holler,
Thank the Lord I can spare, a dollar
To help the cause along.

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Seaside places of Clare – 1871

The Irish Times 1st August, 1871 p 3.
Lisdoonvarna Spas and Sea Side Places of Clare, by E. D. Mapother, M.D. Price 1s, Dublin: Fannin and Co., 1871


Is there any of our readers who desires a short sojourn amid beautiful scenery, with the briny breezes of the Atlantic for his lungs, and the choice of a great variety of mineral waters for his digestive system? He can effect this purpose conveniently and economically by a visit to the places, the names of which stand at the head of this notice. Leaving the Broadstone station at 8.50 a.m., he can reach Athenry at 1.40, and Gort an hour later. From Gort station, a well-appointed two-horse car will take him to Lisdoonvarna at about 8 p.m., for a 4s fare. The traveller who has no objection to linger on the way will find enough to interest him for a few hours’ in both the former places. At Gort he will be charmed with the beautiful Lough Cooter, the bold outlines of the Burren and Derrybrian mountains, and the fantastic course of the river alternately subterranean, and revealed to view which flows from Lough Cooter into the Bay of Kinvarra, forming the Ladle, the Punchbowl, the Beggarman’s Hole and the Churn on the way. Athenry is celebrated for its extensive and interesting ruins, attesting the ancient importance of the town as the seat of the presidency of Connaught in the days of Elizabeth and her successors, down to Cromwell. From Gort the car takes him along the southern coast of Galway by Kinvarra, New Quay (a pretty bathing place) and Ballyvaghan, the most picturesque view being had from the Corkscrew road which winds upwards from a point three miles beyond Ballyvaghan. The barony of Burren, in which Lisdoonvarna is situated, was described by Cromwell’s General, Ludlow, in terms suggestive of the business which brought him there. He says; “This is a country in which there is not water enough to drown a man, wood enough to hand a man, nor earth enough to bury a man.” There is earth enough, however, to feed some of the best mutton in Ireland, as those who dine at either of the two hostelries of Lisdoonvarna will allow.
The mineral springs are five in number; one of them, called by Dr. Mapother the Double-Arch Iron Spa, is now disused. Of the others, two are sulphur springs, and one of those is the Gowlaun, sufficiently copious to supply baths. A third spring, the Rathbaun, is a chalybeate, and contains as much iron in ten pints as Newbridge Spa contains in seven. The remaining spa is magnesian, but Dr. Mapother says that “it scarcely deserves the name.”
The first medical writer who gave an account of the mineral springs of Lisdoonvarna was the famous Dr. Lucas, M.P. for Dublin, whose statue adorns the City Hall. His analysis was made in 1840 and is quoted seventeen years later by Dr. Rutty, in a work now hard to get, entitled the “Mineral Waters of Ireland.” The barony of Burren, in which Lisdoonvarna is situated is, says Dr. Rutty, “remarkably rocky and dry, the air, wholesome, and the herbage between the rocks which lie very close together very sweet and nourishing, so that the farmers send their cattle in winter thither and it fattens them better than hay would do.”
There can be no doubt about the rocks nor the wholesomeness of the air, nor the sweetness of the pasture; but if Lisdoonvarna was remarkably dry in Rutty’s time the climate must have undergone a considerable change in the hundred and odd years that have elapsed since he wrote. Dr. Mapother’s little book, gives a far more correct and complete account of the mineral springs of the County Clare than any previously published. Dr. Apjohn’s pamphlet is out of print. Dr. Mapother quotes from it, however, the analyses made by that eminent chemist Dr. Apjohn, who wrote in 1853, adds:
“This consideration indicated by science is amply confirmed by experience, for the numerous invalids who visit annually these waters bear the strongest testimony to their curative powers; and the Chalybeate springs of Lisdoonvarna are now recommended with confidence to their patients by the most eminent members of the faculty in the metropolis and other parts of Ireland.” Dr. Mapother seems to rank the principal sulphur spring quite as highly as the chalybeate for its special purpose. His testimony ought to be conclusive on the subject for he is known to have made a careful study of the spas of England and of the United States as well as of his own country. The visitor will be at no lack for splendid coast scenery. The far-famed cliffs of Moher, Galway Bay, on the one hand, and the Shannon on the other, with the islands which fringe the coast, are all within easy reach by car or boat. The cars are well horsed and always to be had, the tariff being 6d per Irish mile, the cheapest travelling, perhaps in the world. Dr. Mapother makes an admirable suggestion which we give in his own words (p page 46)
“The greatest benefit to the poor labourers and artisans would arise from the establishment of an Infirmary at Lisdoonvarna, where the victims of rheumatic gout, a disease more prevalent in Ireland than in any other country, could be lodged, and inexpensively fed. The cost of a plain building, to contain twenty beds, need not exceed £300; and allowing each patient from two to three weeks’ residence, about 200 would be relieved in the season, from May 1st to October 31st. The maintenance and attendance of the patients would cost from £200 to £260 for these six months, and much of it would be readily subscribed by the proprietors, who would profit by the proven value of the spas, by the wealthier visitors, and by public bodies who sent patients there. Such institutions, similarly supported, exist on a large scale at Buxton and many other famous health resorts, which I feel are in no degree superior to that which I have now inadequately described.”

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Gort 1905

Type 

The Irish Times 6th April, 1905 p10
Malicious Injury claims at Galway
The following is the list of claims for criminal injury to be tried before His Honor Judge Anderson at Gort on Thursday next, 23th April, amounting to nearly £250.
James St. George, of Newtown, Kilcolgan;
A boat maliciously and wantonly taken away from her moorings at the pier of Tarrea, and which was used on the oyster bank of Pollough for the purpose of dredging oysters, and containing the necessary gear, on the morning of 22nd January, 1905, between the hours of 2 o’clock a.m and 8 a.m. Compensation claimed £20.
Michael Keane of Killuneen, Craughwell;
A double stone wall about 220 yards in length unlawfully, wantonly and maliciously damaged and knocked down between 7th and 10th February, on the lands of Lavalley. Compensation claimed, £10.
Michael Finnegan, of Shanganaugh, Kinvarra;
One cock of hay containing six tons maliciously set on fire and totally destroyed on the 24th of January on the lands of Gortnasteal. Compensation claimed, £12.
Thomas J. Tully, of Crallagh;
one cock of hay containing 13 tons destroyed on 29th January on the lands of Grallagh, Loughrea. Compensation claimed, £33.
Robert R. O’Hara, of Derryfoyle, Craughwell;
The tails of three cows and one bullock maliciously cut on the night of 23rd February on the lands of Derryhoyle, Loughrea. Compansation claimed, £8.
Patrick Sheehan, of Dennacoo;
600 yards of a single stone wall on the lands of Killeenamunterland South, 50 yards wall at Newtown, 28 yards wall at Caroncreggaun knocked down. Compensation claimed, £80.
Florimond L. Quinn;
162 perches of a wall thrown down on the lands of Caherglissane, Compensation claimed, £12.
John Bermingham, of Killenavara;
A seat or pew maliciously, wilfully, and wantonly thrown out of the Chapel on the night of the 18th March or early in the morning following, whereby same was broken and destroyed at Ballinderreen. Compensation claimed, £6.
George C. Stapleton;
465 yards of double stone wall knocked down on the night of 23rd February on the lands of Moyvilla, otherwise Ballinellaun. Compensation claimed, £40.

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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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The Old Mills

By Thoor Ballylee
Photo: EO'D
Thoor Ballylee Photo: EO’D

The Old Mills
Kiltartan N.S.
The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0047, Page 0111
National Folklore Collection, UCD. c.1938
The Gort river which goes underground at “Poll Tuaithbheall” in Castletown worked four mills in and around Gort, one at Cannahown (1/2 mile to the South of the town, now derelict, one in Gort (Hynes’s, still working) one at Kinineha 1/2 mile to the N.East of the town (now derelict) and a fourth at Ballinamanton 1/4 mile farther on (derelict)
Of rootcrops the principal kinds sown are turnips, mangolds, parsnips and beet. Turnips and mangolds are given as food to cattle and sheep. During the hard dry weather in spring and early summer sheep, and especially ewes, are fed on mangolds. Parsnips are grown only in small quantities for table use. Beet is sent away by Rail to the Beet Factory in Tuam. A Beet Train for Tuam leaves the Gort Station every night about 10.30pm, for about eight weeks before Christmas.
The land is suitable for potatoes also. Any surplus potatoes are disposed of in the Gort marked every Saturday.

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Senchan, Guaire and the mice of Gort -1853

J. H. Todd and Eugene Curry

Field Mouse
Photo: Reg McKenna
Wikimedia Common

Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy (1836 – 1869), Vol.5 (1850-1853), pp. 355-366;
(abridged excerpt from On Rhyming Rats to Death )

On the death of Dallan Forgaill, the chief ollave, or poet of Erinn, about A.D. 600, Senchan Torpest, a distinguished poet of Connacht, was selected to pronounce the defunct bard’s funeral oration, and was subsequently elected to his place. Senchan formed his establishment of bardic officers and pupils on a larger scale than had been known since the revision of the bardic institution at the great meeting of Dromceat, some twenty years previously. As chief poet, he was entitled to make visitation with his retinue, of any of the provinces and to be entertained at the court of the provincial kings. The honour of being so visited was sought for with pride and satisfaction by the kings of Ireland.
Senchan, having consulted with his people, decided on giving the distinguished preference of their first visitation to his own provincial king, Guaire the Hospitable, king of Connacht. They were received hospitably and joyfully at the king’s palace, at the place now called Gort, in the county of Galway. During the sojourn of Senchan at Gort, his wife, Bridget, on one occasion, sent him a portion of a certain favourite dish. Senchan was not in his apartment when the servant arrived there; but the dish was left there, and the servant returned to her mistress. On Senchan’s return, he found the dish and, eagerly examining it, was sadly disappointed at seeing it contained nothing but a few fragments of gnawed bones.

Shortly after, the same servant returned for the dish, and Senchan asked what its contents had been. The maid explained it to him, and the angry poet threw an unmistakeable glance of suspicion on her. She, under his gaze, at once asserted her own innocence, stating that as no person could have entered the apartment from the time she left until he returned to it, the dish must have been emptied by mice.
Senchan believed the girl’s account and vowed that he would make the mice pay for their depredations, and he composted a metrical satire on them;

Mice, though sharp their snouts,
Are not powerful in battles;
I will bring death on the party
For having eaten Bridget’s present.

Small was the present she made us,
Its loss to her was not great,
Let her have payment from us in a poem,
Let her not refuse the poet’s gratitude!

You mice, which are in the roof of the house,
Arise all of you and fall down.

And thereupon ten mice fell dead on the floor from the roof of the house, in Senchan’s presence. And Senchan said to them: “It was not you that should have been satirized, but the race of cats, and I will satirize them.” And Senchan then pronounced a satire, but not a deadly one, on the chief of the cats of Erinn, who kept his princely residence in the cave of Knowth, near Slane, n the County of Meath.

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Galway – 1846

Indiana State Sentinel 19th march, 1846

Galway Cathedral Photo: EO'D
Galway Cathedral
Photo: EO’D

The government has again learned the necessity to increase the military force in Galway. A troop of the 13th Light Dragoons from Gort, arrived here on Tuesday, under the command of Captain Hamilton, for the purpose of repressing any outbreak among the people which may arise owing to the exportation of corn from this port.

Two companies of the 30th are likewise expected – one from Loughrea, the other from Oughterard – to aid the force in garrison, if necessary. This increase of troops is said to have been caused by the posting of a threatening notice at the Gashouse last week, to the effect that the merchant stores would be broken up by the people, if any further exportation of corn was attempted.

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Gort – 1913

Connacht Tribune 4th January, 1913 p.4

Former Military Barracks, Gort Photo: BuildingsofIreland.ie
Former Military Barracks,
Gort
Photo: buildingsofIreland.ie NIA

The old police station, George’s street, Gort, was broken up on Monday, all the police changing into the military barracks. The latter place has undergone a complete restoration within the last few months, and is in future to be occupied by all the police stationed in the district, married men included.
The removal of the police leaves open one of the finest dwelling houses in the town and speculation is rife as to what use the old barrack will be put. It is understood that the premises have been acquired for an additional bank. This would prove a great boom to the business men of the town.

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Gort – 1913

Connacht Tribune, 4th January, 1913  p.4 (abridged)

Photo: EO'D
Photo: EO’D

On Friday last week upwards of eighty tenants of the Gough estate held a meeting at Mr. Lally’s hotel, the Square, Gort. Dr. Comyn, solr.,  addressing the tenants said;
Our purpose in assembling here today is to arrive at some conclusion by which we may be enabled to complete the purchase of the Gough estate. Six years ago we believed the only obstacle that stood in our way was the game rights; we sent a deputation to meet the representatives of Lord Gough to Dublin and the question of the game rights was satisfactorily settled. We then left the completion of the purchase to the Commissioners. They sent Mr. Bailey down to inspect the land, which he did, and if they produce his report, it will be found that there is no question of Ashfield not being included in the sale. Now, after six years anxiously waiting, the requirement of Ashfield for disposal pops up. Therefore, our business is with the Commissioners, not with Lord Gough. We have kept our part of the bargain; they have not. The estate as it is now offered, would only provide about two acres for each tenant. Hence, my object in coming here today is to get the full consent of the tenants to meet Lord Gough with a view to acquiring the lands of Ashfield for inclusion with estate.

Very Rev. Father Nestor, Shanaglish, Gort, called upon the tenants to answer affirmatively by saying in a loud voice “Yes”, or negatively “No”. On a general accordance being given, the meeting terminated.

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Kinvara, Gort and south Galway – 1922

Freeman’s Journal 27th July, 1922 p.5 (abridged)

By Ardrahan Road, Kinvara Photo: EO'D
By Ardrahan Road,
Kinvara
Photo: EO’D

The National Forces operating from Galway under Commandant-General Austin Brennan have now begun to clear the country of Irregulars in real earnest, writes our Galway correspondent. As a result of an operation just under the valley of Tullira Castle, on the Kinvara road at Coolfin, sixteen prisoners were captured on Monday afternoon and on Tuesday a total of 22 prisoners was brought to Galway and lodged in the local gaol.
Early on Monday afternoon eight motor vehicles containing over thirty riflemen and their officers left Galway for Gort. They were equipped with cross-cut saws and engineering tools, and quickly cleared the roads on their way. They passed through Ardrahan village without incident, and along the road to the west of Tullira Castle, under the shadow of the Skehanagh heights, which have been made famous by the dramas of Lady Gregory and other Irish play-wrights.

To the west of this road lies the Great Southern Railway line to Gort and Ennis, and at the inlet of the sea further west the village of Kinvara. As the lorries passed along they noticed men on the march through the fields about a mile distant. They were evidently coming from Kinvara and making for Tullira Castle. The lorries passed along the road towards a bend in the hope of getting a better view, but here they found that their range of vision was altogether obstructed by trees and undergrowth. The vehicles were thereupon put in charge of a small party, whilst the little company of riflemen was distributed amongst the three officers and a few efficient sergeants, who had seen considerable service in the recent war. A few of the cars moved slowly back along the road that they had come, whenceupon the men dismounted, and one officer proceeded along a boreen towards the north-west, accompanied by half a score of men in extended formation. The first shot was fired when a scout was seen rushing across the fields apparently to warn his comrades in the rearguard. He was called upon to halt, and shots were then discharged at him at a range of over 400 yards. Thereafter shooting became general at long distance range.

The Irregulars replied, firing about 100 shots in all. Lieut. McCarthy, who was in charge of the centre, crossed a wall with a sergeant whilst bullets whizzed past. As the sergeant fell on his knees to take aim in the fields a bullet grazed his knuckles.

The National troops operated in a “V”, seeking what cover they could find, and sniping at the Irregulars as the occasion offered. The latter had splendid positions and excellent cover and they retreated as they fired. The main body was at least 1,000 yards from their adversaries and it was at this range that most of the shooting took place. When the scout had got clear, there was considerable commotion in the rearguard of the Irregulars, whistles were blown loudly and shrilly and a general retreat took place.