Posted in Posts and podcasts

Kinvara railway – 1879

Freemans Journal 13th December, 1879 p. 7

Kinvara Quay Photo; EO'D
Kinvara Quay
Photo; EO’D

To the Editor of the Freeman
Kinvara, December 11th
Dear Sir,
I regret very much that the distress in the west, on which you so seasonably commented in your leader in Wednesday’s Freeman, is not confined to Clifden nor to Connemara, but is to be met with as severely elsewhere.
We have in Kinvara, with its population of over 350 families, want at present bordering on starvation, while the people in the rural districts all round are not much, if anything, better off, and unless our paternal Government open up public works in some form, actual starvation, with its usual sad and sickening train, will be the result before the 1st February.
Our rulers may shut their eyes to and pretend to ignore the present crisis, but there can be no question as to the existence of deep and general destitution among the labouring classes. This distress seems to be more keenly felt by a certain class of small farmers than it is by those who have nothing to fall back on but their daily pay, for the latter are more or less familiar with want, though not to anything like the present extend; while the former were before now comparatively comfortable, but this year an accumulation of misfortunes, for which they were unprepared, came upon them, and crushed them to the very earth. Rot among the sheep, consequent on the severe autumn and winter of last year; losses in the sale of stock, the partial destruction of their crops this year by blight, storms, and a wet summer and autumn – these were the casualties that crowded in rapid succession on the small farmers, and reduced them to a state worse, if possible, than that of the purely labouring class.
How miserable the condition of many among the small landholders is at present no person knows better than the priest who goes among them with all the freedom of a father, and is made their confidant in their weal and woe. It requires no prophet to tell how those poor people are to eke out an existence during the next six months, for starvation and pestilence will victimise many of them unless something is done to give employment to the many hands among them who are able and willing to work.
If, as we are assured, the solas pupuli be the suprema lex, surely the Government of the country is bound to save the people, and when this can be done without any loss to itself, as in the present emergency by opening up reproductive works. The obligation becomes so grave and solemn that no Government can overlook or disregard it without laying itself open to the charge of being anxious to get rid of its subjects “with a vengeance.”
In Kinvara a great deal might be done in the way of giving employment to the labouring classes. We have a beautiful bay, but no trade, except in turf; a good harbour, which we require badly, would do much to encourage and promote trade with Galway; opening a communication between Kinvara and Gort, a distance of seven miles, by means of a railroad, which could be laid down at present, would not only serve the poor by giving them employment, but would also materially benefit both towns. Then again, though it might sound paradoxical to assert it in the depth of winter, still it is perfectly correct to say that we are at the present time suffering from a dearth of fresh water, as the only one spring which supplied the whole town, and neighbourhood, has ceased (not an unusual occurrence) to yield its usual refreshing beverage, and in consequence we are compelled to put up with a substitute of a very muddy description, while never-failing wells of the most crystal like water are to be found on the burren hills about three miles off. But as far as we are practically concerned at present they may as well be thirty miles; for, like the lakes that “shone in mockery nigh” they are untouched and untasted by us. However, it would be very easy and by no means expensive to convey the water from those hills by pipes to Kinvara, and as employment is required for the poor, the present would be a very favourable opportunity for doing a very useful, if not a necessary work.
I am, dear Mr. Editor, faithfully yours,
J. Molony P.P.

Posted in Posts and podcasts

Kinvara Quay – and Tram – 1838

Tuam Herald 28th September, 1839 p.2

Horse drawn Tram, Shop Street, Galway. National Library of Ireland on The Commons Wikimedia Commons
Horse drawn Tram, Shop Street, Galway.
National Library of Ireland on The Commons
Wikimedia Commons

(excerpt of letter from Mr T. Bermingham to “To the Guardians of the unions of Loughres, Gort, Ballinasloe and Tuam, especially – and to the inhabitants of the County Galway in General.”)

I have lately examined the southern coast of the Bay of Galway, and from the trade at present existing at Kinvarra and the New Quay, I have no hesitation in recommending the building there of two good piers, to protect the boats engaged in the fishery and seaweed trade, and as asylums for vessels of moderate burden, to encourage still further their spirited trade in corn, with a view of being a proper point of communication with the town of Galway by means of a steam tug – a plan which has been long agitated by the inhabitants of Galway.  Tram roads for horse power are perhaps more adapted to the present trade of this county than more expensive railways for locomotive power.

With the experience that I have had in constructing a short line of railroad on cut bog, the property of Lord Clonbrock in this county, I can almost confidently state that a double line of rails of dimensions adapted to the present trade, can be constructed for three thousand pounds per statute mile – upon which one horse can draw a load weighing ten tons upon the level. Of course it would be necessary to have relays of horses to assist at some of the elevations – which upon the route that I propose to take, would be but few.

More on Kinvara in the news archives at

Posted in Posts and podcasts

Within a long recess there lies a Bay…Kinvarra

Johnstons, Saint Joseph's, Saint Anthony's Hotel and Kinvara Harbour.
Johnstons, Saint Joseph’s, Saint Anthony’s Hotel and Kinvara Harbour.
During 1842-43 Thomas L. Cooke wrote articles for the Galway Vindicator about Kinvara, Co. Galway…
“Within a long recess there lies a Bay,

An island shades it from the rolling sea,
And forms a port secure for boats to ride.”
Dryd. Virg.
Such is the geographical position of the harbour of Kinvarra, situate on the south east extremity of the bay of Galway. The entrance to Kinvarra bay is a moderately narrow one, lying between Durus head land on the west, and a point of Drumacoe parish on the east. Opposite to the mouth of this narrow channel is Eddy Island, which forms a natural breakwater protecting the little Delta of a bay within, from the rough seas that are occasionally reverberated from off the southern face of Kilcolgan point.
The village of Kinvarra is built on a gentle acclivity at the bottom of the bay, bearing the same name.
– The appellation seems to be derived from the Irish Ceann, the end or limit, and Mara, of the sea. –
This village is about five miles distant from New Quay, and is situate in the barony of Kiltarton, and county of Galway. Fairs are held here the 18th of May, and 17th of October annually. Kinvarra also is the name of the parish in which the village is situate, being a Vicarage in the Diocese of Kilmaduach.
This little town is the property of Mr. Gregory, of Coole, and has been much improved of late years. Many good houses have been erected – an excellent quay, wall and pier, have been built, and some good shops have been opened. Amongst the latter is an Apothecary’s establishment, kept by Dr. Hines where the infirm are supplied, on moderate terms, with medicine, and all meet with that attention and humanity, which is ever grateful to the invalid. There are several streets here, and the population is much employed in traffic. The market, is principally, remarkable for the sale of corn, bought up to be exported from hence. Adjoining the quay are temporary stocks, on which a superior class of sea boats are built.”
Noah's Ark, (1846),  Edward Hicks  (1780 –1849 Philadelphia Museum of Art
Noah’s Ark, (1846),
Edward Hicks (1780 –1849
Philadelphia Museum of Art
The boats will gather in Kinvara for Cruinniu na mBad very soon – and the Ark will open its doors.