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The Atlantic Collection

This is a unique collection of three sailing ships which sailed the west coast of Ireland in the 18th century. It consists of commonly used ‘coffin ships’ to transport hundreds of thousands of destitute Irish people to America during the famine. The second is a Spanish galleon, which is one of a type used in the Spanish Armada. The third is the PS Connaught, a transatlantic paddle steamer. She was one of the most luxurious passenger liners of her time. She was used to transport passengers and mail, from Galway across the Atlantic to America. Also in the collection is the Endurance, the ship used by Ernest Shackleton for his ill-fated exploration expedition to Antarctica (1914 – 1916). All the ships are over two meter long and built to scale. They have been meticulously handcrafted to museum standards. The rigging and the sails are correct in every detail and are fully functional. This is a rare collection and the only one of its kind in Ireland.

Santa Maria- Christopher Columbus

Santa Maria

Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) On December 25, 1492, the Santa Maria ran aground off Haiti and was damaged beyond repair. The crew salvaged what they could and built a fortified enclosure in La Navidad, Haiti. Columbus erected a cross and claimed the territory in the name of Catholic Spain. Columbus returned to Spain with the Nina and Pinta leaving behind 39 members of his crew. This was the first European settlement in “The New World”. This was also the beginning of a period of brutal conquest, colonisation, slavery and exploitation which would last for centuries and would help to make Spain the wealthiest and most powerful nation in the world.
Columbus was a complex and controversial individual. He was a man of singular vision, dedicating his life to discovering a western sea route to China, India, and the fabled gold and spice lands of Asia. The first expedition left the port of Palos, Spain on the 3 August 1492 and ended with the destruction of the Santa Maria in La Navidad, Haiti. He made three more trips to ‘The New World’ returning with ships laden with gold. On his return he was received with the highest honours by the Spanish court. Columbus never accomplished his original goal. This honour went to Ferdinand Magellan eighteen years later in 1520. The western passage to the Pacific Ocean and China which eluded Columbus is now called the Magellan Straits. Christopher Columbus died on 20 of May 1506. He is buried in Seville Cathedral. The Santa Maria, original name Marigalante, (Brave Maria) was Columbus’ flagship on his first expedition in 1492. She was built in Pontevedra in the province of Galacia, Spain. Her design was called a ‘nao’ meaning “ship” in old Spanish. She had three masts (fore, main and mizzen) each carried one large sail. The foresail and mainsail were square, the rear mast was triangular and called a lateen. In addition, the ship carried a small square sail on the bowsprit with a small topsail on the main mast. She had a deck, forecastle and a stern castle. She was armed with cannon that fired granite ball. She was 117 ft. long. The height of the main mast was 95 feet. Her weight was approximately 100 ton.

Famine ship, the brig St. John 

St. John St. Nicholas'

The famine ship, the brig St John, was one of hundreds of ships known as ‘coffin ships’ that transported destitute Irish people escaping the famine to a ‘new world’ in America. like most famine ships, the ‘St John’  was a converted cargo ship, totally unsuitable for carrying passengers across the Atlantic. The journey took between eight and twelve weeks with a minimum supply of food and fresh water. Thousands of passengers died during the journey. Many ships, like the ‘St John’ sank with no survivors.

St john side view at St Nicholas'
St john bow view St Nicholas'
St John Galway Chrystal stern view

PS Connaught — Minnie Schiffer 

PS Connaught Ship

On the 25th. September 1860  the paddle steamer PS Connaught departed Galway under the command of 42 year old Captain Robert Leitch. She was bound for Boston with a stopover in St. John’s, Newfoundland. This was her second voyage and was carrying 50  first class passengers, 417  steerage passengers, a crew of 124 and a cargo of textiles. She also carried international mail under contract to Royal Mail. At the stopover at St. John’s she picked up some additional passengers and a consignment of 10,000 sterling gold coins, believed to be for the future King Edward V11 on a visit to Canada and America at the time. On the evening of the 6th. the Connaught  got caught in a storm and sprung a leak about 150 miles from Boston. The engine rooms were flooded, extinguishing the furnaces, causing the engines to die. On the morning of Sunday 7th., in addition to the leak, a fire broke out below deck. It began to spread rapidly throughout the ship. Captain Leitch  gave the order to launch the lifeboats and prepare to abandon ship. there was a shortage of lifeboats on board, which was common at the time.  Captain Leitch knew that unless a passing ship miraculously  appeared most, if not all, passengers would either burn to death or drown in the turbid waters of the Atlantic Ocean. At about midday on Sunday 7th two sailing ships were spotted in the distance, one of them was heading towards them. The name of the ship was the Minnie Schiffer.

On the 21st. April, 1860  a special train crowded with  passengers, departed Newcastle-Upon -Tyne to a ship yard in Jarrow to join thousands of others to witness the launch of the paddle steamer the PS Connaught.  She was the largest  ship afloat at the time with the exception of the Great Eastern. She was built by Palmer and Co. of Jarrow for the Atlantic Royal Mail Steam Navigation Company, colloquially known as The Galway Line. A new design and the latest technology went into her construction. Built of iron, She was  380ft. long with a 40ft. beam (width). She had a capacity to carry 800 passengers and crew. At her centre were two massive paddlewheels three stories tall. She was powered by three 800 horsepower engines capable of reaching a speed of 20 miles per hour. She also carried two masts with sails. The Connaught was one of the first ships to have a ‘waveline’ hull, a design that tapered to an unusually narrow bow. This enabled her to cut smoothly through the  waves creating a sleek, elegant, modern look. The main deck (promenade) and combings were made of solid teak  “beautifully carved and polished.” She boasted spectacular framed  skylights “stained most gracefully”. The saloons and first class cabins had walnut and maple panelling “of the most exquisite workmanship.”  The cabins were adorned with paintings depicting scenes of the Irish countryside. Throughout the ship “there were diamond-cut glass doorknobs, velvet couches and burnished gold moulding.” The lavishly furnished dining  lounge could seat over 200 diners in luxury.   

In 2014 a salvage company discovered the wreck of the Connaught. The 10,000 gold coins were still on board. They are now estimated to be valued at over 15 million pounds.

Logo on plate of Connaught

A fragment of crockery stamped with the logo of The Atlantic Royal Mail Steam Navigation Company (The Galway Line) recovered from the Connaught during a salvage operation in 2014.

Side Sonar Connaught

A side-sonar image of the Connaught on her discovery in 2014 on the seabed, approximately 100 miles off the coast of Boston.

New paper article of sinking of the PS Connaught

The discovery of the Connaught on the seabed

‘Click’ on the screen below to view the video.

Minnie  Schiffer 

Painting the mini Shiffer rescuing the PS Connaught

  The Minnie Schiffer rescuing the PS Connaught.  Artist: Sir  Oswald W. Brierly

A small sailing ship named the Minnie Schiffer, under the command of 50 year old Capt. John Wilson was nearing the end of the home leg of her first Atlantic crossing. She had a crew of six, four of whom could not speak English. She was carrying a cargo of fruit and wine from Marseille to Boston. She was built by S.N. Dickinson in Somerset, Mass., for the import-export company  Schiffer & Brothers. Built as a schooner, a second deck was later added and she was changed to a Brigantine. She was 108ft. long, with a 26ft. beam (width) and  Weighed aprox. 300 ton. At around midday, on the 7th. October 1860 she spotted distress signals and heavy smoke coming  from a ship in the distance. The ship was the PS Connaught. She was on fire and listing heavy to her starboard side. Capt. Wilson heaved to (stopped forward motion) two hundred yards from the Connaught and began to take passengers from the lifeboats. Due to a lack of lifeboats a rescue would depend on the few lifeboats available making repeated trips to ferry the passengers to the Minnie Schiffer in storm conditions. The situation aboard the Connaught was becoming critical and extremely dangerous. Water and fire was gaining rapidly. Parts of the hull was red hot and began to buckle with the intense heat. Waves were turned into steam as they pummelled the side of the ship. The pitch and caulking on the decks melted and caught fire. The heat from the deck could be felt through the soles of the shoes of the passengers. The transfer proceeded slowly. Only about 200 passengers had been transferred by sunset. Wilson knew that darkness would bring more hazards and that all the passengers could not be saved. He took a gamble and decided to narrow the gap between the two ships and attach a line to speed the rescue. If at any time now an explosion occurred on the Connaught, or a fire ember set fire to the sails of the Minnie Schiffer, both ships and all aboard would be lost. The Minnie Schiffer was about a quarter the length of the Connaught. The top of her mast only reached deck level. The risky manoeuvre paid off. By 9.30pm all the passengers from one of the largest, and most luxurious  liners in the world were safely on board a tiny cargo ship totally unsuitable for the task. Captain Leitch and his First Officer Thomas Connauton were the last to abandon what was now an inferno. The Connaught sank, stern first, at 2am on Monday the 8th. The Minnie Schiffer sailed into Boston on the afternoon of Tue 9th. The passengers were crammed so tightly on deck that some  had to cling to the rigging to find space. She was towing lifeboats from the Connaught filled with additional passengers. At a subsequent enquiry Capt. Leitch was highly commended for his “intrepid coolness” throughout the rescue. The quiet and unassuming Capt. Wilson became an overnight celebrity.  Both he and his crew were hailed as heroes. They were described as being “instruments in the hands of God.” Capt. Wilson received accolades, financial gifts and awards, including “a splendid silver pitcher and salver” with “appropriate inscriptions,” which he cherished afterwards through “thick and thin.” Originally from Baltimore he settled in New-Orleans, the hometown of his wife.  Having no children of their own they adopted and raised several orphans. Much of his career was spent transporting cargo in and around the gulf of Mexico. He went into  “the privateering business” on the side of the confederates during the civil war. Captain John Wilson died on September 20, 1877. He was buried in the Girod Street cemetery, New – Orleans. 

In 1957 bodies from the cemetery were exhumed to make way for modernisation. Most of the remains are believed to have been disposed of in a landfill. The rescue of the Connaught is considered to be one of the most courageous, daring and successful rescues in maritime history.


Earnest Shackleton – Endurance – Tom Crean

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition  1914- 1917

Endurance side view

On the 8th August 1914, days before the outbreak of the First World War, the polar research vessel Endurance left Plymouth under the command of Captain Frank Worsley. She was bound for Vahsal Bay in the notoriously hostile Weddell sea in Antarctica, with stopovers in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Grytviken whaling station in South Georgia. The leader of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition was Sir Ernest Shackleton. His goal was to cross the Antarctic on foot from a base camp in Vahsal Bay in the Waddel sea, crossing the South Pole and completing the journey in the Ross Sea on the opposite side of the frozen continent. A distance of approximately 1,800 miles. A second ship, the Aurora was to sail to Ross Sea and place supply depots along the route of the main expedition on the final leg of the home journey. On the 5th December 1914, the Endurance  departed Grytviken,  South Georgia and sailed South for Vahsal Bay. The crew of 28 was a mixed compliment of Officers, Sailors, Scientists, Surgeons and a Photographer. Also on board was 69 Canadian sledge dogs. Two days later the Endurance encountered pack ice. She managed to zig-zag a course through narrow openings in the drifting ice floes. On the 18 January 1915 The Endurance got trapped in a sea of  solid ice. She  began drifting with the currents, the wind and the ice. On February 22, she reached her furthest point South, (77degrees S.  35 degrees W.). The ice pack, and the trapped Endurance now began to drift North. This was the direction from which they had come. They were now drifting in the opposite direction to the one required if the Endurance was to reach her intended destination, Vahsal Bay. The explorers had no option but to live in cramped quarters for nine months on board the Endurance. Throughout this period she was being crushed gradually by the extreme pressure of compressed ice being applied to the hull. The reinforced hull  began to warp and buckle under the strain. Shackleton ordered the supplies, equipment, and the sledge dogs to be transferred to a safe location close by on the floating ice which was named Camp Ocean. On October 27, Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship. On November 21,1915 the Endurance sank. The sinking marked the end of the Trans-Antarctic Expedition and the beginning of one of the greatest epics of survival in history. 

Endurance side view 2
Shackleton - Antarctic expedition
Route of Endurance map
Endurance with full sails trying to free from ice

SS Athenia

SS Athenia

On the 3rd of September 1939, the British Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain declared war on Germany. The day before a transatlantic passenger liner the S.S. Athenia, under the command of Captain James Cook, left Liverpool bound for Montreal with 1,418 passengers and crew on board. Two-thirds were women and children. Hours after Britain declared war a German submarine, the U30, under the command of Captain  Fritz-Julius Lemp fired a torpedo into the Athena, 370 km north of the Donegal coast, Ireland.  There were a number of nationalities on board the Athenia including Americans, Canadians, German Jewish refugees, Polish Irish and British citizens. The Jewish refugees were escaping the increasing pogroms in Europe. One of the passengers, Michael McShane, was returning from Ireland to Detroit after collecting his winnings from the Irish Sweepstakes lottery.  The German torpedo hit the Athenia on the port side (left) close to the engine room. Three ships in the vicinity picked up the distress signal. They were the Norwegian ship the Knute Nelson, the luxury yacht, the Southern Star, and the City of Flint. 112 passengers and crew lost their life. There were 1306 survivors. The Knute Nelson rescued 430 and brought them to Galway, Ireland. The Athenia was the first British ship to be attacked by Germany in WW2.

Knute Nelson

knute nelson

View of the Knute Nelson in Galway Bay, taken from the tender Cathair an Gaillimhe whilst bringing survivors to Galway docks.

Knute Nelson

On the 1st of September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and started the second world. Fear and foreboding swept across Europe as it braced itself for the inevitable. England declared war on Germany on the 3 rd September 1939.  Hours after Britain’s declaration a Norwegian cargo ship, the Knute Nelson, under the command of Capt. Carl Johann Anderssen with 41 crew, picked up a distress signal from the British passenger liner the SS Athenia, informing them that she had been hit by a torpedo, had 1,400 souls on board, and was sinking. The Athenia was 250 miles north off the north coast of Ireland. The Knute Nelson replied that she was sixty miles away and coming to their assistance. She arrived at the scene in less than four hours. They found the Athenia going down by the stern and listing heavily to port (left side). Her lifeboats were in the water and being rowed towards them. The weather was good at the time. The sea was calm with a slight swell. The Knute Nelson picked up 430 survivors. Two other ships, the Southern Star and the City of Flint arrived at the scene and picked up the remaining survivors. Three British warships also joined in the rescue. There were unconfirmed reports that a German passenger liner, the SS Bremen was in the area at the time but failed to respond to the distress call. The Athenia sank at 10 am on the 4th of September (56.44N,14.05W) with a loss of 112 passengers and crew. Captain Anderssen set course for Galway, Ireland. A doctor rescued from the Athenia tended to the injured onboard the Knute Nelson in spite of having lost his wife and two of his children in the attack. The crew of the Knute Nelson shared their spare clothing and blankets with the survivors and made them as comfortable as possible. On their arrival in Galway, they were transferred to the tender Cathair na Gaillimhe  (City of Galway), under Captain William Goggin. A local newspaper reported that the survivors put up ” three cheers for the captain and crew of the Knute Nelson.” The emergency services, along with a large crowd had gathered on the quay to attend to their needs.

Lough Corrib

Aerial photograph of the Ross Errilly Friary

Ross Errilly Abbey on the bank of Lough Corrib

Lough Corrib

Lough Corrib is the largest lake in the Irish Republic. It is approximately 35 miles long and varies in breadth between 40 yds at the Wolfe Tone Bridge up to 8 miles at its widest point. It has a water surface area equivalent to 44,000 acres. There are 1,322 islands on the lake, many are subject to seasonal submersion and flooding. The islands provide approximately 1,000 acres of arable land. The discovery of a large number of dugout log boats which carbon dating show that there were thriving communities living on the shores of the lake 4,500 years ago. The lake was a highway with people and commodities crisscrossing the lake to landing places at all points of the compass. 31 monastic settlements have been identified along the shore, some dating back to the 5th century. They range from tiny single person oratories to substantial monastic settlements like Ross Errilly, Annaghdown and Inchagoill Island. The Abbey in Cong had up to 3,000 members resident between monks, lay scholars and surrounding domestic dwellings. Not only were they major ecclesiastical and spiritual centres, but the Abbots were also powerful political leaders, with the powers to dispense justice according to the brehon laws. The brehon laws were based on a code of both individual and communal restitution, rather than through arbitrary physical punishment. The chieftains gave protection from attacking armies and gave benevolent patronage to the monks, in return they received servile followers.

There were a relatively high numbers of castles, towers and other fortifications at strategic locations around the lake and on the islands.  A high degree of protection was required from constant fear of occupation during inter-tribal wars, and during the highly successful ‘divide and conquer’ strategy of the occupying English.

Lough Corrib was connected to the sea with the building of the (Eglinton) canal in 1852. This gave a new lease of life to the waterway and opened up new trading opportunities for the communities living on the shore of the lake. Initially it was a success. As well as regular passenger services, many cargo boats carried iron ore from the Maam river, bricks from Annaghdown, lead from Gleann, black marble from Angliham. Many more carried livestock and farm produce to the markets, they also transported timber, limestone, turf and wool. By 1915 however, almost all commercial trade on the canal had ceased.

Whilst the lake was a hive of commercial activity during the 19th century the surrounding mainland also received a boost to their economy. Old castles and fortifications were repaired, rebuilt and extended, and converted into luxurious accommodation by the English gentry, many of them absentee landlords. ‘Big houses’ began to dot the landscape. The Corrib became a playground for the rich. Fishing, sailing and shooting became fashionable. This was the beginning of the tourism industry.

 A playground for the rich

a day's catch on Lough Corrib. 3 men holding fish cought.
Game keeper with bag of fowl

A gamekeeper holding a “gamestick” of a “bag” of woodcock and pheasants.
wealthy pose for photo after day's shoot
Sailing boat going under Clifden railway bridge
Corrib railway bridge

There was a lifting bridge in the centre span of the Clifden railway bridge. The bridge was close to the lake entrance into the Eglinton Canal. The ‘ Restmore’ was the last boat to sail under the lifting section of the bridge.

Corrib Log boat (Dugout Canoe)

Lough Corrib -- Dugout Canoes

A  4,500 year old log boat discovered in Lough Corrib by marine cartographer Trevor Northage.

This log boat named the Annaghkeen Boat is one of twelve identified by Trevor Northage, while mapping Lough Corrib to update the British Admiralty charts published in 1846. The log boat is 12m long and has been carbon-dated to the Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age. It was laboriously sculpted by hand, with primitive tools, from a single massive oak tree 4,500 years ago. Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland. It covers an area of 64 sq. miles. The geography of the lake 4,500 years ago was different to what it is today. A dense forest covered the land to the shoreline. The inhabitants lived a communal existence. Extended families lived in clusters along the shore. There was an abundance of fish, fowl and wild animals freely available. The absence of territorial boundaries made war unnecessary. The log boat was the only means of communication and transportation. They played a key role in foraging, communal fishing, and hunting. Little is known about the people who inhabited the Lakeshore during this period. The results of the survey indicate that there are many more log boats and archaeological artifacts yet to be discovered at the bottom of Lough Corrib.

The MY AMO 2

In 1928, the Hon. Ernest Guinness bought the naval vessel the AMO 2. She was built originally as an anti-submarine boat (ML 482) in 1917, by Levi’s Shipyards in Quebec, Canada, then part of the British Empire. He also bought her sister ship (ML575) and called her AMO. He converted the AMO 2 into a luxury motor cruiser for his own personal use and had her based at Ashford Castle, Cong, Co. Mayo. She got her name from the initials of Guinness’s three daughters, Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh. She was used primarily for leisurely cruises around the lake in in luxury. Due to very poor roads and infrastructures, she was also used as the main means of transport to and from Cong to Galway. There was a piano on board for guests to entertain themselves during the two-hour journey to and from Galway. Onboard accommodation consisted of a state room, galley (kitchen) four large cabins, sleeping accommodation for nine, a bathroom and three w/cs. There was also a large wheelhouse. The galley, for its time, was a fully modern kitchen capable of providing first class meals for a large number of diners. The AMO 2 piano is now part of the ship’s collection in the Galway Maritime Museum.

In 1954 the AMO 2 was sold to Frank Bailey, a hotelier and garage owner in Eyre Sq., Galway. The hotel was Located where the Odeon House now stands, next door to O’Connell’s bar. In order to get from the lake to the sea, Bailey had to claim his right of passage to have five swinging bridges spanning the canal opened to allow him access to the sea. Corporation engineers discovered that if the bridges were opened, they could not be closed again. They had no option but to install fixed concrete bridges in their place immediately after the AMO 2 had passed. Having negotiated the final lock (Parkavarra), she struck a silt bank at Dominick St (now the back of Monroe’s). Bailey had all the furniture, including the piano, removed to give sufficient buoyancy for the ship to reach the sea. The AMO 2 was the last ship to sail through the Eglinton canal.

Two years later, in 1956 a notice appeared in The Motor Boat and Yachting magazine, advertising the AMO 2 as being for sale. What happened to her after that is open to debate. There is an opinion that she was sold at auction at Sweeneys Auctions, Dun Laoighre, Dublin and possibly scrapped in the Hammonds Lane scrap yard. AMO, the sistership of AMO 2, was stripped for parts and sank, possibly at her mooring at Lisloughrey, close to Ashford Castle.


The AMO 2 was 80’ X 11’ 9’’ X 5’ 9,’’ and weighed 57 ton. She had twin screws, 56 horse power,
Copper seathed Engines with an independent auxiliary engine for generating electricity and bailing.
Amo 2 in the Eglinton Canal

Amo 2 was a private luxury cruiser used by the Guinness family of Ashford Castle  to entertain their aristocratic guests on Lough Corrib. The name comes from the first initials of Guinness’s three daughters, Aileen, Maureen and Oonagh.


The AMO 2 Piano

Amo 2 Piano


The ship’s piano which was removed from the AMO 2 by hotelier Frank Bailey.


Amo 2 person tuning the piano

Brian Maloney of Maloney Pianos, Athenry, Co. Galway, tuning the piano. The first time it was tuned since 1954.

Amo2 Sky view of piano

The piano cost Mrs. Curran £15 at auction in 1954, Piggott’s from Dublin charged £15 to tune it the same year. Maloney Pianos from Athenry, Co Galway charged 15 euros to tune it in 2023.

The Piano in the attic scanned document



Piano in the Attic.

In 1954, my mother, having decided that my sister, Bernie, would learn to play the piano, found and advertisement in the “the Connaught Tribune postcode”. This declared that there would be an auction in Bailey’s hotel, Eyre Square, Galway, and that one of the items being auctioned was a “ship’s piano”. She bought the piano which was a J.B. Cramer model no. 1 iron frame portable ships piano. This beautiful little instrument had been part of the furnishings and fittings from the Ammo 2, a converted World War one mine sweeper which had been converted into a luxury cruiser by the Guinness family to entertain guests on Lough Corrib. It had been based at Ashford Castle, Cong, Co Mayo, part of the Guinness empire. The castle had been sold to Mr. Noel Huggard and the cruiser was sold to Mr. Bailey from Galway. Mr. Bailey exercised his right to have the locks on the disused Eglington Canal opened in order to bring the boat down to Galway in order to sell it. The operation cost Galway Corporation a considerable amount, because all the opening bridges on the canal were seized up due to lack of use and in order to open them it was found that it would cost less if they were replaced. They were replaced with fixed bridges. A notice had been posted informing all boat owners that the canal would be closed permanently following the passage of the Ammo 2. All went fine until the boat arrived at Dominic Street bridge, where it was found that due to silt, the boat got stuck. In order to free it, Mr. Bailey decided to remove the furniture so that the boat would rise in the water and thus be able to continue its journey. My mother bought the piano for £15. And in order to get it home, my father and I yoked up the ass and cart and travelled the 5 miles to Galway. We laid the instrument on its back and the cart set out for Oranmore. However, because the piano was on its back meant that every time the wheels hit a pothole or indeed any bump, the hammers bounced off the strings causing a cacophony of sound. The ass obviously didn’t have an ear for music so at every note he tightened his tail, flicked his ears forward and ran ever faster until we reached the back gate of Vesey Lodge. If records were kept, it is probable that we hold the record for the fastest time for an ass and cart to travel from Galway to Oranmore. The piano was installed in the kitchen of Vesey Lodge and was found to be out of tune. This meant that a man had to come from Piggott’s in Dublin in order to tune it. This also cost £15 and I still have the receipt for it. My sister turned out to have no interest in learning the piano.  The piano was played occasionally by Johnny Divilly, a neighbour and my best friend. I played along with him on my accordion.

When her family moved to Dublin in 1959, one of the few items of furniture brought with us was “the piano”. It sat in our house at 34 Botanic Ave and was there when I got married and moved to our own house in Raheny. One evening in 1964, I was reading the evening paper and for some strange reason was looking at the musical instruments for sale in the classified section when I spotted that my mother had placed an ad in order to sell the piano. I immediately drove to botanic Avenue, where mother told me that a man had been there and had gone to get a friend to look at the piano. I put my hand in my pocket and took out £15 and gave it to her (It was fortuitous that I had £15, because a week’s wages at the time would have been about £12). I went next door and enlisted the help of a neighbour to carry the piano out and put it on the back seat of the car. It has remained in our house since then, and though it has been relegated to the attic. I have an ambition to restore it to its original glory someday.

Frank Curran


Ashford castle sale advertisment
Amo2 Bailey's sale ad
Lady Olive
Guinness's Seaplane
house, rabbit island
Lady Cadogan
Menlo Castle
Lady in front of manor
Auction poster for manor

Sources for the Lough Corrib chapter:

Reflections on Lough Corrib by Maurice Semple.

Where The River Corrib Flows by Maurice Semple.

The Lough Corrib Chart Book by Trevor Northage.

A Guide to Lough Corrib’s Early Monastic Sites by Anthony Previte

The Silver Salver. The story of the Guinness family by Frederic Mullally


Old map of Galway

* Trade between Galway and the Continent in the 15th and 16th centuries.

* Connemara, and visit of King Edward V11 * American citizens, depart Galway to escape  the war, 1941



Lockheed Sirius Model 8   NR-211


Galway Bay 1933

sea plane

The above Lockheed Sirius Model 8 is the plane Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne Morrow Lindbergh used to fly from the U.S. on a five-month trip, covering a distance of 30,000 miles over four continents in 1933. This journey included a two-night stopover in Galway on October 23, the same year. The Sirius was a monoplane with a 680hp Wright Cyclone engine. She was modified and fitted with pontoon floats for water landings or wheels for ground-based operations. A sliding canopy and dual controls were added for their overseas flights to Japan and the Northern Pacific Ocean in 1931, and Europe, including Galway, in 1933. During a trip to Greenland, an Eskimo boy gave the Sirius its nickname: “Tingmissartoq” – “One who flies like a big bird.” Charles Lindbergh was a consultant with Pan-Am at the time. The stopover in Galway as part of a number of survey flights the Lindbergh’s took to identify suitable locations for transcontinental routes for commercial aviation. Galway was being considered at the time as a possible suitable location for stopover flights between the U.S and European cities. Subsequently, the town of Foynes, in the Shannon Estuary was chosen as the European hub for seaplane transatlantic air travel.

Anne Linbergh

Douglas Skymaster (DC4)

Transocean Air Lines.  Galway Bay 1949

DC4 Galway bay Douglas

On the 14th August 1949 a Transocean Airlines Douglas DC-4 (Douglas Skymaster) departed Rome bound for Caracas, Venezuela with a scheduled refueling stopover at Shannon. The captain was Edward Bessey with a crew of eight and 51 passengers. Two of the passengers were American employees of Transocean Air lines. The aircraft was chartered by the International Refugee Organisation to fly a group of 49 post-war Italian refugees to a new life in Caracas. Shortly after midnight on the morning of August 15th Shannon Air traffic control received a distress message from the aircraft.  A navigation error had caused the Skymaster to miss Shannon, continue to fly out to sea and run out of fuel. A massive Air-Sea Rescue was launched which included aircraft, fishing trawlers and the Aran Islands lifeboat. Captain Bessey, against all the odds, glided his plane to a perfect landing in the Atlantic without inflicting any injuries on impact. However, 9 passengers lost their lives during the evacuation. The survivors and bodies were brought to Galway Docks. The survivors were treated in the Regional Hospital, Galway.

Lockheed Super Constellation


KLM  Flight 607-E  Hugo de Groot Galway 1958

KLM flight 607E Hugo the Groot

At 3.05 AM on the 14th August, 1958 KLM Flight 607E departed Shannon Airport bound for New York with a stopover at Gander Airport, Canada. The flight had originated in Schiphol Airport under Captain Roelofs with 8 crew and 91 passengers. At  3.40 AM Captain Roelofs relayed a message from another aircraft to Shannon Air Traffic Control. That was the last contact with Flight 607E. This was normal because, at the time, it was not possible to communicate with aircraft over the Atlantic. Five hours later when the flight was overdue in Gander and following attempts to make radio contact failed a full-scale Air-Sea Rescue operation was launched on both sides of the Atlantic. Shortly afterward aircraft wreckage was spotted 110 off the Galway coast. There were no survivors. 34 bodies were recovered and brought to Galway. Only twelve bodies were identified. 11 were returned to Holland. The remaining 23 were buried in a communal grave in Bohermore  Cemetery, Galway.

RAF Vickers-Wellington Bomber


Galway Bay 1944

RAF Vickers-Wellington Bomber

On the morning of the 5th October 1944  an RAF Vickers Wellington, anti-submarine bomber, based in Limavady, Derry crash-landed into the sea off Salthill in Galway Bay. There were six airmen on board. Five of them survived and were taken to St Enda’s military hospital in Salthill. The body of the sixth, Stanley Gaudin was recovered on the shore in Knock, Connemara.

 RAF Whitley Bomber


Galway Bay 1941

whitworth armstrong whitley bomber

On the 12th March 1941, an RAF  Whitley patrol bomber based in Limavady airfield,  Derry crashed in Galway Bay with two survivors out of a crew of five.

RAF Sunderland  Flying Boat


Galway Bay 1941

On the 16th December 1941, an RAF Sunderland Flying Boat ran out of fuel and crash-landed in Galway Bay. Out of a crew of nine, only two airmen made it to safety.

John P. Holland,  submarine

John. P. Holland

John Holland designed and built the first working submarine. He was born in Liscannor,Co. Clare in 1840. He emigrated to Boston U.S. in 1873. His first submarine was named Holland No. 1. The American Navy rejected his early plans. The Irish revolutionary group in Boston called the Fenians financed the construction of one to be used “to wage war” against the British. It was named the ‘Fenian Ram’ The U.S. Navy, did eventually buy his invention. He also sold his designs to the British Navy. He built two submarines for Japan. He received the Rising Sun honour from the Emperor of Japan for his contribution to the Japanese Naval victory against the Russians in 1905. He died in 1914. He is buried in Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Holland One Submarine

Holland 1, Paterson Museum, N.J.


Bruce Ismay
1862 – 1937 – RMS Titanic


J Bruce Ismay Black & white photo

J. Bruce Ismay was chairman and managing director of the White Star Line, owner of the Titanic. He was a passenger, and survivor of the disaster. He was instrumental in the concept, design and construction of the Titanic. Following the sinking, the British media mounted a sustained campaign against him. He was accused of being responsible for reducing the number of lifeboats on board, interfering with the safe passage of the ship and boarding the last lifeboat, ahead of women and children. He came to Ireland to escape the international media attention took refuge in Costello Lodge in Connemara, County Galway.

Titanic poster

Alexander Nimmo
Engineer, 1783 – 1832

Alexander Nimmo

Alexander Nimmo was a Scottish engineer and surveyor. He moved to Ireland in 1810.  he carried out geographical surveys, reclaimed bogs, built roads, bridges, and piers. His work included Sarsfield’s bridge in Limerick and Dunmore harbour and lighthouse in XXXX. on behalf of the state. He moved to Connemara in 1813 and built a residence, Corrib Lodge, in Maam Valley. His pioneering work brought large-scale employment and permanent improvements to the infrastructure of the  Connemara region. He changed the landscape by building roads and bridges, including the Galway to Clifden road. His coastal surveys produced detailed charts which enabled the construction of many regional piers, opening up fishing opportunities and coastal trade. He is best known in Galway for building Nimmo’s pier in the city He died in his residence in Malborough St, Dublin in 1823.

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Galway City Canal Walk

The path less traveled

Galway City Canal Walks

The Environment

Beach with Waves


The streets of Galway


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