galway 

Rugby in Galway didn’t have the success as it did inother counties and provinces but Galway clubs, Galway Town, Ballinasloe, QueensCollege Galway and Galway Grammar School were all profound members in helpingestablishing the Connacht Branch of the IRFU in 1885.

Rugby did remain in theback ground for people of Galway but schools and clubs still competed. In 1905St. Ignatius College Galway won the Connacht Junior Cup for the first and itwas also the first year of the completion. Rugby at this time was seen reallyas an English sport as they brought it over and changed the rules so this leadto the development of rugby being rooted in political, social and culturaltraditions of Britain. The NUIGalway rugby team was founded in 1874 and wontheir first Connacht Senior Cup in 1897.[1]The sports played at this time had a huge bearing onpeople’s lives. All sports were somehow involved or connected to political,social and cultural issues.

The backgrounds of the sports were massive ininfluencing people to play that particular sport. As you can see rugby wasn’tthat popular as it had a connection back to Britain and the rules regards withthis sport were made from the English while the GAA were blooming as manypeople joined the GAA as they saw it as part of the Irish culture, they saw itas their own and no English man could take that off them. The GAA had aconnection to everyone that was Irish as it made and established by Irish peopleand banned the English from Playing. Other sports like cricket and golf weresuccessful for a while until the English got involved and more or less took itover even though the clubs and grounds stayed open the interest levels werefalling. As Galway was so varied and innovative it had a great hand on sportsand culture. it was a county in thralled by sport and also a county to whichthe developing Irish Ireland Literary and Cultural movement looked to forinspiration. As Galway tried to shake of the shackles of the British and playtheir sports and thrive in their culture it was difficult times to say theleast for the people of Galway. We also see that betting and gambling was anotherpoint of recreation for the people of Galway city.

In the book “A towntormented by the sea” Galway 1790-1914 by John Cunningham he talks about twoincidents that occurred in Eyre Square where betting/gambling was involved. Onewas to do with a man called John Kelly with his black horse and how he couldtravel “twelve Irish miles in less than an hour” (Cunningham 2004) with he didin fact complete in 58 minutes. Questioned could be asked on how a man riding ahorse could draw such a crowd and interest and how often would this happen. AsCunningham’s points out that the chance of seeing a rich man losing a sum ofmoney and the chance of oneself winning a few pounds at the time wasinteresting enough to have such a following and also tells us that “betting wasessential to many amusements in the 19th Century”. (Cunningham2004). The other incident was rather farcical as a man named Demsey’s who wasdescribed to be ‘rather of low stature’ proposed that he would walk 105 Irishmiles in 24hours without leaving Eyre Square. Again the question had to beasked about how a such an odd event would attract such a crowd and why themajor would call it off after three hours having feared that a riot couldcommence. As most events need a crowd to have a good atmosphere there was asense that there was betting going on in Galway city at this time.

[1] http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/exhibition/galway/sport_cultural.html

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