galway 

Rugby in Galway didn’t have the success as it did in
other counties and provinces but Galway clubs, Galway Town, Ballinasloe, Queens
College Galway and Galway Grammar School were all profound members in helping
establishing the Connacht Branch of the IRFU in 1885. Rugby did remain in the
back ground for people of Galway but schools and clubs still competed. In 1905
St. Ignatius College Galway won the Connacht Junior Cup for the first and it
was also the first year of the completion. Rugby at this time was seen really
as an English sport as they brought it over and changed the rules so this lead
to the development of rugby being rooted in political, social and cultural
traditions of Britain. The NUIGalway rugby team was founded in 1874 and won
their first Connacht Senior Cup in 1897.[1]

The sports played at this time had a huge bearing on
people’s lives. All sports were somehow involved or connected to political,
social and cultural issues. The backgrounds of the sports were massive in
influencing people to play that particular sport. As you can see rugby wasn’t
that popular as it had a connection back to Britain and the rules regards with
this sport were made from the English while the GAA were blooming as many
people joined the GAA as they saw it as part of the Irish culture, they saw it
as their own and no English man could take that off them. The GAA had a
connection to everyone that was Irish as it made and established by Irish people
and banned the English from Playing. Other sports like cricket and golf were
successful for a while until the English got involved and more or less took it
over even though the clubs and grounds stayed open the interest levels were
falling. As Galway was so varied and innovative it had a great hand on sports
and culture. it was a county in thralled by sport and also a county to which
the developing Irish Ireland Literary and Cultural movement looked to for
inspiration. As Galway tried to shake of the shackles of the British and play
their sports and thrive in their culture it was difficult times to say the
least for the people of Galway.

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We also see that betting and gambling was another
point of recreation for the people of Galway city. In the book “A town
tormented by the sea” Galway 1790-1914 by John Cunningham he talks about two
incidents that occurred in Eyre Square where betting/gambling was involved. One
was to do with a man called John Kelly with his black horse and how he could
travel “twelve Irish miles in less than an hour” (Cunningham 2004) with he did
in fact complete in 58 minutes. Questioned could be asked on how a man riding a
horse could draw such a crowd and interest and how often would this happen. As
Cunningham’s points out that the chance of seeing a rich man losing a sum of
money and the chance of oneself winning a few pounds at the time was
interesting enough to have such a following and also tells us that “betting was
essential to many amusements in the 19th Century”. (Cunningham
2004). The other incident was rather farcical as a man named Demsey’s who was
described to be ‘rather of low stature’ proposed that he would walk 105 Irish
miles in 24hours without leaving Eyre Square. Again the question had to be
asked about how a such an odd event would attract such a crowd and why the
major would call it off after three hours having feared that a riot could
commence. As most events need a crowd to have a good atmosphere there was a
sense 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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