Stack’s Arcade and Coco, William Street


Remembering a tragic event

2022 marks a century of the Garda Síochána policing Ireland.

It is timely to remember again a North Kerry garda, a young father drowned while on duty.

Corrib Tragedy January 18 1934

Over the years, the River Corrib has seen many tragic moments because of drowning accidents. While the Anach Chuain disaster of 1828, was terrible, with the loss of 19 people, one of the saddest must be the tragedy that occurred during a cold winter’s night of January 1934.

What makes this accident so haunting is the fact that the people who lost their lives were neither boating or swimming: they were occupants of a motor car who should not have been in that particular area on that night. What is even sadder still is that they drowned within ear-shot of a dance that was being held in the Commercial Boat Club. As young people enjoyed the dancing and music in the hall, four others struggled for their lives in a submerged car just outside. Many people say that one cannot escape fate, and this is a story of just that: it is haunting to say the least as one examines the circumstances that led to this appalling tragedy.

The following account of the accident was published:

“Drowned Within Sound of Dance – Agonising Search – For Four Bodies in Motor Car – Pathetic Final Scenes.”

“Whilst the band played and the dancers danced at the Commercial Boat Club, Galway, on Thursday night last, a motor car returning from Ballinasloe plunged into the Corrib at the end of Steamer’s Quay, carrying its four occupants to death in four feet of water.

No one heard the splash: no one witnessed the grim tragedy of a mistaken road. All was over in less time than it takes to write the story. It was not until Saturday morning, after a diligent search by the Civic Guards, that the car with its huddle of dead bodies in the back seat was found lying on its left side beneath the waters.

The names of the victims were as follows:

            Sergeant Forde (28) in charge of Maam station, a native of Tynagh, Co. Galway, married; leaves a widow, a son and a daughter.

            Guard Kenneally (32) Maam, a native of Newtownsands, Co. Kerry, married; leaves a widow and one son.

            Martin Keane P.C. (45) Maam, shopkeeper and farmer the driver of the car, married; leaves a widow, three boys and two girls.

            Miss Margaret Laffey (25) Carragh, Cornamona.

The purpose of the ill-fated journey that day was to take a girl, Sarah Laffey, who had been ill for some time, to a hospital in Ballinasloe. The first leg of the journey was from Maam to Carragh in Cornamona, where the girl lived. Her sister, Margaret, decided to accompany her and travelled with them. The party started on their journey for Ballinasloe about 12:30pm and arrived there at 3:30pm. They travelled in a 1929 green saloon, Fordor Ford car, the property of Martin Keane of Maam, who was also the driver.

The drowning tragedy happened on their way back to Galway.

( Source: Alice Kennelly, granddaughter of Garda Michael Kennelly)

Garda Michael Kennelly of Knockanure

 {From Clifden 200 site Clifden celebrating 200 years from May 25th to June 4th 2012. See from Clifden to the South the Brandon Hills, in Kerry, 90 miles away. Garda Michael Kennelly is featured in the ‘Gardai 1930’ photo, seated extreme left. He hailed from Newtownsandes (now Moyvane) Co. Kerry and lived in Aillebrack with his wife Alice McHale-Kennelly. He was killed ‘on duty’ in January 1934 when he and his colleague Sergeant Forde, were returning to Maam Garda Station after escorting a female patient to Ballinasloe Mental Hospital. On driving through Galway the hackney car in which they were travelling left the road and entered the River Corrib at Woodquay. Garda Kennelly was drowned along with the others in the car.}


Writers’ Week Visitor

Terry Prone and Cara Trant at a Writers Week of yesteryear

This year Listowel Writers’ week will run from June 1 to June 5. LWW’s very popular writing workshops and masterclassesare open now for booking.

They have a very varied offering this year. Take a look HERE


A Symbol of our time

Daffodils are symbols of Spring every year,

“Ten thousand saw I at a glance

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.”

Antigen tests are symbols of Spring 2022.

Every now and again pictures of old tin openers, washboards and other items that only the really old can remember appear on social media with the caption “Do you remember when….?

Will the antigen test be the tin opener of 2050?

Will people be telling future generations about the great pandemic in their Census 2021 time capsule?