MY PART OF TOWN- Barrack Lane and Abbey Row

By Helen Tully

Helen Tully

Helen Tully



Athenry Boys’ and Girls’ National School

The derelict house (pictured below)(Finns) opposite the Athenry playground was originally the residence of the teacher in the Athenry Boys’ National School near the Old Ball Alley. The school, a long four roomed one storey building for boys and girls, was built in 1860 on the site where two town houses are now built. When the Presentation Sisters opened the new convent National School around 1910 the girls moved there.


The original Residence of the principal Teacher of the Boys’ National School


The large building to the left was the Teacher’s residence and behind that was the old boys’ national with gabled porch


A Mr. O’Reilly taught at the old school and lived in the house. According to the 1911 census a single twenty five year old man, Francis Woods, was teaching there. He later married a teacher from Kerry and they had three sons, Frank, Jimmy and Desmond and a daughter, Peggy. Both Francis Woods and his wife taught in the school. Francis died in 1924, aged thirty eight.  Mrs. Woods continued teaching there with the new principal, M. J. Walsh and Sean King, his assistant teacher.

Jimmy Woods married a local girl, Patsy Duffy, whose parents owned the Railway Hotel, now the V.E.C. headquarters, and the public house and grocery at the Arch, now owned by the Murphy family.

Peggy Woods married an insurance officer, Matt Corcoran; they lived with Mrs. Woods, they had three daughters Maura, Sheila and Deirdre, while living in Athenry. In the mid 1950s they moved to Castlebar. Mrs. Woods died in 1972 and is buried with her husband in the New Cemetery, Athenry.

Vincent Finn from Carnakelly bought the house, which is still owned by the Finn family.

Teachers and pupils moved to the new boys’ school in Swan Gate (now Somers grocery shop) in 1940.

Sarah Dolan

In 1875 there were fifty five boys and thirty five girls in the old school. The last principal in the girls’ school was Mrs. Sarah Dolan. She had three daughters, Minnie, Annie and Aggie and a son Jimmy. According to the 1911 census Sarah Dolan aged sixty one was a widow and a retired teacher. She lived in the house beside the old ball alley with her son James, aged twenty eight. He worked as a railway goods foreman. The house was known as Abbey House. In the l980s, the late Noreen Ryan (No.8 Abbey Row) met a grand old man at an English beach. He told her that he was born beside the Ball Alley in Athenry and that his father was Jimmy Dolan.  What a small world we live in!

Johnny and Elizabeth Whelan

The next occupants of Abbey House were Johnny Whelan (left) from Newcastle and his wife Elizabeth (nee King). She was from Boyhill and an aunt of the late Eddie King, father of Assumpta, Joseph and Basil. Mr. and Mrs. Whelan both taught in Newcastle and cycled there from Athenry. He died in 1951 and his wife died in 1966. They had three daughters, Mary who worked with the Department of Finance in Dublin, Bridie was a teacher in Ilford in England and Nan was a doctor in Ennis. Nan retired to Athenry and built the house opposite Kenny Park now owned by Tim Collins. She lived there until her death in 1990. May Kelly (nee Connaughton) was housekeeper to the Whelan family. May married Larry Kelly, they were both from Bullaun. Larry worked at Mellows Agricultural College and also farmed at Bullaun. He died in 1996. May lived in Abbey House until her death in 2007.

The old school and Athenry Drama Group 

The old school was used by Athenry Drama Club in the 1950s and 1960s for rehearsals; Irish Dancing was taught there as well. Mrs. Whelan had a book store there, and teachers and pupils from neighbouring parishes bought school and copy books there.


The above photograph of Abbey Row Bridge was taken in 1901.

The man washing the side-car is the late Sonny Grady. The little girl on the river bank is Ciss Cleary with her dog ‘Joego’, Ciss lived in No.3 Abbey Row. Monsie Kennedy, Swangate, is a niece of the late Ciss. The boy with the white collar is eight year old Jack Egan who lived in No. 2 Abbey Row. Jack was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 at the age of twenty three. On the river steps is Mrs. Dan Kenny, Barrack Lane. The little girl on the left is her daughter May.

ABBEY ROW 1650-2014

Abbey Row was occupied by Cromwellian soldiers in 1650. The barrack was later occupied by various English regiments up until 1819. When the barrack became vacant squatters took over the premises. Finally, the barrack was demolished and on the site the eight houses at Abbey Row were built and completed about 1892.

The first tenants to Abbey Row were Cannings (Cannons), Egans, Clearys and Murtaghs.

House No. 1.

In 1901 Murtagh Canning (Cannon) lived in No.1 with his wife, Bridget (nee Fahy). He was a postman. He died in 1925. They had two daughters, Norah and Aggie. Norah became a national school teacher; her married name was O’Callaghan and she lived in Kilmactranny, Co. Roscommon. In later years she resided with her daughter in Limerick and is buried in Mungret.  Aggie became Mrs. Qualter and she had one son Murty. He was a teacher and lived in Ballybane in Galway with his wife Margaret and their three children, Irene, Una and Ruairi. Murty died in 2002 and is buried in Athenry. 

Aggie ran a small dairy farm and supplied milk to her neighbours. She looked after her elderly mother until her death in 1955. She published a book about her recollections of Athenry and its history dating from 1780. She researched, wrote, and published the book without any financial backing or sponsorship. The book had completely sold out only one week after its launch. Aggie lived in No.1 until her sudden death in 1989 at the age of eighty two.  She is buried with her parents in the Dominican Abbey.

The house is now owned and lived in by Nick and Maria Hitchcox and their three children, Lilly, Fionn and Katie.

House No. 2.

In 1901 Catherine Egan lived in No.2; there were seven people in the family.

According to the 1911 census she was widowed. She had four sons living with her, Thomas, John, (Jack), Leo Martin (Lee) and Joseph (Joe) and five lodgers, a married couple Bartley and Mary Caulfield and their three children who had been born in England.

Her son Jack is in the Abbey Row Bridge photograph. Lee and Joe worked in Corbetts, North Gate Street. Joe married Margaret (Madge) Barrett; they had two children Jackie and Kathleen. Kathleen married Billy Burke from Rockfield. She lived with her mother and reared her six children in Abbey Row. Billy worked in England as did her brother Jackie. Willie Farrell was a boarder in Egans in the 1950s and 1960s; he fixed bicycles in a shed where Rooney Sculptors are today and later used a shed at the back of Abbey Row.  In 1962 the Burke family and Mrs. Madge Egan emigrated to England. Madge was a grand aunt of Ann Barrett Scully and her siblings and of Michéal Hession, Gorteenacre.

House No. 3.

Thomas Cleary, his wife Mary, five sons, Patrick, John, Thomas, Joseph and Jimmy and two daughters, Mary (Ciss) and Kathleen lived in No.3. Thomas was a plasterer and slater. Patrick died suddenly at fourteen after returning from school. Around Easter 1932 Thomas Cleary (Jnr.) was working on the roof of Gurteen Church when he fell and, unfortunately, was killed. Johnny and his brother Joe went to America. Johnny returned home but Joe remained in the U.S. Kathleen was a nurse; her daughter Monica (Monsie) Kennedy lives in Swan Gate. Mary (Ciss) emigrated to England.  Jimmy lived in No.3 with his wife Maisie, her daughter Freda McGough, who later worked with Radio Eireann and their two daughters, Martina and Fionnuala. Thomas (Snr.) died in 1945. Until mid 2015 No. 3 was owned by Clearys.

House No. 4.

Michael Gardiner was a carpenter; he lived with his family in No.4 in 1901. By 1911 Margaret Gardiner was widowed and lived there with her two sons and daughter. Johnny Cleary later bought No.4; his wife was from Co. Westmeath. They had a son and daughter, Tom and Ena.  Johnny died in 1950. Tom died in 2001. His widow Minnie (nee Quinn) resides in No.4. Two of their sons, Sean and Tom, live in Athenry. Ena married Christy O’Grady and lived in Cross Street. Her three sons Tom, Noel and Christy live in Athenry.

House No. 5.

In 1901 No.5 was occupied by James and Anne McCarthy. In 1911 James McCarthy, a bachelor aged sixty eight, lived there. He was a slater.

In the 1930s and 1940s Michael and Anne Howley and their family of Charlie, Willie, Tommie (father of Tom, Snr., Cloonkeen), Lilly, Ann and Attracta (Mrs. O’Dowd), mother of Joan O’Dowd Mongey, Bengarra, lived there. Michael worked at the railway. Charlie inherited the house and it was rented in the 1950s to Jackie and Kathleen Murray (nee Connolly) and their daughter Dolores. Jackie worked with the Department of Agriculture. He was from Carrigaholt, Co. Clare and his wife was from Athenry. They moved from Abbey Row to Prospect. Dolores married Christy Coffey from Ballybacka and they live in Prospect.

In the 1960s Mickie and Moira Coen lived there, Moira now resides in Court Lane.

Mrs Mary Burke from Newcastle bought the house from Charlie Howley and lived there with her adult children, Bridget, Mary and John.

In 2002 John Burke sold the house to Michael and Carmel Hunt who lived there for two years. The next owners were Corey and Sarah Johnston. Corey was Australian and Sarah was from Belfast. After three years in No.5 they returned to Australia with their three little girls, Sorcha, Fiona and Ciara.

House No. 6.

In 1901 No. 6 was occupied by M.J. Kelly. By 1911 Thomas Kelly, a twenty five year old baker, and his wife Kate lived there.  Later Sergeant Taheny, a member of the RIC, lived in No.6 with his family. His son Donal was a well known teacher and historian and lived in Galway until his death in 2014.  Another son, John, became a Dominican priest and was also a historian and writer.

Joe Howley (nick-named ‘The Nailer’) lived at No. 6 for years. He was a marvellous handballer. Joe worked in Taylor’s Mill and later with the Board of Works. The house is now unoccupied: the owner lives in England.

House No. 7.

Bernard Murtagh and family lived in No.7 in 1901. On the 1911 census Bernard is entered as a police pensioner, aged 55 and originally from Co. Cavan. He lived there with his wife, sons Richard and Bernard and daughter Delia. Richard and his wife Mabel lived in England. He was a  M.A.B.L. His wife died and he was later ordained a Jesuit priest at the age of seventy. Delia lived there until her death in the mid 1950s. The Murthaghs owned No.7 and No.8. Both houses were sold to brothers Sean and Tommy Ryan from Park.

Mickie Lydon from Galway was an electrician with the ESB. He and his wife lived in No.7 for a few years in the late 1950s. John and Bridie Brady (nee Nolan) and their daughters, Rita and Ann, later lived at No.7.  John died in 1966 when the girls were very young. Bridie later married Martin Munroe; they had one son, Sean. Bridie now lives in Ard Aoibhinn. Rita married Brian Melia: they live in Athenry. Ann, a young widow, is a Mrs. Kelly and lives in Craughwell.

No. 7 is now owned and occupied by Kevin and Mary Clarke (nee Ryan), sister of Sean and Tommy, both deceased.

House No. 8.

In 1901 William Baldwin, a carter from Cork city and his wife Adelaide from Dublin city lived in No.8 and in 1911 they were  still residing there.

Jim Clarke, his wife Penelope and their family, Paddy, Mary, Sean T., Penelope and Jody lived in No.8 for a few years. Jim was from Sligo; he worked at the railway station and moved to a house there.

Vincent Crilly and his family were the next occupants of No.8. He worked with the ESB, Vincent and his wife were from Belfast. They had two children Rosemary and Vincent. Vincent (senior) built the house in Prospect now owned by Tommy McNamara. Mrs. Crilly taught Irish Dancing in the old school and later in her home in Prospect.

The late Tommy Ryan, a postman with An Post, lived in No.8 with his wife Noreen (nee Keane) and family until their deaths in 2008 and 2012. The house is still owned by their family.

BARRACK LANE 1821-2014

Until the 1911 census the eight houses in Abbey Row and the houses in Barrack Lane were amalgamated.

In 1821 there were eleven houses and thirty two people living in Barrack Lane.

Numbers 1 and 2 were uninhabited. There were two little houses at the back of Joe O’Hara, Solicitors. There were four houses around where Sean Lawless’ premises is today. There were three houses on the site of Mattie McNamaras house. The names of the occupants of Barrack Lane were Burke, Carney, Greelish, Coan, Murphy, Lally and Kenny.

In 1850 there were five families and two ruins in Barrack Lane. Burkes and Kellys lived at the back of Joe O’Hara, Solicitors. Kearns, Culkeens and Higgins lived at River-Green in the vicinity of Mattie Mc Namara’s  house.

In 1880 The Land League Forge was built on the ruins where Sean Lawless’ premises is today. It is now (2015) a hairdressing college.

Around 1900, an old man, Tom Long, living in Barrack Lane was found dead propped up with pillows.  To be laid out he had to be tied down with wire.

That night as the people prayed the Rosary, two pranksters were kneeling on either side of the bed (as arranged!).They cut the wire and the corpse sat up. There was pandemonium, panic and running in all directions. Those were the years of “the merry wakes”, later stamped out by the clergy.

Five neat thatched cottages were built in the 1870s on the north side of the Lane where Helen Tully’s house and two semi detached houses are today.

According to the 1901 census there were two families in some of the houses, they were occupied as follows:

Two people lived in Margaret Daly’s house. Mary Flynn lived next door. These ladies were on the site next to the Old Barracks restaurant yard. There is a big brown timber gate there now. The outline of a fireplace (below) is still evident today. This house seemingly was split in two. The names were in brackets on the census.



The White Family

The White family lived on the site where Helen Tully’s house, Saint Judes, is built. According to the 1901 Census John was born in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He came to Blackhall McDonagh’s Tailoring Department in The Square as a “cutter”. His wife Bridget was the daughter of Michael McNamara of Cross Street. They had seven children: Charles, Winifred, John, Edward, Margaret Mary, Joseph and Fredrick.

Charlie was married to Catherine Kelly, from No. 6 Abbey Row. They had two children, May and John Joe.  May’s sons are Sean Flannery, Ard Aoibhinn and Frank, Blain; her daughter is Kathleen Bowman, New Line. The late Noel and Joe, Caheroyan were her sons. Patricia Nolan, Tuam Road, Brid Caulfield, Caheroyan Park, Kathleen Bane, Church Street are John Joes daughters, his son Joe lives in England; the late Marie Whelan, Caheroyan Park was also his daughter. Edward emigrated to the U.S. and died there. Joe, (‘The Rocket’ White) married Bridgie Higgins of Cross Street; he was a tailor in Esker Monastery. He was a marvellous handballer and with Christy Barrett won the 1926 All Ireland Handball Final.  John (senior) died on New Year’s Day 1910.

Finnerty, Reilly, Rooney and Flanagan

The Finnerty and Reilly families were next, the house seemed to be divided in two. James Finnerty lived with his wife Mary and their children, Maggie, Mary and Michael. John Reilly resided with his wife Bridget.

James and Patrick Rooneys’ families were next, eight in James’ house and four in Patrick’s. Mary Murphy’s abode was next with two occupants.

The last house at the Bridge was Stephen Flanagan’s who was a tailor. He came to Athenry from Renmore, Galway after he served his time in Moons in Galway.  His son, also called Stephen, was a tailor and lived there later with his wife Mary (nee McGann) and eleven children, Margaret, Mollie, Mary, Kate, Lizzy, Bridget, Rose, Patrick, Stephen, known as Bartley, Michael and Annie known as Nannie.. Mrs. Flanagan died in June 1901 outside Mahons (now Iggys) on her way to Mass; she was forty five.  In 1911, Stephen’s daughter-in-law, Michael’s wife, Catherine (nee Lynch) and their children, Mary, Michael and Martin lived with him in Barrack Lane. Catherine was from Co. Clare.   Stephen died in May 1933.

Rose married Mickie Barrett and was grandmother of Ann Scully and Michéal Hession, Gorteenacre, the late Noirin Hession, the Square and Park, Juno Barrett, Lorra Gate. Annie married Patrick Kenny and was mother of Teresa and Gretta who live in Caheroyan and grandmother of Patricia O’Grady (nee Cahill), Knockbrack.  Annie told her daughters that her grandparents remembered the night of the Big Wind, January 6 – January 7, 1839.

Dan Kenny

In 1911 Dan Kenny a shoe maker lived nearest the Old Barrack. He made riding boots and sports shoes for the gentry. There were two rooms in the house. Dan lived there with his wife Bridget, their son John, four daughters Annie, May, Bridget, Frances and their nine month old granddaughter, Monica.  Monica married Hubert McInerney from Old Church Street where the Dental Practice is today. Later they emigrated to England.


Bridget White lived in the same house as in 1901 with her sons John, Fred and daughter Winifred (Winnie). Bridget died in 1929, her son John in 1942 and Winnie in 1949. Fredrick (Fred) was a postman. The postmen travelled by bicycle in all kinds of weather. They carried thick heavy bundles of yeast to Fahy’s Bakery in Monivea. Fred married Nellie Gill from Kilskeagh and they had two daughters. Their daughter Mary Curran lives in Barrack Lane and daughter Geraldine Healy lives in Ballydavid. Fred died in 1992 and his wife died in 1999.

Manus and Size

Patrick Manus, a bachelor aged forty in 1911, lived next door. In 1911 the Finnertys were living in the same house as in 1901; they had two more sons, Patrick and James.

Mary Size, was a widow aged seventy. She lived on the Lane with lodgers, Edward and Catherine Burns and their two year old son Patrick who was born in Co. Roscommon. Next door was Mary Hession, a seventy three year old single lady living on her own.

McNamara Family

Mattie McNamara’s grandparents lived opposite where Mattie lives today. John McNamara came to Athenry from Shanaglish; he had fought in the Boer War. He was a groom with the Concannons of Rockfield House. His wife was Mary Reilly from Athenry.  They had seven sons, John and Bertie who died young. Patrick (Palmer) was training to be a mechanic in Sweeneys in Loughrea. Sadly he got pneumonia and died at seventeen. Mickie was father of James, Caheroyan. Mattie was father of Tommy, Prospect, Paddy, Ard Aoibinn  and the late Johnny, Moanbaun. Tommy was father of Mattie, Riverview House, Barrack Lane. Christy was father of Cyril, Gloves and Gerry, Moanbaun.  Christy was the seventh son of a seventh son and had the cure for ringworm.

Tommy McNamara married Kathleen Egan from Coshla. His brother Mattie married her sister. Their father Tom Egan was shot dead in his own kitchen in 1920 by the Black and Tans in the presence of his wife and baby. Tommy bought the site for his home, Riverview House from the Dalys of North Gate Street. Their premises was later owned by Martin and Maureen Burke. Riverview House was the first house Johnny Cleary from No.4 Abbey Row built on his return from America. It was built in 1931-32 at a cost of £690.  Tommy and Kathleen had three sons Mattie, Kevin and the late Tom, and one daughter Mary Ann. Kevin and Mary Ann reside in England.

In the early 1930s Tommy had a hackney car and a hearse. In later years he was a postman. He cut turf in Carnakelly. After school Mattie went with the donkey and cart to the bog and filled the cart with turf and brought it home. The donkey was kept in Browne’s in Graigabbey. Kathleen kept chickens and a pig in the garden.

In the early 1940s when the circus came to town a minimum of thirty horses were watered at the river. All the circus trucks were pulled by horses, it was war time and petrol was rationed.  First cousins of Tommy’s named Tredwells from England came and stayed with the family in Barrack Lane for a few years to escape the war. Mattie remembers his father getting a gift of a chest of tea in the 1940s. It was shared with their neighbours and friends. Tea was like gold dust during the Emergency.

Kathleen died in 1965 and Tommy died in 1981.

Mattie started as an apprentice in Ruane’s garage, North Gate Street in September 1949. His wife was Joy McGuinness from Trim, Co. Meath. Joy worked in Fitzsimons Drapers in Northgate Street. They were married in Bristol and resided there for two years. He later worked in Ruane’s Dublin Road garage and remained there until he opened his own garage in Caheroyan, in the premises of the bag factory. Mattie and Joy had four daughters and two sons, Eileen, June, Margaret, Tara, Frank and Lester. Eileen and her husband, Sean Lyons, have an auctioneering business in North Gate Street. They live in Loughrea.  June is in Bristol. The rest of the family reside in Athenry. Lester runs the lovely Raheen Woods Hotel and Tara and her husband, Murad have the successful La Rustica restaurant in North Gate Street. Unfortunately, Joy died in 2007; Mattie and Frank live at Riverview House.


In the 1940s a man called Paddy Murphy had a forge in Barrack Lane. He lived at The Arch where Finbarr Ryan resides. In the 1950s Ned Kennedy had a garage where the forge was. He is a brother of Derek, Caheroyan and Pat, Kingland. Dickie Burke from Newcastle Road started a hackney business and worked with Ned servicing vehicles. Ned moved to Kilrush: now in his late eighties he still resides there. The premises was bought by John Lawless late of Church Street and used as a work shop. It is now owned by his son, Sean.

Jack Heffernan had a hackney car and kept it in the garage beside Lawless’ premises. He washed his car at the river, shining the wheel spokes until they sparkled. He lived at Chapel Lane (Church Street) opposite Kathleen Bane’s home where his wife had a small sweet shop. Later Jimmy Curley (Maura Hardiman’s grandfather) kept his car in that garage. May Kelly, Abbey House bought the garage; the Board of Works rented it until they bought the premises at Raheen. It is now owned by Mary Clarke, No.7 Abbey Row, Mary is a cousin of May Kelly’s.

Fred White sowed corn and had a meadow in the field where the Curran, Reaney and Nally families live today. The corn crake could be heard there all summer long. Two houses for gardai were built by the Board of Works in part of that field in the mid 1960s.

Tom And Ellen Milmow

In 1938 Tom Milmow from Tooloobaun, Kiltulla and his wife Ellen Prendergast (nee Keogh) from Doograne, Loughrea (grandmother of Helen Tully, Barrack Lane) bought the ground from the Bridge up as far as Tullys house. It was owned by the Kellys, (great grandparents of Gerry McNamara, Ballydavid) who owned the premises known today as the Square Inn. Tom was a ganger with the County Council and Ellen was a nurse.  She travelled to her patients by bicycle. Milmow’s two storey house, St. Teresa’s, next to the Bridge, was the first house built in Athenry by Joe Maloney, father of the late Martin, Farnablake and Bernie Fitzgerald, Green Acre. Before moving to Barrack Lane they rented the house in Cross Street now owned by Noel Treacy.

A farm in the middle of town

There was a large yard and garden at the back and side of St. Teresa’s with a piggery, a cow shed and hayshed. There was always a cock of hay at the end of the yard.  Tom had a few cows, calves, pigs, chickens and ducks there.

In the 1960s he rented the field next to the end of Abbey Row. The animals were walked down there every morning and brought back in the evening. Those were the days before E.U. regulations and livestock units per hectare etc! They made butter in the house: the churn and butter pats were kept in the back hall known as the dairy. In the yard a huge hole was dug for the ducks and they swam there until they were strong enough to go to the river. They headed for the river in early morning returning in the evening. There were very few cars on the road so the ducks were quite safe and could be seen waddling across the bridge in a straight line, to and from the river.  The walled garden had apple and pear trees, gooseberry and currant bushes, strawberries, rhubarb, potatoes, onions, carrots, cabbage, lettuce and parsley.

The Fire Brigade of the 1950s /1960s

Tom was a member of the Fire Brigade. The fire engine was parked in his yard for many years until Athenry acquired a fire station. Residents of Barrack Lane remember the fire brigade heading to the fire in Kylemore Abbey in the early hours of Sunday 25th January 1959. We listened to the reports about the fire on Radio Eireann. Athenry fire brigade were assisted by brigades from Galway and Mayo. By the time they arrived at the Abbey the fire had taken a heavy toll on the building. Other members of the fire brigade in the late 1950s were Joe Shaughnessy, Old Church Street, Pa Hall, The Valley and Dominic Murphy, Kingsland.

Ellen Milmow

Ellen Milmow had six children from her first marriage: Mary, Kathleen, Anastasia, Teresa, Jim and Edward, who died in infancy.  Kathleen (Brennen) had the public house in North Gate Street between Dan’s Bar and Dowling’s. She served her time there with Ms. Annie Ryan from Cloonshecahill, New Inn, who was a grandaunt of Mary Hansberry, Castle Ellen. Ms. Ryan was a national school teacher and taught in Brackloon. Kathleen’s sister, Mary (Tully), did dress making on the premises. Anastasia married Paddy Greally and lived in Prospect, Teresa married John Blake and lived in Kilconieran and returned to live in Barrack Lane. Jim (Prendergast) was a blacksmith: he worked with Pat Quinn, uncle of Michael, Old Church Street.  He later worked in Belmullet for many years. In the late 1960s he came home to Barrack Lane. He was sacristan in the church until his death in 1973.

Tom and Ellen had two children, Phyllis and Frank. Phyllis became a nurse working most of her life in Wicklow; she died there and is buried there. Frank was born in 1939. He was a carpenter and worked for a time with Michael John Quinn (Tommy’s father). He emigrated to England in the 1950s and died there in 1999. His children brought his ashes home for burial with his parents in the New Cemetery. His mother died in 1948 and his father died in 1969.

In the late 1950s part of St. Teresa’s was rented as a flat. Guard Collins and his wife lived there before building their house in Prospect. They later moved to Wicklow. The house in Prospect is now owned by Gerry and Carmel Rooney.  Roddy and Bridie Dempsey were married in 1957 and lived there until they bought No.2 Abbey Row in 1959. Roddy worked with CIE. They had three children, Gerard, Marian and Josephine. Marian died in 1966, aged six. Roddy died in 2002. Gerard and Josephine both live near town. Mrs. Dempsey lived at No.2 Abbey Row until her death in 2012.

Toddy Byrne (former Senator) and his wife Gertie (nee Quinn, Old Church Street), both National School teachers, lived there after their marriage.  Their son Joe was elected to Galway county council in 2014 following in the footsteps of his late father. Gerry and Mary Teresa McNamara, parents of Gerry, Ballydavid, lived there for a short time.

Liam Gillin and his wife Maura (nee Folan) also rented there. Liam was an electrician with the ESB. His brother is Chick Gillin, a barber in Galway city and involved in Galway boxing club. Maura was a telephonist in the post office.

John and Mary Tully

John Tully was from Athlone, Co. Roscommon. He worked with the Department of Agriculture. In 1943 he married Mary Prendergast, daughter of Ellen Milmow. Until their house was built they lived in Milmows. Their house was built in 1948 by John Lawless, father of Sean, Court Lane. They had three daughters, Rene, Maureen and Helen. Rene died at ten months in 1945. Maureen married Paul Healy who worked as a butcher with his uncle Paddy Hession, North Gate Street until he opened his own business in Loughrea in 1966. They lived in Tully’s house until their own home was built in Loughrea in 1972. Helen lives in Barrack Lane.

Garda Houses

Garda Michael Doran and his wife Noreen were the first occupants of the house next to Mattie McNamaras. Next came Garda Vincent McNeilis from Donegal and his wife Mary from Galway. She is a sister of Chick Gillin and Liam (already mentioned). They are parents of Niall McNeilis, Galway city councillor. Garda Gerry McLoughlin from Mulraney and his wife Carmel from Loughrea were the third occupants. The current owners are retired Garda Paddy Nally and his wife, Susan, both from Co. Mayo. The house beside Mary White Curran’s bungalow was first occupied by Garda Eugene Gorman from Co. Longford and his wife Dolores Gardiner from Belville. The next occupants were Garda Paddy Lyons from Mayo and his wife Moira from Raharney, Co. Westmeath. Their daughter Ann Reaney, lives there now with her husband Brendan and their family.

Finnerty’s, Reilly’s and Milmow’s (two storey) Houses

In 1996 Milmows house and two sheds, always called Finnertys and Reillys, were sold to Hickey Homes and demolished.                     

Four new houses were built on the site. They are all rented.

An idyllic place to grow up

Barrack Lane / Abbey Row was an idyllic place to grow up in during the 1950s and 1960s, with a farm, a fruit and vegetable garden, a ball alley where we spent endless hours, a river where we caught “pinkeens”  and a sweet shop just around the corner!


  Name (as per O.S.I. Map): Gorteenacra Ainm/Ainmneacha as Gaeilge (John O’Donavan’s Townland Index 1862): Goirtín Acra Meaning of the Name:  Ainm as Gaeilge:                                          ...