A Man Ahead of His Time
Favorite thing: One of the more memorable stories I heard while in Ireland involved one "Hair Trigger Dick Martin," sometimes known as "Humanity Dick," or "King of Connemara." Richard Martin (15 January 1754 – 6 January 1834), was a prominent member of the Martin family, one of the famous "Tribes of Galway. "
If you are aware of my love for animals you'll understand why the story of this man is particularly compelling to me. Martin, an Irish member of the British Parliament, was an unabashed lover of animals, and an early warrior against animal abuse. To his everlasting credit, Martin had became an integral figure in the founding of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).He is credited with Martin's Act of 1822, “Bill to Prevent the Ill-Treatment of Cattle,” which King George IV signed off on effectively making this legislation the first animal protection law passed by any nation and making cruelty to animals a punishable offense. In the years following, Martin endured unending ridicule (and even today) for the law and his attempts to widen its reach and further strengthen it. He was not to know that only a year after his death (in France, January, 1834), Parliament did indeed approve an amendment to Martin’s Act that would extend the law to include canines, bulls, other cattle, and domestic animals.
It seems there are several well-known stories of how Martin attempted to help animals in a personal way. One such story is that Martin once saw a London man whipping his horse in Ludlow Hill. A few minutes later, two men showed up, jerked the man away from the horse and beat the man. They had been paid five shillings each -- compliments of Richard Martin, who apparently proudly told the story in Parliament. Another story told to us by our Galway guide, Billy, recounts the story of Martin who once caught one of his groomsmen flaying his horse for no apparent reason. As punishment, Martin sent the man to a small island in the Connemara with only a loaf of bread for 7-nights -- too light of a punishment in my estimation.
See also, the story of "The Trial of Bill Burns," which was also the impetus for a famous painting of the same name. The trial of Bill Burns, who was guilty of beating his donkey, was the first prosecution under the 1822 Martin’s Act for cruelty to animals and the first known prosecution for animal cruelty in the world. Burns was prosecuted by Martin, and the case became memorable because he brought Burns abused donkey into court.
By all accounts, Richard Martin, was an upstanding man throughout his life, not withstanding his financial debts, and worked steadily on behalf of many excellent causes including Irish Catholic Emancipation. He led a most eventful life during which he survived two shipwrecks, fought over 100 duels with sword and pistol earning him the nickname, "Hairtrigger Dick." He founded Galway's first theater in 1783. Martin probably would have made a wonderful addition to our VT community as he had traveled extensively in Europe and the Americas during the 1770's -- even being in New England when the American Revolutionary War began -- I'm sure he would have had some interesting stories to tell of his travels!
Moving further into old Galway, we had to bypass many shops and more than one interesting-looking pubs, but our next stop was at St. Nicholas Collegiate Church.Add to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: Galway people are sometimes called 'The tribesmen' as from the period of roughly 1459-1650 fourteen anglo-norman families ran the city it a style similar to Greek city states of ancient times.
it was Oliver Cromwell who gave them this nickname as he was making them out to be uncivilised. They were in fact just the opposite - and came to be proud of this initial slur on their character.
One way the 14 families (or tribes) are now remembered is on the roundabouts of the city. Each has the appropiate coat of arms - see if you spot them all from :
Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'arcy, Deane, Ffont, Ffrench, Joyce, Lynch, Martin, Morris and Skerrett.
UPDATE 2013 : about half have now disappeared due to the local council wasteing hundreds of thousands of euro converting them into traffic-lighted junctions for no apparent reason.Add to your Trip Planner
Sqareyes Entertainment Centre
Favorite thing: Near my hotel (Park House Hotel) on Forster Street, there is an entertainment centre named Squareyes. Inside, I accessed the internet on one of the coin-operated computer terminals. Squareyes also has phones for long-distance calls -- and lots of video games. In addition, there is a cafe that serves food and drinks.Add to your Trip Planner
Redbreast 12 Year Old Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey
Favorite thing: The most common Irish whiskeys are made by Jameson, Bushmills, and Tullamore Dew. If you want to try something a little different, I recommend Redbreast 12 Year Old Pure Pot Still Irish Whiskey. First produced in 1939, it is triple distilled and aged in oak casks for not less than 12 years. Made with malted and unmalted barley, it is the only continuously produced, 100% pure pot still Irish whiskey. It has a rich and complex flavor, but it is still smooth and easy-drinking. Personally, I drink it on the rocks with a splash of water. Cheers!Add to your Trip Planner
Favorite thing: At the Discover Ireland Centre, I purchased a ticket for a half-day bus tour of the Cliffs of Moher with Healy Tours. The tour started at Galway's Coach Station at 11:30 am, and it returned at a little after 5:00 pm. The cost was 20 Euros. The bus was comfortable, and the driver gave a narrated tour in English. In addition to the Cliffs of Moher, there were a few other stops along the way including some castles. The tour also stopped at Fitzpatrick's Bar in Doolin for lunch.
Before visiting Galway, check out Healy Tours' web site for all of their offerings.
http://www.healytours.ie/Add to your Trip Planner
The home of 'Angel'
Favorite thing: I'm not exactly a Buffy the vampire slayer sort of a guy, but I do know that the spin-off series 'Angel' is a popular one amongst people whom like that sort of thing.
Despite the dodgy Irish accent, Angel is supposed to have originated in Galway, appearing as a desperate womaniser and drunkard (i guess this means he would fit in well) in the 18
th century. Darla turned him into a vampire, whereupon he entered into a several centuries long feast of death and destruction, beginning with his own parents. He falls in love with Buffy, but due to curse put on him by a gypsy girl he was about to eat - he faces a dilemma. He no longer is a vampire, and his sould is restored, butif he has just one momemt of pleasure then the dark side will return !
I know how he feels.Add to your Trip Planner
Galway Arts Festival
Favorite thing: Lots of street theatre, magic, fireeaters, performances. Waht else can I say? Two weeks of culture in one of Ireland smost heritage rich cities. The last two weeks of every month are given over to it. Check local listings to see whats on or check http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ for more info!Related to:
- Budget Travel
Heavy money 2001
Fondest memory: These guys put too many coins in their container and had forgotten that there are a few steps in front of the bank they wanted to bring the container into at Galway's Eyre Square!!! Very funny to watch! Maybe it's good that the Euro coins aren't as big and heavy as the Irish punts were!!!Add to your Trip Planner
Street Entertainers are Hilarious
Favorite thing: Walking around Galway, we saw many street performers. Some were better than others of course, but a couple of them were hilarious. There was one troup, with one man in a huge foam costume of a naked bloody butcher, and he was putting on a show chasing around people dressed as cows. He'd look away, and the cows would go into a pub. He'd chase one cow and get peed on. It was very funny to watch, and they weren't even asking for money.Related to:
Enjoy the Canal
Favorite thing: One of my favorite things to do during my stay in Galway was to sit with a coffee and my journal next to the canal. This spot is perfect for relaxing, reflecting, people watching, and nature watching. Keep your eyes open for the swans, they swim right up to the side of the Canal.Add to your Trip Planner
The Oldest Building in Galway
Favorite thing: On Shop Street, which is pedestrianised, you will find this building. According to the palque that was on it, it was buit in the 16th century and is the last surving example of the stately buildings that made Galway one of the best built Irish towns.
There are several sculptured decorations on the wall, one of which is the arms of Henry the VIII.Related to:
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: During the summer there is always some kind of festival going on in Galway. Of course this has the knock-on effect of there being absolutely NO accomodation available in Galway!
Fondest memory: Chilling out with a few cans of cider on the campus of University College Galway after the summer exams. Just cos I wasnt a UCG student didnt mean I couldnt share the fun! :)Add to your Trip Planner
You must stay awhile! Galway...
Favorite thing: You must stay awhile! Galway is a city to explore...don't just drive through. Much has changed since I first visited in the 70's so I don't have a specific stop to recommend. Don't miss a sunset on Galway Bay! It IS all it's hyped to be!
Fondest memory: The charm of the people and friendliness.Add to your Trip Planner
I will have more information...
Favorite thing: I will have more information after I locate my travel journal for specifics. Easy walking city and friendly people. Variety of restaurants.Add to your Trip Planner
kelta's General Tip
Fondest memory: being with james....
Spending the summer in Galway with himself... really looking forward to it.
Here's a photo of us with Galway Bay in the background...Add to your Trip Planner
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