Recording Galway

The Bracing Waters and Moral Dangers of Salthill

July 28, 2021 Mary Cunningham
Recording Galway
The Bracing Waters and Moral Dangers of Salthill
Show Notes

Interviews with Maude O'Donohoe and Jane Hogan who have fond memories of swimming at Salthill, Galway in the sixties, reveal the rules that were in place at the behest of the local bishops in relation to where people could swim. Believing that men and women bathing together was an occasion of sin the bishops requested that bathing places be designated for men, ladies and families.
Jane and Maude tell of one young woman's rebellion against the rules sometime in the mid sixties when she swam up to the male section  at Blackrock when all was quiet and left her bikini top on a flagpole.  Though this caused consternation in the community more women began to venture past the Men Only sign.
P.J. Flaherty, a year round swimmer, describes the camaraderie that existed among the men who frequented the area and the resentment of some at the arrival of women.
A final attempt to stem the tide of change was spearheaded in 1971 by a local councillor  who requested that Galway Corporation ban 'Bikini Girls' from the male enclave on the basis that they disturbed the older men and priests who swam there.  At this point attitudes had changed and the councillor's concerns seemed quaint and old fashioned. The Men Only sign was quietly removed in early September 50 years ago.

Bishop Michael Browne of Galway (1937–76) and the Regulation of Public Morality Author(s): James S. Donnelly, Jr. 

Source: New Hibernia Review / Iris Éireannach Nua , EARRACH / SPRING 2013, Vol. 17, No. 1 (EARRACH / SPRING 2013), pp. 16-39 

Published by: University of St. Thomas (Center for Irish Studies) Stable URL: 

Bishop Michael Browne of Galway and Anti-Communism, 1937-1976 Author(s): Gerard Madden
 Source: Saothar , 2014, Vol. 39 (2014), pp. 21-31
 Published by: Irish Labour History Society 

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