Tuam in Olden Days

This article was written by Jarlath A. O Connor and originally published in the 'Galway Reader' in the 1950s. The 'Galway Reader' is available from Galway Public Library.

The Old Granary

In one of Mr. McNamara's fields at Ballygaddy Road, may still be seen the remnants of a building which is known locally as "The Old Granary". This is a relic of the days before the advent of the Railroad, when all merchandise had to be transported to and from the town in horse-drawn carts. The building was a "Carman's Stage", and similar establishments were to be found on the outskirts of all towns in the first half of the century. They catered for the needs of carters passing through the town, by providing them with meals and sleeping accommodation as well as oats and stabling for the horses. Notwithstanding the difficulties of transport the Tuam merchants managed to provide a varied assortment of wares for their customers.

A Publican Can Not a Grocer Be

The merchants of 1838 were spared the horrors of a rationing system, but they had their own troubles as would appear from the following notice, which appeared in the Tuam Herald in October of that year:- Excise Office London 11th October 1838 For the purpose of obviating as far as possible, any just cause of complaints on the part of grocers and spirit retailers in Ireland, carrying into effect the Act of 6 and 7 William IV., c.38. Ordered - In pursuance of directions from the Rt. Hon. The Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty's Treasury, signified by letter from one of their Lordships secretaries, dated this day, that retailers of spirits in Ireland, being duly licenced to trade in, vend, and sell coffee, tea, etc. for the current year, be informed that a renewal of their publican licences will not be objected to, provided they withdraw their entries as grocers and surrender their grocers' licences, previously endorsing on such licence, a memorandum signed by them that they have discontinued the business of a grocer, and that such licence is delivered up to be cancelled. That the several collectors return to the parties who shall thus surrender their grocers' licences the full amount paid for the same and transmits with the proper accounts all such licences as vouchers for the sums claimed as such repayments. By the Board Charles Browne.

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