Tuam

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Tuam
Tuaim
Town
High Street, looking east
High Street, looking east
Coat of arms of Tuam
Coat of arms
Motto: "Tuath Thuama go Buan"
"Long Live the People of Tuam"
Tuam is located in Ireland
Tuam
Tuam
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°30′54″N 8°51′04″W / 53.515°N 8.851°W / 53.515; -8.851Coordinates: 53°30′54″N 8°51′04″W / 53.515°N 8.851°W / 53.515; -8.851
CountryIreland
ProvinceConnacht
CountyCounty Galway
Dáil ÉireannGalway East
Elevation44 m (144 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Urban8,242
Irish Grid ReferenceM436521
Dialing code+353 93
 
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Tuam
Tuaim
Town
High Street, looking east
High Street, looking east
Coat of arms of Tuam
Coat of arms
Motto: "Tuath Thuama go Buan"
"Long Live the People of Tuam"
Tuam is located in Ireland
Tuam
Tuam
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°30′54″N 8°51′04″W / 53.515°N 8.851°W / 53.515; -8.851Coordinates: 53°30′54″N 8°51′04″W / 53.515°N 8.851°W / 53.515; -8.851
CountryIreland
ProvinceConnacht
CountyCounty Galway
Dáil ÉireannGalway East
Elevation44 m (144 ft)
Population (2011)[1]
 • Urban8,242
Irish Grid ReferenceM436521
Dialing code+353 93

Tuam (/ˈtjuːəm/ TEW-əm), Irish: Tuaim ([t̪ˠuəmʲ]), is a town in County Galway, Ireland. It is situated west of the midlands of Ireland, and north of Galway city. Human existence in the area dates to the Bronze Age while the historic period dates from the 6th century. The town became increasingly important in the 11th and 12th centuries in political and religious aspects of Ireland. The market based layout of the town and square indicates the importance of commerce.

History[edit]

The record of human settlement in Tuam dates back to the Bronze Age when an area adjacent to Shop Street was used as a burial ground. The name Tuam is a cognate with the Latin term tumulus (burial mound). The town's ancient name was Tuaim Dá Ghualann, i.e. the burial mound of two shoulders.

The name probably refers to the high ground on either side of the River Nanny, overlooking a probable fording point over the River Nanny (or Corchra). In 1875, a Bronze Age burial urn was discovered in the area by workmen, dating from c.1500 B.C.[7] An early glass photograph still exists.

The history of Tuam as a settlement dates from the early 6th century. Legend states that a monk called Jarlath, or Iarlaith, who was a member of a religious community at Cloonfush some 6 km (4 mi) west of Tuam and adjacent to the religious settlement at Kilbennon. Jarlath's life became uncertain as he wished to travel. Eventually, Jarlath's abbot, Saint Benan told him to "Go, and where ever your chariot wheel breaks, there shall be the site of your new monastery and the place of your resurrection". Jarlath's wheel broke at Tuam and he established a monastery there, known as the School of Tuam. As was typical with early settlements in Ireland, religious sites became established first and towns grew around them. Likewise, Tuam grew up around the monastery and has kept the broken chariot wheel as its heraldic symbol.

In 1049, when Aedh O'Connor defeated Amalgaid ua Flaithbertaigh, King of Iar Connacht, the O'Connor Kings became Kings of all Connacht. O'Connor then built a castle at Tuam and made it his principal stronghold. This event was directly responsible for the subsequent rise in the importance of the town. Its position dominated the Iar Connacht heartland of Maigh Seóla. It was however in the 12th century that the town became the centre of Provincial power during the fifty-year reign (1106–1156) of Turlough Mór O'Connor, (Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair). He also brought Tuam its most prominent status as seat of the High King of Ireland which he achieved by force of arms during his long career.

At the Synod of Kells in 1152, the centre of government also became the ecclesiastical centre, as Tuam was erected into an Archbishopric, with Hugh O'Hession as the first Archbishop.

Turlough Mór, as High King of Ireland from 1128–1156, was a great patron of the Irish Church and it was due to his patronage that Tuam became the home of some masterpieces of 12th century Celtic art including an Bacall Buidhe. Turlough was succeeded by his son Ruaidrí (Rory), the last native High King of Ireland. In 1164, Ruaidrí had a "wonderful castle" erected, with a large courtyard defended by lofty and massive walls and a deep moat into which the adjacent river was diverted through. This was the first Irish built stone castle.[8] A small part of the castle still stands. Following the destruction of the first Cathedral in 1184, Rory O'Connor left Tuam and retired to Cong Abbey, where he entrusted the Church valuables from the Cathedral at Tuam into the care of the abbot. This left Tuam as a small, unimportant backwater and it wasn't until the early 17th century that it began to grow in importance again.

Throughout history, Tuam has been an important commercial centre with fairs and markets being an important part of commerce in the region. One of its fairs dates to 1252 when Letters Patent were granted to Archbishop MacFlynn by Henry III. Other fairs were authorised by Charters granted by James I and George III.[9]

In July 1920, the town hall and other properties were burned down by armed Royal Irish Constabulary men, after two had been killed in an ambush by the Irish Republican Army near the town the day before.

The Borough of Tuam[edit]

On 30 March 1613, Tuam received a royal charter from James I which enabled the Tuam Parliamentary constituency to send two representatives to Irish House of Commons until its abolition in 1800. The town was laid out as a market town to its present plan with all the streets converging on the central square. The charter also established a formal local council with an elected sovereign and 12 burgesses. The sovereign was sworn into office at the site of the "Chair of Tuam" which is believed to be situated within the remaining tower of Rory O'Connor's castle. A monumental "Chair of Tuam" was unveiled in May 1980 by the late Cardinal Tomás O'Fiaich.[10] Tuam will commemorate the quadricentennial of the granting of the charter in 2013, with a festival of events designed to celebrate this historic event, acknowledge the achievements of its townspeople and promote Tuam.

The High Crosses of Tuam[edit]

High Cross of Tuam
Headpiece of the High Cross of Tuam

The High Cross of Tuam was erected in 1152 possibly to commemorate the appointment of the first Archbishop of Tuam, Archbishop Áed Ua hOissín (Hugh O'Hession). An inscription at the base calls for "A prayer for O'hOisín; for the Abbot; by whom it was made". It is reputed to have been the tallest of the High Crosses of Ireland, but its artistry is scarred by the absence of the top portion of the main shaft.[9] The sandstone Cross was originally erected in proximity to the earliest Cathedral erected in the town, a part of which still remains and is incorporated into St Mary's Cathedral (12th-century red sandstone chancel arch in Irish Romanesque style which is a National monument). The original High Cross or Market cross may have been erected close to what is now the Market Square and High Street.

When the first Cathedral collapsed after being destroyed by fire in 1184, the High Cross was dismantled into pieces, each under different ownership. The archaeologist George Petrie discovered the base of the High Cross c. 1820 and later discovered two other pieces in other locations. The High Cross contains a portion from another High Cross, the ringed cross-section on top. In addition to the Market Cross, it is likely that there were at least four other carved stone crosses from the Connor's reign in the town. An area close to the town Square, known as the Shambles, which continued to function as a market place until recently, was at one point the location of the Market Cross until 1721.[11]

The Cross was brought to Dublin for the Great Exhibition of 1852. However, prior to its return to Tuam, a disagreement arose between the two Churches. Catholic Archbishop Dr. John MacHale claimed the Cross rightfully belonged to Catholics, with Dean Charles Seymour of the Church of Ireland asserting a Protestant claim. Agreement was reached with the Cross erected half way between both Cathedrals and positioned so that it was visible from all main streets of the town. It was situated in the Square in the town centre in 1874.

By the late 1980s, it was evident that the decorative stone carving of the Cross was deteriorating due to weathering and pollution. Experts thought that there was a danger from traffic passing nearby. After lengthy discussions, the Office of Public Works removed the monument from the Square in April 1992. Following cleaning and minor restoration, the High Cross was re-erected in the south transept of St. Mary's Cathedral, where it is now situated, in proximity to its original location. St. Mary's Cathedral also houses the shaft of a third Cross fashioned from limestone. It is thought that all of the High Crosses would have marked the boundaries of the monastic section of Tuam.

TUAM 400[edit]

On 30 March 1613, James I granted Tuam a charter and the town was laid out as a market town to its present plan with all the streets converging on the central square. The Royal Charter also enabled Tuam to send two representatives to parliament and allowed the town to set up a formal local council, the forerunner of the present day Town Council with a sovereign and 12 burgesses elected. Tuam commemorated the 400-year anniversary with a festival of events in 2013.

Coat of arms[edit]

The red Latin cross is representative of Tuam's importance as an ecclesiastical centre. The double green flaunches at the sides, represent the two hills or shoulders of Tuam's ancient name, Tuaim Dhá Ghualainn. The two crowns recall the High Kings, Turlough and Rory O'Connor who were based in Tuam. The broken chariot wheel being a reminder of the foundation of the monastic town, when St. Jarlath's chariot wheel broke. The motto of the town, Tuath Thuama go Buan, translates as Long Live the People of Tuam.[12]

Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home[edit]

The Bon Secours Mother and Baby Home, St. Mary's Mother and Baby Home,[13] or simply The Home, was a maternity home for unmarried mothers and their children that operated between 1925 and 1961 in Tuam, Ireland. It was run by the Bon Secours religious order. From its construction in the mid-19th century until the early 20th century, what became The Home's building served as a workhouse for the poor.

In 2012, Catherine Corless, a local historian in the Tuam area, published an article in a local historical journal about her research into the death records for 796 children, mostly toddlers and infants, who had died at The Home during its years of operation. The recorded causes included tuberculosis, convulsions, measles, whooping cough, and influenza.[14] She believed that many of the children had been buried in an area at the rear of the site that also included the facility's septic tank.[14]

Numerous news reports based on Corless's research were published first by Irish and later by international media outlets in late May and early June 2014, sparking outrage and prompting calls for an investigation.[15][16][17] The Irish government called it a "deeply disturbing" revelation and immediately came under pressure from international groups such as Amnesty International to launch an investigation.[18][19] However, Catherine Corless quickly responded that the matter had "been widely misrepresented" in the media and her own statements had been misquoted.[14]

The Irish police (Gardai) released a statement on 3 June: “These are historical burials going back to famine times. There is no suggestion of any impropriety and there is no garda investigation. Also, there is no confirmation from any source that there are between 750 and 800 bodies present."[18]

Transport[edit]

The High Street in Tuam is the west-most section of the N83

Education[edit]

St. Jarlath's College, founded in 1800

Tuam is the location of several second level educational institutions, St. Jarlath's College, MacHale Vocational School, Presentation College Currylea and St Bridget's Secondary School. St. Patrick's College (formerly Tuam Christian Brothers School), was amalgamated with St. Jarlath's College in June 2009. There are 4 main primary schools, Mercy Convent and the Presentation Convent for girls, St. Patrick's Primary School for boys, and Gaelscoil Iarfhlatha, an Irish language primary school (bunscoil lán Ghaeilge) for both boys and girls.

Religion[edit]

Cathedral of the Assumption, built in 1827–1837

Tuam has two cathedrals; The Cathedral of the Assumption (Roman Catholic), seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tuam, and the Church of Ireland's St. Mary's Cathedral. The town's patron saint is St. Jarlath.

Sport[edit]

Gaelic Games[edit]

The town has a strong Gaelic Athletic Association tradition: Tuam Stars, founded in 1888, is the local Gaelic football team, and are one of Galway's most successful clubs. From the period 1953–1960, Tuam Stars were the dominant force in the Galway County Championship winning seven titles in a row, with players such as Seán Purcell and Frank Stockwell playing at the time. St. Jarlath's College, Tuam has won the Hogan Cup (National Championship for secondary schools) a record 12 times since the competition began in 1946. The parish has a second Gaelic football club, Cortoon Shamrocks, founded in 1888.

Tuam Stadium St Jarlath's Park was officially opened on 21 May 1950 by the Archbishop of Tuam, Rev. Dr. Walsh. It became "the home of Galway football" and has a long history and tradition, having hosted many important matches including Connacht Senior Football Finals. A new €5 million redevelopment project has been granted planning permission including a new 6,400 capacity stand and ancillary facilities. Tuam Stadium Development Committee is currently fundraising for this ambitious project.[4]

Soccer[edit]

There are also two local soccer teams: Tuam Celtic A.F.C., founded in 1974 who play their home matches at Celtic Park, Cloonthue. Dynamo Blues, founded in 1978 whose home is the College Field, Athenry Road.

Rugby[edit]

Rugby, while third to football and soccer, has long been popular in Tuam. Tuam RFC draws its members from Tuam and its hinterland and plays its home matches at Garraun Park, Dublin Road.

Golf[edit]

Tuam Golf Club was established on 17 October 1904 with the original clubhouse situated at Cloonascragh on the Athenry Rd. Later, the club relocated to Mayfield, on the Dunmore Rd., in 1937 due to a deterioration of the Cloonascragh course. Although, in March 1940 a new club called the Commercial Golf Club was established, which renovated the course and remained for many years at Cloonascragh. World renowned Irish golfer Christy O'Connor Snr joined Tuam Golf Club as club professional in 1948. To develop an 18 hole course, Tuam Golf Club relocated to Barnacurragh (close to the original Cloonascragh course) and a new clubhouse and the first 9 holes were opened in 1975. 18 holes came into play by 1979, on the course designed by golf architect, Eddie Hackett. Improvement works have continued over the years with Christy O'Connor Jnr advising the club on course improvement works. The most recent design work have been under the guidance of golf architect Ken Kearney.

Athletics[edit]

Tuam Athletics Club is a thriving club, which, in addition to its many juvenile training sessions, holds training sessions and meets for adults.

Gymnastics[edit]

Tuam All Star Gymnastics Club, runs classes from its Athenry Road base. The club boasts All – Ireland success, taking its first national title in 2002 and club members have competed internationally. The club also takes part in local St Patrick's Day parades and Tuam's Summer arts festival and many other local events. In 2010 the club reached the semi-finals of the All Ireland Talent Show.

Swimming[edit]

Tuam Swimming Club has been promoting swimming in the Tuam area since the its foundation in 1950. Today there are approximately 100 swimmers regularly training. After a number of years out of the national limelight Tuam swimmers are once again beginning to make an impression in swimming galas at local and provincial level. The Club season runs from September to the end of June each year.

Culture[edit]

The Arts[edit]

The Marian Choral Society was formed in 1974, with an initial aim to sing church and secular music. Then, in 1977, the first musical production was staged, with an annual show each October since. The society has a proud record stretching back to 1977 of never repeating a show.

Earwig! Tuam Community Arts Group was formed in October 2003 to provide Tuam and its surroundings with an outlet for its creative talent. Since 2003, the group has organised the Earwig! Tuam Arts Festival which includes visual arts, theatre, drama, spectacle, children's arts workshops, street performance and music. The festival has now established itself as one of the highlights of the West of Ireland's arts scene. Earwig! also takes part in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Tuam with an emphasis on bringing movement and spectacle.

Music[edit]

Tuam is long known to have a vibrant music scene. While The Saw Doctors are perhaps the town's most famous band, many more bands and performers from the town have gained popularity both nationally and internationally. In the 60's, Tuam was once known as 'The Showband Capital of Ireland' because at one time, no less than six top class showbands called the well known market town home. The best known of these was the Johnny Flynn Showband, a musical combination with its roots firmly in the tradition of the Tuam Brass Band.[22] In 2009, a compilation CD of over 50 original songs, all by musicians from Tuam, entitled 'Songs from the Broken Wheel' was released. Tuam is referenced in The Rocky Road to Dublin, popularised by The Dubliners and various other Irish folk artists.

The Old Tuam Society[edit]

The Old Tuam Society was founded 1942 with a view to preserving a record of the town's illustrious past and to foster and promote that knowledge for the benefit of future generations. The new society was open to "all those who are interested in its aims, namely the preservation and study of the antiquities of Tuam and district." Young and old were welcome as well as "members of the fair sex." An invitation was issued to Tuam people scattered far and wide to join the circle for an annual subscription of two shillings and six pence.[23] The society publish an annual called JOTS (Journal of the Old Tuam Society).

Market Day[edit]

The Tuam market was revived in 2006 by the Energise Tuam, a group which organised by local traders in conjunction with Tuam Chamber of Commerce in an effort to promote shopping in the town. It currently takes place on the last Saturday of every month, at the plaza in front of Tuam Shopping Centre. In the future, Galway County Council has earmarked the Shambles car park nearer the town centre as the market's location on a permanent basis.[24]

Media[edit]

The Tuam Herald is a weekly local newspaper, founded in 1837 by Richard Kelly, which serves the town of Tuam and the surrounding areas of north County Galway, south Mayo and west Roscommon. It is County Galway's oldest newspaper and the fifth oldest newspaper in the Republic of Ireland.[25]

Public Library[edit]

Tuam Library is situated on High Street, nestled Temple Jarlath and St. Mary's Cathedral. The library contains a diverse stock of over 45,000 books for children and adults. A collection of local history books are available for reference along with copies of the Tuam Herald and 1901/1911 census on microfilm. Free internet access and Wi-Fi are also available to library users.[citation needed]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns[edit]

Tuam is twinned with:

Places of interest[edit]

13th-century east window of Temple Jarlath
St. Mary's Cathedral

Notable people[edit]

in chronological order:

Statue of John MacHale at the Cathedral of the Assumption

Miscellanea[edit]

Roads named after Tuam[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "Census for post 1821 figures.". Cso.ie. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  3. ^ http://www.histpop.org
  4. ^ "NISRA – Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013". Nisranew.nisra.gov.uk. 27 September 2010. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press. 
  6. ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. 
  7. ^ A Brief History of Tuam. A Town of Two Cathedrals. 2006
  8. ^ The Gentleman's magazine, Volume 93, Part 2, p333, Oct, 1832. Books.google.ie. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Tuam Official Guide c.1958
  10. ^ "Tuam History Tuam Galway Tuam County Galway Tuam Ireland Tuaim County Galway". Tuam-guide.com. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ Glimpses of Tuam Since the Famine, J.A. Claffey, ISBN 978-0-9530250-0-8, 1997, Publisher: Old Tuam Society
  13. ^ McNamara, Denise (13 February 2014). "Campaign to recognise 800 dead Tuam babies". Connacht Tribune. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c Boland, Rosita (7 June 2014). "Tuam mother and baby home: the trouble with the septic tank story". The Irish Times. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "796 Irish orphans buried in mass grave near Catholic orphanage: historian". CBC News. Associated Press. 3 June 2014. Retrieved 6 June 2014. 
  16. ^ Smith-Spark, Laura (5 June 2014). "Anger grows over reported mass grave of children from Irish unwed mothers home". CNN. 
  17. ^ "Ireland: 'Tuam babies' mass grave allegations must spark urgent investigation". Amnesty International. 5 June 2014. 
  18. ^ a b Dalby, Douglas (4 June 2014). "Inquiry Urged on Site Called Mass Grave of Irish Babies". The New York Times (subscription required). 
  19. ^ "Amnesty urges Ireland to launch probe into mass children's grave". Yahoo News. 5 June 2014. 
  20. ^ "West=On=Track". Westontrack.com. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  21. ^ "Tuam station" (PDF). Railscot – Irish Railways. Retrieved 24 November 2007. 
  22. ^ "Johnny Flynn Showband". Irish-showbands.com. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  23. ^ The Tuam Herald, 26 September 1942
  24. ^ [2][dead link]
  25. ^ [3][dead link]
  26. ^ Galloway, Peter (1992). The Cathedrals of Ireland. Belfast: The Institute of Irish Studies. pp. 210–213. ISBN 0-85389-452-3. 
  27. ^ Murphy, Mary J. (2008) Viking Summer: the Filming of MGM's "Alfred the Great" in Galway in 1968 ISBN 978-0-9560749-0-4. Hardcover:130 pages, ( Nov 2008). Knockma Publishing.
  28. ^ Christchurch street names R[dead link]
  29. ^ "Dick Dowling Statue, First Public Monument in Houston, Texas". Texasescapes.com. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  30. ^ "Tuam Road Guide | Tuam Road, London SE18 | Nearby hotels, shops and restaurants". LondonTown.com. 21 October 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 

External links[edit]