The Post Office
Compiled by Br. Conal Thomas
History of Mail in Galway
In 1659 the first service was established to convey mail from Dublin to Galway. By 1807 there was a regular mail coach service, taking almost 15 hours to complete the journey. With the completion of the railway in 1851, trains were then used for the transportation of letters and parcels.
In 1853 it became obligatory to use postage stamps. By 1872 there were 5 letter boxes in Galway city, at Rockbarton, Salthill, Nile Lodge, Mainguard Street and Eyre Square. At first all incoming mail had to be collected at the Post Office. It was not until the end of the nineteenth century that a free delivery service was set up. Postmen traversed their district daily on foot walking up to twenty miles. Cycle deliveries began in 1901, with the postman receiving 1 shilling weekly for cleaning and maintaining the bicycle. It was not until the 1960s that post vans were introduced into rural areas.
At the beginning post was delivered on all days of the week, including Christmas Day. Sunday deliveries ceased in the 1920s and the Saturday service ceased in 1978. The sale of postage stamps and the sorting of letters and parcels were among the services offered by all post offices. Other services to the general public included registered post, granting of money and postal orders, issuing dog licences, granting old age, widow and orphans pensions; children’s allowances, saving stamps and radio and TV licences. A telegram and telephone system was set up in all post offices for the service of the public.
Local Postal Services
A Penny Post service was established between Corrandulla and Tuam on 2 March 1834. We learn that the revenue was soon insufficient to meet the costs involved. In July 1836 the deficiency in the operation of the Penny Post was £2 6s 3d. This was guaranteed and paid for by Mr. W. Cahill thus ensuring the continuation of the service. However, the operation was forced to cease in 1839.
A Post office was opened in the townland of Drumgriffin in 1851. The Post Mistress was a Mary Griffin and the Post Office remained in the Griffin-O’Rourke family for the remainder of the century. In 1854 the post arrived from Dublin at 10:20 am and was despatched for Dublin at 3:40 pm. The salary for the Drumgriffin Sub-Postmaster was £3 while the Drumgriffin and Headford messenger received £15.
In 1882 R. Prendergast, letter carrier, was reported to the authorities for having connections with the Land League. From 1 October 1897 the mail was conveyed from Galway to Claregalway and Drumgriffin by John Curran of Eyre Square. Ms O Flaherty of Fr Griffin Road performed the Drumgriffin service for a time also. The mail came from Galway via Claregalway to Drumgriffin Post Office for many years. Nowadays it is conveyed directly from Galway to Corrandulla Post Office.
Mrs Winifred Griffin (née Lenihan), widow, was Postmistress in Drumgriffin in 1901. Her name appears later as Mrs O’Rourke following her remarriage to Constable James O’Rourke. When the Drumgriffin Post Office closed in 1919 it was transferred to Tom Lenihan, Corrandulla, brother of Mrs O’Rourke. Later it passed down to his daughter Mrs Winifred Monaghan. In turn it was transferred to her daughter-in-law Mrs Anne Monaghan who passed it to her daughter Ms Mairéad Monaghan, the current Postmistress. Johnny Keaney, Drumgriffin and Bernie Stewart, Caherlea served the area as postmen in the 1950s.
Corrandrum Post Office was opened in 1952, in the townland of Cloonagh. Charlie Coen (1921-2011), his wife Annie (née Glenane, 1930-2012), and their family served the people of the area for 44 years until its closure in 1996.