Menu
Allianz and Afloat - Supporting Irish Boating

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

Galway's Blackrock "Men Only" Bathing Ban Recalled in Culture Night Documentary

16th September 2021
Galway’s Blackrock swimming area Credit: courtesy Galway Tourism

It is 50 years ago since a “Men Only” sign was removed from the entrance to Galway’s Blackrock swimming area.

Before this, bathing was officially segregated in Salthill on Galway Bay, at the request of Catholic bishops who believed mixed bathing could be occasions of sin.

From the 1930s, when swimming became popular, women were directed to Ladies beach, while families were accommodated close by.

By the end of the 1960s, however, attitudes had changed and rules were not so rigidly observed.

A 15-minute documentary by Mary Cunningham which is available online for this year’s Culture Night interviews people who swam at Salthill in the 1960s, and remember the influence of the Catholic church on social behaviour.

Jane Hogan and Maude O’Donohoe recall one young woman's rebellion against the rules sometime in the mid 1960s, when she swam up to the male section at Blackrock and left her bikini top on a flagpole.

Year round swimmer P.J. Flaherty recalls the camaraderie that existed among the men who frequented the area, and the resentment of some at the arrival of women.

In 1971, a local councillor requested that Galway Corporation ban so-called “Bikini Girls”' from the “male enclave”, as they disturbed the older men and priests who swam there.

However, by then attitudes had changed and the “Men Only” sign was quietly removed in early September, 50 years ago.

Listen to The Bracing Waters and Moral Dangers of Salthill HERE

Published in Sea Swim, Galway Harbour
Lorna Siggins

About The Author

Lorna Siggins

Email The Author

Lorna Siggins is a print and radio reporter, and a former Irish Times western correspondent. She is the author of Everest Callling (1994) on the first Irish Everest expedition; Mayday! Mayday! (2004) on Irish helicopter search and rescue; and Once Upon a Time in the West: the Corrib gas controversy (2010).

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Associations

ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Events 2021

vdlr21 sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton
quantum sidebutton
watson sidebutton

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
https://afloat.ie/resources/marine-industry-news/viking-marine

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
wavelengths sidebutton
 

Please show your support for Afloat by donating