Swangate is a special area of Athenry. It’s like living in the countryside and the town at the same time. It stretches from Hanberry’s Hotel to Bridie O’Hanlon’s house. She’s gone now, God rest her! It overlooks the beautiful Back Lawn and through the trees we can see St. Aughta and the hills of Clare. Behind us we have that wonderful row of beech trees, in Brady’s field – the rampart – along the old town wall.
Many people have come and gone in the past twenty years. Lilly and Martin Beirne now run the hotel where Kathleen Hanberry lived for years. Mrs Jackie Monaghan is now retired. Poor old Dr Nan Whelan is gone and Tommy Ryan diligently looks after her house and gardens. Our children’s ponies keep the grass in the paddock down.
Many people have lived in Mahon’s since Harry and Leo passed on. Gabe and Margaret Gardiner, Jim Ryan and family, The “Bank Ladies”, Nolans, lrene O’Connor, who had a thriving B & B and a beautiful garden has gone back to her native Boffin and now the Somers family – Enda and Mary – have taken it over. We welcome them.
Finian Gardiner was the only child in Swangate in 1977. Now there are fourteen children between the O’Regans, Costellos, Coffeys and Fahys. Tadhg and Patricia Costello live in St. Ethna’s where Babs O’Regan and her brother Pete resided. Connor and Mary Fahy now live where the Brodys were. Eamonn Brody who has a thriving business is next to Niall and Annie Morrissey. Paddy and Annie Greally have gone – may they rest in peace!
The Doherty family lives in Bridie O’Hanlon’s house now.
Sadly but naturally life goes on as was proved recently on the sad occasion of the burial of Rheda Doyle (nee O’Regan). It was great to see twenty-nine of Granny’s (Nora O’Regan) grandchildren and as many more of their relatives and friends playing ball on the lawn at the back of the Hotel while the adults met after the funeral. (This fine lawn which runs from the dining room to the Town Wall and Old Tower is a great amenity).
Written by Stephanie O'Regan
Published here 09 Feb 2021 and originally published August 1995
More on this subject:
Athenry Medieval Gate Uncovered (Record)
Swangate, Loro Gate, Geata Láragh (Record)