Easily one of the most photographed landmarks in all of Galway, Blackrock Diving Tower has been immortalised in the minds of many through paintings, poetry and cherished memories. From summer days spent jumping off the top of the tower to winter evenings spent gazing out at the shoreline, Blackrock has its own meaning in the hearts of many.
An intrinsic part of the city, we thought it only fitting that we journey back to recall its origins as a humble springboard back in 1885...
Once the original springboard was erected on the land of Colonel O’Hara, it was clear that it was not a welcome addition. Doing everything in his power to make getting to the rock difficult for swimmers, O’Hara sought to have the board removed entirely. Luckily, the Urban Council stepped in and got a lease on a public right of way to the bathing area and had the springboard replaced with a more elaborate affair.
However, this proved to be quite unsafe indeed. A near death in 1942 led to these new measures being replaced with the diving tower we see to this day at Blackrock and it wasn’t until the 1950s that James Stewart built the beloved tower, designed by Mr B Faherty.
Did you know that up until the mid-19th century, there was a quaint little cluster of cottages at Blackrock? Well, there were - up until one stormy night in 1839. A night that became known as the Big Wind quite literally blew these cottages away by the violent gale. We’re all familiar with those treacherous gusts and rough tides, but this really puts it in perspective.
Another really interesting aspect of Blackrock is the fact that for a long time, Blackrock was a men's only bathing spot. It wasn’t until the 1970s that women began to splash about and it became a universal area of enjoyment. Not a day goes by that the bright stone of Salthill’s Blackrock doesn’t bring a smile to the face of many and we count our blessings that this little piece of history stands nearby.
Blackrock, Salthill | © Boyd Challenger