It was the mode of transport to Galway from the area for all of the early years that I can remember. Our stop point was at Garbally Cross at 11.30 am and one was dropped off again on the way back at 6.30 pm. It arrived at the station in Galway at about 12.45 having gone through Monivea, Athenry Station, Cossaun Cross and on through Carnmore to Galway. It left Galway again at 5.25 pm. There were certain CIE Depots along the way where Willie, the driver had to call into and maybe pick up or deliver parcels. I know that Lohans in Menlough and Egans Bar at Cashla were two of these stops. Something that was regularly transported on the bus were day old chicks from Clonakilty and other far away places that we, children, would never see or visit – how times have changed !. They would be ordered by post, paid for by postal order and each evening thereafter one of us would be at Garbally Cross to meet the bus – just in case they were on board. Communications were like that in those days. This may take a full week of meeting the bus each evening. Willie always kept the boxes of live chicks beside the engine at the front to keep them warm as the worst thing that could befall these delicate creatures was that they may get a chill ……. which was usually fatal.
The various Logo’s used by CIE, later to become Bus Eireann
In the early days the Roscommon bus also had a conductor who collected the fares, issued the tickets and loaded and unloaded parcels and even bicycles from the roof. His name was Dominick but in later years when buses became front entry Dominick was redeployed or retired and Willie did the whole job on his own and happily smoked his pipe as he worked. His pipe was something he was rarely without and he could hold a conversation perfectly without removing his pipe from between his lips.
The farmers working in the fields in the area used the passing of the bus along the road as a time piece also. As it went on its way to Galway it would be only another hour or so until “herself” would arrive in the field with bottles of hot tea wrapped in old newspaper as insulation to keep them hot and brown bread with cold bacon slices or cheese made into sandwiches. This was always referred to as “dinner” even though the spuds would be consumed in the evenings of such days working away from the house. As Jackie Healy-Rae described the ordinary people of Ireland as “people who had the dinner in the middle of the day” the farmer of the time was classed among them. This “dinner” was also very very welcome sustenance at that time of day and the rest from hard field work was even more welcome. Again as Willie drove the bus past in the evening on his return journey to Roscommon it was an indication that it was time to leave the fields and go home to commence the milking.
Some of the styles of bus used at various times on the Roscommon – Galway Route.