Many of our older community members still recall going to the pumps for water and carrying it home and indeed, for some this continued into the 1960s.
Geoff Charles via Wikimedia Commons

Most of the pumps followed a common shape and design while a small number differ. The majority are cylindrical with handles, the “cow-tail” handle being the most recognisable. As local water schemes developed, these pumps became part of our landscape in a new way and are now a facet of our social and industrial history. Many local communities have retained the pumps and use them to showcase their areas, decorating them with flowers and maintaining the paint work. In general the pumps have a cylinder-shaped shaft with a spout and handle. Some of the pumps have decorative caps and others are adorned with raised decorations standing out as beautiful, artistic objects in the countryside.

Galway County Council Archives Collections often make reference to the pumps as it was the Council’s job to provide and maintain them within the county boundary. In 1904 and 1905 for example, a letter from the Board of Public Works to the Council informs them that that his Majesty’s Treasury have sanctioned a loan of £200 to the Council ‘for the purpose of sinking wells and erecting pumps at Kilmore and Rushestown, the loan to be repaid in 20 years with interest @ 3½ per annum and will be issued to the Council in 3 instalments of £76, £75, £50. Also enclosing a receivable Order for a sum of £1.1.0 to meet expenses’ - Mountbellew Rural District Council collection, 1899-1923, (Galway County Council Archives, G01/6).

We hope you enjoy the exhibition and ask that if you know of any more of these wonderful pumps that are not included in the above list, that you let us know. Better still, take a photo, record the GPS co-ordinates and we will add it here.