CELEBRATING Tuam Bridge Club’S 75th anniversary were Agnes Curley, Margaret McCarthy, Declan Harte, Lena Lowry and Kitty Farrell. Photo: Ray Ryan


Diamond jubilee a celebration of friendship and social history

UNSURPRISINGLY, there was no shortage of men during the early years of Tuam’s Monday Night Bridge Club when it was first founded just over 75 years ago.

In the late 1940s and 50s however, the weekly Bridge club became a welcome escape for many married women in the area, some of whom laugh as they recall how it was their way to get out of the house and away from the children.

It might seem ludicrous now, but the ban on the employment of married women in the civil service and wider public and semi-state sectors was not lifted until 1973 – up to then, a woman had to give up that job once she got married. It was first introduced in the 1930s as a response to high unemployment numbers.

However, as years went on, working or not, there were plenty of Tuam women who were eager to find a way to socialise outside of the home, like Bridie O’Reilly. Bridie has been a member of the club for over 40 years, having joined in the 1980s.

She was at home with her five young children when she became a member of the club. “I was introduced to it and was hooked line and sinker. I’ve loved it from the start. It’s a brilliant pastime and I’ve gotten to know so many friends in the area and from around the West of Ireland.”

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