The Glynn/Glenn/McGlynn family originating in Culkeen, Co. Roscommon 1825 - 2015

Biography - B29 James Francis Glynn (Claregalway).

Biography contents


James Francis Glynn was born in Williamstown County Galway on July 26th 1908.He was the10th of a family of six boys and six girls of John Glynn and Mary Ann Coyne. In his youth and through his lifetime he was known as “Jimmy”, especially by his family, but, his wife, Brigid preferred the Irish version of his name, Seamus. After primary education in Williamstown he went to St. Jarlath’s College, Tuam where he spent two years. While he was in St Jarlath’s the pupils protested about the poor and meagre food and also the refusal of the Tuam Diocese to accept a particular student as a candidate for the priesthood. As a consequence Jimmy Glynn and about six others transferred to St. Mary’s College, Galway at the beginning of the next school year. After getting his Leaving Certificate in 1927 he went home to Williamstown.
By then, three of his older brothers had joined the new Irish police force, the Garda Siochána, Hubert in 1922, Paddy in July 1923 and Joe in August of the same year. At that time Johnny who had been in business in Dublin and heavily involved in the Civil War. was recovering from his injuries. James spent the next few years in Williamstown helping in the family business.
By that time he was six feet tall and of athletic build. He had played football in college and later with Williamstown. He had also played Rugby while in St. Mary’s. His best game for which he won some county titles was handball.

In 1931 Seamus decided to follow his older brothers into the Garda. His application, on November 11th 1931 gives his occupation as shop assistant and exempt, class 1, because of his education. He is shown as having special qualifications in Irish at 73%.His first posting in November 1932 was to Tallagh Garda Station, at that time a little village on the outskirts of Dublin. The government of the new state, was anxious to promote the Irish language and he was chosen to attend a course in the language in the Garda Depot. Afterwards he was posted to Corrundulla, County Galway, ten miles from the city. His mission then was to help the older members of the force, many of whom had little Irish to learn how to fill out their reports and official documents in Irish. He spent some months also in the next nearest station, Loughgeorge and it was while there he met his wife to be, Brigid McGough who was a primary teacher in Coolarne National School in the nearby parish of Lackagh. They met, it seems, on a bus to Galway as she was on her way to lectures in the University and were married on the 11th of August 1937.

Between then and 1946 they lived in three different houses in Claregalway while five boys were born, Sean in 1938, Joe in 1940, Kevin in 1941, Hugh in 1944 and Aodan in 1947.

At that time the Garda Siochána was run more or less as a paramilitary force under most draconian regulations, even for that time. One of these did not allow a garda to live within 30 miles of his relations. He was reported to the authorities and found guilty of, among other things, failing to report this breach of the regulations in that his (by then dead) brother-in law, Richard had lived only 14 miles away since 1939. 

As punishment, he was transferred to Recess in Connemara, more than 50 miles from his wife and young family. Not surprisingly, by 1947 he was suffering from a duodenal ulcer and spent four months in the Garda hospital in Dublin. His visits to his home in Claregalway were rare and nearly always illegal. He often travelled hidden in the back of the Post Office van on the way to Galway, while he was officially “sick” and with the connivance of a sympathetic sergeant. While in Recess, Seamus and Brigid stayed in touch, writing to each other most often twice a week.
By 1950, he had succeeded in getting himself transferred to Moycullen. He was now only 14 miles from home but he was often on temporary transfer in Inverin, filling in for absentees He also took every opportunity to accept temporary transfers to Galway in particular, for duty at the annual race meeting so that he could have a few days with his family. At last, in 1954, his application for a transfer back to Loughgeorge, a mile from his home was granted.

The next few years were probably the most content of his life as he settled in to a domesticity he had not had before. He went to the bog to save turf and cultivated his garden, although he spent much of the time leaning on the spade and chatting to his neighbour, James Hession across the garden wall. He bought a pig and a cow and became a local curiosity as he trained the cow to follow him home in the evenings like a pet dog. He looked after his aging mother-in-law, Anne McGough with great care and affection. He went to football matches and to auctions and often came home with “bargains” which he was always convinced would lead to a profit when sold. He had a weakness for films to the extent that when in Galway for a “haircut” he would slip into the Savoy Cinema and stand at the back to watch a film

Tragedy struck in 1963 when he was diagnosed with cancer. In that year he had a kidney removed but to no avail. By early 1964 he was very unwell and he finally succumbed on the 12th of February 1964. He was only 55 and had spent only 32 years and 92 days as a garda. He bore his last illness with great patience, fortitude and good humour, never admitting to being unwell and insisting on carrying on as if by his will alone he could defeat his illness.
During his lifetime he seemed always to be in good humour, whistling, humming to himself and making little jokes. When a plate or cup slipped to the floor to break in pieces he would observe, “Better than a broken leg”. He made many friends wherever he found himself and had a special way with little children. He loved a party and had a large repertoire of songs and although he took a drink, it was rarely more than two.
As a garda he was efficient but also flexible  - not one who always went by the book He had a good memory for facts and details and was able to devour the “Fogra Tora” - the Wanted List – in a few minutes on the morning of a barracks inspection and so amaze his superintendent. He had quite a few commendations for good police work on his record 
His wife, Brigid (pronounced as in Irish, Breege) was born in Aghlora, Tuam in 1908. She was educated in the Presentation Convent in Tuam and in Carysfort Teacher Training College, Dublin. Most of her life was spent as a primary teacher in Bawnmore National School. It was she who looked after the family’s finances and the education of the children. She took life very seriously and may have been burdened with too great a sense of duty. All her life, she kept a little notebook in her handbag in which she noted details of bills paid, purchases made, clothes and shoe sizes and even the measurements of the rooms in the house in case she came across a bargain and needed these details. She retired in 1976.but continued teaching as a substitute teacher in the nearby schools for many more years She died of cancer in 1988. They are buried together in Claregalway Cemetery.