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Independent Radio Galway


Independent Radio Galway was a pirate station which first broadcast on April 15th 1978 on 199m. At launch the station was usually on air between 10am and noon, later extending to 11pm.

Station manager was Eamonn Geary and technical director was Tom O’Connor.

The station was first located in an attic in a courtyard on William Street. The station outgrew this space necessitating a move to a larger room over Garavans. The 199 metre aerial ran from the top of Glynns to the top of Gleesons. The studio furniture consisted of two tables, some chairs, the home-made transmitter, two turntables, and a few minor pieces of equipment.

There was some paid staff but most of the presenters were students and/or volunteers.

Gerry Mulholland wrote the jingle “Independent Radio Galway 199” which was sung by the UCG choir. 

The station eventually closed on July 28, 1979 with the launch of RTÉ Radio 2 blamed for a huge reduction in advertising revenue.

The following station review is thanks to Shane Martin:

IRG was really the very first radio station in Galway to garner any attention in the late ’70s.
Eamonn Geary, John O’Sullivan and Liam Stenson gave Galway City something new and exciting.
It lasted a little over a year but had a lasting effect for the stations to come.
Mike Mulkerrins (aka Paul Jones) was subsequently heard on WCCR a couple of years later.

The following recollections are courtesy of ‘Gruhn’:

It was the late seventies. I was 11-13 y/o. We used to joke that the I in IRG stood for “Illegal”.

Every now and then, the music would just stop. The station had been raided again. But the Guards must have liked the station. Seems they never took the transmitter. Only a couple of turntables. And who was the biggest sponsor of the station? The local electronics shop. They’d be back on the air in half an hour or so!

They didn’t hide the office. Encouraged people to come on down. Say hi.

They did a quiz show. Once a day? I think it was if you answer ten questions correctly inside a minute you win the prize. If you didn’t know a question you could pass and they’d ask another. They had more than ten questions. One day the questioning went in the following manner:
“A low gap between two mountain peaks”
“To kick the ball to another player”
“Do well on exams”
“Try to get a date with a girl”
“Overtake in a car”

I do believe the contestant won.


Irish Press – May 1st 1978

Right: Evening Herald July 20th 1979
The Connacht Sentinel – July 31st 1979 (Tap here to read)
Galway City Tribune – August 7th 2009 (Tap here to read)
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