By Ronán Gearóid O’Domhnaill
Galway Bay is song of longing which continues to captivate and its poetic vision has attracted visitors from all over the world to the City of the Tribes, yet the writer of this much loved song has been condemned to oblivion in his beloved Galway.
Arthur Nicholas Colahan was born in Enniskillen on 12 August 1884. The family moved to Galway where he attended the ‘Bish’ and later Mungret College, Limerick, as a boarder.
He did an arts degree in UCD in 1900 before going on to study medicine and graduating as a doctor at Queens College Galway in 1913. He worked at the County Infirmary (now the County Buildings), before moving on to Holles Street.
As war clouds grew, he joined the Royal Army Medical Corps, and was badly affected by mustard gas in India. After the war he settled in Leicester where he spent the rest of his career as a neurological specialist.
Among his many interests was music and he enjoyed playing the piano. He composed several of his own songs such as ‘Asthoreen Bawn’, ‘The Kylemore Pass’, ‘The Claddagh Ring’ and his best known song, ‘Galway Bay’, which he composed in 1927 in memory of his brother Randolph, who drowned in the bay in 1912.