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Maxwells has a long history dating back to 1850 and forms part of Colonial Buildings which mirrors the building on the other side of the street. Its architect was Mr Edward Henry Carson, father of the famous Unionist Sir Edward Carson and was built by a Galway man, Austin Semple. It was opened in 1855 by the Lord Lieutenant, Lord Eglinton on whom the street is named after on the same day as he opened the Eglinton Canal linking Lough Corrib to Galway Bay.

Francis McNamara acquired this part of Colonial Buildings but died a young man and the business was carried on by his son John Francis McNamara. Austin Greene (son of James Greene of 34 Dawson Street, Dublin) acquired the building in 1900 and married a Miss Maxwell from Longford in 1911. Together they formed a limited Company linking their businesses in Galway and Longford, Maxwell McNamara and Co.In due course their son Joseph Maxwell Green took over the business and ran it until his death around 1955.

Maxwell McNamara’s was a High Class Grocery with an old mahogany counter. It also had a small bar on the Eglinton Street side where the local professionals used to call in for a private drink to sustain themselves. Mints were provided for discretion.

The Grocery sold Bacon, Hams and Sausages and there was a shelf with large tins of biscuits. Their famous Teas were for sale for 2, 2/4, 2/8 and 3. They also imported fine wines from all over Europe, Tobacco and bottled their own Whiskey, Rum and Guinness. Some of these bottles are on view here today. Staff who worked here in the 40’s and 50’s remember Kathleen Barnacle cashing cheques here sent to her from her sister Nora from Zurich where she lived with James Joyce. Outside on the corner where you came in today women from the Cladagh gathered to sell fish shouting’ Fresh Mackerel, Herring and Whiting’.

Following the death of Maxwell Green the Grocery was converted to a restaurant and was known as ‘The Cellar Grill’. Later having changed hands several times it was known as Maxwell McNamara’s in honour of its original owners.

The restaurant was completely refurbished in 2010 and now is known as ‘Maxwells’. Some of Galway’s most famous roof tops

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are on the mural along the wall. Guinness, Fine Wines, Sausages and Hams are still being sold here as well as Fine Wines and Whiskey albeit at different prices. The tradition of hospitality continues in Galway’s oldest restaurant.

Enjoy. Ta Failte Romhat.