Category Archives: Gay

Gay family name

James Gay – Accident on Dublin Bridge, Mullingar 1940

Story of James Joseph Gay, aged approximately 17 in 1940 and working as a messenger boy.


Mullingar District Court
Interesting Cases.

The Attorney General at the suit of Supt. P. J Glynn prosecuted Wm. Morris, Ranelagh, Dublin for that he alleged at the Dublin Bridge on 31st July he did drive a lorry at speed or in a manner dangerous to the public.
Mr. T J Dowdall, LL-D, defended.

James Gay, messenger boy for Mr. Graham said he quitted work at 1p.m on 31st July. On his way home he had to pass the Dublin Bridge. He dismounted from his bicycle at the foot of the bridge. He saw a lorry coming from the Dublin side over the bridge, and it was going at a very fast pace. It was on the centre of the road first and then swerved towards witness [sic] and hit the wall. It rebounded from the wall, swung round and the back of it hit the wall again further back. Some portion of the lorry hit him and knocked him on the path – injuring his foot, shin and knees. His bicycle was damaged and he was not yet able to resume work. The lorry contained bottles and boxes.

Mr. Dowdall did not cross-examine.

Cllr. Crowley, Springfield, said on the day of the collision he was twenty yards down the bridge on the town side. He heard the noise of a lorry coming over the bridge, the lorry gave three or four bounds as it came over the bridge, the brakes were applied and the lorry skidded into the wall.

To the Justice – Witness said it was a dry day. He saw young Gay coming up the hill and after the lorry hit the wall he saw young Gay leaning over the wall. He spoke to him and the boy complained of his knee.

Mr. Dowdall did not cross-examine.

Guard John McDonagh swore he investigated this occurrence. The lorry travelled for 124 feet after crossing the bridge. It then hit the wall in two places. Young Gay’s bicycle was badly damaged. The driver was sober and said that for some reason he lost control of the lorry. It was his first time in Mullingar.

Morris, in evidence said he was 22 years driving and never had an accident before. He did not know the bridge was dangerous and when he came over the bridge and saw what it was like he applied his brakes and skidded. He attributed the skid to the melting tar. There was no danger sign coming to the bridge. He knew his employer’s insurance company were looking after young Gay.

Supt. Glynn – Didn’t you see that now famous sign 150 yards up on the Dublin road – “Mullingar – Go Slow”?

Witness –No.

Mr. Dowdall said there should be a danger sign there, This man did the perfectly natural thing in applying his brakes when he saw danger.

The justice said that on payment of 10/- expenses he would dismiss the case under the Probation of Offenders Act. He added that it was a horrible, bridge.

Sourced from Irish Newspaper Archives. April 2014.

Gay family name

For the sake of clarity, we are talking here about the family name Gay, largely centred around Mullingar, County Westmeath, Ireland, and from there around the world. My family traces its roots to these Irish Midlands, documented only as far back as the early 19th century. Like so many other Irish families, it and those families we are joined to are now spread to other countries.

The surname Gay

The meaning of the family name Gay is a little obscure and might not be conclusive.  For many with obvious English or Norman descent then the association is normally made to the derivative from the Old French Gai or from any of the places in Normandy called “Gaye”, such as that in La Manche, where the place-name itself it is said derives from an early owner bearing a Germanic personal name beginning” Wai” or “Gai”.

Of course the Normans and English were in Ireland too and there may be some connection. The local history page of the Visit Mullingar website says:

The town takes its name from the Gaelic “An Muileann gCearr” meaning the left hand mill and is associated with a miracle that occurred at the mill.The town of Mullingar was founded by the Normans over 800 years ago.

The Norman settlement was a Manor and Borough with a castle, a parish church, Augustinian and Dominican monasteries, a hospital and a Frankhouse. The population of the borough was a mixture of Gaelic Irish and French, English, Welsh, Flemish and Breton immigrants.
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