Eight buildings were gutted and eighteen more damaged after a fire swept through Galway city.

The accidental fire began in Thomas McDonagh and Sons Department Store. The blaze moved through McDonagh's timber yards and stores at Merchant's Road before spreading to the National Bank at the corner of Eyre Square. The fire moved into Corbett's timber yards and Corbertt's Department Store and into Williamsgate Street. A number of buildings and shops were affected including Fallers', Blackrock Tailoring Company. 

The warehouses and stores were storing flammable materials such as timber, 5,000 tonnes of coal and paint at the time. This encouraged the fire to continue to blaze and smoulder for twenty four hours after the main fire was put out.

Fire brigades came from all over counties Galway, Mayo and Westmeath to help combat the flames. It is reported that it took six hours, a hundred firemen from 16 brigades to put out the fire.

Workmen began the clear up after the greatest fire in the history of the city as swiftly as possible to bring the city centre back to normal.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 16 August 1971. The film shown here is mute.