- This article is about the city in Ireland. For other uses of the name, see Galway (disambiguation).
Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) is a city in the province of Connacht in Ireland and capital of County Galway. The city is located on the west coast of Ireland. The Corrib River runs through the city.
The most credible derivation of the name of the City is from the Irish Gallibh, "the foreigners' town" (from Gall, a foreigner). Galway is known as The City of the Tribes, because fourteen "tribes" (families) led the city in its Anglo-Norman period.
Main article, History of Galway
Galway was an Anglo-Norman city that grew increasingly to prominence in the late middle ages. A walled city, it remained loyal to the crown during the Gaelic resurgence. Galway endured difficult relations with its Irish-speaking neighbours. A notice over the west gate of the city read "From the Ferocious O'Flahertys may God protect us". A bye-law ordered Irish (as opposed to Galway's Anglo-Irish citizens) not to "strutte or swagger through the streets of Galway". During the middle ages, Galway was ruled by an oligarchy of fourteen2 anglo-norman families, the 'tribes' of Galway. The city thrived on international trade.
Cannons at Eyre Square, Galway
The cannons were presented to the Connaught Rangers at the end of the Crimean War
(1854-1856) in recognition of their military achievements.
Galway was on the losing side in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (it supported King Charles II of England against Parliament), and fell under siege during the Cromwellian conquest of Ireland. It picked the losing side again in the War of the Two Kings (it supported King James II of England against William of Orange ). The great families of Galway were ruined, the city declined, and it did not fully recover until the great economic boom of the late twentieth century.
Probably the finest medieval town house in Ireland, Lynches Castle is in Shop Street; it is now a branch of the Allied Irish Bank.
The Church of Ireland Collegiate Church of St Nicholas is the largest remaining medieval church in Ireland, being founded in 1320 and enlarged in the following two centuries. It is a particularly pleasant building in the heart of the old city. By contrast, its Roman Catholic counterpart, the Cathedral, is a 1960s pastiche of extraordinary uglniness and "sits on the banks of the river like a huge toad"3.
The original quadrangle building of National University of Ireland, Galway was erected in 1849 (amidst the famine) and, with Cork and Belfast was a constituent college of the "Queen's University of Ireland". The university holds the UNESCO archive of spoken material for the celtic languages.
Annual events include the Galway Early Music Festival (May), the Galway Film Fleadh (July), the Galway Arts Festival (July), Galway Races (August), Galway International Oyster Festival (September) and the Baboró Galway International Arts Festival for Children (October)
The city has a permanent Gaelic language theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe that produced some of Ireland's finest actors. The Druid Theatre Company has won international acclaim for its cutting edge production and direction.
The Claddagh ring is associated with the Claddagh, a fishing village located just outside the old walls of the Galway city.
There are five flights daily from Galway Airport to Dublin, and two flights daily to London (Luton, England), as well as flights to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester and Lorient. Also convenient to the city is Shannon International Airport (about 90 minutes drive from Galway) and Knock Airport (also about 90 minutes drive).
The city is the location of two higher education institutions, the National University of Ireland, Galway and the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. The institute of technology has campuses in counties Galway and Mayo.
The offices of the Central Applications Office are also located in the city, this is the clearing house for undergraduate college and university applications in the Republic of Ireland, a related organisation the Postgraduate Applications Centre processes some taught postgraduate courses.
There are six return rail services to/from Dublin each day on Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) services. The services also stops at Athenry, Ballinasloe, Athlone, Tullamore, Kildare. Passengers can interchange with other services at Athlone for Westport and Ballina; and Kildare for Cork and Waterford. Travel time is about 3 hours to Dublin.
Three national primary roads serve the city: the N17 from the North (Tuam, Sligo, Donegal), the N6 from the East (Athlone, Dublin), and the N18 from the South (Shannon, Limerick and Cork). It is expected that motorways will link Galway to the other major cities sometime between 2010 and 2020. Meanwhile, travel time to Dublin is about 4 hours. Travel time to Shannon Airport : 90 minutes. Travel time to Limerick: 2 hours.
Galway is considered to be the gateway to Connemara and the N89 along the western shore of Lough Corrib and the R337 along the northern shore of Galway Bay lead to this wild and romantic region.
Galway has an Association Football (Soccer) team, Galway United in the League of Ireland; two rugby teams, Galwegians and Corinthians; and contributes players to the County Gaelic Football and Hurling teams. Sailing on both sea and lake are popular, and the University rowing club hosts rowing events on the river. Nearby Salthill has a Handball & Racketball club while there are several Martial Arts clubs throughout the city. "Power walking " and roller blading on the promenade from the Claddagh to Blackrock are popular all year round.
Hardiman's History of Galway also suggests that it might derive from the original name of the River Corrib, Abhainn na Gallimhe, being the river into which Gallimhe, daugher of Breasail fell and was drowned. He suggests that others trace it to the Spanish province of Galacia, since it is known that coastal trade from Spain was more normal than overland trade the east.
Note 2: They were the merchant families of Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, Darcy, Deane, Font, French, Joyce, Kirwin, Lynch, Martyn, Morris, Skerrett.
Note 3: Rough Guide to Ireland, 1990.
Last updated: 08-29-2005 14:18:26