Galway City on the west coast of Ireland is an ancient and historic city, with roots that stretch deep into the fabric of
not just the nation of Ireland, but across the world as well, bringing the infamous "Claddagh ring" to its fame, and having
the dubious distinction of having the origination of the word "lynching" attributed to it. Modern day Galway is a thriving
and vibrant city blossoming with arts, culture, many festivals, and a young population that weaves a rich multicultural
Known locally and internationally as "The City of the Tribes", this name can be attributed to the original fourteen families
that came after the city was founded originally by the De Burgos. These rich merchant families brought the city much prosperity
until they were cast down by Cromwell and Charles Coote. You can read more about the history of Galway Below! Meanwhile, take
a look at some of the wonderful attractions that Galway has to offer:
- Fishing both on the sea shore, deep in the bay and the lakes of the Corrib.
- The incredible Aran Islands and the "Dun" or fort there.
- Rent a bike from one of the many tour operators and go see the City and County the best way possible!
- Galway has several large golf courses.
- One of the main attractions of Galway is the enormous variety of restaurants available.
- Swimming, skiing, jet boarding, surfing, and more are all available.
- As Galway is a coastal town, there are many beautiful beaches within easy walking distance of Bayberry House
bed and breakfast.
- Steeped in a rich historical tradition, Galway has a great many archaeological sites to visit.
- Traditional pubs and bars with music and restaurants...
- There are foot and bus tours of the city.
- And boat trips on the river Corrib and Corrib princess!
Here is a sample of the history of Galway brought to you by Bayberry House Bed and Breakfast!
The City of Galway was probably named after the river that runs through it, although where the river itself got the name is a matter for conjecture
lost in the mists of time. Some say it is named after the child of a chieftain of one of the tribes, who drowned in it.
In the middle of the 12th century, the native celtic O'Connor Clan built a Dun, or Fort on the site where
Galway now exists. Historical records indicate that it was being used as a deep water port even back then. The High king of
an army to destroy it, successfully, as tribal wars and feuding were common in early Ireland, but it was rebuilt soon afterwards.
The Norman invaders under Richard De Burgo from France invaded and conquered Connaught, the west of Ireland province,
taking the Dun or Fort from its then owners, the O'Flahertys.
Hurling back numerous attacks by the O' Flaherty Clan, the De Burgos built a strong wall around the town, enclosing eventually
twenty five acres.
More and stronger walls were built as native Irish forces and skill in the warlike ways of the foreign invaders grew,
cutting off Galway from the other Norman settlements, which may be the reason for its uniquely Celtic culture.
The (still standing) church of St. Nicholas was built as Parish church of the city. Charters
were granted to Galway by Richard the Second and Henry the Fourth,
and the powerful walls were extended further, and coins were minted in the city.
The fourteen families of Galway came to be during this period, and were granted a writ of freedom from the control of the
descendants of the De Burgos, who had more or less gone native and joined the local celts by this time.
The charter also gave Galway a good deal of
self government. An elected Warden assisted by a council of eight vicars gave Galway the status of what was essentially a
Two great fires resulted in Galway being rebuilt completely in a somewhat less flammable material, stone, in this century.
Galway traded extensively with the European continent, especially the Kingdom of Spain, trading fish, wool and leather for oil, wine,
and other trade products. The city became extremely wealthy and prospered under a series of mayors drawn from the fourteen families.
During the year of the Spanish Armada, two hundred shipwrecked Spaniards were slaughtered by the order of the Lord Deputy.
A world famous free school arose in Galway in this century, but the numbers of scholars attending the school became a nuisance
to the populace, and were ordered out of the city. After Cromwell, Sir Charles Coote laid siege to the city, capturing it
and seizing the great houses of the fourteen families to give to his soldiers in lieu of pay. The prosperity of the town declined.
For a while after the restoration, Galway looked set to regain most or all of its power and wealth, but the wars in England
put that to an end. Draconian laws were enforced, stripping Catholics of rights, wealth, and property. Later in the century
religious tolerance returned, and the city's industrial and commercial base grew around mills and distilleries on the river.
This period of prosperity did not last long, however, as the Great Famine occurred, causing massive emigration,
starvation, and loss of life, eventually almost wiping out the city. Despite some signs of recovery (the University being built, for example), the city remained
in decline, the population reaching an all time low of thirteen thousand in 1911.
A slow, painful recovery began, aided by tourists in the summer coming to Salthill, and students arriving in the winter.
Much of the city of old Galway
was knocked down, however, in the interests of public health and hygiene.
Prosperity has returned to Galway with gusto, as the city runs many festivals throughout the year, and the infamous Galway
races. The city's population have returned to their historic fascination with trade and commerce, and have a great deal to
offer to travellers who visit this ancient city.
Quiet Man Film Locations
County Galway has several locations which were used in the making of the file. The Quiet Man. Visit the main film locations in an organised tour or join the
Quiet Man Fan Club.
Athenry – Medieval Town with Arts and Heritage Centre
Athenry, a medieval town situated 23km from Galway City is steeped in history. Founded in the 13th century by Meiler de Birmingham, who surrounded the town with a curtain wall with towers and a moat. It is the only walled town in Ireland whose still-intact walls are clearly visible to the approaching visitor
Battle of Aughrim Interpretative Centre
Aughrim, Ballinasloe - on the main Galway – Dublin Road.
Relive the bloodiest battle in Irish history fought in a small Connaught village. Move back in time and place to that fateful day in 1691 through an audio-visual show based on the moving account of Captain Walter Dalton who fought at the Battle of Aughrim.
St. Jarlaths Wheel - Tuam
Located beside the Catholic Cathedral in the North Galway town of Tuam.
Tuam is also home to a 13th century parish church ruins and graveyard, located at Teampall Jarlath, High St. Tuam.
Drive along the coast road from Galway to Spiddal and view the splendour of Galway Bay. Later in the day one can experience the famed in song ‘Sun go down on Galway Bay’
Continuing West takes one into the Twelve Pins of Connemara mountain range.
Tropical Butterfly Centre
Carraroe, Connemara, Galway. 2 miles from Rassaveal Harbour on R343. Located in the heart of Connemara, Seawinds Nurseries and Tropical Butterfly Centre offers a unique experience in family entertainment, regardless of weather. Set amid the lush splendour of a tropical enclosure, you can see hundreds of free flying exotic Butterflies in their natural environment.
The Aran Islands – located in Galway Bay
Situated at the mouth of Galway bay. Day trips available from Galway and Clare coasts. Organised tours available on the Islands. Visit the cottage where J.M. Synge, the well-known Anglo-Irish author and playwright stayed and took the theme of The Playboy of the Western World.
Eyre Square – Galway City
Eyre Square (renamed John F Kennedy Park) ; an open green park where on can relax or view the many attractions, including the Statue of Paraic O’Connaire ; erected in 1935 in memory of the writer who travelled the roads with his horse and cart. Best remembered for M’asal Beag Dubh. Died 1928
Kirwan's Lane - Galway City
Kirwan's Lane (off Quay Street) is one of Galway's last remaining late Mediaeval Lanes and has been recently redeveloped as a residential area. It was here that the Galway MP Richard Martin built a 100-seater theatre for his actress wife in 1783. Among those who acted there was the republican patriot, Wolfe Tone.
Clifden in West Galway
The location of the landing of the first Trans-Atlantic air crossing by Alcock and Brown. A very scenic part of Ireland.
Kinvara – Galway Hooker Boats
Kinvara hosts an annual festival to celebrate those unique sea boats each year. Always a selection of the old style Hooker boats on view. Those boats were used to transport turf in bygone days.
The great semi-fortifed house at Portumna was built before 1618 by Richard Burke or de Burgo, 4th Earl of Clanricarde. There are exhibitions in the castle and Gate House.
Located close to Gort, on the Galway Road, the former home of Lady Gregory, a founder of the Abbey Theatre and friend of William Butler Yeats. The house no longer stands, but the estate is now a national nature reserve. The garden of the house, with its yew walk and autograph tree is preserved. Carved on the autograph tree, among others are the signatures of John Masefield, George Bernard Shaw and Sean O'Casey. Attractions include nature trails, walks, a lake and turlough.
Once the former summer home of W.B. Yeats this restored Norman tower house was purchased by Yeats in 1916. In 1965 the tower was opened to the public. An audio visual presentation and push button audio narratives in the rooms are available in the tower, which is open to the public from Easter to October.
Turoe Pet Farm
Located close to Loughrea, in a beautiful rural setting, Turoe Pet Farm provides great attractions for young and old, native and tourist! Excellent facilities are provided catering for individual, family and group needs
Located in Kinvara, Dunguaire Castle was built by the O'Hynes in 1520. The clans association with the castle dates back as far as 662AD when their ancestor Guaire, King of Connnacht, ruled his kingdom from an earthwork rath close to the present castle site. Richhad Martyn, Mayor of Galway, acquired the castle in the seventeenth century and it was subsequently purchased by Oliver Saint John Gogarty. During his tenure the castle was the venue for meetings of the literary revivalists, led by W.B Yeats. The bardic tradition which Yeats believed in, is reflected in the Medieval Banquet held every night.
Mill Museum - Tuam
Located in Tuam, this is the last surviving corn mill in the Tuam area. It closed as a working mill in 1964 - its machinery is still in place, however, so visitors can view the old milling process.
This mill played a vital part in the life of the local community and a voluntary committee opened it as a museum in 1974. It also serves as a seasonal tourist information office.
Athenry is one of the most notable medieval walled towns surviving in Ireland, owing its foundation to Meiler de Bermingham who built his Castle there c.1250. The great three-storey tower, surrounded by defensive walls, is entered at first-floor level through an unusual decorated doorway. Recently re-roofed, the interior contains an audio visual room and exhibition.
Aughnanure Castle Galway - Oughterard
Built by the O’Flahertys c. 1500, Aughnanure Castle lies in picturesque surroundings close to the shores of Lough Corrib. Standing on what is virtually a rocky island, the Castle is a particularly well-preserved example of an Irish tower house. In addition, visitors will find the remains of a banqueting hall, a watch tower, an unusual double bawn and bastions and a dry harbour.
Dun Aonghasa - Inishmore, Aran Islands
Perched spectacularly on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean, this is the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands. It is enclosed by three massive dry-stone walls and a "chevaux-de-frise" consisting of tall blocks of limestone set vertically into the ground to deter attackers. The fort is about 900m from the Visitor Centre and is approached over rising ground.
Teach an Phiarsaigh (Patrick Pearse's Cottage) Rosmuc
A small restored cottage used by Patrick Pearse (1879 – 1916) leader of the 1916 Rising, as a summer residence. The interior, although burned during the War of Independence, has been reconstructed and contains an exhibition and a number of momentoes of Pearse.
Interesting Tourist Shops
Tus Craft Design
Tus Craft Design is a retail outlet in The Bridge Mills which displays a range of top quality art and crafts made locally in and around Galway. Website : www.tus-craftshop.com
Peacockes Craft Shop Located at Maam Cross, the Crossroads of Connemara ; sells a comprehensive range of Irish craft products, such as knitwear, crystal, jewellery, and CDs much of which is available by mail order.
The Galway Crystal Factory Shop
Located at Dublin Road, Galway City ; sells locally manufactured crystal products.
Recognised as a world leader in crystal glass products.
In 1997, The Galway Irish Crystal Heritage Centre was awarded the prestigious
Irish American Cultural Institute Heritage Award.
Royal Tara China Shop,
Located at Mervue, Galway City ; sells locally manufactured china products.
Royal Tara has been producing Fine Bone China of the highest quality since it was established in 1953. Today the wisdom of this policy is reflected in the company's thriving export market. It has earned Royal Tara China a reputation for excellent design, craftmanship and quality that is renowned worldwide.
Galway Bay Gifts (aka - Assets Gifts)
Located at 21A High St, in the heart of Galway City.
Offer a wide range of Irish Novelty items, Fun Gifts, Jewelry. While ostensibly a tourist
shop you will find lots to suit your home grown shopper also. They like shoppers to
leave with a smile and have lots of fun and funky stuff on the shelves.
Coast Road, An Spidéal (Spiddal),Co. Galway.
Established over 50 years ago, this family-run store is a one-stop source for quality Irish
products — Aran sweaters, woollens, tweeds, crystal, pottery, china, linens,
and jewelry including the famous Claddagh ring.
O'Maille - Quality Knitwear
O'Máille's is a name that has long been synonymous with quality knitwear and tailored clothes for men and women. Established in 1938, our family-owned business is located in Galway City, in the heart of the West of Ireland, home of the world-famous Aran Sweater.