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Laudatio Ejus Manet In Seculum Seculi
"Praise remains for ever"

Galway (official Irish name: Gaillimh) is the only city in the province of Connacht in Ireland and capital of County Galway. The city is located on the west coast of Ireland. In Irish, Galway is also called Cathair na Gaillimhe, which is a translation of "City of Galway".

The city takes its name from the Gaillimh river (River Corrib) that formed the western boundary of the earliest settlement, which was called Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe, or the fort at the bottom of the Gaillimh. The word Gaillimh means "stony" as in "stony river". (Alternative, more mythical, derivations are given in History of Galway). The city also bears the nickname The City of the Tribes, because fourteen[1] "Tribes" (merchant families) led the city in its Hiberno-Norman period. The term Tribes was originally a derogatory phrase from Cromwellian times. The merchants would have seen themselves as English nobility, and hence were loyal to the King. Their uncertain reaction to the siege of Galway by Cromwellian forces earned them this label, which they subsequently adopted in defiance.

The population of the city was 71,983 at the most recent census in April 2006, making it the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, after Dublin and Cork. The Galway urban area is sixth largest on the island of Ireland (after Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick and Derry)[citation needed].


This map of 1651 shows the walled city (North is to the left). The River Corrib is in the foreground, crossed by what is now "O'Briens Bridge", leading to Mainguard Street.

Dún Bun na Gaillimhe ("Fort at the Mouth (bottom) of the Gaillimh") was constructed in 1124, by the King of Connacht Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair. A small settlement eventually grew up around this fort. During the Norman invasion of Connacht in the 1230s, Galway fort was capturted by Richard Mor de Burgh, who had led this invasion. As the de Burghs eventually became gaelicised the merchants of the town pushed for greater control over the walled city. This led to them gaining complete control over the city and the granting of mayoral status by the English crown in December 1484. Galway endured difficult relations with its Irish neighbours. A notice over the west gate of the city, completed in 1562 by Mayor Thomas Oge Martyn fitz William, stated "From the Ferocious O'Flahertys may God protect us". A bye-law forbade the native Irish (as opposed to Galway's Hiberno-Norman citizens) unrestricted access into Galway, saying "neither O' nor Mac shall strutte nor swagger through the streets of Galway" without permission. During the Middle Ages, Galway was ruled by an oligarchy of fourteen[1] merchant families (12 of Norman origin and 2 of Irish origin). These were the 'tribes' of Galway. The city throve on international trade. In the Middle Ages, it was the principal Irish port for trade with Spain and France. There is a legend of uncertain truth which claims that Christopher Columbus, on a trip to Iceland or the Faroe Isles, found signs of land beyond the Atlantic Ocean in or near Galway in 1477.[2] Galway remained mostly loyal to the English crown during the Gaelic resurgence as a matter of survival, yet by 1642 the city allied itself with the Catholic Confederation of Kilkenny during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. During the resulting Cromwellian conquest of Ireland Cromwellian forces captured the city after a nine month siege. At the end of the 17th century the city supported the Jacobites in the Williamite war in Ireland (it supported King James II of England against William of Orange) and was captured by the Williamites after a very short siege not long after the Battle of Aughrim in 1691. 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.


 City Council

Cannon at Eyre Square, Galway The cannon were presented to the Connaught Rangers at the end of the Crimean War (1854-1856) in recognition of their military achievements.

Services such as rubbish collection, recycling, traffic control, parks and housing are controlled by a fifteen member city council elected to five year terms by proportional representation, the next such election is due in June 2009. The make-up of the current city council following the last election was four Labour Party, three Fine Gael, three Progressive Democrats, two Fianna Fáil, one Green Party, one Sinn Féin and one independent. Since then, the independent councillor, Michael Crowe, has joined Fianna Fáil, bringing their number on the council to three.

Last June's 2005 elections to the city council saw a significant change in its composition as left wing parties (Labour, Greens, and Sinn Féin) increased their number of seats from two to six. At the same time, Fianna Fáil lost three seats and there was an independent councillor elected in the north/east ward. Although some have argued that this has given the city council a more representative make-up, others say that it has led to grid-lock and infighting. Certainly the situation has been exacerbated by the number of new and thus inexperienced councillors (eight out of fifteen elected are first time councillors).

 Galway Chamber
Main article: Galway Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Galway City, Capital of the West of Ireland, is now the third largest City (County Borough area) in the Republic of Ireland after Dublin and Cork. The City has experienced phenomenal growth in recent years. Galway City has a strong local economy with complementary business sectors, including manufacturing industry, tourism, retail and distribution, education, healthcare and services that include financial, construction, cultural, and professional.

The City Council is chaired by a mayor who elected to a one year term by their fellow councillors. Their role is mainly ceremonial, although they do have the casting vote. The current Mayor is Cllr. Niall O'Brolchain who was elected the first Green Party mayor of Galway on June 19, 2006.

Galway City is part of the Galway West constituency of Dáil Éireann. Its TDs are:

Noel Grealish (Progressive Democrats)
Michael D. Higgins (Labour ). He is the party's President and former minister for Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht.
Éamon Ó Cuív (Fianna Fáil). He is the current Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs.
Frank Fahey (Fianna Fáil).
Pádraic McCormack (Fine Gael).
All but Éamon Ó Cuív have significant support in the city. Senator Margaret Cox (Fianna Fáil) also maintains her political base in Galway city. In the General Election of 2002, Galway West was considered a 'swing constituency' due to the battle between Fianna Fáil's Senator Margaret Cox and the Progressive Democrats' Noel Grealish. The victory of Noel Grealish by several hundred votes over Senator Cox deprived Fianna Fáil of its first overall majority since 1977 and led to a coalition government being formed between Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats that has been in office since then.


 Irish Language and Culture

Galway swans confront visitors.

Galway city is unique among Irish cities because of the strength of its Irish language, music, song and dancing traditions - it is often referred to as the 'Bilingual Capital of Ireland'. The city is well known for its ‘Irishness’, and mainly due to the fact that it has on its doorstep the Galway Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area). The language is visible on the city streets, with bilingual signage on display on shops and road signs, and can be heard by locals around the city. Irish theatre, TV production and Irish music are an integral part of Galway city life, with both An Taibhdhearc, the National Irish Language Theatre, and TG4 headquarters in Galway. This has brought an Irish-speaking young professional population to the city and county, and has generated a renewal of interest in the language and in language-related activities and social events.


St. Nicholas' Anglican Church is the largest remaining medieval church in Ireland

The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas

Probably the finest medieval town house in Ireland, Lynch's Castle is in Shop Street; it is now a branch of the Allied Irish Bank.

The Church of Ireland St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church is the largest remaining medieval church still in use in Ireland. It was founded in 1320 and enlarged in the following two centuries. It is a particularly pleasant building in the heart of the old city. Its Roman Catholic counterpart, the Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas, which was consecrated in 1965, is a far larger, more imposing building constructed from limestone. It has an eclectic style, with renaissance dome, pillars and round arches, and a Romanesque portico that dominates the main facade — an unusual feature in modern Irish church building. It was suggested by a church in the city of Salamanca in Spain. Not far from the cathedral stands the original quadrangle building of National University of Ireland, Galway which was erected in 1849 (during An Gorta Mór, the Great Famine) as one of the three colleges of the Queen's University of Ireland (along with Queen's University Belfast and University College Cork). The university holds the UNESCO archive of spoken material for the Celtic languages.

Annual events include the Celtic start of Spring festival Fleadh Imboilg (start of February), the Cúirt International Festival of Literature (April), the Galway Early Music Festival (May), the Galway Sessions traditional Irish music festival, the Salthill Air Show (June), the Galway Film Fleadh (July), the Project06 (July), which runs along the Galway Arts Festival (July), Galway Races horse racing festival (start of August), Galway Gay Pride Festival (end of August), Galway International Oyster Festival (September), the Galway Jazz Festival (October), the Baboró Galway International Arts Festival for Children (October) and the Tulca visual arts festival (November).

The city has a permanent Irish language theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe, which has produced some of Ireland's most celebrated actors. The Druid Theatre Company has won international acclaim for its cutting edge production and direction.

Two higher education institutions are located in the city, the National University of Ireland, Galway and the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. The institute of technology also has a campus in Castlebar, County 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.


The powerful River Corrib flows through the city from Lough Corrib, with many mill races and a canal to the sea. This picture (from the Claddagh) has the canal dock in the foreground, then the river (below sight line), Spanish Parade and on to the cathedral dome.

The Claddagh Ring is associated with the Claddagh, a fishing village located just outside the old walls of the Galway city. A "Galway Hooker" is a traditional boat native to Galway. Is also the name of a new local micro-brewed beer.


Aer Arann provide five flights daily from Galway Airport to Dublin, and two flights daily to London (Luton, England), as well as flights to Birmingham, Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds Bradford International Airport, Cardiff, Lorient and Bristol. Also convenient to the city is Shannon International Airport (about 90 minutes drive from Galway) and Ireland West Airport Knock (also about 90 minutes drive). Flights to the Oileáin Árann (Aran islands) are operated from Connemara Regional Airport at Indreabhán, west of the city.

The Midland Great Western Railway (MGW) reached Galway in 1851, giving the city a direct main line to its Broadstone terminus in Dublin.

As the 19th century progressed the rail network in Connacht was expanded, making Galway an important railhead. The nearby town of Athenry became a railway junction, giving Galway links to Limerick and the south in 1869 and Sligo and the north in 1894. In 1895 the MGW opened a branch line between Galway and Clifden.

The 20th century brought increasing road competition, and this led the Great Southern Railway to close the Clifden branch in 1935. Its former junction is still visible from Ceannt Station's platforms. Galway station was renamed Ceannt in 1966. In the 1970s Córas Iompair Éireann closed the Sligo-Ennis line to passenger services, and it has since closed to freight as well.

A campaign exists to bring about the re-opening of the Sligo-Limerick Western Railway Corridor via Athenry. This would connect the commuter towns of Gort and Tuam to Galway by rail.

Iarnród Éireann, the Republic of Ireland's national rail operator, runs six return passenger services each day between Dublin, Galway and intermediate stations. Travel time is just under 3 hours to Dublin Heuston.

The distance by rail between Galway and Dublin is 208 km.

In addition, a proposal has been put forward for a Light-rail system, the Corrib Light Rail. The proposal has proved very popular with Galway City Council and Galwegians alike, and in January 2007, the Green Party promised light rail to the cities of Galway and Cork (as well as various extensions to the Luas network in Dublin) if it forms part of the next government.[1][2]

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 Town, Limerick and Cork). The M4 motorway from Dublin towards Sligo and Galway was further extended in late 2005 and now reaches just west of Kinnegad; work on the next extension (the M6 motorway) towards Galway has begun. By 2015, the Galway-Dublin, Galway-Limerick and Galway-Tuam routes will be completey motorway or high-quality dual-carriageway standard.

Consequently, travel time to Dublin is about 3 hours. Travel time to Shannon International Airport is approximately 90 minutes, whilst travel time to Limerick is 2 hours.

Galway is considered the gateway to Connemara and the Gaeltacht. The N59 along the western shore of Lough Corrib and the R337 along the northern shore of Galway Bay lead to this wild and romantic region.

Bus travel to the city from all major towns and airports is serviced by many private operators and the national bus company Bus Éireann.

 Galway Harbour

An old man looks out over Ballyknow Quay.

Galway is the most central port on the West Coast of Ireland in the sheltered eastern corner of Galway Bay. The harbour can be used by vessels up to 10,000 dwt and the inner dock can accommodate up to 9 vessels at any one time. Pending approval, Galway Harbour may see major changes, should the €1.5 billion development plan go ahead.

With Rossaveal and Doolin, it is one of the gateways to the Aran Islands.

The city has many hurling and gaelic football teams at all levels; match times and venues are listed in local newspapers, such as the Galway Advertiser. Major football and hurling matches take place at Pearse Stadium in the city. The stadium is also the home of the Salthill Knocknacarra Gaelic Athletic Association club which won the All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship in 2006 for the first time. Galway also has an Association Football (Soccer) team, Galway United in the League of Ireland. Galway is constantly striving to improve the situation for youth football in Ireland. The most recent effort being in the form of The Umbro Galway Cup, which is held annually at the home of Salthill Devon F.C.. There are two Senior rugby union teams in the city Galwegians RFC and Corinthians RFC, as well as provincial Connacht Rugby who play in the Magners (Celtic) League who host their matches at the Galway Sportsground. Sailing on both sea and lake are popular, as is rowing in the River Corrib with five clubs providing the necessary facilities and organising rowing competitions. These clubs include:

Galway Rowing Club
Coláiste Iognáid ('The Jes') Rowing Club
St. Joseph's College ('The Bish') Rowing Club
NUIG Rowing Club
Tribesmen Rowing Club
Nearby Salthill has three competitive swimming clubs Shark Swimming Club, Laser swimming club and galway swimming club. handball and 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. Titans Basketball Club is Galways top Basketball club -They compete in the National League Division One and currently hold the world record for longest basketball match- 40 hours and 3 minutes. Galway has also produced European and World Champion kick-boxers.

Galway can receive all the national radio stations and television stations, as well as cable and satellite services. The main regional newspaper in the city and county is the lively Galway Advertiser, which is Ireland's largest regional newspaper with an average of 160 pages and a circulation of 70,000 copies. It is the parent company of the national Advertiser Newspaper brand which in 2006 and 2007 established new Advertiser newspapers in Mayo, Athlone, Mullingar, and Kilkenny with a combined circulation of 200,000 newspapers. It also prints a new free newspaper on Monday called Galway First aimed at the 18-35 market with a lot of emphasis on news, entertainment and sport. Another city paper is the Connacht Tribune which prints three titles every week to an older age group - the Sentinel (city paper) on Tuesday, the Connacht Tribune (county paper) on Thursday and the Galway City Tribune (city paper) on Friday. The three papers are printed at the company's printworks in the heart of the city; it is the last remaining manufacturing facility operating in the city centre. The printworks also prints other regional newspapers such as the Tuam Herald (Galway), the Connaught Telegraph (Mayo) and the Clare Champion (Clare). The Connacht Tribune recently completed the purchase of Galway Bay FM and is now the sole owner of the radio station. Previously it had been the second largest shareholder in the station, just behind Oranmore businessman Gerry Rabbitte. Other shareholders had included the GAA, the Galway Advertiser (see below), the Western Health Board and the Catholic church. Galway Bay FM [3] broadcasts from the city to the whole county of Galway. Another radio station is Flirt FM, which is a student radio station for the National University of Ireland, Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology [4]. The cable channel City Channel, which was originally based in Dublin, has recently launched a version of the channel for Galway.

Side note, Steve Earl has s song about Galway called 'Halo Around the Moon' where he talks about Galway as well as the Corrib river.

^ a b They were the merchant families of Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, Darcy, Deane, Font, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwin, Lynch, Martin, Morris, Skerrett.
^ This claim can be found on a stone block on the Spanish parade, dedicated to the City of Galway by Columbus' native city of Genova. See also Christopher Columbus

A memorial stone on Galway's Spanish parade, claiming that "On these shores, around the year 1477, the Genoese sailor Cristoforo Colombo found sure signs of land beyond the Atlantic. La Città di Genova alla Città di Galway. 29.VI.1992.