Here is a little information about Galway City!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 mouth of the Gaillimhe. 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 "Tribes" (merchant families) led the city in its Anglo-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.
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 Anglo-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 mayorial 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 Fitzwilliam, stated "From the Ferocious O'Flahertys may God protect us". A bye-law forbade the native Irish (as opposed to Galway's Anglo-Irish 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 merchant families (12 of Anglo-Norman origin and 2 of Irish origin), the 'tribes' of Galway.
The city thrived 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. 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.
Irish Language and Culture
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 it’s ‘Irishness’, and mainly due to the fact that it has on it’s 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 headquaters 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.
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 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 a Renaissance style, with its dome, pillars and round arches. The Romanesque arch which dominates the main facade is an unusual feature in 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 was erected in 1849 (during 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.
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 ("City of Galway").