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Galway Ireland

Galway


Galway is the picturesque town in the west of Ireland, where we are based and home of the Claddagh Ring.


The history of Galway is rich and complex dating back to a settlement on the banks of the Corrib thought to be named for the ancient goddess Galvia, however its epithet 'The City Of The Tribes" refers to a period in history when 14 leading merchant families (known as The Tribes) dominated city life. The names of these fourteen merchant families are still evident around Galway today.

In the 13th century, with the Anglo Norman conquest a wall around Galway was constructed to protect its citizens and this construction carried into the 14th century... This wall enclosed approximately 25 acres of land! Parts of this wall are still in existence around the city today including the famous: Spanish Arch.

The fourteen families effectively ran Galway from the 15th to the 17th centuries. They played an important part in the development of Galway as they established trade networks and commissioned public and religious buildings. They were also involved in matters such as: governance, administration of the town and religious matters. These families prospered greatly and built grand houses of which only two survive: Blakes Castle and Lynches Castle.

 

This era came to an abrupt end during the Cromwellian siege. Although Charles II ordered the re-in statement of property, the tribes never regained their former status. Things declined further still with the introduction of Penal Laws. Galway did not experience growth again until after the great Irish famine and the industrialization of the town.

Galway thrived in the 20th century thanks to tourism and the influx of college students. It has become a bustling exciting city renowned for its many festivals and diverse culture. It is the largest urban area in Connacht and people come from near and far to experience a unique and captivating atmosphere. Although it is now a modern cosmopolitan city, it still holds true to the fabric of the past.

Galway thrived in the 20th century thanks to tourism and the influx of college students. It has become a bustling exciting city renowned for its many festivals and diverse culture. It is the largest urban area in Connacht and people come from near and far to experience a unique and captivating atmosphere. Although it is now a modern cosmopolitan city, it still holds true to the fabric of the past.

Long Walk Galway

The Claddagh


Claddagh was once a fishing village on the edge of Galway City, where the Claddagh Ring originates from.


The Claddagh, or Cladach is said to be the oldest fishing village in Ireland. The village is located where Galway Bay meets the river Corrib. In 1232 a large wall was constructed around Galway by the Anglo Normans which excluded the Claddagh village. Hence the Claddagh village maintained their own customs and traditions and even had their own King! In the past "The King of the Claddagh" was an important figure who settled disputes among locals, made big decisions and was seen as a powerful figure among fishermen. This is a role that still exists although today it is regarded as a honorary role.

Claddagh people predominantly made their living through fishing. Large fleets of sailboats called: Galway Hookers were used by the fisherman and women would sell the produce in the fish market which was located by the Spanish Arch.

 

Overtime as the walls came down and Galway grew into the modern yet charmingly picturesque city that it is today, this ancient village grew and merged with the rest of the town. Though even to this day just over the Wolfe Tone Bridge at the mouth of the Claddagh Quay there are a handful of houses proudly bearing the Claddagh insignia.

Of course the Claddagh is known worldwide thanks to the popularity of the claddagh ring. The ring is said to originate from the village over 400 years ago! Traditionally the Claddagh ring was handed down from generation to generation as a wedding ring. Today it is a token of friendship and love. The Claddagh ring has become a symbol of Irish heritage and is much loved the world over. It's unique design which is representative of : love loyalty and friendship, and the legends and stories surrounding the ring has created a huge surge of interest in the village of Claddagh....