Irish Gaillimh, county in the province of Connaught (Connacht), western Ireland.
The name Galway derived from the Irish 'Abhainn na Gaillimhe' - the Galway River - which was named after Galvia, a mythological princess.
Area 2,293 sq mi (5,939 sq km).
It is bounded to the north by Mayo to the east by Roscommon, Offaly and Tipperary, on the south by Clare, and on the west by the Atlantic Ocean.
Galway has the largest Gaelic-speaking element of any Irish county; the Irish college at Spiddal has facilities for those wishing to learn Gaelic.
About one-third of the county's people live in towns and villages.
After county Cork, Galway is the largest Irish county.
Most of the eastern part of county Galway is a plain with extensive bogs, but the Connemara region in the west, extending south from county Mayo to Galway Bay, is rugged in terrain, with Benbaun Mountain, in the Twelve Pins (Twelve Bens) group, reaching a height of 730 m (2395 ft) above sea level.
The Galway coast has many inlets and is dotted with islands.
The county has numerous lakes, the largest being Lough Corrib. Lough Corrib is north of Galway City and empties into Galway Bay via the River Corrib which flows through Galway City. It is is the second largest sheet of inland frest water in Ireland, is about 35 miles in length from galway to Máam. It varies in breadth from 8 miles, between Uachtar Ard and Cong, to one quarter of a mile, as from the Wood of Dún to Corrán Point, where it narrows between the Joyce Country and the Iar-Chonnacht hills.
The economy of county Galway is based largely upon the growing of wheat, oats, barley, and potatoes and the raising of sheep, pigs, and poultry. Fishing, gathering kelp, and quarrying limestone, gravel, marl, and black and red marble are also important.
The principal towns of the county are the county borough Galway, Ballinasloe, Tuam, and Loughrea.
Several ancient encarpments, burial sites, and ruins of castles and monasteries are in the county.
Population (1991) 180,364. Galway City Population (1991) 50853.
Principal rivers are the Clare, the Clarinbridge, the Dunkelin, and the Shannon (which forms part of the eastern boundary) and its tributary, the Suck.
Galway also contains the largest Island - Inis More, part of the Aran Islands.

Attractions of Galway

Galway City is a vibrant shopping area and has numerous attractions (see below).
Nearby Salthill contains a beach for bathing.
Connemara to the west is a major attraction.
  • Kylemore Abbey is set in breathtaking scenery in the heart of The Twelve Bens mountain range.
  • Connemara National Park, a 2000 hectare park is a major attraction.
    Ballinasloe is the main angling centre on the River Suck, which is renowned for its pike, bream, and perch fishing. It also hosts an annual October horse fair.
    Athenry town, situated 24km east of Galway City, is a heritage town and is dominated by its'castle.
    Tuam, 20 miles north of Galway City has two cathedrals, a Roman Catholic cathedral and a Church of Ireland cathedral worth visiting.
    Clifden, 50 miles northwest of Galway City, the largest town in Connemara, offers visitors splendid scenery. The circular 7 mile 'Sky' drive offers wonderful views of the islands of Inishturk and Turbot.
    Spiddal, 12 miles west of Galway City, offers traditional music and a world to learn the Irish language, culture and traditions.
    Whether you are interested in fishing, mountain climbing, swimming or otherwise, Galway has a lot to offer.
    The southern tip of the county is the beginning of the Burren, a huge unique limestone plateau with underground caves and botanists delight.
    Thoor Ballylee near Gort was the home of W.B. Yeats. It has been lovingly restored and looks much the same as it did in the 1920's when Yeats and his family resided there.
    Portumna Castle - Semi-fortifed house
    Coole Park near Gort - national nature reserve.
    Battle of Aughrim Interpretative Centre.
    Dunguaire Castle - 16th century castle.
    Attractions of Galway City
    The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas was opened in 1965 and is possibly Galway's most impressive building. Situated on the site of the infamous County Jail, which was closed in 1939, the Cathedral stands resplendent, overlooking the town. Its copper domed roof and Hiberno-Romanesque architecture ensures that the Cathedral can be seen for miles.
    Eyre Square is Galway's most identifiable landmark. The central park was renamed John F Kennedy park, following the visit of the American president in 1963. It contains a number of attractions, including two large cast iron Cannons presented to the Connaught Rangers at the end of the Crimean War of 1854-1856. There is a statue of Padraic O'Conaire, the author of Field and Fair, M'asal Beag Dubh and numerous tales and stories written in Irish.Visitors to the area are attracted to sit beside the statue of the little storyteller to have their photograph taken. The Fountain in Eyre Square consists of a copper-coloured representation of the sails of the Galway Hooker. The Galway Hooker was a traditional fishing boat, unique to Galway, which has gained fame due to its widespread use in history. It has long been used as a symbol for the county Galway.
    Lynch's Castle is located on the corner of Abbeygate Street and Shop Street. It is a fine example of the blending of old and new. It is an illustration of a 'town castle', popular homes of merchants in 15th century Ireland.
    James Joyce was a regular visitor to Galway. His wife and muse, Nora Barnacle was born in the city's Bowling Green area. The Nora Barnacle House is now a small private museum, which has retained its former character. It is open to the public during the Summer months.
    The Claddagh is the part of Galway linking the Spanish Arch area with Salthill. People have been gathering seafood and fishing from the Claddagh for centuries. Historically, its existence has been recorded since the arrival of Christianity in the 5th century. Throughout the centuries, the Claddagh people kept Galway supplied with fish, which they sold on the square in front of the Spanish Arch. The area has been immortalised through the song, "Galway Bay" and internationalised through the Claddagh Ring.
    The Spanish Arch, located on the banks of the river Corrib, was built in 1584. It was originally an extension of the famous city walls, designed to protect the quays. It is in fact a misnomer. There is no proven association with the Spanish in Galway and the building of the Arch. Historically it was known as The Blind Arch and it was located on the site more appropriately known as the Ceann na Bhalla (The Head of the Wall). The Arch also features a wooden sculpture, entitled Madonna of the Quay.

    Galway Irish Crystal Heritage Centre.

    History of Galway City
    Galway City originated as a small fishing village at the mouth of the Corrib. Anglo-Normans invaded the territory in the early 13th century and built walls around the town later that century. The power of the city was eventually diverted to 14 'Tribes', affluent families of English descent, and the city became known as the 'City of the Tribes'.
    Galway traded in wine, spices, salt, animal product and fish and became the next port after London and Bristol. The wealth of its citizens was expressed in the many fine stone-faced buildings of which "fourteen remarkable edifices, castles or mansions of the nobility" are specifically shown in the city's famous Pictorial Map of 1651. The Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, started in 1320, has become its most important building. Galway became a Royal Borough in 1396 and when in 1484 Richard III of England gave it mayor status, power was transferred from the de Burgo to the leading fourteen tribes or merchant families. The aftermath of the Parliamentarian and Religious Wars of the 17th Century saw Galway much reduced in status. A partial recovery based on its water-power industries, occurred during the 19th century. In the last quarter of this century, Galway has concentrated on promoting its tourist potential and building a strong local industrial base.

    Driving Directions

    To get to Galway from Shannon or Cork follow the N18 National Primary Route through Ennis. The first Galway town you will encounter is Gort. Loughrea lies to the east of Gort approx 25 minutes drive (15 miles) and is approached by taking the N66. To get to Galway City continue along the N18 via Kilgolgan and Clarinbridge.

    To get to Galway from Dublin follow the N4 National Primary Route as far as Kinnegad and then the N6 National Primary Route through Athlone. The first Galway town you will encounter is Ballinasloe. This should take approx. 2 hours 30 minutes from Dublin. Loughrea lies to the west of Ballinasloe approx 25 minutes drive (19 miles). Galway City is a mere 23 miles from Loughrea but driving time is very dependent on traffic conditions. Other Galway towns such as Renvyle, Connemara which lie west of Gwlway City can take much longer. For example Renvyle is 55 miles from Galway City and can take 1 hour 30 minutes driving time from Galway City along the N59.

    To get to Galway from Sligo or Donegal follow the N17 National Primary Route through Knock. The first Galway town you will encounter is Tuam. Continue along the N17 for Galway City. However if going to parts of west Galway, e.g. Clifden, you will be best go to Westport and then proceed on the N59 to your destination.

    Maps and Routeplanners to help your plan your journey are available on

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