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". (the mythical and alternative derivations are given in History of Galway.) The city also bears the nickname City of the Tribes / Cathair na dTreabh, because fourteen “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. It is one of the constituent cities of the Cork-Limerick-Galway corridor with a population of 1 million people.
The population of Galway city, as at the 2006 census, is 72,414. Galway is Ireland’s fastest growing city.
Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe (“Fort at the Mouth (bottom) of the Gaillimh”) was constructed in 1124, by the King of Connacht, Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair (1088-1156). A small settlement eventually grew up around this fort. During the Norman invasion of Connacht in the 1230s, Galway fort was captured by Richard Mor de Burgh, who had led this invasion. As the de Burghs eventually became gaelicised, the merchants of the town - the Tribes of Galway - 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 merchant families (12 of Norman origin and 2 of Irish origin). These were 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. Christopher Columbus is known to have visited Galway, possibly stopping off on a voyage to Iceland or the Faroe Islands. He noted in the margin of one of his books that he had found evidence of land beyond the Atlantic Ocean in or near Galway in 1477. During the 16th and 17th centuries Galway remained loyal to the English crown for the most part, even during the Gaelic resurgence, perhaps for reasons 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.
The population of Galway city and its environs is 72,729 (based on the 2006 census carried out by the CSO), of which 72,414 live in the city limits and 315 live in the city's environs in County Galway,. If the current growth rate continues, the population of the city will hit 100,000 by 2020.
Galway City (that is, the population inside the city limits) is the third largest in the Republic of Ireland, or fifth on the island of Ireland. However, the population of the wider urban area, is fourth largest in the Republic of Ireland (sixth on the island) after Dublin, (Belfast,) Cork, Limerick (and Derry).
The population of Galway is largely descended from native Gaelic peoples and Norman settlers. In recent years Galway has attracted a sizeable immigrant community, largely from Poland and other Central European and Baltic States such as Latvia and Lithuania, many of whom work in the service industry. Small but growing Nigerian and Filipino communities has also attracted cultural and religious diversity to this west coast city.
At the time of the 2002 Census, 16.3% of the population were aged 0 to 14; 75.5% were aged 15 to 64, and 8.2% were aged 65 and above. Also, 52.9% of the population were female and 47.1% were male. The part of the city with the highest population density was the Claddagh (5,756 people per km²), and the area with the lowest density was Ballybrit (823 people per km²).
The average January temperature in the city is 6.8 °C (40.6 °F) and the average July temperature is 16.0 °C (60.8 °F). This means that Galway is said to have a Maritime Temperate climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen climate classification system.
While extreme weather is rare, the city and county can experience severe windstorms that are the result of vigorous Atlantic depressions that occasionally pass along the north west coast of Ireland. Most of these storms occur between late autumn and early spring.
Due to the city's northerly location, Galway has long summer days. Daylight at midsummer is before 04:00 and lasts until after 23:00. In midwinter, daylight does not start until 09.00, and is gone by 16:00.
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 is:
The changes since the 2004 results include Cllr. Michael Crowe joining Fianna Fáil, Cllr. Cathriene Connolly leaving Labour and Cllr. Danny Callanan leaving Sinn Féin.
The City Council is chaired by a mayor who is 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. Padraig Connelly who was elected Mayor of Galway on June 23rd, 2008.
Most (47%) of the people employed in Galway work in either the commerce or professional sector; with a large number (17%) also employed in manufacturing. Most industry and manufacturing in Galway, like the rest of Ireland, is hi-tech (e.g. ICT, medical equipment, electronics, chemicals, etc.), due to the Celtic Tiger economic boom. Tourism is also of major importance to the city, which had over 2.1 million visitors in 2000, and produced revenue of over €400 million.
|Employment by Sector||2002||%|
|Agriculture & Mining||200||1%|
|Building & Construction||1,686||6%|
|Manufacturing, Electrical, Gas & Water||4,679||17%|
|Public Administration & Defence||1,452||5%|
Galway is nicknamed Ireland's Cultural Heart (Croí Cultúrtha na hÉireann) and is renowned for its vibrant lifestyle and numerous festivals, celebrations and events.
In 2004, there were three dance organisations, ten festival companies, two film organisations, two Irish language organisations, 23 musical organisations, twelve theatre companies, two visual arts groups and four writers' groups based in the city.
Furthermore, there were 51 venues for events; most of which were specialised for a certain field (e.g. concert venues or visual arts galleries), though ten were described as being 'multiple event' venues.
In 2007, Galway was named as one of the eight "sexiest cities" in the world.
A 2008 poll ranked Galway as the 42nd best tourist destination in the world, or 14th in Europe and 2nd in Ireland (behind Dingle). It was ranked ahead of all European capitals except Edinburgh, and many traditional tourist destinations (such as Venice).
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. Another of the city's more dominant limestone buildings is the Hotel Meyrick which dates from 1845. Sitting at the southern perimeter of Eyre Square, it is the City's oldest hotel still in operation. 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 Hunger) 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.
In addition it also has the Town Hall Theatre, a modern art theatre which opened in 1993. It is a 52 week program that covers all aspects of the performing arts including concerts, ballets, musicals and operas. It has been the venue for many Irish film premieres, during the Galway Film Fleadh.
Galway has a diverse sporting heritage, with a history in sports ranging from horse racing, Gaelic games, soccer and rugby to rowing, motorsport, greyhound racing and others. The Galway Races are known worldwide and are the highlight of the Irish horse racing calendar. Over the years it has grown into an annual festival lasting seven days. In motorsport, the Galway International Rally was the first international rally to be run from the Republic of Ireland. Throughout its history it has attracted star drivers from all over the world. The 2007 event was won by twice World Rally Champions Marcus Grönholm and Timo Rautiainen.
The city has hurling and gaelic football teams at all levels, including Father Griffins and St. James GAA. 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.
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, hosting their matches at the Galway Sportsground.
Moycullen Basketball Club have been a flagship basketball club in Galway for a number of years, and compete in the National League. They are situated 13 km (8 mi) west of the city. Between Moycullen and Oranmore/Maree Club numerous Irish youth international stars have been produced over the last 10 years - who have represented Ireland at European basketball championships. A new club Titans Titans Basketball Club have recently been created in the city. They also comepete in the National League but have yet to make the breakthrough to the post-season.
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: Tribesmen Rowing Club, Galway Rowing Club, Coláiste Iognáid ('The Jes') Rowing Club, St. Joseph's College ('The Bish') Rowing Club, and the NUIG Rowing Club.
The Galway Motor Club provides a focus for enthusiasts.
Near the city centre on College Road the Greyhound Stadium has races every Thursday, Friday and Saturday Night. It was refurbished recently by the Irish Greyhound Board, Bord na gCon, where it shares the facility with the Connacht Rugby Team.
Nearby Salthill has three competitive swimming clubs Shark Swimming Club, Laser swimming club and Galway swimming club. There is also a handball and racketball club while there are several martial arts clubs throughout the city.
Galway has also produced European and World Champion kick-boxers.
The city holds an annual music festival which started in 1996. The "Early Music Festival" has been incorporating European Music from the 12th-18th century. It encourages not only music, but dance and costumes. The festival invites both professional and amateurs musicians.
The Galway Arts Festival (Féile Ealaíon na Gaillimhe) takes place in July. It was first held in 1978 and since then has grown into one of the biggest arts festivals in Ireland. It attracts international artists as well as providing a platform for local and national performers. The festival features parades, street performances and plays, musical concerts and comedy acts. Highlights of the festival tend to be performances by Macnas and Druid, two local performance groups.
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.
In 2002, there were 27 primary schools and 11 secondary schools in Galway.
|Educational Attainment (Aged 15+)||2002||%|
A "Galway Hooker" is a traditional boat native to Galway. Is also the name of a new local micro-brewed beer.
According to the 2002 census, the most popular way by which Galwegians travel to work and school was by car (49.3%), followed by foot (29.6%), bus (9.2%), bike (4.1%), motorbike (0.7%) and train (0.3%). The remaining 6.8% travelled by other means or didn't state how.
Shannon Airport (90 kilometres) and Ireland West Airport Knock (86 kilometres) are also within easy reach of the city, both of which have frequent flights around Ireland and to Britain, Europe and North America.
Bus Éireann operate eight City bus services throughout the city proper, seventeen Local/Rural/Commuter services throughout the county and twelve Expressway bus services throughout the country from Galway city.
Galway City Direct operate four bus routes throughout the city.
Many other private bus operators provide links throughout County Galway and nationwide.
The River Corrib is by far the most important waterway in Galway and a number of canals and channels were built above and through the city. The purposes of these to divert and control the water from the river, to harness its power and to provide a navigable route to the sea. Of these, there were two major schemes - one between 1848 and 1858 and the other during the 1950s. The canals provided a power source for Galway and were the location of the first industries in the mid-19th century. The Eglinton Canal provided a navigation from the sea (at the Claddagh Basin) to the navigable part of the river (above the Salmon Weir Bridge). Most of the mills are still used today for various purposes; for instance, NUIG still uses a water turbine for electricity generation for their building on Nun's Island.
Currently, there are four bridges across the Corrib: the William O'Brien Bridge, the Salmon Weir Bridge, the Wolfe Tone Bridge and the Quincentennial Bridge. There are plans for a fifth bridge as part of the Galway City Outer Bypass project.
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.
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, there are plans for a semi-ring road of the city, the Galway City Outer Bypass, which should also be complete by 2015. There is also an Inner City Ring (Cuar Inmheánach) route that encircles the city centre, most of which is pedestrianised.
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 both 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 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 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.
One of the main regional newspapers for the county is The Connacht Tribune which prints three titles every week - the Connacht Sentinel on Tuesday, the Connacht Tribune on Thursday and the Galway City Tribune on Friday. As of January 2007, The Tribune has a weekly readership of over 150,000.
Another Galway-based newspaper is the Galway Advertiser — a free paper printed every Thursday with an average of 160 pages and a circulation of 70,000 copies. It also prints a free newspaper on Monday called Galway First aimed at the 18-35 market with a lot of emphasis on news, entertainment and sport. It is the main paper of the Advertiser Newspaper Group which distributes 200,000 newspapers per week to a variety of other Irish cities and towns.
Another free paper, the Galway Independent, prints on a Tuesday night for Wednesday circulation.
Galway Bay FM (95.8 FM) broadcasts from the city to the whole county of Galway. Another radio station is Flirt FM (101.3 FM), which is a student radio station for the National University of Ireland, Galway and Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology. The newest radio station is i102-104fm, a youth-orientated radio station broadcasting from Galway City to seven counties along the north-west coast. It launched on 7 February 2008.
The area code for Galway is 091, or from outside Ireland, +35391. In 2004, Galway got its own Metropolitan Area Broadband Network; which is made up of 56 kilometres of fibre optic cable. This encircles the city from Knocknacarra to Ballybrit/Ballybane and also incorporates a 6 kilometre extension to the commuter town of Oranmore. The network cost €10 million to install.
Furthermore, there are proposals to install a city-wide free Wi-Fi network; which is backed by a former city mayor. Galway-based IT company iZone are planning to also install extra features in certain 'hotspots', such as wireless telephone and text messaging services, and live music and video streams.