Connacht

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Connacht
Connachta [1]
Connacht locator map.svg
Coordinates: 54°N9°W / 54°N 9°W / 54; -9 Coordinates: 54°N9°W / 54°N 9°W / 54; -9
State Ireland
Counties Galway
Leitrim
Mayo
Roscommon
Sligo
Government
   Teachtaí Dála 6 Independent TDs
5 Fine Gael TDs
4 Fianna Fáil TDs
4 Sinn Féin TDs
   MEPs [a] 2 Fine Gael MEPs
1 Sinn Féin MEP
1 Independent MEP
Area
  Total17,711 km2 (6,838 sq mi)
  Rank 4th
Population
 (2022) [2]
  Total588,583
  Rank 4th
  Density33/km2 (86/sq mi)
Time zone UTC±0 (WET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing keys
Beginning with F, H, N (primarily)
Telephone area codes 07x, 09x(primarily)
ISO 3166 code IE-C [3]
a. ^ Connacht is part of the Midlands–North-West constituency; the five Connacht counties contain 36.2% of the population of this constituency. [4]

Connacht ( /ˈkɒnɔːt,ˈkɒnə(x)t/ KON-awt, KON-ə(kh)t; [5] [6] [7] Irish : Connachta [ˈkʊn̪ˠəxt̪ˠə] or Cúige Chonnacht [ˌkuːɟə ˈxʊn̪ˠəxt̪ˠ] ), is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the west of Ireland. Until the ninth century it consisted of several independent major Gaelic kingdoms (Uí Fiachrach, Uí Briúin, Uí Maine, Conmhaícne, and Delbhna).

Contents

Between the reigns of Conchobar mac Taidg Mór (died 882) and his descendant, Aedh mac Ruaidri Ó Conchobair (reigned 1228–33), it became a kingdom under the rule of the Uí Briúin Aí dynasty, whose ruling sept adopted the surname Ua Conchobair. At its greatest extent, it incorporated the often independent Kingdom of Breifne, as well as vassalage from the lordships of western Mide and west Leinster. Two of its greatest kings, Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair (1088–1156) and his son Ruaidri Ua Conchobair (c. 1115–1198) greatly expanded the kingdom's dominance, so much so that both became High King of Ireland.

The Kingdom of Connacht collapsed in the 1230s because of civil war within the royal dynasty, which enabled widespread Hiberno-Norman settlement under Richard Mór de Burgh, 1st Baron of Connaught, and his successors. The Norman colony in Connacht shrank from c. 1300 to c. 1360, with events such as the 1307 battle of Ahascragh (see Donnchad Muimnech Ó Cellaigh), the 1316 Second Battle of Athenry and the murder in June 1333 of William Donn de Burgh, 3rd Earl of Ulster, all leading to Gaelic resurgence and colonial withdrawal to towns such as Ballinrobe, Loughrea, Athenry, and Galway. Well into the 16th century, kingdoms such as Uí Maine and Tír Fhíacrach Múaidhe remained beyond English control, while many Norman families such as de Burgh, de Bermingham, de Exeter, de Staunton, became entirely Gaelicised. Only in the late 1500s, during the Tudor conquest of Ireland, was Connacht shired into its present counties.

Connacht's population was 1,418,859 in 1841. [8] Then came the Great Famine of the 1840s, which began a 120-year decline to under 400,000. The province has a population of just under 590,000 according to the preliminary results of the 2022 census. [9]

British cultural imperialism was weaker in the west of Ireland, and Connacht today has the highest number of Irish language speakers among the four Irish provinces. Currently, the total percentage of people who consider themselves as Irish speakers in Connacht is 39.8% (more than 202,000 persons). [10] There are Gaeltacht areas in Counties Galway and Mayo.

The province of Connacht has no official function for local government purposes, but it is an officially recognised subdivision of the Irish state. It is listed on ISO-3166-2 as one of the four provinces of Ireland and "IE-C" is attributed to Connacht as its country sub-division code. [3] Along with counties from other provinces, Connacht lies in the Midlands–North-West constituency for elections to the European Parliament.

Name

The name comes from the medieval ruling dynasty, the Connacht, later Connachta, whose name means "descendants of Conn", from the mythical king Conn of the Hundred Battles. The name of the province in the Irish language is Connachta. [1] Originally Connacht was a singular collective noun, but it came to be used only in the plural Connachta, partly by analogy with plural names of other dynastic territories like Ulaid and Laigin, and partly because the Connachta split into different branches. [11] Before the Connachta dynasty, the province (cúige, "fifth") was known as Cóiced Ol nEchmacht. In Modern Irish, the province is usually called Cúige Chonnacht, "the Province of Connacht", where Chonnacht is plural genitive case with lenition of the C to Ch.

The usual English spelling in Ireland since the Gaelic revival is Connacht, the spelling of the disused Irish singular. The official English spelling during English and British rule was the anglicisation Connaught, pronounced /ˈkɒnɔːt/ or /ˈkɒnət/ . [12] This was used for the Connaught Rangers in the British Army; in the title of Queen Victoria's son Arthur, Duke of Connaught; and the Connaught Hotel, London, named after the Duke in 1917. Usage of the Connaught spelling is now in decline. State bodies use Connacht, for example in Central Statistics Office census reports since 1926, [13] and the name of the Connacht–Ulster European Parliament constituency of 1979–2004, [14] [15] [16] although Connaught occurs in some statutes. [17] [18] Among newspapers, the Connaught Telegraph (founded 1830) retains the anglicised spelling in its name, whereas the Connacht Tribune (founded 1909) uses the Gaelic. Connacht Rugby who represent the region and are based in Galway, use the Gaelic spelling also. [19]

Geography and political divisions

The province is divided into five traditional counties, the fewest of any province. These are: Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo. Connacht is the smallest of the four Irish provinces both in terms of size and population. Galway is the only official city in the province. [20]

CountyPopulation
(2022)
Area
Galway (Gaillimh)276,4516,149 km2 (2,374 sq mi)
Leitrim (Liatroim)35,0871,590 km2 (610 sq mi)
Mayo (Maigh Eo)137,2315,586 km2 (2,157 sq mi)
Roscommon (Ros Comáin)69,9952,548 km2 (984 sq mi)
Sligo (Sligeach)69,8191,838 km2 (710 sq mi)
Grand Total588,58317,711 km2 (6,838 sq mi)

Largest settlements

 
Largest population centres of Connacht
[2]
RankCity name County Pop.RankCity name County Pop.
The Tribes of Galway, Eyre Square.jpg
Galway

Sligo Harbour 2020.jpg
Sligo

1 Galway County Galway 79,93411 Monksland County Roscommon 4,978 Castlebar large view from above.jpg
Castlebar

Fly fishing, River Moy, Ballina, Mayo, Ireland.jpg
Ballina

2 Sligo County Sligo 19,19912 Athenry County Galway 4,445
3 Castlebar County Mayo 12,06813 Carrick-on-Shannon County Leitrim 4,062
4 Ballina County Mayo 10,17114 Claremorris County Mayo 3,687
5 Tuam County Galway 8,767
6 Ballinasloe County Galway 6,662
7 Roscommon County Roscommon 5,876
8 Westport County Mayo 6,198
9 Loughrea County Galway 5,556
10 Oranmore County Galway 4,990

Physical geography

County Sligo - Carrowmore Passage Tomb - 20181022224551.jpg
Passage Tomb, part of the Listoghil Complex at Carrowmore, County Sligo
Glencar waterfall01.jpg
Glencar Waterfall, County Leitrim

The highest point of Connacht is Mweelrea (814 m), in County Mayo. The largest island in Connacht (and Ireland) is Achill. The biggest lake is Lough Corrib.

Much of the west coast (e.g. Connemara and Erris) is ruggedly inhospitable and not conducive for agriculture. It contains the main mountainous areas in Connacht, including the Twelve Bens, Maumturks, Mweelrea, Croagh Patrick, Nephin Beg, Ox Mountains, and Dartry Mountains.

Killary Harbour, one of Ireland's fjords (the others being Carlingford Lough and Lough Swilly), is located at the foot of Mweelrea. Connemara National Park is in County Galway. The Aran Islands, featuring prehistoric forts such as Dún Aonghasa, have been a regular tourist destination since the 19th century.

Inland areas such as east Galway, Roscommon and Sligo have enjoyed greater historical population density due to better agricultural land and infrastructure.

Rivers and lakes include the River Moy, River Corrib, the Shannon, Lough Mask, Lough Melvin, Lough Allen and Lough Gill.

The largest urban area in Connacht is Galway, with a population of 79,934. Other large towns in Connacht are Sligo (19,199), Castlebar (12,068) and Ballina (10,171). [21]

History

Early history

Early peoples and kingdoms of Ireland, c.800. Ireland early peoples and politics.gif
Early peoples and kingdoms of Ireland, c.800.

Up to the early historic era, Connacht then included County Clare, and was known as Cóiced Ol nEchmacht. Later myths state the Fir Bolg ruled all Ireland before the Tuatha Dé Danann arrived. When the Fir Bolg were defeated, the Tuatha Dé Danann drove them to Connacht. Sites such as the Céide Fields, Knocknarea, Listoghil, Carrowkeel Megalithic Cemetery and Rathcroghan, all demonstrate intensive occupation of Connacht far back into prehistory. Enigmatic artefacts such as the Turoe stone and the Castlestrange stone, whatever their purpose, denote the ambition and achievement of those societies, and their contact with the La Tène culture of mainland Europe. In the early historic era (c. A.D. 300 – c. A.D. 600), Ol nEchmacht was not a united kingdom but a region. It comprised dozens of major and minor túath; rulers of larger túatha (Maigh Seóla, Uí Maine, Aidhne and Máenmaige) were accorded high-king status, while peoples such as the Gailenga, Corco Moga and Senchineoil were lesser peoples given the status of Déisi. All were termed kingdoms, but according to a graded status, denoting each according the likes of lord, count, earl, king.

Some of the more notable peoples or ethnic groups included the following:

  • Conmaicne – west coast and northern areas of County Galway
  • Dartraige – north-west County Leitrim
  • Delbhna – south County Roscommon, and both sides of the Lough Corrib
  • Fir Craibe – County Clare (then part of Connacht) and south-west Galway
  • Fir Domnann – west coast of Mayo
  • Soghain – most of east-central County Galway

By the 5th century, the pre-historic nations such as the Auteini and Nagnatae – recorded by Ptolemy (c. AD 90 – c. 168) in Geography – gave way to dynasties. This is demonstrated in the noun moccu in names such as Muirchu moccu Machtheni, which indicated a person was of the Machtheni people. As evidenced by kings such as Mac Cairthinn mac Coelboth (died 446) and Ailill Molt (died c. 482), even by the 5th century the gens was giving way to kinship all over Ireland, as both men were identified as of the Uí Enechglaiss and Uí Fiachrach dynasties, not of tribes. By 700, moccu had been entirely replaced by mac and hua (later Mac and Ó).

During the mid-8th century, what is now County Clare was absorbed into Thomond by the Déisi Tuisceart. It has remained a part of the province of Munster ever since.

The name Connacht arose from the most successful of these early dynasties, The Connachta. By 1050, they had extended their rule from Rathcroghan in north County Roscommon to large areas of what are now County Galway, County Mayo, County Sligo, and County Leitrim. The dynastic term was from then on applied to the overall geographic area containing those counties, and has remained so ever since.

Kingdom of Connacht

Ireland's main kingdoms as of 1014. Clockwise from the north-east they are Ulaid, Airgialla, Mide, Laigin, Munster, Connaught, Breifne and Aileach. The city-states of Dyflin, Weisforthe, Vedrafjord, Corcach and Luimneach are shown. Missing are kingdoms of Osraighe and Ui Maine. Www.wesleyjohnston.com-users-ireland-maps-historical-map1014.gif
Ireland's main kingdoms as of 1014. Clockwise from the north-east they are Ulaid, Airgíalla, Mide, Laigin, Munster, Connaught, Breifne and Aileach. The city-states of Dyflin, Weisforthe, Vedrafjord, Corcach and Luimneach are shown. Missing are kingdoms of Osraighe and Uí Maine.

The most successful sept of the Connachta were the Ó Conchobair of Síol Muireadaigh. They derived their surname from Conchobar mac Taidg Mór (c. 800 – 882), from whom all subsequent Ó Conchobair Kings of Connacht descended.[ citation needed ]

Conchobar was a nominal vassal of Máel Sechnaill mac Máele Ruanaid, High King of Ireland (died 862). He married Máel Sechnaill's daughter, Ailbe, and had sons Áed mac Conchobair (died 888), Tadg mac Conchobair (died 900) and Cathal mac Conchobair (died 925), all of whom subsequently reigned. Conchobar and his sons' descendants expanded the power of the Síol Muiredhaigh south into Uí Maine, west into Iar Connacht, and north into Uí Fiachrach Muaidhe and Bréifne.[ citation needed ]

By the reign of Áed in Gai Bernaig (1046–1067), Connacht's kings ruled much what is now the province. Yet the Ó Conchobair's contended for control with their cousins, the Ua Ruairc of Uí Briúin Bréifne. Four Ua Ruairc's achieved rule of the kingdom – Fergal Ua Ruairc (956–967), Art Uallach Ua Ruairc (1030–1046), Áed Ua Ruairc (1067–1087), and Domnall Ua Ruairc (1098–1102). In addition, the usurper Flaithbertaigh Ua Flaithbertaigh gained the kingship in 1092 by the expedient of blinding King Ruaidrí na Saide Buide. After 1102 the Ua Ruairc's and Ua Flaithbertaigh's were suborned and confined to their own kingdoms of Bréifne and Iar Connacht. From then until the death of the last king in 1474, the kingship was held exclusively by the Ó Conchobair's.[ citation needed ]

The single most substantial sub-kingdom in Connacht was Uí Maine, which at it maximum extant enclosed central and south County Roscommon, central, east-central and south County Galway, along with the territory of Lusmagh in Munster. Their rulers bore the family name Ó Ceallaigh; [22] [23] its spelling sometimes varying slightly from scribe to scribe.

Though the Ó Ceallaigh's were never elevated to the provincial kingship, Uí Maine existed as a semi-independent kingdom both before and after the demise of the Connacht kingship.

Kings and High Kings

Stone carving of Ruaidri Ua Conchobair from Cong Abbey Rory O'Connor Stone Carving.jpg
Stone carving of Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair from Cong Abbey

Under kings Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair (1088–1156) and his son Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (c. 1120–1198) Connacht became one of the five dominant kingdoms on the island. Tairrdelbach and Ruaidrí became the first men from west of the Shannon to gain the title Ard-Rí na hÉireann (High King of Ireland). In the latter's case, he was recognised all over the island in 1166 as Rí Éireann, or King of Ireland.

Tairrdelbach was highly innovative, building the first stone castles in Ireland, and more controversially, introducing the policy of primogeniture to a hostile Gaelic polity. Castles were built in the 1120s at Galway (where he based his fleet), Dunmore, Sligo and Ballinasloe, where he dug a new six-mile canal to divert the river Suck around the castle of Dun Ló. Churches, monasteries and dioceses were re-founded or created, works such as the Corpus Missal, the High Cross of Tuam and the Cross of Cong were sponsored by him.

Tairrdelbach annexed the Kingdom of Mide; its rulers, the Clann Cholmáin, became his vassals. This brought two of Ireland's five main kingdoms under the direct control of Connacht. He also asserted control over Dublin, which was even then being recognised as a kind of national capital.

His son, Ruaidrí, became king of Connacht "without any opposition" in 1156. One of his first acts as king was arresting three of his twenty-two brothers, "Brian Breifneach, Brian Luighneach, and Muircheartach Muimhneach" to prevent them from usurping him. He blinded Brian Breifneach as an extra precaution.

Ruaidrí was compelled to recognise Muirchertach Mac Lochlainn as Ard-Rí, though he went to war with him in 1159. Mac Lochlainn's murder in 1166 left Ruaidrí the unopposed ruler of all Ireland. He was crowned in 1166 at Dublin, "took the kingship of Ireland ...[and was] inaugurated king as honourably as any king of the Gaeidhil was ever inaugurated;" He was the first and last native ruler who was recognised by the Gaelic-Irish as full King of Ireland.

However, his expulsion of Dermot MacMurrough later that year brought about the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169. Ruaidrí's inept response to events led to rebellion by his sons in 1177, and his deposition by Conchobar Maenmaige Ua Conchobair in 1183. Ruaidrí died at Cong in 1198, noted as the annals as late "King of Connacht and of All Ireland, both the Irish and the English."

High medieval era

Connacht was first raided by the Anglo-Normans in 1177 but not until 1237 did encastellation begin under Richard Mor de Burgh (c. 1194–1242). New towns were founded (Athenry, Headford, Castlebar) or former settlements expanded (Sligo, Roscommon, Loughrea, Ballymote). Both Gael and Gall acknowledged the supreme lordship of the Earl of Ulster; after the murder of the last earl in 1333, the Anglo-Irish split into different factions, the most powerful emerging as Bourke of Mac William Eighter in north Connacht, and Burke of Clanricarde in the south. They were regularly in and out of alliance with equally powerful Gaelic lords and kings such as Ó Conchobair of Síol Muireadaigh, Ó Cellaigh of Uí Maine and Mac Diarmata of Moylurg, in addition to extraprovincial powers such as Ó Briain of Thomond, FitzGerald of Kildare, Ó Domhnaill of Tír Chonaill.

Lesser lords of both ethnicities included Mac Donnchadha, Mac Goisdelbh, Mac Bhaldrin, Mac Siurtain, Ó hEaghra, Ó Flaithbeheraigh, Ó Dubhda, Ó Seachnasaigh, Ó Manacháin, Seoighe, Ó Máille, Ó Ruairc, Ó Madadháin, Bairéad, Ó Máel Ruanaid, Ó hEidhin, Ó Finnaghtaigh, Ó Fallmhain, Breathneach, Mac Airechtaig, Ó Neachtain, Ó hAllmhuráin, Ó Fathaigh.

Galway map of c. 1651 displaying the medieval town, which now forms the modern city centre Old-Galway.jpg
Galway map of c. 1651 displaying the medieval town, which now forms the modern city centre

The town of Galway was the only significant urban area in the province. Its inhabitants governed themselves under charter of the king of England. Its merchant families, The Tribes of Galway, traded not only with the lordships around them and in Ireland, but with England, France, and Spain. Its mayor enjoyed supreme power but only for the length of his office, rarely more than a year. Galway's inhabitants were of mixed descent, its families bearing surnames of Gaelic, French, English, Welsh, Norman and other origins.

Connacht was the site of two of the bloodiest battles in Irish history, the Second Battle of Athenry (1316) and the Battle of Knockdoe (1504). The casualties of both battles were measured in several thousand, unusually high for Irish warfare. A third battle at Aughrim in 1691 resulted in an estimated 10,000 deaths.

All of Connacht's lordships remained in states of full or semi-independence from other Gaelic-Irish and Anglo-Irish rulers until the late 16th century, when the Tudor conquest of Ireland (1534–1603) brought all under the direct rule of King James I of England. The counties were created from c. 1569 onwards.

Confederate and Williamite Wars

During the 17th century representatives from Connacht played leading roles in Confederate Ireland and during the Williamite War in Ireland. Its main town, Galway, endured several sieges (see Sieges of Galway), while warfare, plague, famine and sectarian massacres killed about a third of the population by 1655. One of the last battles fought in pre-20th century Ireland occurred in Connacht, the Battle of Aughrim on 12 July 1691.

Early modern era

Flag of the short-lived "Republic of Connacht" Green harp flag of Ireland.svg
Flag of the short-lived "Republic of Connacht"

Connacht was mainly at peace between 1691 and 1798. In 1798 Connacht was a major backdrop to the Irish Rebellion of 1798 when French forces under General Jean Humbert of the French Republic landed in Killala, County Mayo to link up with the United Irishmen. Together, the French and Irish forces defeat a British garrison at the Races of Castlebar before proclaiming the Irish Republic, which later became better known as the "Republic of Connacht" as its area of effective control never extended beyond the province. The Republic, and the Rebellion itself, was effectively crushed at the Battle of Ballinamuck.

A population explosion in the early 18th century was curbed by the Irish Famine, which led to many deaths and some emigration. Its memory has been overshadowed by the Great Famine (Ireland) one hundred years later.

The Famine to World War One

Connacht was the worst hit area in Ireland during the Great Famine, in particular, counties Mayo and Roscommon. In the Census of 1841, the population of Connacht stood at 1,418,859, the highest ever recorded. By 1851, the population had fallen to 1,010,031 and would continue to decline until the late 20th century. [24]

Republic Of Connacht

At the time of the Rebellion of 1798 a force of 1,000 French soldiers under General Jean Joseph Amable Humbert landed at Killala in County Mayo. General Humbert proclaimed the Irish Republic in his declaration to the people upon landing in Ireland on 22 August 1798:

"LIBERTY, EQUALITY, FRATERNITY, UNION. After several unsuccessful attempts, behold at last Frenchmen arrived amongst you... Union, Liberty, the Irish Republic! Such is our shout. Let us march. Our hearts are devoted to you; our glory is in your happiness."

After the nascent Republic's victory at the Battle of Castlebar which took place on 27 August 1798, General Humbert, on 31 August 1798, issued the following decree, which inter alia appointed John Moore as the President of the Government of the Province of Connacht: [25]

Army Of Ireland

Liberty, Equality

Head quarters at Castlebar, 14th Fructidor, sixth Year of the French Republic, One and Indivisible.

General Humbert, Commander in Chief of the Army of Ireland, desirous of organising with the least possible delay, an administrative power for the Province of Connaught, decrees as follows:

  1. The Government of the Province of Connaught shall reside at Castlebar till further orders.
  2. The Government shall be composed of twelve members, who shall be named by the General-in-chief of the French Army.
  3. Citizen JOHN MOORE is named President of the Government of the Province of Connaught, he is specially entrusted with the nomination and reunion of the members of the Government.
  4. The Government shall occupy itself immediately in organising the Military power of the Province of Connaught, and with providing subsistence for the French and Irish Armies.
  5. There shall be organised eight regiments of infantry, each of twelve hundred men, and four regiments of cavalry, each of six hundred men.
  6. The Government shall declare rebels and traitors to the country all those who having received clothing and arms, shall not join the army within four and twenty hours.
  7. Every individual from sixteen years of age to forty, inclusive, is REQUIRED in the name of the Irish Republic, to betake himself instantly to the French Camp, to march in a mass against the common enemy, the Tyrant of ANGLICIZED IRELAND, whose destruction alone can establish the independence and happiness of ANCIENT HIBERNIA.
    General Humbert,Commanding-in-Chief

The rebel republic was a client state of the French Republic and was very short lived. Nevertheless, among the things which President Moore did have time to do was to issue "paper money to a considerable extent...[i]n the name of the French Government". [26] Despite their general anti-clericalism and hosility to the Bourbon monarchy, the French Directory suggested to the United Irishmen in 1798 restoring the Jacobite Pretender, Henry Benedict Stuart, as Henry IX, King of the Irish. [27] [28] This was on account of General Humbert landing a force in County Mayo for the Irish Rebellion of 1798 and realising the local population were devoutly Catholic (a significant number of Irish priests supported the Rising and had met with Humbert, although Humbert's Army had been veterans of the anti-clerical campaign in Italy). [29] The French Directory hoped this option would allow the creation of a stable French client state in Ireland. However, Wolfe Tone, the Protestant republican leader, scoffed at the suggestion and it was quashed, with an Irish Republic proclaimed. [29]

Defeat

Memorial of a rebel pikeman, erected in Ballinamuck in 1928 Ballinamuckmemorial.jpg
Memorial of a rebel pikeman, erected in Ballinamuck in 1928

On 8 September 1798, just weeks after its proclamation, the republic collapsed after the Battle of Ballinamuck. Moore was captured by a detachment of government troops led by Lieutenant Colonel Crawford in Castlebar, dyring in custody the following year. Humbert and his men were transported by canal to Dublin and exchanged for British prisoners of war. Government forces subsequently slowly spread out into the republic, engaging in numerous skirmishes with rebel holdouts. These sweeps reached their climax in 23 September when Killala was captured by government forces. During these sweeps, suspected rebels were frequently summarily executed while many houses thought to be housing rebels were burnt. Numerous rebels took to the countryside and continued guerrilla operations, which took government forces some months to suppress. [30]

Politics

Connacht–Ulster was one of Ireland's four regional constituencies for elections to the European Parliament until it was superseded in 2004 by the constituency of North-West. [31]

Irish language

The Irish language is spoken in the Gaeltacht areas of Counties Mayo and Galway, the largest area being in the west of County Galway. The Galway Gaeltacht is the largest Irish-speaking region in Ireland, taking in Cois Fharraige, parts of Connemara, Conamara Theas, the Aran Islands, Dúithche Sheoigeach (Joyce Country) and the Galway City Gaeltacht. Irish-speaking areas in County Mayo can be found in Iorras, Acaill and Tourmakeady.

According to the 2016 census, Irish is spoken outside of the education system on a daily basis by 9,455 people in the Galway County Gaeltacht areas. [32]

There are 202,667 Irish speakers in the province, over 84,000 in Galway and more than 55,000 in Mayo. [33] There is also the 4,265 attending the 18 Gaelscoileanna (Irish language primary schools) and three Gaelcholáiste (Irish language secondary schools) outside the Gaeltacht across the province.[ citation needed ] Between 7% and 10% of the province are either native Irish speakers from the Gaeltacht, in Irish medium education or native Irish speakers who no longer live in Gaeltacht areas but still live in the province.[ citation needed ]

Sport

Gaelic games

Gaelic football and hurling dominate sport in Connacht with 212 Gaelic Athletic Association affiliated clubs in the province. [34]

Gaelic football is played throughout the province with the five counties annually competing in the Connacht Senior Football Championship to determine the provincial champion. Galway are the most successful side in Connacht with 48 Connacht titles and 9 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Mayo have been the dominant force in the province in recent years winning a five-in-a-row of Connacht titles from 2011 to 2015, and have regularly reached the semi-finals and finals of the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. [35] No football team from Connacht has won the All-Ireland since Galway in 2001.

Hurling in Connacht mostly played in County Galway. Galway is the only team in the province to compete in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship winning the Liam MacCarthy Cup five times. The Galway hurling team compete in the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship due to the lack of competition in the province. [36]

Rugby union

Connacht is represented by Connacht Rugby in the Pro14 and the Rugby Champions Cup. Connacht home games are played in the Galway Sportsgrounds in Galway. During the 2015/2016 Season of the Pro12, Connacht, for the first time, reached the play off stages of the competition and won the final in Edinburgh against rivals Leinster. It was their first ever Pro12 title.

Connacht-based teams who have played in the All-Ireland League include Buccaneers RFC, Galway Corinthians RFC, Galwegians RFC, Ballina RFC and Sligo RFC.

Other sports

Some other sports are overseen by provincial bodies, including in association football, where the Connacht Football Association is the governing body for a number of Connacht league and cup competitions. Traditionally there have been two main senior men's teams from the province that compete on a national level, Galway United F.C. and Sligo Rovers F.C. Both clubs have won various domestic honours. Cricket is a minor, but growing, sport within the province. The Connacht Cricket Union, founded in 2010, is the governing body for cricket in the province. [37] There are cricket clubs based in Ballaghaderreen, Ballyhaunis, Galway, and Sligo. Connacht does not currently enter a team into the provincial competitions.

See also

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County Mayo is a county in Ireland. In the West of Ireland, in the province of Connacht, it is named after the village of Mayo, now generally known as Mayo Abbey. Mayo County Council is the local authority. The population was 137,231 at the 2022 census. The boundaries of the county, which was formed in 1585, reflect the Mac William Íochtar lordship at that time.

There have been four Provinces of Ireland: Connacht (Connaught), Leinster, Munster, and Ulster. The Irish word for this territorial division, cúige, meaning "fifth part", suggests that there were once five, and at times Meath has been considered to be the fifth province; in the medieval period, however, there were often more than five. The number of provinces and their delimitation fluctuated until 1610, when they were permanently set by the English administration of James I. The provinces of Ireland no longer serve administrative or political purposes but function as historical and cultural entities.

Diarmait Mac Murchada, anglicised as Dermot MacMurrough, Dermod MacMurrough, or Dermot MacMorrogh, was a King of Leinster in Ireland. In 1167, he was deposed by the High King of Ireland, Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair. The grounds for the deposition were that Mac Murchada had, in 1152, abducted Derbforgaill, the wife of the king of Breifne, Tiernan O'Rourke. To recover his kingdom, Mac Murchada solicited help from King Henry II of England. His issue unresolved, he gained the military support of the 2nd Earl of Pembroke. At that time, Strongbow was in opposition to Henry II due to his support for Stephen, King of England against Henry's mother in the Anarchy. In exchange for his aid, Strongbow was promised in marriage to Mac Murchada's daughter Aoife with the right to succeed to the Kingship of Leinster. Henry II then mounted a larger second invasion in 1171 to ensure his control over Strongbow, resulting in the Norman Lordship of Ireland. Mac Murchada was later known as Diarmait na nGall. He was seen in Irish history as the king that invited the first-ever wave of English settlers, who were planted by the Norman conquest. The invasion had a great deal of impact on Irish Christianity, increasing the de facto ability of the Holy See to regulate Christianity in Ireland.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair</span> High King of Ireland

Ruaidrí mac Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair was King of Connacht from 1156 to 1186, and High King of Ireland from 1166 to 1198. He was the last High King of Ireland before the Anglo-Norman invasion.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Uí Fiachrach Aidhne</span>

Uí Fhiachrach Aidhne was a kingdom located in what is now the south of County Galway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Iar Connacht</span>

West Connacht was a kingdom of Gaelic Ireland, associated geographically with present-day County Galway, particularly the area known more commonly today as Connemara. The kingdom represented the core homeland of the Connachta's Uí Briúin Seóla kindred and although they ruled, there were smaller groups of other Gaels in the area, such as the Delbhna Tir Dha Locha and the Conmhaícne Mara. It existed from 1051 onwards, after the Ó Conchobhair, Kings of Connacht, pushed the Ó Flaithbheartaigh to the West of Lough Corrib, from their original territory of Maigh Seóla. Iar Connacht remained a subordinate túath of Connacht, until the 13th century, after which it was more independent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ó Flaithbheartaigh</span> Family name

O'Flaherty, is an Irish Gaelic clan based most prominently in what is today County Galway. The clan name originated in the 10th century as a derivative of its founder Flaithbheartach mac Eimhin. They descend in the paternal line from the Connachta's Uí Briúin Seóla. They were originally kings of Maigh Seóla and Muintir Murchada and as members of the Uí Briúin were kinsmen of the Ó Conchubhair and Mac Diarmada amongst others. After their king Cathal mac Tigernán lost out to Áed in Gai Bernaig in the 11th century, the family were pushed further west to Iar Connacht, a territory associated with Connemara today. They continued to rule this land until the 16th century. The name has been alternatively rendered into English in various forms, such as Flaherty, Faherty, Laverty, Flaverty, Lahiff, and Flahive.

Toirdhealbhach Mór Ua Conchobhair anglicised Turlough Mór O'Conor, was King of Connacht (1106–1156) and High King of Ireland.

Áed mac Felidlimid Ó Conchobair, known as Áed na nGall, was king of Connacht alongside his father Felim from 1258 reigning solely from 1265 until his own death in 1274. He is credited with turning the tide on Norman expansion in Connacht at the Battle of Áth an Chip. Aed took a different approach than his father to dealing with English crown authority in Ireland, placing his faith in alliances with the Gaelic speaking world and becoming the chief supporter of Brian Ua Neill's bid to revive the high kingship of Ireland. His byname na nGall comes from his marriage in 1259 to a daughter of Dubhghall mac Ruaidri King of the Hebrides which brought him 160 gallowglass commanded by Dubhghall's younger brother Ailéan as a dowry.

The city of Galway Ireland was built as a naval base and military fort by Tairrdelbach mac Ruaidri Ua Conchobair in 1124, refounded as a military outpost and town by Richard Mor de Burgh in 1230 - has been subjected to a number of battles, sacks and sieges. This article enumerates the history of military conflict in Galway.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Dunmore, County Galway</span> Town in Connacht, Ireland

Dunmore is a town in County Galway, Ireland. It is located on the N83 national secondary road at its junction with the R328 and R360 regional roads.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nephin</span> Mountain in Mayo, Ireland

Nephin or Nefin, at 806 metres (2646 ft), is the highest standalone mountain in Ireland and the second-highest peak in Connacht, Ireland. It is to the west of Lough Conn in County Mayo. Néifinn is variously translated as meaning 'heavenly', 'sanctuary', or "Finn's Heaven".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">O'Conor</span> Irish royal family

The O'Conor family are an Irish noble house and were one of the most influential and distinguished royal houses in Ireland. The O'Conor family held the throne of the Kingdom of Connacht up until 1475. Having ruled it on and off since 967, they ruled continuously from 1102 to 1475. Moreover, the O'Conor parent house the Uí Briúin and Síol Muireadaigh ruled Connacht on many occasions – but not continuously – between 482 and 956. The house of O'Conor also produced two High Kings of Ireland, Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair and his son Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, the last High King of Ireland. The family seat is Clonalis House outside Castlerea in County Roscommon.

Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair, called Ruaidrí na Saide Buide was King of Connacht, perhaps twice.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">McDonagh</span>

The surname McDonagh, also spelled MacDonagh is from the Irish language Mac Dhonnchadha, and is now one of the rarer surnames of Ireland.

Fearghal Ó Taidg an Teaghlaigh, Chief of the Name, Marshal and bodyguard of King Cathal Crobhdearg Ua Conchobair of Connacht and his successor, Aedh, died 1226.

Domnall mac Ruaidrí Ua Conchobair (1102–1106) was King of Connacht.

Murtogh Moynagh O'Conor, prince of Connacht, Ireland, flourished 1156-1210.

The Síol Muireadaigh or Síol Muireadhaigh, was a leading sept of the Connachta group of Gaelic dynasties in medieval Ireland. The name Síol Muireadaigh was also used to refer to the territory occupied by the group which was centered around the ancient royal site of Cruachan on the plains of Connacht in County Roscommon.

The Uí Fiachrach were a royal dynasty who originated in, and whose descendants later ruled, the coicead or fifth of Connacht at different times from the mid-first millennium onwards. They claimed descent from Fiachrae, an older half-brother of Niall Noigiallach or Niall of the Nine Hostages. Fiachrae and his two full brothers, Brion and Ailill, were the collective ancestors of the Connachta dynasty that eventually became the new name of the province. Their mother was Mongfind.

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