County Galway

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County Galway

Contae na Gaillimhe
Coat of arms
The Hooker County
Ceart agus Cóir  (Irish)
"Righteousness and Justice"
Island of Ireland location map Galway.svg
Location in Ireland
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
Dáil Éireann Galway East
Galway West
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
Establishedc. 1569 [1] [2]
County town Galway
  Type County Council and City Council
  Total6,149 km2 (2,374 sq mi)
Area rank 2nd
Highest elevation729 m (2,392 ft)
 (2016) [3] [4]
  Rank 5th
  Density42/km2 (110/sq mi)
Time zone UTC±0 (WET)
  Summer (DST) UTC+1 (IST)
Eircode routing keys
F31, H53, H62, H65, H71, H91 (primarily)
Telephone area codes 091, 093, 099 (primarily)
Vehicle index
mark code
Website and

County Galway ( /ˈɡɔːlw/ GAWL-way; Irish : Contae na Gaillimhe) is a county in Ireland. It is located in the West of Ireland, part of the province of Connacht.


There are several Irish-speaking areas in the west of the county. The traditional county includes, and is named for, the city of Galway, but the city and county now have separate local authorities: Galway City Council administers the urban area, while the rest of the county is administered by Galway County Council.

The population of the county was 258,058 at the 2016 census. [3] [4]


Dunguaire Castle, built c. 1520 Galway 1, Ireland.jpg
Dunguaire Castle, built c. 1520

The first inhabitants in the Galway area arrived over 7000 years ago. Shell middens indicate the existence of people as early as 5000 BC.

The county originally comprised several kingdoms and territories which predate the formation of the county. These kingdoms included Aidhne, Uí Maine, Maigh Seóla, Conmhaícne Mara, Soghain and Máenmaige. County Galway became an official entity around 1569 AD. [5] The region known as Connemara retains a distinct identity within the county, though its boundaries are unclear, and so it may account for as much as one third, or as little as 20%, of the county.

The county includes a number of inhabited islands, such as the Oileáin Árann (Aran Islands) and Inis Bó Fine (Inishbofin).

With the arrival of Christianity many monasteries were built in the county. Monasteries kept written records of events in the area and of its people. These were followed by a number of law-tracts, genealogies, annals and miscellaneous accounts. Extant manuscripts containing references to Galway include:

Irish language

Nearly 20% of the population of County Galway live in the Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking districts). County Galway is home to the largest Gaeltacht Irish-speaking region in Ireland. There are over 48,000 people living within this region, which extends from Galway city westwards through Connemara. The region consists of the following Irish-speaking areas; Galway City Gaeltacht (parts of the city), Gaeltacht Cois Fharraige, Conamara Theas, Aran Islands and Duiche Sheoigheach (a part of the northern Galway region known as "Joyce Country" and Maam Valley).

All schools within the Gaeltacht use the Irish language for classroom instruction. There is also a third-level constituent college of NUIG called Acadamh na hOllscolaíochta Gaeilge in Carraroe and Carna. Clifden is the largest town in the region. Galway City is also home to Ireland's only Irish-language theatre, Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe. There is a strong Irish-language media presence in this area too, which boasts the radio station Raidió na Gaeltachta and Foinse newspaper in Carraroe and national TV station TG4 in Baile na hAbhann. The Aran Islands are also part of the Galway Gaeltacht.

According to Census 2016, there were 84,249 people in County Galway who could speak Irish. [12] According to Census 2011, the Galway city and county Gaeltacht has a population of 48,907, of which 30,978 say they can speak Irish, 23,788 can be classed as native Irish speakers while 7,190 speak Irish daily only within the classroom. There are 3,006 attending the ten Gaelscoil (Irish language primary schools) and three Gaelcholáiste (Irish language secondary schools) outside the Galway Gaeltacht. [13] According to the Irish Census 2016 there are 9,445 people in the county who identify themselves as being daily Irish speakers outside the education system. [12]

Local government and politics

County Hall, Galway Galway County Hall - Aras Chontae na Gaillimhe - - 906462.jpg
County Hall, Galway

Prior to the enactment of the Local Government Act 2001, the county was a unified whole for administrative purposes, despite the presence of two local authorities.[ citation needed ] Since that time, the administrative re-organisation has reduced the geographical extent of the county by the extent of the area under the jurisdiction of Galway City Council. Today, the geographic extent of the county is limited to the area under the jurisdiction of Galway County Council. Each local authority ranks equally as first level local administrative units of the NUTS 3 West Region for Eurostat purposes. There are 34 LAU 1 entities in the Republic of Ireland. The remit of Galway County Council includes some suburbs of the city not within the remit of Galway City Council. Both local authorities are responsible for certain local services such as sanitation, planning and development, libraries, the collection of motor taxation, local roads and social housing.

The county is part of the Midlands–North-West constituency for the purposes of European elections. For elections to Dáil Éireann, the county is part of three constituencies: Galway East, Galway West and Roscommon–Galway. Together they return 11 deputies (TDs) to the Dáil.


The prehistoric hill fort of Dun Aonghasa, Inishmore Island Dun Aonghasa.JPG
The prehistoric hill fort of Dún Aonghasa, Inishmore Island

County Galway is home to Na Beanna Beola (Twelve Bens) mountain range, Na Sléibhte Mhám Toirc (the Maum Turk mountains), and the low mountains of Sliabh Echtghe (Slieve Aughty). The highest point in the county is one of the Twelve Bens, Benbaun, at 729m.


County Galway is partly home to a number of Ireland's largest lakes including Lough Corrib (the largest lake in the Republic of Ireland), Lough Derg and Lough Mask. The county is also home to a large number of smaller lakes, many of which are in the Connemara region. These include Lough Anaserd, Ardderry Lough, Aughrusbeg Lough, Ballycuirke Lough, Ballynahinch Lake, Lough Bofin, Lough Cutra, Derryclare Lough, Lough Fee, Glendollagh Lough, Lough Glenicmurrin, Lough Inagh, Kylemore Lough, Lettercraffroe Lough, Maumeen Lough, Lough Nafooey, Lough Rea, Ross Lake and Lough Shindilla.


The location of County Galway, situated on the west coast of Ireland, allows it to be directly influenced by the Gulf Stream. Temperature extremes are rare and short lived, though inland areas, particularly east of the Corrib, can boast some of the highest recorded temperatures of the summer in the island of Ireland (sometimes exceeding 30 °C); though these temperatures only occur when land warmed east winds sweep the area; the opposite effect can occur in the winter. Overall, however, Galway is influenced mainly by Atlantic airstreams which bring ample rainfall in between the fleeting sunshine. Rainfall occurs in every month of the year, though the late autumn and winter months can be particularly wet as Atlantic cyclonic activity increases and passes over and around the area, and which is why Galway tends to bear the brunt of severe windstorms that can occur between August and March. The county on average receives about 1300mm of rainfall annually, though some areas along the west coast of the county can receive up to 1900mm and beyond. Extreme weather such as blizzards, thunderstorms, flash flooding and hail, though rare, can and do occur, particularly when air masses of continental origin are undercut by more humid and unstable Atlantic flows.

Flora and fauna

One of the least densely populated counties, County Galway harbors a variety of wildlife. The region's biodiversity is best represented by Connemara National Park, situated in the west of the county.

Largest settlements in County Galway (2016 Census)

  1. Galway, 79,934
  2. Tuam, 8,767
  3. Ballinasloe,6,662
  4. Loughrea, 5,556
  5. Oranmore, 4,990
  6. Athenry, 4,445
  7. Gort, 2,994


According to numbers published by Galway Chamber of Commerce in early 2019, there were then 196 information and communications technology (ICT) organisations in Galway, including IBM, SAP, Oracle and Cisco. [14] There is a number of medical device companies in the area, including Medtronic (with approximately 1,800 employees) and Boston Scientific (2,800 employees). [14]

The Irish fast food chain Supermac's, which also operates Irish Papa John's Pizza restaurants, has its head office in the Ballybrit Business Park in Ballybrit, County Galway. [15]


Gaelic games are the most popular sport in the county. Galway had traditional regions in which Gaelic football or hurling is played. For example, in south and eastern County Galway, in places such as Portumna, Gort, Clarinbridge and Athenry, hurling is the dominant sport with successful teams at county and national level. Most of the rest of the county is considered to be footballing territory, with most of the county players being from The Tuam area, Oughterard or parts of Galway city.

Galway United FC compete in the SSE Aitricity League of Ireland and plays home games in Eamonn Deacy Park.

Connacht Rugby competes in the Pro14 is based in Galway city. The two main amateur rugby clubs in the county are Galway Corinthians RFC and Galwegians RFC which compete in the All-Ireland League.

Athletics is also a very popular sport in Galway, a few clubs being; Galway City Harriers, Craughwell Athletic Club, Athenry A.C, Tuam A.C, Loughrea A.C and many others.

See also

Related Research Articles

Connacht Traditional province in the west of Ireland

Connacht, formerly spelled Connaught, is one of the provinces of Ireland, in the west of Ireland. Up to the 9th century it consisted of several independent major kingdoms.

Gaeltacht primarily Irish-speaking regions in Ireland

Gaeltacht is an Irish-language word for any primarily Irish-speaking region. In Ireland, the term Gaeltacht refers individually to any, or collectively to all, of the districts where the government recognises that the Irish language is the predominant vernacular, or language of the home.

Connemara cultural region in County Galway, Ireland

Connemara is a cultural region in County Galway, Ireland. The area has a strong association with traditional Irish culture and contains a major part of the Connacht Irish-speaking Gaeltacht, which is a key part of the identity of the region and is the largest Gaeltacht in the country.

Supermacs Irish restaurant chain

Supermac's is an Irish fast food restaurant chain first opened in 1978. The first restaurant was located in Ballinasloe, a small town in County Galway in the West of Ireland. As of 2015 the chain consists of a total of 106 restaurants spread throughout Ireland and Northern Ireland. It operates a number of franchise outlets with many also privately owned. Supermac's serves an average of 320,000 customers per week and had annual revenues of €79.9 million and a profit of €7.4 million according to its 2013 closing report.

Loughrea Town in Connacht, Ireland

Loughrea is a town in County Galway, Ireland. The town lies to the north of a range of wooded hills, the Slieve Aughty Mountains, and the lake from which it takes its name. The town's cathedral, Loughrea Cathedral, dominates the town's skyline. The town has increased in population in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Although the town also serves as a commuter town for the city of Galway, it also remains an independent market town.

Iar Connacht

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.

Carraroe Village in Connacht, Republic of Ireland

Carraroe is a village in County Galway, Ireland, in the Irish-speaking region (Gaeltacht) of Conamara, known for its traditional fishing boats known as Galway Hookers. Its population is widely dispersed over An Cheathrú Rua peninsula between Cuan an Fhir Mhóir and Cuan Chasla. An Cheathrú Rua has an unusual beach, Trá an Dóilín, a biogenic gravel beach made of coralline algae known as "maerl".

Rosmuc Town in Connacht, Ireland

Rosmuc or Ros Muc is a village in the heart of the Conamara Gaeltacht of County Galway, Ireland. It lies halfway between the town of Clifden and the city of Galway. Irish is the predominant spoken language. The District Electoral Division of Turlough, Rosmuc, state that Rosmuc is the most strongly Irish-speaking area in the country. The townland of Rosmuck is part of the civil parish of Kilcummin.

Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Tuam archdiocese

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Gluaiseacht Cearta Sibhialta na Gaeltachta or Coiste Cearta Síbialta na Gaeilge, was a pressure group campaigning for social, economic and cultural rights for native-speakers of Irish living in Gaeltacht areas. It was founded in Connemara in 1969 to highlight the decline of the Irish language and to campaign for greater rights for Irish speaking areas in the area of access to services, broadcasting and ultimately an elected assembly of their own. It was later named Gluaiseacht na Gaeltachta.

Joyce Country is a cultural region in counties Galway and Mayo in Ireland. Part of the area falls within the Connacht Gaeltacht. There are about 2,000 people living in the area and about 25% of those are native Irish speakers. Joyce Country lies west of the Lough Mask area, beyond the isthmus; a hilly region in the north of County Galway, extending into the southern part of County Mayo, traversed by green valleys and lonely roads.

Cloughaneely Parish in Ulster, Ireland

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A Neo-Gaeltacht is an area where Irish has a strong presence as a spoken language but is not part of the officially defined or traditional Gaeltacht areas. It has been argued that non-Gaeltacht activist groups wishing to establish an Irish language community need to show that it is large, permanent and formally organized and that it has a growing number of people using Irish as their first language. Another objective is a situation in which children use Irish among themselves and with other Irish speakers in a natural way while being able to deal with a largely English-speaking world.

Ceantar na nOileán is an Irish-speaking district in the West of County Galway. There are about 2,000 people living in the area, located 56 km west of Galway city.

Conamara Theas, which is Irish for South Connemara, is however today the western Irish-speaking regions County Galway. There are around 7,000 people living in the area. Between 60% and 80% of residents are native Irish speakers.

Cois Fharraige is a coastal area west of Galway city, where the Irish language is the predominant language. It stretches from Na Forbacha, Bearna, An Spidéal to Indreabhán. There are between 8,000 and 9,000 people living in this area.

The Galway city Gaeltacht comprises five electoral divisions: Bearna, Ballybrit, Castlegar, Menlough and Knocknacarragh. Due to its proximity to Ireland's biggest Gaeltacht, Galway city has always been important for the language movement and many Irish speakers settling or moving to Galway. According to the 2006 census, there are 31,153 people in Galway city who say they speak Irish. There are 8,080 people who say they speak Irish on a daily basis. There are 1,500 Irish speakers in the city area.

2014 Galway County Council election

An election to Galway County Council took place on 23 May 2014 as part of that year's Irish local elections. 39 councillors were elected from five electoral divisions by PR-STV voting for a five-year term of office, an increase in 9 seats from 2009. In addition Ballinasloe Town Council, Loughrea Town Council and Tuam Town Council were all abolished.

Gaeltacht Act 2012

The Gaeltacht Act 2012 is an Act of the Oireachtas of Ireland. The Act redefined the traditional Irish-speaking areas or Gaeltacht in the Republic of Ireland on linguistic criteria instead of on geographic areas which had been the position until 2012. While the traditional Gaeltacht boundaries still exist the Act sets out ways where areas outside the Gaeltacht can be formally designated as Líonraí Gaeilge and Bailte Seirbhísí Gaeltachta. In 2016 it was announced that Galway City, Dingle and Letterkenny would be the first recognised Bailte Seirbhísí Gaeltachta under the Gaeltacht Act 2012 subject to them adopting and implementing approved language plans. In February 2018 the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Foras na Gaeilge announced that five areas- Belfast, Loughrea, Carn Tóchair, Ennis and Clondalkin- were going to be designated as the first formal Líonraí Gaeilge areas under the Act. Foras na Gaeilge have said that they expect the status to be given to other areas also.


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  2. "County Galway, Ireland Genealogy Genealogy - FamilySearch Wiki".
  3. 1 2 3 "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: County Galway City". Central Statistics Office (Ireland) . Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  4. 1 2 3 "Census 2016 Sapmap Area: County Galway County". Central Statistics Office (Ireland) . Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  5. Mannion, Joseph (2012). "Elizabethan County Galway: The Origin and Evolution of an Administrative Unit of Tudor Local Government". Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society. 64: 64–89. JSTOR   24612855.
  6. For 1653 and 1659 figures from Civil Survey Census of those years, Paper of Mr Hardinge to Royal Irish Academy 14 March 1865.
  7. "Server Error 404 - CSO - Central Statistics Office".
  8. Archived 7 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  9. NISRA - Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (c) 2013 Archived 17 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine . (27 September 2010). Retrieved on 23 July 2013.
  10. Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A. (eds.). Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
  11. Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700-1850". The Economic History Review. 37 (4): 473–488. doi:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. hdl:10197/1406.[ dead link ]
  12. 1 2 "Census of Population 2016 - Profile 10 Education, Skills and the Irish Language". Central Statistics Office. Retrieved 11 October 2018.
  13. "Oideachas Trí Mheán na Gaeilge in Éirinn sa Ghalltacht 2010-2011" (PDF) (in Irish). 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  14. 1 2 "Galway in Numbers". Galway Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on 7 January 2019. Retrieved 24 March 2019.
  15. "Supermac’s HQ." Supermac's. Retrieved on 17 November 2017. "SUPERMAC’S HEAD OFFICE, Ballybrit Business Park, Ballybrit, Galway"

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Coordinates: 53°20′N9°00′W / 53.333°N 9.000°W / 53.333; -9.000