[Hand of T. O'Conor:]

Octr.. 9


Galway with its civic and religious edifices; as also the places with the remarkable objects therein, in the Parish of St. Nicholas, noticed.

O'Flaherty's account of West Connaught; Dutton's Statistical Survey of Co: Galway; The Annals of the Four Masters, Inquisition taken at Galway 20th March 1608, referred to occasionally - as required.

Loughrea, October 9th 1838


Roderic O'Flaherty in his account of lar-Connaught, says -

Galway, the chief town of the province of Connaght famous for its handsome Contrivment and fortification, its ancient great traffick and dealings with foreigners and the worthy ports and of its Citizens, lies on the east side where the river {viz. of Galway} meets with the sea on high water about the bridge. This bridge was built by Edmond Lynch Fitz Thomas; it borrows its name from the river and was Called Dunbona Gaillive, that is, Dun of Galway river's mouth. Dun is a fortified town both with the ancient Gauls, Walsh, and Irish, and is the same that the ancient Saxons Called Borough, as Edinborough in English is Dun-Edin in Irish.


It has nothing to do with hill or height, as Camden and Sir James Ware thought {Cam: Brit: titulo Wilshire; Ware Antiq: Hiba. Cap:10. p. 51.} only that such as were so called, were usually situated on heights.

Galway therefore was in ancient times a burrough and so Continued after the English invasion, being one of the Earl of Ulster, their manours, as appears by the ensuing annals and records.

AD 1124 The Castles of Dunleo {now Belanaslow} Galway and Keelmaile {now Killoony in the Co: of Sligoe} were built.

AD 1132 The Castle of Galway demolished by Munstermen invading it by sea; and Conor O'Flaherty, Lord of West Connaught, slain by them.

AD 1149 Tordelbach O'Brien, King of Munster invaded Connaught, and dismantled Galway dun.


AD 1154 The ships of Galway dun and of Conmacny mara sent upon an expedition to the North.

AD 1161 Fantastical ships were seen in the harbour of Galway dun to sail against the wind and the next day Galway dun took fire.

AD 1230 Richard de Burgo, Lord of Connaught and Lord Justice of Ireland, Constituting Fedlim O'Connor, King of Connaught, besieged Odo O'Flaherty Lord of West Connaught, in the Castle of Galway on the East side of the river; and he being relieved on the west side by Odo King of Connaught {son of Roderick last King of Ireland} the besiegers quitted the siege.


AD 1232 The same Lord, Richard Burke built a Castle in Galway, having restored Odo O'Conor and Confined Fedlim O'Connor.

AD 1233 Fedlim set at liberty, became King of Connaught by the death of Odo, & broke down Galway, Kirke, Hay and Dunaman Castles.

AD 1247 The town and Castle of Galway burnt.

AD 1271 Walter D[e] burgo Earl of Ulster and Lord of Connaught, died in the Castle of Galway.

After giving some other notices relative to Galway, he {O'Flaherty} says,

the ruins of the Earl's house(a) {William Earl of Ulster, who was son of Lord John Blake, son and heir of Richard de Burgo, the Red Earl of Ulster} called Cloch an hiarla


or the Earl's Stone are still extant in Galway nigh the Key where there is a well dedicated to St. Brendan(b) Patron of Enagh Dun, Diocess wherein was Galway, whose feast 16 May usually kept holy by the Key Street dwellers of old.

An Inquisition taken at Dublin, 43 Edwardi 3, comes in here, which enumerates among other places, Galway as being possessed ({die que obut}) by the Duke of Clarence {Lyonell}, upon whose death, the office was held AD 1369.

By process of time after this, Galway had its annual magistrates Called Portriffes; Portriffe in the old Saxon tongue is the magistrate of a sea port as the sheriff is of a shire.

I find that James Develin was anno 1431 Portriffe of Galway; this family is since extinct and the Darcys of Galway are their genl. heirs.


The Develin's arms(c) still extant (carried (carved)) in stone in James Reagh Darcy's house in Abbey gate Street, is the same with the Dillon's arms.

About the same time {AD 1485} Donogh O'Murry(d) Archbishop of Tuam instituted a College for St. Nicholas Church in Galway, of a warden and 8 choral vicars, wherein were appropriated 9 parishes of the Diocess, which had as many vicars all under warden, as well as the 8 choral vicars which served the high Church and the town. The Wardian [In left-hand margin: p. ibid anno 1501 [and, below this:] Ware Hen. 7. ad ann: 1500, was referred to before this.] is yearly elected by the Common vote of the citizens as the mayor is, but Continued in one person for many years during the pleasure of the electors. Dominick Duffe Fitz John second mayor and brother of the first was chief


founder of the College. There was but a small Chapel soon before in this place. The Church was dedicated to St. Nicholas BP. of Moyne in Licia, worshipped the 6th of December on which day Galway men invited to their table such as they would have to keep Christmas with (nent) them. ***

St. Francis' abbey(e) by the river on the north side of the town was founded anno 1296 by Sir Wm. Bourke, {lord warden of Ireland anno 1308} there interred anno 1324; he was brother's son to Walter Earl of Ulster and ancestors to the Bourkes of Mayo County

Our Lady's Church(f) on the west side of the river was a small Chappell


of old belonging to the Premonstrances abbey of Tuam, wherein stood a statue of our blessed Lady, much frequented by the devotion of the people.

The Premonstrances granted the place to St. Dominick's order of Athenry, who founded there a Convent of St. Dominick's order.

Father Daniel Nolan Prior of this Convent deceased anno 1672; anno 1669 built there a large Chappell and Covered it with brick.

[Written landscape in left-hand margin: Margaret Athy, the wife of Stephen Lynch {Fitz Dominick Duffe} mayor of Galway anno 1506 in the absence of her husband on a voyage beyond the sea, built the abbey of St. Augustin's order of Hermits(g) on the hill the South side of the town.]

St. Bridget's Hospital(h) on the East side of the town, was built by the Corporation anno 1542. Thomas Lynch Fitz Stephen being a mayor, and a maid servant


of one of the Burgesses by their turns handsomely attired, with a plate Cup in her hand every Sunday about dinner time, visited all the houses in town to Collect alms for it.



(a) [Referred to on MS p. 383] There is no trace of the Earl's Cloch, at present remaining.

(b) [Referred to on MS p. 384] St. Brendan's well is near the Custom house in Quay Street; his feast is not celebrated.

(c) [Referred to on MS p. 385] In the drawing room of a house in Abbey Gate Street, belonging to John Darcy of Clifton Castle, Esqr., there are still extant on a stone, arms, which, it is very probable, are those noticed by O'Flaherty.


(d) [Referred to on MS p. 385] St. Nicholas's College, which was pulled down two years ago, stood opposite the Centre gate of the Church of Saint Nicholas. Not even a trace of it remains. The Church of St. Nicholas became a parochial one, and the present (Protestant) Church of the parish occupies its site; or is the original one, repaired, or enlarged?

(e) [Referred to on MS p. 386] A new Chapel near the town and County Court house, on the South (North?) side of the town, occupies the site of St. Francis's Abbey and bears its name.

AD 1657 - The north abbey of Galway belonging to the order of St. Francis, was demolished. It was built by Sir William Burke &c., {See Dutton p. 292}


AD 1815 The new County Court house was opened this year. It stands on the site of the old Franciscan Abbey, and is not included in the County of the town. {Dutton p. 322}.

(f) [Referred to on MS p. 386] There are no traces of the Dominican abbey; bul a Dominican Chapel stands in the Cemetery belonging to it.

A.D. 1800 The Dominican Chapel near Galway was built.

A few years ago the late Alderman, Patrick Bride, a native of this town, enclosed the cemetery of this abbey with a wall; before this, it (was) subject to great abuses by pigs &c. [Dutton p. 320}.


(g) [Referred to on MS p. 387] Saint Augustin's Abbey was totally destroyed; it stood on the hill now called Fort hill, where the cemetery remains still.

AD 1811 - This year, the extensive burial ground on Fort Hill, was enclosed by Mr. Robert Hedges Eyre, "As a mark of his respect and esteem for the inhabitants of the town of Galway, in August 1811".

AD 1597. O'Donnell {Hugh Roe} pitched his camp for that night {After leaving Athenry} between Uaranmore and Galway, precisely at Cloch an Lingsigh, and on the following morning went to the Monastery of Cnoc near the gate of Galway &c.

4 Mrs.

(h) [Referred to on MS p. 387] Of the site of St. Bridget's hospital on the East side of the town, there is no local information to be had.

It is however stated in the Annals of the Four Masters at the year 1597 that a part of O'Donnel's


{Hugh Roe's} army burned and ravaged the territory from Athenry to Rath-Goirrgin, westwards to Rinnmil, and Meadhruighe, and to the very gates of Galway and also burned Teagh Brighde at the gate called Spairri.

Sparra, Sparra, is taken by as many as I consulted on its application, to have been, the name of the wall that enclosed the town. A portion of this town wall, which remains near the (Fair) green to the S. West, is still called Sparra. This erroneous application happens through the ignorance of the people, (in) whose memory, the name if it were not attached to some object presenting itself to their eyes, would have no room since the destruction of what it really (originally) represented. Sparra means the gate of a town.


The town of Galway contains within the walls, 21 acres, 1 rood, and 21 perches; but the town outside the walls is of considerable extent, probably as much as the old part, including Dominick Street, the Claddagh, Meyrick's Square, Nun's island, Bohermore, &c. &c. {Dutton p. 196}.

The town wall was originally built by the Corporation about the year 1280, by a duty on different articles of Consumption. At a later period another wall was built outside the former, and several bastions added, on which Cannon were mounted. The ramparts, bastions and other fortified works on the east side were built by Cromwell. Some old people remember the embrasures; many recollect when the town wall was a favourite walk, and when the gates


were shut every night, and a chain hung across the street; the place where it was fastened, is still visible at the house of a Chandler at the upper four corners; the date of the building of the house is 1558. It has been said that this chain was originally intended to prevent the Clan of the O'Maddens from galloping into the town, and plundering the inhabitants, which they were in the habit of doing, even in day light.

{D. p. 212-213}

Before the year 1790 this town {Galway} was in a state of great decay; at the period of the union it began to flourish. At this time Dominick Street was built; also houses about Meyrick's Square


some near the infirmary, and in other places, began to appear and gave an air of improvement to the town. The old useless town wall was very nearly demolished, to make room for extensive stores and other buildings, and helped to clear the town of Contagious disorders, to which, it [had] been very subject before.

{D. p. 197}

In the townland of Ballybaunbeg in the parish of St. Nicholas, an old Church stands in ruins, the extent of which on the inside, is 47 feet by 14½ft.; 18 feet in length of the South side wall remains; 3½ feet in breadth of East gable, are attached to this wall, and (reduced) nearly to the same height with it. A portion of this gable, from 1 foot to (2) feet in breadth is attached to North side wall; the middle part was entirely demolished.


On a part of North sidewall, 6 feet in length, next West gable, is a lancet. window beginning on the inside within a foot of the ground, is 4½ feet high and 2ft. broad. On the outside it is 2 feet from the ground, and is battered; is now of irregular breadth, which appears not to have originally exceeded a few inches.

Annexed to the West end, is an arch way of the same breadth with the Church. The North arch is 12 feet 4 inches at the base, and no less than 15 feet high. The South one is 7 feet (broad) at the base, and 8 feet high - 10 feet originally?

Both are pointed, and built with hammered stones, cemented with lime and sand mortar.


A grave yard lies at this Church which appears to have been dedicated to Saint James, as it bears the name St. James's Church.

Lisheennagarlagh, Lisín na n-garlach the lisheen of the Children, a burying place, lies in Castlegar townland.

The Four Masters in the Annals, at,the year 1560, record that -

The Earl of Thomond marched into Iar Connaght against Morogh of the battle-axes, who was son of Teige, who was son of Morogh, who was son of Rory O'Flaherty; he passed through the Country of the Joices, by Fuathaidh {Fuagh river in Connamarra}, and by the foot of Bonnán. The inhabitants of the town of Galway, came to defend the


ford of Tir-oilein against him, but he crossed it by permission of some and in despite of others and marched through the very middle of Clanrickard, both when going and returning.

Tir Oiléin, is now Anglicised Terryland, which is the name of a townland bounded on the West by the river of Galway. In this townland, on the eastern bank of the Galway river, and about ½ a mile from Galway town, are the ruins of a Castle, commonly Called 'old Court' by the people, which is 75 feet long, 27 feet broad. The walls are 3 feet 4 inches thick.


Tradition says that one of the Burks, who was Called Sean na seaman, Shane of the shamrocks, resided in this Castle.

A.D. 1577 John Burke, alias Shane-na-shammer, or Far-more, was put to death (in this year) by his own Cousins at Ballyfenton, assisted by the Country people. He intended to be Earl Clanrickard, or at least the head of his family.

{Dutton, p. 249}

Inquisition taken at Galway 20th March 1608, before Geoffrey Osbaldstone Esqre.; finds that Rickard Earl {then Earl of Clanrickard} was seized in fee by his own acquisition and purchase, of the Castle of Tyrrellan {and 1 qr.}, the Castle of Castlegarr {& 1 qr.}, Carrownegarrowe near Ballybritt {1 q.} Cowlagh, and Keapaloghra


(½ q.) whereof, Andrew Blake Fitz Patrick Claimeth ¼th part of the Cartron of Cowlagh &c.

Castlegar, Caisleán Geárr is now the name of a townland, in which the old castle stands in ruins.

The Castle of Ballybritt, Baile Bhriota, stands in Ballybritt townland; the walls are five feet thick, and rise to the height of forty five feet, there was an ascent (in it) by winding stairs of cut stones, which is partly broken down.


Cowlagh is pronounced in Irish, Cúileach, now Anglicised Coolagh, a townland bounded on the N. & W by Oranmore in the Liberties, on E. by Castlegar, and on the S. by Ballinphoill, and Terryland.

AD 1651 This year in the month of May, Sir Charles Coote was made Commander in the province of Connaught after the rest of Ireland was reduced; he also possessed himself of Athlone, Sligo, Loughrea, and other strongholds in this province. The parliament forces having forced a passage over the river Shannon, he besieged the town of Galway on the east, and having taken


Terrylan, Oranmore, and Clare Castles, he pitched his Camp between Loughathalia,(a) and Suckine(b), about the 12th of August, and there Continued still, notwithstanding many sallies and interruptions from the town, until the 12th of April following, and then the town despairing of any relief by sea or land, and much impoverished and exhausted in paying four hundred pounds per week to soldiers, and making various works, surrendered itself up on very good and honorable terms; so, without committing any act of disloyalty, they became subjects to the parliament of England in April 1652.

{Dutton p. 281}


(a) [Referred to on MS p. 402] Loughathalia mentioned in this last quotation is pronounced in Irish Loch a t-Sáile, that is, the lake of the Salt water, and is an inlet of Galway bay, S. of Saint Nicholas's parish.

This is to be Anglicised Loughatalia. At one side of it, to the East of St. Nicholas's College, are three wells denominated from St. Augustin. The Irish name, is Tobar san Áibhistín that is 'the well of Saint Augustin', which would indicate that only one of them, is designated by his name; the three are however considered as dedicated to him. At these wells there is, I was informed, a stone with a cross cut on it {a stone cross?}.

(b) [Referred to on MS p. 402] Suckine is now pronounced Suicín, which is, out of satirical humour, frequently called Suicín na Mallacht, that is, 'Sickeen of the imprecations, or curses'. It is written Sickeen Dyke in the Name book, and described, as lying where the road from Galway to Menlo crosses the flooded land at Coolagh village.


O'Flaherty in his account of Iar-connaught, referred to above, after stating that the right name of the river {of Galway} is Galliv {Gaillimh}, from the oblique whereof Galive is formed; Galway and Galuia whereby the town is now denoted; and that the occasion of the name is expressed by a very ancient Irish distich thus translated

Ludit aquis mersam deluserat amnis
Bressalii prolis funere nomen habet.

says that 'the name of Jordan island on this river gave occasion to the Anabaptists of the town, in Cromwell's days to go


thither and dip themselves by the island's side as alluding to the river of Jordan'.

Jordan island in the West of the Parish, and on the river of Galway, belongs to Terryland. It is generally said that King John had a Castle in Galway, which stood opposite Lynche's Castle in Shop Street. Its site is occupied by the shop of Darcy, the apothecary, that of Dillon the grocer, and the hard ware shop of (the) Miss Connollys.

Your obedient
T. A. Larcom Esqr. &c. &c. T. O'Conor