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Your Are Here - Home > Counties > Galway County > Galway City
Galway (Irish: Gaillimh) is the only city in the province of Connacht in Ireland. The city is located on the west coast of Ireland. In Irish, Galway is also called Cathair na Gaillimhe: "City of Galway".

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[1] “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.

The population of Galway city, as at the 2006 census, is 72,414. Galway is Ireland’s fastest growing city.

History
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.


Attractions
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.

Major squares in the city include Eyre Square (aka - John F. Kennedy Square), in the centre of the city; and Spanish Parade, next to the Spanish Arch.

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).


Sport
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.

Galway United represent Galway in the League of Ireland. 'The Tribemen' as they are known to their fans play their home games at Terryland Park. The city also hosts the The Umbro Galway Cup, - which is held annually at the home of Salthill Devon F.C. Mervue United F.C. have recently gained promotion to the First Division (second tier) of Irish soccer.

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.

 
 
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Galway City
In: Galway
People: 72,729
Speak: English, Irish
Type: Hertiage City
GPS: -9.0418, 53.2729