County Galway facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
County Galway
Contae na Gaillimhe
Coat of arms of County Galway
Coat of arms
Motto: Ceart agus Cóir  (Irish)
"Righteousness and Justice"
Location in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
Dáil Éireann Galway East
Galway West
Roscommon-Galway
EU Parliament Midlands–North-West
Area
 • Total 6,149 km2 (2,374 sq mi)
Area rank 2nd
Population (2016) 258,552
 • Rank 5th
Vehicle index
mark code
G
Website www.galway.ie

County Galway (Irish: Contae na Gaillimhe) is a county in Ireland. In the West of Ireland, it is part of the province of Connacht (English spelling: Connaught) and is named after the city of Galway. There are several Irish-speaking areas in the west of the county. The population of the county is 258,552 according to the 2016 census. While it is named after the city of Galway, a different authority governs that territory. The county proper is administered by Galway County Council.

History

Galway 1, Ireland
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. In modern times, a number of inhabited islands are also administered by the county; these include 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:

  • Crichaireacht cinedach nduchasa Muintiri Murchada
  • Annals of Lough Cé
  • Annals of Connacht
  • Triallam timcheall na Fodla
  • Leabhar Adhamh Ó Cianáin
  • Leabhar Ua Maine
  • Corporation Book of Galway
  • The Book of the Burkes
  • Annals of the Four Masters
  • Leabhar na nGenealach
  • Cuimre na nGenealach
  • Obituary Book of the Franciscan monastery at Galway
  • Annals of the Poor Clares
  • Dominican Annal of Athenry
  • Ogygia
  • West or Iar-Connacht
  • The Lynch Manuscript

Irish language

Nearly 20% of the population of County Galway live in the Gaeltacht (Gaelic-speaking districts). County Galway is home to the largest Gaeltacht Irish-speaking region in Ireland. There are over 48,907 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, Gaeltacht Cois Fharraige, Conamara Theas, Aran Islands and Duiche Sheoigheach.

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. Spiddal 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.

Galway County Hall - Áras Chontae na Gaillimhe - geograph.org.uk - 906462
Galway County Hall, Galway City.

There are about 30,000 - 40,000 Irish speakers in County Galway. 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 of the Galway Gaeltacht. According to the Irish Census 2006 there are 10,788 in the county who identify themselves as being daily Irish speakers outside of the education system.

Geography

Dunaonghasa2
A view over the karst landscape on Inishmore, from Dún Aengus, an ancient stone fort.

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.

Lakes

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.

Climate

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 (2011 Census)

  1. Galway, 76,778
  2. Tuam, 8,242
  3. Ballinasloe, 6,659
  4. Loughrea, 5,062
  5. Oranmore, 4,799

Towns and villages

  • Ahascragh
  • Annaghdown
  • Ardrahan
  • Athenry
  • Aughrim
  • Ballinasloe
  • Ballinderreen
  • Ballyconneely
  • Ballygar
  • Ballymacward
  • Ballymoe
  • Ballynahinch
  • Barna
  • Bealadangan
  • Belclare
  • Bullaun
  • Camus
  • Carna
  • Carnmore
  • Carraroe
  • Casla
  • Castleblakeney
  • Castlegar
  • Claregalway
  • Clarinbridge
  • Cleggan
  • Clifden
  • Clonbur
  • Clonfert
  • Corofin
  • Corrandulla
  • Corr na Móna
  • Craughwell
  • Dunmore
  • Eyrecourt
  • Furbo
  • Glenamaddy
  • Gort
  • Headford
  • Hollygrove
  • Inverin
  • Kilcolgan
  • Kilconly
  • Kilconnell
  • Kilkerrin
  • Kilkieran
  • Killimor
  • Kilronan
  • Kiltullagh
  • Kinvara
  • Knocknacarra
  • Laurencetown
  • Leenaun
  • Lettercallow
  • Letterfrack
  • Lettermore
  • Loughrea
  • Maam Cross
  • Maum
  • Menlough
  • Milltown
  • Monivea
  • Mountbellew
  • Moycullen
  • Muckanaghederdauhaulia
  • Maree
  • Newbridge
  • New Inn
  • Oranmore
  • Oughterard
  • Peterswell
  • Portumna
  • Recess
  • Rosmuck
  • Rossaveal
  • Roundstone
  • Roscam
  • Skehana
  • Spiddal
  • Tully
  • Tully Cross
  • Tuam
  • Turloughmore
  • Williamstown
  • Woodford

County Galway Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.