Tag Archives: Galway

Galway Bay

If you ever go across the sea to Ireland
Then maybe at the closing of your day
You will sit and watch the moon rise over Claddagh
And see the sun go down on Galway Bay

Just to hear again the ripple of the trout stream
The women in the meadows making hay
And to sit beside a turf fire in the cabin
And watch the barefoot gosoons at their play.

For the breezes blowing over the seas from Ireland
Are perfumed by the heather as it blows
And the women in the uplands diggin’ praties
Speak a language that the strangers do not know

For the strangers came and tried to teach us their way
They scorn’d us just for being what we are
But they might as well go chasing after moonbeams
Or light a penny candle from a star.

And if there is going to be a life hereafter
And somehow I am sure there’s going to be
I well ask my God to let me make my heaven
In that dear land across the Irish sea.

Bing Crosby, 1947
(written by Dr. Arthur Colahan)

The History of the Town and County of the Town of Galway (1820)

Extract from “The History of the Town and County of the Town of Galway From the Earliest Period to the Present Time“, 1820, By James Hardiman, Esc. (Member of the Royal Irish Academy and Sub-commissioner on the Public Records).

Map of Old Galway Hardiman’s Map of Galway

Joyes or Joce

This old Galway family is of ancient and honourable English descent, and was allied to the Welch and British princes. Thomas Joyes, the first of the name that came to Ireland, sailed from Wales in the reign of Edward I, and arrived with this fleet at Thomond in Munster, where he married Onorah O’Brien, daughter of the chief of that district; from thence, putting to sea, he directed his course to the western part of Connaught, where he acquired considerable tracts of territory, which his posterity still inhabit. While on the voyage, his wife was delivered of a son, whom he named Mac Mara, son of the sea, he extended his father’s acquisitions, and from him descended the sept of the Joyces, a race of men remarkable for their extraordinary stature, who, for centuries past inhabited the mountainous district, in Iar Connaught, called from them, Duthaidh Sheodhoigh, or Joyce country, now forming the barony of Ross, in the County of Galway, and from which where formerly tributary to the O’Flaherties.38 Walter Jorse, Jorze or Joyce, brother of Thomas, Cardinal of Sabina, of this name and family, was Archbishop of Armagh, he resigned in 1311, and was succeeded by his brother Roland. The former was confessor to Edward II. and was author of several works.39 The families of Joyes-grove in the County of Galway, Oxford in Mayo, and Woodquay in the town of Galway, with that of Merview, near the town, are the present descendants of this old family.

Arms. Argent, an eagle displayed, with two necks, gules, over all Fess Ermine.  Crest. A demi wolf-rampant, argent, ducally gorged, or.40  Motto, Mors aut honorabilis vita.

—-

38 Mac Mara Joyes was first married to the daughter of O’Flathery, prince of Iar Connaught. The most remarkable of his descendants, besides the above, was William Joyes, who was married to Agnes Morris, being on his travels from Italy to Greece, he was taken prisoner by the Saracens, and brought to Africa, from whence, after a variety of adventures, and undergoing a captivity of seven years, he escaped to Spain; while here, his exalted virtues were rewarded by heaven according to the pedigree of the family, in an extraordinary manner; for, as they relate, an eagle flying over his head, pointed out to him a place, where he discovered vast treasures; with which returning to Galway, he contributed larges sums towards building the walls, church and other public edifices of the town. He dies, leaving three sons James, Henry and Robert, and was interred in the Franciscan friary.

Heaven was again propitious to another of this family; Margaret Joyes, great grand daughter of the above names William, who was surnamed, Margaret na Drehide, Margaret of the Bridges, from the great number which she built. The story of this singular woman is till current amongst her descendants. They relate she was born of reduced but genteel parents and was first married to Domingo de Roma, a wealthy Spanish merchant who traded to Galway, where, he fell in love with, and married her; and soon after departing for Spain, died there, leaving her mistress of an immense property. Upon his decease, having no issue by him, she married Oliver Oge Ffrench, who was Mayor of Galway in 1596. So far the narrative is probable and consistent but what follows will try the credulity of the reader. It relates that this lady, during the absence of her second husband, on a voyage, erected most part of the bridges of the Province of Connaught, at her own expense! and, that as she was one day sitting before the workmen, an eagle, flying over her head, let fall into her palm, a gold ring adorned with a brilliant stone, the nature of which no lapidary could ever discover. It was preserved by her descendants, as a most valuable relique in 1661 (the date of the MS. from which this account is taken,) as a mark supposed to have been sent from Heaven of its approbation of her good works and charity!! This fable though still piously believed, by some of this family, was humorously ridiculed by Latocaaye, an incredulous French traveller, who visited Galway about the end of the last century.

Cornet Joyes commanded the guard that conducted Charles I to the scaffold, but it does not appear that he was of this descent.

Several individuals of this name have long felt grateful to the memory of William III. from the following circumstance, on the accession of that monarch to the throne of England. One of the first acts of his reign was to send an ambassador to Algiers to demand the immediate release of all the British subjects detained there in slavery, the dey and council, intimidated, reluctantly complied with this demand. Among those released, was a young man of the name of Joyes, a native of Galway, who, fourteen years before, was captured on his passage to the West Indies, by an Algerine Corsair; on his arrival at Algiers, he was purchased by a wealthy Turk who followed the profession of a goldsmith, and who observing his slave, Joyes, to be tractable and ingenious, instructed him in his trade in which he speedily became an adept. The Moor, as soon as he heard of his release, offered him, in case he should remain, his only daughter in marriage, and with her, half his property, but all these, with other tempting and advantageous proposals, Joyes resolutely declined; on his return to Galway he married, and followed the business of a goldsmith with considerable success, and , having acquired a handsome independence, he was enabled to purchased the estate of Rahoon, (which lies about two miles west of the town,) from Colonel Whaley, one of Cromwell’s old officers. Joyes, having no son, bequeather his property to his three daughters, two of whom only were married, one, to Andrew Roe French, ancestor to the late Andrew French, of Rahoon, to whom, in addition to their own, the unmarried sister left her third; the second daughter was married to the ancestor of the late Martin Lynch, a banker, who, in her right, inherited the remainder of the estate. In gratitude for this act of King William, this family long after solemnised his accession to the throne by bonfires, and his victories in Ireland by exhibiting Orange lilies, on the 1st and 12th of July. Some of Joyes’ silver work, stamped with his mark, and the initial letters of his name, are still remaining. A very curious pedigree of this family, is recorded in the Office of Arms. Vol. 10.

39 Ware and De Burgo.

40 This is the crest on the map, that now used, is a Demi Griffin, sergeant.

The Meaning of the Claddagh Ring

Joyes Family CrestHistory of the Claddagh Ring

An original symbol of the Galway town of Claddagh, Ireland, (pronounced “klahda”) was first fashioned into the traditional ring back in the 17th Century during the reign of Mary II.
Legend has it that an Irish young man, Richard Joyce, bound for the West Indian slave plantations – no doubt the Irish Caribbean island of Montserrat – was kidnapped himself in rough seas by a band of Mediterranean pirates and sold to a Moorish goldsmith who over the many long years of his exile helped him perfect the skills of a master craftsman.

When in 1689 King William III negotiated the return of the slaves, Joyce returned to Galway – despite, it said, the Moor’s offer of the daughter’s hand in marriage and a princely dowry of half of all his wealth.

Back in Ireland a young women had never stopped faithful waiting for her true love to return. Upon which time when he presented her with the now famous Royal Claddagh gold ring – a symbol of their enduring love. Two hands to represent their friendship, the crown to signify their loyalty and lasting fidelity, and the sign of the heart to symbolise their eternal love for each other.

They soon married, never to be separated again.

“Several individuals of this name have long felt grateful to the memory of William III. from the following circumstance, on the accession of that monarch to the throne of England. One of the first acts of his reign was to send an ambassador to Algiers to demand the immediate release of all the British subjects detained there in slavery, the dey and council, intimidated, reluctantly complied with this demand. Among those released, was a young man of the name of Joyes, a native of Galway, who, fourteen years before, was captured on his passage to the West Indies, by an Algerine Corsair; on his arrival at Algiers, he was purchased by a wealthy Turk who followed the profession of a goldsmith, and who observing his slave, Joyes, to be tractable and ingenious, instructed him in his trade in which he speedily became an adept. The Moor, as soon as he heard of his release, offered him, in case he should remain, his only daughter in marriage, and with her, half his property, but all these, with other tempting and advantageous proposals, Joyes resolutely declined; on his return to Galway he married, and followed the business of a goldsmith with considerable success” James Hardiman, The History of the Town and County of the Town of Galway.

The Meaning of the Claddagh Ring

The Royal Claddagh ring is worn by people all over the world as a symbol of love, loyalty, friendship and fidelity. The hands are there for friendship, the heart is there for love. For loyalty throughout the year, the crown is raised above.

Wearing the Claddagh Ring

  1. Worn on the right hand, with crown and heart facing out, the ring tells that the wearer’s heart is yet to be won.
  2. While under love’s spell it is worn with heart and crown facing inwards.
  3. Wearing the ring on the left hand, with the crown and heart facing inwards, signifies that your love has been requited.

The Claddagh Tradition

The traditional wedding ring of the Irish since the 17th Century, the Claddagh ring is worn by people all over the world as a universal symbol of love, loyalty, friendship and fidelity.

Traditionally handed down from mother to daughter the Royal Claddagh ring has also become a symbol of our ties with the past and generations gone by. As Irish people we remember the many many of our people who had to leave Ireland with nothing but their lives during the Great Famine of the 19th Century – many leaving from here in Cork harbour to make the long voyage across the Atlantic to America. The gold Royal Claddagh ring was to become for many the only enduring link with their home country and practically their only savings and family inheritance.

Further reflecting the troubled history of Ireland itself, a hundred years ago the Fenian ring, with two hands and two hearts, was distinguishing by its lack of a crown to represent the struggle for Republican Ireland – however the traditional Royal Claddagh ring has always remaining the Irish standard proudly wearing the crown as a symbol of loyalty, a remembrance of our ancient Irish Kingdoms, and of our own British heritage.

Notable wearers of the Claddagh ring have included Queen Alexandria and King Edward VII of Britain and Queen Victoria of Britain and Ireland as it was then – a woman for whom the streets of Dublin where lined with cheering people. And in the little principality of Monaco, the Claddagh tradition lives on in the Royal family of Monaco and the memory of the beautiful Irish princess – Princess Grace of Monaco.

“The Governor of New York, George Pataki, was accompanied by his mother, Peggy Lynch, among others, at last week’s annual fundraising dinner for the Flax Trust, which promotes economic development in the North, at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan. Pataki, addressing the guests, said that when Brian Cowen was in New York recently, visiting Ground Zero, he had told him that he was asked by the parents of a missing city firefighter to inquire of the chief of the NYPD if a claddagh ring had been found in the wreckage. “Minister,” the chief told Cowen, “we have found 200 Claddagh rings.”

The ring, by which they had hoped to identify the body of their son, depicts two hands clutching a crowned heart symbolising love, friendship and fidelity. It was designed by Richard Joyce in Galway three centuries ago. It is as popular on the other side of the Atlantic as it is here. The discovery so early of so many in the ruins underlined “the loss suffered here and in Ireland”, said Pataki.” Irish Times, Weekend Sat, Oct 13, 01.

Today in the twenty-first Century, however, perhaps the most famous wearer of the Claddagh ring is the famous Buffy of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame. A present to her on her 17th birthday from her vampire lover, Angel, the ring was to symbolise their enduring love for each other – in spite of the obvious difficulties and even one day call Angel back from Hell.

“My people – before I was changed – they exchanged this as a sign of devotion. It’s a Claddagh ring. The hands represent friendship, the crown represents loyalty … and the heart … Well, you know … Wear it with the heart pointing towards you. It means you belong to somebody. Like this.” Buffy, The Vampire Slayer, Episode “The Surprise”.

Murmur Galway: The Claddagh

galway.murmur.info

galway.murmur.info

http://galway.murmur.info/place.php?420511

“[murmur] is a documentary oral history project that records stories and memories told about specific geographic locations. We collect and make accessible people’s personal histories and anecdotes about the places in their neighborhoods that are important to them. In each of these locations we install a [murmur] sign with a telephone number on it that anyone can call with a mobile phone to listen to that story while standing in that exact spot, and engaging in the physical experience of being right where the story takes place. Some stories suggest that the listener walk around, following a certain path through a place, while others allow a person to wander with both their feet and their gaze.
The stories we record range from personal recollections to more “historic” stories, or sometimes both — but always are told from a personal point of view, as if the storyteller is just out for a stroll and was casually talking about their neighbourhood to a friend. It’s history from the ground up, told by the voices that are often overlooked when the stories of cities are told. We know about the skyscrapers, sports stadiums and landmarks, but [murmur] looks for the intimate, neighbourhood-level voices that tell the day-to-day  stories that make up a city. The smallest, greyest or most nondescript building can be transformed by the stories that live in it. Once heard, these stories can change the way people think about that place and the city at large.
All our stories are available on the [murmur] website, but their details truly come alive as the listener walks through, around, and into the narrative. By engaging with [murmur], people develop a new intimacy with places, and “history” acquires a multitude of new voices.
The physical experience of hearing a story in its actual setting – of hearing the walls talk – brings uncommon knowledge to common space, and brings people closer to the real  histories that make up their world.
The stories are as personal as the relationship people have with the spaces they inhabit. Secret histories are unearthed, private truths unveiled and tales as diverse as the city itself are discovered and shared. All members of a community are encouraged to participate and contribute, so that the “voice” of [murmur] reflects the diverse voices of the neighbourhood.
These are the stories that make up the city’s identity, but they’re kept inside of the heads of the people who live here. [murmur] brings that important archive out onto the streets, for all to hear and experience, and is always looking for new stories to add to it’s existing locations.”

http://galway.murmur.info/place.php?420511

Encyclopaedia Britannica (1911)

The Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, New York, 1911, vol. XI, “Galway”.

GALWAY, a seaport, parliamentary borough and the county town of county Galway, Ireland, on the north shore of Galway Bay, and on the main line of the Midland Great Western railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 13,426. Some of the streets are very narrow, and contain curious specimens of old buildings, chiefly in antique Spanish style, being square, with a central court, and a gateway opening into the street. The most note-worthy of these is the pile known as Lynch’s Castle. This residence takes its name from the family of whom James Lynch Fitzstephen, mayor of Galway in 1493, was a member; whose severity as a magistrate is exemplified in the story that he executed his own son, and thus gave origin (according to one of several theories) to the familiar term of Lynch law. The principal streets are broad and contain good shops. St Nicholas church is a fine cruciform building founded in 1320, and containing monuments, and a bell, one of a peal, which appears to have been brought from Cavron in France, but how this happened is not known. The church was made collegiate in 1484, and Edward VI. created the Royal College of Galway in connexion with it; but the old college buildings no longer serve this purpose, and the church ceased to be collegiate in 184o. There are remains of a Franciscan friary founded in 1296. St Augustine’s church (Roman Catholic) is modern (1859). The town is the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese. There are grammar, model and industrial schools, the first with exhibitions to Trinity College, Dublin; but the principal educational establishment is University College, a quadrangular building in Tudor Gothic style, of grey limestone. It was founded as Queen’s College, with other colleges of the same name at Belfast and Cork, under an act of 1845, and its name was changed when it was granted a new charter pursuant to the Irish Universities Act 1908. The harbour comprises an extensive line of quays, and is connected for inland navigation with Lough Corrib. The shipping trade is considerable, but as a trans-Atlantic port Galway was exploited unsuccessfully. The fisheries, both sea and salmon, are important. The chief exports are wool, agricultural produce and black marble, which is polished in local mills. Other industrial establishments include corn-mills, iron-foundries, distilleries, and brush and bag factories. The borough, which returned two members to parliament until 1885, now returns one.

Galway is divided into the old and new towns, while a suburb known as the Claddagh is inhabited by fishermen. This is a curious collection of small cottages, where communal government by a locally elected mayor long prevailed, together with peculiar laws and customs, strictly exclusive inter-marriage, and a high moral and religious standard. Specimens of the distinctive Claddagh ring, for example, were worn and treasured as venerated heirlooms. These customs, with the distinctive dress of the women, died out but slowly, and even to-day their vestiges remain.

The environs of Galway are pleasant, with several handsome residences. The most interesting point in the vicinity is Roscam, with its round tower, ruined church and other remains. Salthill, with golf links, is a waterside residential suburb.

Little is known of the history of Galway until after the arrival of the English, at which time it was under the protection of O’Flaherty, who possessed the adjoining district to the west. On the extinction of the native dynasty of the O’Connors, the town fell into the hands of the De Burgos, the head of a branch of which, under the name of M’William Eighter, long governed it by magistrates of his own appointment. After it had been secured by walls, which began to be built about 1270 and are still in part traceable, it became the residence of a number of enterprising settlers, through whom it attained a position of much commercial celebrity. Of these settlers the principal families, fourteen in number, were known as the tribes of Galway. They were of Norman, Saxon or Welsh descent, and became so exclusive in their relationships that dispensations were frequently requisite for the canonical legality of marriages among them. The town rapidly increased from this period in wealth and commercial rank, far surpassing in this respect the rival city of Limerick. Richard II. granted it a charter of incorporation with liberal privileges, which was confirmed by his successor. It had the right of coinage by act of parliament, but there is no evidence to show that it exercised the privilege. Another charter, granted in 1545, extended the jurisdiction of the port to the islands of Aran, permitted the exportation of all kinds of goods except linens and woollens, and confirmed all the former privileges. Large numbers of Cromwell’s soldiers are said to have settled in the town; and there are many traces of Spanish blood among the population. Its municipal privileges were extended by a charter from James I., whereby the town, and a district of two miles round in every direction, were formed into a distinct county, with exclusive jurisdiction and a right of choosing its own magistrates. During the civil wars of 1641 the town took part with the Irish, and was surrendered to the Parliamentary forces under Sir Charles Coote; after which the ancient inhabitants were mostly driven out, and their property was given to adventurers and soldiers, chiefly from England. On the accession of James II. the old inhabitants entertained sanguine hopes of recovering their former rights. But the successes of King William soon put an end to their expectations; and the town, after undergoing another siege, again capitulated to the force brought against it by General Ginkell.

Guide Through Ireland (1838)

1838, Guide Through Ireland, by James Fraser

“Connected with the trade of Galway, we cannot omit the Claddagh, a large village lying on the opposite side of the harbour, and apart from the town. It contains innumerable little streets and lanes of cabins, all grouped and huddled together. About 1500 fishermen, with their wives and families, reside here; and, beyond the sale of their fish, hold little intercourse with the town’s people, intermarry among themselves, and, as regards fishing and pecuniary matters, are governed by their own byelaws. The boats, great and small, connected with this fishery, and including, the whole coast of the county of Galway, are said to exceed a thousand. Still, owing to the prejudices, ignorance, and total want of system, among the fishermen, the town and surrounding country are very irregularly supplied.”

James Fraser; “Guide Through Ireland: Descriptive of its scenery, towns, seats, antiquities, etc. with various statistical tables also various statistical tables also an outline of its mineral structure, and a brief views of its botany. With a map, and engravings.”; William Curry, Jun. and Company Samuel Holdsworth, London, Fraser and Co. Edinburgh; Dublin; 1838; pp234-5.