For those who love history or stories of times gone by, Galway City is steeped in tradition. The Long Walk, where our self-catering holiday homes are located, is one of the oldest areas in the city. Galway’s history is rich and diverse, extending back to when it was simply a village on the banks of the River Corrib, supposedly named after the ancient goddess Galvia. Its commonly used name “The City of The Tribes” alludes to a period in history when 14 powerful merchant families ruled the city. These fourteen merchant families’ names can still be found in Galway today.
With the 13th century Anglo-Norman conquest, a protective wall was built around Galway. This wall surrounded over 25 acres of property! Parts of the wall, notably the iconic Spanish Arch (mere steps from your centrally located Galway holiday home), can still be seen around the city today. From the 15th – 17th centuries, the fourteen families virtually governed Galway. They were instrumental in its growth, by establishing trading networks and commissioning public and religious structures. They were also concerned in issues like governance, local administration, and religious issues. These families flourished, and two of their majestic houses remain: Blakes Castle and Lynches Castle, minutes walking distance from our centrally located vacation rentals. During the Cromwellian siege, this age came to an end abruptly. The tribes never regained their old power. With the introduction of Penal Laws, things deteriorated. Galway’s expansion did not resume until after the Great Irish Famine and the town’s industrialisation.
Tourism and an infusion of college students helped Galway grow in the twentieth century. It has grown into a vibrant, dynamic city we now see, known for its numerous festivals and diversified culture. It is Connacht’s largest metropolitan region, and visitors travel from all around to enjoy its distinctive and compelling environment. Although it is today a modern cosmopolitan metropolis, it retains its historical fabric.