Cladach, or Claddagh, is Ireland’s oldest fishing settlement. The settlement is situated where the River Corrib meets Galway Bay and can be seen directly across the river from your Galway bed at The Heron’s Rest! The city wall built in 1232, kept the Claddagh village separate from the town. As a result, the Claddagh community kept its own customs and traditions, and even had its own King! In the past, “The King of the Claddagh” was a significant person among fisherman who adjudicated local disputes, made major decisions, and was a powerful figure. This is a role that still exists; however, it is now considered honorary.
Fishing was the main source of income for the Claddagh people. Fishermen employed large fleets of sailboats known as Galway Hookers, and women sold their catch at the fish market near the Spanish Arch. Wonderfully restored Galway Hookers can often be seen gently sailing the bay right outside our holiday homes, taking you back briefly to a time long gone. This historic village grew and eventually merged with the rest of the town as the walls came down and Galway grew into the modern yet lovely city that it is today.
The Claddagh is, of course, well-known around the world due to the popularity of the Claddagh ring. The ring is thought to have been made in the village around 400 years ago. The Claddagh ring was traditionally passed down through generations as a wedding band. It is now a symbol of friendship and love. The Claddagh ring has become a global emblem of Irish heritage and is adored by people all over the world. Its design symbolises love, loyalty, and friendship. There is a wonderful jewellery shop just minutes from our Galway City holiday homes, that has been referred to as one of Europe’s smallest museums. Thomas Dillions Claddagh Ring Shop established in 1750 holds many artefacts, memorabilia and photographs of old Galway and the Claddagh Ring is still lovingly handcrafted on the premises.