Hardiman's History of Galway: Chapter 1 (The ancient state of the town, civil and military history




The origin and signification of the name of Galway

Opinions of Camden--Ware--Lynch--O'Flaherty, De Burgo and Vallancey--The name derived from commerce--Security of the harbour--Supposed origin of the bay--Derivation of its name--Inhabitants of the town before Henry II.--Subsequent colonies, viz. Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'Arcy, Deane, Ffont, Ffrench, Joyes, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morriss and Skerrett -- Affiliated families -- Former manners and character -- Former state and topography -- Speed -- Heylyn -- Sir Oliver St. John -- Ancient Map and Ichnography -- References -- Concluding observations.

The general opinion concerning etymological inquiries seems to be, that they are rather curious than useful; at the same time it stands confessed, that, in many instances, such disquisitions may become material and interesting, particularly should they lead to the establishment or corroboration of historical facts, or tend to illustrate the ancient state of the places under investigation. With these objects in view, an attempt shall here be made to elucidate the origin and signfication of the name of Galway, a point which, though often touched upon by many writers, has hitherto been left undecided.

It is well known that amongst the ancient Irish, all foreigners were indiscriminately termed Galls, a hence, arose, a supposition, that Galway took its name from a foreign colony alleged to have settled there at an early period. Tradition informs us, that previously to the arrival of Henry II, Galway was but an inconsiderable fishing village, under the protection of an Irish dune or fortress, and that it was then called Ballinshruane, or the town of the little streams; because, when the winter floods were high in the river, the water flowed through the present scite of the town, and formed it into small islands; in one of which (where the church of St. Nicholas was afterwards built,) this primitive hamlet was situate. We are further informed, from the same source, that when the English settlers afterwards came hither, they were called by the native Irish Clann-na-Gall, the Foreign clan, sept, or colony (an appelation, which however originating, their descendants still retain,) and that the place was from thenceforth named Ballinagall, or Gallibh, the Foreigners' town, or fortification. These traditionary relations, though to many they might appear probable and satisfactory, are not borne out, but seem rather controverted by written authority. In the life of Hugh Ruadh O'Donnell, hereditary prince of Tyrconnell?, written by Cucoigcriche O'Clery, one of the four masters, after reiating the sacrilegious burning of the convent of St. Brigid, near Galway, in 1599, by that chieftain, the writer adds, "that the city took its name from the river, in which was drowned Gaillimh, the daughter of Breasail." b This derivation receives support from the old map of Galway, (of which a full description will be found in another part of this, volume;) it is there stated, that a woman, named Galva, was drowned, near a great rock, in the river, (which is delineated on the map,) and that from this circumstance the town originally took its name.

Other antiquaries have, however, given sifinifications widely different. Camden is of opinion that Galway was derived from the Gallaeci of Spain. a country with which the town carried on a very early and extensive commerce. Ware, a much better authority, so far as relates to Ireland, says, that the river Galoia, or Galiva, mentioned in the annals of Roscommon. under the years 1177 and 1190, seems to have given name to the town; but he leaves it to others to discover its meaning. c Geoffry Lynch FitzDominick, a native of Galway, in his MS "remarks drawn from antiquity," and written in 1661, agrees with Ware; d and Irish and O'Flaherty, in his Ogygia, says expressly that the town takes its name from the river. De Burgo asserts, that Gallimh, the name of the town in Irish, is the same as locus anglorum, i.e. residence of the English, and says, it was very properly so called, because the town was built by a colony which came thither from England about the year 1300; e but this writer appears mistaken as well in his assertion, as in the truth of the fact adduced in its support. The learned Vallancey, who was fond of investigations of this nature, gave several ingenious derivations of the word; at one time he supposes it to be Galmhaith, an Irish compound, which he translates Galway, and says, signifies a rocky barren country; f at another time he deduces it from Port-na-Gall, Gallorum portus; and again, from Gall-amhan, Amnis Gallorum; but he was finally of opinion, that the town received its name from a company of merchants that settled there; Gael, derived, according to him, from Gaelis, or Geilis, traffick or commerce, signifying a merchant, and ibh, in Irish, signifying tribes or families, whence Gailibh, tribes of merchants. g Of all these conjectures, the latter, being the result of more mature deliberation appears most entitled to attention, as having approached nearest to the truth, which a brief illustration will sufficiently demonstrate.

From a very early period, and until after the invasion of Henry II the territory in which the town stands was called Clanfirgail, the land or habitation of the Gail or merchants. h This circumstance, though unobserved by Vallancey, very forcibly corroborates this opinion, both names evidently agreeing in meaning and derivation, and each serving to illustrate, and very satisfactorily to explain, the origin and signification of the other: when, therefore, we consider the weak foundation of traditional report, and tho fabulous complexion of the story, attributing the name to the woman, Gaillimh, or Galva, mentioned by the writer of Donegal, and alluded to on the old map, i it seems most reasonable to conclude, that the town and river of Galway both derived their name from the territory in which they were situate, and that the district itself was originally denominated from the Gael, or merchants, by whom it was inhabited; to strengthen this conclusion, might be adduced the authorities of Tacitus and Ptolemy; add to which, that in the annals of Roscommon, already mentioned, the name of the river Galiva is nearly similar in ortLography, and entirely so in pronunciation to Gailibh, pronounced Gallive, and throughout the most ancient documents, wherein the name of the town appears, down to the year 1400, it is invariably written Galvy, in which, the transposition of the two final letters, is the only deviation from the Irish. In process of time the world Gal-iva, was altered into Gal-via, the literal translation of which, Gal-way, first occurs about the year 1440, and from that time, it has remained uniform and unchanged, by any variation to the present day.

Having thus far dwelt upon the etymology and orthography of the name of Galway, it is now time to conclude a disquisition which has already become tedious, leaving the reader fully at liberty to form or retain his own opinion on the subject. What has been collected, however, appears strongly to support the position that the town of Galway and the district in which it is situate, were, from an early period, distinguished for trade and commerce, a circumstance from which they derive their name; and, when in addition to these, the excellent situation of the place, its local advantages, and many capabilities for foreign commerce, and inland traffick and navigation, k is noble bay, the finest perhaps in the kingdom, and the natural security of its harbour, shall be taken into consideration, powerfully corroborative reasons will be found in favour of the same conclusion.

A curious supposition has been entertained relative to the original formation of the bay of Galway, it is related, in one of the old Irish annals, that in the year of the world 1969, there were but three lakes of consequence in the whole island, namely, Loch-Foirdream, said to have been at Slievmis, near Tralee, in the County of Kerry, Finloch, the present Loughcarra, in the County of Mayo, and Loch-Lurgan, which is described as a spacious lake between the County of Clare and West Connaught, to the South of Galway, and extending a considerable distance towards the east. This lake is supposed to have been the present bay of Galway, which was once, say the annalists, separated from the ocean by strong banks, until the Atlantic bursting over them and uniting with the water within, formed the bay, leaving the three islands of Arran, the towering remnants of the chain or barrier, which were too high to be overflown by the billows. The position of these islands, with relation to the main land, as it favours, seems also to have given rise to this idea, O'Flaherty says that in his time, a lough in a neighbouring inlet of the sea, was called Lough Lurgan, but how far the entire circumstance is deserving of credit, is left, without any comment, to the judgment of the reader.

It has been generally agreed that this bay was the Ausoba of Ptolemy. Camden and Baxter are however of opinion that Lough Corrib was the place. Ware thinks it the river Galvia which takes its rise out of that lough, and washing the town, falls into the bay l. Richard of Circencester makes it Clew Bay in the County of Mayo, but Beauford, with more accuracy, thinks it the bay of Galway, which, he says, was the Abhsidhe or Abhansidhe m of the Irish, and as such, it has been almost universally taken. The writer, last mentioned, states, that the word signifies Oestuarium, derived from the Irish, Auscobha, a projection of water, and although this might very properly have been classed amongst the other visionary derivatives of the same author, yet it remained uncontroverted, until Vallancey advanced another conjecture, and apparently discovered the significance of this obscure word. In his essay on the primitive inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland, he says "commerce, with the Irish and Arabs, was esteemed honourable, and hence, in both countries, the adjective, asob, noble, was prefixed to the word implying commerce, to signify a merchant.--- Asob Gaelibh, the merchants of Galway, and hence Ptolemy names the bay of Galway sinus asobus." Were this far fetched though ingenious supposition correct, it would add considerable weight to the preceding conclusions, concerning the former name and commerce of Galway; but being equally fanciful with the other, it must be abandoned, as one of the etymological reveries of the veteran antiquary, in his endeavours to give an oriental cast to the antiquities of Ireland; nor shall the reader be longer detained on the elucidation of a subject more difficult than important, at the present day, and which shall therefore be consigned to the conjectural inquiries of some abler etymologist.

Of the inhabitants of Galway, previous to the invasion of Henry II, there are no accounts remaining, except by tradition, but some time after that event took place, the town appears to have been inhabited by a number of families, who were principally occupied on the fishings of the lake and bay, and in making short voyages along the coast, their names are given as follow: n Athy, Branegan, o Blundell, Brunt, Burdon, Cale, Calf, p Coppiner or Coppinger, Develin, or Dillin q Ffarty, Ffrihin, le Fickhill, Kellerie, Kerwick, Lang, Lawless, r Moylin, Muneghan, Penrise, s Sage, Kancaorach, Valley or Wallin, t Verdon, Weider and White u there were many others, whose names are now buried in oblivion, but who are recorded as having been burgesses of the town. To these early inhabitants and their successors, Lynch in his MS. remarks, before referred to, alludes in the following words, "it was not they who gave any name of credit or fame to the town of Galway, but the colony next after mentioned, for until the latter came hither, this town was but an ordinary place, with only thatched houses and some castles, but it was by the new colonies and septs, made famous to the world, for their trading faithfully, discharging their credit, good education, charity and hospitality both at home and abroad." That this plain but honourable description, though given by a native of the town, was neither the result of partiality nor the effect of prejudice, the reader will find fully illustrated by various examples throughout the course of this work.

The new colonies, here alluded to, consisted of several families, whose descendants, are known to this day, under the general appellation of the "tribes of Galway," an expression, first invented by Cromwell's forces, as a term of reproach against the natives of the town, for their singular friendship and attachment to each other during the time of their unparalleled troubles and persecutions, but which, the latter afterwards adopted, as an honorable mark of distinction between themselves and those cruel oppressors. These families were thirteen, v in number, viz. Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'Arcy, Ffont, Ffrench, Joyes, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris and Skerrett. They did not settle in the town at one time, or on the same occasion, as is generally supposed; but came hither, at different periods, and under various circumstances, as may appear from the following concise account of each of the families composing this peculiar community, which has been compiled from the most authentic documents.



This family is of great antiquity in Galway; tradition relates that one of the name erected the first stone house or castle within the town. They were from the earliest times highly respectable, William de Athy was appointed treasurer of Connaught, 8th December, 1388, with the fee of £ 10 yearly--Rot. Pat. Canc.--the name was also of consequence in other parts of Ireland. John de Athy was sheriff of Kerry, 7th Edw. II.--Rot. Mem. Scac.--on 3rd March, 17th of the same King, he was appointed marshall of Ireland--Eod. de an. 18 --and the 20th year, he was sheriff of the counties of Carrickfergus? and Antrim?.--Rot. Pat.--Philip Lynch Athy, Esq. of Renville?, is the present representative of this family.

Arms. Checky, argent and gules, on a chevron of the last, three etoiles, or. Crest. A demi lion rampant. Motto. Ductus non coactus.


This family is of British extraction, and, though the name seems derived from the Saxon, Blac, a colour; yet, Debrett, in his Baronetage, says, "they are traditionally descended from Ap-lake, one of the knights of King Arthur's round table,'' and adds, ''that in the reign of Henry II, one of this family accompanied Strongbow, and after many exploits built himself a castle, at Menlo?, near Galway.'' --- Richard Caddell w surnamed Blake, (from whom, according to Lynch's MS. the Blakes of Galway are descended,) was sheriff of Connaught, Vicecomes Conacioe, 32 and 33 Edw. I, x he was also sheriff in 1306. and in 7 Edw. Il. the king's writ issued, for arrearages of his account. --- Rot. Mem. --- The arms of this family were first borne by him and descended to his posterity. The family of Ardfry, descended from Sir Richard Blake, who was speaker or chairman, of the assembly of the confederate catholics of Ireland, at Kilkenny, in 1647, was raised to the dignity of the peerage, in the year 1800, in the person of Joseph Henry Blake, Esq. who was then created Lord Baron of Wallscourt?, in the kingdom of Ireland. This widely extended name is, at present, divided into the opulent and respectable families, of Ardfry, Ballyglunin?, Belmont?, Castlegrove?, Corbally?, Forbough?, Frenchfort?, Hollypark?, Killeencastle?, Mace?, Menlo?, Merlinpark?, Moorfield?, Orancastle?, Rahara? or Annbally?, Renville?, (formerly of Lehinch?, in Mayo,) Tully?, Waterdale? and Windfield?, in the County of Galway; and Ballinafad?, Brookhill?, Garracloone?, Milltown? and Towerhill?, in the County of Mayo.

Arms. Argent, a fret, gules. Crest. A cat passant, gardant, proper, Motto. Virtus sola Nobilitat.


The Bodkins of Galway, and the Earls of Desmond and Kildare, were descended from the common ancestor, Maurice Fitzgerald, Lord of Windsor, and one of the first invaders of Ireland, under Strongbow. His son, Thomas FitzMaurice, acquired ample possessions in Munster, where his descendants became Earls of Desmond. Richard, the son of Thomas, about the year 1242, held considerable properties in Connaught, under Richard de Burgo, and Thomas, his son, was the ancestor of the Bodkin family. This family name originated, according to tradition, from a victory gained by their great progenitor, Thomas Fitz Richard (about the year 1300,) over a valiant Irish knight, whom he encountered in single combat, and having, in the conflict, made use of a short spear or weapon, in Irish called, a Baudekin, he was, from that circumstance, surnamed, Buaidh Baudekin, of the victory of the Bodkin, which name was afterwards retained by his descendants. Whatever doubt may attend this traditionary relation, none can exist as to the origin and descent of the family, which are fully ascertained by the testimony of antiquaries, by ancient stone sculptures and monuments, still remaining, and from the genealogies of the Geraldines, whose arms the Bodkin family bore for many generations, and whose motto, Crom aboo, they retain to this day. y Henry Bodkin, the son of Thomas, was Clericus ville in the reign of Richard II. at which time, there was a street or lane in Galway, called Baudekyn's lane?. They were then possessed of large properties in and about the town, particularly at Newcastle?, near the river; z and at Athenry?, a2 Toherskehine?, Ballynameathagh?, Kilcornan? and Parke?. At present the principal families of the name, are those of Annagh?, Carrowbeg?, b2 Castletown?, Kilcloony? and Thomastown?.

Arms. Ermine, on a saltire, gules, a leopard's face, or. Crest. A leopard's face, or. Motto. Gom aboo.


Philippus de Browne, is said to have come to Ireland in 1170, and, in 1172, was appointed Governor of Wexford?. In 1178 he went to England, and soon after returned with 60 armed knights, and was a leader at the siege of Limerick. c2 He had three sons, William, who settled in the territory of Clanmorris, in the County of Kerry, and Walter, who settled in the County of Galway, where his posterity still remain, the destination of the third son is not mentioned. Another account states, that ''Sir David Browne, who was cotemporary with Richard de Burgo, the Red Earl of Ulster, that he died in 1303, and had a son, named Stephen, who settled at Killpatricke?, near Dublin?, from whence, after a time a branch of that house settled at Brownstown?, near Loughrea, and thence branched forth to Athenry? and Galway.'' d2 The principal families of the name at present in the province, are those of Ardskea?, Gloves?, Kilskeagh?, Mounthazle Moyne?, Rockville? and Tuam?, in the County of Galway, and Ballyhowly? and Castlemagarret?, in the County of Mayo.

Arms. Or. an eagle displayed, with two heads, sable. Crest. An eagle's head, erased. e Motto. Fortiter et fideliter.


This family stands highly distinguished in the annals of the kingdom. Its descent is derived from David D'Arcy, (of an eminent family in France which deduces its origin from Charlemagne,) who took his surname from Castle D'Arcie, his chief seat, which lay within thirty miles of Paris. His son, Christopher, having, with a band of his vassals, joined the crusades, died in Palestine, leaving Thomas his heir, whose son, Sir Richard D'Arcy, accompanied William the Conqueror to England, where, after he was settled that monarch enriched him with ample possessions, which some of his posterity still enjoy. f2 From him descended, Sir John D'Arcy, who was high in repute with Edward II. by whom he was appointed justice of Ireland in 1323. He married the Lady Jane Bourke, daughter of Richard, Earl of Ulster, from which marriage are derived all the D'Arcies of this kingdom. g2 The Galway family is immediately descended from James Riveagh D'Arcy, who settled here about the end of the reign of Elizabeth, and, in consequence of his superior abilities and address, rapidly acquired considerable power and influence. From him sprung in a direct line the house of Kiltulla, and the families of Newforest, in the County of Galway, (formerly of Clunuane? in the County of Clare), Gorteen? and Houndswood?, in the County of Mayo.

Arms. Azure, semee of cross crosslets, three cinquefoils, argent. Crest. On a chapeau, gules, doubled ermine, a bull passant, sable, corned, unguled, and furnished, or. Motto. Un Dieu, un Roy.


The first of this name, that settled in Galway, is said to have been William Allen, or Den, who came hither from Bristol in the reign of Henry VI. and was afterwards elected Provost. Members of this family, were amongst the first Mayors and chief Magistrates of the Town. h

Arms. Azure, three wings, two and one, argent. Crest. A demi lion rampant, azure. Motto. Arte vel marte.

Ffonte, or De Fuente

This family settled in Galway in the beginning of the fifteenth century, they sprung from an ancient English family of Leicestershire, and, are said, to have been established in Athenry?, in the County of Galway, as early as the reign of King John. i2 The name is now nearly extinct. Geoffry Ffont, who died near Galway, in 1814, aged 105 years, is supposed to have been the last survivor of the Galway branch of this family.

Arms. Argent, semee of cross crosslets, a lion rampant, sable. Crest. A demi lion rampant. Motto. [ ]


This family is descended from Sir Maximilian Ffrench, the first of the name, whose descendants accompanied their kinsman, William the Conqueror, into England. j2 Their original place of settlement in Ireland, together with many other English and Anglo-Norman adventurers, was the County of Wexford; k2 from whence, in process of time, they gradually spread throughout the other parts of the kingdom. Two families of the name settled at different periods in Galway, the first, with Walter French, in the reign of Hen. VI. about the year 1425, and the other, with Henry Begg Ffrench, in the reign of Elizabeth; since which time, they have ranked amongst the most considerable in the Province. The family of Castle Ffrench?, near Ahascragh?, in the County of Galway, was raised to the dignity of the Peerage, in the year 1798. The Right Honorable Charles Baron Ffrench, of Castle Ffrench? is the present Lord. The other branches of this respectable name, are those of Ballinahalla, now of Beagh?, Carrorea?, Elmhill?, Ffrenchgrove?, Monivea?, Portcarn, Rahasane and Tyrone in the County of Galway, Ballykeneave and Culliane in the County of Mayo, and Foxborough?, Frenchpark?, Port, Rocksavage and Snipehill, in the County of Roscommon l2

Arms. Ermine, a chevron, sable. Crest. A Dolphin, embowed, upon rocks, proper. m2 Motto. One heart, one mind.

Joyes or Joyce

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 his 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 for which they were formerly tributary to the O'Flaherties. n2 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. o2 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. p2 Motto. Mors aut honorabilis vita.


This name and family are Irish, and the heralds have gone very far back indeed to deduce their origin. They tell us, that Maoldabhreac, son of Fiobhrann, son of Finghin, descended from Heremon, second son of Milesius, was father of Ciorrovan or Kirrovan, from whom the Kirwans are descended. q2 They appear to have settled in Galway, in the reign of Henry VI. about which time, the name first occurs in its modern form, mention being then made of William Kirwan and his children. Some think them much more ancient, supposing them to be the family of Kirwicke, already enumerated amongst the more early inhabitants of the town; r2 and this supposition is very probable, as the orthography of the name has undergone various changes, viz. O'Quirivan, Kyrvan, Kerovan, Kirevane, c. but it is now generally written Kirwan. To this name and family, Ireland is indebted for two individuals, of the first order of genius, men whose splendid talents have raised their native country to a most elevated point in the scale of literature and science; by those the reader may easily anticipate, are meant the celebrated Dean Kirwan, and his distinguished relative and friend, the late Richard Kirwan, Esq. of Cregg?; the former, acknowledged to have been the first christian orator of his day, and the latter, one of the greatest philosophers of the age in which he lived. Biographical accounts of these eminent men, will be found in another part of this volume. The families of Blindwell, Castlehackett, s2 Cregg, t2 Gardenfield, Glan, Hillsbrook and Woodfield?, in the County of Galway; and Dalgin?, in the County of Mayo, are the principal of the name.

Arms. Argent, a chevron, between three shelldrakes, sable, beaked and legged, gules. Crest. A shelldrake close, sable, beaked and legged. gules. Motto. J' aim mon Dieu, mon Roi et mon Pais. u2


This is one of the most ancient, and, until the middle of the seventeenth century, was one of the most leading families in Galway. In the old volume of pedigrees, preserved in the Heralds office, it appears, that, ''William le Petit, came to Ireland, in 1185, with Sir Hugh de Lacy, who granted him, by his charter, Macherithirnar, c. (now the barony of Macherydernan?, in the County of Westmeath,) except the Logh and Town of Dysart?; that they were palatine barons of Molingare?, and that William le Petit, had a son, Nicholas, v2 who was ancestor to the family of Lynch of Galway. w William, (or according to other accounts,) John de Lynch, was the first settled of the name in Galway, he was married to the daughter and sole heiress of William de Mareschall, and, it is stated, that the eldest branch of the family, was called Mareschall, until the male line became extinct. During the greatest part of the 15, 16 and 17th centuries, they possessed the principal authority within the town. Dominick Lynch Fitz John, commonly called Dominick dubh, in 1484 solicited and procured the charter of Richard III. under which he caused his blother, Pierce, to be elected first Mayor, and was himself the second. His son Stephen, at the same time, sued out and obtained the bull of Innocent VIII. which established here that singular ecclesiastical jurisdiction, the wardenship. Thomas Lynch Fitz Ambrose was the last catholic mayor in 1654, when the ancient inhabitants were dispossessed by Cromwell; and during a period of 169 years, 84 members of this family, were mayors of Galway. The eldest line of the Lynches from which the younger branches sprung, was distinguished by the appelation of Cranmore, which means, the great tree or stock; and the house of Newcastle, descended from Emon-a-Tuane, who lived in 1342, claimed this distinction. The present lineal descendants of this family, are, the Count Lynch late Mayor of Bourdeaux, (who so eminently distinguished himself in the cause of the royal family of France, against Buonaparte,) and his relative, John Lynch Alexander, Esq. of Galway. The respectable families of Barna?, Cartron?, Clough?, Drimcong?, Lavally?, Lydican?, Moycullen?, Rathglass?, and Shannonbridge?, in the County of Galway, Duras? in the County of Clare, and Ballycurren?, Castlecarra? or Ball?, Clogher? and Partry? in the County of Mayo, are now the principal of the name.

Arms. Azure, a chevron, between three trefoils, slipped, or. Crest. A Lynx, passant, argent. Motto. Semper fidelis.


This family is of early origin in Galway. Their pedigree relates, that Oliver Martin was the first of the name, that settled in Ireland, that he was a follower of Strongbow, and that the name was derived from Martius, warlike. Some antiquaries, however, are of opinion, that they were of ancient Irish descent. O'Brien and Vallancey, say, "they are derived from the belgian firbolg, or Martini, Ir. Mairtinigh, respectable remains of which still subsist, in the Cities of Limerick and Galway." Richard Martin of Dangan or Ballinehinch Castle, Esq. is descended from the eldest branch of this family, and the houses of Curraghmore?, Ross?, Spiddle? and Tullyra? x2 are numbered amongst the most respectable in this Province. y

Arms. Azure,a calvary cross, on five degrees argent, between the sun in splendor, on the dexter limb, and the moon in crescent, on the sinister. or. z2 Crest. An etoile wavy, of six points. or. Motto. Auxilium meum a Domino.


This family first settled in Galway, in 1485, the name was then written Mares, it was afterwards changed to Morech,a3 and finally assumed its present form. Nothing particular occurs on record relating to this family. except that several of its members served the offices of Mayor and Sheriffs, and were otherwise active and distinguished in the affairs of the former corporation. Their descendants reside at present, in the town, and at Spiddle?, in the County of Galway.

Arms. Or. a fess dauncettie, a lion rampant, in base, sable. Crest. A lion's head, erased, argent, guttee de sang. Motto. Si Deus nobiscum quis contra nos.


This old and respectable family is of considerable antiquity in Galway, the name was originally Huscared; and they derive their origin from a noble English family, one of whom, Roger Huscared, is mentioned by Dugdale, as a judge, at a very early period. Robert Huscared, or Scared, held lands in Connaught, under Richard de Burgo, in 1242. In the registry of the monastery of Athenry?, Walter Huscared and Johanna his wife, are mentioned amongst the principal benefactors of that foundation, and Richard Scared or Skeret, who is supposed to have been their son, was Provost of Galway, in 1378. To him belonged, the estate of Ardfry?, in Mearuidhe, and other lands about Clare-yn-dowl, now Clare Galway? to the friars minors; of which convent, he bestowed a piece of ground, on which, part of their monastery was built. Some of these lands are held by his descendants to this day. The principal branches of this name, at present, are those of Ballinduff, b3 Carnacrow, Drumgriflin and Nutgrove in the County of Galway and Finvarra? and Funchien? in the County of Clare.

Arms. Vert, a chevron, or, between two squirrels, counter sejant, in chief, and one in base, proper. Crest. A squirrel, sejant, proper. c3 Motto. Primus ultimusque in acie.

From the foregoing brief notices of the descent and origin of the principal families of Galway, the reader may be enabled to form an adequate idea of their rank and antiquity; but another, and perhaps more important feature in their character, yet remains to be developed. From the earliest period, they were celebrated for commerce, and for many centuries were classed amongst the most considerable merchants of Europe. Their wealth was consequently great, and the ample landed properties, which hey gradually acquired by purchase, from the native Irish, throughout the Province of Connaught, are now enjoyed by their numerous and opulent posterity. During the earlier periods of their career, they carefully avoided all connexion with their surrounding neighbours; d3 in consequence of which, added to the circumstance of the town being so remotely situated from the civilised parts of the kingdom, the inhabitants were necessarily obliged to intermarry amongst themselves, and in progress of time, their degrees of kindred so much increased that they became, as it were, one family, and in many instances, it was a difficult matter to effect a marriage amongst them, without an ecclesiastical dispensation, a circumstance, which in some cases, is still known to occur. As civilization, however, increased throughout the country, when the channels of communication were gradually opened, and intercourse became more general, and was less attended with danger, the natives of Galway extended their connexions, and their names now appear inrolled in some of the most respectable pedigres of Ireland, amongst whom may be ranked, the noble houses of O'Neil, Ormond and Clanricarde, with many others of considerable rank, property and influence in the kingdom.

Besides the names already enumerated, there are many other families, who, though not similarly distinguished, were equally ancient and respectable, as well from length of residence in the town, as through alliance with the other inhabitants, by whom they were gradually affiliated, and finally considered, without any distinction, as members of the same body. Of these families, the principal were, Barrett e3 Bermingham, Burke, Butler, Crean, Fallon, Lambert, Nolan, f3 Port, Quin and Tully. The Coleman family g3 is also recorded, at an early period; and particular mention is made of Edmond Coleman, from whom one of the Blake family, is said to have acquired the ancient castle and estate of Menlo?. The name of Craddock occurs early in the fifteenth century, the Moores, h3 Beggs, Sempers h3 and Tierneys, were also old natives of Galway; and many of the descendants of these different families, still reside in the town and its vicinity.

Having thus far treated of the names and origin of the former inhabitants of Galway, their manners and characters next claim attention; and of these, the reader will be presented with the most satisfactory testimonies. Respectably descended, the citizens always preserved a due respect for their own dignity; and from the earliest period, ranked with the first orders of the community. Learning and science, were received and cherished, within the town, during periods, wherein the rest of the kingdom, with very few exceptions, was immersed in the most profound ignorance; and, in the reign of Elizabeth, we find the accomplished and celebrated Sir Henry Sidney, (who was then Lord Deputy of the kingdom, and who often visited Galway,) declaring, j3 that for urbanity and elegance of manners, the inhabitants equalled those of the most refined community; and, that like the people of Marseilles, in France, they contracted no stain from their rude and unpolished neighbours. h3 Sir William Pelham, Lord Justice of Ireland, who arrived in Galway, in 1579, states, that, "the townsmen and wemmen, present a more civil show of life, than other townes in Ireland do;" l3 and, in Sir Oliver St. John's description of Connaught, in 1614, they are thus described, "the merchants are rich, and great adventurers at the sea; their commonaltie is composed of the descendants of the ancient English families of the towne, and rarelie admit any new English amonge them, and never any of the Irish; they keep good hospitalitie, and are kind to strangers, and in theire manner of entertainment, and in fashinninge, and apparallinge themselves and theire wives, do most preserve the ancient manner and state, as much as any towne that ever I sawe." m3 These are the highly respectable descriptions, given by the first characters then in the kingdom, of the former inhabitants of Galway; as to their actions, together with those of their descendants, their public spirit, wealth and independance, and the persecutions and sufferings, under which they long afterwards laboured, they will be found fully detailed in the subsequent parts of this work; to which, for the present, the reader is referred, this being considered the most convenient place to describe the former state and topography of the town.

In the year 1610, Speed, the celebrated English antiquary, visited Galway; and his description of the place, suffiently indicates its then importance. "The principal city," says this accurate writer, "of this province, and that, which may worthily be accounted the third in Ireland, is Galway, in Irish Gallive, built in manner much like to a tower; it is dignified with a Bishop's See,' n3 and is much frequented with merchants; by reason whereof, and of the benefit of the road and haven, it is gainful to the inhabitants, through traffick and exchange of rich commodities, both by sea and land." o3 About the same time, Heylin, the historian, describes Galway as the third city of the kingdom for extent and beauty; and relates and anecdote, worthy of his own words, "Galloway, a noted Emporie, and lately of so great fame with foreign merchants, that an outlandish merchant, meeting with an Irishman, demanded in what part of Galloway Ireland stood; as if Galloway had been the name of the Island, and Ireland only the name of some town." But the most particular and interesting account, at this period, is that contained in the description of Connaught, by Sir Oliver St. John, in 1614, before alluded to: he states, "the Province of Connaught hath only two corporations, the antient monuments, of the English conquerors, and inhabited only by English families and surnames; the one is Galway, a walled towne and port of the sea, latelie made a Countie, and governed by a Maior and two Sheriffs. The towne is small, but all is faire and statelie buildings, the fronts of the houses (towards the streets) are all of hewed stone, uppe to the top, tarnished with faire battlement, in an uniform course, as if the whole towne had been built uppon one modle. It is built uppon a rock, invironed almost with the sea, and the river; compassed with a strong walle, and good defences after the ancient manner, such as with a reasonable garrison, may defende itselfe against an enemie." p3

Such are the accounts given of Galway, upwards of 200 years ago, by visitors and strangers, who were eye witnesses of the state of the town, and described it as it appeared to them at the time; but the enthusiasm of the old inhabitants, when mentioning their native place, their ancient pride and boast, and the source and centre of all their wealth, happiness and connexions, was almost boundless; one of these, after giving a short description of the town, bursts forth into the following exclamation: -- and, as Jerusalem seemed to the Prophet Jeremiah, the princess among provinces, the beauty of Israel; so, thou, O Galway, dost to me appear, of most perfect beauty; q3 nor will the reader be surprised at this, when he hears the following description of the town, given even at a subsequent period, by Henry Cromwell and the Privy Council of Ireland: "we may be bold to say, that for the situation thereof, voisinage and commerce it hath, with Spaine, the Strayts, West Indies and other places; noe towne or port in the three nations (London excepted) was more considerable, nor, in all probability would more encourage trade abroad, or manufactures at home, than this, if well improved." r3 The increase, improvement and continual additions of strength to the town, by the erection of several strong bulwarks and fortifications, for nearly half the seventeenth century, and, particularly, during the civil wars of 1641, will be found described in their proper places. The reader is here presented with a complete and curious delineation of the place, as it appeared in its most perfect condition, after these improvements were made, formed under the following peculiar and interesting circumstances, and which will, for ever, remain an indelible memorial of the former fiourishing state of this once considerable town.

In the year 1651 the Marquis of Clanricarde, then Lord Deputy of the kingdom, entered into a treaty with the Duke of Lorrain, to obtain twenty thousands pounds for the King's service in Ireland; for this sum, he agreed to give the City of Limerick and town of Galway as security; and directed his Commissioners, Lord Viscount Taaffe, Sir Nicholas Plunket and Geoffry Browne, Esquire, "particularly to describe unto the Duke, the value of the security, the strength and situation of the places and the goodness and conveniency of the harbours, c." s3 for this purpose, a map of the town was made, which, after the restoration, (when the antient inhabitants were restored, by the Crown, to their freedoms and estates,) was finished blazoned and described by the Rev. Henry Joyce, then warden; and afterwards elegantly engraved, at the expense of the Corporation, and dedicated to King Charles II.

Description of the old Map of Galway.

This curious document, of which there are but two copies now known, with certainty, to be extant, t3 is composed of nine separate sheets, and is six feet six inches broad, and four feet six inches high; it is surrounded by a border, four inches deep, the top margin is headed by the following inscription

Old Map of Galway

1. PRELUDIUM OPERIS -- Heri, Hodie et in Secula. 2. TOTIUS LABORIS OBLATIO. -- Domino consecratur monarchia -- it contains four circular equestrian engravings of Charles II, one, in each corner, and the two others, at equal distances. -- Round the first is the inscription, Carolo II. Dei gratia, magnae Britaniae Regnorum et Franciae , Regi: -- round the second, Carolo II. Dei gratia, majoris Scotiae , regnorum et Hibernorum omnium, regi: -- round the third, Carolo II. Dei gratia, locorum seu regionum quarumdam, in mundo et meridie regi: and round the fourth, Carolus II. Dei gratia, Angliae, Scotiae, Franciae et Hiberniae, Rex.

On the first sheet, in the top margin, between the first and second effigies of Charles II. are engraved the armorial bearings, 1. of England and the Saxons, Angliae et Saxonum; 2. of Scotland, Scotiae minors et albanorum,; 3. of Wales and the Britons, Walsiae et Britanorum, and 4. of France, Franciae et Gallorum; and between them these words, FUIT, de transactis seculis, tempore elapso, prepositio. -- EST. de currente seculo, momento presenti, demonstratio. -- ERIT. de futuris, et hora novissima, demonstratio. CONDITIO RELIGIOQUE -- Analogie seu similitudines, quibus, locorum qualitates, hominumque devotio et regia majestas dignoscuntur. -- between the first and second arms there are also these words, sicut cinamonum et balsamum, aromatizans odorem dedit. -- between the second and third, Quasi libanus incisus vaporavit habitationem suam -- and between the third and fourth, Quai myrrha electa dabit suavitatem odoris.

On the second sheet, in the top margin, between the second and third effigies of Charles II. are engraved the armorial bearings, 1. of Munster, Momoniae, 2. of Connaught, Conatiae, 3. of Meath, Midiae, 4. of Leinster, Lageniae, and 5, of Ulster, Ultoniae , and between them, the words, FUIT, EST, ERIT. -- Conditio religioque. -- between the first and second, these words, Quasi platanus exaltata juxta aquam -- between the second and third, Quasi terebinthus extendens ramos suos; between the third and fourth, Quasi palma exaltata in Cades; and between the fourth and fifth, Quasi cedrus exaltata in Libano, et quasi cypressus in monte Sion.

On the third sheet, in the top margin, between the third and fourth effigies of Charles II. are engraved four shields, without arms; under the first, this inscription, No' septentrionalis et austrdis, Walsiae, novae Brittaniae, Angliae, Scotiae et York; under the second, Marilandiae, Caroline, Virginiae et Jamaice; under the third, Bermude, Barbade, Montsarret et Sancti Christofori; and under the fourth, Gkineae et Tankeriae, c. -- Between the first and second, these words, Quasi plantatio rosae in Jericho; between the second and third, Quasi lilium inter spinas; and between the third and fourth, Quasi lilium germinans germinabit, et laetabuntur deserta et invia.

In the right and left margins of the map, are contained the armorial bearings, but without names, of twenty-four distinguished families, connected with and allied to those of Galway, with the following inscription at each side; Scuta sequentia sunt insignia quorundam ex multis Hiberniae nobilium, principum et clarissimorum virorum, qui, aliquo consanguinitatis vel affinitatis seu quovis alio necessitudinis vinculo, astricti sunt Galviensibus.

The bottom margin is divided into five compartments, in the first, are contained the armorial bearings of the families of Bareth, Bermingham, Burke, Butler, Crena and Penreice, with this inscription underneath:

Aspice conspicuos, quos Galvia justa, recepit,

Hinc illi nomen civis et omen, habent. u

In the second, the armorial bearings of the families of Deane, Joyce, Martine and Skereth, with this inscription over, Antiqua quorumdam Galviae stirpium insignia, and the following underneath:

Haec sunt quorumdam praeclara insignia Galvae,

Antiqua, obsequio facta serene tuo. v

In the third, the armorial bearings of the families of Athey, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, Deane, Dorsie, Fonte, Frinch, Joyce, Kirowan, Linche, Martine, Morech and Skereth, with the following verses underneath:

Septem ornant montes Romam, septem ostia Nilum,

Tot rutilis stellis splendet in axe Polus.

Galvia, Polo Niloque bis aequas, Roma Conachtae;

Bis septem illustres, has colit illa tribus.

Bis urbis septem defendunt moenia turres;

Intus, et ex duro est marmore quoeque domus;

Bis septem portae sunt, castra et culmina circum:

Per totidem pontûm permeat unda vias.

Principe bis septem fulgent altaria templo,

Qucevis patronae est ara dictata suo

Et septem, sacrata Deo, caenobia patrum,

Faeminei et sexus, tot pia tecea tenet. w3

In the fourth, four several armorial bearings of the Lynch family, headed with the inscription, Diversae familiae Lynchaeorum, a prima origine propagatae, and followed by this distich:

Hic Lynchaeorum bene prima ab origine notas,

Diversas stirpes nobilis ecce domus. x3
And in the fifth, the armorial bearings of the families of Fallone, Labarth, Nolan, Quinne, Tully and Porte, with the following inscription. underwritten:
Conscripti cives hi gaudent legibus urbis,

Quos falcit et fratres connubialis amor. y3
Having finished the margins, the body of the map next claims attention. -- The words, Carolus Rex, appear on the top of each of the three upper sheets, under which follows the title of the map, in large capitals, Urbis Galvice, totius Conatiae in regno Hiberniae, clarissimae metropolis, et emporii celeberrimi, delineatio historica. z3 On one side are depicted the arms of Ireland, viz. those of the five provinces, Meath being in the centre. blazoned on the shield, supported by two figures, under one of which, is subscribed, Intellectus, and under the other, Veritas, and the following words underneath, Scotiae majoris, vulgo Hiberniae regnorum, insignia. In the centre of the middle sheet, are the arms of England, with this inscription under, Augustissimo faustissimoque suo principi, Carolo II, Dei gratia, Angliae, Scotiae, Franciae et Hiberniae regi, serenissimo, c. ab adictissimo sue majestatis cliente, R.D.H.I. istius urbis cive et pastore, oblata; civitatem et se, suaque omnia, in, vel extra urbem, D.O.M. et SSe S Mti aeterno voto consccrat dedicatque.

On one side are the following verses:

Terra, fretum, populi, queque aspicis undique late,

Sunt tibi, sint generi, Carole, fida tuo. a4

And on the other,

Plus ultra tibi, quam tabule, vel continet orbis,

Que spheram superant suspice, nosce. b4

Next to these are the arms of Scotland, supported by two figures, under one of which is inscribed, Constantia, and under the other, Patientia; with the following words, Albaniae regni, vulgo minoris sive junioris Scotiae, insignia.

Under the arms of England are the modern arms of Galway, an antique gally, with this inscription over it, Laudatio ejus manet in seculum seculi; and the following under:

Galvia, quam colimus vestra est, jam respice pictam;

Nos quoque sacramus nostraque nos tibi. c4

To the right of these, are placed the most ancient arms of the town, with these words over them, Initium sapientice timor Domini; and underneath these verses:

Prima tuis proavis dedimus primordia nostre

Urbis et infantes nosque, serene tibi d4

And to the left, are the more recent arms of the town, with these words over, Intellectus bonus omnibus facientibus eum ; and beneath them these verses,

Flosque juventutis sub te crescentis abunde,

Est tuus, atque status, tempora, jara, bona.

There are two tables of reference to the map, f4 THE FIRST, by seventyseven figures and several letters, to all matters within the town; with this title, Elenchus, quo notanda quoedam annexa et intra urbem, hoc iconismo depicta, cito perspiciuntur; and underneath this inscription, Galvia quoe aedificatur, ut civitas cujus participatio ejus in idipsum.

THE SECOND, a reference to all matters outside the walls, divided into east and west, one by fifty, the other by forty-nine figures, and entitled, Synopsis qua res circa civitatem in hac deliniatione descriptae, digito demonstrantur, and the entire concludes with these words,

Illuc enim ascenderunt tribus, tribus domini,

Testimonium Israle , ad aonfitendum nomen domini.
From the delineation just concluded, and the description already given, a tolerably accurate idea may be formed of the former opulent state and magnificence of Galway; adorned with superb and highly decorated buildings and surrounded by every requisite for security and defence, which either art could suggest or wealth command, it was universally acknowledged to be the most perfect city in the kingdom: while its rich inhabitants stood conspicuously distinguished for their commercial pursuits, public zeal, and high independence of spirit, all of which will be found exemplified, in the most satisfactory manner, throughout the following pages.

But these facts, however well authenticated, must appear extraordinary to those now acquainted with the town, and when contrasted with its present very different state and appearance, it would not be at all surprising if they should be pronounced as altogether incredible. The lofty walls, castles, edifices and towers, once its pride and ornament, are long since crumbled into dust, the much boasted spirit of enterprize and independance of its former inhabitants, lie dead or dormant in their descendants, and nothing now remains to mark their former grandeur, but the spacious ruins and remnants of a few splendid mansions, which serve but to keep alive the melancholy remembrance of what their founders once had been. The causes of these revolutions and decay will be more properly explained in another place, the reader will therefore, for the present, have to return to an earlier era, in order to trace the gradual progress of the town, from its commencement, to the period and state in which it has been already displayed; and to follow it from thence, through all its various vicissitudes and changes, to the present day.



"And lastly the Gauls, pouring out of Gallia itself, from all the sea coast of Belgia and Celtica, into all the southern coasts of Ireland, which they possessed and inhabited, whereupon it is, at this day, amongst the Irish, a common use to call any stranger inhabitant Gald, thas is, decended from the Gauls." --- Spencer. Thus Dunagall, the fortress of the Gauls; Dubh-Gall black foreigners; Fingall, near Dublin, so named from the Danes, or white foreigners, who were generally fair or red haired; Gall-Ogla signifies an English yeoman, Spencer; --- and Dermott Mac Murrough, who brought in the English, was surnamed Ni-Gall, as being their friend --- Ware


Flumen Galviam, urbem nomini suo adoptasse videtur, sed nominis rationem venentur alii. -- Ware


His words are, "It borrows its name from the river that slides by it, for it was anciently callled 'Dunebun-na-Gaillve', that is Dune of Gaillves mouth; for the river was called Gaillve; and Dunne, amongst the ancient Gauls, Welch, signifying a fortified place or town, the same as the Saxon word Borough -- thus Dunedin was called Edinborough." -- Lynch MS.


Galvia aliis Galliva, anglicè Galway, Hibernicè Gaillibh i.e. locus anglorum apposite sic dictus, quia a Colonis ex anglia in conaciam profectis, aedificatus circa anum Christi 1300 --- Hib. Dom. p 322. --- In this curious work there is abundance of original and interesting information; but there are, at the same time, many anachronisms, and other errors, which should be carefully avoided.


To illustrate this, he instances the Syriack Galmitha, and the Chaldaick Galmodh, durus silex, figurative, pro Sterilitate, Solitudine.


Essay on the primative inhabitants of Great Britain and Ireland.


The chief of Muintir Murchada, with the consent of Cathal, king of Connaught, made a present of the town of Lismacuan, in Clonferg, to the abbot and convent of Knockmoy. --- Ogyg. --- Clonferg, or Clanfirgail lay on the east side of Loughorbsen, or Corrib; it consisted of 24 villages, in which Galway, Clare and Roscam are now situate, and was the lordship or dominion of the O'Hallorans, until after the arrival of Henry II.

i. Such catastrophes as that related on this occasion, where, if true, anciently very common, and were frequently assigned, by vague tradition, as giving names to celebrated places, which were adopted by ignorant or indolent chroniclers without further examination --- thus, in the annals of Dublin, we are told, that the City took the name of Auliana, from the daughter of Alpinus, who was drowned in the Liffey; that was changed by Ptolemy into Eblana, and afterwards corrupted into Dublana, that she might be held in remembrance!
k. To open a communication between Killalla and Galway, by means of the Moy, Loughmask, and Loughcorrib, was one of the practicable projects of those who were employed to survey the navigable rivers of Ireland in the early part of the eighteenth century, and, if carried into effect, would have porved a most important addition to the internal navigation of this country. They also intended to make the Colgan navibable, or extend its navigation from Galway to the Shannon. Lough Corrib might be easily rendered of extremely important advantage to this part of the kingdom; it spreads its waters over 50700 acres, and disembogues its surplus into the bay, from which it is but 3 miles distant. -- Newenham. Had these great national plans been executed at the time they were projected, Galway might now, notwithstanding the many political disabilities under which it has since laboured, be one of the most considerable mercantile towns in the kingdom, instead of which, it remains, with all its natural advantages, a melancholy monunment of the sad effects of bigotry, prejudice and persecution.
l. O'Flaherty, after combating the assertions of Ptolemy as to the tribes summed up by him, says, that the river was never known by the name of Ausoba, or Ausona, but the name Gallimh, "from which," he adds, Galway, a celebrated town, the capital of Connaught, situate at the mouth of it, has taken its name" --- Ogyg.
m. Windy or stormy bay, or river, from "Abhan" a river, and "Sidheath or Sighe," a blast of wind. --- O'Brien. --- Although there can be doubt, but that the bay of Galway was the Ausoba of Ptolemy, there are many reasons against supposing it to have been the Abhansidhe of the Irish, and particularly if the ancient meaning of this compound word be correctly understood: for, so far from the bay being more exposed than others to wind or storms, as the name would sem to imply, it is, perhaps, the best sheltered and most secure of any other on the extensive coast of the west of Ireland.
n. Several of these names are still to be found here, viz. Athy, Ffarty, Ffrihin, Killery, Kerwick, (if, as supposed, it be the same as Kirwan,) and White; but the remainder are long since extinct.
o. Sir Henry Branegan was warden in 1497.
p. 1375, August 16, the Lord Justice of Ireland, being at Limeryk, constituted Clemens Laveragh and John Baudekyn, clerks to inquire and determine concerning a certain transgression on Nicholas Calf, buress of Galvy, by Thomas Martyn; and also to take assize of novel desseizen, which said Nicholas araied against said Thomas and Margaret his wife, concerning tenements in Galvy. --- Rot. Pat. 49 Edw. III..
q. James Develin was portreve of Galway in 1431; he is the last of the name on record. This family was succeded by that of D'Arcy.
r. Thomas Laghles and Thomas le Botillor, where constables of Connaught, in 1285 --- Rot. Pip. 15 Berm. Tur.

This ancient family, which is long extinct, was descended from Rise, on of the Welch princes, after whom they were called Rhesi, Risi, or Ap-en-Rise. Their sepulchre, util lately, remaining in the church of the friars-minors of Galway, pointed out their former consequence. Particular mention is made of Thomas Ap-en-Rise, and his wife, Eleanor, before the year 1280. Stephen Penrise was provost of the town in 1313, he was afterwards bailiff and collector of the new customs, and died 1383. Thomas Penrise, who lived until about the end of the fourteenth century, was the last male heir of his family; he was succeded by Joan Penrise, who intermarried with Stephen Lynch Fitz-Thomas, of Bridge Gate. --- Molynewx Col.


This, as well as the last family, was from Wales. In the account of the County of Connaught, from 1279 to 1281, by Henry de Rupe (Roche,) then sheriff, it appears that the king's peace was granted to Howel, son of Crannow le Waleis. --- Rot. Pip. 9 B. T. There are strong reasons to conclude that a colony from Wales settled in this part of Ireland about the end of the reign of Henry III. many original Welch names frequently occur in old records about, and long after, that period, viz. Brechnocke , Llewellyn, Howel, and several others. --- Vide the rolls in Berm. Tower, passim. .


Nicholas White was provots of the town in 1347. --- Rot. Placit Edw. III. B. T.


According to those who include the ancient name of Deane, there were fourteen families, it is accordingly inserted in the accounds above given, and is also found in the following verse: Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Deane, Darcy, Lynch, Joyes, Kirwan, Martin, Morris, Skerrett, French.


Caddell seems to have been the original name, and it continued indiscriminately in use with the other for many centuries. On 20th January, 1564, Nicholas Blake alias Caddell, of Ballymacro, died. Nicholas Caddell, alias Blake, of Galway, merchant, died in January, 1620, siezed of Kilturroge, (mortgaged to David Bodkin,) Kiltullagh, and several houses and lands in and about Athenry.


Finglas Breviate -- te following entry of his appointment has been lately found: --- Mem. that on the 21st October 31 Edw. I. Richard Blake was appointed Sheriff of Connaught, by letters patent of this exchequer, which the treasurer and barons believed to Richard de Bermingham, late sheriff of the said County, to be brought to Connaught, and delivered to the said Richard Blake; afterwards on the 14th day of November, came here, the said Richard, and was duly sworn, &c. --- Rot. de eod. anno.


In a curious MS. collection of genealogies, written principally in Irish, but, in some instances in English, transcribed in Irish character, and now in the possession of the author, there are a few interesting details of some of the Galway names, which have been abstracted for this work. --- Of the Bodkin family, it appears, that the name was originally Poiticin; but no clue is given, which might lead to its meaning or derivation. They are then stated to have descended, "from the true stock of Maurice FitzGerald, who was lineally decended from Otho, a noble prince of Italy. --- That Leo, the first who took the surname of Poiticin, (which he did in consequence of a misunderstanding with his nephew, Maurice FitzGerald, who intermarried with Agnes, the daughter of Richard Mor, Prince of Wales, then Governor of the castle of Pembroke,) was sone of Walter, who was great grandson of Otho, an Italian nobleman, from whom decended the the most honorable family of the FitzGeralds of Desmond and Kildare, and the FitzGeralds of Ireland in general, as our ancient and authentic annals give account." --- Augustinus Poiticin, the sone of Leo, intermarried with Anne, daughter and co-heiress of Sir Rober Lawellin, alias Dewellin; (which family is originally descended from Diwillin, who as proprietor of Kiltullach, Doughase and medan, anno 1270,) whose son, John Poiticin, or Bodkin intermarried with Caitilin, daughter of Maurice Lynch, the son of John, from whom descended, Sir Henry Lynch, and many other noblemen of that name. --- Andrew More Bodkin, intermarried with Margaret, daughter of Sir William Burc of Anach-caoin, whose son, John Mor Bodkin, intermarried with Caitilin, daughter of John Mor Darcy of Partry, by Anne, daughter of O'Flaherty, whose son, Austin Bodkin, intermarried with Celia, daughter of Sir Geoffry Browne of Galway, whose son John Mor Bodkin, intermarried with Mary, daughter of Geogory French, whose son Leo Bodkin, intermarried with Caitilin, daughter of Thomas Lynche, Lord of Ballygarrain, whose son, Marcu Bodkin, intermarried with Caitilin, daughter of Rober Mor Blake of Ardfry, whose son Andrew Bodkin, intermarried with Elis, daughter and co-heiress of John Dathi, (Athy,) lineally descended of the true stock of Daithi mac Fiochrach, from whom are also sprung O'Seachnasy of Gort, and many other nobles, not here mentioned. --- John Mor Bodkin, his son, had by Anna French, daughter of Geoffry French ...[not finished]

j3. Lynch in vita Kirivani.
k3. Formerly Missilia, an ancient and renowned City of Provence in France, inhabited by a colony of Phaenicians, who, flying from the Persian yoke, settled there, and for many ages afterwards retained their own manners, customs and laws, cultivated the arts and sciences, and were particularly distinguished for learning and philosophy, though surrounded by many barbarous nations. In these latter particulars, no comparison could be more exactly just, than that between this celebrated people and the former inhabitants of Galway.
l3. Lambeth MS.
m3. Id

By this he meant the wardenship, whose possessions, dignity and extent of jurisdiction, formerly equalled those of some episcopal sees.


Speed's Theatre of the World, Edit. 1611. To this description he has added a curious map of the town, accurately drawn by himself, of which there is here given an exact engraving.


Lambeth MS.


Lynch, (author of Cambrensis eversus,) invita Kirovani.


Council Book, A. 30. page 255, 7th April 1657.


Clanricarde's Memoirs, London 1757, fol

t3. One, in perfect preservation, in the MS. Lib. Trin. Col. Dublin, and the other in the possession of Dominick Geoffry Browne, of Castlemagaret, County Mayo, Esq. descendant of the above named Geoffry Browne, one of the Commissioners to the Duke of Lorrain. -- De Burgo in his supplement, says, that he saw another of these maps, in the College of St. Isidore, in Rome.
w3. Rome boasts sev'n hills, the Nile its sev'n-fold stream,
Around the pole sev'n radiant planets gleam;
Galway, Conation Rome, twice equals these;
She boasts twice sev'n illustrious families;
Twice sev'n high tow'rs defend her lofty walls,
And polished marble decks her splendid halls;
Twice sev'n her massive gates, o'er which arise
Twice sev'n strong castles tow'ring to the skies;
Twice sev'n her bridges, thro' whos arches flow
The silv'ry tides majestically s'ow;
Her ample Church with twice sev'n alters flames,
An heavenly patron every alter claims;
While twice sev'n convents pious anthems raise,
(Sev'n for each sex,) to sound Jehovah's praise.
x3. From one proud stock, for ages known to fame,
These different branches of the Lynches came.
y3. Our common rights, these, late enfranchised, prove,
And claim a kindred thro' connubial love.
z3. An historical delineation of the town of Galway, the most renowned metropolis, and celebrated emporium of all Connaught, in the kingdom of Ireland.
a4. Earth, seas and tribes, where'er thine eyes can move
To thee, great monarch, constant fealty prove,
And still may these, whate'er thy eyes can trace
Prove endless fealty to they future race.
b4. Turn, prince, towards heav'n, there greater glory gain
Than pictured chart, and all the world contain.
c4. Our city's thine, which pictured here you see,
Ourselves and ours we consecrate to thee.
d4. To thy forefathers, nightly prince and you
We've given our city, 'selves and children too.
e4. Our flow'r of youth, encreasing fast are thing,
And true to thee their rights and wealth resign.

Besides the natural situation of the place there are fourteen fortifications, bulwarks or ramparts, about the walls, and joined to them.

1. The outworks and north fosse, of the middle and southern rampart, of the east bulwark. 2. The north wing or rampart of the east bulwark.
3. The middle rampart, about the old fortification of the great gate.
4. The south wing or rampart about shoemaker's tower.
5. The outworks about lyon's tower.
6. The old fortification before the great gate, called Obir na sparra.
7. The fortification of bulwark, from the inner part of shoemaker's tower, called The Rampir.
8. The old bulwark near the strand, called Can an balla.
9. The place above Martin's mill, called Millen an Martin.
10. Three towers upon the three gates of the bridge.
11. ditto
12. ditto
13. The interior castle for defence of the bridge.
14. The exterior bulwark defending the bridge.

The names of the city gates, which are fourteen in number. The principal is the great gate, which contains six, of which

28. The first, is in the south wing of the east bulwark.
29. The second and third, which are the sides of the old fortification, before the great gate; the forth, is seen on entering, and the iron gate, which is the fifth.
30. The sixth, is that which immediately looks into the city.
31. Upon the bridge there are three, the first, which is the most distant, called in Sparra hier.
32. The second, is the middle gate, with winding leaves.
33. The third, which next approaches the city.
34. The little gate also has three, of which the first is an iron gate, which looks towards the north.
35. The middle gate, which is seen on entrance, and the third, through which is the passage to the city.
36. Two gates towards the shore, of which, one is called the ould key gate.
37. The other, the new strand gate.

There are seven ascents to the walls.

38. The first, is near the little gate, which is not seen except from within.
39. The second and third stairs, are on each side of the great gate.
40. The fourth, is the ascent from Plud-street, called Steire naguinagh.
41. The fifth, is the ascent from the area of the new strand gate.
* The sixth, is near the old quay gate.
42o. Likewise several gardens near Athy's Castle.
43. The seventh, in Alexander's-lane, which is not seen except from within.

44. There are seven vacant spaces to be noticed, the first, the garden hill, near lyon's tower.
45. Several gardens under the middle tower.
46. Several gardens under penrice's tower.
47. Several gardens about the pidgeon-house.
48. The area of the new strand gate.
49 Blake's great garden.

50. The names of the fourteen principal streets, of which the first is the great gate street.
51. The high middle street. 52. The Market street, including Gaol street. 53. The Kea street. 54. Crosse street. 55. Bridge gate street. 56. Lumbard street. 57. North street. 58. Little gate street. 59. Skinner's or Glover's street. 60. A street between two lanes, called Sraid eddir da bogher. 61. New tower street. 62. Pludd street. 63. Earl street, or Sraid Tober and Iarlagh.

64. The fourteen principal lanes, are first Blake's lane. 65. Dark lane, called Boaher Dubh. 66. Bodkin's lane. 67. The poor Clares lane. 68. Upper shoemaker's lane. 69. Lower shoemaker's lane. 70. Fisher's lane. 71. The lan between the two strand gates, called Boaher eddir da Stronda. 72. Martin's mill lane. 73. Kirwan's lane. 74. St. John's lane, called in Gutta 75. The red Earl's lane, called Boaher an Iarlagh. 76. Alexander's lane, commonly called Boaher Isander. 77. Crooked lane, called Boaher Keam.

A. Besides the collegiate church of Saint Nicholas, there are fourteen communities or residences of sacred persons.
B. The college of the Priests and Pastors. C. The community or residence of the Friars Minors. D. The community or residence of Friars Preachers. E. The community or residence of Augustine Preachers. F. The community or residence of Society of Jesus. G. The community or residence of Brothers Carmelites. H. The community or residence of Capuchins. I. The community or residence of Sisters of the rich Clares. K. The community or residence of poor Clares. L. The community or residence of third order of Saint Francis. M. The community or residence of order of Saint Dominick. N. The community or residence of order of Saint Augustine. O. The community or residence of Carmelites P. Various retreats of devout females.

Fourteen remarkable edifices, castles or mansion houses, of the nobility, gentry and citizens of Galway.

Q. The old castle of the most illustrious Lord, Richard De Burgo, the red Earl.
R. Athy's castle, in the north part of the city.
S. Lynch's castle, in the middle of the city.
T. Blake's castle, on the south near the strand.
V. The mansion house, of Sir Robert Lynch, baronet.
W. The mansion house, of Sir Valentine Blake, baronet.
X. The mansion house, of Sir Peter Frinch, knight.
Y. The mansion house, of Sir Richard Blake, knight.
Z. The mansion house, of Sir Dominick Blake, knight.
&c. The mansion house, of Sir Oliver Frinch, knight.
a. The mansion house, of Martin Dorsi, citizen.
b. The mansion house, of Sir Walter Blake, knight.
c. The mansion house, of Antony Ro. Lynch, citizen.
d. The mansion house, of Martin Browne, citizen.

Seven places and stations of monuments, or alters, solemnly built by the clergy, in the streets, for the solemnity and procession of corpus christi.

e. By the Franciscans.
f. By the Capuchins.
g. By the Augustinians.
h. By the Dominicans.
i. By the Carmelites.
k. By the Jesuits.
l. By the Priests of the College of St. Nicholas.

Seven public places, or principal markets, of the city.

m. The market for fresh water fish, before Blake's lane, called The little gate corners.
n. The Shambles.
o. The Cow market or Plud street.
p. The Horse market, near the new strand gate.
q. The market, or fish shambles, before and in the Fsher's lane.
r. The little market for various wares, through the street of this market.
s. The market, where all other wares are promiscuously sold.

There are seven other places and things to be noticed.

t. The old town house, upon the gaol and shambles.
u. The edifice commenced for a town house.
w. The Exchange.
x. The cemetery of the church, with the great tree.
y. St. Nicholas's hospital or poor house.
z. The market and college cross.
&. And old pidgeon house, in the south part of the city.


On the West

1. An explanation of the description of Galway.
2. The arms of the fourteen tribes of Galway.
3. The arms of ten other branches, connected with the families of Galway.
4. The monastery of Saint Dominick.
5. The cemetery of the monestery.
6. Several gardens, 6.a Parks, 6.b Orchards.
7. The place where ships are repaired.
8. St. Mary's hill, called Cnucja in Tampeill Mirea.
9. The south suburbs, 9.d The road to cave hill.
10. St. Marys rivulet, called Sruhan Mirea.
11. Ball's bridge, called Dredha Miall. 11.c Ball's bridge river.
12. Castle jordan, called Meil Costain
13. The middle suburbs, Balle Meanagh.
14. Giant's hill, called Cnuckain na Kgehim.
15. The whirlpool river, with the whirlpool, called Poultuofil.
16. Island altagneach, now the island of Saint Clara.
17. The house of the nuns of St. Clara.
18. The other island altagneach, formerly called goat island.
19. A causeway or passage between the two islands, with the fishing place.
20. The river of Galway, formerly the river Ausoba, now called Pollin Mor.
21. The great cataracts, where salmon are taken up, called Inchora mor.
22. The little cataracts, called Cora na b'maraher, where Eels are taken.
23. Stag island, alias Illain an fhia.
23.b Thady's island, called Inis Teig.
24. The rock, where the woman Galva is said to have been drowned, from which the city of Galway was named.
25. A bathing place, where boys swin, called Srugh millin Shemis khigh.
26. The big bridge, being the only passage from the west to the city: here also salmon are killed with a spear.
27. The fortification for defence of the shipping in the port.
28. The rivulet encompassing the bulwark of the bridge.
29. Place where salmon are fished for with nets.
30. The river falls into the sea.
31. The sea flows into the torrent of the river.
32. The strand where ships are unloaded, called the Kea. 33. The new walk near the strand, called the Exchange.
34. The pile where the new buildings where commenced.
35. The Crow's Rock, called Carrig an Pfreaghan.
36. The promontory of Ruintenain.
37. The bay of Galway.
38. The road.
39. The bay which leads to the port of Ardfry.
40. Cromwell's ships, following the king's subjects to the port of Ardfry.
41. The promontory of Ruinmore.
42. Mutton Island.
43. Hill, called Cnuc a T'dollain.
44. Part of the crane's strand, called Trai an cgoer.
45. Part of the road leading to Blake's hill. 46. The west suburbs called Fahei-beg. 47. Part of the road which leads to St. James's chapel at newcastle, and the strong castle, called in Dangein. 48. The foundation of the west fortifications, where formerly commenced. 49. Part of the road which leads to the castle of Rahune.

On the East

1. The title of the city of Galway. 2. The monastery of St Augustin, surrounded by the fort. 3. Saint Augustin's well, on the south side of the hill. 4. Saint Augustin's hill. 5. Saint Bridget's hill, on the right and left of the high way. 6. Saint Bridget's chapel. 7. The house of lepers, under the title of St. Bridget. 8. The house of Capuchins. 9. The arms of Great Britain. 10. The arms of the kingdom of Ireland 11. The arms of the kingdom of Scotland 12. The most ancient arms of Galway. The old arms of ditto. The modern arms of ditto. 13. Genealogical tree of the king of England, from an Irish and Scottish root. 14. Genealogical branch of the Galway families, from the same. 15. The highway leading to the hills, called Leaghtifarda. 16. The pathway leading to the high hill of the blighted bush, called Cnuck-weildris. 17. The king's high road, called Bohermore. 18. The lake called Linmore 19. The cross in the middle of the highway, called Laght more ni hein 20. The little lane which leads to Lynch's rock, called Cligh-an Lince. 21. The lines and position of Cromwell's forces, at the siege of the town, when it was taken. 22. The bogs of Suckin. 22.b Part of castle gare. 23. Suckin river, (a) part of the mill, and (d) part of Balendula. 24. The plague house, with the garden annexed. 25. Horse Island, called Illain na Cgapiall. 26. The stream and new fosse, called Diegnua. 27. The little bridge river. 28. The draw bridge 29. The old stream, by which the water formerly ran to the monastery or abbey bridge, called in Turre, or Leaim Teige. 30. The abbey bridge. 31. Several mills, viz. St. Francis' mill. 34.a St. Michael's mill. 35.b The bridge mill. 35.c The little gate mill. 32. The Friar's stream, by which wood, &c was formerly brought to the abbey, called Srucainna b'mraher. 33. The abbey of Saint Francis, or of the Friars' minors. 34. The abbey church year. 35. The gate of the inner inclosure of the abbey, and the dormitory. 36. The refectory, called Halla na b'mraher. 37. Several gardens laid out by the friars. 38. The wood strand or quay, and a cross or water mark in the river. 39. The north suburbs, and 45, the east. 40. The gallows, where criminals are executed. 46.e The new market, with the cross. 41. The second lake, on the way, before the gallows. 42. The old pidgeon-house. 43. Green plots, where the gentlemen of the city usually play and amuse themselves, commonly called The Green. 44. The scite, where it is said formerly stood the hospital of the knights templars. 45. The garden angle, called Cluid na Garriha. 45.o Playing at bowls. 46. The promontory of Morloint. 46.a Ruinmor. 46.b Ruismor. 47. The pool. 48. The salt lake, called Lough-an Stale. 49. Part of the stream by which the citizens formerly intended to bring round the north river, and join it to the south, by Lough an Stale. 50. Arms of some of the many noble families of Ireland, connected with those of Galway.


  • Camden
  • Sir Oliver St. John
  • Speed
  • Ptolemy
  • Ware
  • Vallancey
  • Tacitus


  • Elizabeth
  • Speed
  • Sir Oliver St. John's
  • Geoffry Lynch FitzDominick
  • Hugh Ruadh O'Donnell
  • Henry II
  • St. Brigid
  • O'Flaherty