Hardiman's History of Galway

Chapter 5: From 1641 to the restoration of Charles II in 1660

Dreadful plague in the town

Chapter 5

From 1641 to the restoration of Charles II in 1660

Return to table of contents
Old map of Galway

The population of the town had also increased considerably, several persons from the country flocking in with their families and property for protection; and in this crowded state was the place when the plague made its appearance, in the month of July, 1649, and continued to rage with unabated violence until the end of April following, during which time it swept away upwards of three thousand seven hundred of the inhabitants, including two hundred and ten of the most respectable burgesses and freemen with their families. Those who survived or escaped the contagion gradually left the town, as the only means of preservation, until it was almost entirely deserted of its inhabitants. They assembled in the country; and, having made a collection of two thousand marks to pay physicians and provide necessarles for the sick, they formed a committee of health, whose judicious measures and assiduity finally succeeded in eradicating the infection. An entry of this memorable visitation, made in the corporation book in the year 1650, concludes with these words: "It is to be ever remembered how our Saviour, out of the abundance of his mercy, hath, about our Lady's day in lent last, freed and cleared this town and all the inhabitants thereof from the said sickness, so as they have returned to their own dwellings and ever since do inhabit them with as much security as ever before."

Next: Marquis of Ormond takes shipping in Galway, and leaves the kingdom

Online edition of Hardiman's History of Galway, © 1995-2001 World Wide Web Marketing Ltd. This is still a work in progress.