Claregalway, County Galway

Where the story begins…

An archaeological dig in 2011 revealed that a settlement in Claregalway (around the site of the Castle) was the beginning of urbanisation in the county of Galway. It would appear that even a millennia ago, Claregalway was bustling with human activity. The famous Claregalway Friary—the first Franciscan Friary in Connacht—was built in the early 13th century, establishing Claregalway as a religious hub for east Galway. The beautifully restored Claregalway Castle has withstood many battles over the centuries, helped by its strategic position on a curve in the River Clare. Boasting a recently refurbished western face, the magnificent Nine Arches no longer bridge the river, but remain an attractive landmark in Claregalway village.

Modern day Claregalway is a vibrant hub, still bustling. As described by artist Alan Hounihan, “any landscape is a work-in-progress subject to the continual processes of physical change. Even a farmed or managed landscape is a constantly changing canvas, a palimpsest shaped by human needs and work to which each generation adds a new layer.” The ‘layer’ added by the 21st century community in Claregalway is colourful, bustling and optimistic. With the growing urbanisation of Claregalway, and the covering of layers of history with modern amenities however, it is very easy for the unique past of Claregalway to be forgotten or lost. The History of Claregalway section below has been curated by Claregalway Historical & Cultural Society and we welcome any and all contributions.

 


 

History of Claregalway

In 1999, Claregalway Historical & Cultural Society initiated a FÁS sponsored scheme which began the enormous task of documenting Claregalway’s local history, which is provided here with kind permission from the society.

 

 


 

Fifteen years ago in Claregalway

These local stories are taken from the April 2002 Nuacht Chláir archives. Check out the full archive, dating back to 1996, here.

 

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Welcome to baby Emer Lenihan, Lakeview, daughter for Andrea and Tom and sister to Stephen and Ciara, born on the 2nd February 2002. Welcome also to baby Emma Jane, to Sinead and Michael John Murphy, Gortatcleva, a sister for Clodagh. Congratulations to Brendan Grealish, Carnmore, on receiving his pilot’s licence. Wishing you many years of… Read more »

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The AGM of Claregalway Leisure was held in the Centre on March 5th at 9pm. The following committee was elected, and is comprised of representatives of the various groups using the hall on a regular basis, as well as ordinary members: Carol Steven (chairman), Tony Clarke (vice-chairman), Siobhán Lynskey (secretary), Gerry Mooney, Hugh Farrell, Mary Forde… Read more »

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We had the pleasure of dining out in the Abbey Restaurant recently and it was a perfect ending to a perfect day. Before our meal, we had a drink in the Summerfield Lounge, whilst perusing our menu. At this stage of the evening, music over the speakers would have been welcome, as we were all… Read more »

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Middle age is when your age starts showing around your middle. Middle age is when your wife tells you to pull in your stomach and you already have. Middle age is when you need to have a rest after tying your shoelaces. You know you’re middle-aged when the dog lets you get to the stick… Read more »

 

History Snippets

Pictured is Hughes’ original house, supermarket and post office (formerly a weaver’s cottage). Keep an eye on Hession’s chimney in the left of the photo to see the transformation from the 1970s to present day.

Next time you’re stuck in traffic coming into the village from the Galway side, see if you can spot these odd stones in the wall.

The long cut stones were taken from the original Nine Arches during its restoration, and used to rebuild this wall (just before the bus lane ends).

Ever wondered what Claregalway Friary looked like in the past? This sketch from 1792 shows a magnificent west window (which has unfortunately completely vanished since), and a doorway from the cloister (grassy area inside) to the River.

 

Anything you’d like to add? Get in touch or submit stories and photos here.