You may not always be aware of it, but every time you walk through Galway City centre there are centuries of history right under your feet.
Michael Quinn of Galway Civic Trust (Dúchas na Gaillimhe) describes the stories in the stones, starting with the Hall of the Red Earl on Druid Lane and winding through the narrow cobbled streets of the Latin Quarter all the way around to the Kings Head on High Street.
“The intrigue of the medieval story in Galway is as colourful as any episode of Game of Thrones, with beheadings and sieges and murders all over the place,” he reveals in a matter of fact way.
Among the many sites of interest are the Hall of the Red Earl, The King’s Head pub, St. Nicholas’ Church, and Lynch’s Castle.
One of the oldest and most significant landmarks in the city, the Hall of the Red Earl is associated with the establishment of the town of Galway by Anglo-Normans in the 13th century.
It was built by Richard de Burgo shortly after completing the city walls and functioned as a key municipal building, acting as revenue office, court house, and town hall.
Customers know the King’s Head as a popular pub – but when it was built in the 13th century, this was the home of Galway Mayor Thomas Lynch Fitz-Ambrose before it was seized from him by Cromwell’s henchman Col. Peter Stubbers in 1654. The building still houses two medieval fireplaces, cut-stone windows and the walls of Bank’s Castle at the rear. St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church has the distinction of being the largest medieval parish church in continuous use in Ireland.
Founded in 1320 and dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra, legends have it that Christopher Columbus worshipped here in 1477. Leabhar na nGenealach, or Book of Genealogies, was written in the church by Dubhaltach MacFhirbhisigh in 1650.
Lynch’s Castle – dating from the late fifteenth or early sixteenth century – started life as a town house belonging to the most powerful family of Galway’s 14 tribes, and still stands on the corner of Shop Street and Abbeygate Street.
It’s been part of AIB for a lifetime – but the old carvings and crests still adorn the four-story limestone exterior. Michael Quinn covers these and other notable historic Galway landmarks in free bi-weekly walking tours, which take place at 2pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays from May until September.
Galway Civic Trust has been running the tours for five or six years now. “We’re funded by the Galway City Council, so we sort of see it as a public service obligation, a way to give back to the community,” he says.
But next week – for a little extra medieval kick – Michael Quinn and Galway Civic Trust are partnering with the Kings Head to run a Medieval Walk, Talk, & Banquet tour in aid of Galway Simon Community.
The one-off event next Wednesday, May 10, will include a guided tour of the city’s most colourful medieval monuments starting with a welcome wine reception at the Hall of the Red Earl at half five.
After the walking tour, which includes a special appearance by Dave Swift of medieval re-enactment group Claíomh, the evening will end at the King’s Head for a special medieval banquet of food, drink, and festivities bookended by Galway Early Music.
“People will get to experience the living history thing, the education side of it, and then it’s back to the pub for craic,” Michael explains.
He came up with the idea for the unique fundraising event as a way to get locals involved in history.
“It’s a way for people to appreciate their own city, and the medieval fabric of the town,” he says. “The streets are still laid out as they were in medieval times. So much of Galway’s character comes from its history, and people aren’t always aware of it.”
Tickets for the Medieval Walk, Talk & Banquet tour are €50, available at the King’s Head pub or online at www.galwaysimon.ie
Progress stalls on setting up Eating Disorder Community Health Team
Despite an increasing number of young people experiencing eating disorders, a new specialist community team has yet to be set up in Galway well over a year after it was announced.
The delay is mainly due to a difficulty recruiting a consultant psychiatrist to lead the team, this week’s HSE West Regional Health Forum meeting was told.
Councillor John Connolly (FF) queried the progress on the new Eating Disorder Community Health Team within the Child Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) after the HSE revealed in September 2021 that it would be set up in response to the hike in youths presenting for treatment.
Chief Officer of HSE Community Healthcare West, Breda Crehan-Roche, said interviews had been conducted to recruit a clinical lead, but so far none had been appointed. Six other staff had been appointed and these had been assigned to existing teams within CAMHS while a psychiatrist could come on board to manage the team.
“We have difficulty getting locum cover. Interviews were held. It’s a priority. We are doing a running recruitment process,” she told this month’s meeting.
It took between six and nine months to appoint a person to such a senior post.
“There is a lot of work in specialist intervention in the eating disorders team.”
She admitted that there were no records of how much of an increase there had been in referrals to CAMHS Galway for youths troubled by an eating disorder as all records were on paper rather than on computer.
“I can’t ask clinicians and therapists to pull together manual figures,” she stated. But the indication from staff on the ground was that there had been a downward trend in referrals post-Covid.
There was a move to keeping digital records by the middle of next year.
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan dies aged 78
Retired Bishop of Galway Martin Drennan has passed away at the age of 78.
Born in Kilkenny in 1944, Bishop Drennan studied for the priesthood at St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from where he was ordained in 1968
As a priest, the then Fr Drennan served as curate in both St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish in Kilkenny and then in Ballycallan.
From 1975 he taught Sacred Scripture at St. Kieran’s College, returning to Rome in 1980 to become Spiritual Director at the Irish College there for the next five years.
When Fr. Martin again returned home he became a Lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth where he continued to teach until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Dublin in 1997.
Following the retirement of Bishop James McLoughlin, Bishop Drennan was chosen as Bishop of Galway and Kilmacduagh and Apostolic Administrator of Kilfenora and was installed on 3rd July 2005 in Galway Cathedral serving to his retirement in 2016.
A brief statement released by the Diocese of Galway this afternoon confirmed his passing and offered their sympathies to Bishop Drennan’s family and all those who mourn his loss.
Funeral arrangements for the late Bishop Drennan will be announced later
Gardaí appeal for help to locate missing man
Gardaí are seeking help from the public in locating a 66-year-old man who has been missing from Clonbur since Thursday.
Michael Harte is described as being 5’ 9” in height, of slim build with short grey hair. When last seen, he was wearing blue jeans, a blue jumper, a tan / khaki padded jacket and tan boots.
He is understood to have access to a black Renault Megane with a 02 C registration.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Clifden Garda Station on 095 2250, the Garda confidential line on 1800 666111 or any Garda station.