• Martin Wickens

Prayer Focus - Galway

Updated: Oct 16, 2018

Population: 79,934

Introduction: Galway, on the west coast of Ireland, is in the province of Connacht. As one of the primary cities on the island of Ireland, it shares a status along with Dublin, Cork, and Belfast. With its strong tradition of Irish music, dance, and language, it is sometimes referred to as the Bilingual Capital of Ireland.

It has a growing economy in a variety of industries. Galway also relies on tourism with over 2 million visitors a year.

It will be celebrated as the European Captial of Culture in 2020 along with Rijecka, Croatia.

Spiritual Needs: Many in Ireland have struggled with trust in religion as the many scandals around Roman Catholicism have unfolded. Galway City seems to have been especially affected as it currently has the highest proportion of people who say they have no religion. It has almost double the number of comparable cities such as Limerick and Waterford.

📷History: Its name is derived from its Irish name, Gaillimh. Galway is also known as City of Tribes because of the fourteen merchant families who led the city in its Hiberno-Norman period.

A fort was originally constructed in this location in 1124 by King Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair, king of Connacht. A settlement grew around the fort.

Galway has a long and rich history but has also seen a great deal of upheaval and tension. For many years it had a thriving international trade. In the middle ages, it was the principal Irish port for trade with Spain and France.

In 1477 Christopher Columbus stopped in Galway on his way to Iceland or the Faroe Islands. Years later he noted, “Men of Cathay have come from the west. Of this, we have seen many signs. And especially in Galway in Ireland, a man and woman, of extraordinary appearance, have come to land on two tree trunks.”

It is thought this referred to may have referred to Inuit who somehow died and their bodies were brought to Irish shores by the North Atlantic Current.

Galway suffered along with much of Ireland during the Great Irish Famine of the 1840’s. While other towns and cities saw a population explosion afterward in the 19th century, Galway was so devastated by the famine that its population continued to decline.

Throughout much of its history, there have been serious tensions between Protestants and Catholics. This continued throughout the 20th century until Ireland won its independence from the United Kingdom.

Its troubled times are now far behind, and by many measures, it is now a thriving and much-loved city.