Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Tribes of Galway

I mentioned Eyre Square in my last posting. We noticed a number of banners with coats of arms and surnames on them and wondered what they were. Our tour bus guide told us what they represented.

From the mid 13th onwards 14 merchant families basically dominated the area through politics, commerce and social life. The families were Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'Arcy, Deane, Ffont, Ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martyn, Morris and Skerrett. The families traded with continental Europe. "The Tribes of Galway" was a derogatory term given by Oliver Cromwell but it was later adopted as a mark of defiance.

I have to say that the banners are a very colorful and striking way to introduce non-locals to the history of the town. The doorway to the old Browne family resident is now preserved as a monument on Eyre Square.
If you want to find out more about each family visit

Later on our tour the bus guide told us that the number 14 shows up in other areas of Galway. 14 roundabouts and 14 childrens playgrounds being two examples he cited.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I went to Ireland

Indeed I did. With my husband and out two youngest offspring. We got back late on Tuesday evening. It was wonderful. The scenery is gorgeous and we saw a lot of it :)
While I did not physically sit down and do any paper genealogy or research we were in areas that some of my ancestors and other relatives came from which was great. We were not able to visit the area that some of my husband's ancestors came from (Co. Sligo) but that gives us an excuse for another visit :)
We did a number of bus tours which proved very interesting and learned a lot about Irish history and local customs.
"The Quiet Man" starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara got a lot of Americans with Irish ancestry in Connemara interested in their genealogy. Our bus stopped at the famous cottage, drove by the bridge and we also saw the village of Cong.
My great uncle came from Galway. We stayed at a B&B about 15 minutes outside of town for a couple of days. While the hubbie spent a day at the local office we explored the town. Lovely place and fairly simple to walk around once you get Eyre Square stuck in your brain as the center.
I'll share some photographs later.