GALWAY BAYS

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The coast from Killery bay to the county of Clare presents a bold line of cliffs indented by numerous fine bays and inlets, many of which are adequate to receive vessels of every description. After passing Renville point, at the north of Killery, the harbour of Ballynakill presents itself, capable of accommodating large ships, and protected by Truchelaun or Heath island. The bay of Claggan, about two miles in length, is more open than the preceding, though protected in some degree by the island of Innisbofin.

From Claggan to Aghris cape, the most western point of the county, the shore is low, and near it are Crua, High, and Friar islands, exhibiting only a few monastic ruins. Streamstown is a long inlet, narrow and dangerous, and, therefore, frequented only by smugglers: at some distance from it is Omey island, and within it are the cultivated islands of Tarbert and Innisturk. Ardbear harbour branches into two inlets, the northern of which terminates at the rising town of Clifden; the southern enjoys the benefit of a salmon fishery. Mannin bay, though extensive, is but little frequented by large vessels; but a good kelp shore and a valuable herring fishery bring many boats to it occasionally.

Between it and Roundstone bay is the peninsula of Bunowen, terminating at Slyne Head. From Slyne Head, where two lighthouses have been erected, the coast turns eastward to Roundstone bay, the entrance to which is sheltered by the islands of Innisnee and Innislacken. Near its mouth is the new village of Roundstone: this harbour could shelter the whole navy of England. The boggy peninsula of Rosrua intervenes between Roundstone and Birtirbuy bays, which latter, though deep and with good anchorage, is little frequented: in the offing is the island of Cruanakely, used as a deer-park.

The islands of Masa, Mynish, and Finish, south of this peninsula, are inhabited by a population actively engaged in the kelp trade and the fisheries. In Elanmacdara are some curious monastic remains. Kilkerran bay has a most productive kelp shore, of nearly one hundred miles in extent, including those of its islands, although the direct distance across its mouth to the western point of Costello bay is but eight miles. A series of fords, passable on foot at low water, but navigable for boats during the height of the tide, connects the islands of Garomna, Littermore, Littermullen, Knappagh, and Furrinish, which lie on its eastern coast: between Garomna and the peninsula of Killeen is Greatman's bay, a safe harbour for vessels of moderate draught. Caslah or Costello bay, to the east of Killeen, is the most eastern of the harbours of Connemara.

This district, therefore, exhibits some very extraordinary features: it contains upwards of twenty safe and capacious harbours, fit for vessels of any burden, about 25 navigable lakes in the interior, each a mile or more in. length, besides more than 100 smaller, and commands a coast line, including that of its islands, of not less than 400 miles. South of the county is Galway bay, having its entrance protected by the islands of Arran, described under their own head, and including the minor harbours of Oranmore, Renville or New harbour, one of the finest stations along the coast, having a natural pier with 14 feet of water at ebb tide, improved and deepened by an artificial structure. Further south are Kilcolgan Point, whence the first Marquess of Clanrickard took his final departure from Ireland during the troubles of 1641; Kinvara harbour, protected by Edey island; and the peninsula of Duras, with which is connected that of Aghnish, a detached portion of Clare, which county forms the southern boundary of this magnificent bay.

« Galway Topography | Index | Galway Climate »

Galway, County of | Galway Baronies | Galway Topography | Galway Bays | Galway Climate | Galway Crops | Galway Agriculture | Galway Trees | Galway Geology | Galway Manufactures | Galway Fisheries | Galway Rivers | Galway Antiquities | Galway Social History | Galway Town


Library Ireland Facebook