GALWAY TOWN COMMERCE

From A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 1837

The commerce, for which the port was formerly so much distinguished, has very much declined; wine is no longer imported in large quantities, and the trade in provisions is much diminished. The principal exports are corn, flour, kelp, marble, wool, and provisions; and the imports, timber, wine, salt, coal, hemp, tallow, and Swedish and British iron. In the year ending Jan. 5th, 1835, 15 British ships of the aggregate burden of 2273 tons, and 3 foreign ships of 421 tons aggregate burden, entered inwards; and 6 British ships of 1044 tons and 2 foreign ships of 301 tons cleared outwards, in the foreign trade. From British ports, 119 ships, of an aggregate burden of 12,215 tons, entered inwards; and 126 of 14,492 tons cleared outwards; and from the Irish ports, 16 ships of 700 tons entered inwards; and 19 of 1039 tons cleared outwards. The number of vessels registered as belonging to the port is 7,of the aggregate burden of 272 tons. The gross amount of customs' duties for 1835 was £31,133. 2. 5., and for 1836, £31,769. 2. 5.; and of excise duties of the district, for the former year, £50,145 12. 5. The custom-house, a small plain building, was erected in 1807.

The entrances to Galway bay are, through the north sound, between the most western of the Arran isles, which are situated in the centre of its mouth, and Gulin head to the north, on which is a watch tower; and through the south sound between Dunmacfelin and Innishere island. About a mile south of Galway is Mutton island, connected with the mainland by a ridge of sand, dry at low water; a light has been erected on it, and between it and the town is the ordinary roadstead, affording good anchorage ground, though exposed to a heavy swell during winds from the south and south-south-west. There are two feet of water on the bar: the best shelter for ships of war is along the southern shore; and at the head of the bay, to the east and south of the town, are several creeks and inlets, affording good shelter to small vessels from every wind.

A navigable canal from Lough Corrib to the sea at this place was recommended by the late Mr. Nimmo: some new docks planned by him are in progress, towards the completion of which the Commissioners of Public Works have granted a loan of £17,000. The docks will comprise about 9 acres, and be of sufficient depth for vessels of 500 tons' burden, and the canal will cross the town in a direction nearly parallel with the river; the level of the lake being only 14 feet above that of the sea, two locks only will be requisite in the whole distance, which is about 30 miles. The quays will be entirely of hewn limestone and 75 feet in width; the lake also will be deepened and rendered navigable for boats. The whole work, when completed, will add much to the improvement of the trade, which is now under the direction of several of the principal merchants, who have formed themselves into a chamber of commerce: A branch of the Bank of Ireland has been opened here, in a house in Eyre-square.

The salmon fishery, for which there is a weir on the river, between the two bridges, has been a source of great profit from an early period, and since 1800, has frequently produced more than £500 per annum. The fishery in the bay, which is more lucrative, is wholly under the direction of the fishermen of Claddagh, which see.This is the head station of the Galway district coast-guard, and the residence of the inspecting commander; it comprises the subordinate stations of Ballyvaughan, Kilcolgan, Barna, Casleh Bay, Isles of Arran, Fairhill, and Kilkerran, comprehending a force of 6 officers and 51 men. The markets are on Wednesday and Saturday, the former principally for corn, and the latter also for corn, provisions of every kind, and for pigs. Fairs are held May 31st, and Sept. 21st. The com market is held at the Little Green; that for butchers' meat and provisions in a well-arranged market-place, near William's-gate, erected in 1802.

« Galway Town History | Index | Galway Town Government »

Galway Town | Galway Town History | Galway Town Commerce | Galway Town Government | Galway Town Geology | Galway Seats | Galway Diocese | Galway, County of