Galway Charter of Incorporation

Samuel Gamble Bayne
Recess to Galway (3) | Start of Section

Owing to its excellent situation, Galway enjoyed for centuries the monopoly of the trade with Spain, whence it received large quantities of wine, salt, etc., which caused so much personal intercourse that the town became impressed to a certain degree with Spanish features, both in the architecture of the streets and in the dress and manners of the population; though it has been, nevertheless, the habit of former writers to ascribe too much to the supposed Spanish origin of the town, overlooking the fact that it was inhabited by an essentially Anglo-Norman colony.

The first charter of incorporation was granted by Richard II., and confirmed in successive reigns down to that of Charles II. That of Richard III. excluded McWilliam Burke and his heirs from all rule and power in Galway; and the charter of Elizabeth made the mayor Admiral of Galway and the bay, including the Aran Islands. Galway reached its highest point of opulence at the commencement of the Irish rebellion of 1641, during which period it was remarkable for its loyalty to the king. It was surrendered to Ludlow in 1652, having suffered a siege and such barbarous treatment at the hands of the Parliamentary army that at the Restoration the town was almost wholly decayed. From a map made in 1651 by the Marquis of Clanricarde to ascertain the extent and value of the town, it appears that Galway was then entirely surrounded by walls, defended by fourteen towers, and entered by as many gates.

On July 19, 1691, a week after the battle of Aughrim, Ginkell with fourteen thousand men laid siege to it. Two days later the town surrendered, the garrison being permitted to evacuate it with a safe-conduct to Limerick and a pardon to the inhabitants.

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On an Irish jaunting Car through Donegal and Connemara

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Samuel Gamble Bayne was born in Ramelton, County Donegal, and educated at Queen's University in Belfast. At the age of twenty-five he left for America with a view to making his fortune. He invested in an oil well in Pennsylvania and later founded a bank which subsequently came to be the JP Morgan Chase bank in New York. By the time this book was written he was wealthy enough to be referred to as a billionaire. His account of the tour through the north, west and south of Ireland is a pleasant snapshot of how that part of the country was in the early part of the 20th century. He describes what is to be seen, gives some background history and, through the illustrations especially, provides wonderful glimpses of the area's social history.

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