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Baile Chláir
Location of Claregalway
centerMap highlighting Claregalway
Irish grid reference
Province: Connacht
County: County Galway
Elevation: 12 m (39 ft)
Population (2002)
 - Town:
 - Environs:


Claregalway (official name: Baile Chláir and sometimes also referred to in Irish as Baile Chláir na Gaillimhe) is a village situated about 10 km from the city of Galway in County Galway, Ireland. The village sits at the junction of the busy N17 and N18 routes. Over 27,000 vehicles pass through the village everyday resulting in chronic congestion. Claregalway was founded on the banks of the River Clare, hence the derivation of its name: Baile Chláir na Gaillimhe meaning "town on the Clare, in Galway". Claregalway lies within the Gaeltacht and traditionally most of the locals would have only spoken English as a second language. An influx of new residents over the last thirty years has meant that most residents now rarely, if ever, speak Irish.



East View of Claregalway Friary

This village has an ancient heritage stretching back over a thousand years. It has many features of historical interest but two of the largest ones on the banks of the river include the Claregalway Friary, founded in mid-13th century, and a Norman watchtower (small castle) completed in the 16th century. This watchtower is currently being refurbished for use as a residence. During 2001, a restoration of an old bridge over the old course of the River Clare was completed. These nine stone arches are above the level of the current road.[1]

19th century view showing the abbey, the old bridge and the tower

Claregalway Parish is one of the largest in the county and includes a number of townlands (small clusters of houses) some of the bigger being Carnmore, Lydican, Loughgeorge and Cregboy. Lydican is notable as the origin of the Irish ancestors (Patrick Lynch) of Che Guevara. Lydican was actually an O'Heyne Castle and the last of the chieftains, Connor Crone O Heyne, was living there in 1612. The lands of the O'Heyne chieftains was confiscated in the late 17th century and it was then that the Lynches took up residence there. The Lynches were actually Anglo Irish whose principal holdings were in the city of Galway.


Agriculture would once have been the main industry. In recent years the population has been expanding very rapidly since the village is within the commuter belt of Galway City. Many city workers are choosing to live outside the city environs in a more rural setting. However, the larger population has also led to the growth of the service and retail sector and has provided additional local employment.


Claregalway hosts a Drama Festival each year in March. The Festival has a large number of followers both locally and in Galway City.

Compántas Lir [1] is an amateur drama group which is based in Claregalway and Carnmore. Compántas tour nationally in the springtime as part of the All-Ireland Drama Circuit.



  1. ^ Ireland West. Retrieved Feb. 23, 2007.

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