The Claddagh

Claddagh children

Claddagh was an old fishing village. The Irish word for Claddagh is An Cladach, which means the stoney beach, an area of the western shoreline in the estuary of the River Corrib. The people of the Claddagh lived quite separate from the town of Galway. They made their living mainly from fishing. Once the fish were caught the women took over and started selling them in the fish market. The Claddagh had its own customs and laws. It had its own king. It is famous all over the world for its Claddagh Ring. Things began to change when the big trawlers started to fish in Galway Bay. The boats of the local people, the Hooker, Gleoteóg and Pucán could not compete with them. When the big ships of the British navy arrived with their gunaí móra (big guns) in the bay, a lot of young men of the Claddagh joined up.

But more change was to come. The village of the Claddagh was made of thatched cottages. In 1927 it was decided the cottages were unsafe to live in. By 1934 all the cottages had been knocked down and the building of the Claddagh as we know it today began.

Old Claddagh scene

By Iarla O'Neill