Map showing Galway Bay's location.

Galway Bay (Irish: Loch Lurgain or Cuan na Gaillimhe) is a large bay (or sea lough) on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 mi) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) to 30 kilometres (19 mi) in breadth. The Aran Islands (Oileáin Árann) are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

The approaches to the bay between the Aran Islands and the mainland are as follows:

  • the North Sound (An Súnda ó Thuaidh) lies between Inishmore and Leitir Mealláin in Connemara; known as Bealach Locha Lurgan in Irish.
  • Gregory's Sound (Súnda Ghríoghóra) lies between Inishmore and Inishmaan; known as Bealach na h-Áite in Irish.
  • Foul Sound (An Súnda Salach) lies between Inishmaan and Inisheer; known as Bealach na Fearbhaighe in Irish.
  • South Sound (An Súnda ó Theas), known as Bealach na Finnise in Irish, lies between Inisheer and County Clare.

Galway Bay is famous for its unique traditional sailing craft, the Galway Hooker.[citation needed]

Drowning tragedy of 1902Edit

On 4 May 1902, eight fishermen from a nearby village lost their lives while sailing on Galway Bay, near Kilcolgan.[1][2] Seven (Patrick Folan, Patrick Burns, Patrick McDonagh, John Barrett, Michael Burke, Michael Dwyer and Stephen Hynes) drowned; Patrick Walsh swam to shore at nearby Kilcolgan, but died of exhaustion on the beach.[2] A fundraising campaign was organised for the families of the drowned fishermen.[3]

Cladagh Memorial opposite St Mary's Church, the Claddagh, Galway

Galway Bay in popular cultureEdit


Let grasses grow and waters flow
In a free and easy way
But give me enough of the rare old stuff
That's made near Galway Bay
If we could make chains with the morning dew
The world would be like Galway Bay
If you ever go across the sea to Ireland
Then maybe at the closing of your day
You will go and see the moon rise over Claddagh
Or see the sun go down at Galway Bay.
Have you ever seen the seagulls
a-flying o'er the Heather
or the crimson sails on Galway Bay
the fishermen unfurl?
There's a full moon over Galway Bay tonight
Silver light over green and blue
And every place I travel through, I find
Some kinda sign that you've been through
Earle also mentions Galway and The Long Walk in his song "Galway Girl".
The boys in the NYPD choir
are still singing "Galway Bay"
And the bells are ringing out
For Christmas day."

From Toasted Heretic's Galway Bay:

The sun goes down on Galway Bay
The daughter goes down on me
Her dad's not due until one or maybe two
And I'm happy as I'll ever be

From The Mahones A Drunken Night in Dublin:

A drunk night in Dublin
Ended up in Galway Bay

From The Waterboys' Spring Comes to Spiddal:[4]

On a soft and fresh Atlantic air a mist of pollen floats
On Galway Bay I spy a gaily painted fishing boat


See alsoEdit

Coordinates: 53°12′N 9°14′W / 53.200°N 9.233°W / 53.200; -9.233


  1. ^ The Irish Times, Dublin, Saturday, 10 May 1902.
  2. ^ a b Madden, Marie (16 May 2012). "Talking History". Galway Independent. Archived from the original on 18 May 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  3. ^ The Irish Times, Dublin, Saturday, 27 May 1902.
  4. ^ "Spring Comes to Spiddal". Retrieved 7 February 2016.


  • O'Carra, B., Williams, D.M., Mercer, B. and Wood. B. 2014. Evidence of environmental change since the earliest medieval period from the inter-tidal zone of Galway Bay. Ir. Nat. J. 33: pp 83–88.

Other projectsEdit

  Media related to Galway Bay at Wikimedia Commons

External linksEdit