Kinvara or Kinvarra (Irish: Cinn Mhara, meaning 'head of the sea')[2] is a sea port village located in the southwest of County Galway, Ireland.[3] It is located in the civil parish of Kinvarradoorus in the north of the barony of Kiltartan.[4] Kinvarra is also a District Electoral Division (DED).


Cinn Mhara
Dunguaire Castle
Dunguaire Castle
Kinvara is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°08′20″N 8°56′17″W / 53.139°N 8.938°W / 53.139; -8.938Coordinates: 53°08′20″N 8°56′17″W / 53.139°N 8.938°W / 53.139; -8.938
CountyCounty Galway
10 m (30 ft)
Dialing code091
Irish Grid ReferenceM369103


The village lies at the head of Kinvara Bay, known in Irish as Cinn Mhara (or more recently Cuan Chinn Mhara), an inlet in the south-eastern corner of Galway Bay, from which the village took its name. It lies in the north of the barony of Kiltartan, close to the border with The Burren in County Clare, in the province of Munster.

The civil parish is bounded on the north by Galway Bay, on the east by the parishes of Ballinderreen (Killeenavarra) and Ardrahan, on the south by the parishes of Gort (Kilmacduagh) and Boston (Kilkeedy) and on the west by the parishes of Carron and New Quay (Abbey and Oughtmama). It is roughly coextensive with the Ó hEidhin territory of Coill Ua bhFiachrach (wood of the Uí Fhiachrach) and this name was still in use in the mid-19th century as recorded by John O'Donovan in his Ordnance Survey letters.


Early historyEdit

Evidence of ancient settlement in the area include a number of promontory fort and ring fort sites in the surrounding townlands of Dungory West, Ballybranagan and Loughcurra North.[5][6] There are similar sites, as well as the ruins of lime kiln and 18th century windmill, within Kinvarra townland itself.[5][7]

Dunguaire CastleEdit

Dunguaire Castle (Irish: Dún Guaire [lit, the Castle of Guaire]), a 16th-century towerhouse of the Ó hEidhin (O'Hynes) clan, is located to the east of the village.[8] A Fearadhach Ó hEidhin (Faragh O'Hynes) is recorded as the owner of the castle in a 1574 list of castles and their owners covering County Galway. This list was thought to have been compiled for the use of the Lord Deputy Sir Henry Sidney who planned the composition of Connacht. Eoghan Mantach Ó hEidhin (Eoin Mantagh O'Hynes), chief of the clan, is mentioned as the owner of the castle in the Indentures of Composition of 1585.[citation needed]

View of Kinvara from Dún Guaire Castle

Terry AltsEdit

The Terry Alt agrarian resistance movement of the early 19th century was active in the Kinvara area.[citation needed] In 1831, a large force of Terry Alts gathered on the Galway/Clare border on Abbey Hill between Kinvara and New Quay in County Clare, and challenged the (British) army to battle. They, however, dispersed before the arrival of the soldiers. They also unsuccessfully attempted to ambush a body of infantry at Corranroo in the west of the parish, which led to the death of one of their members.[citation needed]


As of the Central Statistics Office 2016 census, Kinvara village had a population of 734 people.[1] The Great Famine in the 1840s and a series of emigrations that continued until the 1960s reduced the population of the village – once a thriving port and exporter of corn and seaweed – to no more than a few hundred people. From around the 1980s the population of the parish of Kinvara started to increase while the village started to grow in size.


In the Catholic Church, the ecclesiastical parish of Kinvara is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and comprises the civil parishes of, Kinvarradoorus and Killinny (Killina).[citation needed] Churches within Kinvara parish include Saint Colman's Church (built 1819) and Saint Joseph's Church (built 1877).[9][10] Saint Joseph's Presbytery, formerly a convent, dates to c. 1875.[11]

Kinvara lies within the Church of Ireland united Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe.


Street of Kinvara in 2007

Kinvara is home every year to two festivals, Fleadh na gCuach ("the cuckoo festival") an Irish music festival at the start of May and the Cruinniú na mBád ("gathering of the boats") in mid August.[12][13]


Kinvara is home to Kinvara GAA, a Gaelic Athletic Association club. The club is almost exclusively concerned with hurling but also plays Gaelic football at Junior level.

Notable peopleEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "Sapmap Area - Settlements - Kinvara". Census 2016. Central Statistics Office. April 2016. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Cinn Mhara / Kinvarra". Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  3. ^ "Kinvarra, 1:50,000". Ordnance Survey Ireland. Archived from the original on 29 May 2010.
  4. ^ "Kinvarradoorus civil parish". Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  5. ^ a b Recorded Monuments Protected under Section 12 of the National Monuments (Amendment) Act, 1994 - County Galway. Dublin: Archaeological Survey of Ireland. 1997.
  6. ^ Westropp, T.J. (1919). "Notes on several forts in Dunkellin and other parts of southern Co. Galway". Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland (49): 167–86.
  7. ^ "Windmill, Kinvarra (Kiltartan By), Kinvara, Galway". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  8. ^ "Dunguaire Castle". Galway Tourism. 2019. Retrieved 15 December 2019.
  9. ^ "Saint Colman's Church, Ballybranagan, Kinvara, Galway". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  10. ^ "Saint Joseph's Church, Kinvarra (Kiltartan By), Kinvara, Galway". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  11. ^ "Saint Joseph's Presbytery, Convent Road, Kinvarra (Kiltartan By), Kinvara, Galway". National Inventory of Architectural Heritage. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Fleadh na gCuach – Kinvara". Archived from the original on 5 May 2003. Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  13. ^ "Cruinniú na mBád – Kinvara". Retrieved 8 March 2016.
  14. ^ Siggins, Lorna. "Former taoisigh among mourners at PJ Mara's burial". Retrieved 6 November 2020.
  15. ^ Ball, F. Elrington (1926). The Judges in Ireland 1221-1921 (Volume 1). London: John Murray. p. 364.
  16. ^ Breen, Joe (14 August 2017). "John Prine: 'The country music they play now is just bad pop'". Irish Times. Retrieved 27 April 2021. [Prine] likes to spend time in this country and not just because he met his wife, Fiona, here. They have a cottage in Kinvara, Co Galway
  17. ^ Corless, Nicholas. "Kinvara woman new Chief Justice in Seychelles". The Clare Champion. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  18. ^ Farrell, Sinead (3 April 2020). "'They were proactive to stop the spread' - Galway star praises locals at home after spate of Covid-19 cases". Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  19. ^ Cullen, Paul (10 March 2011). "First female Attorney General a 'smart and able advocate'". The Irish Times. Retrieved 27 April 2021.