The Long Walk from the Claddagh
This panorama photograph of The Long Walk in Galway was taken from the shore of Ballyknow Quay at mouth of the river Corrib at the edge of the Claddagh. It was taken just after sun set on a clear day in November 2011.
The Long Walk is a section of the quays of Galway city which was designated an Architectural Conservation Area by Galway City Council who state that it has “a particularly attractive setting, with views towards the sea and the Claddagh and characterises a distinct urban form, which reflects Galway’s historic relationship with the sea.
Built sometime in the 18th century by the Eyre family of Eyrecourt, The Long Walk is connected to the rest of Galway quay by The Spanish Arch. This is one of Galway’s most historic landmarks and was built in 1584 as an extension of the city’s medieval walls spanning from Martin's Tower to the bank of the Corrib to protect merchant ships from looting. Originally called Ceann an Bhalla (Irish for ‘Head of the Wall’), the arch later became know as The Spanish Arch due to the number of Spanish trading ships that docked in Galway harbour. The Spanish Arch can be seen in the shadows to the left of the photograph.
The photograph itself was taken from the area of Galway city know as The Claddagh which gets its name from the Irish word ‘cladach’ which means ‘a stony beach’. The Claddagh is one of the earliest recorded areas in Galway and was originally a fishing village just outside the city walls where the river Corrib meets the Galway Bay. It has been supplying the city of Galway with locally caught seafood since before the 5th century. Fish markets we held in the square just in front of the Spanish Arch. Although long annexed by the expanding Galway city, the Claddagh continued to be an Irish speaking area right into the 20th Century.
The Claddagh is probably most associated with the ring that bares its name, the Claddagh Ring, which was first created in the 17th century