Recently we went for a visit to Galway because our film League of Skeletons was being shown at the Galway Junior Film Festival. We watched movies from other schools and got our picture taken. There were many great films shown. Afterwards our teacher brought us on a walking tour of Galway. First we went to Eyre square.
In 1631 it was a market area. It was officially presented to the city in 1710 by Mayor Edward Eyre but it was named John F Kennedy memorial park when JFK, president of America at this time, made a speech on his visit to Galway in 1963, only a few months before he was shot.
We went to the shopping centre and saw part of the original city walls. We also saw a building with limestone walls. Then we saw a building called Lynch’s castle. The Lynches were one of the fourteen merchant families who dominated the life of Galway city between the mid-13th and late 19th centuries. That’s why Galway is known as the city of the tribes. On the roof of Lynch’s castle were stone heads of monsters. Their mouths were open so when the rain hit the roof it would flow through a pipe and out their mouths. There was also a statue of a stone monkey. This was there because once when a fire broke out in Lynch’s castle and everyone got out except one infant, Lynch’s pet monkey climbed in the window and saved the child.
We went inside The King’s Head pub and saw the huge stone fireplaces. It is called The King’s Head because when the king of England, King Charles 1, was to be executed in 1649, a man from Galway called Gunning was sent to execute him. This was because English people didn’t want an English man killing the king of England. So with an axe, Gunning chopped off the king’s head. As a reward he was given the King’s Head pub and some land in Galway. The novel, I Coriander, we are reading at school is set in the time of King Charles. It is set just after he was executed.
We then went to Saint Nicolas’ church. Oliver Cromwell once invaded the church with his men. They used the butts of their rifles to deface the statues. Only one statue (where Cromwell’s men tied up their horses) was unharmed. A mark in the floor can be seen where the horses were tied up.
Outside the church is a monument with an engraving of the Claddagh ring. Barthomelew Fallon made the first Claddagh ring in 1700. Next we saw the home of Walter Lynch. Above the door was a skull and cross-bones. This was because in 1649 his own father sentenced him to death because he murdered a friendly Spanish merchant called Gomez who was having an affair with his girlfriend. Lynch was hung out of a window just above the skull and cross-bones. In 1477, Christopher Columbus visited Galway possibly on a voyage to Iceland or the Faroe Islands. We saw the River Corrib. It flows fast and is very deep. It powered most of the industry in Galway many years ago. There were about twenty water wheels built on the river Corrib. We had a great day and learned a lot.