County Galway

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County Galway (Irish: Contae na Gaillimhe) is one of the twenty-six counties of the Republic of Ireland and one of the thirty-two counties of Ireland. It is located in the province of Connacht. It was named after the city of Galway (Irish: Gaillimh). There are several strongly Irish-speaking areas (Gaeltachts) in the west of the county. The population of the county is 231,670 according to the 2006 census.[1]

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History

The first inhabitants in the Galway area arrived over 7000 years ago. Shell middens tell us about the existence of people as early as 5000 BC.

The county originally comprised several kingdoms and territories which predate the formation of the county. They included Aidhne, Uí Maine, Maigh Seóla, Conmhaícne Mara, Soghain and Máenmaige. County Galway came into official existence c. 1569.

A number of inhabited islands are administered by the county; they include Oileáin Árann (Aran Islands) and Inis Bó Fine (Inishbofin).

With the arrival of Christianity many monasteries were built, and written records of events in the area and of its people were kept. These were followed by a number of law-tracts, genealogies, annals and miscellaneous accounts. Extant manuscripts containing references to Galway include:

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