Renaissance Galway: delineating the seventeenth-century city
Published by Royal Irish Academy
Number of pages: 110
Renaissance Galway is the latest ancillary publication from the Irish Historic Towns Atlas.
The subject of the book is the remarkable ‘pictorial map’ of Galway, which was produced in the mid-seventeenth century. It offers a bird’s eye view of Galway city at this time and presents insights into the cultural, sociopolitical and religious outlook of the local ruling elite — the so-called ‘tribes’ of Galway. Originally intended as a wall hanging, it was produced to impress and remains a centrepiece of Galway’s visual history.
Only two copies of the original printed map are known to exist and it is the well-preserved version from Trinity College, Dublin that is reproduced in Renaissance Galway. Following the format of previous map-guides from the Irish Historic Towns Atlas, the book presents carefully selected extracts from the pictorial map, each accompanied by a commentary. These range from descriptions of particular buildings or areas, to aspects of everyday life that are revealed in the map. In an introductory essay, the author ponders the many mysteries that continue to surround the pictorial map of Galway — its origins, compilers and purpose.
Together the map extracts and accompanying texts offer a new perspective — a window into the culture and mindset of Galway’s mid-seventeenth century ruling Catholic elite. The modern viewer is invited to inhabit the world of ‘Renaissance Galway’.
Renaissance Galway is produced with support from Galway City Council.
The Irish Historic Towns Atlas is a research project of the Royal Irish Academy and is part of a wider European scheme. www.ihta.ie
'Paul Walsh has selected 38 sections of the map, blown them up, and accompanied each with a wonderfully informative explanatory essay, and in doing so has presented us with a remarkable visual tour of the urban landscape of the period and also various coats of arms, allegorical images, and aspects of everyday life. [...] very highly recommended'. Tom Kenny, Galway Advertiser, 03/10/2019. Read the full review here.
'38 chapters, or exciting avenues of extra knowledge, backed up by amazing large illustrations from sections of the map, insert even more life into this amazing piece of urban cartography. The amount of research undertaken by the author is immense'. Peadar O'Dowd, Galway Tribune, 18/10/2019.
'It is a remarkable and wonderful piece of work... There is much to savour here'. Joe Culley, History Ireland, Vol. 27, no. 6, November/December 2019.
- Seminar, Moore Institute, NUI Galway, 10 October 2019