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Renaissance Galway: a guide to the pictorial map

by  Paul Walsh

Book Details

Published by

May 2019


Number of pages: 100

ISBN: 978-1-911479-07-9


PDF icon Advance Information

Renaissance Galway is the next 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’.

About the author: Paul Walsh is an archaeologist with a long association with Galway city and its history. He was joint author (with Jacinta Prunty) of Irish Historic Towns Atlas, no. 28, Galway/Gaillimh, which was published in 2016.

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas is a research project of the Royal Irish Academy and is part of a wider European scheme.

About the authors

Paul Walsh

Paul Walsh is a Senior Archaeologist with the National Monuments Service, Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs and has a keen interest in the local history and archaeology of his native city, Galway. His other academic interests include Irish prehistory (especially megalithic monuments) and medieval architecture. He has published widely on all these topics in various books and journals. He is author of Discover Galway (2001) and joint author with Jacinta Prunty of Galway c. 1200 to c. 1900: from medieval borough to modern city (2015).