Welcome to Athenry
“The crossroads of Connaught”
Athenry is a vibrant town in County Galway, Ireland, situated 25km east of Galway city, with a rich history and tradition that is proudly celebrated. Our town has been made internationally famous from the well-known and oft sung “The Fields of Athenry” but there is far more to our town and low lying fields!
The Irish name of Athenry is Baile Átha an Rí, (meaning ‘town of the river ford’ or ‘kings ford’) and indicates ancient origins that stretch back long before the medieval town was built. Prehistoric objects found in and around the crossing place (ford) of the Clarin river (including a stone arrowhead) show that there was human activity at Athenry as long as 6,000 years ago in the Neolithic period. The centerpiece of our town is the 13th century Norman Castle which lies directly opposite the Athenry Dominican Priory.
The walls of Athenry are easily the finest medieval town-walls remaining in Ireland. A three-year murage grant was obtained in 1310 and it would appear that the town was originally walled in or about that time. Only one of the five town-gates now remains, the North Gate, and it may be a late 16th or early 17th century addition. Most of the wall still stands, together with five wall-towers.
A Medieval Past
The walls alongside the other medieval structures
of the Castle, Priory, Collegiate Church and Market
Square provide Athenry with a rich heritage that retains tremendous potential.