Athenry ( /æθənˈraɪ/; Irish: Baile Átha an Rí, meaning "Ford of the King") is a town in County Galway, Ireland. It lies 25 kilometres (16 mi) east of Galway city, and one of the attractions of the town is its medieval castle. The town is also well known by virtue of the song "The Fields of Athenry".
St. Mary's Parish Church in Athenry.
Its name derives from the ford ('Áth') crossing the river Clarin just east of the settlement. Because three kingdoms met at that point, it was called 'Áth na Ríogh', or 'the Ford of the Kings'. On some medieval maps of English origin the town is called Kingstown. The kingdoms were Hy-Many to the north-east, east and south-east; Aidhne to the south and south-west; Maigh Seola to the west and north-west. Up to around 1000 it was included in Uí Briúin Seóla. In the mid-11th century it was part of the trícha cét of Clann Taidg.
The earliest remaining building in the town is Athenry Castle which was built sometime before 1240 by Meyler de Bermingham. In 1241, the Dominican Abbey was founded, a major institution. It was ostensibly closed during the Protestant Reformation but survived until being desecrated and burned during the Mac an Iarla Wars of the 1570s, and was finally vandalised by Cromwellians in the 1650s. The Medieval walls around Athenry are among the most complete and best preserved in Ireland and still retain a number of the original towers as well as the original North gate. The remains of the Lorro Gate were partially unearthed in 2007 during redevelopment road works in the area. In the centre of the town is the square; it is here that Athenry's late 15th century Market Cross is located. The monument which is of Tabernacle or Lantern type is the only one of its kind in Ireland and the only medieval cross still standing in situ in the country. A Heritage centre now occupies the remains of the mid-13th century St Mary's Collegiate Church immediately North of the Square. The original church is largely destroyed but in 1828 a Church of Ireland church was built into its chancel.
In 1791, Caquebert de Montbret visited the town, which he described as:
- [covering] 50 acres but has no more than 60 houses. ... there is an abbey of which the ruins are almost all standing. ... There is a big uninhabited castle called Bermingham's Court.. In the middle of Athenry is the stump of a cross destroyed in the wars, on which a crucifix in bas-relief still remains. ... I noticed at the door of a tavern a large cake decorated with a bouquet. It was a prize for the best dancer. ... The road from Athenry is very beautiful and there are no barriers (turnpikes)
Moyode Castle is another tall 16th-century fortified tower house of the Dolphin family, which went to the Persse family. The castle is now restored and inhabited and is located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) from the town of Athenry.
Athenry Dominican Priory.
Athenry is served by the newly-constructed M6 Motorway which links Galway city to Dublin. Athenry railway station opened on 1 August 1851 and lies on the Galway–Dublin main line of the Irish rail network. The town is at the junction the Galway–Dublin line, and the partially complete Limerick–Sligo line (dubbed the Western Railway Corridor). Work ('West on Track') is underway to re-open further links, with the Ennis-Athenry section open since March 2010, and the Athenry-Tuam section due in 2011.
Athenry is home to St. Mary's G.A.A. club who have won numerous All-Ireland Senior Club Hurling Championships.
Athenry Athletics Club has had a large juvenile section for many years and was complemented in 2002 by a senior section. The senior section now has over 100 members, approximately half of whom are women. The club has produced two Olympic sprinters, Martina MacCarthy, who is from Oranmore and Paul Hession who hails from Ballydavid, just outside the town itself. MacCarthy represented Ireland in the women's 4 x 400 metres relay at the Sydney games and Hession competed in the 200 metres at the Beijing games. A number of other club members have represented their country with distinction in both track and field and cross country across Europe and North America.
Athenry is also home to Athenry Soccer Club which reached the 2006 final of the FAI Junior Cup. In 2007 Athenry Soccer Club became the Galway Premier League Champions for the first time in the clubs 36 year history. The club has followed this by winning the Galway Premier Title again in 2008 & 2010. In 2007,2008,2010 & 2011 Athenry Soccer Club also captured the Connaught Junior Cup title.
Athenry Golf Club is an eighteen hole championship course located between Athenry and Oranmore in the townland of Palmerstown. The club is a mixture of parkland and heathland built on a limestone base against the backdrop of a large forest giving excellent drainage, which makes the course playable all year round. Athenry Golf course was extended to 18 holes in 1991 under the guidance of architect Eddie Hackett and further improvements in recent years have led to the club hosting recent Provincial and National championships.
Twin towns – Sister cities
Athenry is twinned with the town of Quimperlé in Brittany.
The following is a list of notable natives of Athenry and its immediate environs:
- Achtan inion Olc Acha, fl. 1st–2nd centuries – ancestor of the Connachta
- Slim Barrett, born 1960s- award-winning jewellery designer and artist
- Anthony Richard Blake, (1786–1849) – 'backstairs viceroy of Ireland'
- Robert Blakeney (died 1733) MP for Athenry
- Field Marshal Sir Edward Blakeney 1778–2 August 1868
- Dominic Burke (c. 1603–1649) – Dominican priest and political agent
- John de Burgh (Archbishop), (1590–1667) – Archbishop of Tuam
- Oliver Burke (c. 1598–1672) – Bishop of Kilmacduagh.
- Thomas Burke (North Carolina), (c.1747–1783) – governor of North Carolina
- Rev. James Patrick Broderick (1891–1973) – Jesuit and religious writer
- Conainne fl. c. 500 – early Christian missionary
- Ciarán Cannon (born 1965) – Fine Gael TD for Galway East.
- Eugene Cloonan (born 1978) – sportsperson
- Patrick Cummins (fl. 1820's), Irish piper and tutor.
- Professor John Cummings (1828-after 1913), Irish piper.
- Owen Cunnigam, (mid-19th century), piper.
- Patrick D'Arcy (1598–1668) – leading Irish Confederate
- Basilia de Bermingham (fl. c.1250) – religious patron
- Meyler de Bermingham – founder of Athenry
- Rickard de Bermingham (d.1322) – victor of the Second Battle of Athenry
- Liam Deois (fl. early 1800s) – highwayman
- Padraic Fallon (1905–1974) – poet
- Julie Feeney, born 1979 – award-winning singer and composer
- Fearghal Ó Taidg an Teaghlaigh, Marshall to the Kings of Connacht, (died 1226]
- Peter Feeney – Mayor of County Galway 2008–09
- Tony Flannery – Redemptorist and religious writer
- Paul Hession (born 1983) – Olympic sprinter
- Kerrill Christian missionary – fl. c. 480?
- Nannie Lambert, poet, journalist, equestrian, fl. 1877–1897.
- Larry Lardner fl. 1920 – I.R.A. commander
- Maél Póil – medieval abbot of Templemoyle
- P.J. Molloy (born 1952) – former hurler
- Fr. Tom O'Connor – missionary priest and controversial historian
- Joe Rabbitte (born 1970) – local hurler
- Frank Shaw-Taylor (died 1920) – killed during Irish War of Independence
- Marcas Ó Callanáin (1784–1836) – poet and balladier
- Martin Naughton (hurler) – sportsperson, born 1964
- Adrian James Martyn, born 1975, historical author
- Robert French (M.P.), 1716–1776, M.P. and re-founder of Monivea
- Tomás Bobhdacing, fl. c. 1300, founder of the Bodkin family
- Donn Óge Mag Oireachtaigh, fl. 1235, lord of Clann Taidg
- John O'Heyne, historian and Dominican, c. 1648–1713
The "Stations of the Cross" in Kiltullagh Church were painted by the artist Evie Hone.
From the Annals of the Four Masters:
- 1249. The defeat of Ath-na-righ was inflicted on Toirrdelbach Ua Conchobuir, whereby Aedh, son of Aedh, was killed therein and Brian of the Doire and a great many of the nobles of Connacht were killed.
- 1266. A bishop-elect came from Rome to Clonfert-Brendan, and the dignity of bishop was conferred on him, and on Thomas O'Meehan, at Athenry, on the Sunday before Christmas.
- 1544: The Earl of Ormond went into Clanrickard to assist his kinsman, William Burke, son of Rickard; but the sons of Rickard Oge suddenly defeated him; and a good baron of his people, namely, Mac Oda, was slain; and more than forty of the Earl's troops were slain in the gateway of Athenry on that occasion.
- 1597: O'Donnell (Hugh Roe, the son of Hugh, son of Manus) ... Having reached the very centre of Hy-Many, he sent forth swift-moving marauding parties through the district of Caladh, and the upper part of the territory; and they carried off many herds of cows and other preys to O'Donnell, to the town of Athenry; and though the warders of the town attempted to defend it, the effort was of no avail to them, for O'Donnell's people applied fires and flames to the strongly-closed gates of the town, and carried to them great ladders, and, placing them against the walls, they recte, some of them ascended to the parapets of the wall. They then leaped from the parapets, and gained the streets of the town, and opened the gates for those who were outside. They all then proceeded to demolish the storehouses and the strong habitations; and they carried away all the goods and valuables that were in them. They remained that night in the town. It was not easy to enumerate or reckon the quantities of copper, iron, clothes, and habiliments, which they carried away from the town on the following day. From the same town he sent forth marauding parties to plunder Clanrickard, on both sides of the river; and these marauders totally plundered and ravaged the tract of country from Leathrath to Magh-Seanchomhladh. The remaining part of his army burned and ravaged the territory, from the town of Athenry and Rath-Goirrgin Westwards to Rinn-Mil and Meadhraige, and to the gates of Galway, and burned Teagh-Brighde, at the military gate of Galway. O'Donnell pitched his camp for that night between Uaran-mor and Galway, precisely at Cloch-an-Lingsigh.
- Letters Containing Information Relative to the History and Antiquities of the County of Galway, Collected During the Progress of the Ordnance Survey in 1839, John O'Donovan, typescript, three volumes, Bray, 1928
- Athenry, T.J. Westropp, Journal of the Royal Irish Academy, 1895
- Knockmoy Abbey otherwise called the Monastery of the "Hill of Victory" [Collis Victoriæ]. Notes on its history, and some ancient charters relating to it (hitherto unpublished), Martin J. Blake, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, volume 1, 1900–01, part ii.
- The Abbey of Athenry, Martin J. Blake, J.G.A.H.S., volume II, part ii, 1902
- The Dominican Church at Athenry, R.A.S. McAlister, Journal of the Royal Irish Academy, 1913
- The Mound at Tample, H.T. Knox, J.G.A.H.S., volume 9, 1915–1916
- The Mote of Oldcastle and the Castle of Rathgorgin, Goddard Henry Orpen, J.G.A.H.S., volume nine, number i, 1915–16.
- Count Patrick D'Arcy, an eminent Galway man of the 18th century; with tabular pedigrees of the D'Arcy family by Martin J. Blake, M. Reddington, J.G.A.H.S., volume ten, number i, 1916–17.
- The Birmingham family of Athenry, H.T. Knox, J.G.A.H.S., volume ten, numbers iii and iv, 1916–17.
- Remarks on the Walls and Church of Athenry, Charles McNeill, J.G.A.H.S., 1920
- Notes on the Burgus of Athenry, its first defences, and its town walls, & corrigendum, H.T. Knox and a college, J.G.A.H.S., volume 11, numbers i and ii, 1920–21.
- Remarks on the walls and church of Athenry, Charles Mac Neill, J.G.A.H.S., volume 11, numbers iii and iv, 1921
- The Birmingham chalice, J. Rabbitte, volume 17, i and ii, 1936–37
- Old Galway, Maureen Donovan O'Sullivan, 1942
- The Galway Reader, vol. 2, ii & iv (1950); vol. 3, i & ii (1950)
- Punann Arsa: The Story of Athenry, County Galway, Martin Finnerty, Ballinasloe, 1951.
- Coquebert de Montbret's Impressionns of Galway City and county in the year 1791, Sile Ni Chinneide, J.G.A.H.S. XXV, 1952, pp.4–5.
- The parish of Athenry in 1434, Maurice P. Sheey, J.G.A.H.S., volume 31, 1964–1965
- De Burgh Fitzpatrick Persse (1840–1921) and His Family: An Essay in Anglo-Irish and Australian History, Michael D. de Burgh Persse, Corico, Victoria, N.p., 1971 and 1972
- The Story of Esker, anon (Padraig O Donaill?), c.1983
- Athenry: A Local History (1850–1983), Aggie Qualter, 1984.
- Knocknagur, Turoe and local enquiry, John Waddell, volume 40, 1985–1986
- A recently discovered souterrain at Carnmore townland, Co. Galway, Buckley, Victor M. and O’Brien, Kevin, same volume.
- Athenry: A Brief History and Guide, Ann Healy, 1989
- An Archaeological Survey of the Barony of Athenry, County Galway, Thesis by Eamon Cody, NUIG, 1989
- Excavations at Athenry Castle, Co. Galway, Cliona Papazian, Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 43, 1991
- Athenry:A Medieval Irish Town, Etienne Rynne, Athenry Historical Society, Athenry, 1992
- "Erect Me a Monument of Broken Wings";An Anthology of Writings by and on Padraic Fallon, ed. Brian Fallon, Athenry, 1992
- "...a strange spectacle..." German Travaellers in the West 1828–1858, Hermann Rasche, Journal of the G.A.H.S., vol. 47, 1995
- Smallpox in Athenry 1875, Anne Walsh, volume 48, 1996
- The Anglo-Norman Landscape in County Galway, Land-Holdeings, Castles and Settlements, Patrick Holland, J.G.A.H.S., 1997
- Looking Back – Athenry Church 1852, Fr. Tony King, The Athenry Journal, volume three, number one, 1997
- The Memorial Inscriptions and Related History of Kiltullagh, Killimordaly and Esker Graveyards, Con Mulvey (ed.), Galway, 1998. ISBN 0-9533547-0-9.
- From Dooghcloon to Chicago: the life and career of Congressman Lawrence E. McGann 1852–1928, Diarmuid Ó Cearbhaill, J.G.A.H.S., volume 51, 1999
- The Lamberts of Athenry, ed. Finnbarr O'Regan, Galway, 1999.
- Castles and Demesnes: Gleanings from Kilconieran and Clostoken, ed. Fr. Cathal Stanley, 2000
- A statistical analysis and preliminary classification of gravestones from Craughwell, Co. Galway, Robert M. Chapple, J.G.A.H.S., volume 52, 2000
- As The Centuries Passed: A History of Kiltullagh 1500–1900, ed. Kieran Jordan, 2000
- The Tribes of Galway, Adrian James Martyn, Galway, 2001
- The Fields of Athenry: a Journey Through Irish History, James Charles Roy, 2001, ISBN 0813338603
- The Grand Tour of Galway, Cornelius Kelly. 2002, ISBN 978-0-05-378232-1
- Eagles Over Ireland:Athenry and Flying Fortress 1943 by Paul Browne, 2003
- Archaeological Sites of Interest surrounding the Turoe Stone Fr. Tom O'Connor and Kieran Jordan), Journal of the Galway Archaeological and Historical Society, Volume 55, 2003. pp.110–116.
- Turoe & Athenry:Ancient Capitals of Celtic Ireland, Fr. Tom O'Connor, 2003, ISBN 0-9544875-0-8
- Letters to and from County Galway Emigrants 1843–1856, James Charles Roy, J.G.A.H.S., volume 56, 2004
- Making shapes with slates and marla: A Gurteen anthology, John and Margaret Corbett (compilers), Galway, 2004.
- The Life, Legends and Legacy of Saint Kerrill: A Fifth-Century East Galway Evangelist, Joseph Mannion, 2004. 0 954798 1 3
- Hand of History – Burden of Pseudo-History:Touchstone of Truth, Fr. Tom O'Connor, 2006, ISBN 1-4120-3458-2
- The First Battle of Athenry, Adrian James Martyn, East Galway News & Views, March/April 2008
- Tech Saxan: An Anglo-Saxon Monastic Settlement in Early Medieval East Galway, Joseph Mannion, J.G.A.H.S., pp.9–21, volume 60, 2008.
- The Second Battle of Athenry, Adrian James Martyn, East Galway News & Views, September 2008 – July 2009
- ^ "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Archived from the original on 7 June 2011. http://www.cso.ie/census/documents/census2006_volume_1_pop_classified_by_area.pdf. Retrieved 22 June 2011.
- ^ Athenry is pronounced like Athens without the s, followed by rye; the accent is on the last syllable.
- ^ Census for post 1821 figures.
- ^ Histpop – The Online Historical Population Reports Website
- ^ NISRA. "Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency – Census Home Page". Nisranew.nisra.gov.uk. http://www.nisranew.nisra.gov.uk/census. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- ^ Lee, JJ (1981). "On the accuracy of the Pre-famine Irish censuses". In Goldstrom, J. M.; Clarkson, L. A.. Irish Population, Economy, and Society: Essays in Honour of the Late K. H. Connell. Oxford, England: Clarendon Press.
- ^ Mokyr, Joel; O Grada, Cormac (November 1984). "New Developments in Irish Population History, 1700–1850". The Economic History Review 37 (4): 473–488. DOI:10.1111/j.1468-0289.1984.tb00344.x. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/journal/120035880/abstract.
- ^ "Athenry station". Railscot – Irish Railways. Archived from the original on 26 September 2007. http://www.railscot.co.uk/Ireland/Irish_railways.pdf. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
- ^ Kieran Glynn. "athenry.net, Athenry, Co Galway, Ireland". Athenry. http://www.athenry.net/. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- ^ "at". Athenrygaa.com. http://www.athenrygaa.com. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- ^ "Athenry Athletic Club | Information on Athenry AC and running in the West of Ireland". Athenryac.com. http://www.athenryac.com. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
- ^ "Athenry Soccer Club". Athenrysoccerclub.ie. http://www.athenrysoccerclub.ie. Retrieved 3 November 2011.
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- ^ 
- ^ Eva Hone
- ^ UCC,ie – Annala Uladh: Annals of Ulster