Nightbringer | The Arthurian Online Encyclopedia


Gallway, Galvoie

County Galway is located on the west coast of Ireland and is one of the largest counties in the country.

The region is sometimes confused with Galloway, an area in Scotland. According to Wace, Galway was part of Arthur’s empire.

In Les Merveilles de Rigomer, it is ruled by an ally of Arthur’s named Lot (not Gawain’s father) and his son Midomidas. In Meriadeuc, a knight in Arthur’s service named Blidoblidas is called the son of the King of Galway.

Galway | 0 to the 9th century AD

Prehistoric Period
During the prehistoric era, evidence suggests that the region that is now County Galway was inhabited by various Celtic tribes and other indigenous groups. Archaeological sites, such as megalithic tombs and ringforts, indicate early human activity in the area.

Celtic and Early Medieval Period
The Celts began to settle in Ireland aroudn 500 BC, bringing their languagge, culture, and social structures. The Celtic people in Ireland established a system of tuatha (small kingdoms or territories), and these territories were often ruled by local chieftains.

Christianity arrived in Ireland in the fifth century,and by the sixth century, monastic settlements were founded. These monasteries played a crucial role in the preservation of knowledge and the spread of Christianity.

Viking Incursions
In the eighth and ninth centuries, Viking raids on the Irish coastline became more frequent. The Vikings, seafaring Norse people from Scandinavia, targeted monasteries and coastal settlements for plunder. Galway’s location along the western coast made it susceptible to Viking raids and invasions.

Over time, a synthesis of Celtic and Viking cultures began to occur. The Vikings established settlements in Ireland, including in areas that would later become County Galway. This period laid the groundwork for the unique blend of Gaelic and Norse influences seen in Irish culture.

Political Fragmentation
The political landscape of early medieval Ireland was characterized by a decentrialized system of kingship and tribal territories. Local chieftains ruled over their respective regions. The concept of High Kingship existed, but its authority was often limited, and regional kings maintained a significant degree of autonomy.

Les Merveilles de Rigomer | Jehan, mid to late 13th century
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155