Wednesday 9 October 2019

Renaissance Galway explores pictorial c1650 City map

The Royal Irish Academy has published the latest ancillary publication from the Irish Historic Towns Atlas: Renaissance Galway – Delineating the Seventeenth-Century City, by Paul Walsh.

Click image to order the 100-page paperback (€15/£12/$20)
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 survive. One is held by the Hardiman Library while the other is held by Trinity College Dublin. It is the latter map 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’.

The Irish Historic Towns Atlas is a research project of the Royal Irish Academy and is part of a wider European scheme. Renaissance Galway is produced with support from Galway City Council.

EXTRA: To celebrate the launch of Renaissance Galway, an afternoon seminar will be held tomorrow, 10 October, at National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). Hosted by the Moore Institute, it's free to attend, but you need to book via Eventbrite. Details.