This district originally formed part of the diocese of Enachdune, an ancient bishoprick, annexed in 1324 to the archiepiscopal see of Tuam. It consists of the parish of St. Nicholas, the greater part of that of Rahoon, and part of Oranmore. The parish of St. Nicholas comprises 3046 statute acres in cultivation, as applotted under the tithe act. The living is a rectory, united to the rectories of Rahoon, Oranmore, Clare-Galway, Moycullin, Kilcommin, Ballinacourty, and Shruel, together constituting the Wardenship of Galway, instituted by the Archbishop in 1484, when the church was made collegiate, and exercising an ecclesiastical jurisdiction distinct from that of the diocese, and exempt from that of the Archbishop, with the exception only of triennial visitation.

The warden is annually elected (the same person has of late been successively re-elected), and three vicars appointed for life, by the corporation under their charter. The tithes amount to £130, wholly payable to the warden, who also receives three-fourths of the tithes of the other parishes of the union, amounting, with the rent of houses and two glebes, to £1268. 15. 10 ½. The vicars receive each an annual stipend of £75, payable by the warden. The church, which, by letters patent granted by Edward VI., was constituted the "Royal College of Galway," and in the reign of Elizabeth endowed with the dissolved monasteries of Annaghdown and Ballintubber, in the county of Mayo, is a spacious cruciform structure, in the decorated English style, with a tower rising from the centre. It was built in 1320, and is nearly in the centre of the town; the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have recently granted £1385 towards its repair.

In the R. C. divisions Galway is the head of a see, comprising 12 parochial unions or districts, and containing 14 chapels, served by 24 clergymen, of whom 12 are parish priests and 12 coadjutors or curates. It is one of the six sees suffragan to Tuam, and the parish of St. Nicholas is the benefice and residence of the R. C. bishop; the chapel is a spacious edifice. There are friaries and nunneries of the orders of St. Francis, St. Augustine, and St. Dominick, to each of which is attached a chapel; there is also a convent for nuns of the order of the Presentation, and a place of worship for Presbyterians.

In the east suburbs stands one of the four classical schools founded in Ireland by the munificent bequest of Erasmus Smith; it is a handsome building, erected at an expense of £8000 by the trustees, who allow the master a salary of £100 per ann., with the privilege of taking boarders. The parochial schools are also aided by the trustees, who allow the master a salary of £40 and the mistress £27 13. 10. per annum; a new school-room has been built on ground given by the trustees, towards defraying the expense of which the inhabitants subscribed £300 and £250 was granted by Government. A school is conducted by the ladies of the Presentation Convent, in which 80 of the girls are maintained and clothed; and there is a large national school on the site of the barrack in Lombard-street for which two good school-rooms have been built at an expense of £600, raised by subscriptions. There are also 16 private schools, in which are about 660 children.

The house of industry and the dispensary, to the latter of which the English Relief Committee of 1832 gave £700, vested in the Archbishop of Tuam as trustee, and government £500, vested in four trustees chosen by the subscribers, are supported in the customary manner. A widows' and orphans' asylum was founded by the Rev. Mr. Fynn, P.P. of St. Nicholas, and is supported under his patronage by subscription. A Protestant poor-house, in which are 20 inmates, is supported by the parochial clergy and the interest of £500, bequeathed to the Warden in trust for the Protestant poor, by the late Mr. Kirwan, of London, a native of Galway. A Magdalen asylum is supported by two R. C. ladies, who devote their time and their fortune to its management. No vestiges can be traced of the Franciscan friary without the north gate, founded in 1296 by Sir W. De Burgo; of a Dominican friary near the west gate, previously a cell to the Premonstratensian abbey of Tuam; an Augustinian friary, founded in 1508 by Stephen Lynch and Margaret his wife; a Carmelite friary, a nunnery on an island in Lough Corrib, or an hospital of Knight Templars.

There are numerous ruins of ancient castles in the neighbourhood. Among the more distinguished natives of Galway may be noticed Patrick D'Arcy, author of the celebrated "Argument on the Independence of Ireland," in 1641; John Lynch, author of "Cambrensis Eversus," "Alithinologia," and other tracts; Roderick O'Flaherty, author of the "Ogygia"; Sir G. L. Staunton, secretary to Lord Macartney, and writer of the account of that nobleman's embassy to Pekin; Walter Blake Kirwan, celebrated as a popular preacher in Dublin; and Richard Kirwan, an eminent chemist and mineralogist. James Hardiman, Esq., author of the History of Galway, has a villa near the town. Galway gives the title of Viscount to the family of Monckton.

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