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This article is about the village in south County Galway. For the townland in west County Galway, see Kinvara (Moycullen).
Cinn Mhara
Dunguaire Castle
Dunguaire Castle
Kinvara is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°08′20″N 8°56′17″W / 53.139°N 8.938°W / 53.139; -8.938Coordinates: 53°08′20″N 8°56′17″W / 53.139°N 8.938°W / 53.139; -8.938
Country Ireland
Province Connacht
County County Galway
Elevation 10 m (30 ft)
Population (2006)[1]
 • Village 1,160
 • Urban 563
 • Environs 597
Dialing code 091
Irish Grid Reference M369103

Kinvara (Irish: Cinn Mhara, meaning "head of the sea") is a sea port village located in the south of County Galway, Ireland. Kinvara is also the name of the parish in which the village is situated. Kinvara is occasionally spelled Kinvarra in English; this may be seen on some maps and road signs, although Kinvara is the most common spelling used nowadays. Kinvarra is still the official form of the name for the townland as shown on OSI maps[2] and this form is still used on polling cards as the name of the townland while the District Electoral Division (DED) is called Kinvara.

Kinvara's area population according to the 2006 Census was 1160. The Great Famine in the 1840s and a series of emigrations that continued up until the 1960s reduced the population of the village – once a thriving port and a significant exporter of corn and seaweed – to no more than a few hundred people. From around the 1980s the population of the parish of Kinvara started to increase while the village started to grow in size.


The village lies at the head of Kinvara Bay known in Irish as Cinn Mhara (or more recently Cuan Chinn Mhara) from which the village took its name. This is an inlet in the south-eastern corner of Galway Bay. Kinvara is situated in the territory of Uí Fhiachrach Aidni,[citation needed] which is coextensive with the diocese of Kilmacduagh (Cill Mhic Dhuach). Kinvara is situated in the west of the former barony of Kiltartan (also in County Galway) and close to the border with County Clare in the province of Munster, near the Burren.


Dunguaire Castle[edit]

Main article: Dunguaire Castle
Dún Guaire castle

Dunguaire Castle (Irish Dún Guaire [lit, the Castle of Guaire]), a towerhouse of the Uí Eidhin (O Hynes) clan, is located to the east of the village.[citation needed]

A view of Kinvara from Dunguaire Castle.

Terry Alts[edit]

The Terry Alt agrarian resistance movement of the early 19th century was active in the Kinvara area. In 1831, a large force of Terry Alts gathered on the border between Kinvara parish and Oughtmama parish, Burren, County Clare and challenged the English Crown forces to battle. They, however, dispersed before the arrival of the English forces. They also unsuccessfully attempted to ambush a body of English infantry at Corranroe in the west of the parish, which led to the death of one of their members.


Street of Kinvara in 2007

Kinvara is home every year to two festivals, Fleadh na gCuach ("the cuckoo festival") an Irish music festival at the start of May and the Cruinniú na mBád ("gathering of the boats") in mid August. Anthony Moylan is credited as the person who came up with the idea for the Fleadh on the new bank holiday weekend to commemorate the festival of Bealtaine, around which time the cuckoo is first heard. The Cruinniú na mBád, also largely the idea of Anthony Moylan, is the larger and longer-running, it celebrates the traditional sailing craft (Galway Hookers) and the trade they once did between Kinvara, western County Galway and the north of County Clare. Turf was imported into Kinvara from the west of County Galway while barley, lime, and timber was exported from Kinvara. Turf, the main fuel used here prior to coal and oil, had to be imported as Kinvara is in an area without bogs. The festival started in 1979 and features a series of boat races as well as a variety of other events on the pier. The Fleadh na gCuach (started in 1994) is a festival of Irish music that celebrates the old Irish festival of Bealtaine (the First of May), which in Ireland marks the start of Summer.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Census 2006 – Volume 1 – Population Classified by Area" (PDF). Central Statistics Office Census 2006 Reports. Central Statistics Office Ireland. April 2007. Retrieved 2011-06-19.  total is of the Kinvara electoral area
  2. ^ Kinvarra, 1:50,000, Ordnance Survey of Ireland