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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 (2011)[1]
 • Village 1,351
 • Urban 620
 • Rural 731
Dialing code 091
Irish Grid Reference M369103

Kinvara (Irish: Cinn Mhara, meaning "head of the sea"), also spelled Kinvarra, is a sea port village located in the south of County Galway, Ireland.[2] It is located in the civil parish of Kinvarradoorus in the north of the barony of Kiltartan.[3] Kinvarra is also a District Electoral Division (DED). In the Catholic Church, the Ecclesiastical parish of Kinvara is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Galway, Kilmacduagh and Kilfenora and comprises the civil parishes of, Kinvarradoorus and Killinny (Killina).

Kinvara's DED population according to the 2011 Census was 1,351. The Great Famine in the 1840s and a series of emigrations that continued 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 Fiachrach Aidhne,[citation needed] which is coextensive with the diocese of Kilmacduagh (Cill Mhic Dhuach). The parish is roughly coextensive with the Ó hEidhin territory of Coill Ua bhFiachrach (wood of the Uí Fhiachrach) and this name was still in use in the mid-19th century as recorded by John O'Donovan in his Ordnance Survey letters. Kinvara is situated in the north of the barony of Kiltartan and close to the border with The Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster. The parish is bounded on the north by Galway Bay, on the east by the parishes of Ballinderreen (Killeenavarra) and Ardrahan, on the south by the parishes of Gort (Kilmacduagh) and Boston (Kilkeedy) and on the west by the parishes of Carron and New Quay (Abbey and Oughtmama).


Dunguaire Castle[edit]

Main article: Dunguaire Castle
Dún Guaire castle

Dunguaire Castle (Irish: Dún Guaire [lit, the Castle of Guaire]), a towerhouse of the Ó hEidhin (O Hynes) clan, is located to the east of the village.[citation needed] A Fearadhach Ó hEidhin (fferigh Oheyn) is recorded as the owner of the castle in a 1574 list of castles and their owners covering County Galway. This list was thought to have been compiled for the use of the Lord Deputy Sir Henry Sidney who planned the composition of Connacht. Eoghan Mantach Ó hEidhin (Oene Mantagh O'Heine), chief of the clan, is mentioned as the owner of the castle in the Indentures of Composition of 1585.

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 over the border on Abbey Hill between Kinvara and New Quay in 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 Corranroo 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.[4][5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Census 2011 – Population Classified by Area Table 6 Population of each province, county, city, urban area, rural area and electoral division, 2006 and 2011
  2. ^ Kinvarra, 1:50,000, Ordnance Survey Ireland
  3. ^ Placenames Database of Ireland - Kinvarradoorus civil parish
  4. ^ "Fleadh na gCuach – Kinvara". Retrieved 8 March 2016. 
  5. ^ "Cruinniú na mBád – Kinvara". Retrieved 8 March 2016. 

External links[edit]