Coordinates: 53°14′39″N 9°18′21″W / 53.244184°N 9.30586°W / 53.244184; -9.30586
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An Spidéal
Main Street (R336 road)
Main Street (R336 road)
Spiddal is located in Ireland
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°14′39″N 9°18′21″W / 53.244184°N 9.30586°W / 53.244184; -9.30586
CountyCounty Galway
Irish Grid ReferenceM130225
In statute law, the village's official name is An Spidéal, or in the English language, Spiddal.[2]
The Pier, Spiddal

Spiddal (Irish and official name: An Spidéal Irish pronunciation: [ənˠ ˈsˠpʲɪdʲeːlˠ], meaning 'the hospital')[3] is a village on the shore of Galway Bay in County Galway, Ireland. It is 18 kilometres (11 mi) west of Galway city, on the R336 road. It is on the eastern side of the county's Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) and of the Connemara region. According to the 2016 census, 35.3% of the population speak Irish on a daily basis outside the education system. It is a centre for tourism with a beach, harbour, and shore fishing. The village is part of the civil parish of Moycullen.


The name of the village in Irish, An Spidéal, derives from the word ospidéal, in turn derived from the English word 'hospital'.[4]

A number of hospital facilities were based in the area, including a famine hospital which was located in Spiddal during the Great Famine of the mid-1840s.[4] While 'Spiddal' is the common English variant of the name, 'Spiddle' is sometimes used.[3][4]


Spiddal like much of the west of Ireland suffered greatly during the Great Famine, with many people being evicted and many people starving. Appeals were made by the parish priest John O'Grady and by A.W. Blake, as a result the board of works employed some local men in the improvements to the harbour in Spiddal.[5]

From 1848 the evangelical Protestant Irish Church Missions were active, establishing the Connemara Orphan's Nursery (Spiddal Orphanage/Nead Le Farrige) in the early 1850s,[6][7] the home could accommodate up to 90 boys and girls, and became affiliated to the Protestant-run Smyly Homes (and was even referred to as The Bird's Nest, the name of the Dublin home).[8] Following its closure as an orphanage, it became a Secondary School for Girls run by the catholic Sisters of Mercy.


The old harbour

There are a number of shops and services in the area. On the eastern side of the village is An Cheardlann ('the workshop' in Irish), a craft village. There is a primary school and a secondary school in the village.

Live traditional Irish music is regularly performed in the village's pubs, some of which double as restaurants.[citation needed]

The village is served by Bus Éireann route 424 from Galway City. The Boluisce river flows south from Boluisce Lake and enters Galway Bay at Spiddal.[9]

Culture and sport[edit]

Each summer, groups of Irish teenagers visit Spiddal for three-week Irish language courses. American students visit for the autumn semester each year to study Irish-language literature and culture.

Coláiste Chonnacht and Coláiste Lurgan are two local Irish language schools.

The music group The Waterboys recorded part of their Fisherman's Blues album in Spiddal. They also recorded a song called Spring Comes to Spiddal on their album Room to Roam. The television series Ros na Rún is filmed there, and broadcast on TG4.

The local Gaelic Athletic Association club is Cumann Lúthchleas Gael An Spidéal, with Gaelic football and hurling being the most popular sports. There is also a sailing club in the village.

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Profile 1 - Population Distribution and Movement F1015 - Population: An Spidéal, Co. Galway". Central Statistics Office (Ireland). Retrieved 21 July 2023.
  2. ^ "I.R. Uimh. 133/1975 - An tOrdú Logainmneacha (Foirmeacha Gaeilge) (Uimh. 1) (Postbhailte) 1975". irishstatutebook.ie (in Irish). 1975.
  3. ^ a b "An Spidéal / Spiddle | logainm.ie". logainm.ie. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c "An Spidéal (Spiddal): Information in English". anspideal.ie. Retrieved 20 July 2021.
  5. ^ Spiddal www.oughterardheritage.org
  6. ^ The Protestant Missions in Connemara, Miriam Moffitt www.connemaraheritage.org, January 28, 2012.
  7. ^ An unseemly brawl of god and scripture Galway Advertiser, November 13, 2008.
  8. ^ Spiddal Orphan Home www.childrenshomes.org.uk
  9. ^ Owenboliskey River Placenames Database of Ireland. Retrieved: 2011-11-20.
  10. ^ "Death of TV producer and Tourmakeady native". www.mayonews.ie.