Thomas Óge Martyn

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Thomas Óge Martyn, Mayor of Galway, fl. 1533-c. 1577.

Early life[edit]

Martyn was a merchant of Galway and a member of the Martyn family, one of the Tribes of Galway. He was the son of former Mayor of Galway, Wylliam Martin.

West Bridge and Mills[edit]

In 1558 he obtained a grant from Queen Mary to build a mill on the west side of the Corrib river, on condition that he build a new stone bridge defended with gates and battlements.

This map of 1651 shows the walled city (North is to the left). The River Corrib is in the foreground, crossed by what is now O’Briens Bridge, leading to Mainguard Street.

It was completed in 1562 and bore two plaques; one declared that Thomas Óge and his wife Evelina Lynch "caused this bridge and mill to be made", while the second bore the inscription "From the Furious Ó Flaherty's deliver us oh Lord." This was in reference to the frequent attacks made upon the town by the O Flaherty clan of Iar Connacht and Connemara

Martyn's bridge and mills survived into the early 19th century, the bridge been the only one connecting east and west County Galway. It was the scene of an unsuccessful prison break in August 1595 which resulted in the death of a number of the escapees.

The mill was demolished c. 1800 and rebuilt as the Bridge Mills by the Murphy family. Ironically, for much of the 19th century it was owned by the Martyn family of nearby Dominick Street, who were originally from Breaffy and apparently yet another branch of the Martyn tribe (see Andrew H. Martyn). Both the bridge and the mills are displayed on the c. 1651 map of Galway. The rebuilt bridge is now called O'Brien's Bridge.

Later life and descendants[edit]

Thomas Óge served as bailiff of Galway from September 1533 to September 1534, and served twice as Mayor of Galway for the terms 1549–1550, and 1562–1563. He served as a master of Galway from 1550 to 1577, after which he disappears from the town records.

He was the father of William Óge Martyn and Francis Martin, both of whom were later Mayors of Galway.

Via William Óge, Thomas Óge is believed to be an ancestor of Richard "Humanity Dick" Martin (1754–1834), Harriet Letitia Martin (1801–91) Mary Letitia Martin (1815–50) and D'Arcy Argue Counsell Martin (1899–1992).


  • Óge is the Irish term for the younger or junior. Martyn was so-called to distinguish him from his grandfather, Thomas Martin, murdered sometime before May 1520.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Civic offices
Preceded by
Dominick Lynch
Mayor of Galway
Succeeded by
Richard Kirwan (Mayor)
Preceded by
Thomas Blake
Mayor of Galway
Succeeded by
Nicholas Blake