Kinvara, the name, has been anglicized, the name of our village in Irish, being Cinn Mhara. Translated into English, this means Head of the Sea. This name gives one, a very good insight into Kinvara's history. Essentially, Kinvara has grown into what it is today, from its association with the sea.
Dunguaire Castle was built around 1500, for the O' Hynes family.The first record of Kinvara, as a market place dates back to 1615, when Oliver Martyn, residing in Dunguaire Castle was granted a licence to hold a Saturday market in Kinvara. During the 1600's, access to Kinvara would have been a lot easier by sea than by land and as a result of the growth in business and commerce in Galway, the harbour and village was developed by merchants/business men of the time.
Kinvara continued to thrive, although the mid 1800's, took its toll, with The Great Irish Famine. By the early 1900's there were over 40 businesses in the village/town, including 23 groceries, 14 pubs, 5 hotels, 4 butchers, 4 carpentry shops, 3 forges, 2 tailors, 2 undertakers and a cobbler. However, for various reasons, (including better roads, gas and electricity and recession in Ireland in general) the mid 1900's brought hard times to Kinvara. Emigration was commonplace, with all families being affected.
Today, with improved economic and social condtions, Kinvara has become one of the most vibrant small communities in Ireland, with a fantastic mixture of old and new, encircled with a huge pride for our heritage and culture.
For a detailed insight into the history of Kinvara, I would highly recommend, a book called
Kinvara-A Seaport Town on Galway Bay available from Tir Eolas
More fascinating detail, about Kinvara & Surrounding Area, including "local surnames" is available at the "Hynes Network".
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