An Spidéal (Spiddal): Information in English

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This website was created and is maintained by Comhlacht Forbartha an Spidéil.
It is a community-based resource that serves the village of An Spidéal (Spiddal in English) and the surrounding district, Ceantar an Spidéil.
This section of the site has been designed to provide people from outside the area with basic information, in English, about the area, its people, and what we have to offer visitors.

About An Spidéal

An Spidéal is located on the Atlantic coast of County Galway (on the Wild Atlantic Way) in the west of Ireland, some eleven miles (fifteen kilometers) west of Galway City, on the R336 coast road to Conamara. Ceantar an Spidéil is one of Ireland’s strongest Gaeltacht regions, where Irish is the main community language. It is for that reason that our website is mostly written in Irish.

An Spidéal / Spiddal / Spiddle / Spittal

The name of the village is rendered Spiddal in English, although this is sometimes (mis-)spelt Spiddle. It ultimately derives from the English word hospital, via the Irish ospidéal, and refers to a famine hospital that was established here during The Great Famine (An Gorta Mór) of the 1840s.

As a placename based on the word ‘hospital’, Spiddal is far from unusual. There’s a village called Hospital (Ospidéal Ghleann Áine) and at least two townlands called Spittal in County Limerick. In County Cork there are two more, only they’re spelt Spital, with just the one ‘t’. Spitalfields (Bánta an Spidéil) in Dublin is a variation on a theme. There are plenty of other examples. This isn’t an exclusively Irish phenomenon either; look at Spittalfields (from hospital field) in London, England.

But to come back to An Spidéal, visitors might be interested to know that although the forms Spiddal and Spiddle are, as you’d expect, in general use in English-speaking contexts, they actually have no legal status at all. As with all other Gaeltacht placenames, the Placenames (Ceantair Ghaeltachta) Order 2004, specifies that only the Irish form has any standing in law.

An Spidéal and the surrounding area

An Spidéal is a seaside village. It has two beaches, with a seashore walk and promenade. There are also two piers, suitable for boating and fishing.The village is a thriving hub of shops, pubs and restaurants, small businesses (including a vibrant craft village) and cultural activity. Situated, as it is, close to the Conamara region of Ireland, it is a popular tourist destination and stopover.

The area boasts spectacular views of Galway Bay, Oileáin Árann (the Aran Islands), the Clare Hills and The Burren.

Cill Éinde, the historic Catholic parish church, is located on the main street. The present church was built in 1907 but it is adjacent to abbey ruins, which date from the 1500s, and to the mausoleum, which was built in 1776.

Colaiste Chonnacht, the Irish language college, was built in 1910 and has a strong and ongoing tradition as a centre of language learning. The college is located about a mile to the east of the village, on the coast road, and is situated in spacious sports- and showgrounds.

The population of An Spidéal village is about 250 and that of the surrounding area is about 2,000.

Things to do in An Spidéal

Most of the events listed here are run mostly- or entirely through Irish but they are all accessible to speakers of other languages.Everyone is welcome, no matter what language they have.

Árdán

Irish-language poetry evening. Held once a month during the winter.

Further information available from Éigse an Spidéil.

An Cruinniú

A gathering of national and international musicians that takes place twice a year.

  • First Monday in May.
  • Third weekend of November.

Music sessions, by day and by night, in local pubs and hotels.

Organised by Tom Giblin, fear tí of Tigh Ghiblin.

Éigse an Spidéil

A week-long, community-based festival celebrating various aspects of local, national and international culture. Lectures on cultural and historical matters, guided walks, poetry readings, song, music and dance.

Started in the 1970s.

Further information available on Éigse an Spidéil‘s own website.

Paráid ‘le Pádraig

(The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade)

Held every year on the national day. Includes floats, music and community events.

Seachtain Ceoil Chois Fharraige

(An Spidéal Irish music week)

A week-long traditional Irish music festival, started by Siopa Ceoil Tigh Gannon in 2014.

Features day-sessions, workshops, classes and music sessions in local pubs by night.

Taispeántas Chois Fharraige

A community-based, one-day agricultural, crafts and food show.

Takes place each year at the start of September.

Traidphicnic

A two-day traditional music Festival which takes takes place each year at the start of July. Emphasis on traditional Irish music, dance, singing, art and culture but with an international aspect.

Located at Stiúideó Cuain, behind the craft village.

Further information available on Traidphicnic‘s own website.

Places to stay

You can find detailed, up to date lists of local hotels, B&Bs, guest houses and so on in the lóistín section of our website:

Find out more

The offices of Comhlacht Forbartha an Spidéil, located on An Spidéal’s main street, includes an information centre for tourists and visitors. This information centre is registered with Fáilte Éireann.If you’d like to learn more about what An Spidéal has to offer, don’t hesitate to contact us:

Comhlacht Forbartha an Spidéil,
An Spidéal,
Contae na Gaillimhe,
Éire.

Telephone: +353 91 553 666.
Email: anspideal1@nullgmail.com