Carraroe (Irish: An Cheathrú Rua Irish pronunciation: [ənˠ ˌça(h).ɾˠuː ˈɾˠuˑə] ("The Red Quarter"),[2] its official name)[3] is a village in County Galway, Ireland, in the Irish-speaking region (Gaeltacht) of Conamara, famous for its traditional fishing boats known as Galway Hookers. Its population is widely dispersed over An Cheathrú Rua peninsula between Cuan an Fhir Mhóir (Greatman's Bay) and Cuan Chasla (Casla Bay). An Cheathrú Rua has an unusual beach, Trá an Dóilín, a biogenic gravel beach made of coralline algae known as "maerl".

An Cheathrú Rua

An Cheathrú Rua
Location in Ireland
Coordinates: 53°15′56″N 9°35′01″W
CountryRepublic of Ireland
CountyCounty Galway
Irish Grid ReferenceL943250

Galway hookers

Galway Hookers are a distinctive form of native Irish boat, and An Cheathrú Rua is today probably the single most important centre for these boats. Every August public holiday, An Cheathrú Rua hosts Féile an Dóilín, the largest Galway hooker festival in Ireland, and one of the largest maritime festivals in the country. The 2006 Féile an Dóilín, which is named after the area's unique "coral strand", was the largest gathering of Galway hookers in the history of Galway hooker regattas. The main boats are the larger Báid Mhóra (big boats) and Leathbháid (half-boats), which in earlier times were used for hauling turf from the peat bogs in Conamara to the Aran Islands and the Burren of County Clare, where peat is absent. The smaller boats are the Gleoiteoga, which were traditionally used for fishing. These boats can be found at Sruthán Pier, which is the main pier in An Cheathrú Rua and in the Caladh Thadhg area, from Caladh Thadhg pier you will get panoramic views of Na Beanna Beola (The Twelve Bens) mountains.

Today the main activity of all these boats is racing, and there are numerous regattas along the Conamara coast. Among the most famous boats are An Mhaighdean Mhara ('The Mermaid'), An American Mór and An Tonaí. Currach racing is held on Loch an Mhuilinn, the lake close to the village. Every year at the festival of Cruinniú na mBád, a large flotilla of traditional Connemara boats race across Galway bay from An Cheathrú Rua to Kinvara.

Féile an Dóilín is the west of Ireland's premier maritime festival, taking place annually on the shores of An Cheathrú Rua, Conamara.

Irish language

Irish (specifically the Connacht dialect) is the main spoken language of An Cheathrú Rua, the settlement being the most populous Irish speaking village in the Conamara Gaeltacht. It is one of the strongest Irish speaking areas in Ireland.

In 2016, An Cheathrú Rua was a town with one of the highest percentages of daily Irish speakers in Ireland, with 61.6 per cent stating that they spoke it daily.[4] Under the Gaeltacht Act 2012, the Gaeltacht was redefined into 26 Limistéar Pleanála Teanga (LPTs), or Language Planning Areas. Of these, An Cheathrú Rua area recorded the 3rd largest proportion of daily Irish speakers in Ireland in 2016, at 65.1 per cent.[4]

There are two summer schools, (one of which is Coláiste Aodáin), that teach Irish to English-speaking secondary-school students from all over Ireland. Students usually stay for three weeks with local families. An Cheathrú Rua is also a centre for the Irish-language media. The main national Irish-language newspaper Foinse had its head office in the village; the Irish-language radio station, RTÉ Raidió na Gaeltachta, is in nearby Casla, and the Irish-language TV station, TG4, is based at Baile na hAbhann, a few kilometres east. Catholic church services are in Irish only. All school lessons are conducted in Irish.

Trá an Dóilín

Trá an Dóilín, a blue flag beach near the village, is noted for its very fine "coral". Contrary to the English name (Coral Strand), the beach is actually made of coralline algae known as maerl. This biogenic gravel beach is rare and of great conservation importance.

Áras Mháirtín Uí Chadhain

Áras Mháirtín Uí Chadhain is one of the Gaeltacht centres of Oifig na Gaeilge Labhartha (the Department of Spoken Irish) of the National University of Ireland, Galway. The Áras opened in 1977. The centre is named in honour of Máirtín Ó Cadhain, author of Cré na Cille ('The Church-Yard Clay'), an important work of modern Irish language fiction.


Páirc an Chathanaigh is a community-owned sports ground in the village. It is the home ground of both gaelic football club An Cheathrú Rua and An Ghaeltacht rugby union club.[5] It also hosted Galway United F.C.'s 1986–87 UEFA Cup soccer match against FC Groningen when Terryland Park failed to meet UEFA standards.[5][6]

Local soccer club C.S. Mac Dara competes in the Galway & District League. Conamara Isles Golf Club with his 9-hole course is located 8 kilometres from An Cheathrú Rua.


An Cheathrú Rua is served by Bus Éireann route 424 from Galway.

The town is mentioned in the lyrics of the Waterboys' 1993 hit "Glastonbury Song", which refers to several Irish and British sites associated with ancient Celtic ritual:

We came down from the hill of dreams
Bernadette, mother earth and you and me
Through Carraroe, down the wildwood side.

The town gives its name to the traditional tune "Carraroe Jig". The jig has been recorded by several artists, including Patrick Street, Mick Moloney and The Corrs.[7]

An Cheathrú Rua is the home of the fictional Nuala Anne McGrail, heroine of novelist Andrew Greeley's "Irish" series which began with Irish Gold in 1994.

See also


Media related to Carraroe at Wikimedia Commons

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