The first inhabitants of the Galway region were there over 5,000 years ago. Celtic colonization of this area thereafter explains the presence of sites of this period. With the arrival of Christianity, many monasteries were built in the area, for example in Roscam, on the island of Inchagoill and on the lakes Corrib and Annaghdown.
Galway city developed more after the invasion by the English and Welsh and the Irish quickly took possession of their city again.
The Claddagh ('Cladach') means a stony foreshore, and a settlement of fishermen seems to have existed here since the earliest times. The city walls never enclosed the Claddagh, which retained its own customs, a large degree of self-government and its own 'King'.