Gaelic: Áth Cinn
Headford is a town in County Galway, located 16 miles north of the city of Galway. It is on the N84 national secondary road from Galway to Castlebar and the R333, and R334 regional roads also serve the town.
In his 1837 Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, Samuel Lewis recorded a population of 1,441. He described the town in some detail:
This is a neat and clean town, having been much improved by its proprietor, R. J. Mansergh St George, Esq.; it has a considerable trade, and commands fine views of Lough Corrib, and the mountains of Joyces' country and Mayo. It comprises 217 houses, is a chief constabulary police station, and has petty sessions on Mondays; here is also a dispensary. Bobbin lace, coarse linen, and flannel are made. The market is on Tuesday, and fairs are held on May 11th and Oct. 14th. Headford Castle is the residence of R. J. M. St George, Esq.; it is a handsome modern building, erected on the ruins of the ancient castle; the extensive demesne, which is laid out with great taste, is entered from the town by a good gateway. Here is also Clydagh House, the seat of G. Staunton Lynch, Esq.
Headford appeared in the Oscar-winning film "The Quiet Man" starring John Wayne. The St George's family ownership of the town is explored in "Headford, County Galway, 1775-1901" by Gerardine Candon ( ISBN 1-85182-764-1 )Maynooth Series 51
The town is a popular angling centre for the eastern shore of Lough Corrib, and Greenfields, four miles west of the town, is its boating harbour. It is just over a mile south of the Black River which marks the county border with Mayo and noted also for its trout angling. It is also the centre of an area richly endowed with archaeological monuments including prehistoric burial cairns, Iron Age stone enclosures, early Norman and later castles, and many monastic sites. These include Ross Errilly Friary, founded in 1351, which has been described as the best preserved monastic ruin in Ireland.
The modern cattle mart replaces the fairs and markets once held in the town's two squares and it ensures the local popularity of this North Galway town. The annual Saint Patrick's Day parade in 2009 marked the return of a market in the town, which has been held once a month in the square since then.
Headford has a small library. The town has two primary schools: Headford Girls National School has girls from Junior Infants to sixth Class and boys from Junior Infants up to second class; St Brendan's boys' school is attached to the girls' school and takes boys from third to sixth class. There are another three primary schools within the parish and one second level school, the Presentation College Headford which has 740 students.
The Headford Parish has two churches, both of which are Catholic and were built by Fr Peter Conway and dedicated to St Mary. The church at Claran was built in 1859 and for many years was the home of the parish priest. The church in Headford was built in 1865 on lands donated by the landlord St George.