Lynch’s Memorial Window is a monument that pays a rather macabre tribute to one of Galway’s great histories. A true story dating from 1493, when the mayor and magistrate of Galway, James Lynch FitzStephen would have hanged his own son from the window of his house as punishment for murder… The word “lynch” has been used ever since.
It’s all set in 1493. James Lynch FitzStephen’s son is sentenced to death for the murder of a Spanish merchant seaman. But no executioner is available to carry out the sentence.
His father, then judge and mayor (known for his intransigence and respect for the law), refused to wait any longer, and decided to carry out the sentence on his own son himself. The latter then hanged him from the window of his own house, creating uproar throughout Galway.
Between true story and legend, this episode has since been commemorated in a memorial on Market Street. It is a gothic window, where you will find a skull, underlined by 2 crossed bones, with the words “REMEMBER DEATHE – VANITI OF VANITI & ALL IS BUT VANITI”.
A dark message, which still seems to fascinate the inhabitants of Galway today .