The Claddagh c.1900

"Few things in Ireland are more curious than this fishing village, included in, yet separate from, the chief city of Connaught.

It was not always included.  The walled city of Galway did not cross the Corrib River - one of the town gates on the quay opposite to Claddagh shows where the wall came down to the water - and very probably the Claddagh settlement was where it is before stone was ever set upon stone, or mortar used, at this pass into the wilder regions of the west... But here the Irish town has remained Irish.  Irish is still the language of Claddagh people, and the women, bare-headed, barefooted, with their shawls and red petticoats, dress as women do all through Connemara...The Claddagh keeps to itself, marries within itself,and the racial type is strongly marked - for the most part very dark haired and dark skinned... the Claddagh man you can only talk about the Claddagh; Ireland has no appeal for him...

...But a thing struck me which I have never seen elsewhere in Ireland, where generally men have a prejudice against handling babies or doing anything else that is taken to be women's work.  But here, in at least a dozen houses, I found the woman bustling about while the man stood or sat with an infant on his arm - and holding it as a woman does...I have never found any other community in Ireland so alien, so shy, and so hard to know." 

Taken from "A Holiday in Connemara" by Stephen Gwynn (1909).