Galway or "City of the Tribes" sits on a harbour on Ireland’s picturesque west coast where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. Remnants of the medieval town walls still remain today, but Galway dates back to 5000 B.C. It’s an incredible city, full of fun, culture and history.
At the heart of Galway city is the 8th-century Eyre Square, which connects with popular Shop Street where you can seek our local crafts and infamous Claddagh Ring. Galway is famous for its traditional music scene and local food. It hosts many festivals and is a cultural hub. Many flocking there to play music, dance, share their art and get swept up in the hustle and bustle of the city.
The colourful city has even been designated the European Capital of Culture in 2020 and is a designated UNESCO City of Film. The minute you arrive in the city you’ll get a sense of how special it is.
Interestingly Galway has a strong connection to the Irish language Gaelic. Galway has a large population of native Gaelic speakers, so keep an eye and ear out for it around the city.
On the banks of the River Corrib is the oldest neighbourhood in Galway city called The Claddagh. The area is famous for its association with the Claddagh Ring - an Irish ring that signifies love, loyalty, and friendship.
Lynch's Castle is located on Shop Street and is an original medieval townhouse worth checking out as you explore the busy street.
Another building of note in the city is Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas. This impressive architectural creation was built in 1965 and has a distinctive with a Renaissance Revival dome.
Spanish Arch known locally as Caoċ Arch is the only remaining part of the front wall of the city, which was built to protect the city in the 1500s.
The best museum in the city is Galway City Museum. It houses exhibitions on the heritage of Galway and the history of Spanish Arch and the remnants of the city's wall. It even has insights into archaeology, history and sea science of Galway. An insider tip, check out their website for events that they run year round with immersive and educational experiences for adults and kids.
If you want a tour of the city an open top bus is a great option. It only takes an hour but you’ll see everything from The Claddagh to Galway Bay, Salthill and Spanish Arch. Galway City Open Top Bus is a company offering this tour and the tours run from April through to September.
Another historical landmark is the Home of Nora Barnacle; she was the wife of famous Irish writer and poet James Joyce. Number 8 Bowling Green has been restored to its original state and offers a fabulous insight into living in the early 1900s. A must see if you’re a history fan.
The Burren is a region of County Clare, but it’s a short round trip from Galway. The landscape in the area is world famous. Its beauty is so incredible, with cliffs, caves and interesting archaeological sites to explore. If you’re a keen photographer this is one part near Galway well worth the trip.
A more casual lunch spot and for vegan cakes, cookies and really good coffee try Temple Café. Another casual lunch spot is the TGO Falafel Bar (get the shared platter for two it’s unreal).
If you fancy some alternative teas and just want to sit somewhere for a while and chat The Secret Garden is lovely. For really good coffee and sitting outside Coffeewerk is really good and had lovely crafty bits and books inside, along with a small art gallery upstairs, again with local artists exhibiting.
Also, there’s a shop called Cambridge’s, which has lots of great food options for on the go.
For the perfect pint, Galway has so many great options for travellers. Their pubs are lively, the pints are tasty and the staff are friendly. You won’t want to leave. Tigh Neachtain’s on Cross Street, Murphy’s, High Street and Garavan’s, William Street are all great pubs to check out.
Other activities include kayaking, sailing and diving. Kayak around the Galway coastline; take in Mutton Island Lighthouse and Salthill. Sail Galway Bay takes passengers on short and long trips from Galway to the Aran Islands; this is a worthwhile trip for travellers. The Aran Islands are in Galway Bay. Inishmore is the largest of the islands. On Inishmore is a prehistoric fort called Dún Aonghasa. Inishmaan meaning “Middle Island” is a predominantly Irish-speaking island, so an interesting option for tourists to get a true insight into Ireland. Inisheer is the smallest of the islands, but many of the tours take in all three islands.
If your timings are good you could take in a festival Galway International Arts Festival takes place in July. Galway Film Fleadh takes place in July each year and Galway International Oyster Festival happens in September.
If you’re eager to explore Galway by foot than there are lots of walking tours in and around the city. A walking tour is such a fun way to take in the rich history and cultural heritage of the city's cobblestone streets. Food tours have become hugely popular in Galway in the last decade too. And more for unique foodie experiences try an oyster tour, Poitin and Gin tour, bread and butter workshop, a vegan tasting experience in Connemara or a bike or walk food experience in the nearby the Burren.