Began as a small fishing village centred on the estuary of the River Corrib, a river traditionally called Abhainn Na Gaillimhe (The Galway River) after Galvia, a mythological princess is said to have drowned in its waters. There is vibrancy to the friendly university city, which many delight in, and few forget. Music, festivals, horse racing, pubs, restaurants, shops, theatres and most of all Galway people, combine to create an atmosphere you will want to return to again and again.
A medieval town with hidden gems among its winding streets, Galway city is a treasure trove of quirky vintage stores and tiny bookshops. Take your taste buds on an adventure at the market by Church Lane, chat to the locals or learn about Galway’s history in the City Museum, located just behind the famous Spanish Arch. Galway’s thriving creative culture is evident in annual festivals like the Cúirt Festival of Literature (8th-14th April) and of course the Galway Arts Festival (15th-28th July 2019). The summer festivities continue at the Galway Races (29th July-4th Aug 2019). This vibrant and lavish event brings out flamboyance and fun, especially at the famous Ladies’ Day competition. Outside the city, the awe-inspiring Twelve Bens mountains overlook Connemara, a region that is home to a National Park, Irish-speaking Gaeltachts, stately homes transformed into welcoming hotels, spectacular beaches and cosy coastal villages like Roundstone and Ballyconneely. While in Connemara you should try to fit in a visit to Inishbofin Island or the Aran Islands.
Some 'must see' attractions around GALway city
Cathedral of our lady
Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven & Saint Nicholas – Galway City. Tel: 091563577 www.galwaycathedral.org – The huge octagonal dome of the Galway Cathedral towers over Nuns Island and is more reminiscent of Florence than the west of Ireland. It was the last major stone church built in Ireland (1957-1965) and is located on the site of the old Galway Gaol. Galway Cathedral boasts an impressive variety of interior art including statues, mosaics and stained glass. Its architecture and design are truly eclectic.
St Nicholas collegiate church
St. Nicholas Collegiate Church – Galway City. Tel: 091 564648 www.stnicholas.ie – Founded in 1320, this church remains one of the best-preserved of Ireland’s medieval town churches featuring engaging gargoyles and exterior carvings of dragons. The mermaid figure is fitting in a church dedicated to the patron saint of mariners.
Lynch’s Castle – Galway City. Tel: 091 567041 – A 12th century castle which was extensively altered in 1966 when it was converted into a bank. The exterior preserves some of the few remaining Irish gargoyles and the arms of Henry VII, the Lynch family and the Fitzgerald’s of Kildare. The stonework detailing around the windows is of very good quality and on the ground floor, historical material relating to the castle is on display.
Lynch’s Window – Situated in Market Street, this marks the spot where according to popular but dubious legend, James Lynch, elected Mayor of Galway in 1493, hanged his own son, who had confessed to murdering a visiting Spaniard.
Riverside Walk – This walk runs along the River Corrib from Wolfe Tone Bridge to the Salmon Weir. Here you can see shoals of salmon lie in season before making their way upstream to spawn in Lough Corrib.
Eyre Square – A very attractive town square, where a plaque stands to the memory of John F. Kennedy, who was made a Freeman of the City shortly before his death in 1963.
The Spanish Arch
The Spanish Arch – In front of Spanish Arch is an open quayside area where once French and Spanish galleons docked with cargoes of wines, silks and other cargo. Later this area was a fish market where local boatmen sold their catch in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Local legend also has it that the Spanish Arch was the last point of land contact for Christopher Columbus prior to discovering America. The Columbus Sculpture was presented to the city of Galway by the City of Genoa on the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America.
Nora barnacle house
Nora Barnacle House – Located in Bowling Green adjacent to St. Nicholas’ Church is the home of Nora Barnacle, the wife of the world famous Irish literary figure, James Joyce. Joyce stayed in the house many times while visiting his in-laws.
The Claddagh village
The Claddagh Village – Galway City – A visit to Galway City just isn’t complete without a stroll through the Claddagh seafront on the bank opposite the Spanish Arch. The thatched cottages which were once home to the city’s fisherman and their families are long gone, but the black hulls of currachs, Galway Hookers and Púcáns still contrast with the white swans of the Claddagh Basin. Nearby is the Dominican Church and its treasure, the 17th century wooden statue known as ‘Our Lady of Galway’. The world famous Claddagh ring owes its origins to this area of Galway.
Kirwan’s Lane – is a beautifully restored medieval laneway which hosts some impressive historical features as well as some unique businesses. The lane is part of Galway’s historic street layout. Among the lane’s historic buildings is Judy Greene’s Pottery Shop which formely housed Kirwan’s Lane Theatre in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Galway City Museum
Galway City Museum – is situated in the heart of Galway city overlooking the Spanish Arch. It houses a variety of exhibitions, well worth a visit.
places to visit in COUNTY GALWAY
THE ARAN ISLANDS – The three Aran Islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin and Inis Óirr, are located off the West Coast of Galway. The Irish (Gaelic) speaking Aran Islands are famous for their unique way of life, stunning scenery, and peaceful atmosphere. The islands are also rich in history and travelling to the islands is easy – ferries operate from Rossaveal harbour or Doolin in County Clare (seasonal) and you can also travel by plane from nearby Connemara Airport in Inverin. The islanders still speak their native language. Inis Mór is the largest of the islands. Activities on the island include guided tours by mini coach, tours on a traditional “pony & trap”, and visits of sites including the dramatic Dun Aonghas, a stone fort standing defiantly on a cliff 300 metres above sea level. Inis Meáin is the middle island. With its thatched roofs on stone cottages, and only using electricity for the past 30 years, you’d think you stepped back in time. Inis Meáin also has its share of historical sites that are well worth a visit while on the island. Inis Óirr, the eastern island, is the smallest of the three and is just as beautiful as the other two. The island’s small size means it can be seen entirely on foot. While exploring this idyllic island you’ll come across the stone ruins of St Kevin’s Church, the remains of O’Brien Castle and the Plassy Wreck as well as a surprising variety of exotic flowers and plants.
SALTHILL – Once a small seaside resort 3km west of Galway City, Salthill is now an important suburb of this expanding city. While it may have lost some of its simple, rural charms, it has gained a wealth of amenities in the process. Galway Bay and its lapping waters will always be the main attraction, however, and the visitor has a host of safe, sandy beaches from which to choose. Swimming, sunbathing, sail-boarding, snorkelling, sea angling and high board diving, can be enjoyed here. For the less energetic, a stroll along Ireland’s longest promenade, is strongly recommended, for the fresh Galway Bay sea air is a tonic in itself.
Galway is a county, an experience to be savoured and remembered. Outside the city attractions include the Aran Islands with the Dún Aonghusa fort and fabled stone wall network. Connemara is celebrated for its ethereal beauty and has lots to see. At Dan O’Hara’s Homestead, the Connemara history and heritage centre provides an insight into this wild and lyrical land, while nearby Connemara National Park and the magnificent Kylemore Abbey are ‘must sees’. Coole-Garryland Nature Reserve Park, once the home of Lady Gregory, is now a nature reserve. Brigit’s Garden near Oughterard has 11 acres of native woodland and wildflower meadow. Galway East a quiet, low lying landscape interlaced with stone walls, attractions such as Athenry Castle & Heritage Centre, hidden pearls like the pre-Christian Turoe Stone, Clonfert Cathedral, Dartfield Horse Museum and Portumna Forest Park. While the Galway Races, Galway International Oyster Festival and the Clarenbridge Oyster Festival compete as the social events of the season, there’s lots more on offer for you to see and do such as medieval banquets at the castle; a visit to the Ocean & Country Visitor Centre, Glengowla Mines or indeed the Ballinasloe Horse Fair, one of the most ancient gatherings in the region.
CONNEMARA lies in the territory of lar Connacht, “West Connacht”, which is the portion of County Galway west of Lough Corrib and the portion of County Mayo in the barony of Ross. Connemara was traditionally divided into North Connemara and South Connemara. The mountains of the Twelve Bens and the Owenglin river, which flows into the sea at An Clochán/Clifden, marked the boundary between the two parts. Connemara is bounded on the west, south and north by the Atlantic. Connemara’s land boundary with the rest of County Galway is marked by the Invermore River. The picturesque fjord of Killary Harbour and the patchwork of tiny lakes in the Derrigimlagh Bog are two of the Signature Discovery points along the Wild Atlantic Way.
ATHENRY – 15 miles east and 20 minutes from Galway City, it proudly claims to be the finest surviving medieval town in Ireland. Founded about 1235, Athenry still retains more medieval monuments than anywhere else in the country. Not only is Athenry’s street-plan unchanged since medieval times, but its town walls are without doubt the most impressive and best of their period. Well worth a visit is St. Mary’s Church which now houses the Athenry Arts, Heritage & Activity Centre, the fully restored medieval castle and the ruins of the 13th century Dominican Priory.
loughwell farm park
Loughwell Farm Park – Moycullen, Co Galway has acres of indoor and outdoor fun for all the family, with over 12,000 square feet of indoor entertainment including a super structure with the best selection of slides in Ireland! There is also indoor skittle lanes, a construction area and didi car track. Outdoors , you can practice a putt on the mini golf course, drive the go karts, race against each other on the obstacle course, play in the many sand pits, take a ride on the pony and trap and of course go for a spin around the farm on the famous barrel train!! Prices are €12 per child and €5 per adult. Open from 11.00 am every Sat, Sun and Bank Holiday Mon from Sept to May with extra opening over Easter, Mid terms and Christmas. Open daily during June/ July/ August. For more information call 091 969631, Email:firstname.lastname@example.org or www.loughwellfarmpark.ie