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.
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 city and county offers so much to the visitor and locals alike…. from angling, golfing, greyhound racing, swimming beaches to name but a few. There is also a great many festivals held throughout the year and a visit to the Discover Ireland Centre, Forster Street, Galway City. T. 091 537700 for more detailed information.
The Aran Island – The three Aran Islands are Inis Mór Island (Big Island), Inis Meáin Island (Middle Island) and Inis Oírr Island (East Island). Situated in the heart of Galway Bay, the islands are world famous for their geological formation, linguistic and cultural heritage and historical monuments including the Dún Anoghasa fort. Ferries operate daily to and from the Island from the port of Ros a Mhíl, 23 miles from the City. Shuttle buses operate from the City to the port, pre-booking is advisable during the high season www.aranislandferries.com or telephone 091 568903
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.