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Things To See in Galway, Ireland

Because Galway was once a walled city, evidence of which can still be seen in the Eyre Square Shopping Centre, it makes life very easy when it comes to sightseeing. It’s less than a mile from one end of the city centre to the next, and many of the streets in this area have also been pedestrianised so you can literally see almost everything in a day.

There is only one official museum which you will find in the Spanish arch. But, if its evidence and remnants from Galway’s past which you want, you will find both on display in numerous buildings throughout the city. For example Blake’s Castle on Quay Street now serves as a seafood restaurant while Lynch’s Castle on Shop Street is home to the main branch of Allied Irish Bank in the city.

Kirwan’s Lane is another prime example of how the native Galwegians have incorporated their history into modern day life. This medieval passageway has been completely restored in recent years and is now home to a number of small art and craft shops.

The river Corrib also adds greatly to the appeal of the city and walking from the Spanish Arch to the Salmon weir bridge you will see numerous locals and visitors pack the river banks in an attempt to catch one of the thousands of Atlantic salmon which are netted here every year. Across the river is Claddagh, the original fishing village from which the Galway of today was to develop. The area was ruled independently until 1934 but is now considered part of the main city.

The City of the Tribes also has the advantage of serving as a gateway to some of the rest of Ireland’s most popular tourist locations. Connemara, the Burren, Kylemore Abbey, the Cliffs of Moher and the Aran Islands are all located less than a couple of hours from the city centre and all can be reached by public transport leaving from Eyre Square. In the case of the latter because you can’t catch a boat in Eyre Square, you can either take a bus which travels to the harbour at Rossaveal or get a boat at the city’s docks.

Sporting activities are also extremely popular among visitors to the city. Water-sports, horse-riding, hiking tours and both river and deep-sea angling are among the favourites which can be found in the city and in the surrounding area. And for the classier among you who might be partial to a round of golf during your stay, you might be interested in the fact that Galway just happens to be home to some of Ireland’s best eighteen hole courses.

Attractions in Galway

  • Nora Barnacle's House

    8 Bowling Green, Galway, Ireland

    Former residence of the wife of world-renowned writer James Joyce, the house is now a private museum which is open to the public from mid-May to mid-September. It doesn’t house a very extensive collection but if you are a fan of the writer it is worth taking a look.

  • Claddagh Ring Museum

    Quay Street, Galway, Ireland

    Serving as both a museum and a jewellery shop which sell traditional Claddagh rings, this establishment is dedicated to the history of this Galway made ring. Named after an old fishing area in the county, the rings were worn to indicate marriage but now they are just a token of friendship and are worn by Irish and Irish descendents the world over.

  • Lynch's Castle

    Shop Street, Galway, Ireland

    Formerly owned by one of the fourteen tribes which ruled the city centuries ago, this elegant now houses Allied Irish Bank. Despite this the interior is still extremely impressive with coats of arms, stone fireplaces and a separate exhibition room which opens from Monday to Wednesday and on Fridays.

  • Galway Cathedral

    Cathedral Square, Galway, Ireland

    The city’s most impressive building, this is supposed to be the last stone cathedral of its kind which was constructed in western Europe. Built in the Renaissance style, the artwork, glasswork and woodwork were all handcrafted by Irish artists and the money for the Cathedral was raised by the locals who purchased and donated each stone one by one.

  • Eyre Square

    , Galway, Ireland

    Located on the banks of the Corrib, the arch was built in 1584 as part of the city walls designed to protect the quays. Used as a workout post to spot any incoming troublemakers, the arch today features a wooden sculpture, Madonna of the Quays and is home to the Galway City Museum.

  • Saturday Market

    Between Shop & Market Streets, Galway, Ireland

    Offering a selection of goods ranging from fresh pasta and cheese to handcrafted celtic jewellery, Galway’s Saturday market is packed from opening to closing regardless of the time of year, the weather or anything else which you think might put you off. Once you get there, you won’t even notice as you immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of this unique shopping and cultural experience.

  • The Bridge Mills

    O'Brien's Bridge, Galway, Ireland

    A beautifully restored four hundred and thirty year old building on the banks of the River Corrib, the Bridge Mills is easy to find as it stands towering over all the other buildings in the vicinity. It now houses a unique shopping centre with quaint craft and specialist shops which fit in perfectly with the building itself. Also hosts medieval banquets during summer with full dress and entertainment to celebrate the building’s, and indeed the city’s, origins.

  • Kirwan's Lane

    Off Quay/Cross Street, Galway, Ireland

    One of the city’s last remaining medieval lanes, this is where you will get to see the best of Galway’s medieval heritage. Recently restored to its former glory, the lane which was formerly home to a theatre and two nunneries, now houses a number of wonderful craft shops featuring examples of the best Irish art and craft. An excellent place to pick up some souvenirs or gifts to take home with you.

  • Kenny's Art Gallery

    Middle Street, Galway, Ireland

    Located at the back of the bookshop of the same name, Kenny’s is the best-known art gallery in Galway. While the majority of the collection consists of contemporary art, there is also some work from the nineteenth and early twentieth century on display. But, as well as the work, the gallery itself is really impressive and its open and airy atmosphere is the perfect location for exhibiting art and sculpture.

  • The Spanish Arch

    , Galway, Ireland

    Located on the banks of the Corrib, the arch was built in 1584 as part of the city walls designed to protect the quays. Used as a workout post to spot any incoming troublemakers, the arch today features a wooden sculpture, Madonna of the Quays and is home to the Galway City Museum.

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