10 Things You Cannot Miss While Visiting Galway
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Charming Galway is an historic city located on the West Coast of Ireland, and an essential stop when traveling along the Wild Atlantic way. A popular tourist destination, Galway city has a lot to offer. With a youthful and even Bohemian atmosphere, this really is a place you need to spend time in if you want to soak up the atmosphere.
Unsurprisingly Galway has a lot to see and do. We’ve put together 10 of the best things to do in Galway city during your next visit.
1. Take a walking tour around Galway City
Perhaps the best way to experience everything that Galway city has to offer is by taking a walking tour. In the company of a local guide you will get to see all the main sights and also get an insight into what life is like here as a local. Along the way you’re sure to pass by most of the iconic sites which include the Cathedral, Eyre Square and of course the Spanish Arch. A walking tour of Galway city is also a good way to orientate yourself and plan out what to see and do if you’re spending more than a single day there.
2. Visit the Spanish Arch
The Spanish Arch is perhaps the most iconic of Galway’s landmarks. Constructed in 1584, it overlooks the River Corrib, and was once used to get to the quays from the town. In fact it was part of Galway’s medieval wall system, and in Galway’s trading heyday a lot of shipping passed to and fro to unload goods from Spanish and Portuguese ships. When Cromwell conquered Galway in the 17th century, the port lost its importance, and today the Spanish Arch is all that remains of the walls. No trip to Galway is complete without taking at least one selfie here!
3. Cruising on the River Corrib
A river boat cruises The River Corrib and sails along the river with lush countryside surrounding it to the left and right. During the cruise you will pass by ancient castles and ruins, and of course you can enjoy an Irish coffee on board!
4. Check out the Galway Hooker boats
A type of traditional fishing boat known as the Galway Hooker was in common usage in the 18th century. Today many of these boats have been restored by enthusiasts, and some can even be seen during a yearly festival. If you are a beer connoisseur you might also notice a locally brewed beer of the same name in almost every pub in the city.
5. Beer and music
As we’ve already mentioned beer once, we should probably mention that there is plenty of traditional music to be enjoyed with it in Galway City! Quay Street is the most popular place to go for pubs, restaurants and cafes.
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The sounds of traditional live music fill the air in places such as The Spanish Arch Hotel and the Quays. Enjoy a Guinness or Galway Hooker and join in the craic!
6. Treat your tastebuds
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Be sure to treat your taste buds during your visit to Galway City. Farmhouse cheeses at Sheridan’s, the amazing McCambridge food emporium, and the incredible bread from the Griffins Bakery which has been in operation since 1876 will ensure you never go hungry!
7. Explore Kirwan’s Lane
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Kirwan’s Lane is named after one of Galway’s 14 so called ‘tribes’. The Kirwans had helped develop Galway into a busy commercial center during the 1500s, and so it is only fitting the lane has been restored, pumping new life into the city once more. Enjoy your time here wandering along, looking at the cafes, craft shops, and studios.
8. Spend some time at the Galway City Museum
If you really want to get to know about the city, you should spend some time at the Galway City Museum. Here, you can learn about the city’s history which stretches all the way back to the Norman invasion. There are a number of exhibitions both permanent and temporary which showcase the city and surrounding area’s heritage and archaeology. Spread out over three floors, the museum contains numerous artifacts, some religious items and an interesting maritime collection. It’s certainly worth a good hour or so of your time.
9. Eyre Square
The chances are that you will pass by Eyre Square more than once during your stay in Galway city. Also known as the John F Kennedy Memorial Square, the two major landmarks here are the Browne Doorway and the Quincentennial Fountain. As a pedestrianised area, it is a central focal point from where to orientate yourself, and a nice place to simply take some time out to enjoy a nice sunny day.
10. Galway Cathedral
Completed in 1965, Galway Cathedral is the last stone Cathedral to have been built in Europe. It is an impressive sight, and is jointly dedicated to St. Nicholas and Our Lady Assumed into Heaven. The cathedral is of course open to the public and there are Sunday masses.
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On leaving Galway City….
Galway City is a good place to access the nearby Aran Islands. The regular ferry service leaves from Ros a’ Mhíl just a few miles up the road on a regular timetable that allows for both day trips and overnight stays. Whilst some people choose to visit for a day trip, spending a couple of days or longer on the islands is the perfect way to really get away from everything.
Inis Mor is the largest of the islands, and has a range of accommodation, including the excellent Camping and Glamping site. You could choose between taking your own camping gear or simply reserve one of the unique glamping units for the duration of your stay. Once on the island, you will feel a world away and much closer to nature. If you love the Great Outdoors and getting back to nature, spending some time on the Aran Islands will really help you to complete your Wild Atlantic Way adventure!