- Welcome to  Galway



Connemara. ©Tourism IrelandGalway RestaurantGalway RacesConnemaraKylemore Abbey

Galway City originally formed from a small fishing village located in the area near the Spanish Arch called ‘The Claddagh’ where the River Corrib meets Galway Bay. Galway later became a walled town in the year 1232 after the territory was captured by the Anglo Normans lead by Richard De Burgo. The town walls, some sections of which can be seen today near the Spanish Arch, were constructed circa 1270. A charter was granted in 1396 by Richard II which transferred governing powers to 14 merchant families, known locally as the 14 tribes of Galway. 


The 14 tribes relished their independence but retained their close links to the British crown. Galway's strategic coastal location and natural harbour area resulted in a successful trade with both Portugal and Spain and the city prospered for centuries. However, in 1651 with the arrival of Cromwell the region entered a long period of decline. Other prominent sea ports emerged on the east coast, namely Dublin and Waterford and trade with Spain came almost at an end. Many years would pass before Galway would again enjoy such prosperity but the legacy of the cities long and colourful history is evident in the character and style of the city. 


Things to See and Do

Whether you want to soak up the “savage beauty” and tranquillity of Connemara or sample the culture, music and craic in the city of Galway – this part of the coast on the Wild Atlantic Way really has it all. Travel to Galway and give in to the unique Wild Atlantic Way of life here. 

Explore the heart of Galway city 
Right in the middle of the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway city has a reputation for artistic creativity and an infectious vibe that’s played out in a full calendar of festivals and events. Brightly painted pubs heave with live music, while cafés offer front-row seats for observing street performers. Galway is a very accessible city and is easy to explore on foot as many streets are pedestrianised. Explore the winding streets to discover a bustling modern city filled with medieval, historic treasures. City centre highlights include: 

- Lynch's Castle 
- St. Nicolas' Church - Beautiful medieval parish church., completed in 1320 and is said to have been where Christopher Columbus worshipped in 1477. 
- Nora Barnacle's House - Wife of famous Irish author, James Joyce. 
- Hall of the Red Earl - A recent excavation. 
- Spanish Arch - beautiful and historic arch. Standing at the late 16th century Spanish Arch and looking out to the vast Atlantic Ocean, it’s not hard to imagine Galway in its medieval heyday. 

A city of theatre: Galway is Ireland’s only bilingual city, with 20% speaking Irish. An Taibhdhearc, our National Irish language theatre, is definitely worth checking out, or perhaps Druid, which provides-award winning performances time and time again in intimate surroundings. 

Great food culture: Galway’s food scene includes incredible cafés, bistros and fine-dining restaurants that are kicking the culinary ball right out of the park. The very best of local ingredients and innovative techniques fuse together with stellar success at the Michelin-starred Loam and Aniar, while incredible flavours draw a loyal crowd to Kai. Enjoy the very best of Irish-style pizza at Dough Bros, mix rustic chic with hearty dishes at Ard Bia, or try traditional fish and chips at McDonagh’s– a fave with locals and tourists alike. 

Sample the pub culture 
Galway has a fantastic pub scene that caters for every age group and taste. Step inside the warm wooden nooks and crannies of Tigh Neachtain’s on Cross Street and you’ll happily lose hours gazing at the knick-knacks and memorabilia while sipping a glass of Galway Hooker craft beer 

Enjoy a traditional music session 
Galway has to be one of the best places on the island to visit for traditional music. This is a city that lives and breathes music, from the buzzing street buskers to the endless trad sessions all over town. Step inside a traditional music pub, and you’re guaranteed an unforgettable night. Check out great trad sessions in pubs such as Taaffes, The Crane Bar, Tigh Cóilí and An Púcán. 

Galway Market 
The laid-back, happy-go-lucky vibes of Galway are best felt at its weekend market. Here, there’s loads of chat, loads of colourful stalls and plenty of incredible flavours, all in the shadow of St Nicholas’ Medieval Church. As well as local cheeses and charcuterie, international influences come through with curries, sushi and Mediterranean favourites. Pack a basket and pick up your picnic supplies. 

Walk the Salthill Promenade 
With its location right on the Atlantic Ocean, Galway has an intimate relationship with the sea. Nowhere is this more apparent than at the little seaside suburb of Salthill. Here, locals take to the 2km-long promenade for seaside strolls, and even a swim if you’re feeling brave! Tradition dictates that you should “kick the wall” at the end of the promenade for good luck, but if you don’t fancy that, then why not just grab some fish and chips, sit on the beach and watch the light change over the Atlantic. Finish up with a pint or two in O’Connor’s bar, filled to the brim with trinkets. 

For More Information,  see our feature on Galway City and County: Top Experiences for for Over 55s in our Golden Moment's section.

Where to Stay » Hotels

Galway Bay Hotel4 Star

The Promenade Salthill , Galway   091 518385

Voted as the best ‘Luxury Sea View Hotel of the Year’, the 4* Galway Bay Hotel is a located on the famous Salthill Promenade with stunning views of the Clare Hills...

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Where to Stay » Hotels

Victoria Hotel Galway3 Star

Victoria Place Eyre Square , Galway   091 567433

Victoria Hotel Galway offers the visitor a unique opportunity to relax in a tranquil setting and yet be within two minutes walk of Galway City's pedestrianised shopping...

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Where to Stay » Hotels

Shearwater Hotel4 Star

Marina Point Ballinasloe , Co Galway   090 9630400

The Four-Star Shearwater Hotel is a stunning hotel located off the M6 in Ballinasloe Co Galway. Situated beside the River Suck Marina and just 35 minutes from Galway City and 1...

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Where to Stay » Hotels

The Ardilaun Hotel & Leisure Club4 Star

Taylors Hill Galway City ,    091 521433

Celebrating over 52 years in business, Galway’s Four Star Ardilaun Hotel continues to enchant guests with great-value breaks for the over 55’s - offering luxurious...

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Where to Stay » Hotels

Lough Rea Hotel & Spa4 Star

Old Galway Road Loughrea , Co. Galway   91 880088

Conveniently located 5 minutes off the N6, Dublin is 1¾ hours’ drive and you can be in Galway city centre in 20 minutes. Explore the areas beautiful countryside,...

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Where to Stay » Hotels

Oranmore Lodge Hotel, Galway4 Star

Oranmore Co Galway ,    091 794400

The superb 4-star Oranmore Lodge Hotel Conference and Leisure Centre Galway is now less than 60 minutes from Shannon and only 2 Hours from Dublin via the M6 (Exit...

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What to Do » Visitor Attractions

Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden

Kylemore Connemara , Co Galway   095 52001

This is a story about Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden. It is placed just one hour from Galway and is one of Ireland’s top tourist attractions. Kylemore...

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Where to Stay » Hotels

Clayton Hotel Galway4 Star

Ballybrit , Galway City   091 721900

amThe modern and chic four star Clayton Hotel  Galway is ideally located only minutes from the vibrant Galway city centre, Galway Airport and all major routes. The main...

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