Things to Do in Galway

Galway, known as the "City of the Tribes," is a city located on the Corrib River and is home to a rich history dating back to the 13th century, when 14 families controlled trade and politics in the city. Today, reminders of the city's past can still be found, such as Lynch's Castle, a 16th-century fortified limestone house featuring the Lynch coat of arms.

Galway is also a hub of traditional Irish music, and you can experience it for yourself by strolling through the lively pedestrian streets of the Latin Quarter and listening to the street performers or visiting the pubs where music and dancing are always on the agenda.

In addition to exploring the city during your break in Galway, there are many other exciting activities to enjoy in the Galway area. You can take a baot trip to the picturesque Aran Islands, which have been largely unchanged for centuries, or head out on the Wild Atlantic Way to visit two national parks within 90 minutes of Galway.

Here are some of the top things to do in Galway:

1. Salthill Promenade

The Salthill Promenade is a two-kilometer-long walkway located just southwest of the city center, offering stunning views of the bay from the north side. On clear days, you can see the outline of The Burren in County Clare to the southwest and the peaks of Connemara to the northwest.

The land behind the promenade was originally used for farming, but after the Great Famine in the 19th century, it was transformed into a tourist destination with the opening of the Eglinton Hotel in 1860, which is still standing today. Along the promenade, you'll find a variety of bars, seafood restaurants, and cafes. You can also visit the Galway Atlantaquaria, run by the National Aquarium of Ireland, or watch the yachts sailing across the water during the summer months.

2. Galway City Museum

Explore the rich history and culture of Galway at the city's museum, located by the Corrib River. Admission is free and the museum offers a wide range of exhibits, including a traditional Galway sailboat, the "Great Mace," a beautiful piece of silverware from Dublin, and items from the 16th and 17th centuries in the "Medieval Stone Collection."

The museum also has a photography gallery featuring images of Galway from the 1950s to the present day, as well as an assortment of artefacts from local pubs including pipes, bottles, and tin signs from the 19th and 20th centuries. Opened in 2007, the Galway City Museum is a must-see destination for anyone interested in the city's past and culture.

3. Spanish Arch

Located right in front of the Galway City Museum, the Spanish Arch is the only remaining part of the Front Wall, a defensive structure that once ran from Martin's Tower to the Corrib River and protected the city's quays. Despite its simple appearance, the Spanish Arch is a historic site dating back to 1584 and has even survived damage from the tsunami caused by the 1755 Lisbon Earthquake. Take a moment to appreciate this enduring piece of Galway's history when you visit the museum.

4. Corrib Princess River Cruise

Experience the beauty of the River Corrib and its lake with a family-friendly boat trip from May to September. The Corrib River Princess departs from Woodquay in the heart of the city twice a day and offers a 90-minute journey through the verdant countryside, passing by farms on the south and east shore of the lake and heath and bog to the north and west. The lake is known for its many islands, with over 1,300 at last count.

As you sail down the river, you'll also see the ruins of Menlo Castle, a 16th-century mansion that was destroyed by fire in 1910 and is now covered in ivy. The Corrib Princess sets off at 12:30pm and 2:30pm each day, with an additional trip at 4:30pm available in July and August.

5. Shop Street

Galway's Shop Street is a vibrant and lively destination, filled with the sounds of live music and the energy of street performers. This iconic thoroughfare is not only a great place to shop, with a mix of high street favorites and unique local boutiques, but it also offers a chance to immerse yourself in the culture and atmosphere of the city. Whether you're a fashion lover or just looking for a fun and lively place to spend some time, Shop Street is a must-visit during your stay in Galway.

6. Claddagh Museum

Galway's Claddagh Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the city's history and cultural traditions. Located on Shop Street, the museum offers free entry and provides an in-depth look at the creation and symbolism of the iconic Claddagh ring. Visitors can learn about the history of this important symbol, which has been worn for centuries as a representation of love, loyalty, and friendship. The museum also offers a glimpse into the craftsmanship and skill that goes into creating each individual Claddagh ring. Overall, the Claddagh Museum is a fascinating and educational stop for anyone looking to learn more about Galway's rich cultural heritage.


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