Galway city is probably the most famous city on Ireland’s west coast. Galway sits where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, a popular meeting spot surrounded by shops and traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music. Nearby, stone-clad cafes, boutiques and art galleries line the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls.
Here are a few things to see and do in the City of the Tribes.
Situated behind the famous Spanish Arch, Galway City Museum houses exhibitions that explore aspects of the history and heritage of Galway City. Focusing on the medieval town, the Claddagh village and Galway, 1800-1950. In addition, the Museum mounts temporary exhibitions and hosts a variety of exhibits from other museums, galleries and special interest groups. The building itself affords spectacular views of the Claddagh, the Spanish Arch, the River Corrib and Galway Bay.
The weekly Saturday market in the centre of Galway city is quite simply one of those experiences of life that make you glad to be alive. As well as offering a wonderful selection of food and gift ideas which are excellent value. Locals and visitors crowd the market all day every Saturday.
The market is located in the laneway between Shop Street and Market Street. As you walk between the stalls every one of your senses will be tingled by the abundance of smells, tastes, sounds and atmosphere.
Check out the full list of traders here.
Eyre Square (‘An Fhaiche Mhór’ the big field, in Irish) in the heart of Galway City. It is officially known as the John F. Kennedy Memorial Park. A bust of the US President Kennedy, who was made a Freeman of the city, marks the spot where he made a speech to approximately 100,000 Galway people in 1963, on his last trip before his assassination.
The square has a rich history dating back to medieval times when markets took place on the green in front of the town gates. In 1710, Mayor Edward Eyre officially presented the plot of land to the city.
It is a popular gathering place for visitors and natives alike and the grass areas are often packed on sunny days. There is also a playground here and seasonal markets take place throughout the year. Its a perfect spot to relax and take in the stunning Galway city views on a sunny afternoon.
The National Organ Donor Commemorative Garden is located across to the Promenade in Salthill overlooking Galway Bay. The title of the garden, “Circle of Life”, takes its name from its centrepiece which consists of five two metre tall standing stones positioned in a circle and each with a carving and inscription symbolising a man at the different stages of his journey through life. These, and the garden’s many other stone features, sculpture and inscriptions, are designed to create an inclusive place of beauty, inspiration which is welcome to all. The garden is a wonderful space to relax and reflect during your visit to Galway.
Galway is a popular location for kayaking enthusiasts as there are a number of different kayaking options to choose from. With the River Corrib flowing through the city and a network of canals throughout the town you have the opportunity to explore the city in a unique way. Sea Kayaking on Galway Bay is also a great option for visitors as you can kayak past the stone walls and old fishing boats of Galway docks and explore Rabbit and Hare Island, Oranmore Bay, Mutton Island Lighthouse while taking in the fantastic views of the Burren, Galway City and Salthill, before you return to join the busy city of Galway once more.
Unfortunately, the Galway City nightlife is a bit suppressed at the moment due to covid-19, but you cannot talk about Galway City without mentioning a few of its best pubs. Outdoor drinking in pubs is allowed.
This cosy pub is well known for its impromptu traditional Irish music sessions. Musicians often visit the pub for a relaxing pint and end up in the middle of the fun. Amongst the better known names who have joined in on the sessions are Paul Brady, Sharon Shannon, Dessie O’Halloran, Frankie Gavin and Don Stiff.
Tìg Choili is an ideal spot to drop in for a pint of Guinness in the middle of your shopping. You are sure to get lost in the amazing display of photographs of famous musicians and celebrities alike.
An Púcán Galway is first and foremost, a genuine, great craic, proud to be Irish Bar. They are located on the corner of Eyre Square in the beating heart of Galway. With a fantastic chef, great bar staff and inside the beautiful surroundings of Galway’s city centre, An Púcán is a great place to eat or party, morning, noon and night.
O’Connell’s is a traditional-style pub with tons of energy. The bar feels like sitting inside a piece of history with stained glass windows, antique lighting, and a wall to wall whiskey display.
It’s a popular spot for after-work pints or a great night out. And the best thing about O’Connell’s: the massive outdoor beer garden. It looks like a mock street, with store fronts and a cobbled “street” leading from one end to the other. The garden features plenty of picnic-table style seating for when it’s nice out, as well as covered nooks and shelters with heating lamps.