The most Irish of Irish cities, there’s a high chance you will find Galway’s residents speaking Gaelic, in a bid to hold on to ‘old’ Galway, despite the invasion of the global economy. Visitors head to Galway to experience the music, pubs and lively nightlife and is well known for its bohemian attitude. So if you’re after the ‘craic’, you’ve come to the right place. Galway also offers a stunning backdrop with the Twelve Bens mountain range dominating the Connemara skyline.
Galway’s Salthill area offers old fashioned seaside fun with a three mile promenade and range of water sports on offer including sailing and jet-skiing. Shiver as you watch locals take a traditional dip into the freezing cold Atlantic Ocean from Blackrock Diving Board – a custom which takes place even on the chilliest of winter days
Galway’s tiny mediaeval lanes are packed with seafood restaurants, oysters are a speciality, or why not try a Baileys bread and butter pudding? You will never go thirsty in Galway. Welcoming, brightly painted pubs beckon you wherever you go – the Huntsman Inn being a prime example. The streets are also full of street performances like jugglers, puppeteers and magicians in masks.
Galway’s Top 10
10. Salthill Harbour Where the famous Galway Oysters are caught. Very potent we believe.
5. The 16th Century Spanish Arch remains a testament to Galway’s history as an important European exporter.
9. McDonagh’s restaurant and takeaway has been serving sublime fish and chips since 1902.
4. The Nora Barnacle Museum The house where James Joyce wooed his future wife.
8. The Kenny Gallery dates back to the swinging 60s, a showcase for new Irish talent. Big names on show include Dali and Andy Warhol.
3. The Tigh Coili is the traditional Irish pub of your dreams, on Mainguard Street
7. Mediaeval St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church is where Christopher Columbus prayed in 1477 and Cromwell’s men used it as a stables – hence the headless handless statues.
2. Eyre Square is where big John Wayne himself bought his Aran knits.
6. Galway City Museum is located on the Spanish Parade and is home to more than 1000 artefacts, most of which were donated by Galway residents.
1. Galway Market has been running for centuries –and locals continue to turn up – more for a good gossip than to purchase any of the wares.
During the month of February, Galway celebrates all things ‘Father Ted’ at the Tedfest. The Channel 4 programme was filmed in the local area.
St Patrick’s Day Parade takes place on March 17 and is one of the biggest and best in Ireland (they all say that though!).
In April the Cuirt International Festival of Literature takes place at the Galway Arts Centre.
The Salthill Air show is free and held every June. Head to the Promenade for some serious aviation entertainment.
Get on your bike and head to the Galway Bike Festival which takes place in June. A week long programme of cycling events throughout the city.
The Annual Beach Party takes place in August each year. If you like buckets full of vodka and Red Bull, this might fit the bill for you. Serious party goers only need apply.
More refined is the Connemara Pony Show held at Clifden in August.
July sees the Galway Arts Festival take place in the city centre.
Galway has a Racecourse and the Galway Races are a regular fixture on the calendar from July to October.
Try to visit when the Galway International Oyster Festival comes to town in September. A really unique event featuring music, dance and obviously oysters.
When To Go
Like many of Ireland’s central locations, Galway has a mild temperate climate, with few extremes. Snow is a rare occurrence, as is a really hot summer.
Winter temps are generally around the 8°C mark, while summers rarely see temperatures higher than 20°C.
There is always a high chance of rain on a trip to Galway, so pack an umbrella and waterproofs.
Aer Lingus and Ryan Air fly to Shannon airport, which is the best local airport for the West of Ireland and is connected to London Heathrow. There is a Galway Airport which runs a limited number of flights to London, Manchester and Glasgow.
The bus station is just off Eyre Square and a regular bus service, Bus Eireann, connects to all main cities in the Republic and to Northern Ireland. A one way fare to Dublin is around £7.
Trains run from Galway station into Dublin’s Heuston Station, priced £30 for a one way ticket.
When you have to compete with Dublin and Cork for attention, not to mention other popular locations that dot the busy map of Great Britain, the goal of tourism notoriety can be seem like a steep climb. There are however, some tangible benefits that come with a relatively diminutive stature. Hidden gem status for one, of which Galway, Ireland can certainly claim to embrace. A modest capital of culture, the lively town packs a rather formidable amount of charm and eye candy per square block.
Best of all, the small city is quintessentially Irish. From a phenomenal live music scene to avant-garde cuisine in step with the best restaurants in Dublin, Galway is a genuine envoy for the Emerald Isle. The handsome cityscape is full of history, from Eyre Square to the dramatic Spanish Arch and the wonderful collection at the Galway City Museum. Best of all, local festivals held throughout the year showcase the inordinate talent and appeal of the city.
The weather in Galway is typical of Ireland, with few extremes in temperature but heavy precipitation throughout the year.
- Winter (November to March) 4-11°C
- Spring (April to May) 6-15°C
- Summer (June to August) 10-21°C
- Fall (September to October) 9-17°C
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