Galway City. Ireland’s most
hipsterish bohemian, musical, artistic, cultured urban space.
The City of the Tribes has something to excite every type of visitor, its cobbled and winding streets coughing up a cornucopia of great pubs, hip cafés, tashty restaurants, heaving music venues, art galleries and any other bastion of culture that one could imagine. It is no wonder that Galway has been crowned the upcoming European Capital of Culture for 2020.
Cross the threshold of any among the myriad pubs in this frenetic place, and feel the thump of an unbridled traditional music session hit you full blast – Taaffe’s is a recommended starting point (hit the early session at 5.30pm daily), followed swiftly by Tig Cóilí across the street.
If your appetite for tunes has not yet been sated, take a wander through the city’s Latin Quarter, where you will be sure to stumble across all kinds of wonderful entertainment. It is well worth stretching the legs as far as The Crane Bar on Sea Road to continue your musical odyssey.
Possessing one of the most picturesque high streets in the country (Shop Street – does what it says on the tin), it is an easy refuge for the shopaholic, with the usual selection of famous brands, as well as a wonderful variety of independent, vintage fashion options (check out Public Romance for starters). This cobbled, pedestrianised thoroughfare is the main artery to the heart of Galway City, and if nothing else is a great place to soak up the city’s atmosphere.
Wander through the Spanish Arch to find the Galway City Museum, a fabulous (and free) resource for anyone looking to delve a little deeper in to the history of this old port town.
Make your way around the Claddagh, birthplace of the renowned Claddagh Ring, and learn about its story and significance to romantics the world over (read our history of the Claddagh ring here).
Keep following the coast, to taste the salt air along the Salthill Promenade, forever immortalised in the original ‘Galway Girl‘, written by Steve Earle (but also while you are in Salthill, visit O’Connors Famous Pub, used in the music video for the other ‘Galway Girl‘ – written by Ed Sheeran).
Learn about life under the sea at the Galway Atlantaquaria, and continue your stroll to the end of the Prom, to kick the wall just like the locals! Hang out by the diving tower at Blackrock, and drink in a stunning view of Galway Bay, and the Burren hills. There’s something for every type of visitor here, so be sure to follow some of our tips on what to do in Galway City.
However, leaving aside the beating heart of the city itself, one of the main attractions of Galway is that it serves as a gateway, from which to explore some truly incredible parts of Ireland. Galway sits on the doorstep of Connemara – a land of lakes, mountains and islands beyond counting – and the Burren, the vast limestone landscape, home to the gargantuan Cliffs of Moher, among an untold number of other stunning locations.
Hewn from the same rock, the Aran Islands lie across the mouth of Galway Bay, easily accessed on a day trip from Galway City. We are truly blessed to be in the neighbourhood of such treasures.
So how do you fit all of this in? Surely its not possible to see it all in one long weekend in Galway?
Yes, it most certainly is possible – we call it the “Tour of the West“. Taking place over 3 days, and starting and finishing in Galway City on each of them, there is no better way of fitting in a visit to these 3 distinct and incredible regions in a short time-frame. Take in the best of the Wild Atlantic Way, and the even wilder City of the Tribes!
You arrive back in Galway in the early evening after the tours, just as the city begins to party – perfectly timed to take advantage of our suggestions on what to do in Galway City.
You can check out all the information on the tours right here on our website, and you can book directly from here too! If you need any more information, please drop us a line or give the office a call – our team are travel experts, and would love to help plan your ideal getaway in Galway City and beyond!