Galway is the gateway to the west coast of Ireland. This medieval city is surrounded by the Connemara landscape to the north, the River Shannon to the east, the hills of Clare to the south and the world famous Galway Bay and Aran Islands to the west, all of which are famous from many songs and stories. Galway, a county borough of Ireland and the capital of county Galway, is Ireland's third largest city and claims to be the fasting growing city in Western Europe. It is a fine fishing location with the river Corrib, Lough Corrib and, of course, Galway Bay close at hand. Nearby Salthill has one of the finest beaches in Ireland and is a very popular resort.
Galway is a thriving centre for theatre, music and culture and annual events including the Galway Arts Festival, the famous Galway Races in July and the International Oyster Festivals in September.
This tower house dates from the early 16th century but it was extensively altered in the 1960s when it was refurbished for use as a bank. The scoured stonework gives it the appearance of a modern building but also gives some idea how the castle may have looked when new.
The newly re-designed Eyre Square is the center point of Galway City. When the weather is good, it’s the perfect place to relax and watch the world pass you by. There are numerous sculptures and landmarks and with a genuine buzz and exuberance to it, it is usually the first stop off for visitors arriving to the city by bus or train.
St. Nicholas Church
St. Nicholas Church located in the heart of Galway City is the largest medieval church in use in Ireland today. The interior of the church is decorated with a number of fine artifacts. The most curious items in the Crusader's Tomb, a 13th century tomb, located in The Chapel of Christ. The tomb is thought to have originated at a nearby chapel of the Knights Templar, which was destroyed in 1324. Other items of interest include The Baptismal Font, a late 16th or early 17th century carved stone basin that is still in use today, the Altar Tomb featuring a rare figure of Christ displaying his five wounds and the Victorian Henry Library, which contains over 4,500 finely preserved books.
Nora Barnacle's House
Wife of James Joyce, Nora Barnacle was born in an area of Galway called Bowling Green. Popular theory suggests that she provided the inspiration for the character Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s seminal work ‘Ulysses’. James Joyce was a regular visitor to Galway and has written several poems and articles based in Galway including the poem 'She Weeps Over Rahoon’. The house in which Nora Barnacle lived is now a small museum. It is open to the public during the summer with guides available to show you around this enduring piece of Irish history.
The Spanish Arch
The Spanish Arch is situated where the river Corrib meets Galway Bay and was added to Galway's town walls to protect merchant ships from looting.
The Bridge Mills
This 430 year old building has been beautifully restored recently and is well worth a visit. It is situated on O'Brien's Bridge, with fantastic views of the river Corrib where it meets Galway bay. The Bridge Mills houses a good selection of craft and clothes shops, as well as a restaurant, with the original millwheel (which still turns) and a veranda that overlooks the river.
The Saturday Market
The Saturday market, in front of St Nicholas Church off Shop Street it is well worth a visit on Saturday mornings. It usually finishes by early afternoon in the winter so try and get there early. The market has a variety of goods for sale including fruit and vegetables, traditional and exotic cheeses, olives, hot crepes, bread, jewellery, woollens and hand made items to name a few.