Galway, Gaillimh or the City of the Tribes – this vibrant city in West Ireland goes by many names. You may only be familiar with the town from the song “Galway Girl,” or you may have been sipping on Buckfast tonic wine by the Spanish Arch with your buds for ages. There’s still plenty more to do in Belfast beyond the big-ticket attractions.Read More
Galway may be a small city compared to Dublin or Cork, but it’s a major hub for food, history and fun, and a key jumping-off spot for travellers looking to explore the rest of West Ireland. After you arrive in Galway, your introduction to the town will probably be Eyre Square, the main plaza often filled with festivals, street musicians and Galwegians heading to the nearby bus or train stations. From here you’re just blocks away from other downtown highlights like the Galway Market, the Saturday street market filled with locally grown produce and handmade crafts, and the Legend of the Claddagh Ring, the museum-shop dedicated to all-things Claddagh. Closer to where the waters of the River Corrib meet the Galway Bay you’ll find the Galway City Museum and its rotating exhibits on Galway and Ireland, as well as the Spanish Arch next door, which was formerly part of the city wall. Upstream, the Salmon Weir Bridge is a popular fishing spot in-season and a quaint crossing by the Galway Cathedral the rest of the year. North of town, just across the river from the National University of Ireland Galway, the remains of the abandoned Menlo Castle peek out under the thick overgrowth that threatens to take over. If you’re looking to head west toward the rest of County Galway, a day on Salthill’s sandy seafront awaits you close to town, or the tiny village of Clifden, along with the ruins of Clifden Castle and Connemara National Park, is just an hour and a half drive away. Think you’re ready to explore West Ireland, from the busy streets to the secluded countryside? Read on for the rest of our insider tips and top picks in and around Galway.