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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrGalway, located on the west coast, is the third largest city in Ireland. The pleasant coastal city is known as one of the safest and most-relaxed cities in the country. The administrative capital of County Galway is also perfectly situated for exploring the west coast of Ireland and a departure point for the wild Aran Islands . The famous Cliffs of Moher are only a short bus ride away.
The medieval city will charm you with its cobblestone streets, lively pub culture, quaint shops and delicious seafood restaurants. Many of the cobblestone streets are pedestrian-only. Be sure not to miss the Salthill Promenade, a walk that extends from the edge of the city along the Salthill area. Admire the beautiful views of the Galway Bay, stop in one of the many bars dotted along the way and at the end, and don’t forget to kick the wall across from the diving boards as per local tradition for good luck.
Widely known in its native country as the ‘City of the Tribes’ after the 14 aristocratic merchant families that ruled between the 13th and 19th centuries, the city has the highest concentration of native Irish speakers.
Galway is a city of festivals and if you plan to visit the city during any of them, make sure you've booked because the city gets very busy.
What to See
Galway City MuseumThe bright and modern museum is home to a number of fascinating artifacts, including a full-size Galway Hooker boat. The museum is spread over three floors and shows life in the area from prehistoric and medieval periods, as well as more modern history. It houses both permanent and touring exhibitions and has a pleasant café. There is no admission charge.
Spanish ArchThe Spanish Arch, located next to the City Museum, is one of Galway’s most famous landmarks. It was built during the late 16th century as an extension of the city walls of Galway and intended to protect the city's river quays. The Arch features a wooden sculpture, Madonna of the Quays, which was sculpted by the well known artist, Claire Sheridan.
Galway CathedralThe Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas is more commonly known as Galway Cathedral. The imposing Cathedral, completed in the 1965, is situated on the banks of the River Corrib. It is located on the site of the former city jail and features an impressive dome at a height of 44.2 meters. The colors of local grey limestone and green marble are offset by magnificent stained glass windows. There is no admission charge, but donations are welcome.
Collegiate Church of St NicholasThe St Nicholas's Collegiate Church, the largest medieval parish church in Ireland, was built in 1320. The church has been rebuilt over the centuries, though much of the original form has been retained. A tour through the Church will allow you to glimpse the part of its rich history. Amongst the visitors to St Nicholas’ the most famous is Christopher Columbus who visited the church in 1477.
Lynch's CastleThe magnificent four-storeys tall Lynch's Castle, located on the corner of Shop Street and Abbeygate Street, was built by the prosperous Lynch family in the 16th century. The building now houses a bank but its front part still amazes the visitors with carvings of gargoyles. There is also a tiny museum opened for visitors, which contains artifacts from the reign of the Lynch family.
Food & DrinkThe city is brimming with pubs, so walk around until you find one with a pleasant atmosphere and grab a bite to eat with a pint of Guinness. Head to the Shop Street or down near the quays for the oldest, less touristy pubs. Along with famous Galway oysters you can sample fresh Atlantic salmon, lobster, scallops and mussels as well as much more. The city has a good selection of international cuisine including Italian, Thai, Indian and Chinese. There are also lots of fast food outlets serving pizza, burgers, kebabs, hot dogs and takeaway dishes.
ShoppingGalway offers everything from modern shopping malls and high-street shops through to charming gift shops located on cobbled historic streets. City's shopping is mostly found in the quarter south of Eyre Square. Quay, High and Shop streets comprise the main drag, where you'll find plenty of Irish handicrafts, gift stores and Aran knits.
Most shops are open Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 or 6 p.m. In July and August, many shops stay open late. Each weekend, Galway's famous market takes place on Church lane by St Nicholas' Collegiate Church offering local crafts, delicious food and fresh produce.
Where to StayThe city has a vast choice of accommodation. From chic 5-star luxury hotels to high quality B&Bs for the budget-conscious. As well, there are a few hostels with dorm rooms in the city. The peak season at Galway hotels and hostels in July and August, but May, June, and September are also usually considered high season.
Getting aroundUnless the weather is really bad, Galway is best explored on foot. The city center is very compact and the majority of the attractions, pubs, and restaurants are located in a very small area. You can pick up a map at the tourist office on Forster Street. If walking is not your thing, the Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour is also a nice way to see the city. Galway has an excellent local bus service. The bus network is pretty extensive with routes serving all suburbs of Galway city from early morning until night. Most buses depart from Eyre Square and The Spanish Arch.
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Author: Ayda. Last updated: Jun 07, 2015