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Best Things to Do in Galway

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Galway, Irish Gaillimh, city, seaport, and county town (seat) of County Galway, in the west of Ireland, situated on the north shore of Galway Bay. Galway City is administratively independent of the county. After the Anglo-Norman settlers built the city walls (c. 1270), Galway became a commercial center and maintained active trade with Spain. After the English conquest, power in the city was distributed to 14 families of English descent, the so-called “Tribes of Galway”, leading to Galway being called the “City of Tribes”. The charter granted by Richard II (r. 1377-99) was expanded in 1545 to give the port jurisdiction over the Aran Islands, 20 miles (30 km) to the southwest; allowed the export of all goods except linen and wool.

The city and land within 2 miles (3 km) became a county by charter under James I (1603-25). The city was captured by Parliamentarian troops during the English Civil Wars (1642-51) and again during the campaigns of William III. Major exports include wool, agricultural products, marble, porcelain, and various metals. Leading industries include hardware, computers, electric motors, medical instruments, and sports equipment. Tourism is also an important source of income.

A maritime link connects Galway with the Aran Islands. There are remains of a Franciscan monastery (founded in 1296), and Galway is the seat of a Roman Catholic diocese. St Nicholas Church dates from 1320 and University College, founded in 1849 as Queen’s College, was re-chartered in 1908 as the College of the National University of Ireland.

Check the list of the best things to do in Galway

latin quarter

A hook-shaped neighborhood of cobbled streets in the old center of Galway, the Latin Quarter sits on the left bank of the River Corrib from O’Briens Bridge to the Spanish Arch. This friendly little town is home to many of Galway’s most popular pubs, bars, restaurants, galleries and shops.

If you’re looking for classic Irish crafts, you’ll find them in the Latin Quarter, where shops like Galway Woolen Market have plenty of traditional knitwear and pure local wool to use for your own project. Artists and street performers provide a constant folk soundtrack, whether you’re window shopping, sightseeing, or perusing the bar.

The Aran Islands

This is a series of three beautiful rugged islands off the coast of Galway Bay and is easily one of the best things to do in Galway in the summer months. Sometimes known as the Isles of Saints and Scholars, there are a number of ancient ruins to see when you get here; and some churches to boot. Perhaps the most famous attraction is the Dun Aonghasa Celtic Church, which sits on a ledge over 300 feet high and is probably the most iconic site to see.

Honestly, visiting the Aran Islands is like going back in time and it’s quite easy to visit with the Aran Island Ferries service, which departs from the port of Rossaveel (about 40 minutes from Galway city centre). After so much exploring, head to Brasserie On The Corner. Here they serve you a mountain of fresh fish and chips and they also have some tasty mussels.

Walk the beautiful Salt Hill Boardwalk

Just a few minutes’ drive from Galway city center is the beautiful seaside resort of Salt Hill. This is by the sea with stunning clear blue waters to swim in, beaches to relax in, bars to drink in, fish and chip shops and even an amusement park. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking for things to do in Galway with kids!

A walk extends to Galway city and takes about 30 minutes on foot. It’s a beautiful walk and when the sun comes up you feel like you’re on the French Riviera. Snorkeling at Salthill – Brad loves to dive and there are a couple of spots on Salthill Promenade that you can jump off of. I recommend it when the weather is warm.

the spanish arch

The Spanish Arch in the Latin Quarter is one of Galway’s main attractions. It dates from 1584 and tells a story about its past. The arch is an old gate from the time when the city was walled to protect the city’s docks. It is located on the banks of the Corrib River at its mouth in the sea. It helped prevent foreign ships from passing through and looting the merchants. In addition to the notable points on the wall and the Spanish Arch, you’ll find information plaques that provide context and information about the ancient stonework.

Its location is on what used to be “The Green”, a medieval landmark at the city gate. Townspeople used to gather here to pass the time, just as they do today. The park has been remodeled several times during its lifespan, including name changes. Although widely known as Eyre Square, it was officially renamed John F. Kennedy Memorial Park because the President of the United States made a speech there during his term.

eyre square

Galway’s main public space is just above the Latin Quarter and was originally a city park outside the old gates used for markets. In the 2000s, Eyre Square was completely redesigned at enormous cost and turned into a modern square. One of the more recent works of art is the Quincentennial Fountain, which features an abstract representation of one of Galway’s signature sailing ships.

There is a bronze cast of a statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire, one of Ireland’s leading Irish-language writers, and a bust of John F. Kennedy, who had the freedom of Galway. The 14 tribes of Galway are also represented with flags in their family colours. Eyre Square Center at the southern end of the square is Galway’s main shopping center with over 70 chain stores and restaurants.

connemara national park

Connemara National Park is a place of beautiful rolling countryside and spectacular mountain scenery. Honestly, exploring Connemara National Park is one of the best things to do in Galway if you fancy getting away from the city center for a while. Well, many people will tell you that Connemara National Park is the most beautiful national park in all of Ireland; And who am I to contradict! There are many hiking trails that are not only suitable for experienced hikers; there is a hint for each skill.

The lower Diamond Hill loop, for example, is a great place to start. Also, it is a great place for bird watchers. There is a fairly wide variety of wildlife, from; Kestrel, woodcock, merlin, goshawk and even peregrine falcon. Oh, and if you’re visiting for a period of time, be sure to stick to the boardwalks; The swamp gets very wet which makes these trails absolutely necessary.

Buy a claddagh ring

If you’re still wondering what to do in Galway, Ireland, why not visit a ring shop in the Claddagh? The highlight of our trip to Ireland was learning how to make a Claddagh ring. It is a traditional Irish ring that represents love, loyalty and friendship!

The heart represents love and the crown represents loyalty. The ring originated in Galway and has been made there since the 18th century. You can find stores that sell the ring downtown, and sometimes you can even find them making them.

Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher are about an hour and a half drive from Galway city, but it’s a must-see if you’re in the area. These cliffs are among the highest in all of Europe, rising 200 meters above the waves of the Atlantic.

The facility costs €6 admission for adults, children under 16 enter free; This includes parking, access to the Atlantic Edge visitor center and exhibit, and contributing to the conservation and safety of the bluffs.

Find calm in the church of San Nicolás

Next to Galway Market you will find St. Nicholas Anglican Episcopal Church. It was built in the 14th century and, although much modified in later centuries, it has preserved the appearance of a medieval parish church. Where else can you find a church dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra (Santa Claus), the patron saint of children and seafarers? Attending a religious service puts you in the spirit of times past.

Exterior highlights include the gargoyles, rarely seen in Ireland, and the triple-gabled west front. Inside are tombs and memorials of many names you might recognize. Famous figures are said to have visited St Nicholas over the centuries, including Christopher Columbus, who may have prayed here during a visit to Galway in 1477.

salthill walk

Head southwest of the city center and you’ll soon reach Salthill Promenade, two kilometers long with beautiful views from the north side of the bay. If you’re lucky enough to walk the seafront on a clear day, you can see the outline of the Burren in County Clare below, while to the northwest are the peaks of Connemara.

The land behind the boardwalk was used for agriculture until the Great Famine in the mid-19th century, then converted to tourism in the early 1860s with the arrival of the Eglinton Hotel, which still stands here today.

Final words: Best Things to Do in Galway

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Amy Hinckley
Amy Hinckley
The Dell Inspiron 15 that her father purchased from QVC sparked the beginning of her interest in technology. At Bollyinside, Amy Hinckley is in charge of content editing. Emma's interests outside of working include going for bike rides, playing video games, and watching football when she's not at her laptop.

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