galwayGalway is is one of Ireland’s largest cities, and has long been a gateway for visiting the western parts of the country. But more than just a stopping point en route to other sights, Galway is an interesting city in which to spend a few days.

Known as the “City of Tribes” because of the many merchant families which once ruled the city, Galway retains something of that multicultural attitude even today. This is a city that knows how to have fun, whether that means the outgoing warmth of the locals which visitors can experience every day of the year, or the busy summer festival season when the city truly comes alive. With more than 50 festivals held in Galway each year, it is likely that you can time your visit to coincide with one – and seeing a city in its festival finery is one of the best ways to see a city!

Some of the festivals held annually in Galway are:

  • Fleadh Imboilg – festival marking the Celtic start of Spring, held in February
  • Galway Sessions – traditional Irish music festival, held in June
  • Galway Film Fleadh – held in July
  • Galway Arts Festival – held in July
  • Galway Races – horse racing, held in August
  • Galway International Oyster Festival – held in September
  • Galway Jazz Festival – held in October

But if you are not lucky enough to visit during one of Galway’s festivals, there is still a reason to stop in this city. As mentioned, it is an ideal gateway point for visiting West Ireland, and makes a great homebase for making day-trips to nearby sights like the Cliffs of Moher, Aran Islands, The Burren and the Connemara. There are plenty of hotels and B&Bs, and even a few hostels, where you can base yourself for a few days. And when you wake up one morning and do not feel like hopping in the car or on a bus to see something in another town or over that nearby hill, rest assured you can spend a lovely day exploring Galway, too.

Here are some of the things to do in Galway:

  • Church of Ireland St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church – founded in 1320, largest remaining medieval church still in use in Ireland
  • Thomas Dillon – the original claddagh ring maker in Ireland
  • Galway City Museum – features items from the history of Galway
  • Eyre Square – pedestrian-only shopping area, and a mall where you can see parts of the old Galway city walls
  • Spanish Arch – part of the original city wall
  • Galway Atlantaquaria – aquarium showcasing life off Ireland’s coasts

Galway’s nightlife varies between traditional Irish pubs and more modern nightclubs and bars, so if you do not find what you are looking for immediately – keep hunting in the city center and you should find it after awhile! For a reference guide to Galway’s pubs, check out the Galway City Pub Guide.

And be sure to read more information about visiting Galway.