With its winding medieval lanes, vibrant pubs and enduring Gaelic traditions, this city casts a spell on visitors, and today, we’re showcasing the top things to do in Galway Ireland. This storied city on Ireland’s wild Atlantic coast enchants with its energy and charm.
Wander the cobblestone streets and soak up street music that fills the air with reels and ballads.
Explore Galway’s history from ancient castle ruins to murals depicting hard times in the Great Famine.
Fuel up at bustling Quay Street’s pubs before browsing homemade crafts at the Spanish Arch. Then venture out to the breathtaking Aran Islands and the awe-inspiring Cliffs of Moher.
After a day of discovery, savor fresh oysters and raise a pint to the good life in this beguiling city.
From culture to scenery, Galway has an abundance of diversions. Immerse yourself in the top things to do in Ireland’s festival capital on the shores of Galway Bay.
Get ready for an unforgettable adventure in Galway!
Explore Galway’s medieval history by visiting St. Nicholas, walking along the city walls, and exploring Prehistoric Galway to see evidence of early settlements.
Immerse yourself in traditional Irish music by listening to talented musicians playing fiddles, flutes, bodhráns, and tin whistles, and joining in on a sing-along in one of the cozy pubs.
Discover the local cuisine at Eyre Square by sampling mouthwatering seafood chowder and Irish stew, trying the famous Galway oysters, and enjoying a freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea in one of the charming cafes.
Experience Galway’s vibrant atmosphere by taking a stroll in the Latin Quarter, exploring colorful shopfronts, traditional pubs, and bustling cafes, and immersing yourself in the lively nightlife scene with live music and Guinness.
Top Things To Do In Galway Ireland
1. Exploring the City’s Medieval History
You’ll love exploring the city’s medieval history in Galway! As you wander through the streets, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
Start your journey by visiting the medieval parish church of St. Nicholas, one of the oldest and most beautiful churches in Ireland. Marvel at its stunning architecture and learn about its rich history dating back to the 14th century.
Next, take a stroll along the city walls, which were built in the 13th century to protect Galway from invaders. These walls offer panoramic views of the city and provide a glimpse into its past.
Don’t forget to explore Prehistoric Galway, where evidence of early settlements can still be seen today. Finally, immerse yourself in the fascinating history of the Tribes of Galway, powerful merchant families who shaped the city’s development.
With so much to discover, exploring Galway’s medieval history is an adventure you won’t want to miss!
2. Enjoying Traditional Irish Music
Just like many other cities in Ireland, immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Galway by enjoying traditional Irish music.
Galway, located on the west coast of Ireland, is known for its rich musical heritage and lively pub scene.
Whether you’re strolling along Shop Street or exploring the charming side streets, you’ll be captivated by the melodic sounds that flow from every corner.
Take a seat in one of the cozy pubs and let the toe-tapping rhythms and soulful melodies transport you to another world.
Traditional Irish music is deeply rooted in Galway’s culture, and it’s not uncommon to find talented musicians playing fiddles, flutes, bodhráns (traditional Irish drums), and tin whistles.
So grab a pint of Guinness, join in on a sing-along, and experience the magic of traditional Irish music while enjoying all that Galway has to offer.
3. Discovering Local Cuisine at Eyre Square
Step into the vibrant atmosphere of Eyre Square and discover the delicious local cuisine that will tantalize your taste buds.
Located in Galway city center, Eyre Square is a bustling hub filled with an array of Galway restaurants offering a wide variety of culinary delights. From traditional Irish dishes to international flavors, you’ll find something to suit every palate.
Sample mouthwatering seafood chowder made with locally caught fish or indulge in a hearty plate of Irish stew made with tender lamb and root vegetables. Don’t forget to try the famous Galway oysters, known for their fresh and briny taste.
As you explore Eyre Square, be sure to stop by one of the many charming cafes for a freshly brewed cup of coffee or tea accompanied by delectable pastries.
With its diverse range of culinary options, Eyre Square is truly a food lover’s paradise in Galway.
4. Visiting the Galway City Museum
When visiting Eyre Square in Galway, make sure to check out the Galway City Museum. This fascinating museum is one of the top things to do in Galway, Ireland.
The Galway City Museum offers a captivating insight into the rich history and culture of this vibrant city. Step inside and explore the impressive exhibits that showcase everything from ancient artifacts to modern art installations. Learn about the archaeology, history, and heritage of Galway through interactive displays and informative presentations.
Discover the stories behind famous landmarks like Eyre Square and delve into the lives of past generations who called this place home. Whether you’re a history buff or simply curious about Galway’s past, a visit to the Galway City Museum is an absolute must-do when exploring this beautiful city in Ireland.
5. Taking a Stroll in the Latin Quarter
If you’re in Galway, take a leisurely walk through the Latin Quarter to soak up its lively atmosphere and charming streets. Located in the heart of Galway city centre, this vibrant neighborhood is bursting with character and offers plenty of fun things to do.
As you stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be captivated by the colorful shopfronts, traditional pubs, and bustling cafes that line the way. The Latin Quarter is known for its lively nightlife scene, so make sure to stop by one of the many pubs for some live music and a pint of Guinness.
Don’t forget to explore the hidden alleys and squares that are filled with unique boutiques and local artisans selling their crafts. A visit to the Latin Quarter is an absolute must when exploring Galway!
6. Attending the Galway International Arts Festival
While attending the Galway International Arts Festival, be sure to explore the various art exhibitions and performances throughout the city. Immerse yourself in a world of creativity and expression as you witness breathtaking displays of visual art, captivating theater performances, awe-inspiring dance shows, and mesmerizing music concerts.
Here are some must-see highlights:
Art Exhibitions: Discover thought-provoking installations and contemporary artworks that push boundaries and challenge conventional ideas.
Theater Performances: Lose yourself in powerful storytelling brought to life on stage by talented actors who will transport you to different worlds.
Dance Shows: Witness graceful movements and intricate choreography that will leave you in awe of the sheer talent on display.
Music Concerts: Get swept away by enchanting melodies from both local artists and international musicians.
With so much creativity buzzing around during this festival, there is no shortage of things to see in Galway. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to experience the vibrant arts scene in Galway City!
7. Touring the Spanish Arch
After exploring the various art exhibitions and performances at the Galway International Arts Festival, take some time to tour the Spanish Arch.
Located in Galway City, the Spanish Arch is a historic landmark that offers a glimpse into the city’s rich past. This arch was originally built in the 16th century as part of Galway’s fortifications and served as a trading point for ships coming from Spain.
Today, it stands as a popular tourist attraction and provides stunning views of Galway Bay. As you walk through this architectural marvel, you’ll be transported back in time and can imagine what life was like during the bustling trading days.
The Spanish Arch is definitely one of the top places to see in Galway and should not be missed during your visit.
8. Experiencing the Vibrant Nightlife
To fully immerse yourself in the vibrant nightlife of Galway, head to the Latin Quarter where you’ll find a lively atmosphere and numerous pubs and clubs to choose from.
Here are five must-do activities for an unforgettable night out in Galway:
Start your evening at Tigh Neachtain, one of the city’s oldest pubs with its cozy interior and traditional Irish music.
Join the locals at The Quays, a popular pub known for its live music sessions and friendly atmosphere.
Experience the energy of Tig Coili, where talented musicians play traditional Irish tunes every night.
Make your way to Monroe’s Live for some late-night entertainment, featuring everything from local bands to comedy shows.
End your night at Roisin Dubh, a renowned venue that hosts both live music gigs and club nights.
With all these fantastic options within walking distance in Galway’s city centre, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable night filled with great craic.
9. Hiking in Connemara National Park
If you’re up for an adventure, head to Connemara National Park for a breathtaking hiking experience.
Located in Galway, Ireland, this beautiful park offers a myriad of trails that will take you through stunning landscapes and provide unforgettable views.
From the moment you step foot on the trail, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery, rugged mountains, and sparkling lakes.
The park is home to diverse wildlife and rare plant species, making it a nature lover’s paradise.
Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, there are trails suitable for all levels of fitness and skill.
As you make your way along the paths, don’t forget to bring your camera to capture the awe-inspiring beauty of Connemara National Park.
So grab your hiking boots and get ready to explore one of Ireland’s most picturesque destinations!
10. Admiring the Beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way
When exploring Connemara National Park, don’t miss the opportunity to admire the beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way. This stunning coastal route stretches for over 2,500 kilometers along Ireland’s western coast, offering breathtaking views and unforgettable experiences.
Here are three must-see attractions along the Wild Atlantic Way:
Cliffs of Moher: Located just a short drive from Galway, these majestic cliffs rise dramatically from the ocean, reaching heights of up to 214 meters. Marvel at the sheer magnitude of nature’s power as you stand on its edge.
Aran Islands: Take a ferry from Galway and discover this remote and rugged archipelago. Explore ancient forts, traditional Irish villages, and enjoy spectacular panoramic views.
Salthill Promenade: For a more leisurely experience, head to Salthill Promenade in Galway. Take a stroll along its sandy beaches while enjoying views of Galway Bay and the distant hills.
The Wild Atlantic Way is a true gem that showcases Ireland’s natural beauty at its finest. Don’t miss your chance to be captivated by its charm during your visit to Galway!
11. Shopping at Local Artisan Markets
After admiring the breathtaking beauty of the Wild Atlantic Way, it’s time to dive into the vibrant shopping scene in Galway.
Head over to Salthill and explore the charming Quay Street, where you’ll find an array of local artisan markets waiting to be discovered. These markets offer a unique shopping experience that allows you to support local businesses while discovering one-of-a-kind treasures.
From handmade crafts and jewelry to delicious locally-produced food and drinks, there is something for everyone at these markets. And if you happen to visit during the holiday season, make sure not to miss out on the Galway Christmas Market, where you can immerse yourself in festive cheer while browsing through stalls filled with seasonal goodies.
Don’t forget to ask locals for recommendations on the best restaurants in Galway so you can refuel after your day of shopping.
12. Watching a Performance at the Druid Theatre
While exploring Galway, be sure to catch a performance at the Druid Theatre. Located in the heart of this vibrant city in Ireland, the Druid Theatre is renowned for its captivating shows that will leave you spellbound.
The theatre has a rich history and is known for showcasing both classic and contemporary plays, ensuring there is something for everyone’s taste. As you enter the intimate space of the theatre, you’ll be enveloped by an atmosphere filled with anticipation and excitement.
The talented actors bring their characters to life, transporting you into their world with every word spoken and movement made. Whether it’s a gripping drama or a lighthearted comedy, watching a performance at the Druid Theatre is an experience that should not be missed when visiting Galway.
13. Experiencing the Galway Races
To fully immerse yourself in the excitement of Galway, don’t miss out on experiencing the thrilling Galway Races. This annual event is a celebration of horse racing and attracts visitors from all over the world.
Explore Galway Cathedral: Take a moment to marvel at this stunning Gothic-style cathedral, known for its impressive architecture and beautiful stained glass windows.
Stroll along the Promenade: Enjoy a leisurely walk along Salthill Promenade, offering breathtaking views of Galway Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
Visit Dunguaire Castle: Immerse yourself in history by touring this 16th-century tower house where you can learn about Ireland’s medieval past.
Indulge in local cuisine and drinks: Sample traditional Irish dishes and enjoy a pint of Guinness at one of the many pubs and restaurants dotted around Galway.
Place your bets: Join in on the excitement by placing bets on your favorite horses and cheer them on as they race towards victory. Don’t forget to dress up for Ladies’ Day, when fashion takes center stage.
Experience an unforgettable time at the Galway Races, surrounded by incredible sights, delicious food, and thrilling races that will keep you entertained throughout your visit to this vibrant city.
14. Touring the Galway Cathedral
You can’t miss touring the Galway Cathedral, a stunning Gothic-style cathedral known for its impressive architecture and beautiful stained glass windows.
Located in the heart of Galway City, this magnificent structure is a must-visit on your trip to Ireland. As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by soaring ceilings, intricate stone carvings, and a sense of tranquility that envelops the entire space.
The highlight of the cathedral is undoubtedly its breathtaking stained glass windows, which depict scenes from biblical stories with vibrant colors and intricate details. Take your time to explore every nook and cranny of this architectural masterpiece, from the grand altar to the peaceful chapels tucked away in corners.
Whether you’re religious or not, a visit to Galway Cathedral should definitely be on your list of places to visit in Galway.
15. Sightseeing at Lynch’s Castle
Located in the heart of Galway City, Lynch’s Castle is a must-see for its historical significance and stunning architecture. As one of the best things to do in Galway city, this medieval castle is a perfect place to visit for sightseeing.
Stepping inside, you’ll be transported back in time as you explore the grandeur and elegance of this well-preserved structure. The castle’s intricate stone carvings and imposing façade are sure to leave you in awe. Take a moment to admire the beautifully preserved interiors with their ornate ceilings and elaborate fireplaces.
Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the castle’s rich history through informative displays that showcase its role as a prominent landmark in Galway. Lynch’s Castle truly offers an unforgettable experience for those who appreciate history and architectural beauty when visiting Galway city.
16. Exploring the Aran Islands
Exploring the Aran Islands is a must for anyone seeking an authentic island experience off the coast of Galway. These islands, consisting of Inishmore, Inishmaan, and Inisheer, offer breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage.
Start your adventure by taking a ferry from Rossaveal or Doolin and prepare to be enchanted by the rugged beauty that awaits you.
Once on the islands, make sure to visit Dun Aonghasa, an ancient fort perched on a cliff edge with stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. Take a leisurely bike ride or horse-drawn carriage tour to discover quaint villages and traditional Irish cottages along the way. Immerse yourself in the island’s folklore and traditions as you meet friendly locals who are more than happy to share their stories.
For nature enthusiasts, don’t miss out on hiking Diamond Hill in Connemara National Park or exploring Kylemore Abbey’s picturesque gardens and gothic castle. And if you’re interested in maritime history, visit Galway Atlantaquaria to learn about marine life or Menlo Castle for a glimpse into Galway’s past.
With its diverse attractions and natural beauty, exploring the Aran Islands promises an unforgettable experience during your visit to Galway.
17. Enjoying the Scenery at Salthill Promenade
After exploring the Aran Islands, take some time to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery at Salthill Promenade. This beautiful stretch of coastline in Galway offers a place where you can immerse yourself in natural beauty.
It is one of the best places to unwind and soak up the breathtaking views. Take a leisurely walk along the promenade, feeling the refreshing sea breeze on your face as you gaze out at the vast expanse of the ocean.
The coast of Galway is dotted with charming seaside towns and picturesque landscapes, making it a perfect spot for enjoying the scenery. Whether you’re alone or with friends, Salthill Promenade promises to provide a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
18. Visiting the Cliffs of Moher
When visiting the Cliffs of Moher, you can’t help but be in awe of their majestic beauty. These iconic cliffs, located on the west coast of Ireland, are a must-see for anyone visiting Galway or the Republic of Ireland.
Standing at over 700 feet high and stretching for about five miles along the Atlantic coastline, they offer breathtaking views that will leave you speechless. As you walk along the cliff edge, the rugged landscape and crashing waves below create a sense of grandeur that is truly unforgettable. Don’t forget your camera to capture panoramic shots of this natural wonder.
If you have time, take a boat tour to see the cliffs from below and get an even more unique perspective. Make sure to plan a day trip from Galway to fully immerse yourself in the beauty of these world-famous cliffs.
Explore O’Brien’s Tower: Atop one of the highest points on the cliffs, this 19th-century tower offers panoramic views that extend as far as Connemara and Loop Head.
Visit The Cliffs Exhibition: Learn about the history, geology, and wildlife of this extraordinary natural site through interactive exhibits.
19. Enjoying the Galway Oyster Festival
To fully embrace the Galway Oyster Festival, make sure you indulge in the delicious oysters and experience the lively atmosphere of this annual event.
The festival takes place in Galway City, a vibrant and charming destination known for its historic sites, such as the magnificent Galway Cathedral.
During the festival, you can wander through bustling streets filled with music, laughter, and the intoxicating aroma of freshly shucked oysters.
Sample these culinary delights from local vendors while enjoying live entertainment and soaking up the festive vibes.
After satisfying your taste buds, take some time to explore the city’s famous pubs, where you can enjoy traditional Irish music sessions and mingle with friendly locals.
The Galway Oyster Festival is truly a must-attend event when seeking unforgettable experiences in Galway.
20. Discovering the Galway Atlantaquaria
Explore the Galway Atlantaquaria and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of marine life. Located in Galway city, this is the National Aquarium of Ireland and a must-visit attraction.
Here are three things you can’t miss at the Atlantaquaria:
Discover an array of captivating sea creatures: From colorful tropical fish to majestic sharks, you’ll encounter a diverse range of marine species along your journey through the aquarium’s well-designed exhibits.
Experience interactive displays: Get up close and personal with marine life by participating in hands-on activities. Touch tanks allow you to feel the texture of different species while knowledgeable staff members provide interesting facts and answer any questions you may have.
Learn about conservation efforts:The Atlantaquaria is dedicated to protecting our oceans’ fragile ecosystems. Through educational displays and informative talks, visitors gain a deeper understanding of the importance of preserving aquatic environments.
Visit this remarkable attraction along Salthill’s quays in Galway for an unforgettable experience that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for underwater wonders.
21. Taking a Boat Tour on River Corrib
Hop on a boat tour and cruise along the scenic River Corrib for a unique perspective of Galway city. This is one of the top things to do in Galway, Ireland, and it’s easy to see why.
As you glide along the river, you’ll be treated to breathtaking views of the city’s historic landmarks, charming bridges, and lush greenery. The boat tour allows you to take in the beauty of Galway from a different angle, giving you an opportunity to appreciate its rich history and vibrant culture.
Whether you’re a nature lover or simply looking for a relaxing activity, this boat tour on River Corrib is sure to impress. Don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience while exploring Galway!
22. Attending Traditional Irish Dance Performances
If you’re looking for things to do in Galway, attending traditional Irish dance performances should be at the top of your list. Galway City, located on the west coast of Ireland, is known as the heart of Galway and is a hub for cultural activities.
The city has a strong tradition of Irish music and dance, and attending a live performance is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Throughout Galway, you’ll find several venues that showcase traditional Irish dance performances. These shows feature talented dancers who perform intricate footwork and energetic routines that will leave you in awe. From lively jigs to graceful reels, the dancers effortlessly move across the stage, captivating audiences with their skill and passion.
Attending one of these performances is not only a great way to immerse yourself in Irish culture but also an opportunity to witness something truly unique. So make sure to add attending a traditional Irish dance performance to your list of places to see in Galway!
23. Bird Watching at Nimmo’s Pier
Located on the west coast of Ireland, Nimmo’s Pier is a great spot for bird watching. As you stroll along the pier, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time to a serene and tranquil atmosphere. The breathtaking views of Galway Bay and the distant Galway Cathedral create a picturesque backdrop for your bird-watching adventure.
Here are three things you can expect to see at Nimmo’s Pier:
A Variety of Bird Species: Keep your eyes peeled for majestic seagulls soaring through the sky, graceful swans gliding on the water, and colorful ducks paddling alongside the pier.
Peaceful Surroundings: Take a moment to embrace the peacefulness of this hidden gem in Galway. The gentle sound of waves crashing against rocks combined with chirping birds creates a symphony of nature’s harmonies.
Photographic Opportunities: Don’t forget your camera! Nimmo’s Pier provides ample opportunities to capture stunning shots of birds in their natural habitat against the backdrop of beautiful scenery.
So grab your binoculars and head over to Nimmo’s Pier for an unforgettable bird-watching experience that should be on every nature enthusiast’s list when visiting Galway!
24. Sampling Local Brews at Galway’s Craft Beer Pubs
When sampling local brews at Galway’s craft beer pubs, you’ll discover a wide array of flavors and styles to satisfy any beer enthusiast.
Galway, located in County Galway on the west coast of Ireland, is known for its vibrant craft beer scene. With breweries like Galway Bay Brewery and The Salt House, there are plenty of options to choose from.
Whether you prefer a crisp IPA or a smooth stout, these pubs have something for everyone. As you sip your pint, take in the lively atmosphere and strike up a conversation with locals who share your passion for great beer.
Afterward, why not explore more of what Galway has to offer? From the stunning beauty of Galway Cathedral to the countless other things to do in this charming city, there’s no shortage of activities to keep you entertained during your visit.
So grab a pint and cheers to an unforgettable time in Galway!
25. Exploring the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher Geopark
Once you’ve finished sampling local brews at Galway’s craft beer pubs, make sure to explore the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher Geopark. Located just a short drive from Galway, these natural wonders are a must-see when visiting the west coast of Ireland.
Start your adventure by heading to the Burren, a unique limestone landscape that stretches for miles. As you walk through this vast expanse, marvel at the diverse flora and fauna that thrive in this seemingly barren terrain.
Next, make your way to the iconic Cliffs of Moher, towering over 700 feet above the Atlantic Ocean. Take in breathtaking views as you stroll along the cliff edge or visit O’Brien’s Tower for an even more panoramic perspective.
Don’t miss out on exploring these incredible sights outside of Galway City – it will be an unforgettable experience!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the history behind Lynch’s Castle?
Lynch’s Castle in Galway has a rich history that dates back to the 16th century. It was built by the Lynch family, who were prominent merchants and politicians at the time. The castle served as their residence and symbolized their power and wealth.
Today, it stands as an architectural marvel, blending Gothic and Renaissance styles. Inside, you’ll find a museum showcasing artifacts that offer a glimpse into Galway’s past.
A must-visit for history enthusiasts!
How can I get to the Aran Islands from Galway?
To get to the Aran Islands from Galway, you can take a ferry from Rossaveal or Doolin. The ferry ride offers stunning views of the rugged coastline and takes about 45 minutes to an hour, depending on which island you choose to visit.
Once there, you can explore the unique landscapes, ancient forts like Dun Aengus, and experience traditional Irish culture. Don’t forget your camera!
Are there any specific events or activities during the Galway International Arts Festival?
During the Galway International Arts Festival, you’ll be treated to a vibrant array of events and activities.
From captivating theater performances and awe-inspiring art installations to lively street parades and bustling markets, there’s something for everyone.
Immerse yourself in the world of creativity as you explore the festival’s diverse program, showcasing both local and international talent.
Don’t miss this opportunity to experience Galway at its most artistic and lively!
Can you recommend any specific craft beer pubs in Galway?
When it comes to craft beer pubs in Galway, you can’t go wrong with The Salt House. Located in the heart of the city, this cozy spot offers an impressive selection of local and international brews.
Another great option is Bierhaus, known for its laid-back atmosphere and a wide range of unique beers on tap.
Both places are perfect for beer enthusiasts looking to enjoy a pint or two while soaking up the lively Galway vibe.
Is there a specific time of year when bird watching at Nimmo’s Pier is best?
The best time for bird watching at Nimmo’s Pier in Galway is during the spring and autumn months.
During these seasons, you can spot a variety of migratory birds that stop by the pier as they journey to their breeding grounds or wintering destinations.
The pier offers a great vantage point to observe these fascinating creatures up close, making it a popular spot for bird enthusiasts.
Don’t forget your binoculars!
In conclusion, Galway, Ireland offers a plethora of activities that will immerse you in its rich history and vibrant culture. From exploring medieval sites to savoring traditional Irish music and cuisine, there is something for everyone.
The city’s museums, like the Galway City Museum, provide insights into its fascinating past. A stroll through the Latin Quarter will transport you to another era with its charming streets and unique shops. Don’t miss out on attending traditional Irish dance performances or bird watching at Nimmo’s Pier. And of course, be sure to sample the local brews at Galway’s craft beer pubs.
Lastly, take a day trip to explore the breathtaking landscapes of the Burren and the Cliffs of Moher Geopark. Galway truly has it all!
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