Galway

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Galway, or Gaillimh in Irish, with a population of over 70,000, is Ireland's fifth largest city and a major hub for visits to West Ireland. It has long been known as "The City of the Tribes" and this title could not be more appropriate these days, given the multicultural vibrancy of present-day Galway.

Understand[edit]

Galway's Quay St

City of the Tribes[edit]

Galway, known as the City of the Tribes is an important tourist centre and a gateway to the scenic areas of the county. Beginning in the 15th century, Galway was ruled by tribes, as the leading fourteen families were called. Their names were Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'arcy, Deane, Font, ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris, and Skerritt. The tribes built many castles throughout County Galway. Many streets and landmarks bear the names of these early tribes.

Galway is a bustling town with fantastic nightlife. It's short on common tourist attractions such as museums, but the charming pedestrianised streets and numerous pubs and cafes are sure to keep you occupied.

Get in[edit]

Location of Galway within Ireland

By bus or train[edit]

  • Iarnród Éireann operates six trains per day (four on Sunday) from Dublin Heuston Station.
  • Bus Éireann buses run frequently from destinations through the country.
  • CityLink buses provide direct service to Shannon Airport, Dublin and Dublin Airport.
  • GoBus buses provide direct one stop service to Dublin and Dublin Airport.

National bus and rail both arrive at the same station, just east of Eyre Square on Station Road. CityLink and GoBus buses arrive and depart from the Galway Coach Station, one block north of the CIE bus/rail terminus.

By plane[edit]

  • Shannon Airport is the main airport serving the west of Ireland. It is an international airport with many more flights available than Galway Airport, is served by an hourly bus to Galway, car rentals are also available. It is about 1 and 1/2 hours in the bus to Galway, but about an hour by car.
  • Others: many people going to Galway travel via Dublin, Cork or Ireland West (Knock) airports. This page [1] has detailed about public transport between Galway and all airports.

By car[edit]

  • From Dublin, there is a toll motorway all the way to Galway. Take the M4 west and then continue along the M6. Follow the M6/N6 for the rest of the trip. Travel time is around 2 hours depending on traffic.
  • As in most places in Ireland, parking is expensive. However there is long term parking next to the cathedral available for €5/day, and if you are leaving in the morning, many pay and display; lots of places offer cheap or free overnight parking (18:00-06:00).

Get around[edit]

Central Galway is easily accessible on foot, and Salthill (a popular tourist area) is a lovely 20-30 minute walk from the centre of town. The Promenade (Prom), stretching from The Claddagh to Blackrock is a very popular walk with locals and visitors alike.

Bus Éireann and CityDirect run local bus networks.

GalwayTransport.info is a public-transport-information source for Galway City and surrounding areas. It has a summary map of city bus routes, a detailed map of each individual route, and links to timetable information. It also has maps of the taxi ranks in the city, industrial estates in the area, and detailed directions for reaching a number of popular places using public transport.

Taxis are convenient, although they can be a bit expensive. There are taxi ranks in Eyre Square and Bridge Street.

Avoid taking a car when going to or anywhere near the town centre as parking can be expensive, and the city can have very heavy traffic levels at times. A very popular car park close to the centre is that at the Dyke Road, just off the Headford Rd. Just a 5 min walk to Eyre Sq.

See[edit]

Jumping into the ocean in Salthill

Galway is a perfect base for seeing West Ireland, but it is also worth a visit in itself. Although it has only a few typical sightseeing spots what makes it a wonderful place to stay is the atmosphere, the culture, the people, and the events.

  • The pedestrian shopping area south of Eyre Square, is a pleasant place to stroll around.
  • At the south end of the pedestrian mall, is the Spanish Arch, one of the few remaining parts of the town's ancient defences. The park adjacent to the arch is a popular place to sit and relax, while watching the Corrib flow out into Galway Bay.
  • Galway City MuseumSpanish Arch +353 91 532460. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00. This museum focuses primarily on the history and heritage of Galway City, but the displays and exhibits will appeal to anyone with a broad interest in Irish history and material culture. Free admission.
  • The Promenade in Salthill, is a fantastic place to people watch on rare warm, sunny days. People walk and roller blade along the prom and kids and adults alike jump off the concrete diving board into the frigid Atlantic Ocean.
  • Visit the excavated ruins of the medieval banqueting hall that once belonged to the de Burgh family in a narrow lane between Flood Street and High Street right in the town centre.
  • NUI Galway is one of the original four Queens Universities opened in Ireland. The original building can still be seen today.

Do[edit]

  • Check local free paper the Galway Advertiser for up to date info on cultural events, concerts and plays, as well as the latest local news. Available on Thursdays it is usually snapped up quickly.
  • Town Hall TheatreCourthouse Square Box Office: +353 91 569777. This theatre features plays and musical performances and is often used as a venue for Galway's major festivals. The theatre aims to regularly show the best of national and international talent to its audiences.
  • Galway AtlantaquariaSeapoint Promenade, Salthill (Follow the R336 (Griffin Road) southwest from the town centre),  +353 91 585100, e-mail: . A must see if you are interested in the sea and its inhabitants. It is not the usual tropical fish collection that you might find anywhere, but they have beautifully mirrored the life around the Irish coasts and show the animals and plants in a realistic environment, just as you might find them 50 m outside of the building in the real sea. Be sure to ask one of the staff about the 300 mm large but harmless giant crabs on the second floor, he might just pick one out of the basin and put it into your hands, an experience you´ll never forget! Or pet the flounders and rays in the "touch pool".
  • Galway Tours. Run scheduled walking tours of Galway City.
  • The Volvo Ocean Race has a grand finale in Galway. 30 June 2012 the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) arrived in Galway and stayed for a two week stopover. Visitors to Galway got a chance to experience the spectacle of the VO70 sailing boats including in-port racing and enjoying everything special that the West of Ireland has to offer.
  • Corrib PrincessWoodquay Galway +353 91 59247. 90 guided cruise of the River and Lough Corrib on a modern luxury river cruiser. Departs from Woodquay in the heart of Galway City dail from April - October.
  • Galway Arts Festival, July 11th- 24th +353 91 509700. Ireland's best loved cultural event features music, theatre and exhibitions for two weeks in July.

Learn[edit]

National University of Ireland, Galway

Buy[edit]

The main shopping area runs south from Eyre Square towards the Corrib. This pedestrian zone includes Williams St, Shop St, High St, Mainguard St and Quay St. Along it you can find all kinds of high street and artisan shops, pubs and restaurants. The historical buildings and busy atmosphere also make this area one of the attractions of Galway.

Middle Street, which runs parallel to Shop Street, is a particularly good street for finding a range of inspiring and creative local enterprises, including the Irish-speaking theatre "An Taibhdhearc," the Cocoon designer studio, Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, and Kenny's gallery among others.

  • Galway MarketChurch Ln (beside St. Nicholas Church). Sa 08:00-18:00; Su 14:00-18:00. This market features a small number of local artisans and their handmade crafts. There is a special Christmas edition of this market, which runs annually from mid-December to just before Christmas.
  • Eyre Square Centre. A modern shopping centre almost entirely hidden behind a historical façade. Entrances can be found on the south side of Eyre Square and on Williams Street.

Eat[edit]

Galway is a very popular destination with tourists and the range of restaurants extends from traditional, to ethnic to the usual fast food outlets.

For those on a tight budget, check out the supermarket in Eyre Square Centre (closes at 17:00) or the Tesco on Headford Rd (open 24 hrs). On Saturdays (08:00-18:00) and Sundays (14:00-18:00), you can head to the outdoor Galway Market in Church lane beside St. Nicholas Church where you can find locally-grown produce, cheese, bread and affordable prepared foods like curries and crepes.

  • Ard Bia at Nimmo'sSpanish Arch (Long Walk - the restaurant is directly behind the Spanish Arch),  +353 91 539897. Cafe Tu-Su 10-15:30; Restaurant 18:00-22:00. Delicious food based on local sourcing. Wonderful atmosphere. If you're not looking to splurge at this restaurant, head to the cafe for the lunch specials which are more reasonably priced.
  • Kirby's Restaurant +353 91 569404. Cross St. Offers superb food, attentive service, generous portions with a modern twist. Offers a Value Dining Menu, two Courses €22.50, three Courses €24.95, both including a complimentary drink of your choice next door in Buskers.
  • Abalone restaurant 53 lower Dominick St,small romantic restaurant, serving perhaps the best food in Galway if not in the west of Ireland, open 6PM to 10PM daily, phone +353 91 534895.
  • Fat Freddy's Famous Pizziera & Bistro +353 91 567279. The Halls, Quay St, One of Galway's longest established restaurants, synonymous with Quay Street in Galway City near the Spanish quarter. Known for the excellent atmosphere, service and, of course, food. Great for kids.
  • McCambridges38-39 Shop St +353 91 562259. This gourmet grocers has a deli counter for take away sandwiches which is quite good.
  • Sheridan's Cheesemongers +353 91 564829fax: +353 91 564829, e-mail: . Kirwans Lane, ), is a great place to get wine, pates, bread, and cheese of course.
  • McDonagh's Seafood22 Quay St +353 91 565001. Is famous for its fish and chips, and has very good prices on takeaway.
  • McSwiggans3 Eyre St +353 91 568917. Restaurant on the two floors above the bar. Open M-W until 22.30, Th-Su 23:00. The food is varied, includes curries, seafood and steaks. Main courses €12-20.
  • Oscar's Restaurant, on upper Dominick Street looks unassuming enough from the outside, but offers some of the best food in town. Their Seafood Platter has to be seen to be believed!
  • La Salsa, does delicious and reasonably priced Mexican food.
  • Conlons Seafood RestaurantEglinton St (Off Eyre Square),  +353 91 562268. Established seafood house with Art Deco ambience, great service, good food and reasonable prices.
  • Kebab House, on Dominick St, does extremely cheap, greasy and tasty post-pub food. A substantial feed of Guinness is recommended before consumption of Kebab House fare in order to ensure full satisfaction.
  • Mustard Gourmet Pizza and Burger Bar1 Middle St +353 91 566 400. This restaurant looks tiny from the outside, but has a larger seating area downstairs. They have big burgers, made from a variety of meats, and speciality pizzas. Cosy and relaxed.
  • Lohans Cafe Bar Restaurant (Lohans), Upper Salthill. 08:00-21:00. The menu is mainly traditional Irish dishes such as Guinness & Beef Stew, Bacon & Cabbage and hearty sausages & mashed potato. Other lighter seasonal dishes and seafood are also available.

Drink[edit]

King's Head Pub

The Galway City Pub Guide is a good resource for checking out pubs and clubs in Galway. The guide includes reviews, photos and videos, as well as a list of the top ten pubs in Galway. You can add your comments about the pubs you visit. Technically drinking in public is not allowed in Galway but enforcement of this rule is not feasible during summer months and well behaved groups are usually left alone. Don't mingle too near to obviously drunk people though as the authorities will likely confiscate all visible alcohol.

  • Busker Brownes and Kirbys Restaurant, Cross Street.. 4 Bars, 1 Venue and over 400 years of history! Live bands Sunday - Thursday & late night DJ at the weekends! Adjacent to Buskers is Kirby's Restaurant serving the best of modern food with a contemporary twist. +353 91 563377.
  • Cookes Thatch Pub is one of only two remaining Thatch Pubs in Galway. Dating back to the 1600s, the trad music sessions on Wednesday and Sunday night are unmissable [2]
  • The King's Head Pub has decent prices and a nightly cover band. Popular with students and tourists alike, this place is always lively.
  • Near the King's Head Pub on High St. is Freeneys. It is a fine "old man" establishment with some of the best Guinness in town. also popular with students who want to drink a few quiet ones.
  • For the more traditional minded, Monroe's Tavern, just south of the Corrib and visible from the Spanish Arch, has traditional music every night and set dancing on Tuesdays. Highly Recommended if you're in town on Tuesday night.
  • Roisin Dubh. On Dominick Street, near Monroe's, is perfect for those of you who like alternative and rock music, and on Wednesdays hosts a popular comedy night showcasing local and international acts.
  • The Quays. Is warm and offers good live folk music and as well as cover bands.
  • The Victoria Hotel
  • The Crane BarSea Rd. You'll find live Irish music nightly at the Crane. Take your pick from the locals playing traditional music downstairs or the musicians playing various types of music upstairs.
  •    Taaffes Pub19 Shop St. Great authentic Irish experience. You can find traditional music there almost any night and there's a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

Sleep[edit]

Galway is a very popular destination with tourists. There is a large selection of accommodation, ranging from budget two star to luxury five star hotels.

  • Coolin House (Coolin House), Threadneedle Rd (close to Promenade at Blcakrock),  +353 91 523411. Coolin House is a family run bed and breakfast, just off Salthill's famous Promenade. Coolin House is close to several amenities, including Leisureland, Atlantaquaria and the bustling bars in Salthill. Private parking is available. Tea and coffee making facilities and television in all rooms.

Hostels[edit]

  • Barnacles Quay Street House10 Quay St (In the heart of the Galway City),  +353 91 568 644fax: +353 91 568644, e-mail: . 'Barnacles is in the heart of the action in Galway on a pedestrianised street. It is on the same street as all the pubs & restaurants you came to Galway for.' Lonely Planet. The perfect location and young staff who are full of helpful knowledge - it's a great place to start your Irish experience. Check out the other Barnacles hostel in Dublin.
  • Galway City Hostel +353 91 566 959, e-mail: . Frenchville Lane, A really nice place, with competitive prices. Straight across the train station, next to Eyre Square. Great staff. Free tea and coffee all day. Currently doesn't have the best luggage storage facilities, and the place can feel a little cramped. But it is the best hostel to meet people and party at.
  • Kinlay House +353 091 565244fax: +353 91 565245, e-mail: . Merchant's Road, on the south-east corner of Eyre Square is an affordable, clean and central hostel. Included with a bed is a breakfast of unlimited tea and toast.
  • Sleepzone +353 091 566 999, e-mail: . Bothar Na mBan, is a large hostel (200+ beds) in central Galway, just off Eyre Square. It is quite new and has modern kitchen facilities, and a free internet cafe (and wireless, too). It's very clean, and well-run. Everyone from school groups to backpackers to families stay here. The staff are amazing and available at all hours if you need anything. Additionally, they provide a shuttle service to their affiliated hostel in Connemara, departing at 11AM and 7PM daily, for €5. (Note: This shuttle only runs in the summer.) They also offer day-long bus tours of The Burren and Connemara. These tours are mostly for those in their 20s, but would be enjoyable for all ages.

Bed and breakfasts[edit]

Even by Irish standards, Galway has a ridiculous abundance of B&Bs. Two particular clusters can be found on College Rd, within easy walking distance of the centre and the train/bus stations, and in Salthill, where you'll probably want your own car.

  • Ard Mhuire Bed & Breakfast +353 91 522344. Ard Mhuire is a beautiful family run B&B a mere 5 minute walk from the famous Salthill promenade. It is ideally situated for guests who wish to tour Connemara and the Aran islands from a base close to Galway City (which is only 2.5 km away). The house has all the modern facilities that you'd expect to find in a 1 star hotel, but still maintains the familiar charm of a home away from home, with a home cooked breakfast from fresh local produce. Ample car parking is available on site.
  • Ashgrove House. Is close to NUI Galway (Galway University) and Galway Hospital. It is also 10 minutes walk from the centre of the City.
  • Coolin House B&B. Coolin House, Threadneedle Road, Salthill +353 91 523 411 Coolin House is a family run bed and breakfast, just off Salthill's famous Promenade. Coolin House is close to several amenities, including Leisureland, Atlantaquaria and the bustling bars in Salthill. Private parking is available. Tea and coffee making facilities and television in all rooms.
  • Ocean Bed and Breakfasts. 4 quality Bed and Breakfasts located on College Road. All rooms are spacious in these large modern homes.
  • Asgard Guesthouse21 College Rd +353 91 566855, e-mail: . Pleasant B&B just 5 minutes walk away from Eyre Square in the city center, with a sunny dining room and impeccably clean and tasteful guest rooms. Good breakfast spread, TV in every room, free wifi, credit cards accepted. €40 per person sharing.
  • Dun Aoibhinn House +353 87 9306167. Dun Aoibhinn House is a beautifully restored period style Guesthouse in Galway City. It is situated a pleasant 5 minute walk from the City center, National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and University College Hospital Galway (UCHG). It is also within easy walking distance of Salthill Beach and attractions. Located on St Mary's Road in the heart of Galway City, there are ample private safe parking facilities
  • Almara House +353 91 755 435. 2 Merlin Gate, Dublin Road. A ten minute drive outside the city center, Almara House is winning people over with its charming hosts and classy rooms. There's a wide variety of breakfast items to choose from.
  • Tara House +353 91 527966. 138 Lower Salthill. Tara House Bed and Breakfast situated in Salthill is in the perfect location, just 200 metres from promenade and famous Galway Bay. It is close to golf clubs, fishing, tennis, leisureland and Pearse G.A.A Stadium. Bus stop to the Centre is directly outside main entrance (or 10 minute walk to Quay Street). This family owned Bed & Breakfast with private car park is the ideal base for touring Aran Islands, Connemara, Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. Our generously sized en-suite rooms have multi-channel T.V, direct-dial telephones, wireless internet, hairdryer, ironing, tea and coffee making facilities. Ground floor accommodation available.

Hotels in Galway[edit]

  • The Menlo Park Hotel. Menlo Park Hotel, Headfort Rd. +353 91 761 122. Award winning hotel with great bar and restaurant, friendly staff and lovely rooms. Only 15 minutes walk from city centre.
  • The Imperial Hotel Galway City +353 91 563033. The Imperial Hotel, Eyre Square, Galway City. Located in the heart of Galway City and the closest Hotel to Galway University NUIG it has a good location. Rooms start at €59.
  • The G Hotel +353 91 865 200. The G Hotel, Wellpark. A five-star hotel, just outside the centre. The interiors are swanky and decadent and the service is professional, if a little slow at times. Rooms start at €140.
  • The Meyrick Hotel. The Meyrick Hotel, Eyre Square. +353 91 564041. An elegant 4 star Victorian hotel, in a fashionable part of the city centre. Rooms start at €87 per night.
  • Park House Hotel +353 91 564924. Forster Street, Eyre Square. This ideally located hotel is just seconds away from the bus and train station. This hotel has clean rooms and a friendly staff. Ask for a back room, as the noise from Eyre Square can be a bit loud on weekends. Rooms start at €80 on weekdays.
  • Galway Bay Hotel +353 91 520520. The Promenade, Salthill. Located in scenic Salthill, Galway Bay Hotel is a popular choice for tourists and conferences. The large hotel has a spa and leisure center.
  • Eyre Square Hotel. Is a 3 star hotel located right in the centre of Galway City beside the famous Eyre Square. Train & Bus station are just around the corner. +353 91 569633
  • Victoria Hotel. Is a city centre 3 star hotel situated on Eyre Square and directly behind the city's Train and Bus stations. +353 91 567433
  • Guide to Hotels in Galway - A selection of hotels in Galway City, covering local information and tourist information.
  • Wards Hotel. Is a small family run traditional hotel in Galway located in between Salthill and Galway City Centre. +353 91 521956
  • Rockbarton Park Hotel. Is located the Salthill area of Galway City where they offer an excellent restaurant and cheap Galway Hotel accommodation. +353 91 522286

Self Catering / Vacation Rentals[edit]

  • St Bridgets Tce ApartmentSt Bridgets Tce, Galway. (walking distance from Eyre Square),  +353 87 944 6804. A spacious ground floor apartment in the heart of Galway City. Nestled on a quiet street with its own private access boasting a pleasant lawn garden and private parking.

Stay safe[edit]

Galway is safe town by any standards. It's a small town compared to Dublin, and it luckily doesn't have to deal with most of the problems big cities have.

With that said, it is a party town and the weekends can get pretty crazy. Keep your wits about you, and stay in groups if you don't know the area. Despite Galway's reputation as a safe place, like everywhere Galway has a troublesome element so do bear that in mind.

Like most towns in Ireland, there are some run down areas. For its size, Galway does not have many but there are still some suburbs that are better avoided by anyone unfamiliar. These areas are all off the beaten track of the tourist areas.

The River Corrib runs through Galway. It is a very powerful river, especially after a few days of rain, and drowning deaths do occur. Use caution when walking on the river banks and walkways, especially after a night of drinking.

Nimmo's Hostel, has had a reputation for being unsafe, but its door is locked, and can only be entered using a regularly updated code. Despite its former reputation, it is a safe, if 'colourful' place to stay.

Stay away from the public toilet areas in Eyre Square late at night, it attracts a lot of drunks.

Go next[edit]

Galway is the ideal base for trips throughout western Ireland. Hiring a car is a good way to see attractions in the surrounding area. Alternately, day tours of The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, and of Connemara are available at the tourist office. The day tours offered by the Galway Tour Company are particularly popular and well-reviewed.

If you wish to hear Irish being spoken as a first language, visit towns like Carna, Spiddal, Carraroe, Barna, etc., all west of Galway City in the Connemara area. English is also spoken in these towns if you are not confident enough to speak Irish just yet, but as a visitor you can appreciate hearing the Irish language being spoken in one of the few areas where it is a thriving first spoken language and has priority over English

Several outlets around town and at the tourist office sell ferry tickets to the Aran Islands.

For hitch hikers hoping to see the rest of Connacht, the best place to catch rides is near the Galway Shopping Centre, north of the city centre. There are several roundabouts nearby, so it should be easy to pick the road heading in the same direction as you are. Word of mouth may be useful for catching a lift to Dublin and other destinations. Ask around in your hotel or hostel.

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This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!