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Galway Attractions


There is so much to see in this historical city that you'll just have to come back again! Here are our top things to see:
Overlooking the Spanish Arch, this modern, spacious building is the go-to spot for everything relating to Galway’s history and heritage.

Stroll through the collections on prehistoric and medieval Galway, as well as aspects of Galway’s social history.

Want to know more about Galway and its UNESCO City of Film status? Or what the city looked like in the late 19th century? This is the place to come.

Finish up with a coffee and cake in the lovely ground floor café, with views out to the Spanish Arch.
Standing at the late 16th century Spanish Arch and looking out to the vast Atlantic Ocean, it’s not hard to imagine Galway in its medieval heyday.

Once a small fishing village, Galway grew in strength in the 13th century to become a prosperous walled town ruled by 14 merchant families, known as the Tribes of Galway.

The old city walls are now incorporated into a modern shopping centre at Eyre Square, Kirwan’s Lane thrums with a bustling atmosphere and St Nicholas’s Church, completed in 1320, is where Christopher Columbus is said to have worshipped in 1477.
The laid-back, happy-go-lucky vibes of Galway are best felt at its weekend market.

Here, there’s loads of chat, loads of colourful stalls and plenty of incredible flavours, all in the shadow of St Nicholas’ Medieval Church.

As well as local cheeses and charcuterie, international influences come through with curries, sushi and Mediterranean favourites. Pack a basket and pick up your picnic supplies.
Galway's central public square is busy in all but the harshest weather.

A welcoming open green space with sculptures and pathways, its lawns are formally named Kennedy Park in commemoration of JFK's June 1963 visit to Galway, though locals always call it Eyre Sq.

Guarding the upper side of the square is the Browne Doorway, an imposing, if forlorn, fragment from the home of one of the city's merchant rulers.

Dating from 1627, it was relocated here from Abbeygate St in 1905.
In the 13th century, when the de Burgo family ruled Galway, Richard – the Red Earl – erected a large hall as a seat of power, where locals would arrive to curry favour.

After the 14 tribes took over, the hall fell into ruin. It was lost until the 1990s, when expansion of the city's Custom House uncovered its foundations, along with more than 11,000 artefacts including clay pipes and gold cufflinks. 
More than 150 freshwater and sea-dwelling creatures from local waters swim in Ireland's largest native-species aquarium, including seahorses, sharks and rays.

There's also a floor-to-ceiling ocean tank, fin whale skeleton and model submarine. Talks, tours and feeding sessions take place daily; check times online.
A favourite pastime for Galwegians and visitors alike is walking along the Salthill Prom, the 2km-long seaside promenade running from the edge of the city along Salthill.

Local tradition dictates 'kicking the wall' across from the diving boards (a 30- to 45-minute stroll from town) before turning around
Now an AIB Bank, this excellent example of a town castle was built around 1500 (the exact date is unknown).

The facade's stonework includes ghoulish gargoyles and the coats of arms of Henry VII, the Lynches (the most powerful of the 14 ruling Galway tribes) and the Fitzgeralds of Kildare.

On the ground floor, interpretive panels cover its history and architecture; the magnificent fireplace is a highlight.
An earnest conversation takes place between Irish writer Oscar Wilde (1854–1900) and Estonian writer Eduard Vilde (1856–1933), sitting on a granite bench, in this bronze-cast statue by Estonian artist Tiiu Kirsipuu.

A replica of her original 1999 work, it was a gift to the city from Estonia when it joined the EU in 2004. Buskers often join them, performing on the bench between the two figures.
If you're with us for a few days you really shouldn't miss out on a a day trip to the famous Aran Islands, the wonderful Kylemore Abbey, the wilds of Connemara or the Burren