Last Updated: 29th July, 2018
Galway is the capital of the West of Ireland. The streets and buildings of this ancient town have many interesting features, and its position on the edge of the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) makes it the gateway to magnificent areas such as Connemara, Corrib country, and the Aran Islands. The city itself is a continuing centre of growth with Galway University, Institute of Technology, Theatres, Cathedral, Castle, Galway Hotels, Docks, Industries as well as other interesting attractions in “The City of the Tribes” as Galway is know.
The city centre of Galway has been closed to traffic in order to allow for the enjoyment of the city’s narrow shopping streets. Parking in Galway is best done in the multi-storey car parks which are marked on this map. if you park on the street you will need parking discs which allow you park for a certain period of time. This time period is street specific and is posted at each street junction. Take in a walk on the renowned Salthill Promenade in Galway, enjoy a beach visit or sit and watch the views.
Situated on the west coast of Galway, about thirty miles out in the Atlantic Ocean are the Aran Islands, Inis Mór is the biggest of the three islands, covering approximately sixteen square miles The island offers a whole new meaning to the word ‘paradise’. Inis Mór Ferries departs from Ros a Mhíl (Rossaveal), a village 20 miles west of Galway City. The coast road allows for fabulous views of Co. Clare and the Burren across the bay and approaching views of the Aran Islands in the distance Experience walking in the wonderful Connemara region, stop and take in the beauty of Ireland’s only fjord, Killary Harbour, in the village of Leenane County Galway. The Twelve Bens mountain range in Connemara popular with hill walkers.
Areas to Visit in Galway
Salthill is situated 2 km West of Galway City. Accommodation is plentiful with Hotels and Bed & Breakfasts lined along the promenade The promenade is over 5 km long making it the longest promenade in Ireland and is very popular with walkers and cyclists. Galway Atlantaquaria, the jewel in the crown of visitor attractions in the West of Ireland It presents a comprehensive view of the world of water and is home to 170 species of marine and freshwater life including Seahorses, Stingrays, and their gentle giant, the Angel Shark. Salthill is an excellent location to watch the Sun Go Down on Galway Bay Spiddal has many fine pubs where the best Irish traditional music can be enjoyed. Spiddal Craft Centre is where you can see crafts being made which gives a rare opportunity to buy unique handmade gifts directly from the skilled Artisans themselves. Consisting of a range of workshops, including candlemaking, leatherwork, pottery, screen-printing and siopa Gaeilge, weaving, celtic jewellery, bodhrán making, wood-turning and a Restaurant. Gort, a market town in south County Galway which brings its name in Irish from ‘meadow’ or ‘field’ is just 35 minutes from Galway City Centre. In Irish chieftans times the area was a stronghold to the O’Shaughnessy Clan.
Galway an area well known for its castles, Gort also has quite a few, such as Ardamullwan Castle, tower house, built in the 16th century by the O’Shaughnessy Clan and the six storey Fiddaun Castle, a tower house built in the 16th century also owed by the O’Shaughnessy Clan, located 5 miles from Gort near the village of Tubber. Tyrone House in Kilcolgan County Galway, just a 17 minute drive from Gort, a ruin now, was built in the 1700’s and was one of the largest homes in the country at the time.
The 7th century monastic settlement of Kilmacduagh and the round tower lies 3kms from Gort, established by Saint Coleman Mac Duagh there are many carving to be seen inside the ruins of this settlement.
Visit Coole Park, just 3kms from Gort town, which in years past was home to dramatist, Lady Augusta Gregory and co-founder of the Abbey Theatre along with W.B. Yeats and Edward Martyn. Now Coole Park, Gardens and Visitor Centre are open to the public, and this 1000 acre Nature Reserve can be enjoyed for its nature trails and gardens. Coole Park is respected for its woodland, birds and wildlife and also its turlough or turlach system, a type of disappearing lake or seasonal lake, which are mostly found in limestone areas. Coole was often a refuge for many literary figures during Lady Augusta’s time, and many of these figures carved their initials on the ‘Autograph Beech Tree’ in the walled garden in Coole Park. and W.B. Yeats was one of the first to sign the tree. These literary figure sought refuge there in the calm of the forest trails and they drew inspiration from Coole.
While in Gort take a visit to the 16th century Norman Castle near Coole, the Summer home owned by W.B. Yeats in the 1900’s, known as Yeats Castle or Thoor Ballylee. It consists of four floors with the rooms over looking the River Coole. Yeats Tower or Thoor Ballylee is on the Galway-Ennis Road.
Spiddal is situated 13 km West of Galway City in South Connemara Beautifully located overlooking Galway Bay & The Aran Islands. Spiddal is in An an Irish speaking region of Ireland know as an Gaeltacht where students come to learn the Irish language, culture and traditions.
Galway has six Blue Flag Beaches Tra na mBan (An Spideal) , A rural beach which is easily accessible. Located close to Shannagarraun wood which is a Special Area of Conservation. The Oaks and Hazel and Holly and Birch have an under storey rich in ferns, mosses and lichens.
Clarinbridge is a little village situated 10 minutes from Galway City on the N18 the main GalwayLimerick roadThe name Clarinbridge derives from the bridge across the Clarin River seen above. The internationally famous Galway Oyster Festival was founded here by the late Paddy Burke and the annual event takes place each September in the villageSouth of Galway City lies the Picturesque Seaside Village of Kinvara. Over Looking Galway Bay. Kinvara is on the coast en route to the Cliffs of Moher and near by attractions include Ailwee Caves, The Burren Display Centre. Dunguaire Castle is a small 17th century castle on a rocky promontory, situated just outside Kinvara. This castle was built in 1520 by the O’Hynes clan in a strategic position commanding the shores of the majestic Galway Bay. It is famed in song and story. Leenane situated at the head of Killary harbour in the midst of Ireland’s only Fjord which separates the Counties of Galway and Mayo. With mountains rising steeply on either side provides Irelands beautiful scenery, of mountain and sea views. In 1989 the film adaptation of John B. Keane’s play “The Field”, which was directed by Jim Sherdian and starred Richard Harris, John Hurt Tom Berenger and Breda Fricker. Join the walking enthuasists which trek to Leenane in Galway to take part in the many different walks that this area has to offer. Clifden Connemara National Park Grace O MalleyInterpretative Centre Kylemore Abbey Leenane Cultural Centre Westport House Oranmore is a great location for touring To the south you have County Clare the Burren, Cliffs of Moher, and to the North Connemara, Aran Islands and Galway City. Galway City is just 10 minutes from from Oranmore and 3 km from Galway Airport and only 1 hour from Knock and Shannon Airport. As you enter Oranmore look out for the Mc Donaghs Thatched Pub a listed building Amenities in Oranmore & Nearby Coastal Walks along the shores of Galway Bay Galway Crystal Galway Races – 5kms from Oranmore Horse Riding Morans Oyster Cottage Kilcolgan Oyster Festival – takes place in September Royal Tara China Traditional Irish Gift & Craft Shops Rinville Castle, Rinville Park, Rinville Sailing Club Oranmore
Experience walking in the wonderful Connemara region, stop and take in the beauty of Ireland's only fjord, Killary Harbour, in the village of Leenane County Galway.
Kylemore Abbey in Connemara is nestled at the base of Druchruach Mountain (1,736ft) on the northern shore of Lough Pollacappul, the heart of the Connemara Mountains. Originally built in 1867 .Today it is open to visitors all year and the main areas to be visited are; the Abbey, the Gothic Church, the Victorian Walled Gardens, the Craft Shop, Pottery studio, Restaurant and Tea Rooms as well as the Lake and Woodland walks.
A gorgeous seaport village in South County Galway, this is the perfect spot to begin your explorations of the area. View traditional Galway hookers with their striking sails in the harbour; this is particularly exciting during the annual Cruinniu na mBad (Gathering of the Boats) festival. Visit Dunguaire Castle (May to October) and feast at one of its medieval banquets. Also known for its traditional music, the annual Fleadh na gCuach festival during May Bank Holiday celebrates the very best in Irish trad music; throughout the year, there are multiple pubs to enjoy, each with its own character and entertainment.
A vibrant city, there is much to see and do and all within easy walking distance. A must-visit is Nora Barnacle’s House, wife of James Joyce. This small private museum, faithfully restored to its former character, was the Barnacle family home from 1894-1940. Open during summer months, explore the many interesting photographs, objects and articles alone or with a guide. The famous Spanish Arch, at the heart of the Claddagh area is located on the left bank of the Corrib, where the river and sea meet. Originally a 16th century bastion built to protect merchant ships from looting, it now houses some excellent eateries and the Galway City Museum. The museum is the ideal place to visit to learn about the medieval town, the Claddagh village (known for the Claddagh ring) & Galway from the 1800s, while enjoying spectacular views over the river, Spanish Arch & Galway Bay. Salmon Weir Bridge is the perfect spot to watch shoals of salmon make their way up the Corrib river to spawn during the salmon season – and to watch anglers fishing in the waters below. Located on Nun's Island near Salmon Weir Bridge, the stone Galway Cathedral is on the site of the former city jail and features a 145ft octagonal dome as well as rose windows and wall paintings. If you’re looking for arts and culture, 430-year-old Bridge Mills on the banks of the Corrib is now a centre for languages, art, and events; check out what’s on and also enjoy the finely crafted gifts, clothing and cuisine. Kirwan's Lane, one the finest medieval laneways in the city, boasts many relics of 16th and 17th century architecture and is home to many stylish cafes, restaurants, bars and craft-shops. For a short trip out of the city by hire car, visit the picturesque ruins of 16th century Menlo Castle and steep yourself in its history, folklore and mystery.
A tiny village overlooking Galway Bay, stop for views, refreshments, a visit to the craft and design studios, a spot of fishing, or immerse yourself in Irish melodies in the traditional music shop.
Dominated by more than 50 mountains in four ranges – the Twelve Bens, Maum Turks, Partry and Sheffrey – this is an area of outstanding natural beauty and historic importance. For excellent scenery, drive the Connemara Loop; part of the Wild Atlantic Way, follow the loop and you’ll discover spectacular beaches, misty lakes, pre-historic bogs, picturesque villages and impressive mountains. Perfect year-round for all ages! If you like to be more active, the scenery of The Bog Road, with its Twelve Bens backdrop, is truly spectacular by bike. Take the R341 towards Ballyconneely, turn left at Ballinaboy and discover the tranquillity of the Roundstone Bog conservation area at your own pace. Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Gardens (1867) at the base of Druchruach Mountain (1,736ft) on the shore of Lough Pollacappul has plenty to offer. Visit the abbey, gothic church, six-acre Victorian walled gardens – the only garden located in the middle of a bog – craft shop and pottery studio, before exploring the woodland and lake walks. You can also discover hidden trails within the abbey’s estate on a guided walk. Afterwards, refuel in the restaurant or tearooms.
With its central location and impressive range of accommodation, restaurants, grills and bars, this is a great spot to explore all that Connemara has to offer. Framed by the mountains of Ben Gorm, the rugged countryside is unspoilt and alive with waterfalls, wild flowers and herbs that are unique to the area. Visit the sheltered Killary Fjord for an array of watersports on its calm waters, or for adventure, visit the Killary Adventure Centre for all kinds of activities including cliff diving and bungee jumping. There are boat tours on the Fjord – pushchair and wheelchair friendly – including a glass bottomed boat; if you’re lucky, you might spot some dolphins. All ages will enjoy the Killary Sheep Farm with its sheepdog, sheep sheering and turf cutting demonstrations, via guided walks. The Connemara Ocean & Country Museum is an interesting gem dedicated to Connemara sea-life, while the Connemara Seaweed Baths on the fjord’s shores offer the only saltwater seaweed baths in the West of Ireland.
The mountain of Errisbeg, rising to almost 1,000 feet, serves as the backdrop to this area of outstanding natural beauty. Known as the birth place and inspiration for many artists, Roundstone is also home to many rare Irish wild flowers and the sweeping crescent-shaped beaches of Gurteen and Dog’s Bay, as well as fantastic craft shops and cafés.
A boat trip to the ‘Island of the White Cow’ (population 200) is only 30 minutes by ferry from Cleggan and gives a taste of real island life. Boasting a rich history, gorgeous Atlantic scenery and bronze Age landscapes, you can also visit Cromwell’s 17th century star-shaped fort, ancient burial grounds and a ruined 13th century church. There are three popular walks – the Middlequarter Loop, Westquarter Loop and Cloonamore Loop – for panoramic views over the mountains, cliffs, sea stacks and seal colonies. Also a breeding area for many species of birds, you can still hear the endangered corncrake calling.
The place where Marconi set up the first transatlantic wireless station and Alcock and Brown crash-landed their plane after the first transatlantic flight, this is an area of historic importance and stunning nature. The Station House Museum is small but value for money, with exhibitions covering the history of the area. Catch some culture at the Clifden Station House Theatre, or for some fresh air and exercise, follow the Clifden Sky Walk trail overlooking Clifden Bay and its islands of Inishturk and Turbot. You’ll see standing stones and get the chance to visit Clifden Castle – built in 1810 and accessible by foot only – before returning via the low road for an extended walk (14.5km). Sea fishing, bike tours, horse riding and trekking are also readily available, as well as water sports such as windsurfing and kite surfing.