Galway City Attractions
Welcome to Galway or Fáilte go Gaillimh, the capital of the west of Ireland. A city steeped in the culture and heritage of Ireland with easy access from Shannon and Ireland West Knock Airports. it is an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding historical sites and activity havens, and the city itself has much to offer as well.
The Claddagh is one of the oldest settled areas in Galway. Originally a fishing village, it has leant its name to the famous Claddagh Ring that was worn by the locals. The traditional thatched cottages were replaced by a new housing scheme in 1934 but the area still retains certain unique customs such as the election of a King, who was commodore of the fleet of traditional fishing boats or ‘Galway Hookers’. The King’s ‘hooker’ bears a white sail, while those of his subjects are maroon, the county colour of Galway. Today it is popular to feed the ‘Claddagh Swans’ or stroll along the shore walk that begins at The Claddagh.
Built in1594 to protect the Quays, this is a reminder of times when trade with Spain was the lifeblood of the city. Excavations have also revealed substantial remains of the old city walls. The Galway City Museum is located beside Spanish Arch.
Galway City Museum
The Museum is a spacious, modern building, situated in the heart of Galway city on the banks of the River Corrib and overlooking the famous Spanish Arch. It houses a variety of permanent and touring exhibitions representing Galway's rich archaeology, heritage and history. OPEN: Tuesday to Sunday, CLOSED: Monday. FREE ADMISSION!
This highly individual little theatre located in Chapel Lane presents works by Irish playwrights. Although still a relatively very young company, the Druid has already built up an international reputation for outstanding performances.
The Hall of the Red Earl, Dúchas na Gaillimhe/Galway Civic Trust
Located on Druid Lane opposite the Druid’s Lane Theatre, this is the earliest surviving settlement structure within the medieval walls of Galway. It is one of the city's most significant archaeological landmarks. The historical importance of the hall stems from its association with the establishment of the town of Galway in the 13th century by the Anglo-Norman Richard de Burgo known as the ‘Red Earl’. The Hall of the Red Earl was a key municipal building used to collect taxes, dispense justice and host banquets. In essence, it acted as the medieval equivalent of a tax office, court house and town hall.
St. Nicholas Collegiate Church
Built by the Anglo-Norman in1320, and often since expanded, this church contains many excellent carvings and relics of the Middle Ages. Its main claim to fame is that according to local tradition, Christopher Columbus heard mass here before setting off on his voyage of discovery.
Unquestionably the finest surviving town castle in Ireland, dating from the early 15th or 16th century. It has decorative features found only in Southern Spain. Renovated in the 19th century, it is now a branch of the Allied Irish Bank.
Situated in Market Street, this marks the spot where according to popular but dubious legend, the Mayor of Galway in the 16th century, James Fitzstephan, hanged his own son, who had confessed to murdering a visiting Spaniard.
Nora Barnacle’s House
Located in Bowling Green adjacent to St. Nicholas Church is the home of Nora Barnacle, the wife of the world famous Irish literary figure James Joyce. Now open to the public during the summer, Joyce stayed in the house many times while visiting his in-laws.
Officially dedicated by Cardinal Cushing of Boston in 1965, this impressive building is Galway’s most dominating feature. Located beside the Salmon Weir Bridge, it consists of cut limestone with Connemara marble flooring and it combines classical and traditional designs. This is also the site where the old Galway jail was situated.
National University of Ireland, Galway
The Quadrangle at NUI Galway first opened its doors to 63 students on 30th October 1849 and the University, then known as Queen's College was born. The University was one of three Queen's Colleges, the others located in Cork and Belfast. The Quadrangle building, built in local limestone in a Tudor Gothic architectural style, is modelled on Christ Church at the University of Oxford. The 'Quad' still stands proudly at the heart of the University today as a testament to its past. It is now used primarily for administrative purposes and houses the offices of the President and the Vice-Presidents. (2.5km from the hotel)
A very attractive town square, where a plaque stands to the memory of John F. Kennedy, who was made a Freeman of the City shortly before his death in 1963. Of particular note is the Merchant Family ‘Browne Doorway’. It has been standing in Eyre Square since 1870, having been moved from Lower Abbeygate Street, the location of the Browne family house. The Iron Fountain is representative of the sails of a traditional fishing boat or ‘Galway Hooker’.
Shopping in Galway City
In addition to the high street shopis in Galway City, you will also find artisan shops and quirky boutiques. Popular with visitors is The Treasure Chest right in the heart of the city which stocks the finest of Irish products, china, crystal and ladies fashions. Nearby Faller’s Jewellers has a wide range of Claddagh jewellery, handcrafted on the premises. Top quality craft produce of all kinds is widely available. From traditional knitwear, pottery, musical instruments to even basketry to name but a few.