Top 8 things to do in Galway this Spring
From buzzing streets and vibrant festivals to sweeping bays and unforgettable landscapes, Galway is brimming with Irish culture, old and new.
Escape to the City of the Tribes to see for yourself how Galway makes the most of its charms.
1 – Connemara Mountain Walking Festival
Enjoy a unique combination of mountain and sea as Leenane is situated on the edge of Killary Harbour and surrounded by mountains in all directions. This May Bank Holiday will see continuation of the Connemara Mountain Walking Festival which has become a major event on the calendar for Connemara and the region.
The Spring 2023 event will take place over the weekend of 28th April – 1st May
2 – Connemara National Park
You’ll be spoiled for scenic choice at Connemara National Park, which stretches across 2,957 hectares – roughly the size of 2,400 football pitches. It takes in four of the famous Twelve Bens mountains, huge expanses of bogs, grasslands and woodlands, and it’s a birdwatcher’s delight. Three different unmissable trails offer something for every level, or during the summer you can take advantage of guided walks.
3 – Visit the Aran Islands
Step back in time with a trip to the Aran Islands, to an Ireland you probably thought existed only in books. Jump into the Bronze Age with a visit to Dún Aonghasa on Inis Mór, keep an eye out for the enormous basking sharks on the water’s surface near all three islands, and don’t be afraid to take home an iconic souvenir – an Aran jumper.
You’ll get away with speaking English on these Gaeltacht islands, but there’s never been a better time to try out your cúpla focail. Rossaveal is the main ferry port in Galway for the islands, with sailings twice daily to each island year-round, and more frequent departures in the summer months. Check out the sailing times here.
4 – Visit Kylemore Abbey
You’ll know you’re in for something special as you approach Kylemore Abbey and see the iconic baronial castle reflected in a Connemara Lake. Enjoy the perfect family day out at the former monastery, delving into its history of tragedy and romance, before exploring the extensive woodland and lakeshore walks, and the beautiful Victorian walled garden. Stop in for a homemade scone before you leave at Mitchell’s Café or the Garden Tea House.
5 – Take a stroll along Salthill
You can’t beat a stroll along Salthill Promenade, ice-cream in hand, on a sunny day. You might only be a five-minute drive away, but you’ll feel a world apart from Galway City. Sheltered among beachy coves along this Blue Flag-designated shoreline, you can sunbathe, explore amongst the rocks or dive in and join the swimmers in lapping up those Atlantic waves.
6 – Check out a Market
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.
7 – Book a Galway Food Tour
What better way to see a new city than to eat your way around it?! The Galway Food Tour is a 2.5-hour culinary walking tour of the city. It gives a great overview of our passionate people and our beautiful produce which combine to make Galway one of Ireland’s gourmet jewels. During the tour, you will get to experience a taste from artisan producers, cheese makers, creative beer projects, artisan chocolatiers, traditional family-run businesses to young entrepreneurs with devotion and commitment to showcasing the best of Irish produce. With experienced & local guides, giving you insights into their favourite places and treasured ingredients.
8 – Enjoy a Traditional Trad Music Session
Galway has to be one of the best places on the island to visit for traditional music. This is a city that lives and breathes music, from the buzzing street buskers to the endless trad sessions all over town. Step inside a traditional music pub, and you’re guaranteed an unforgettable night. Check out great trad sessions in pubs such as Taaffes, The Crane Bar, Tigh Cóilí and An Púcán.