Travel Guide Europe Ireland Galway





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Galway is the capital of the west of Ireland and has experienced somewhat of a revival in recent years, making it a popular destination for travellers visiting Ireland. A small, cozy coastal city with roots dating back to the thirteenth century, it is also a lively city known for its nightlife, specifically the live music scene which often consists of impromptu music sessions in the city centre pubs. Clubs and restaurants are also abundant.

The city centre is currently closed to traffic, allowing for a much more enjoyable experience when visiting the narrow shopping streets. The numerous old buildings clustered closely together remain testimony of the history of this quaint little Irish getaway. Centrally located in the city centre lies John F. Kennedy Park, or Eyre Square as the locals still refer to it.



Sights and Activities

Galway is a city that many visit for the vibe. Taking a walk through the city centre, weaving in and out of shops, turning down small cobblestone alleys, and listening to the ever changing soundscape as you walk past the many street musicians is probably the best way to take it in. If it is raining and you don't care to get wet, you can dodge the rain in a pub, an art gallery, or a cafe. Here are some interesting places, and a couple of sights:

  • Eyre Square - The main square of Galway, in the warmer months its lovely to sit in this square and people-watch, draw, read, or just hang out.
  • The Spanish Arch - This arch used to be part of the old Galway City walls. Spanish merchants used to trade with the irish here, hence its name.
  • The Claddagh - A neighbourhood with an interesting history, and with some nice quays to wander about. There's a path that you can follow nearby that will take you all the way down the coast to Salthill, a very pretty walk.
  • Lynch's Castle - This is actually an AIB bank now, but it used to be a castle in the 16th century. It's been heavily altered. but it's history is still important to the city. This was the home of one of the 'tribes' of Galway, the most notable member was a court 'judge' who is famed for having sentenced and carried out the hanging of his own son.



Events and Festivals

A number of Internationally renowned festivals are held in or near Galway throughout the year.

  • Galway Arts Festival - A colourful affair, with lots of art exhibits, musical and comedy acts, plays, performance art, and street performers! The entire city comes to life in a wonderful tribute to the arts.
  • Galway Racing Festival
  • Galway International Oyster Festival - Foodies on vacation in September should head for Galway City, the heart of Ireland’s oyster industry for a delicious few days of feasting on the finest seafood. All the city’s restaurants set up a food village serving delights. There’s an oyster-shucking contest and boat trips to the oyster beds to enjoy. The Tales by the Sea features highlights and history of the fishing industry in Galway, and a Mardi-Gras parade, musical event and kids’ day make sure everyone has a great time.
  • Galway Event Guide
  • Saint Patrick's Day (Irish: Lá ’le Pádraig or Lá Fhéile Pádraig) is Ireland's famous national holiday, celebrating one of Ireland's patron saints, Saint Patrick.




Due to the strong influence of the Gulf Stream, Galway escapes extreme temperature shifts, with the temperature generally ranging between 2 °C and 19 °C and any temperature under 0 or above 30 °C being rare. Galway gets an evenly distributed average of 1147 mm of precipitation[1].
Summer is generally considered to be the best time to visit, with long summer days giving you the feeling of a never ending day.



Getting There

By Plane

Galway Airport (GWY) offers flights to/from Edinburgh, London, Manchester, Waterford and seasonal to/from Lorient with Air Arann

By Train

Iarnród Éireann, the national railway company, runs 6 return passenger services each day between Galway and Dublin and the total journey takes around 3 hours.

By Bus

Bus Eireann runs express routes from Galway to Dublin and Cork (via Limerick), however you can get pretty much anywhere from Galway using their bus system. Check out their website for details.



Getting Around

By Boat

Trips to the Aran Islands, three small islands just off the coast, can be arranged in Galway.




There are plenty of good restaurants and cafes to visit while in Galway! Here's just a few:

  • Cobblestone Cafe - This is probably one of the best cafes in Galway. It is tiny and all exists in one room (even the kitchen). The scones are delicious, and the tea is strong!
  • Goya's Fine Foods - Can be crowded, but it has really delicious desserts and baked goods.
  • Mocha Beans - An irish chain, it has expensive but good coffee, and good sandwiches and wraps. There are multiple locations in Galway.

You can also go to many of the pubs for coffee. For Canadians, you can get Tim Horton's coffee at the Spar in the city centre.


  • McDonaghs - This place has won awards for its fish and chips! If you want seafood, this is the place to go. It is divided into two sections, a seafood restaurant, and a fish and chips bar. Please do not confuse it with McDonalds (the names sound similar).
  • Kappa Sushi - Galway's only sushi restaurant!
  • Food for Thought - A wonderful, affordable vegetarian restaurant, with home-cooked meals and friendly staff! Can get busy around mealtimes.
  • Zatsuma Creperie - Surprisingly delicious crepe concoctions! The crepes sure are tasty!
  • Monroe's Tavern - Also a cozy pub, this place apparently has excellent pizza!




Galway has more than enough pubs to suit anybody's tastes! Here are a couple of favourites:

  • Roisin Dubh - Excellent entertainment. This bar is where all the best bands play! Some shows require tickets, but you can always just sit and drink outside the stage-area and listen to the music from there!
  • Tigh Neachtains - Blue pub on the corner of Quay St, High St, and Cross St! Its small but always packed with locals, and has this cool compartment-like seating.
  • The Quays - It has interesting decorations and sometimes has some wicked bands playing. Also a giant screen for watching matches.
  • The Blue Note - This bar has a pretty unique vibe, awesome music, and a chilled atmosphere!
  • Sheridan's on the Dock's - A pub that's right by the water (surprise surprise), its small and friendly! They also serve platters of food, if you have a group of people!

If you'd like to try a good local beer, Galway Hooker beer happens to be very tasty, and is locally brewed! (Keep in mind, a Galway Hooker is not a woman with a questionable profession, but actually a kind of boat that the area is famous for).





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Keep Connected


Public WiFi services are available in many cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels. They are also available on most Irish long-distance Intercity trains, some commuter trains and buses. Internet cafes are available in major urban areas, but are not as common as they once were, due to the growth of 3G data services and public WiFi. However, you will still find them in areas popular with tourists.


See also: International Telephone Calls

There are currently four main mobile phone operators dominating the Irish market:

  • Vodafone (prefix 087 - GSM900/1800 - 3G 2100)
  • O2 (prefix 086 - GSM900/1800 - 3G 2100)
  • Meteor (prefix 085 - GSM900/1800)
  • Three (prefix 083 - GSM900/1800 - 3G 2100)

Most European phones and operators will allow you to roam on Irish networks, however you should ensure before arrival that your phone can operate on the GSM900/1800 network and that your service provider has set you up to allow roaming. This is especially true for visitors from outside the Eurozone. You can also buy a cheap prepay SIM card if you have an unlocked handset. This can be considerably cheaper as it means that you will be assigned an Irish number which you can be called at during your trip and your outgoing calls are charged at normal Irish mobile rates.
Pay phones are fairly widely available (but becoming less so) and most take euro coins, prepaid calling cards and major credit cards.
The police service (An Garda Síochána) and fire services can be contacted by dialling 999 or 112 on any phone or mobile phone throughout the country.


An Post is the national postal service provider. They're generally open Monday to Friday, between 9:00am to 5:30pm or 6:00pm, and smaller post offices would also impose lunch-time closure. Half-day service is available on Saturday, from 9:00am to 1:00pm. The post offices are closed on Sunday and Bank Holiday. If you want to use private courier services for sending packages you can also use companies like DHL, UPS or TNT.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: 53.279918
  • Longitude: -9.064611

Accommodation in Galway

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