Galway city, as you will have gathered by now, is a cracking little town which is jam packed full of interesting Things to Do and See. A walled medieval city originally, it is steeped in history, compact, friendly and easy to get around. In fact the perfect place for a weekend break or base from which to explore the West of Ireland. Galway’s signature image has always been of the Claddagh, a small, traditional community that was there long before the present city, at the mouth of the Corrib River where it joins the sea. Its ancient seafaring and fishing traditions unique even in Ireland, include the Galway Hookers (traditional sailing boats) and Claddagh wedding rings which are famous the world over today. You can feed the swans or take a Long Walk out to Salthill, which grew up as a tourist destination in the 1960’s and is still as popular as ever....
From the Claddagh you can cross over Wolfe Tones bridge to the Spanish Arch which was originally a fish market outside (tax free) of the medieval walled city of Galway. It is now a great communal space and favourite haunt of Galwegians young and old, especially in the summertime. If you pass under the arch in the old city wall you can visit the pristine new civic space that is the Galway County Museum, which is free, and learn more about the history of Galway, there’s even a full size Galway hooker dangling from the roof! One of my favourite spaces and a hidden gem for sure is the glass viewing space on the 3rd floor overlooking the Corrib, but don’t tell anyone will you?
Another fantastic place / space is the Born Centre on the towns inland waterways, which are a masterpiece in their own right and well worth exploring. An award winning shopping centre, turn right just after Jury's Hotel and stroll up riverbank, go under the stone arch (rescued from the Bank of Ireland) and in through the main entrance. Watch out for the glass insert in the floor where you can see the Corrib river rushing by underneath your feet. Head up to the top floor for the best views out over Galway Bay, the Corrib river, the Cathedral and University.
The 10 Best Things To Do and See in Galway are....
1 Take a walking tour of the city either guided with Fiona Brennan or go on your own? Pick up a map from the Tourist Office (opposite the new bus station).
2 The Corrib Princess take a guided boat trip up the Corrib river from Woodquay during the summertime, a very pleasant way to spend an afternoon or evening (bar onboard)
3 Head out of city on a day trip to the Aran Islands, The Burren & the Cliffs of Moher or to Connemara with the Galway Tour Company.
4 Salthill head out for a walk or a swim, visit the Aquarium play the slot machines, or check out the numerous, cafes (Mocha Beans & Arabica) bars (Lohans & The Cottage) and restaurants (The Black Cat) is the best.
5 Eye Cinema Wellpark Centre, beside the G Hotel, fantastic iconic building, screening all the latest movies including live Opera from the Met in NYC.
6 Galway City Museum Spanish Arch, it’s free and often has good temporary art exhibitions as well, the café has just changed hands yet again and is gaining a good reputation.
7 Town Hall Theatre excellent small venue, reasonably priced, good & varied program of events. Trendy little bar upstairs for posing at the intervals.
8 Leisureland Salthill, swimming pool, water park and playground for the rugrats.
9 City Limits Oranmore bowling and cool simulator stuff for older brats.
10 Claddagh Ring Museum pocket sized, but very interesting, Kate will tell you all about Galway and the history of the Claddagh.