Galway travel guide

Galway is the second largest county in Ireland. Although it is most well-known for its famous Connemara to the extreme west, two thirds of the county lies inland to the east of Lough Corrib. The latter divides the Southern part of the Connacht region in two and for a long time acted as a physical barrier. At its most southern tip, Lough Corrib changes into the River Corrib for a short distance before entering the sea. This pinch point is where the city of Galway has developed.

Galway city (Gaillimh in Gaelic) is known as the gateway to Connemara. But it is also famous as a lively little city to visit because of its atmosphere, culture and people. In many ways it has retained the merchant city character that the historical 14 families had given it.  This character fits perfectly with the many festivals that the city hosts yearly. Indeed, Galway has managed to maintain a small town character, ideal for its lively arts scene, while its economy benefits from all the developments that any major city needs.

In Galway, the Irish language (Gaelic) is still strongly present. For this reason, the city is sometimes called the 'Bilingual Capital of Ireland'. This is because it stands on the doorstep of a Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area). Here, you might hear an occasional conversation in Irish; streets names as well as nearby villages display bilingual signage. Irish speaking media also have their headquarters here instead of in the capital of the Republic. For this reason, Galway attracts young professional population, and generates interest for the language and for language-related activities and social events.

There are plenty of colourful villages beyond the city walls, and Galway Bay also has a lot to offer, especially if you like oysters. And if you are a little bit more adventurous, a trip to the Aran Islands will also be a wonderful experience. So if you travel to Ireland, you should not miss Galway. It constitutes a perfect base to explore the West of Ireland, as well as a perfect short break destination.

You can get to Galway by bus, train or by road from Dublin. It's also possible to fly to Carnmore airport. You can hire a car in Galway Airport and drive to visit the interesting sights in the region.