What to do in Galway?

There are numerous places of interest within Galway city. You should probably start at Eyre Square. It may look more like a transport interlink than anything else, but this is where many events happen. From there, take a walk down the pedestrian William Street / Shop Street. You will pass by Lynch's Castle. A magnificent and intact example of an Irish Gothic Galwegian town house, it was one of the many homes of the Lynch family,  the most powerful of the 14 families. The collegiate of St. Nicholas of Myra is also nearby. It is meant to be the largest medieval church in Ireland. Founded in 1320, it saw the construction of various extensions and is certainly a fine example of Irish Gothic architecture.

You should then follow Quay Street down to Wolfe Tone Bridge to see the Spanish Arch. This structure was built at the end of the sixteen century to extend the town walls to the quays and protect the unloading galleons. Located behind the Spanish Arch, overlooking the River Corrib, the Galway City Museum houses exhibitions which explore aspects of the history and heritage of Galway City and County. Cross the Wolfe Tone bridge and you'll find yourself in the Claddagh ("the stony beach" in Irish).

The Claddagh

This more than ancient fishing place used to be a small village with its own culture and customs. Despite being close to the town, the area retained a strongly separate identity until recent years and remained largely Irish-speaking into the 20th century. But modernity finally got rid of its little clustered architecture and the property bubble converted the Claddagh into an expensive residential location of the city. The Claddagh is internationally famous for the Claddagh ring, a traditional design that involves two clasped hands holding a crowned heart symbolizing love, friendship or loyalty. Both a museum and a jewellery shop, the Claddagh Ring Museum is dedicated to the history of this Galway made ring. The Claddagh is also an excellent place for bars and restaurants.

A little bit further beyond the Claddagh is Salthill, Galway’s sea resort. It holds the National Aquarium of Ireland, Atlantaquaria, which provides a good alternative on a wet day. It is home to 170 marine and freshwater species, including sharks as well as an enormous skeleton of a Fin Whale.

Festivals in Galway

Galway is known as the gateway to Connemara. But it is also famous as a lively little city to visit because of its atmosphere, culture, people, and not the least, its many festivals. The main ones, the Galway Arts Festival, and the Galway Races, take place every year during the summer, but the Oyster festival, the Cúirt festival and the Film Fleadh are also worth going to, so if you like the buzz, these are probably ideal times to visit the city.

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