Galway – Ireland
Galway City is a thriving, bohemian, cultural city on the western coast of Ireland. Along with being a popular seaside destination with beautiful beaches and long winding promenade, it also has a buzzing cosmopolitan city centre. A spectacularly beautiful county, it is a medley of contrasts – the wildest and remotest of countryside teamed with one of Europe’s most vibrant and popular cities. Drawn as if by a magnet, visitors come again and again, captivated by this most special of Irish counties.
The city is conveniently compact enough to ramble around comfortably and is a joy to explore with its labyrinthine cobbled streets, colourful shop facades and busy café/ bar culture. The city is also well known for its many festivals throughout the year with huge crowds gathering for the annual Galway Arts Festival, Races and numerous other events. Old Ireland is present too with turf fires and traditional music featuring in many pubs to compliment your enjoyment of a well earned pint of Guinness. Take an evening stroll along the promenade and watch the sunset over Galway Bay or watch the salmon fishermen in the River Corrib from the perfect vantage point of the Salmon Weir Bridge.
Anyone who knows the song ‘Galway Bay’ will be familiar with the Claddagh, previously a fishing village of thatched cottages, now an area just outside the city centre. Here is the birthplace of the world famous Claddagh ring, a souvenir many bring home, just to keep a little piece of Galway with them always (Galway vacation).
1 Cliffs Of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher is one of Ireland’s most visited tourist attractions. Situated in North-West Clare between the villages of Liscannor and Doolin, the Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most spectacular natural wonders. Over 700 feet tall at their highest point, the shale and sandstone cliffs drop almost vertically to the Atlantic ocean far below. From the top there are views, on a clear day, to the Aran Islands and Galway Bay, the Maum Turk and Twelve Bens mountains in Connemara to the north and Loop Head in Co Clare to the south. The grass roofed Visitor Centre is set into the hillside and offers an all weather experience. The Atlantic Edge Exhibition Area brings to life the story of the Cliffs of Moher. The themed zones of Ocean, Rock, Nature and Man present the setting, geology, wildlife and human stories associated with the cliffs.
“We had one day tour Cliffs of Moher, Darren was our tour guide, his introduction was humorous and interesting, I loved the music he played between his narration, and he explained aspects like Ireland economy, technology field, also taught us Irish. The Aileen cave was interesting, Cliffs of Moher was windy but magnificent, I enjoyed the green scenery the whole way!” – cited by one satisfied traveler
2 The Burren
The Burren, in County Clare is a barren place, famous for its unique rock formations and exceptional diversity of flora and fauna. In addition, the large number of historic sites contained within The Burren, making it a popular visitor attraction for the region. Its boundaries are clearly defined to the north and west by Galway Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, with the villages of Ballyvaughan, Kinvara, Tubber, Corofin, Kilfenora and Lisdoonvarna situated at it’s edge. The well-preserved Corcomroe Abbey is one of the most popular sights in the area. Many visitors also come for the walking, sea-angling, photography and caving that make this corner of Ireland such an attraction.
“The best part I believe about this trip to the Burren was the knowledge and helpfulness of the tour guide and driver Martin. It was a joy to see the rare orchids which flourish there, the drive through Doolin or Ballyvaughan was quite amazing. This area of Co Clare is renowned as an unusual, beautiful landscape.
The limestone hills are really something to see! We climbed some of the Burren after a visit to Ailwee Cave, which my 8 year old daughter found amazing. My mother who is not a good walker chose to sit out the Burren walk and chat with the tour guide’s young son who was helpful and kept coming back to chat to her when she was by herself in the coffee shop.
If we visit Galway in the future, I will plan to take a Larry’s coach trip Connemara and hopefully have the same present experience.” – 5 stars review by a traveler.
3 Coole Park
The former home of Lady Gregory, a founder of the Abbey Theatre and friend of William Butler Yeats. The house no longer stands, but the estate is now a national nature reserve due to its great wildlife importance with its native woodlands and turloughs. The garden of the house, with its yew walk and autograph tree is preserved. Carved on the autograph tree, among others are the signatures of John Masefield, George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey. Attractions include nature trails, walks, a lake and turlough.
“Coole Park is a great place to visit and walk especially if you are visiting the nearby Kiltartan schoolhouse and Thoor Ballylee. The Seven Woods and the lake as mentioned in Yeats poetry are there unspoiled and untouched since he wandered there. There is also a lovely restaurant with reasonably priced food and friendly staff.” – highly recommended by a traveler.
4 Galway Bay
Galway Bay is located off the west coast of Ireland, between counties Clare and Galway in an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. It stretches westwards from historic Galway city, is bordered on the north by County Galway, and to the south by the Burren area of North County Clare. The bay is protected at its mouth by the Aran Islands (Inis Mor, Inis Meann and Inisheer) and is around 50km in length, and 30km wide.
Galway Bay is immortalised in the song “Galway Bay” which was originally composed by Frank Fahey, and renewed by Arthur Colahan in 1947, and popularised by legendary singer Bing Crosby. There are many picturesque villages and towns that dot the coastline of both counties Galway and Clare which border the majestic Galway Bay. These include: Spiddal, Barna, Oranmore, Claddagh, Galway city, Salthill, Kinvara, Ballyvaughan and the Burren Area, with its unique rock formations, monuments and enchanting plant life.
“I had been to this place almost thrice and every time i had been it was completely different experience all together.
first time it was during winter and all the streets where filled with music and singers and second time it was mostly people coming from different part for fishing and outdoor activity. and third time it was leisure activity. The bay is full of nice scenic beauty.The best time is to see it during sunset adn sunsrise.” – Galway bay lover
5 Quay Street
This is a really fun, vibrant area with great shopping and restaurants. The Quays is also something of a tourist magnet so be prepared for plenty of American and European accents especially during the summer months. However there is always a good mix of locals here from the City and County. It gets busy here pretty much every night so you will never have to drink alone. There is some form of live music here most nights.
“Creamy pints, fresh Napoli pizza and lovely dogs. Great for people watching and just general bowsy behaviour. A lot of options to have a beer or grab something to eat. I walked the whole street and it was a very good experience.” – Happy Quay Street traveler
6 Galway Cathedral
Galway Cathedral, located on an island in the River Corrib is one of Galway’s landmark buildings and also one of the largest. Built in the early 1960s it’s modern construction contains an impressive interior including a 145 foot high dome.
“Stunning building. Aging stain glass windows and brilliant blue dome in the middle of the building. Has an excellent shop with which sells books and nativity scenes.” – well worth a visit by a traveler
7 Portumna Castle
Portumna Castle was built in 1616 by Richard Clanricarde, then governor of Galway. The Castle is a symmetrical three-storey mansion built over a basement. It was built with beauty and comfort in mind and offers a breathtaking view of Lough Derg. Inside the Castle, a series of exhibits tells the story of the house and the Clanricardes. Outside, a walled forecourt has been rebuilt and the Portumna Castle gardens are laid out with geometric paths and formal enclosures. The castle is open to the public from March to October. Guided tours of the gardens and part of the castle are available on request.
8 Connemara National Park
Situated in the West of Ireland in County Galway, Connemara National Park covers some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of the Park’s mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980.
“This is a fantastic spot. Very scenic connemara is like a different world it is so tranquil and idealic. A lot of tour buses go out here on day trips. And if the weather is good connemara is fantastic.” – by an excited traveler.
“It was really beautiful! we lucked out and it was a sunny most of the time we were there. It was a really romantic trip. Driving through all the areas was really nice, and felt like we were in the middle of no where. There is also a little bit of everything there, mountains, lakes, beaches, etc.” – another Connemara NP lover
Check the best price to Galway