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Galway

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Galway's Quay St

Galway [1], or Gaillimh in Irish, with a population of over 70,000, is Ireland's fifth largest city and is a major hub for visits to West Ireland. It has long since been known as "The City of the Tribes" and this title could not be more appropriate these days, given the multicultural vibrancy of present-day Galway.

Understand

City of the Tribes

Galway, known as the City of the Tribes is an important tourist centre and a gateway to the scenic areas of the county. Beginning in the 15th century, Galway was ruled by tribes, as the leading fourteen families were called. Their names were Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'arcy, Deane, Font, ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris, and Skerritt. The tribes built many castles throughout County Galway. Many streets and landmarks bear the names of these early tribes.

Galway is a bustling town with fantastic nightlife. It's short on common tourist attractions such as museums, but the charming pedestrianised streets and numerous pubs and cafes are sure to keep you occupied.

Get in

By bus or train

  • Iarnród Éireann [2] operates six trains per day (four on Sunday) from Dublin Heuston Station.
  • Bus Éireann [3] buses run frequently from destinations through the country.
  • CityLink [4] buses provide direct service to Shannon Airport, Dublin and Dublin Airport.
  • GoBus [5] buses provide direct one stop service to Dublin and Dublin Airport.

National bus and rail both arrive at the same station, just east of Eyre Square on Station Road. CityLink and GoBus buses arrive and depart from the Galway Coach Station, one block north of the CIE bus/rail terminus.

By plane

Galway's Position in Ireland

The airport is about 10km east of the town, but public transportation links are poor, with only three buses per day - and their times are not co-ordinated with flight times. (If you do take this route please let them know this is poor!). A taxi cost €15 - €25 depending on traffic: this high rate is because the Airport charges €5 to taxis serving it. (You could walk to a nearby address [5mins] and call a taxi from there, saving €5.)

Car Rentals are available.

  • Shannon Airport [7] is the main airport serving the west of Ireland. It is an international airport with many more flights available than Galway Airport, is served by an hourly bus to Galway, car rentals are also available. It is about 1 and 1/2 hours in the bus to Galway, but about an hour by car.
  • Others: many people going to Galway travel via Dublin, Cork or Ireland West (Knock) airports. This page [8] has detailed about public transport between Galway and all airports.

By car

  • From Dublin, take the M4 west until the M6 splits off to the south. Follow the N6 for the rest of the trip.
  • As in most places in Ireland, parking is expensive. However there is long term parking next to the cathedral available €5/day, and if you are leaving in the morning, many pay and display lots offer cheap or free overnight parking (18h-6h).

Get around

Central Galway is easily accessible on foot, and Salthill (a popular tourist area) is a lovely 20-30 minute walk from the centre of town.

Bus Éireann and CityDirect run local bus networks.

GalwayTransport.info [9] is a public-transport-information source for Galway City and surrounding areas. It has a summary map of city bus routes, a detailed map of each individual route, and links to timetable information. It also has maps of the taxi ranks in the city, industrial estates in the area, and detailed directions for reaching a number of popular places using public transport.

Taxis are convenient, although they can be a bit expensive. There are taxi ranks in Eyre Square and Bridge Street.

Avoid taking a car when going to or anywhere near the town centre as parking can be expensive, and the city can has very heavy traffic levels at times.

See

Jumping into the Ocean in Salthill

Galway is a perfect base for seeing West Ireland, but it is also worth a visit in itself. Although it has only a few typical sightseeing spots what makes it a wonderful place to stay is the atmosphere, the culture, the people, and the events.

  • The pedestrian shopping area south of Eyre Square, is a pleasant place to walk around. And if the traditional Irish rain starts, just visit the Eyre Square shopping center, where they have put a roof above parts of the old town wall and so included them into the shopping centre, a beautiful combination of old and new.
  • At the south end of the pedestrian mall, is the Spanish Arch, one of the few remaining parts of the town's ancient defenses. The park adjacent to the arch is a popular place to sit and relax, while watching the Corrib flow out into Galway Bay.
  • The Promenade in Salthill, is a fantastic place to people watch on rare warm, sunny days. People walk and rollerblade along the prom and kids and adults alike jump off the concrete diving board into the frigid Atlantic Ocean.
  • Visit the excavated ruins of the medieval banqueting hall that once belonged to the de Burgh family in a narrow lane between Flood Street and High Street right in the town centre.

Do

  • Check local free paper the Galway Advertiser [10] for up to date info on cultural events, concerts and plays, as well as the latest local news. Available on Thursdays it is usually snapped up quickly.
  • The Galway Atlantaquaria, Seapoint Promenade, Salthill (Follow the R336 (Griffin Road) southwest from the town centre), 091 585100 (atlantaquaria@eircom.net) [11], is a must see if you are interested in the sea and its inhabitants. It is not the usual tropical fish collection that you might find anywhere, but they have beautifully mirrored the life around the Irish coasts and show the animals and plants in a realistic environment, just as you might find them 50 meters outside of the building in the real sea. Be sure to ask one of the staff about the 30 cm large but harmless giant crabs on the second floor, he might just pick one out of the basin and put it into your hands, an experience you´ll never forget! Or pet the flounders and rays in the "touch pool".
  • Galway Tours [12] run scheduled walking tours of Galway City.
  • The Volvo Ocean Race visits Galway in May/June 2009[13]: On the 23rd of May 2009 the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) will arrive in Galway after racing from Boston and stay for a two week stopover. Visitors to Galway will get a chance to experience the spectacle of the VO70 sailing boats including in-port racing and enjoy everything special that the West of Ireland has to offer.
  • Corrib Princess, Woodquay Galway, +3539159247, [14]. 90 guided cruise of the River and Lough Corrib on a modern luxury river cruiser. Departs from Woodquay in the heart of Galway City dail from April - October

Learn

National University of Ireland, Galway
  • The National University of Ireland, Galway [15].
  • Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology, Galway [16].

Buy

The main shopping area runs south from Eyre Square towards the Corrib. This pedestrian zone includes Williams Street, Shop Street, High Street, Mainguard Street and Quay Street. Along it you can find all kinds of shops, pubs and restaurants. The historical buildings and busy atmosphere also make this area one of the attractions of Galway.

Discover Middle Street, which runs parallel to Shop Street, and is the location of a range of inspiring and creative local enterprises. You will find the Irish speaking Theater "An Taibhdhearc" across from the designer studio "cocoon", along with Charlie Byrne's bookstore, Kenny's gallery and a Japanese restaurant to make an interesting spectrum.

Eyre Square Centre is a modern shopping centre almost entirely hidden behind historical facades. Entrances can be found on the south side of Eyre Square and on Williams Street.

Eat

For those on a tight budget, check out the supermarket in Eyre Square Centre (closes at 5PM) or the Tesco on Headford Road (open 24 hrs). On Saturdays (8:00-6:00) and Sundays (2:00-6:00), you can head to the outdoor Galway Market [17] in Church lane beside St. Nicholas Church where you can find locally-grown produce, cheese, bread and affordable prepared foods like curries and crepes. The market is also a good place to find locally-made crafts.

  • Guide to Restaurants in Galway - A selection of restaurants and fast food outlets in Galway City, covering local and ethnic cuisines.
  • Ard Bia at Nimmo's, Spanish Arch (Long Walk (the restaurant is directly behind the Spanish Arch)), +353 (0)91 539897 (), [18]. Cafe Tu-Su 10-3:30; Restaurant 6-10PM. Delicious food based on local sourcing. Wonderful atmosphere. If you're not looking to splurge at this restaurant, head to the cafe for the lunch specials which are more reasonably priced.
  • Kirby's Restaurant [19], Cross St, +353 (0)91 569404. Offers superb food, attentive service, generous portions with a modern twist. Offers a Value Dining Menu, two Courses €22.50, three Courses €24.95, both including a complimentary drink of your choice next door in Buskers.
  • Abalone restaurant 53 lower dominick street,small romantic restaurant, serving perhaps the best food in galway if not in the west of ireland, open 6pm to 10pm daily, phone 0035391534895
  • Fat Freddy's Famous Pizziera & Bistro, The Halls, Quay Street, 091 567279, [20], One of Galway's longest established restaurants, synonymous with Quay Street in Galway City near the Spanish quarter. Known for the excellent atmosphere, service and, of course, food. Great for kids.
  • McCambridges, 38-39 Shop Street. 00-353-91-562259 This gourmet grocers has a deli counter for take away sandwiches which is quite good.
  • Sheridan's Cheesemongers, Kirwans Lane, 091 564829 (fax 091 564829, info@irishcheese.com), is a great place to get wine, pates, bread, and cheese of course.
  • McDonagh's Seafood, 22 Quay Street, 091 565001, is famous for its fish and chips, and has very good prices on takeaway.
  • McSwiggans, 3 Eyre Street, 091 568917, Restaurant on the two floors above the bar. Open to 10.30PM, 11PM Th-Su. The food is varied, includes curries, seafood and steaks. Main courses 12-20€.
  • Oscar's Restaurant, on upper Dominick Street looks unassuming enough from the outside, but offers some of the best food in town. Their Seafood Platter has to be seen to be believed!
  • La Salsa, does delicious and reasonably priced Mexican food.
  • Conlons Seafood Restaurant, Eglinton Street Galway (Off Eyre Square), +353 91 562268. Established seafood house with Art Deco ambience, great service, good food and reasonable prices.
  • Kebab House, on Dominick Street, does extremely cheap, greasy and tasty post-pub food. A substantial feed of Guinness is recommended before consumption of Kebab House fare in order to ensure full satisfaction.
  • Mustard Gourmet Pizza and Buger Bar, 1 Middle Street, 353 91 566 400. This restaurant looks tiny from the outside, but has a larger seating area downstairs. They have big burgers, made from a variety of meats, and specialty pizzas. Cozy and relaxed.

Drink

  • Galway City Pub Guide is a good resource to check out pubs and clubs in Galway. You view reviews, photos and videos. You can also add your comments about pubs you have visited.[21]. Technically drinking in public is not allowed in Galway but enforcement of this rule is unfeasible during summer months and well behaved groups are usually left alone. Don't mingle too near to obviously drunk people though as the authorities will likely confiscate all visible alcohol.
  • Busker Brownes and Kirbys Restaurant, Cross Street.[22][23] 4 Bars, 1 Venue and over 400 years of history! Live bands Sunday - Thursday & late night DJ at the weekends! Adjacent to Buskers is Kirby's Restaurant serving the best of modern food with a contemporary twist. +353 (0) 563377
  • Cookes Thatch Pub is one of only two remaining Thatch Pubs in Galway. Dating back to the 1600's, the trad music sessions on Wednesday and Sunday night are unmissable [24]
  • The King's Head Pub has decent prices and a nightly cover band. Popular with students and tourists alike, this place is always lively.
  • Near the King's Head Pub on High St. is Freeneys[25]. It is a fine "old man" establishment with some of the best Guinness in town. also popular with students who want to drink a few quiet ones.
  • For the more traditional minded, Monroe's Tavern, just south of the Corrib and visible from the Spanish Arch, has traditional music every night and set dancing on Tuesdays. Highly Recommended if you're in town on Tuesday night.
  • Roisin Dubh, [26], on Dominick Street, near Monroe's, is perfect for those of you who like alternative and rock music, and on Wednesdays hosts a popular comedy night showcasing local and international acts.
  • The Quays[27] is warm and offers good live folk music and as well as cover bands.
  • Cuba, [28] is the club of choice if you don't like most clubs. The lower floor is a typical night club with commercial music, but the upper floor has very good indie music and/or live bands depending on the day of week. The bar on the ground floor, Bar 903, has a late licence most nights.
  • The Victoria Hotel, once an old fogeys' paradise, has been an underground haunt for fans of electronica on Fridays and Saturdays for some time now. Keep your eyes peeled for the excellent '110th Street' nights.
  • The Crane Bar, Sea Road, [29]. You'll find live Irish music nightly at the Crane. Take your pick from the locals playing trad downstairs or the musicians playing various types of music upstairs.

Sleep

Hostels

  • Barnacles Quay Street House [30], 10 Quay Street, (In the heart of the Galway City), tel +353 091 568 644, fax +353 91 568644, email galway@barnacles.ie. 'Barnacles is in the heart of the action in Galway on a pedestrianised street. It is on the same street as all the pubs & restaurants you came to Galway for.' Lonely Planet. The perfect location and young staff who are full of helpful knowledge - it's a great place to start your Irish experience. Check out the other Barnacles hostel in Dublin.
  • Galway City Hostel[31], Frenchville Lane, +353 091 566 959, email info@galwaycityhostel.com A really nice place, with competitive prices. Straight across the train station, next to Eyre Square. Great staff. Free tea and coffee all day. Currently doesn't have the best luggage storage facilities, and the place can feel a little cramped. But it is the best hostel to meet people and party at.
  • Kinlay House, Merchant's Road, 353 091 565244 (fax 091 565245,[32], on the south-east corner of Eyre Square is an affordable, clean and central hostel. Included with a bed is a breakfast of unlimited tea and toast.
  • Sleepzone, [33], Bothar Na mBan, 353 091 566 999, is a large hostel (200+ beds) in central Galway, just off Eyre Square. It is quite new and has modern kitchen facilities, and a free internet cafe (and wireless, too). It's very clean, and well-run. Everyone from school groups to backpackers to families stay here. The staff are amazing and available at all hours if you need anything. Additionally, they provide a shuttle service to their affiliated hostel in Connemara, departing at 11AM and 7PM daily, for €5. (Note: This shuttle only runs in the summer.) They also offer day-long bus tours of The Burren and Connemara. These tours are mostly for those in their 20s, but would be enjoyable for all ages.

Bed and breakfasts

Even by Irish standards, Galway has a ridiculous abundance of B&Bs. Two particular clusters can be found on College Rd, within easy walking distance of the centre and the train/bus stations, and in Salthill, where you'll probably want your own car.

  • Ard Mhuire Bed & Breakfast, [34], 00353(0) 91 522344. Ard Mhuire is a beautiful family run B&B a mere 5 minute walk from the famous Salthill promenade. It is ideally situated for guests who wish to tour Connemara and the Aran islands from a base close to Galway City (which is only 2.5km away). The house has all the modern facilities that you'd expect to find in a 1 star hotel, but still maintains the familiar charm of a home away from home, with a home cooked breakfast from fresh local produce. Ample car parking is available on site.
  • Desota House Bed & Breakfast, [35], 00353(0) 86 8873377.Desota House is a newly renovated bed and breakfast which is located a pleasant 5 minutes walk from Galway City Centre. All rooms are en-suite.
  • Coolin House B&B Coolin House, Threadneedle Road, [36], Salthill 353 91 523 411 Coolin House is a family run bed and breakfast, just off Salthill's famous Promenade. Coolin House is close to several amenities, including Leisureland, Atlantaquaria and the bustling bars in Salthill. Private parking is available. Tea and coffee making facilities and television in all rooms.
  • Claremount House B&B[37], 353 091 584 741, Family run Bed and Breakfasts located adjacent to Galway Golf Club and Salthill's Promenade. All rooms are en-suite.
  • Ocean Bed and Breakfasts[38], 4 quality Bed and Breakfasts located on College Road. All rooms are spacious in these large modern homes.
  • Asgard Guesthouse, 21 College Road, +353 91 566855 (), [39]. Pleasant B&B just 5 minutes walk away from Eyre Square in the city center, with a sunny dining room and impeccably clean and tasteful guest rooms. Good breakfast spread, TV in every room, free wifi, credit cards accepted. €40 per person sharing.
  • Dun Aoibhinn House, [40], 00353(0) 87 9306167. Dun Aoibhinn House is a beautifully restored period style Guesthouse in Galway City. It is situated a pleasant 5 minute walk from the City center, National University of Ireland Galway (NUIG) and University College Hospital Galway (UCHG). It is also within easy walking distance of Salthill Beach and attractions. Located on St Mary's Road in the heart of Galway City, there are ample private safe parking facilities
  • Almara House, [41] 2 Merlin Gate, Dublin Road 353 091 755 435. A ten minute drive outside the city center, Almara House is winning people over with its charming hosts and classy rooms. There's a wide variety of breakfast items to choose from.
  • Tara House, [42] 138 Lower Salthill, 00353 (0) 91 527966,. Tara House Bed and Breakfast situated in Salthill is in the perfect location, just 200 metres from promenade and famous Galway Bay. It is close to golf clubs, fishing, tennis, leisureland and Pearse G.A.A Stadium. Bus stop to the Centre is directly outside main entrance (or 10 minute walk to Quay Street). This family owned Bed & Breakfast with private car park is the ideal base for touring Aran Islands, Connemara, Cliffs of Moher and the Burren. Our generously sized en-suite rooms have multi-channel T.V, direct-dial telephones, wireless internet, hairdryer, ironing, tea and coffee making facilities. Ground floor accommodation available.

Hotels in Galway

  • Westwood Hotel, [43], Dangan, Newcastle, +353 (0)91 521 442. Four star hotel.
  • The Menlo Park Hotel [44] Menlo Park Hotel, Headfort Raod. +353 (0) 91 761 122 Award winning hotel with great bar and restaurant, friendly staff and lovely rooms. Only 15 minutes walk from city centre.
  • The Imperial Hotel Galway City [45] The Imperial Hotel, Eyre Square, Galway City. Tel 353 91 563033 . Located in the heart of Galway City and the closest Hotel to Galway University NUIG it has a good location. Rooms start at €59.
  • The G Hotel [46] The G Hotel, Wellpark. 353 91 865 200. A five-star hotel, just outside the centre. The interiors are swanky and decadent and the service is professional. Rooms start at €140.
  • The Meyrick Hotel [47] The Meyrick Hotel, Eyre Square. 353 (0)91 564 041. An elegant 4 star Victorian hotel, in a fashionable part of the city centre. Rooms start at €87 per night.
  • Park House Hotel[48] Forster Street, Eyre Square. 353 091 564 924. This ideally located hotel is just seconds away from the bus and train station. This hotel has clean rooms and a friendly staff. Ask for a back room, as the noise from Eyre Square can be a bit loud on weekends. Rooms start at €80 on weekdays.
  • Galway Bay Hotel[49] The Promenade, Salthill. 353 091 520 520. Located in scenic Salthill, Galway Bay Hotel is a popular choice for tourists and conferences. The large hotel has a spa and leisure center.
  • Forster Hotel Galway[50] Forster Street, 353 091 539 839. While the rooms are a bit small, the location is excellent and the staff are accommodating.
  • Crecent Close Galway City Self Catering[51] Sea Road, 3 Star Self Catering Apparments located in Galway City Centre
  • Travelodge Galway Hotel (situated at 1 mile from Galway City Centre), Travelodge Galway Hotel, Tuam Road, Galway., 091 781 400 (, fax: 091 781 798), [52]. checkin: 3.00pm; checkout: 12.00pm. Rooms from €35.


  • Salthill Hotel[53] located on the Salthill Galway Promenade overlooking Galway Bay. Salthill Hotel has a leisure centre. 353 91 548812
  • Eyre Square Hotel[54] is a 3 star hotel located right in the centre of Galway City beside the famous Eyre Square. Train & Bus station are just around the corner. 353 91 569633
  • Victoria Hotel[55] is a city centre 3 star hotel situated on Eyre Square and directly behind the city's Train and Bus stations. 353 91 567433
  • Guide to Hotels in Galway - A selection of hotels in Galway City, covering local information and tourist information.


  • Wards Hotel[56] is a small family run traditional hotel in Galway located in between Salthill and Galway City Centre. 353 91 521956
  • Rockbarton Park Hotel[57] is located the Salthill area of Galway City where they offer an excellent restaurant and cheap Galway Hotel accommodation. 353 91 522286

Self Catering / Vacation Rentals

  • St Bridgets Tce Apartment, St Bridgets Tce, Galway. (walking distance from Eyre Square), +353 87 944 6804, [58]. A spacious ground floor apartment in the heart of Galway City. Nestled on a quite street with it's own private access boasting a pleasant lawn garden and private parking.

Stay safe

Galway is safe town by any standards. It's a small town compared to Dublin, and it luckily doesn't have to deal with most of the problems big cities have.

With that said, it is a party town and the weekends can get pretty crazy. Keep your wits about you, and stay in groups if you don't know the area. Despite Galway's reputation as a safe place, like everywhere Galway has a troublesome element so do bear that in mind.

Like most towns in Ireland, there are some run down areas. For its size, Galway does not have many but there are still some suburbs that are better avoided by anyone unfamiliar. These areas are all off the beaten track of the tourist areas.

The River Corrib runs through Galway. It is a very powerful river, especially after a few days of rain, and drowning deaths do occur. Use caution when walking on the river banks and walkways, especially after a night of drinking.

Stay away from the public toilet areas in Eyre Square late at night, it attracts a lot of drunks.

Get out

Galway is the ideal base for trips throughout western Ireland. Hiring a car is a good way to see attractions in the surrounding area. Alternately, day tours of The Burren and the Cliffs of Moher, and of Connemara are available at the tourist office.

Several outlets around town and at the tourist office sell ferry tickets to the Aran Islands.

For hitchhikers hoping to see the rest of Connacht, the best place to catch rides is near the Galway Shopping Centre, north of the city centre. There are several roundabouts nearby, so it should be easy to pick the road heading in the same direction as you are. Word of mouth may be useful for catching a lift to Dublin and other destinations. Ask around in your hotel or hostel.



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