Galway, called Gailimh in Irish Gaelic, with a population of over 70,000, is Ireland's third largest city and is a major hub for visits to western 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.
By Bus or Train
- Iarnród Éireann operates six trains per day (four on Sunday) from Dublin Heuston Station.
- Bus Éireann buses run frequently from destinations through the country.
- CityLink buses provide direct service to Shannon Airport, Dublin and Dublin Airport.
National bus and rail both arrive at the same station, just east of Eyre Square on Station Road. CityLink buses arrive and depart from the Tourist Office, one block north of the bus station.
- Shannon Airport is the main airport serving Galway. It is an international airport with many more flights avaible than Galway Airport, is served by an hourly bus to Galway, car rentals are also availible. It is about 1 1/2 hours in the bus to galway, but about an hour in a car.
The airport is about 10km east of the city, but public transportation links are poor, with only one bus per day, departing the bus station at 12.50 and returning from the airport at 13.25. A taxi will cost about €15.
- From Dublin, take the N4 west until the N6 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 €3/day, and if you are leaving in the morning, many pay and display lots offer cheap or free overnight parking (18h-6h).
Central Galway is easily accessible on foot, but if you need to go further afield, both Bus Éireann and CityLink run local bus networks. Avoid taking the car when going to or anywhere near the city centre!
Galway is a perfect base for seeing the west of 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, 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 city wall and so included them into the shopping mall, 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 city'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.
- Check local free paper the Galway Advertiser  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 immediately.
- The Galway Atlantaquaria, Seapoint Promenade, Salthill (Follow the R336 (Griffin Road) southwest from the city centre), 091 585100 ([email protected]) , 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".
The main shopping area runs south from Eyre Square towards the Corrib. This pedestrian mall 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.
Eyre Square Centre is a modern shopping mall almost entirely hidden behind historical facades. Entrances can be found on the south side of Eyre Square and on Williams Street.
- For those on a budget, there is a grocery store in Eyre Square Centre, but beware that they close at 19h00. On Saturdays, there is a small market on Churchyard Street, beside the Anglican Church.
- McCambridges, Shop Street have a deli counter for take away sandwiches which is quite good. They also have grocery items which might be harder to track down in the usual supermarkets.
- Sheridan's Cheesemongers, Kirwans Lane, 091 564829 (fax 091 564 829, [email protected]), , 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.
- Fat Freddy's, The Halls, Quay Street, 091 567279, middle of the road pizzeria.
- 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!
- 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.
- The Vineyard, at the intersection of Bridge Street and Cross Street, offers a good selection of takeaway alcoholic and soft drinks.
- The King's Head Pub has decent prices and a nightly cover band.
- 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, , 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 is warm and offers good live folk music and as well as cover bands.
- Cuba,  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.
- Kinlay House, Merchant's Road, 091 565244 (fax 091 565245, [email protected]), , 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, Bothar Na mBan (One block west and one block north of Eyre Square), 091 566999 (fax 091 566996, [email protected]), , is a large hostel in central Galway. It is quite new and has modern kitchen facilities, and a free internet cafe (and wireless, too). Additionally, they provide a shuttle service to their affiliated hostel in Connemara, departing at 11h00 and 19h30 daily, for €5.
Bed and Breakfasts
- Anbelle Lodge, Salthill (map), 091 527144,. This small and relatively unknown B & B, is only 2 min from the sea, and has very open and friendly hosts, nice rooms, all with shower and WC, and reasonable prices. Approx 30 € per person.
- Tara House, Salthill (map), 091 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 City Centre is directly outside main entrance. 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, hairdryer, ironing, tea and coffee making facilities. Ground floor accommodation available.
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, 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.
As in every city, be particularly wary of drink spiking in clubs in Galway. Drinks shouldn't be left unattended.