Galway

This most quintessentially Irish city boasts a perfect balance between its medieval history and its buzzing, bohemian present. In the bustling city centre, remnants of the old town walls are interspersed among shops and stalls. Visit the many museums, galleries and cathedrals throughout the city to learn about the history of the area. You’ll also be likely to hear Gaelic spoken in the streets around Galway, as well as lots of traditional Irish music pouring out of the character-filled pubs that line the cobbled streets.

On the west bank of the River Corrib is The Claddagh, the former fishing village where the famous Irish Claddagh ring originated. Along the coastline is the famous Salthill resort area, with its delightful Promenade – known affectionately as ‘The Prom’ – where you can find an abundance of restaurants, bars and hotels. Enjoy some water activities in the protected Galway Bay, such as sailboarding or snorkelling, or just relax with a stroll along the beach. Salthill is also home to the famous Salthill Air Show held each summer, one of the only free air shows in Europe.

Map of Ireland showing Galway

The Claddagh

Claddagh, which means "the shore" in Irish Gaelic, is an area close to Galway city centre where the river Corrib meets Galway Bay. Claddagh is one of the oldest fishing villages in Ireland with records going back to the fifth century.

Claddagh is most famous for the ring of the same name which is very popular among people of Irish heritage for both wedding rings and symbols of friendship. The design features two hands clasping a crowned heart. There are still jewellers in Claddagh if you want the authentic item.

Claddagh ring
Pixabay

The Aran Islands

The Aran Islands are a group of three islands just west of Galway. The islands are at the mouth of Galway Bay, in County Galway but are also accessible from Doolin which is beside the Cliffs of Moher in County Clare. The names of the Aran Islands are: Inis Mor (Inishmore), Inis Meain (Inishmaan), and Inis Oirr (Inisheer) and here you will find the traditional Irish way of life. Inishmore is the largest island and is characterized by numerous important Celtic monuments and churches, miles of stone walls, abundant wildlife and 8kms of cliffs. You will also find year round traditional Irish music in the local pubs. The other islands, Inishmaan and Inisheer, are even smaller, much less populated, and less touristy.

The Aran Islands
Pixabay

Salthill

Head to this beautiful seaside area for a walk along the 2km ‘Prom’ or just enjoy a drink at one of the many bars along the waterfront overlooking the magnificent Galway Bay. The giant Leisureland Complex has a host of attractions for children. There are plenty of safe places to swim and sunbathe ... believe it or not. The half mile of pubs, clubs and casinos will keep you entertained until the wee hours.

Salthill waterfront

The Infinity Experience

Lawrence Was Here
The most famous person born in Galway is the great Hollywood actor Peter O’Toole. Peter Seamus Lorcan O’Toole was born in Connemara in 1932.