Galway - Ireland’s Most Popular Tourist Attraction

Oranmore, Galway City center: 0.3 km
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Galway is a seaside city located on the banks of the River Corrib in the Irish province of Connacht. A vibrant and sociable city, its mediaeval heritage still bears the remnants of imposing structures, such as the 16th century Spanish Arch and the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas, founded in 1320. The city promotes a laid-back lifestyle as well as an affection for culture and the arts. Renowned for its lively character, gourmet food, and frequent festivals, Galway is an intoxicating destination where you can relax, stroll along the romantic Long Walk by the river, or take in the atmosphere around Eyre Square, where you find the bustling shopping district of William Street and the aptly named Shop Street. Situated at the mouth of the scenic Galway Bay, the wonderful coastline provides all the trappings of a typical seaside escapade.

Location: Gateway to Connemara and the Gaeltacht

Galway lies between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay, and is well connected by rail and motorway. Within easy reach of the city, Aerfort na Minna (22 km from the city centre) operates regular flights to the Aran Islands, around Ireland, and to Britain and Continental Europe.

Business: Commerce, hi-tech industry and services

During the Celtic Tiger period (1995-2000) Galway experienced explosive economic growth. Today the city has a strong local economy with businesses in the commerce and professional sectors and the hi-tech product manufacturing industry. With over 2 million visitors every year, tourism is also of major importance.

Culture: Ireland's Cultural Heart

The Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas sits right in the middle of the medieval centre and is dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of children and seafarers–otherwise known as Santa Claus. The Gothic-style exterior decoration includes a magnificent lion, a dragon, an ape, and two mermaids as well as stone gargoyles, some carved into horses’ heads, a manticore, and a few human heads high at the roof edge. Built in 1584, the Spanish Arch was originally an extension of the city wall from Martin's Tower to the bank of the Corrib, in the area once known as the Fish Market. The construction was a measure taken to protect merchant ships in the city's quays from looting. The Long Walk was created in the 18th century to allow access from the town to the new quays.

Activities: Something to do regardless of the weather

The city’s temperate oceanic climate allows visitors to enjoy all sorts of outdoor activities. But traditional music and dance that are kept alive in fun-packed pubs and by street performers in the ancient neighbourhood of the Claddagh should certainly not be overlooked. If you like swimming and water sports, Dogs Bay and Gurteen Bay are arguably two of the most beautiful beaches in the West of Ireland and are only two miles outside the picturesque village of Roundstone in Connemara.