Although the major city in the West, Galway has a special village-like quality. The best about Galway is the relaxed, bohemian atmosphere which you become a part of soon after you arrive.
The heart is, for most, around the Quay Street / Cross Street area, with cafes, small restaurants, Galway's oldest pubs, and several craft and woollens shops. Kirwan's Lane is a narrow medieval lane which is now a real treat to explore with the best design shop (Design Ireland), the best coffee shop (Goyas), cheesemongers (Sheridans) and pottery shop (Judy Greens). At the end of the street is where the river Corrib meets the sea, the medieval Spanish Arch and site of the old Fishmarket. Although more built-up now, it is still pleasant enough that people gather here on fine summer evenings.
At the other end of Quay Street, follow on to High Street and Shop Street for a busier, more everyday scene. Kennys Book Shop and Gallery is the place for Irish publications. On the left is the 14th century Saint Nicholas' Church and just outside is the scene of the Market on Saturdays. Further on is the house of Nora Barnacle, wife of James Joyce. You can also follow the river up-stream along the new riverside walks, or you can hire a small row-boat from the locals.
July is Galway's busiest month, with three very popular Festivals taking place: Galway Film Fleadh, Galway Arts Festival and Galway Race Week.
Day Trips or Overnight Trips from Galway
The county of Clare is just south of Galway. A day trip to see the main sights is feasible, but an overnight stay in a coastal village would be even better. See our Shannon section for details.
The unique Aran Islands, 3 small islands at the edge of Galway Bay, can be visited in a day trip; if you stay overnight, you can experience some local song and dance in the village pubs. See our Aran section for details.
can be explored by the coast road from Galway, or inland to the Twelve
Pins hills. You can see and do plenty in one day, or go farther west to
Clifden or Roundstone and stay longer. See our Connemara
section for details.