Galway - City of Culture & Events

Galway City is both lively and vibrant, offering a wealth of art and cultural experiences for visitors. The city is home to some of Ireland’s most renowned and popular festivals, and every night you will be sure to fine live music and theatre. In Galway you can be sure there will never be a dull moment.

Galway is an ideal base to explore the rugged landscape of the west of Ireland. It offers a terrain of remarkable beauty and diversity plus many charming villages and towns boasting an individual character and a wealth of interesting possibilities for visitors to explore. We have included a brief guide to the visitor attractions in the region, the list is by no means exhaustive so please let us know what hidden treasure you have uncovered in Ireland’s West.

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Galway Museum

Galway City Museum reopened on the 16th April with the launch of its permanent exhibition. Among the highlights on show is a rare 17th century altar piece, the new location of the statue of Pádraic Ó Conaire and the Galway City Hooker boat, named ‘MáirtÍn Oliver’ by the public.

The museum houses three floors of exhibits and information panels, relating the story of Galway from medieval times to the modern day. The ground floor tells the story of contemporary Galway, with special emphasis on the role that the arts play in the city. The first floor brings medieval Galway alive in a very contemporary way, while the second floor houses an exhibition on the Claddagh village, from post famine times to the early part of the last century. Tel: +353 (0)91 567641

The Bridge Mills

The Bridge Mills is situated on O'Brien's Bridge, on the banks of the river Corrib. This 430 year old building has been beautifully restored. The building houses several specialist shops. The Bridge Mills celebrates its medieval origins during the summer months with medieval banquets, held nightly, which feature full period dress and entertainment.

The Cathedral

The Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and Saint Nicholas was opened in 1965 and is situated on the site of the former county jail. The jail which closed in 1939 was renowned for its cruel treatment of prisoners. The Cathedral is the largest and most impressive building in the city. Most of the raw materials used in the building were supplied from the local area and it is a fine example of Irish workmanship. Inside the visitor will find the cut-stone and woodcarvings and wall paintings, particularly impressive. The style of the building is Hiberno-Romanesque which is unique eleventh century native Irish mode and pre-dates the Norman invasion.
Tel: +353 (0)91 563577

Eyre Square

This park was officially presented to the city in 1710 by Mayor Edward Eyre, from whom it took its name. In 1965, the square was officially renamed "Kennedy Memorial Park" in honour of US President John F. Kennedy, who visited Galway shortly before his assassination in 1963. There are two large cast-iron cannons located near the Browne Doorway in Eyre Square. They have been there longer than many of the other memorials in the square. The cannons were presented to the Connaught Rangers at the end of the Crimean War of 1854-1856. The Rangers had played a major part in the Alma Valley Battles in 1854. The fountain located in Eyre Square, is a great example of modern Irish art. The fountain represents the sails of the Galway Hooker which was a traditional fishing boat unique to Galway.

Galway Irish Crystal Heritage Centre

Galway Irish Crystal has long been one of the world's best known and loved brands of traditionally crafted Irish lead crystal. Nestled in the heart of the West of Ireland, on the shores of Galway Bay, Galway Irish Crystal is steeped in the rich and diverse heritage of this unique hinterland. Their master craftsmen are continuously inspired by the sheer beauty of the surrounding countryside - Connemara, Galway Bay and Lough Corrib - and influenced by the wealth of history and folklore which is synonymous with Galway. Their beautiful ranges of tabletop stemware and giftware reflect these influences in their timeless elegance. Their expert craftsmen also specialise in creating individually inspired crystal masterpieces and trophies for special events. Email: or Tel: +353 (0)91 757311

Kirwans Lane

Kirwans Lane is located off Cross Street and is one of Galway’s finest examples of its medieval heritage. In the past there was a 100 seat theatre and two nunneries located here. Kirwan’s Lane has since been restored and now houses several craft shops including the Design Concourse Ireland.

Lynch's Castle

Lynch's Castle, which is located on the corner of Shop Street and Abbeygate Street, is a fine example of a town castle in the country. Town castles were popular homes for wealthy merchants in Ireland in the 15th and 16th centuries. The castle has been beautifully restored over the years. The castle contains beautiful stone carvings on the exterior along with a number of decorative windows. The building is now home to AIB Bank.

Nora Barnacle’s House

Nora Barnacle, wife of James Joyce, was born in the Bowling Green area of Galway. It is said that she provided the inspiration for the character Molly Bloom in ‘Ulysses’. James Joyce was a regular visitor to Galway and has written several poems and articles based in Galway including 'She Weeps Over Rahoon. The house in which Nora Barnacle lived is now a small museum. It is open to the public during the summer with guides available to show you around this special piece of Irish history. Email: or Tel: +353 (0)91 564743

Saturday Market

The Saturday market takes place every Saturday in front of St Nicholas Church. It usually finishes early afternoon in the winter. The market provides a variety of goods for sale including fruit and vegetables, cheeses, olives, hot crepes, bread, jewellery, woollens and hand made items to name a few.

The Spanish Arch

The Spanish Arch is located on the banks of the River Corrib where the river meets the sea. It was built in 1584 and was part of the city walls, built to protect merchant ships from looting. In the past it was known as The Blind Arch and is located on the site known as Ceann na Bhalla (The Head of the Wall). A wooden sculpture by Claire Sheridan who lived in the adjacent building during the 50s now adorns the Arch. The Spanish Arch is home nowadays to the Galway City Museum.

National University of Ireland, Galway

NUIG was established in 1845 as Queen's College Galway, and was formerly known as University College Galway. It is one of Ireland's foremost centres of academic excellence and houses over 15,000 students. It has a long established reputation of teaching and research excellence in each of its seven faculties - Arts, Science, commerce, Engineering, Celtic Studies, Medicine & Health Studies and Law.
The stone quadrangle is one of the city’s most famous landmarks. The University which is merely a ten minute walk from the city centre, plays an important role in the cultural life of Galway. It is the venue for many musical, literary and sporting events.