What should I do when visiting Galway

Galway: off to the west coast of Ireland!

Galway is more Irish than any other city on the Emerald Isle, some say. Others love the many festivals or the quaint pubs with traditional folk music. The university city on the west coast of Ireland is European Capital of Culture in 2020 - reason enough to visit

Galway at a glance

Where is Galway located?
Galway is around 200 kilometers from Dublin. The 80,000-strong university city on the west coast of Ireland is the capital of County Galway in the province of Connacht.

Getting to Galway:
The fastest connection to Galway from Germany is via Dublin Airport. A regular bus transfer runs directly from the airport in the Irish capital to the New Coach Station in Galway. The journey time is three hours. The train from Dublin's Heuston Station takes a good two hours. If you rent a car yourself, you should bear in mind that there is left-hand traffic in Ireland.

How is the weather in Galway?
It's windy and mostly cloudy all year round. Rain occurs all year round in Galway. The rainiest month is December and the least rainy April. Galway winters are cold and wet. Freezing temperatures or temperatures above 23 degrees Celsius are rarely measured.

When does the year of the Capital of Culture begin?
On February 2nd, 2020, at the beginning of Imbolc - the first Celtic season, the big festival begins in Galway and ends in April 2021. Under the motto “Let the Magic In”, the cultural diversity of the city is to be experienced together. The weather also plays its part: under the theme of "Hope it rains", the rain is supposed to serve as a source of creativity.

When the chorus sounds, pop fans all over the world hum along with it. Ed Sheeran's “Galway Girl” is a hit. The small town on the west coast of Ireland, on the other hand, is known only to a few. But that will soon change; in the end Galway will share the title of European Capital of Culture with the Croatian city of Rijeka in 2020.

In the midst of these lush green hills, directly on the over 2600 km long coastal road Wild Atlantic Way is this lively place to which the pop star Sheeran wrote an anthem.

In Galway, the Corrib River sets the pace

It measures just 15 kilometers River Corrib, making it one of the shortest of its kind in Europe. But that doesn't change its strength: it is rich in fish and particularly raging after heavy rains. At the mouth of the Corrib in Galway Bay, a good 80,000 residents are at home. A quarter of them are students.

Small cobblestone streets, colorfully whitewashed houses and many small pubs with traditional Irish music. Not a day goes by without the flute and fiddle in Galway; people like to perform on the street too. Folk music is part of Galway like the pint after work. Sheeran was already entertaining passers-by in Shop Street. But that was long before the Briton became famous and Galway was considered a cultural capital.

The language of the Gaeltacht region and Galways

Galway is craic! Craic, that is Gaelic and means as much as fun! Irish is the first official language and in large parts of the Emerald Isle it is only found on street signs and in laws. In contrast, it is spoken fluently in the Gaeltacht regions, which are mainly to be found in the far west of Ireland. Galway is also a Gaeltacht area.

If you want to dive deeper into this language, visit this To Taibhdhearc, the Irish-speaking national theater. However, foreigners have to attend a language course in order to pronounce the name at all. Until then, the communication will work perfectly in English.

Galway: Ireland's Festival and European Capital of Culture

Not that special, but they are an absolute visitor favorite many festivals that make Galway so special. From oyster to film to art and literature, everything is there. Not a month when something isn't going on here. Those who prefer it more sporty can Gaelic football, a mix of rugby and soccer or Hurling, check out that Celtic mix of hockey, rugby, and baseball.

The annual event is also always a big event Galway Races, the horse race. If you like greyhounds, you can use the Galway Greyhound Stadium watch as man’s best friends rush after the wrong rabbit as if there would be none tomorrow.

The sights of Galway

Those who prefer to run themselves can explore Galway comfortably and comfortably on foot and should not miss these sights:

  • The Galway City Museum worthwhile for an overview of the city's history. The highlights of the museum include the Galway Hooker, the traditional sailing ship and the 18th century silverwork Great Mace. For the Capital of Culture year, the house will have a new interactive museum at Comerford House and is renamed Atlantic Museum Galway. The museum is right next to the Spanish Arch. This medieval archway once served as the entrance gate for ships that brought mainly goods and wine from Spain and France.
  • The one built in Galway in 1320Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas of Myra is Ireland's largest and most frequently used medieval parish church. Tombs of the most powerful Galway clans are set in the floor of the church. The oldest grave is that of the crusader Adam Bures from the 13th century.
  • The Lynch’s Castle on the corner of Abbeygate Street and Shop Street was the home of the clan of the same name. The Most of the mansion was built in the 16th century. The Lynch family was one of the most powerful of the once 14 ruling Anglo-Norman tribes, known as the Tribes. Stone gargoyles and family crests can be seen on the facade of the four-story house in Galway.
  • The central square of Galway is that Eyre Square or the Kennedy Garden, a green area with sculptures and small footpaths.
  • in the In summer a stop at the Salmon Weir Bridge is worthwhile, the salmon ladder. When the fish move upstream to spawn, they overcome this weir.
  • For a short walk along Galway Bay the three-kilometer-long promenade is ideal Salthill promenade, which ends at the beach of the same name. Salthill, with its colorful houses, bars, restaurants and hotels, is part of the Claddagh district. Fishermen used to live below the center.
  • The Claddagh Arts Center&Katie's Cottage Museum is a mix of open-air museum, community center, design and tea room and is also worth a visit.

A gem from Galway: the Claddagh ring

A popular souvenir from Galway is the Claddagh ring. This shows two hands holding a heart with a crown. Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold Jeweler is Galway's oldest jeweler and has been in business since 1750. There is also a small museum hidden in the shop, one of the highlights of which is a miniature model of the popular ring.

There are many stories about the creation of the piece of jewelery, the symbolism is clear: The heart symbolizes love, the hands friendship and the crown symbolizes loyalty. If the tip of the heart points away from the wearer, the wearer is looking for a partner, but if the heart points to the wearer, he is already taken. Ring or not.

A night in the city's pubs is a must

If jewelry isn't your thing, bring back wonderful memories from Galway! You can collect a large part of it in the pubs of the city, because this is where the Irish joie de vivre and hospitality are at home. If you want to get to know all of Galway's pubs, you have to stay longer. Everyone else should at least not miss these Galway pubs:

  • The Kings Head: You would not have seen Galway without a visit to The Kings Head. The Pub veteran has been on site since 1649. The home-brewed ale is accompanied by a cultural program as well as live music every evening.
  • Tigh Neachtain’s: It has been on site since 1894 and is right in the center of Galway Meeting place for locals, Irish folk lovers and tourists. Some say it's THE Galway talent shed. Another plus point: a good selection of whiskey and craft beer
  • Murphy's Bar: Simple and good, this is that pub on 9 High Street. The decor is straightforward and unspectacular, but locals are greeted by name - and the foam on the stout is always nice and creamy.
  • Salt House Bar: Fancy a Chai Milk Stout, a chocolate milk stout? This pub has such exotic beer mixes. It belongs to the local brewery, the Galway Bay Brewery. If you don't like that, you can switch to 22 other craft beers or 150 bottled beers from all over the world.
  • O'Connor's in Salthill: Who wants a photo of the violin from the Ed Sheeran music video "Galway Girl" has to go to Salthill at O'Connor's. The traditional pub was founded in Galway in 1845. Take care of your head; All sorts of old objects such as gas lights, agricultural implements or dishes dangle under the ceiling. Those who do not allow themselves to be distracted by the many curiosities will be amazed at the bands and the mixed crowd, which is, as it should be for an Irish pub, between 21 and 101 years old.

Kylemore Abbey: Recommended day trip from Galway

Those who manage to tear themselves away from the pubs of Galway should take a hike in the western hinterland of Galway. The Connemara region is sparsely populated, has impressive mountain ranges, beautiful lakes and swampy peat bogs.

One of the major attraction of the region is Kylemore Abbeywhich is just over an hour's drive from Galway. The English businessman Mitchell Henry had this neo-Gothic fairytale castle surrounded by a lake with its many battlements and turrets built for his wife in 1867. Benedictine nuns moved in after the First World War. The Victorian garden, the neo-Gothic church and the café are always worth a day trip.