Galway’s reputationhas grown steadily over recent decades until it now regularly figures towardthe very top of rankings and polls for city break destinations, especially fortravellers with an interest in culture and the arts. And such accolades judge this‘City of Festivals’ not only against the best of Ireland, but on a worldwidebasis.
Rich in cultural history, the whole city of Galwayhas bought into the idea that there’s simply nowhere better to visit for music,theatre, food and the arts, creating a vibrant, positive atmosphere that istangible from your very first stroll around the centre, which is compact enoughto be walkable.
Galway CentreGalway city centre ispacked with living history. We counted at least a dozen museums, heritagecentres and galleries without having to search at all, and Galway’stantalising, traditional backstreets are a joy to wander through. There’s asurprise around every corner, from medieval arches, city walls and old docks, fromthe Christopher Columbus monument to yet another picturesque branch of theRiver Corrib – and on to the seaside at Salthill.
But there is far more to Galwaythan just a heritage destination. Many of the city’s shops, restaurants, artsand cultural attractions are unmistakably cosmopolitan, contemporary and even cuttingedge.
Galway andthe ArtsGalway International Arts Festivalis the biggest and best in Ireland, with two weeks in July set aside for anexplosion of dance, theatre, street acts, literary recitals and musicalperformance. But the huge array of venues doesn’t only do roaring business at festivaltime: they’re in motion all year round, making Galwaya perpetual international centre for cultural celebration.
Additionally, in October the city hosts the GalwayTheatre Festival, which again concentrates global focus on thecity’s famous DruidTheatre, Nuns’ Island Theatre, Town Hall Theatre, GalwayArts Centre and ‘An Taibhdhearc’, the Irish language theatre.
Music inGalwayThe quality and profusion of Irish traditionalmusic in rocking venues, restaurants and bars across Galway Cityhas to be heard to be believed. For aficionados of music of an even greatervintage, the Galway Early Music Festival is stagedin May. But, again, the popularityof the historical doesn’t mean contemporary music loses out.
Food and DrinkAt the forefront of Ireland’s taste for organicfood as well as far-flung international cuisine, Galway Market,local wine merchants and specialist foodie emporiums – sample the fantasticlocal cheeses, organic meat, freshly baked artisanal bread – present anyvisitor with the enjoyable quandary of when to pack it all in!
Even in many traditional pubs and bars, you canstay ahead of the curve. Be sure and try the range of craft beers now trendingin Ireland.
Sport in GalwayHurling and Gaelic football matches can be enjoyedat Galway’s PearseStadium, while the local soccer club Galway FC play at Eamonn DeacyPark. On the outskirts of the city, Ballybritracecourse stages the seven-day-long Galway Racesfestival, as well as events all year round.
WildAtlantic WayWith so much to do in the city, don’t overlook thespectacular Atlantic Coast, with all its associated activities easy to accessfrom Galway.