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County Galway Holiday Guide

The County of Galway is divided in two by the raggedy shores of Lough Corrib, with the spectacular mountains of the Connemara peninsula to the west and lush green farmlands of the Shannon basin to the east. Most visitors head west to enjoy the mystical Twelve Bens and Maumturk mountain ranges, the intriguing Aran Islands and the history and beaches around Galway city.

Galway Heritage and History

The city of Galway is the heart of the county, sandwiched between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay, and has strong links with Ireland’s past – a large proportion of citizens speak Gaelic as well as English. The many pubs make the city swing to the beat of the bodhran and fiddle, but Galwegians’ appetite for fun is tempered by a healthy regard for Galway’s heritage. The old city includes a medieval church, parts of the city walls and other buildings from the time when the 14 “Tribes” – merchant families – ruled Galway.

Elsewhere in the county, visitors can find castles at Athenry, Dunguaire, Aughnanure and Claregalway, several dolmens and other Neolithic standing stones, and Thoor Ballylee, the 16th century keep that poet W B Yeats restored and lived in.

Galway Views and Scenery

Connemara National Park is one of County Galway’s jewels, studded with mountains, peat bogs and forests. Diamond Hill has a popular nature trail and circular walk, while the spiky Twelve Bens offer superb views of the county on a clear day. To the north, the Maumturk mountains are smaller, with fewer visitors.

Lough Corrib is a peaceful refuge from the bustle of Galway city, with fantastic spots for anglers and other watersports. Nearly 400 islands dot the waters of Corrib, with abundant wildlife and birdwatching opportunities, and several islands are home to churches, monasteries and tiny villages – some in ruins, some still going strong.

The wild western coast of Galway has some of Ireland’s best beaches, all white sand and roaring waves, with Dogs Bay, Silver Strand, Coral Beach, Carraroe, Salthill and Kilmurvey all worth seeing and there are many other blue flag beaches to visit.

The Aran Islands

The three islands of Aran are starkly beautiful places and their windswept magnificence attracts thousands of visitors prepared to take a 45-minute ferry journey from Galway city. The islands have two of the oldest forts in Ireland, Dun Aonghasa and Dun Chonchuir, Iron Age fortifications that have survived the centuries, along with the thousands of miles of stone walls that criss-cross the islands. There is also a thriving local arts scene and weavers who make the traditional Aran sweater.

Sport and Leisure in Galway

With so many places to enjoy the scenery and fresh air, it’s no surprise that Galway is a prime destination for all sorts of outdoor activities, from sea kayaking along the shoreline to exploring the countryside on horseback. Walkers and cyclists can easily lose the crowds either along the coast or in Connemara, and of course there are many, many golf courses to choose from.

Events and Shopping

Galway city is the best place for the dedicated shopper – the city market in Church Lane has been trading for centuries. For fairies, handicrafts, Aran jumpers, druidic paraphernalia and all things Celtic, there are few places that can match Galway

The city is also the venue for a horseracing festival in Jul, and the Galway Arts Festival takes over the streets the same month. The Clarinbridge Oyster Festival is a must for seafood lovers – in fact it’s possible to find high class seafood across the county.

Enjoy County Galway

The delightful county of Galway, with its spine-tingling scenery, mysterious history and welcoming people, is sure to charm nearly every visitor.


Guide to Exploring Galway


Top Hotel Deals

See all 199 Hotels in Galway
£76
Jurys Inn Galway

Jurys Inn Galway

Quay Street, Galway
4.3
of 5, from 256 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Located in Latin Quarter, this eco-friendly hotel is steps from Hall of the Red Earl, Galway City Museum, and Spanish Arch. South Park and St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church are also within 10 minutes.

£58
The Connacht Hotel

The Connacht Hotel

Dublin Road, Galway
3.8
of 5, from 169 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Galway hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Galway Irish Crystal Heritage Centre and Galway Greyhound Stadium. St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church and Galway Cathedral are also within 2 mi (3 km).

Corrib Village Self Catering Apartments

Corrib Village Self Catering Apartments

Corrib Village, Galway
3.3
of 5, from 3 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Galway aparthotel is located on the riverwalk, within 1 mi (2 km) of National University of Ireland-Galway and Galway Cathedral. South Park and St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church are also within 2 mi (3 km).

Shannon Oaks Hotel & Country Club

Shannon Oaks Hotel & Country Club

St. Joseph's Road, Portumna
3.5
of 5, from 2 reviews
0.0 out of 5.0

Located in the heart of Portumna, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Portnumna Castle, The Irish Workhouse Centre, and Portumna Forest Park. Portumna Golf Club is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) away.

£95
Park House Hotel

Park House Hotel

Forster Street, Eyre Squre, Galway
4.6
of 5, from 402 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Park House Hotel is a 2-minute walk from Galway Train Station and Eyre Square. Guests can stroll 10 minutes to The Spanish Arch, and explore the natural beauty of Ireland with day trips to the Aran Islands and the Cliffs of Moher. Golfers will find 10 courses within a short drive.

£60
Menlo Park Hotel

Menlo Park Hotel

Terryland, Headford Road, Galway
4.2
of 5, from 156 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Located in Galway City Centre, this eco-friendly hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Galway Shopping Center, Galway Cathedral, and St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church. South Park and Galway City Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km).

£89
Galway Bay Hotel

Galway Bay Hotel

258 R336, Galway
4.2
of 5, from 141 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

Directly facing Galway Bay, this hotel is across from the Salthill seaside promenade. The Galway Golf Club is adjacent. The Galway Atlantaquaria aquarium is 0.7 km away.

Anach Cuin Bed and Breakfast

Anach Cuin Bed and Breakfast

36 Wellpark Grove, Galway
4.1
of 5, from 16 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

Situated in Galway, this bed & breakfast is within 2 mi (3 km) of Galway Irish Crystal Heritage Centre, St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church, and Galway Cathedral. Spanish Arch and Galway City Museum are also within 2 mi (3 km).

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