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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 201 Hotels in Galway
£46
Eyre Square Hotel

Eyre Square Hotel

Forster Street, Eyre Square, Galway
3.9
of 5, from 649 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in Galway City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Eyre Square, St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church and Spanish Arch. South Park and Galway City Museum are also within 15 minutes.

£67
Galway Bay Hotel

Galway Bay Hotel

258 R336, Galway
4.3
of 5, from 582 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Nestled on the beach, this Galway hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Leisureland and National Aquarium of Galway. South Park and Galway City Museum are also within 2 miles (3 km).

£53
Menlo Park Hotel

Menlo Park Hotel

Terryland, Headford Road, Galway
4.3
of 5, from 631 reviews
4.0 out of 5.0

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

£62
Jurys Inn Galway

Jurys Inn Galway

Quay Street, Galway
4.2
of 5, from 1,165 reviews
3.0 out of 5.0

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

£85
Harbour Hotel

Harbour Hotel

New Dock Road, Galway
4.2
of 5, from 716 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Galway City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Galway Harbour, Spanish Arch and St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church. South Park and Galway City Museum are also within 15 minutes.

Park House Hotel

Park House Hotel

Forster Street, Eyre Squre, Galway
4.5
of 5, from 1,237 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

Located in Galway City Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Eyre Square, St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church and Spanish Arch. Galway City Museum and Galway Cathedral are also within 15 minutes.

£49
The Western Hotel

The Western Hotel

33 Prospect Hill, Galway
4.1
of 5, from 915 reviews
3.5 out of 5.0

Located in the centre of Galway, this family-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Galway Tours and St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church. Galway City Museum and Galway Cathedral are also within 15 minutes.

Shearwater Hotel

Shearwater Hotel

Marina Point, Ballinasloe
4.2
of 5, from 282 reviews
4.5 out of 5.0

This family-friendly Ballinasloe hotel is located on the riverfront, 2.8 mi (4.6 km) from Ballinasloe Golf Club, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Glendeer Pet Farm and Battle of Aughrim Interpretive Centre. Clonmacnoise and Temple Finghin are also within 16 miles (25 km).

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