Your Guide to Visiting Galway

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Galway City is the capital of the west and one of top destinations in Ireland for visiting tourists. This beautiful medieval city exudes culture and an incredibly welcoming laid back atmosphere. It has long been a place where budding playwrights, writers and musicians have ventured to draw inspiration while enjoying the bohemian vibes. There’s plenty to see and do in the city including a vast history, tourist attractions, festivals and a stunningly beautiful surrounding countryside.

The long history of Galway can be uncovered in the Galway City Museum where you’ll find a wide range of exhibitions focused on the entire history of the region as well as a family friendly exhibition about the Atlantic waters off Galway Bay. The streets of Galway are lined with visible history as you can see remains of the medieval walls, wander down narrow cobbled streets and visit the famous Spanish Arch which allowed countless trade ships into the city during medieval times. There’s a host of traditional Irish pubs where you’ll find friendly locals full of stories about the city as well as some of the best traditional music sessions in the country.

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The outlying area of Connemara is home a beautiful landscape that features sprawling plains and stunning forests and lakes overlooked by majestic mountain ranges. There’s a multitude of historic attractions dotted across the region as well as a local population who are some of the last remaining native Irish speakers in Ireland.

Kylemore Abbey:

Built in 1867 for an extremely wealthy English businessman called Mitchell Henry, the majestic Kylemore Abbey and Castle became a private home of over 40,000 square feet and seventy rooms, made from stone imported from Dalkey and Ballinasloe. In 1920, the buildings and grounds were purchased by a chapter of Irish Benedictine Nuns that had been forced to leave Belgium after their Abbey had been destroyed during World War I. The Nuns opened an international Catholic boarding school for girls until 2010 when the Abbey and grounds, which includes extensive walled gardens, lakes, forests, a shop and a restaurant, was opened to the public.

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Aughnanure Castle:

The sixteenth century fortress, home to the ‘Fighting O’Flahertys’ during their reign as overlords of the  Connemara region, Aughnanure Castle is found about two miles east of Oughterard, in turn around sixteen miles from Galway City. The six storey tower looks out over Lough Corrib, while the grounds contain the remains of an unusual courtyard area known as a double bawn. Caverns and caves wind through the rock beneath the castle, while the name comes from the Irish Achadh na nlubhar, meaning ‘the field of the yews’.

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Dún Aengus:

On the Aran Islands, just off the coast of Co. Galway, are several prehistoric forts and archaeological sites. The most famous of these is Dún Aengus on Inishmore, perched atop a 300-foot cliff. Built originally back in 1100 BC, and refortified in about 500 BC, the fort consists of four concentric dry-stone walls with an almost impassable, defensive system of stone slabs called a cheval de frise. The outside wall encloses an area of about fourteen acres, and there is a nearby Neolithic tomb. There are also at least three similar forts on the island and another on Inishmaan.

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