If you love the outdoors and scenic beauty then you’ll fall in love with this region. This is a land of contrasting scenery and incredible nature. A small city that’s big on entertainment, this is a lively corner of Ireland. Galway is known for holding an average of 122 festivals every year and is the perfect way to celebrate Irish heritage.
Here are some of the best places to visit whilst you’re in Galway. Renting a car is the best way to explore at your own pace and see some of Ireland’s most beautiful coastline.
1. Eyre Square/John F Kennedy Memorial Park
Eyre Square represents one of Ireland’s most historical spots since medieval times. Also known as JFK Square, this is where John F Kennedy made his last ever trip in 1963, before his tragic assassination. You’ll find a range of shops and cafes dotted around the square, where you can while away your time and indulge in some retail therapy.
2. Galway Market/St. Nicholas Church
If you’re feeling peckish be sure to check out the fresh food on offer at the Galway market. Located on Church Lane next to St. Nicholas’ Church, it’s easy to find. You’ll find a vast selection of local produce, and plenty of fresh seafood served with friendly Irish smiles. The vibrant market has over a hundred stalls also offering genuine Irish handicrafts. This is a great place to pick up gifts for your friends and family back home!
3. Galway Cathedral
Galway has a cathedral that overlooks the River Corrib and is great for photos when it’s lit up in the evenings. Interestingly, this is Europe’s youngest grand stone cathedral. Comprised of three architectural styles you’ll discover a blend of Renaissance, Romanesque and Gothic features.
4. The Aran Islands
The undisturbed beauty of the Aran Islands should be on your list of places to visit in Galway if you love the countryside. Known for their wild, rugged landscapes and quaint little cottages this is a collection of three separate islands which reflect the traditional Irish way of life. Are you an adventurer? If you’re looking for thrills why not go cliff diving off the Cliffs of Aran? There’s also an annual cliff diving contest which is breathtaking and scary just to watch. While you’re here make sure you buy yourself a traditional Aran sweater commonly referred to as the fisherman’s sweater.
5. The Wild Atlantic Way
Make the most of your rental car and head out on the adventure of a lifetime along the 2,600 km of coastal roads that wind along the Irish Atlantic coastline. For an unforgettable trip we recommend travelling from south to north, starting in the town of Kinsale and ending at the Inishowen Peninsula. This journey is great if you’re visiting Galway for a couple of weeks or more, and a truly excellent way to see the region. You can make as many stops as you wish and discover more of this stunning region.
6. The Burren National Park
If you’re looking to reconnect with nature on your visit to Galway be sure to take the time and drive to the Burren National Park. This staggering 1,800 hectares of unspoilt Irish landscape was originally carved out by an ancient glacier. It’s now fully dried out, leaving miles of exposed limestone giving it a lunar feel. You’ll also discover the vast array of wildflowers that grow in the park, especially if you visit in spring or summer. Did you know Ireland grows orchids which can be found here? This fascinating park is also home to several caves which have formed as the limestone has dissolved over millions of years. Burren is certainly a place for outdoor enthusiasts, as well as those interested in the formation of the park.
7. The Cliffs of Moher
As a UNESCO-listed site, the Cliffs of Moher are a stunningly beautiful location. This is one of the Atlantic Way’s favourite spots for visitors, with its crystal blue waters that crash onto the rocks below the steep cliffs, you’ll be mesmerised.
This is an ideal area for birdwatchers with many species from puffins to falcons to spot. You can walk the coastal paths and take in the amazing views before stopping off at a traditional Irish pub for a pint of Guinness. The locals will welcome you and are sure to share their stories of the legends of the Cliffs of Moher.
With so much to see and do in the region of Galway renting a car is the best way to take advantage of some of Ireland’s most scenic parts.
Your guide to visit Galway – https://www.europcar.ie/editorial/en/places-to-see/your-guide-to-visiting-galway-1047/
The wild Atlantic Way – https://www.europcar.ie/editorial/en/road-trip/the-wild-atlantic-way-1006/
Explore the Cliffs of Moher – https://www.europcar.ie/editorial/en/road-trip/explore-the-cliffs-of-moher-from-dublin-693/