Things to do in Galway

Top attractions in Ireland

About Galway

Key attractions include the historic Eyre Square, bustling with activity and heritage, the Spanish Arch and remnants of the medieval city walls, and the vibrant shops and pubs of the Latin Quarter. Don't miss the Galway Cathedral with its impressively detailed architecture, and the tranquil Riverside Walk along the River Corrib.
Families should explore the Galway City Museum with its interactive displays, head to the Salthill Promenade for seaside attractions and fun at the beach, or enjoy a day at Leisureland with its pools and amusements. The Atlantaquaria provides up-close experiences with marine life, adding to the engaging entertainments for children.
Outdoor enthusiasts can revel in a walking tour of the city's medieval streets, hike up to the scenic vista at the Circle of Life Commemorative Garden, or enjoy cycling along the Wild Atlantic Way. Connemara National Park, a short drive from the city, offers trails of varying difficulty with dramatic landscapes.
Engaging indoor activities range from the immersive exhibits at the Galway City Museum, to tastings at local breweries or distilleries. The renowned Druid Theatre offers top-notch theatrical performances, while art lovers can spend hours admiring works in galleries such as the Galway Arts Centre.
The best Gaillimh tours include those that combine visits to historical landmarks with contemporary cultural experiences. This includes guided audio tours through the Latin Quarter and along the waterfront, as well as food and drink tours sampling local Galwegian specialties.
The most popular museums are the Galway City Museum, showcasing the region’s heritage and cultural history, and the James Mitchell Geology Museum within NUI Galway, which fascinates with its mineral and rock collections. For contemporary art enthusiasts, the Galway Arts Centre regularly updates its collections and exhibits.
For rainy days, indoor museum tours like the Galway City Museum or the James Mitchell Geology Museum provide shelter and educational entertainment. Gaillimh's food and drink scene also offers many indoor culinary tours that navigate through some of the best eats and treats of the city, regardless of weather.
Short tours in Gaillimh include a concise audio-guided walk around the Latin Quarter, exploring its historical significance and cultural highlights, or a quick tour of the Galway Cathedral, taking in its architectural grandeur and tranquil ambiance. Each of these can typically be enjoyed in under an hour.

Best Things to Do In Gaillimh

Delve into the heart of Gaillimh with a range of engaging self-guided audio tours exploring the city's rich tapestry of culture and history.

Gaillimh: Galway Cathedral

What is it?
An imposing cathedral known for its remarkable architecture and stained glass artistry.
Why you should go?
Galway Cathedral, with its distinctive dome, stands as a masterpiece of stone and glass on the banks of the River Corrib. It is an essential place to visit in Gaillimh for those who appreciate ecclesiastical architecture and the serene ambiance of religious art. Its interior, with arresting mosaics and a massive organ, is just as impressive as its exterior. The cathedral's concerts and services offer a memorable experience amidst the reverent echoes of choral music.

Gaillimh: Lynch's Castle

What is it?
A well-preserved medieval townhouse, showcasing the history of one of Gaillimh's powerful families.
Why you should go?
Lynch's Castle holds the tale of an influential family's legacy and provides a fascinating look into the domestic life of medieval Gaillimh. Its ornate stonework and historical displays transport visitors back in time. Those interested in genealogy and urban development will find the castle's archive invaluable. Now a bank, the building remains accessible to history buffs and architectural aficionados alike, contributing to Gaillimh excursions with a blend of commerce and antiquity.

Gaillimh: The Latin Quarter

What is it?
A vibrant district with cobbled streets, bustling with shops, pubs, and cafes.
Why you should go?
The Latin Quarter represents the pulsing heart of Gaillimh activities, brimming with street performers, historic pubs, and boutique shops. It is the gastronomic soul of the city, enticing food lovers with artisanal cheeses, fresh oysters, and craft beers. Visitors can immerse themselves in the area's festive atmosphere, making it one of the best things to do in Gaillimh for experiencing Ireland's contemporary culture mixed with traditional charm.

Gaillimh: Kirwan's Lane

What is it?
A historic lane, rich in medieval history, now lined with unique shops and restaurants.
Why you should go?
Kirwan's Lane in the heart of Gaillimh's old town is synonymous with the cultural tapestry of the city. The stone-clad alleyway is one of the last remaining medieval lanes, offering a quaint backdrop for exploring artisan boutiques and enjoying local cuisine. Its restored buildings stand as a testament to Gaillimh's past, making it a vital stop for those embarking on Gaillimh tours seeking a deeply authentic perspective.

Gaillimh: Connemara National Park

What is it?
A scenic natural reserve showcasing the wild beauty of the Connemara region.
Why you should go?
Just a short journey from Gaillimh, Connemara National Park is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The park offers some of the best Gaillimh excursions into nature, with guided walks through diverse landscapes of mountains, bogs, and woodlands. Visitors can witness Ireland's famous Connemara ponies and enjoy panoramic views from the Diamond Hill trail. Its unspoiled scenery presents an idyllic retreat for walkers, birdwatchers, and those seeking solace in nature's embrace.

Gaillimh: Galway City Museum

What is it?
A modern museum chronicling the history and cultural heritage of Galway.
Why you should go?
Nestled by the Spanish Arch, Galway City Museum offers a captivating glance at local history, art, and maritime culture. With exhibits spanning from prehistoric times to modern-day, visitors gain an informative overview of the city's development. The museum hosts interactive displays and engaging narratives, making it one of the best Gaillimh activities for history enthusiasts and curious minds seeking to understand the spirit of the city.

Gaillimh: Eyre Square

What is it?
The historic center of the city, a popular gathering point surrounded by shops and cafes.
Why you should go?
At the heart of Gaillimh lies the bustling Eyre Square, known for its green spaces and significant monuments, such as the Quincentennial Fountain. As a vital hub of social activity, it offers one of the best things to do in Gaillimh for those looking to absorb local life. Seasonal events transform the square, bringing traditional music, markets, and festivities directly to visitors' footsteps in the city's epicenter.

Gaillimh: Salthill Promenade

What is it?
An expansive seaside walkway offering panoramic views of Galway Bay.
Why you should go?
Things to see in Gaillimh surely include the Salthill Promenade, a coastal haven for walkers, swimmers, and anyone yearning for a breath of sea air. Stretching along the shore, the prom offers stunning vistas, refreshing breezes, and the chance to 'kick the wall' – a local tradition at the walk's end. It's an essential Gaillimh excursion for nature lovers and photographers captivated by Ireland's rugged coastline.

Gaillimh: St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church

What is it?
A medieval church regarded as the largest of its kind in Ireland, steeped in history.
Why you should go?
For those exploring what to do in Gaillimh, St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church stands as a testament to the city's medieval past. Dating back to the 14th century, the church hosts intricate carvings, historic tombs, and a welcoming atmosphere for reflection. Its weekly Saturday market brings Gaillimh activities to the spiritual location, blending community, commerce, and tradition in a unique cultural setting.

Gaillimh: The Spanish Arch

What is it?
A historical remnant of the city's ancient defensive structures, dating back to 1584.
Why you should go?
The Spanish Arch is a landmark steeped in the legacy of Galway's trading connections with Spain and one of the most emblematic things to see in Gaillimh. Situated on the left bank of the River Corrib, it invites travelers to delve into the tales of merchants and sailors that once frequented the city. This architectural relic is a must-visit on Gaillimh tours, providing a portal into an era that shaped the very fabric of this charming city.

TOP-5 tours in Gaillimh for first time visitors

  • Discover the quintessential things to do in Gaillimh with a historic journey through its cobblestone streets, diving into traditional pubs and vibrant markets.
  • Embark on an excursion highlighting what to see in Gaillimh, featuring the medieval City Walls and the iconic Spanish Arch, against the backdrop of the River Corrib.
  • For those pondering what to do in Gaillimh, uncover the city’s maritime heritage and contemporary arts scene, guided by the rich narratives woven through each site.
  • Explore places to visit in Gaillimh that are off the beaten path, revealing hidden gems and tranquil spots known only to locals and the most curious travelers.
  • Join in on the fun things to do in Gaillimh, where tales of the Claddagh ring come alive and the city’s university grounds buzz with youthful exuberance.

Fun things to do in Gaillimh with kids

For a family-friendly adventure, Gaillimh brims with activities that entertain and educate young minds. A must-visit spot is the Atlantaquaria, National Aquarium of Ireland, where interactive pools and eye-opening exhibits offer a deep dive into marine life. Families can marvel at underwater creatures and learn about aquatic environments through hands-on exhibits. The next stop can be the bustling Galway Market. Held near St. Nicholas' Church, it's perfect for a family stroll to sample local treats, witness craftspeople at work, and soak up the color and chatter of city life. Lastly, no trip with kids would be complete without a journey to Brigit's Garden. These magical Celtic gardens inspire with nature trails, a discovery trail, and natural playgrounds that enchant both children and adults, connecting everyone to the mythical heritage and natural beauty of Ireland.

Things to do in Gaillimh with family

Gaillimh is an exceptional destination for families seeking to blend education and fun. First on the list is a visit to Galway's Atlantaquaria, Ireland's largest native species aquarium. Here, explorations of marine life are brought to life with interactive exhibits and engaging demonstrations, perfect for curious minds of all ages. Step off the beaten path and spend a day at Loughwell Farm Park, where indoor and outdoor activities – from petting zoos to mini golf – promise laughter and joy. Families relishing in the beauty of nature can head to Rinville Park, where woodland walks, playgrounds, and picnic spots set against the backdrop of an ancient manor house offer a serene escape. Gaillimh tours tailored for families often include these attractions, proving that fun things to do in Gaillimh with kids are not only plentiful but also memorable.

Free things to do in Gaillimh

Capturing the essence of Irish charm, Gaillimh teems with attractions that won’t cost a cent. One of the top free things to do is visiting the Galway City Museum, positioned beside the Spanish Arch. It offers a plunge into local history, archeology, and folklore without an entry fee. Strolling through the bustling streets to Eyre Square provides families and solo travelers alike a glimpse into the city’s vibrant life. It's a perfect spot for people-watching, picnicking, and relishing in the ambiance of the city’s central public park. Lastly, the Galway Arts Centre showcases contemporary art in a historic building, fostering creativity and conversation. Regular exhibitions featuring Irish and international artists make it an enriching cultural experience. While exploring these destinations, visitors can embrace the rich, cultural panorama of Gaillimh, experiencing memorable tours without the expense.

Cheap things to do in Gaillimh

Gaillimh proves that an unforgettable visit doesn't have to break the bank. A fan favorite is spending time at the Galway Markets, where the cost is free to wander among the vibrant stalls, and visitors can sample fresh local produce and artisan treats at small prices. For those interested in the city's maritime history, the charming Galway City Museum offers low-cost, insightful exhibits and often hosts free workshops and events, providing an enriching cultural understanding. For a nominal fee, an afternoon in Lynch's Castle allows visitors to steep themselves in the medieval past of Gaillimh with well-preserved architecture that has stood the test of time. These attractions are not only among the best things to do in Gaillimh on a budget, but they also provide enriching experiences that capture the spirit and heritage of this dynamic Irish city.

Things to do in Gaillimh for couples

Romance blooms in Gaillimh with its blend of culture, history, and stunning natural scenery. Couples can meander hand in hand through the Latin Quarter, where cobblestone streets lead to quaint cafes, art galleries, and lively pubs perfect for cozying up together. An idyllic option is a leisurely walk along Salthill Promenade; it's an opportunity to savor the Atlantic horizon and share the traditional 'kick the wall', a practice beloved by locals. For those seeking serenity, the charming Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden provides a picturesque setting. Nestled amongst Connemara's lakes and mountains, it's a peaceful retreat away from the city where romantic histories and beautiful gardens inspire love and companionship. These experiences stand out as the top things to do in Gaillimh for couples looking to create unforgettable moments together.

Things to do in Gaillimh at night

As dusk falls, Gaillimh unveils a nightlife that is as dynamic as it is diverse. First for nighttime adventurers is an exploration of the city's pubs and live music venues. Roisin Dubh and Monroe's Tavern stand out, offering a spirited blend of traditional and contemporary tunes with an energetic atmosphere. For a more serene evening, the riverside walk by the Corrib provides a romantic tableau with the city lights reflecting off the water—a perfect backdrop for an intimate stroll. Those looking for something uniquely Gaillimh should not miss a performance at the Druid Theatre, renowned for its cutting-edge productions. From celebrated Irish plays to innovative new works, it's a cultural experience that complements the vibrancy of Gaillimh's after-dark offerings.