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Ireland - Galway

Galway City, known as the City of the Tribes with its seaside suburb of Salthill, is an important tourist centre and a gateway to the scenic areas of the county.  In the 1400s, there began in Galway the rule of the 'Tribes', as the leading fourteen families were called.  Their names were Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'arcy, Deane, ffont, French, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris, and Skerritt.   

Geographical Features

The main centre of population is Galway City, with the other main towns being Athenry, Ballinasloe, Clifden, Gort, Loughrea and Tuam. 
See full list of Towns in Galway.

Mountain Ranges:
The Twelve Bens dominate the skyline of South Connemara, with the Maamturks being the main mountain range to the North. 
See Mountains in Galway

The coastline is dotted with islands with the 
Aran Islands being the main attraction.  Other inhabited islands include Inishbofin and Inishturk.

Lakes / Rivers:
County Galway has several freshwater 
lakes, with trout, salmon and coarse fishing being the main attraction.  The largest lake is Lough Corrib.

County Galway has several blue flag 
beaches.  The largest beaches are found in the Roundstone and Renvyle areas.

Galway is also famous for its many festivals, including the 
Galway RacesGalway Arts Festival and the Clarinbridge Oyster FestivalClick for Festivals in Galway.

Gift Vouchers in Galway.

map of Galway city

Main Tourist Attractions 

Athenry – Medieval Town with Arts and Heritage Centre

Athenry, a medieval town situated 23km from Galway City is steeped in history. Founded in the 13th century by Meiler de Birmingham, who surrounded the town with a curtain wall with towers and a moat.  It is the only walled town in Ireland whose still-intact walls are clearly visible to the approaching visitor.

Battle of Aughrim Interpretative Centre

Aughrim, Ballinasloe - on the main Galway – Dublin Road.

Relive the bloodiest battle in Irish history fought in a small Connaught village. Move back in time and place to that fateful day in 1691 through an audio-visual show based on the moving account of Captain Walter Dalton who fought at the Battle of Aughrim.

St. Jarlath's Wheel - Tuam

Located beside the Catholic Cathedral in the North Galway town of Tuam.

Tuam is also home to a 13th century parish church ruins and graveyard, located at Teampall Jarlath, High St. Tuam.

Galway Bay

Drive along the coast road from Galway to Spiddal and view the splendour of Galway Bay.  Later in the day one can experience the famed in song ‘Sun go down on Galway Bay’.

Tropical Butterfly Centre 

Carraroe, Connemara, Galway. 2 miles from Rossaveal Harbour on R343. Located in the heart of Connemara, Seawinds Nurseries and Tropical Butterfly Centre offers a unique experience in family entertainment, regardless of weather.  Set amid the lush splendour of a tropical enclosure, you can see hundreds of free flying exotic Butterflies in their natural environment.

The Aran Islands – located in Galway Bay

Situated at the mouth of Galway bay.  Day trips available from Galway and Clare coasts.  Organised tours available on the Islands.  Visit the cottage where J.M. Synge, the well-known Anglo-Irish author and playwright stayed and took the theme of The Playboy of the Western World.

Eyre Square – Galway City

Eyre Square (renamed John F Kennedy Park); an open green park where on can relax or view the many attractions, including the Statue of Paraic O’Connaire; erected in 1935 in memory of the writer who travelled the roads with his horse and cart.  Best remembered for M’asal Beag Dubh.  Died 1928.

Kirwan's Lane - Galway City

Kirwan's Lane (off Quay Street) is one of Galway's last remaining late Mediaeval Lanes and has been recently redeveloped as a residential area.  It was here that the Galway MP Richard Martin built a 100-seater theatre for his actress wife in 1783.  Among those who acted there was the republican patriot, Wolfe Tone.

Clifden in West Galway

The location of the landing of the first Trans-Atlantic air crossing by Alcock and Brown.  A very scenic part of Ireland.

Kinvara – Galway Hooker Boats

Kinvara hosts an annual festival to celebrate those unique sea boats each year. Always a selection of the old style Hooker boats on view.  Those boats were used to transport turf in bygone days.

Portumna Castle

The great semi-fortifed house at Portumna was built before 1618 by Richard Burke or de Burgo, 4th Earl of Clanricarde.  There are exhibitions in the castle and Gate House.

Coole Park

Located close to Gort, on the Galway Road, the former home of Lady Gregory, a founder of the Abbey Theatre and friend of William Butler Yeats.  The house no longer stands, but the estate is now a national nature reserve.  The garden of the house, with its yew walk and autograph tree is preserved.  Carved on the autograph tree, among others are the signatures of John Masefield, George Bernard Shaw and Sean O'Casey.  Attractions include nature trails, walks, a lake and turlough.

Thoor Ballylee

Once the former summer home of W.B. Yeats this restored Norman tower house was purchased by Yeats in 1916.  In 1965 the tower was opened to the public.  An audio visual presentation   and push button audio narratives in the rooms are available in the tower, which is open to the public from Easter to October.

Turoe Pet Farm

Located close to Loughrea, in a beautiful rural setting, Turoe Pet Farm provides great attractions for young and old, native and tourist!  Excellent facilities are provided catering for individual, family and group needs.

Dunguaire Castle

Located in Kinvara, Dunguaire Castle was built by the O'Hynes in 1520.  The clans association with the castle dates back as far as 662AD when their ancestor Guaire, King of Connnacht, ruled his kingdom from an earthwork rath close to the present castle site.  Richhad Martyn, Mayor of Galway, acquired the castle in the seventeenth century and it was subsequently purchased by Oliver Saint John Gogarty.  During his tenure the castle was the venue for meetings of the literary revivalists, led by W.B Yeats.  The bardic tradition which Yeats believed in, is reflected in the Medieval Banquet held every night.

Mill Museum - Tuam

Located in Tuam, this is the last surviving corn mill in the Tuam area.  It closed as a working mill in 1964 - its machinery is still in place.  This mill played a vital part in the life of the local community and a voluntary committee opened it as a museum in 1974.  It also serves as a seasonal tourist information office.

Quiet Man Film Locations

County Galway has several locations which were used in the making of the film. The Quiet Man. Visit the main film locations in an organised tour or join the Quiet Man Fan Club.

Heritage Sites

Athenry Castle

Athenry is one of the most notable medieval walled towns surviving in Ireland, owing its foundation to Meiler de Bermingham who built his Castle there c.1250. The great three-storey tower, surrounded by defensive walls, is entered at first-floor level through an unusual decorated doorway.  Recently re-roofed, the interior contains an audio visual room and exhibition.

Aughnanure Castle Galway - Oughterard

Built by the O’Flahertys c. 1500, Aughnanure Castle lies in picturesque surroundings close to the shores of Lough Corrib.  Standing on what is virtually a rocky island, the Castle is a particularly well-preserved example of an Irish tower house.  In addition, visitors will find the remains of a banqueting hall, a watch tower, an unusual double bawn and bastions and a dry harbour.

Dun Aonghasa - Inishmore, Aran Islands

Perched spectacularly on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean, this is the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands.  It is enclosed by three massive dry-stone walls and a "chevaux-de-frise" consisting of tall blocks of limestone set vertically into the ground to deter attackers.  The fort is about 900m from the Visitor Centre and is approached over rising ground. 

Teach an Phiarsaigh (Patrick Pearse's Cottage) Rosmuc

A small restored cottage used by Patrick Pearse (1879 – 1916) leader of the 1916 Rising, as a summer residence.  The interior, although burned during the War of Independence, has been reconstructed and contains an exhibition and a number of momentoes of Pearse.