From a small fishing village to one of the best towns in Ireland: discovering Galway!
Galway is very different town to any others in Ireland, maybe because it was originally formed from a small fishing village located in the area near the Spanish Arch. It was called ‘The Claddagh’, and it’s exactly where the River Corrib meets Galway Bay.
During the year 1232 Galway became a walled town, after the territory was captured by the Anglo Normans led by Richard De Burgo. The town walls, some sections of which can be seen today near the Spanish Arch, were constructed circa 1270. A charter was granted in 1396 by Richard II which transferred governing powers to 14 merchant families, known locally as the 14 tribes of Galway.
Right now it is a friendly city where it is easy to get around. It is a cracking little town full of interesting things to do and see. The city is also well known for its many festivals throughout the year like the Races and numerous other events.
Galway is also now considered the perfect place for a weekend break from the big cities like Dublin, but also a base from which to explore the West of Ireland (as we said in our previous blog about Aran Island).
During the summer it is always full of tourists and it’s almost impossible to walk around, instead during the winter time it is not so busy, and the Irish people prefer to spend a Saturday around the city during this period, also because during the morning there is a beautiful market in the shadow of the medieval church of St Nicholas.
Christopher Columbus actually visited and prayed here in St Nicholas church, before setting off to discover the New World. Not everybody knows that it is the oldest Church in Ireland still in daily use.
The lovely Shop Street near the Church is always a hive of activity with live music and various street acts daily. In the city you can thankfully still find some good old shopping institutions left there, like McCambridges (food emporium) with its excellent new restaurant upstairs, Anthony Ryans (drapers) and Powells (music shop), even if in the beginning it was a coffee shop.
10 Things To Do and See in Galway:
1) A walking tour of the city: Pick up a map from the Tourist Office (opposite the new bus station) and discover this Amazing city! It is not so big and with one day it is possible to visit all. Discover all its particular things around, and why we defined it so different from other cities (our students of the Travelling Programme do the tour with a local guide who explains them everything about the city);
2) The Corrib Princess: take a guided boat trip up the Corrib River from Woodquay (only during the summertime), this is an absolutely pleasant way to spend an afternoon (bar on board);
4) Visit Salthill: for a walk or a swim, and visit its amazing Aquarium! It is also possible to play the slot machines, or check out the numerous, cafes (Mocha Beans & Arabica) bars (Lohans & The Cottage) and restaurants (Da Roberta’s & The Galleon) there.
5) Eye Cinema: beside the G Hotel, fantastic iconic building, screening all the latest movies including live Opera from the Met in NYC.
6) Eat Fish and Chips: in McDonagh’s, the best Fish and Chips in town. Mc Donaghs have been tantalising the taste buds of both Visitors and Locals for four generations. The Family knowledge of Fish and dedication to their customers has earned them the reputation of being one of Ireland’s best Seafood’s Houses. as well.
7) Go to the Town Hall Theater: an excellent small venue, not so expensive, very good and varied program of events. There is also a trendy little bar upstairs for relaxing during the intervals.
8) Visit the Spanish Arch Museum: which is free and often has good temporary art exhibitions.
9) Drink beers and listen to good music in a pub: one of the best is “The Turks Head” in Shop Street, which is where we bring our students during our Travelling Programme. Do you know the story of this pub? Ask to the barman!
10) Claddagh Ring Museum: pocket sized, but very interesting, Kate will tell you all about Galway and the history of the Claddagh. It is situated in Shop Street, don’t miss it!
Can’t wait to visit Galway? Join us in our Halloween Programme!
2 weeks travelling around Ireland and special party in Dublin and Cork, that’s not a Treat!
Travelling Languages…your English School on the road!