Here are some of my favorite things about Galway that make this small and charming city on the Atlantic coast of Ireland so beautiful. I know you probably didn’t need any more reasons to head to Galway, but if you check these places out, you will make everyone else on social media very jealous!
- Eyre Square.
- The Medieval Streets.
- Old Brickwork.
- Lynch’s Castle – and Others
- The Spanish Arch.
- Nimmo’s Pier.
- The Long Walk.
- The River Corrib.
- Galway’s Westend.
- The Prom and Galway Bay.
There are too many different things to mention than in just one article. Here, I have gone through a short journey you can take through the center of Galway that will bring you to some of its most beautiful spots. You don’t have to see everything, but each place listed here flows easily to the next.
Eyre Square is the main square in Galway City. Here, you will find Galway’s train station and the main bus station is located a short walk away. You will also find the main entrance to the central shopping center, in addition to multiple bars and restaurants.
We will start our little trip through Galway here. There are lots of great statues and things to see here in the square, so make sure to check them out when you can.
There is also a little Christmas Market here over November and December. Here, you will find plenty of great food and souvenir stalls, but you will also find lot’s of great seasonal decorations and photo opportunities.
The Medieval Streets
One of the first things you’re going to notice about Galway is its winding medieval streets. Some of these were first laid by the city’s founders in the 13th Century and you will be able to walk these same streets and even see some of the same buildings today.
The street network in Galway can be difficult to navigate on your first visit. But if you stay near the main shopping streets with all of the crowds, you shouldn’t have any problems navigating.
When it rains, which is often in Galway, the streets can look even more beautiful. Especially in the winter months, when the lights reflect the water on the old stone streets and alleyways.
If you are unsure about what to do in Galway if it does rain, you can find my recommendations linked here.
With such old buildings in Galway, you are going to find plenty of beautiful and well-crafted stonework all over the city. Its common to find buildings in Galway that are 400+ years old. Some of these are pubs and restaurants today and inside you will see the work of craftspeople who died centuries ago.
You will find buildings like this all over the center of Galway. Even some of the most unassuming places, like fast-food restaurants, will have gorgeous old brickwork that dates from the 16th Century.
Lynch’s Castle – and Others
One example of this famous stonework is Lynch’s Castle on Shop Street. This former fortified townhouse is currently the local branch of AIB bank. This building has been repurposed over the centuries, but it still has a public exhibit on the corner of the ground floor that talks about this building’s unique history.
There are plenty of other examples of this same thing throughout Galway. You will notice former castles and fortified townhouses that have been repurposed into businesses and homes.
On Quay Street, near the Spanish Arch, there are plenty of examples of this. With places like coffee shops that are open to the public and are free for you to explore, to an extent anyway!
The Spanish Arch
At the end of Quay Street, on the water, you will find the Spanish Arch. This can be a controversial monument. Personally, I don’t think that it is even the best monument in Galway. But I would never say that too loudly when in the city!
For many locals and people who have lived in Galway, the Spanish Arch holds immense nostalgia. You will often find young people in particular under the archway, sheltering from the rain showers that will blow in over the city with regularity.
When in Galway, its well worth checking out.
The Long Walk
Next to the Spanish Arch is the “Long Walk”. This name is a bit tongue-in-cheek, as its not actually that long at all. But it is next to the mouth of the river and you will be able to see some wildlife in the bay. You will also be able to people-watch everyone hanging out on the opposite side of the water.
The walk itself is home to some of the oldest homes in the city. Many of the buildings that you will see here are centuries old and are built in a similar style to some of the pubs and restaurants that you will have already seen.
There are lots of great stories, songs and works of art about this street and you will get the best view of it from across the mouth of the Corrib.
Alexander Nimmo was a Scottish civil engineer who designed much of the infrastructure in County Galway in the early 19th Century. If you explore Connemara National Park, you will see countless small ports and bridges that he designed which are still in use.
His most famous design however, is probably the main pier in Galway City which has been named after him.
Walking along this Pier will give you great views of Galway’s port area and the mouth of the River Corrib. You will also get the best views of the Long Walk from here. This pier can also be a great place to see dolphins swimming in deeper waters near the port.
Possibly the best view from the pier though is that of Galway Bay. We will talk more about this later, but if you are travelling along this route, you should get your first great view of Galway Bay from the pier.
The River Corrib
If you want to leave this route at the river you can. The Corrib is the main river in Galway city and its very fast-flowing. Though the river can be dangerous at times, especially after a storm or heavy rain, its banks are a great place to see local wildlife and beautiful, unique architecture.
By travelling up the bank of the river, you will be able to see great views of buildings like the Main Cathedral. You will also be able to see plenty of waterfowl and lots of historic locks and canal infrastructure that was put in place to try and tame the river.
Just across the river is the Westend of Galway. This is a vibrant and trendy neighborhood with some of the best nightlife in the city. It also has great street art and beautiful architecture.
This is a really great place to explore and wander in and out of locally owned coffee shops, craft bars and cool restaurants.
If you want to learn more about this part of the city, you can find that information on their website linked here.
Though this neighborhood is located a little further away from the city center, it is well worth the journey. Salthill is a community with a population of around 20,000 people located about a 20 minute walk away from Galway city center.
While the main part of Salthill is along the coast, the main street of the community is just inland and has establishments of all descriptions. Make sure to head out here, provided you have the time of course!
The Prom and Galway Bay
Located along the coast of Salthill, at the end of our little journey, is the “Prom”. This walkway extends for a few kilometers along the sea and is a great place to check out at both high and low tide.
At low tide you, you will be able to explore some of the sandy beaches that will appear. When the tide comes in, you will still have the option to walk up and down the prom, taking in the views. If you do choose to come here, you will also see countless locals who have made the same trip.
This place is particularly popular with the locals.
You might also find people swimming in Galway Bay. While this is not necessarily for everyone, many people do in fact enjoy swimming in the Atlantic Ocean!
When walking along the prom, you will see stunning views of Galway Bay. From the mountains and hills on the Bay’s south coast, to the Galway Hookers in the water, there will be plenty here to improve your social media profile!