Galway is one of the most beautiful and charming cities in Ireland, but as it lies on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean, the rain can often ruin plans. Below are some of my favorite ways to enjoy a rainy day in Galway and get the most out of your time in this exciting city.
Activities for a Rainy Day in Galway:
|Activity||Price Per Person (€)||Family Friendly?||Is a Booking Required?|
|Coffee Shop||€2.50 – €5.00||Yes||No|
|Restaurant||€15 – €50||Yes||Yes|
|Pubs||Free – €25||No||No|
|Live Traditional Music||Free – €25||Yes||No|
|Theatre/ Live Performances||€18 – €30||Yes||Yes|
|Cinema||€8 – €12||Yes||Yes|
|Go Karting||€25 – €30||Yes||Yes|
|Aquarium||€9 – €14||Yes||Yes|
If you come to Ireland and expect good weather, you will usually be disappointed. So, it is usually good to have a few backup ideas for what to do when the “authentic” liquid sunshine arrives. Below is my advice on what to do in Galway indoors!
Does it Rain a Lot in Galway?
Galway is on the western coast of Ireland and as such it gets some of the most rain in the country. On average, there are about 170 days of rain a year in Galway. The winter months are usually the wettest, with the months of June to August being the driest and mildest for temperatures.
If you want to learn more about how much it rains in Ireland, I have gone into more detail on this topic, in this article here.
This small city is one of the most vibrant and exciting in all of Ireland and there is always plenty to see and do, even with the weather! If you want more information on how to prepare for the Irish weather, then please click this link to read about my advice on how to dress for our rain.
Museums in Galway
Some of the most popular free museums in Galway include: The Galway City Museum, Lynch’s Castle, Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Ring Shop and the Hall of the Red Earl. All of these are within walking distance of each other and collectively cover much of the history and culture of the local area.
Galway City Museum is owned and operated by the government of Ireland and is the most comprehensive of all the local museums. It has information on the local natural history, political history in addition to more recent cultural and sporting events.
Lynch’s Castle is the oldest building still in commercial use in Ireland. Originally built by the Lynch family in the 16th century, it is currently owned by AIB bank and used as a local branch in the center of Galway city. On the ground floor, there is an exhibit on the history of the building that is free to the public.
Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Ring Shop was opened in Galway in 1750 and is the oldest jewelers currently operating in Ireland. Behind the public shop, there is a small museum that covers the history of the claddagh ring and is free to visit.
The Hall of the Red Earl was the first municipal building in Galway. It was commissioned by Richard de Burgo, the Earl of Ulster and grandson of the founder of Galway city. The ruins of this building are open to the public to explore and here you can learn more about this period of the early history of the city.
There are two cathedrals in Galway city center. The larger is Galway Cathedral, with is Roman Catholic and the other St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, which is the collegiate church and the main church for the local Church of Ireland parish.
Galway Cathedral is the newer of the two, having only been consecrated in 1965. While it is one of the most impressive buildings in Galway, it is a little further away from the city center and might be more difficult to get to in the rain.
St. Nicholas’ on the other hand was established in the 14th century and has survived much turmoil in Galway’s past. This church was named after the patron saint of seafarers, in respect of the city’s founding as a port. This building is right next to shop street in the heart of Galway and might be easier to discover.
There is a thriving industry of coffee shops in Galway city center. While tea drinking is the more traditional Irish pursuit, in the last couple of decades, coffee has become more popular in Ireland. If you want to get out of the rain and chill out with some of the locals this might just be one of the best places to go.
Below are some of my favorite coffee shops in the center of Galway:
Coffeewerk + Press is a really cool designer coffee shop on Quay Street. Here you will find some of the best coffee in Ireland and really interesting designer gear from all over the world. This is a fantastic place to check out if you are a coffee lover in Galway.
The Lane Cafe is located right across the road from the Hall of the Red Earl on Druid Lane, just off Quay Street. If you want to get away from the crowds, but not travel too far, this is a great place to check out.
Pascal’s Coffee House can be found near Shop Street and is one of my personal favorite places to go if you want to sit down for a while with a cup of coffee and avoid the rain!
When visiting Galway you will be spoilt for choice when it comes to places to eat. You will not be able to check out every restaurant in the city, but you will be able to find some of the best seafood in the world even in some of the more unassuming establishments.
That being said, if you are looking for something other than seafood, there are plenty of options in Galway. The city has cuisine from all over the world and there are plenty of great places to warm yourself up in and get dry.
If you want more information on where to eat in Galway, I have gone into more detail on the city’s restaurants in this article here.
There are plenty of pubs in Galway that are popular with both the locals and visitors to the city alike. These can be great places to not only get out of the nasty weather, but to also meet people and get a taste for the culture, even if you don’t want to drink any alcohol.
Some of the more popular pubs in Galway are:
Tigh Neachtains was established in 1894 and pretty much looks exactly the same today. The pub has some amazing artwork on the outside of local historical figures. Inside, it is made up entirely of cosy little nooks and crannies that you can hide away in or meet people to your heart’s content.
O’Connell’s Bar is located right on Eyre Square and is one of the most popular establishments in the city amongst locals. The pub itself goes a lot further back than you would think and the beer garden can be a great place to spend some time come rain or shine!
If you want to visit any Irish pub, but are unsure about consuming any alcohol, there are indeed options for you. Please click this link to another article where I go into more detail on non alcoholic options in Irish pubs.
Live Music Session
A traditional Irish music session typically consists of musicians who will meet up in a local pub with their instruments to play music. They will often join in the songs that they know and learn ones they don’t. These sessions are usually done publicly and other patrons can join, if they know the song being played.
These experiences are what many visitors to Ireland want to see while they are here. Though, by their nature, they are often hard to predict and quantify. Having said that, there are some places that will host these sessions regularly.
Theatre and Live Performances
Galway has a thriving cultural scene and you will often be spoiled for choice when it comes to the arts. Depending on the time of year you visit, there may even be some sort of festival going on. So, it is always a good idea to check in advance if something like that is happening.
If you want to see live performances while you are in Galway you have a couple of great options:
The Town Hall theatre hosts multiple performances throughout the week and if you click the previous link, you will see their upcoming events.
The Roisin Dubh is one of the more famous late night venues in the city. Before it turns into a nightclub however, it will usually host some gigs and comedy shows.
Munroes is across the road from the Roisin Dubh and is also located in the Latin Quarter of Galway. This late night pub often hosts great musical acts.
This is the usual go-to for anyone looking for something to do to get out of the rain. Like any other city Galway has some great options for movie-goers. If you are looking for recent blockbuster releases or something more niche, Galway has options for you.
IMC Cinema is within walking distance of the city center and shows contemporary movies. This is the place to go if you want to see any of the current blockbusters.
Palas is right next to the Spanish Arch and the Galway City Museum. This cinema shows more niche movies that are difficult to find elsewhere, in addition to the more popular blockbusters.
If you want to do something a little out of the ordinary, then Go Karting is a great option. Please click the link below to learn more about go karting in Galway:
This is one of the main aquariums in Ireland and is located just outside of the city center in the Salthill neighborhood. If you want to do something a little unique on your stay in Galway and learn more about the natural world around you, then this is one of the best places to check out.