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20+ Incredible Experiences You Can Have in Galway, Ireland

Promenade at Salthill, Galway, Ireland

Galway is my favorite part of Ireland, and I was able to make so many amazing memories while living there. Let me show you the incredible experiences you can have on your visit to Galway, Ireland.

The Best Ways to Experience Galway

The west of Ireland is at times wild and untamed. Traditional Irish culture and music thrive here. As the largest city on the west coast of Ireland, Galway is the perfect place to visit.

There are so many unique things to do in Galway for the quintessential Ireland vacation. From museums and shops to music and food, these are the experiences that should be on your Galway bucket list.

1. Marvel at Galway Cathedral

Galway Cathedral, Galway, Ireland

The impressive Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St Nicholas, or Galway Cathedral, is located on the west bank of the River Corrib. You can recognize it by its 145 foot high dome.

Its Connemara Marble floors, specially-built pipe organ, and glittering stained glass windows are so spectacular, you’d never guess the cathedral was built on the site of the old city prison.

2. Walk Through the Spanish Arch

Spanish Arch, Galway, Ireland

Galway’s Spanish Arch dates back to 1584 when it was built as an extension to the city’s 12th century Norman walls. The Arch housed soldiers who kept watch on the walls.

The name “Spanish Arch” likely references the former merchant trade with Spain and their ships that would dock here.

3. Explore the Galway City Museum

Galway City Museum, Galway, Ireland

The Galway City Museum used to be housed in the Spanish Arch, but now it takes up residence behind the Arch. The museum’s collections focus on Galway history, archaeology, and art.

You can expect to find exhibits on Pre-Historic Galway, Medieval Galway, World War I, Irish independence, writer and journalist Pádraic Ó Conaire, and modern Galway, as well as rotating traveling exhibits.

4. Stroll Down Shop Street

Shop Street, Galway, Ireland

Shop Street is the main pedestrian thoroughfare in Galway. As its name suggests, Shop Street is a great place to do all of your shopping in Galway.

You can also find buskers and street performers along the walkways, as well as plenty of pubs and restaurants.

5. Stumble Upon Lynch’s Castle

Lynch's Castle, Galway, Ireland

Lynch’s Castle is hiding in plain sight on the corner of Shop Street and Abbeygate Street.

This fortified house was built by the Lynch family in the 16th century as protection against the raids of the chieftains of the 14 Tribes of Galway. But now, it’s a bank. The ground floor of the building serves as a small museum elaborating the history and architecture of the castle.

6. Sit With the Oscar Wilde and Eduard Vilde Statue

Oscar Wilde and Eduard Vilde Statue, Galway, Ireland

At the top of William Street, Irish writer Oscar Wilde and Estonian writer Eduard Vilde sit on a bench, deep in conversation, and there’s space for you to join them!

The statue was a gift from Estonia when they joined the European Union in 2004.

7. Go on a Lively Pub Crawl

Pub Crawl Experience in Galway, Ireland

Galway has plenty of pub crawl operators that offer tours most nights of the week, or you can create your own pub crawl. There’s no shortage of places to drink in Galway, after all.

One of the tours I went on had a competition where you earn potatoes by winning drinking games; at the end of the night, whoever had the most potatoes won a t-shirt. Through a bit of cunning (someone gave me their potatoes) I did, in fact, end up winning!

8. Walk Along the Salthill Promenade

Salthill Promenade, Galway, Ireland

The Salthill Promenade runs along the inner shore of Galway Bay. You can see the Aran Islands out across the water, Galway City to your left, and the Burren to your right. It’s such a beautiful location.

It is local custom to kick the wall at the end of the Prom to signify your completion of the walk.

9. Swim at Blackrock Salthill

Blackrock, Salthill Promenade, Galway, Ireland

At the end of the Promenade, you’ll find Blackrock and a high dive. This is a very popular spot for swimming during the summer, but it’s accessible all year-round.

When the tide is high, you can jump off the diving board and have all kinds of fun.

10. Visit Eyre Square

Eyre Square, Galway, Ireland

Eyre Square dates back to Galway’s medieval history when markets took place here in front of the town gates.

It joins together the shopping areas of Williams Street and Shop Street, and it is also adjacent to the train station.

11. Enjoy Tunes in the Church at St. Nicholas’ Church

Tunes in the Church at St. Nicholas' Church, Galway, Ireland

Tunes in the Church is a series of traditional Irish music concerts held at St. Nicholas’ Church.

They take place nightly in the summer months (June-August) and feature traditional Irish musicians, singers, and dancers. These concerts are free to attend.

12. Visit the Claddagh Region

Claddagh Region, Galway, Ireland

The Claddagh region lies at the western shores of the mouth of the River Corrib. This area is regarded as the oldest fishing village in Ireland.

This is where the Claddagh ring originated. The Claddagh ring is supposed to have been the symbol of the King of Claddagh and was worn by the all fishermen of the village.

There’s nothing left of the thatched cottage village, but you can still explore the area and walk along the shores of the river.

13. Explore Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold and Their Claddagh Museum

Thomas Dillon's Claddagh Gold Claddagh Museum, Galway, Ireland

Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold is the oldest maker of the Claddagh ring. They’ve been making the ring since 1750.

They obviously have a lot of jewelry that you can browse, and the Claddagh design on rings, necklaces, earrings, and more; but they also have an interesting little museum in the back of the store highlighting the history of the Claddagh ring.

14. Buy Your Own Claddagh Ring

Claddagh Rings

A Claddagh ring is the quintessential Galway souvenir. A ring from Thomas Dillon’s comes with prestige, but it will be more expensive; their lower priced rings are about €45.

If you want something cheaper, there are plenty of other shops around.

I bought mine for €20, and it’s held on for over 5 years. I wear it every day, and the band is a little warped, but it still looks and fits great!

15. Relax by the River Corrib

River Corrib, Galway, Ireland

One of the popular things to do in Galway, especially on a warm and sunny summer day, is to relax on the banks of the River Corrib.

Bring a picnic or grab a good book, and enjoy your time just being in the city. This is one of the most laid-back experiences you’ll have in Galway!

16. Browse Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop

Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, Galway, Ireland

Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop is Galway’s beloved independent bookstore. This bookstore has been a cultural center in Galway for three decades, and it has a maze of over 100,000 new, used, and antique books to choose from.

Charlie Byrne’s is located at The Cornerstore Mall on Middle Street.

17. Check Out NUI Galway

NUI Galway Campus, Galway, Ireland

The National University of Ireland, Galway (NUI Galway) has been home to high-quality education since it was founded in 1845. It is also where I spent a summer studying Irish Literature and Gaelic Culture.

You’re free to wander the campus and take in its ivy covered stone buildings, art, museums, and walking paths.

18. Experience the Galway International Arts Festival

Galway International Arts Festival, Galway, Ireland

The Galway International Arts Festival takes place every year in July in Galway City. The festival celebrated its 45th anniversary in 2022. Come experience art in a whole new light with performances, music, visual art, and theatre.

And the great thing is, many of the events are completely free to attend!

19. Watch a Hurling Match

Hurling Match in Galway, Ireland

Hurling is an ancient Gaelic Irish sport that I still don’t completely understand, but it’s wild to watch! It’s truly a one-of-a-kind experience!

You can see a match at Pearse Stadium, County Galway’s principal Gaelic Athletic Association stadium, in Salthill; it’s just a short walk up from the seafront.

20. Listen to Trad Music at a Pub

Trad at the Kings Head, Galway, Ireland

There are so many places to experience amazing traditional Irish music in Galway! It’s one of the best cities in Ireland for trad music with live performances in pubs all over the city.

My favorite was always the “Trad at the Head” at The Kings Head. You can also check out Tigh Coili, Taaffes, The Crane, and more for daily and nightly sessions.

21. Taste the Best Irish Food

Dinner at the Guinness Storehouse

You can’t leave Galway without experiencing traditional Irish food! Irish stew, boxty, coddle, shepherd’s pie, and colcannon are some Irish favorites.

Make sure to check out The Quay Street Kitchen for traditional Irish meals, McDonagh’s for the city’s best fish and chips, and The Pie Maker for both sweet and savory pies.

22. Fall in Love With Ireland

If you haven’t already fallen in love with Ireland, visiting Galway is really going to seal the deal! Galway is a mix of traditional and modern Irish experiences that you can’t get anywhere else.

Where to Stay in Galway

Find the perfect place to rest your head on your visit to Galway, from the top rated accommodations to unique stays you can’t get anywhere else.

More Things to Do in Galway

Explore all that Galway has to offer! Check out these posts for more Galway itineraries.

Ready to visit Galway, Ireland? Plan your trip with these tips.



20+ Incredible Experiences You Can Have in Galway, Ireland

What are your favorite Galway experiences? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. I was born in England but never made it to Ireland and have always wanted to visit there. This post is the next best thing!

  2. Omg now I want to go to Ireland so bad! I’ll have to keep all of this in mind when I someday get to go. Especially the rings and the bookstore.

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