Discover Galway

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Galway : activities and sites to visit

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What to expect?

If you like young and dynamic cities, with lively and colourful streets, then you won’t be disappointed! Galway today is a growing city with many treasures! Because if Galway combines modernism and traditionalism, it is above all a cool and dynamic city, where it is good to live! If you want to venture there for a day or a stay, you will discover very active streets, with countless restaurants and Irish Pubs immersed in a warm atmosphere! Of course, the music will be there, not only because of the musicians who flock to the city, but also because of its famous festivals!

History of Galway

A City founded in the 12th century

Galway was first built in 1124, when the King of Knowledge (Tularch O’Connor) built a real fort on the banks of the River Corrib, on an ancient village known as Claddagh.

But very quickly, the Channel Invasions of 1232 snatched Galway from the O’Flaherty clan, only to fall into the hands of the invaders. The latter undertook to extend the city around the fort, building a citadel, as well as numerous dwellings, protected by imposing ramparts. The construction of a port, also allows the city to open up to maritime trade, and thus to develop by maintaining trade relations with other countries such as Spain.

During this period, Galway is ruled by a consensus of 14 clans (including 12 Channel Anglo-Norman and 2 Irish). These families administered and ruled the entire city, imposing their laws and power over the rest of the inhabitants. The majority of the Anglo-Norman population also enjoyed great privileges over the Irish, who lived within the city in a climate of extreme tension and discrimination.
From Cromwell to the Present Day…

The 17th century was a dark period for Galway. Cromwell, followed a few years later by William of Orange took the city by storm, and successively destroyed it. The damage is of such a magnitude that the city is then reduced to nothing. Following this catastrophe, the inhabitants who survived the massacre decided to rebuild the city. Reconstruction then takes several centuries, for lack of significant financial means.

It was only at the end of the 20th century, in the 1990s, that Galway experienced a real economic boom: European and American investors saw in Galway a wonderful financial opportunity, and thus revived its economy, with the help of companies specialising in the field of high technology. To date, Galway has been able to rise from its ashes, and has been able to take its revenge: many Europeans describe Galway as a true Eldorado!

What to visit in Galway?

A colourful city at the gates of Connemara

Galway has the advantage of being ideally situated for exploring the Irish west coast. Situated 2.5 hours from the Cliffs of Moher, the city is known for being profoundly lively and festive. Very active, it lives to the rhythm of its students, tourism and the ocean.

We appreciate its ultra-colourful city centre, its Latin Quarter, its museums (including the famous Galway City Museum), its river (the Lough Corrib), its parks and squares (including Eyre Square)… In short: Galway is a cultural city, young, active, and which has managed to keep its history, heritage and traditions, while anchoring them in a spirit of incredible modernity.

Big advantage: Galway is also a more than interesting proximity to one of the most beautiful regions of all Ireland: Connemara! The place is ultra touristic and attracts every year millions of travellers who come to explore its national park, with its great wild spaces, its mountains and its valleys. The lakes of Connemara are also a tourist attraction in their own right, thanks to their unrivalled charm! Not to mention its Irish castles, such as Kylemore Castle, located in a magical natural setting!

The place is magical, ideal for hiking, cycling tours, and explorations of all kinds.

So don’t hesitate to visit Galway and stay there, whether it’s to sample the cool and trendy atmosphere of the city, or to explore the Irish west in greater depth.

The icing on the cake: Galway has been named “European Capital of Culture” for 2020. Proof that it is impossible to get bored in such a city!