There are several things to do in Galway City. Known as one of the most beautiful towns in Ireland, it is known for its urban culture, arts, history, and music.
This city on the west coast of Ireland never fails to exceed expectations- from its medieval walls down to the breathtaking view of the River Corrib.
So whether you’re coming over for a quick visit or longer, there’s just so much to enjoy in this harbor city.
With that, here are 20 things to do in Galway City that you should not miss.
Things you'll find in this article
- 20 Best Things To Do In Galway City, Ireland
- 1. Meet some marine friends at the Galway Atlantaquaria
- 2. Learn about Galway’s past in the Galway City Museum
- 3. Enjoy a walk at Kirwan’s Lane
- 4. Catch sunsets at Salthill
- 5. Join the Galway City Riverwalk
- 6. Take a relaxing afternoon in Circle of Life Commemorative Garden
- 7. Visit the Galway Cathedral
- 8. Discover Galway City’s Medieval house
- 9. Have a sumptuous meal at Quay Street Kitchen
- 10. Kickstart your riverwalk at the Spanish Arch
- 11. Meet locals at Eyre Square
- 12. Visit the old fishing village in Galway
- 13. Watch salmons spawn at the Salmon Weir Bridge
- 14. Grab a drink on the Shop Street
- 15. Be entertained with Galway City’s street performers
- 16. Try the pizza and beer in Monroe’s Tavern
- 17. Spill some tea in the Secret Garden
- 18. Enjoy the luxurious McCambridge’s
- 19. Try the pint in Neachtains Bar
- 20. Check out the pint in Murphy’s Bar too
20 Best Things To Do In Galway City, Ireland
1. Meet some marine friends at the Galway Atlantaquaria
The National Aquarium of Ireland is not just Ireland’s largest aquarium but also home to over 150 marine and freshwater species- including Valentine, the only White Skate being publicly displayed in the world.
Other highlights in this aquarium are seahorses, sharks, friendly rays, and a skeleton of an enormous fin whale.
If you prefer, there are also audio presentations to guide you on the tour.
The Lighthouse Gift Shop also has a variety of souvenir items to take home and if you want to take a break after touring the entire aquarium, you can enjoy a good meal at the Royal Villa Restaurant.
2. Learn about Galway’s past in the Galway City Museum
One of the most popular attractions in Ireland, the Galway City Museum is perfect for solo, couple, or group travelers who want to comb a piece of extensive information about Galway’s past.
Galway City Museum, which is located behind the iconic Spanish Arch, has exhibitions that focus on the medieval town, the Claddagh settlement, and Galway’s history from 1800 to 1950. It is one of the top things to do in Galway.
The Museum also displays a range of exhibits from other museums, galleries, and special interest groups, as well as mounting temporary exhibitions. You can also find a big collection of artifacts and souvenirs from World War I and the Civil/Independence War, Medieval and pre-Medieval era in Galway, and all the way back to its prehistoric times.
The Claddagh, the Spanish Arch, the River Corrib, and Galway Bay can all be seen from the top of the museum building.
3. Enjoy a walk at Kirwan’s Lane
Named after one of the leading fourteen tribes in Galway, Kirwan’s Lane should make it to your list of things to do in Galway City.
This lane is one of the finest medieval lanes in Galway and contains what remains of the 16th and 17th-century architecture of the city.
Truly a great spot to revisit Galway’s rich history.
Enjoy a walk here with many bohemian-style cafes, restaurants, craft shops, and some of the best bars in Galway.
4. Catch sunsets at Salthill
Located at the edge of the city, Salthill is the best place to chase the sun go down over Galway Bay.
Leisureland Galway is also in the neighborhood if you want to treat your entire family for some water adventure.
The facility has a Treasure Cove with a pirate ship, water cannons, and a bubbly pool.
You can also find a lot of restaurants and hotels in Salthill if you want to spend a night or two here.
5. Join the Galway City Riverwalk
Starting from the Spanish Arch, the Galway city Riverwalk is a guided tour of Galway City’s river.
The tour runs all year round but sometimes it also depends on the availability of the guides.
If you have an hour and a half to spare for a stroll along the river, this walking tour should be added to your list of things to do in Galway City.
6. Take a relaxing afternoon in Circle of Life Commemorative Garden
Located in the Salthill area, the Circle of Life Commemorative Garden offers a relaxing atmosphere to tourists who want to take a break from Galway City’s overwhelming charm.
The garden also lets you reflect on the different stages of life as inscribed on each of these 2-meter standing stones- definitely an interesting soul-searching place in Galway.
7. Visit the Galway Cathedral
Galway Cathedral is one of Galway’s largest and most imposing structures, situated on the west side of the River Corrib near Salmon Weir Bridge.
The church plays an important part in the history of Galway City with each stone used in building the cathedral was donated by the locals.
Officially known as the Galway Cathedral of Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas, it was the last large stone cathedral completed in Europe.
The church boasts of an impressive interior, adorned with stunning art that range from wall paintings, statues, mosaics and stained glass.
8. Discover Galway City’s Medieval house
Although the Lynch’s Castle is often off the spotlight, it still deserves a spot in your itinerary in Galway City.
This medieval castle embellished with gargoyle statues and ornamental moldings used to be the home of one of Galway’s prominent families.
Presently, it houses the AIB bank. You can also learn more about the architecture and history of the castle if you visit during the opening hours of the bank.
9. Have a sumptuous meal at Quay Street Kitchen
Quay Street Kitchen is one of the best places to enjoy a good meal in Galway City.
Their menu is not favorable to vegetarians though but the dishes are definitely worth a try.
There’s nothing more satisfying than enjoying good food and watching the vibrant city from the inside.
10. Kickstart your riverwalk at the Spanish Arch
The Spanish Arch, which overlooks the Claddagh, is located on the Corrib, just outside the city center of Galway.
The Spanish Arch is one of the old city walls’ few preserved structures. In the medieval era, Galway had a wall that kept invading troops from getting in.
Galway’s Spanish Arch is one of the city’s most well-known landmarks.
Owing to its location in Western Europe, Galway has long enjoyed close trading ties with Spain and Portugal.
A large number of Spaniards settled here, which allegedly prompted the ruling class in Dublin to declare that “Galway is more Spanish than Irish.”
The arch was named after the Spaniards as a result of this. Ships and galleons from Spain frequently anchored alongside the Arch.
11. Meet locals at Eyre Square
Eyre Square remains to be the heart of Galway city. Popular among locals and tourists, Eye Square offers a playground for children and seasonal markets for adults.
You can also find a number of ornate fixtures in the park such as the Browne family mansion doorway and the Quincentennial fountain.
The largest shopping mall in Galway City can also be found in Eyre Square.
12. Visit the old fishing village in Galway
Also known as “The Shore”, The Claddagh used to be an ancient fishing village in the western part of Galway City.
Today, the original village has been demolished and was replaced by council houses, a church, a school, and a community center.
However, the new face of the village did not erase its rich history and the legend of the Claddagh ring still remains alive today.
13. Watch salmons spawn at the Salmon Weir Bridge
If you happen to be in Galway City during the summer season, one of the most interesting things to add in your itinerary is a visit to the Salmon Weir Bridge.
Tourists and locals gather on this bridge to watch salmons spawn in the Corrib river.
Aside from this, you can also enjoy the sight of the Cathedral from the bridge.
14. Grab a drink on the Shop Street
After a satisfying course in the Quay Street Kitchen, why not grab a drink at Shop Street?
The vivid and lively atmosphere of this place will entertain you and will make you grab for a few more Irish drinks.
You can try the different shops as you walk down the street or just window-shop if you prefer.
There are also a lot of street performances so don’t miss it by walking too fast. It pays to just blend in and enjoy a slow walk with a drink in your hand.
15. Be entertained with Galway City’s street performers
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As mentioned earlier, Shop Street has a lot of street performers or buskers and it’s just one of the many streets in Galway City with street performers entertaining locals and tourists.
If you spot a busker on the street, feel free to stay a bit longer, and enjoy good music.
The buskers in this city are one of the most creative and artistic folks.
16. Try the pizza and beer in Monroe’s Tavern
A slice of a gigantic pizza paired with a cold beer is perfect when accompanied with good live music.
If you’re craving for such experience while in Galway city, you might want to visit Monroe’s Tavern.
Whether you come on a mid-week or end of the week, Monroe’s has live music waiting for you.
17. Spill some tea in the Secret Garden
The Secret Garden is one of the best spots in Galway city to enjoy a cup of tea.
If you’re looking for a way to a quiet place to relax and enjoy a few chit-chats with your friends, the Secret Garden is a not-so-secretive place to add in your itinerary.
18. Enjoy the luxurious McCambridge’s
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This household name in Galway offers luxurious treats for tourists who want to splurge every penny they have in the city.
Their range of food choices like their variety of cheese will not disappoint.
Plus, the cafe on the second floor is also a lovely highlight. MacCambridge’s is one of the best restaurants in Galway.
19. Try the pint in Neachtains Bar
Definitely, one of the best Guinness in Galway city, a visit to the Neachtains Bar makes it worthwhile.
This cozy little spot is everyone’s favorite during the winter season where each corner will surely have a fireplace to warm everyone up.
If you’re in the city during these freezing times, you might want a pint and a cozy evening in Neachtains Bar.
20. Check out the pint in Murphy’s Bar too
A trip to anywhere in Ireland will not be complete if you haven’t tried every single pint in the country.
To add to your list, the pint in Murphy’s Bar is also worth a try.
Check out their delicious food items too! You can never go wrong in this old man’s bar in the heart of the city.