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Galway City Guide
- How big is Galway?
- The west coast city of Galway is approx 51 square kilometres. It is a small city that is very easy and enjoyable to walk around.
- How many people inhabit it?
- Roughly 72,500 people live in Galway City. It is one of the fastest growing cities in Ireland.
- What are the language and the currency?
- English is the main language spoken in Galway but if your go to certain places around the county of Galway you will find Irish language (Gaeilge) speaking villages and towns. The Euro is the currency.
- Fountain on Eyre Square at night
Things to see in Galway
- What is Galway's number one attraction?
- Eyre Square is probably Galway’s top attraction. This is a popular square with both locals and tourists as it lies right in the centre of the city. Eyre Square underwent a complete revamp after the millennium and while it became a controversial and expensive project, the resulting space and its popularity seems to have paid off. It has fountains, monuments, pathways, benches and green spaces. It’s the place to be on a sunny day in Galway City!
- What makes it so special?
- It becomes awash with people on a sunny day and has a great atmosphere that’s relaxed and fun. It also looks great and was designed well to make the best use of its space.
- Anything else which shouldn't be missed in Galway?
- Lots! The Spanish Arch is another very popular spot in Galway. It lies by the river and makes for a great hang out on a good day in Galway. There’s also the Spanish Arch Museum here. Shop Street is a very popular shopping street that also has lots of street entertainers. And if you want to get out to the beach then go to Salthill. It’s very easy to get to by foot, bike or car. Salthill is a lovely sea-side town and beach.
- What about art and culture?
- If you visit Galway during its summer Arts festival you will have lots to choose from. The ever popular Galway Arts Festival runs every summer around July and brings crowds to the streets of Galway with a programme packed full of cultural events. Galway also hosts lots of little festivals all year round so do your research on these before you visit. There are also lots of theatres, galleries and music venues around Galway city with full calendars. And if you are on a budget then don’t worry as there are some great street entertainers on the streets of Galway.
- I hear there's some good shopping too?
- You heard right! There’s the Eyre Square shopping centre along with some great shops all along the aptly named Shop Street! Big name brand shops as well as some beautiful boutiques can be found all over Galway. Don’t forget to check out the weekend market stalls around Shop Street also.
- Anything else I need to know about Galway?
- It is a small city but it really is a fun place and a great spot to relax. If you want to get out of the city then look into some of the county’s towns and villages. Connemara is not too far from Galway city and has some amazing scenery of lakes and mountains giving you that old Ireland feel. Also during the summer there are lots of festivals taking place in Galway such as the Galway Arts Festival and the Galway Races. The city is very busy during these times so book ahead if you want to visit around these times.
Going out in Galway
- Is it expensive to go out in Galway?
- Galway is a student city, but it is also a popular tourist city so the prices can vary. You will find some student promotions and discounts midweek around the city but not so much at the weekend. It also depends on whether you want to go to a club or stay in a late bar. Clubs will charge a cover fee at weekends. Galway has a great selection of bars though so you can try out a few and find one that suits your taste and price range!
- Where are most of the bars found?
- Most of the bars and clubs in Galway can be found around Eyre Square, Shop Street and just past Shop Street on Quay Street towards the Spanish Arch. You can also find more alternative and less touristy bars if you cross over the bridge by the Spanish Arch.
- Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
- If you look young then it is worth your while carrying ID on a night out in Galway. This particularly applies at the weekends and during festivals like the Arts Festival or the infamous Galway Races.
- Is there anything to do that doesn't include alcohol?
- Lots! There are great theatres in Galway staging some brilliant performances. Check out The Town Hall Theatre or The Druid Theatre to name just two. If live music is more your thing then check out the listings for The Roisin Dubh as this is Galway’s prime live music venue. You can also enjoy traditional music sessions in many pubs and hotels around Galway for free. There are also cinemas in Galway showing all the new releases.
- Any particular bars/clubs worth singling out?
- If you want to experience an Irish atmosphere in a bar then check out Taaffes Pub on Shop Street and you might catch some live traditional music there also. If alternative and indie music is your scene then take a trip across the bridge to The Blue Note followed by the Rosin Dubh. You can also check out The Bierhaus on this side of town to sample beers of the world in a great atmosphere. For a guaranteed crowd and atmosphere try The Kings Head or The Skeff on Eyre’s Square. And if you feel like clubbing try Cuba just off Eyre Square.
- Anything else I need to know?
- Thanks to the smoking ban, if you want to light up, you'll have to take your cigarettes outside. Also, if it’s a busy time like the Races and its nice weather, the pub going crowd can spill out onto the pedestranised streets making for a great atmosphere along the streets.
Eating Out in Galway
- Is it expensive to eat out in Galway?
- It depends on where you go and what you want to eat really. As it is a tourist destination there are some great but pricey restaurants as well as cheap but good places too. There is a good choice to suit most budgets.
- Where is the best selection of restaurants in the city?
- There is a great selection along Quay Street from bistros serving fine cuisine to great sit-in pizzerias and fish and chip shops. Most of the pubs in Galway also serve a great selection of bar food at reasonable prices. Most of these can be found around Eyre Square, Shop Street, Quay Street and Cross Street. Also, don’t be afraid to wander through streets off these areas as there are lots of hidden places around the city.
- Are international cuisines well represented?
- Very, you can eat anything from typical Irish to Mexican. And there is a large selection of Thai, Indian, Chinese and European food serving establishments all in close proximity to each other.
- What times do restaurants close?
- Depends on the restaurant and the season. During the summer months Galway is a lot busier so some of the sit in restaurants will seat customers until around 10.30/ 11pm. There are lots of fast food restaurants around the city that stay open later, especially at weekends.
- Anything else I need to know?
- As Galway is on the coast there is a great selection of seafood on offer in a lot of restaurants, most of which has been locally and freshly sourced. Galway Bay mussels are a must for any seafood lovers and don’t forget about the Galway Oyster Festival which runs every September. The menu for this is oysters and Guinness!
Transport in Galway
- How many different modes of public transport are there in Galway?
- There are buses and taxis operating throughout the city and suburbs, with bus and train services also connecting Galway city with the rest of Ireland.
- Will I need to use public transport at all?
- If you are staying close to the city centre then you will probably walk everywhere as Galway is small and easy to get around. If you want to get out to the countryside then look into buses, tours or even renting a car.
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