Galway, known as the City of the Tribes, is an important tourist centre and a gateway to the scenic areas of the county. Beginning in the 15th century, Galway was ruled by the leading fourteen merchant families, which were known as "tribes". The names of these mostly Anglo-Norman families were Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'arcy, Deane, Font, ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris, and Skerritt. Only two of the families were Celts.

Info Galway


Galway (Irish:Gaillimh) is a city in the West of Ireland in the province of Connacht. Galway City Council is the local authority for the city. Galway lies on the River Corrib between Lough Corrib and Galway Bay and is surrounded by County Galway. It is the fourth most populous urban area in the Republic of Ireland and the sixth most populous city in the island of Ireland.

According to the 2011 Irish Census, Galway city has a population of 75,528; however, the rural county agglomeration is far bigger.

Galway will be European Capital of Culture in 2020, alongside Rijeka, Croatia.

POPULATION : • City 75,530
• Urban 76,779
FOUNDED :   1484
TIME ZONE : • Time zone WET (UTC0)
• Summer (DST) IST (UTC+1)
LANGUAGE : English (official) is the language generally used, Irish (Gaelic or Gaeilge) (official)
RELIGION : Roman Catholic 87.4%, Church of Ireland 2.9%, other Christian 1.9%, other 2.1%, unspecified 1.5%, none 4.2%
AREA :  53 km2 (20 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  25 m (82 ft)
COORDINATES :  53°16′19″N 9°2′56″W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 49.65%
 Female: 50.35%
DIALING CODE :  +353 (0)91


Galway, known as the City of the Tribes, is an important tourist centre and a gateway to the scenic areas of the county. Beginning in the 15th century, Galway was ruled by the leading fourteen merchant families, which were known as "tribes". The names of these mostly Anglo-Norman families were Athy, Blake, Bodkin, Browne, D'arcy, Deane, Font, ffrench, Joyce, Kirwan, Lynch, Martin, Morris, and Skerritt. Only two of the families were Celts.

The families built many castles throughout County Galway. Many streets and landmarks bear the names of these early "tribes".

Galway is a bustling town with fantastic nightlife. It's short on common tourist attractions such as museums, but the charming pedestrianised streets and numerous pubs and cafes are sure to keep you occupied.


Dún Bhun na Gaillimhe ("Fort at the Mouth (bottom) of the Gaillimh") was constructed in 1124, by the King of Connacht, Tairrdelbach Ua Conchobair(1088–1156). Eventually, a small settlement grew up around this fort. During the Norman invasion of Connacht in the 1230s, Galway fort was captured by Richard Mor de Burgh, who had led the invasion. As the de Burghs eventually became Gaelicised, the merchants of the town, the Tribes of Galway, pushed for greater control over the walled city.

This led to their gaining complete control over the city and to the granting of mayoral status by the English crown in December 1484. Galway endured difficult relations with its Irish neighbours. A notice over the west gate of the city, completed in 1562 by Mayor Thomas Óge Martyn, stated "From the Ferocious O'Flahertys may God protect us". A by-law forbade the native Irish (as opposed to Galway's Hiberno-Norman citizens) unrestricted access into Galway, saying "neither O’ nor Mac shall strutte nor swagger through the streets of Galway" without permission.

During the Middle Ages, Galway was ruled by an oligarchy of fourteen merchant families (12 of Norman origin and 2 of Irish origin). These were the "The Tribes of Galway". The city thrived on international trade, and in the Middle Ages, it was the principal Irish port for trade with Spain and France. The most famous reminder of those days is ceann an bhalla ("the end of the wall"), now known as the Spanish Arch, constructed during the mayoralty of Wylliam Martin(1519–20). In 1477 Christopher Columbus visited Galway, possibly stopping off on a voyage to Iceland or the Faroe Islands.

During the 16th and 17th centuries Galway remained loyal to the English crown for the most part, even during the Gaelic resurgence, perhaps for reasons of survival. However, by 1642 the city had allied itself with the Catholic Confederation of Kilkenny during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. During the resulting Cromwellian conquest of Ireland, Cromwellian forces captured the city after a nine-month siege. At the end of the 17th century the city supported theJacobites in the Williamite war in Ireland and was captured by the Williamites after a very short siege not long after the Battle of Aughrim in 1691. The great families of Galway were ruined, and, having declined owing to the potato famines of 1845–1852, the city did not fully recover until the great economic bubble of the late twentieth century.


Galway has a year-round mild, moist, temperate and changeable climate, due to the prevailing winds of the North Atlantic Current. The city experiences a lack of temperature extremes, with temperatures below 0 °C (32 °F) and above 30 °C (86 °F) being rare. The city receives an average of 1,156 mm (45.51 in) of precipitation annually, which is evenly distributed throughout the year. The average January temperature in the city is 5.9 °C (43 °F) and the average July temperature is 15.9 °C (61 °F). This means that Galway, like most of Ireland, has a Maritime Temperate climate (Cfb) according to the Köppen climate classification system. While extreme weather is rare, the city and county can experience severe windstorms that are the result of vigorous Atlantic depressions that occasionally pass along the north west coast of Ireland. Most of these storms occur between late autumn and early spring. Due to the city's northerly location and its longitude, Galway has long summer days. Daylight at midsummer is before 04:00 and lasts until after 23:00. In midwinter, daylight does not start until 08.49, and is gone by 16:19.

Climate data for Galway

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 8.7
Daily mean °C (°F) 6.0
Average low °C (°F) 3.5
Source #1: WMO
Source #2: ECA&D


Galway City is the capital of Connacht. The city has experienced very rapid growth in recent years. Galway has a strong local economy with complementary business sectors, including manufacturing industry, tourism, retail and distribution, education, healthcare and services that include financial, construction, cultural, and professional.

Most (47%) of the people employed in Galway work in either the commerce or professional sector, with a large number (17%) also employed in manufacturing. Most industry and manufacturing in Galway, like the rest of Ireland, is hi-tech(e.g. ICT, medical equipment, electronics, chemicals, etc.), due to the Celtic Tiger economic boom. Tourism is also of major importance to the city, which had over 2.1 million visitors in 2000, and produced revenue of over €400 million.

Prices in Galway



Milk 1 liter €0.85
Tomatoes 1 kg €2.10
Cheese 0.5 kg €5.90
Apples 1 kg €1.80
Oranges 1 kg €1.90
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l €3.00
Bottle of Wine 1 bottle €9.00
Coca-Cola 2 liters €2.18
Bread 1 piece €1.00
Water 1.5 l €1.05



Dinner (Low-range) for 2 €30.00
Dinner (Mid-range) for 2 €45.00
Dinner (High-range) for 2 €62.00
Mac Meal or similar 1 meal €7.00
Water 0.33 l €1.10
Cappuccino 1 cup €2.60
Beer (Imported) 0.33 l €5.00
Beer (domestic) 0.5 l €4.50
Coca-Cola 0.33 l €1.55
Coctail drink 1 drink €8.00



Cinema 2 tickets €16.00
Gym 1 month €50.00
Men’s Haircut 1 haircut €11.00
Theatar 2 tickets €56.00
Mobile (prepaid) 1 min. €0.24
Pack of Marlboro 1 pack €10.00



Antibiotics 1 pack €15.00
Tampons 32 pieces €4.40
Deodorant 50 ml. €2.85
Shampoo 400 ml. €3.60
Toilet paper 4 rolls €2.05
Toothpaste 1 tube €2.35



Jeans (Levis 501 or similar) 1 €81.00
Dress summer (Zara, H&M) 1 €40.00
Sport shoes (Nike, Adidas) 1 €85.00
Leather shoes 1 €90.00



Gasoline 1 liter €1.30
Taxi Start €4.00
Taxi 1 km €1.40
Local Transport 1 ticket €2.00

Tourist (Backpacker)  

53 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • meals in cheap restaurant
  • public transport
  • cheap hotel

Tourist (business/regular)  

202 € per day

Estimated cost per 1 day including:

  • mid-range meals and drinks
  • transportation
  • hotel

Transportation - Get In

Transportation - Get In

By plane

  • Shannon Airport is the main airport serving the West of Ireland. It is served by an hourly bus to Galway, and car rentals are also available. It is about 1 and 1/2 hours in the bus to Galway, but about an hour by car.
  • Others: many people going to Galway travel via Dublin, Cork or Ireland West (Knock) airports This page has detailed about public transport between Galway and all airports.

Transportation - Get In

By bus or train

  • Iarnród Éireann operates six trains per day (four on Sunday) from Dublin Heuston Station.
  • Bus Éireann buses run frequently from destinations through the country.
  • CityLink buses provide direct service to Cork, Dublin and Dublin Airport.
  • GoBus buses provide direct one stop service to Dublin and Dublin Airport.

National bus and rail both arrive at the same station, just east of Eyre Square on Station Road. CityLink and GoBus buses arrive and depart from the Galway Coach Station, one block north of the CIE bus/rail terminus.

Transportation - Get In

By car

  • From Dublin, there is a toll motorway all the way to Galway. Take the M4 west and then continue along the M6. Follow the M6/N6 for the rest of the trip. Travel time is around 2 hours depending on traffic.
  • As in most places in Ireland, parking is expensive. However there is long term parking next to the cathedral available for €5/day, and if you are leaving in the morning, many pay and display; lots of places offer cheap or free overnight parking (18:00-06:00).


Transportation - Get Around

Central Galway is easily accessible on foot, and Salthill (a popular tourist area) is a lovely 20-30 minute walk from the centre of town. The Promenade (Prom), stretching from The Claddagh to Blackrock is a very popular walk with locals and visitors alike.

Bus Éireann and CityDirect run local bus networks. is a public-transport-information source for Galway City and surrounding areas. It has a summary map of city bus routes, a detailed map of each individual route, and links to timetable information. It also has maps of the taxi ranks in the city, industrial estates in the area, and detailed directions for reaching a number of popular places using public transport.

Taxis are convenient, although they can be a bit expensive. There are taxi ranks in Eyre Square and Bridge Street.

Avoid taking a car when going to or anywhere near the town centre as parking can be expensive, and the city can have very heavy traffic levels at times. A very popular car park close to the centre is that at the Dyke Road, just off the Headford Rd. Just a 5 min walk to Eyre Sq.






The main shopping area runs south from Eyre Square towards the Corrib. This pedestrian zone includes Williams St, Shop St, High St, Mainguard St and Quay St. Along it you can find all kinds of high street and artisan shops, pubs and restaurants. The historical buildings and busy atmosphere also make this area one of the attractions of Galway.

Middle Street, which runs parallel to Shop Street, is a particularly good street for finding a range of inspiring and creative local enterprises, including the Irish-speaking theatre "An Taibhdhearc," the Cocoon designer studio, Charlie Byrne's Bookshop, and Kenny's gallery among others.

  • Galway MarketChurch Ln (beside St. Nicholas Church). Sa 08:00-18:00; Su 14:00-18:00. This market features a small number of local artisans and their handmade crafts. There is a special Christmas edition of this market, which runs annually from mid-December to just before Christmas.
  • Eyre Square Centre. A modern shopping centre almost entirely hidden behind a historical façade. Entrances can be found on the south side of Eyre Square and on Williams Street.


Galway is a very popular destination with tourists and the range of restaurants extends from traditional, to ethnic to the usual fast food outlets.

For those on a tight budget, check out the supermarket in Eyre Square Centre (closes at 17:00) or the Tesco on Headford Rd (open 24 hrs). On Saturdays (08:00-18:00) and Sundays (14:00-18:00), you can head to the outdoor Galway Market in Church lane beside St. Nicholas Church where you can find locally-grown produce, cheese, bread and affordable prepared foods like curries and crepes.

  • Ard Bia at Nimmo'sSpanish Arch (Long Walk - the restaurant is directly behind the Spanish Arch),  +353 91 561 114. Cafe Tu-Su 10:00-15:30; Restaurant 18:00-22:00. Delicious food based on local sourcing. Wonderful atmosphere. If you're not looking to splurge at this restaurant, head to the cafe for the lunch specials which are more reasonably priced.
  • Kirby's Restaurant,  +353 91 569404. Cross St. Offers superb food, attentive service, generous portions with a modern twist. Offers a Value Dining Menu, two Courses €22.50, three Courses €24.95, both including a complimentary drink of your choice next door in Buskers.
  • Fat Freddy's Famous Pizziera & BistroThe Halls, Quay St+353 91 567 279. One of Galway's longest established restaurants, synonymous with Quay Street in Galway City near the Spanish quarter. Known for the excellent atmosphere, service and, of course, food. Great for kids.
  • McCambridges38-39 Shop St+353 91 562259. 08:00-19:00.This gourmet grocers has a deli counter for take away sandwiches which is quite good.
  • Sheridan's Cheesemongers,  +353 91 564829fax: +353 91 564829, e-mail: . Kirwans Lane, ), is a great place to get wine, pates, bread, and cheese of course.
  • McDonagh's Seafood22 Quay St,  +353 91 565001. Is famous for its fish and chips, and has very good prices on takeaway.
  • McSwiggans3 Eyre St+353 91 568917. Restaurant on the two floors above the bar. Open M-W until 22:30, Th-Su 23:00. The food is varied, includes curries, seafood and steaks. Main courses €12-20.
  • Oscars BistroDominick Street Lower,  +353 91 582 180. 18:30-21:30. Looks unassuming enough from the outside, but offers some of the best food in town. Their Seafood Platter has to be seen to be believed!
  • La Salsa. Does delicious and reasonably priced Mexican food.
  • Conlons Seafood RestaurantEglinton St (Off Eyre Square), +353 91 562 268. Established seafood house with Art Deco ambience, great service, good food and reasonable prices.
  • Costellos Kebab HouseDominick Street Upper,  +353 91 581 181. Does extremely cheap, greasy and tasty post-pub food. A substantial feed of Guinness is recommended before consumption of Kebab House fare in order to ensure full satisfaction.
  • Lohans Cafe Bar Restaurant (Lohans), 232 Upper Salthill Road+353 91 522 696. 08:00-21:00. The menu is mainly traditional Irish dishes such as Guinness & Beef Stew, Bacon & Cabbage and hearty sausages & mashed potato. Other lighter seasonal dishes and seafood are also available.

Sights & Landmarks

Galway is a perfect base for seeing West Ireland, but it is also worth a visit in itself. Although it has only a few typical sightseeing spots what makes it a wonderful place to stay is the atmosphere, the culture, the people, and the events.

  • Lynch's Castle. Lynch's Castle on Shop Street is probably the finest medieval town house in Ireland. It is now a branch of Allied Irish Banks.
  • Cathedral Church of Saint Nicholas and Our Lady Assumed into Heaven. The church was consecrated in 1965 and is a large, imposing building constructed from limestone. It has an eclectic style, with renaissance dome, pillars and round arches, and a Romanesque portico that dominates the main façade – which is an unusual feature in modern Irish church building. It was suggested by a church in the city of Salamanca in Spain.
  • Saint Nicholas Collegiate ChurchLombard Street,   +353 87 237 5789. The Church of Ireland St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church is the largest medieval church still in everyday use in Ireland. It was founded in 1320 and enlarged in the following two centuries.
  • The Hall of the Red Earl (Halla an Iarla Rua). The Hall of the Red Earl can be viewed through a protective glass wall off Flood Street. It is the earliest medieval settlement fragment surviving within the walls of the city. It was built by the de Burgo family in the 13th century and was a key municipal building for the collection of taxes, dispensation of justice and hosting banquets. It was the medieval equivalent of tax office, court house and town hall.
  • The Eglinton Canal. The Eglinton Canal, named after a former Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, joins the River Corrib to the sea, and, flowing for just more than a kilometer, is a very pleasant walk from the University to the Claddagh.
  • Spanish Arch. In the south west of the city at the south end of the pedestrian streets, is the Spanish Arch, one of the few remaining parts of the town's ancient defences. Walk through the arch and south west along the riverside and you will find a plaque commemorating Michael Walsh who was murdered by the Black and Tans in 1920. His dead body was dumped in the Corrib here. The park adjacent to the arch is a popular place to sit and relax, while watching the Corrib flow out into Galway Bay.
  • Galway City MuseumSpanish Arch+353 91 532460. Tu-Sa 10:00-17:00. This museum focuses primarily on the history and heritage of Galway City, but the displays and exhibits will appeal to anyone with a broad interest in Irish history and material culture. Free admission.
  • National University of Ireland. The original Quadrangle building of National University of Ireland, Galway which was erected in 1849 during the Great Famine (An Gorta Mór) as one of the three colleges of the Queen's University of Ireland. The university holds the UNESCO archive of spoken material for the Celtic languages.
  • Eyre Square. The pedestrian shopping area south of Eyre Square, is a pleasant place to stroll around.
  • Seapoint Promenade. The Promenade in Salthill is a fantastic place to people watch on rare warm, sunny days. People walk and roller blade along the prom and kids and adults alike jump off the concrete diving board into the frigid Atlantic Ocean.

Museums & Galleries

The Galway City Museum features two parts, "Fragments of a City" and "On Reflection." "Fragments of a City"'s collection is mainly about the heritage of Galway, while "On Reflection" is a collection of the most important Irish artists from the second half of the 20th century. This museum was designed to allow tourists and local visitors to really get to understand and know the city of Galway. This museum also houses the statue of the poet, Pádraic Ó Conaire which was originally located in the Kennedy Park section of Eyre Square, prior to the Square's renovation. Visitors can also view the silver Civic Sword and Great Mace of the city at the museum.

The James Mitchell Museum of Geology in NUIG is a restored 19th century museum "within a museum".

The Computer & Communications Museum of Ireland is also housed in NUIG.

The Nora Barnacle House Museum in Bowling Green is the smallest museum in Ireland. Nora was the lover, companion and, later, wife of writer James Joyce.

Things to do

  • Enjoy walks along the banks of the River Corrib and the Eglington Canal.
  • Walk along the bay to the nearby resort of Salthill. Along the way you can, weather permitting, walk along the causeway to Mutton Island on which is a 19th century lighthouse. However access to the island requires prior arrangement. Nearby a stone commemorates the Great Famine. As you arrive in Salthill you may want to stop at a children's park named in memory of Celia Griffin who died in the Great Famine. The park is a memorial to those who died in that famine and those who left Ireland because of it.
  • Check local free paper the Galway Advertiser for up to date info on cultural events, concerts and plays, as well as the latest local news. Available on Thursdays it is usually snapped up quickly.
  • Town Hall TheatreCourthouse Square,  +353 91 569777 (Box Office). This theatre features plays and musical performances and is often used as a venue for Galway's major festivals. The theatre aims to regularly show the best of national and international talent to its audiences.
  • Galway AtlantaquariaSeapoint Promenade, Salthill (Follow the R336 (Griffin Road) southwest from the town centre),  +353 91 585100, e-mail: . A must see if you are interested in the sea and its inhabitants. It is not the usual tropical fish collection that you might find anywhere, but they have beautifully mirrored the life around the Irish coasts and show the animals and plants in a realistic environment, just as you might find them 50 m outside of the building in the real sea. Be sure to ask one of the staff about the 300 mm large but harmless giant crabs on the second floor, he might just pick one out of the basin and put it into your hands, an experience you´ll never forget! Or pet the flounders and rays in the "touch pool".
  • Galway Tours. Run scheduled walking tours of Galway City.
  • The Volvo Ocean Race has a grand finale in Galway. 30 June 2012 the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) arrived in Galway and stayed for a two week stopover. Visitors to Galway got a chance to experience the spectacle of the VO70 sailing boats including in-port racing and enjoying everything special that the West of Ireland has to offer.
  • Corrib PrincessWoodquay Galway,  +353 91 59247. 90 guided cruise of the River and Lough Corrib on a modern luxury river cruiser. Departs from Woodquay in the heart of Galway City dail from April - October.
  • Galway Arts Festival, July 11th- 24th,  +353 91 509700. Ireland's best loved cultural event features music, theatre and exhibitions for two weeks in July.
  • Kayakmor,  +353 877565578, e-mail: . 9am-9pm. Guided kayaking tours along the West Coast of Ireland. Many beautiful views can be had that way. start from €40.


The Galway City Pub Guide is a good resource for checking out pubs and clubs in Galway. The guide includes reviews, photos and videos, as well as a list of the top ten pubs in Galway. You can add your comments about the pubs you visit. Technically drinking in public is not allowed in Galway but enforcement of this rule is not feasible during summer months and well behaved groups are usually left alone. Don't mingle too near to obviously drunk people though as the authorities will likely confiscate all visible alcohol.

  • Busker Brownes and Kirbys RestaurantCross St,   +353 91 563377. 4 Bars, 1 Venue and over 400 years of history! Live bands Sunday - Thursday & late night DJ at the weekends! Adjacent to Buskers is Kirby's Restaurant serving the best of modern food with a contemporary twist.
  • Cookes Thatch Pub. One of only two remaining Thatch Pubs in Galway. Dating back to the 1600s, the trad music sessions on Wednesday and Sunday night are unmissable.
  • King's Head Pub15 High Street,   +353 91 566 630. 10:30-23:30.Has decent prices and a nightly cover band. Popular with students and tourists alike, this place is always lively.
  • Freeneys19 High St (Near the King's Head Pub). It is a fine "old man" establishment with some of the best Guinness in town. also popular with students who want to drink a few quiet ones.
  • Monroe's Tavern (Dominick Street Upper), Dominick Street Upper(south of the Corrib and visible from the Spanish Arch),  +353 91 583 397. For the more traditional minded. Has traditional music every night and set dancing on Tuesdays. Highly Recommended if you're in town on Tuesday night.
  • Roisin DubhLower Dominick Street (near Monroe's),   +353 91 586 540. 17:00-02:00. Perfect for those of you who like alternative and rock music, and on Wednesdays hosts a popular comedy night showcasing local and international acts.
  • The Quays11 Quay Street,   +353 91 568 347. Warm and offers good live folk music and as well as cover bands.
  • The Crane Bar2 Sea Rd,   +353 91 587 419. You'll find live Irish music nightly at the Crane. Take your pick from the locals playing traditional music downstairs or the musicians playing various types of music upstairs.
  • Taaffes Pub19 Shop St. Great authentic Irish experience. You can find traditional music there almost any night and there's a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
  • Tigh Neachtain17 Cross St,  +353 91 568 820. A local favourite.

Safety in Galway

Stay Safe

Galway is safe town by any standards. It's a small town compared to Dublin, and it luckily doesn't have to deal with most of the problems big cities have.

With that said, it is a party town and the weekends can get pretty crazy. Keep your wits about you, and stay in groups if you don't know the area. Despite Galway's reputation as a safe place, like everywhere Galway has a troublesome element so do bear that in mind.

Like most towns in Ireland, there are some run down areas. For its size, Galway does not have many but there are still some suburbs that are better avoided by anyone unfamiliar. These areas are all off the beaten track of the tourist areas.

The River Corrib runs through Galway. It is a very powerful river, especially after a few days of rain, and drowning deaths do occur. Use caution when walking on the river banks and walkways, especially after a night of drinking.

Nimmo's Hostel, has had a reputation for being unsafe, but its door is locked, and can only be entered using a regularly updated code. Despite its former reputation, it is a safe, if 'colourful' place to stay.

Stay away from the public toilet areas in Eyre Square late at night, it attracts a lot of drunks.

Ireland - Travel guide