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Things to do in Galway

Things to do in  Galway

Welcome to Galway

From the open wilderness of the Aran Islands to the hustle and bustle of Galway itself, County Galway offers plenty of opportunity for adventure. Using Galway City as a base, travelers can enjoy guided tours to top natural attractions including the Cliffs of Moher, Inishbofin island, and Killary fjord, where the rolling green hills and rugged coastline of the Emerald Isle awaits. Take the Wild Atlantic Way route on a tour along the western coast of Ireland to fishing villages such as Roundstone, paddle over the waves on a pre-planned sea-kayaking adventure, or travel by horseback as you follow a guide into the rugged wilderness of the Connemara National Park. If time is on your side, take a four- or seven-day cycling trip deep into the countryside, where life ticks by at a relaxing pace and rural Ireland reveals its beauty. Within Galway City itself, take a hop-on hop-off bus tour to places of interest such as Claddagh, Galway Cathedral, Galway City Museum, the Salthill promenade, and the Spanish Arch; and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace. Spin through the streets on a guided bike trip, or let your taste buds lead the way and discover the flavors the locals love on a food tour.

Top 15 attractions in Galway

The Burren

Covering an area of more than 115 square miles (300 square kilometers), the Burren is a vast, otherworldly expanse of scarred and fissured limestone rock, naturally sculpted through acidic erosion. Though it may look barren from afar, this rocky plateau is anything but lifeless. In spring and summer, wildflowers and rare plants thrive here.More

Galway Bay

Flowing in from the Atlantic Ocean on Ireland’s west coast, Galway Bay laps the shores of some of the country’s most picturesque stretches of coastline. With the three windswept Aran Islands at its periphery, the bay meets land at the artsy city of Galway and numerous fishing villages, coastal cliffs, and beaches.More

Dunguaire Castle

Sitting on an outcrop jutting into Galway Bay, the 16th-century Dunguaire Castle appears like a fairy-tale vision to drivers traversing the coastal road, prompting many to pull over and reach for a camera. The site housed prominent local clans for centuries before famous Irish surgeon, poet, and playwright Oliver St. John Gogarty bought it in 1924. He then turned it into a hangout for Ireland’s literary elite, including Lady Gregory, W.B. Yeats, Seán O'Casey, and George Bernard Shaw. Today, most travelers admire the castle from afar, though some do venture inside.More

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden

Standing along the edge of Kylemore Lake, the neo-Gothic Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden is every inch a storybook castle. Built in 1868, the abbey’s construction employed grateful locals still reeling from the Irish Potato Famine. Today, the resident Benedictine nuns welcome the public into parts of the abbey and the grounds.More

Sky Road

Even though it’s only seven miles long, Clifden’s Sky Road feels like a journey through all of Connemara and time. When driving this winding, rural road, views look down on the town of Clifden and its two iconic spires—which is a view you’re sure to see on any postcard of Western Ireland or Connemara. Behind the town are the 12 Bens hills, standing brown, rugged, and proud, and as the drive loops around away from town, views stretch out to the offshore islands and the open Atlantic Sea. Aside from the sweeping landscape views, ancient castles and historic mansions are around every bend in the road. At the 19th century Clifden Castle—built in a Gothic style—visitors can walk the dirt road that leads right up to the castle. Another stroll is up Memorial Hill and offers famous view of Clifden, and by turning uphill at the fork in the road, the drive climbs past the old Coast Guard station to 500 feet above sea level. There is a small parking lot near the road’s summit, where whitewashed cottages appear as flecks on the misty, wave battered coast. The Sky Road has often been called one of Ireland’s most scenic drives, and seeing as it’s just a short loop from Clifden, is an Irish road trip that any Connemara visitor with a car can enjoy.More

The Spanish Arch

A Galway landmark on the banks of the River Corrib, the Spanish Arch is the remains of a late 16th century bastion designed to protect the city. Located in the heart of Galway, the Spanish Arch is a short walk from other city landmarks including the Claddagh and the Galway City Museum.More

Aran Islands

Set off Ireland’s craggy, wind-battered Atlantic coast on the western edge of Europe, this trio of sparsely populated and starkly beautiful islands is a stronghold of traditional Irish culture. The Aran Islands’ jagged coastal cliffs enclose a patchwork of green fields, where the remnants of ancient stone forts and medieval churches can be seen, while in their one- and two-pub towns, locals trade gossip in Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge) and traditional music sessions last well into the night.More

Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poulnabrone Portal Tomb)

One of Ireland’s most-photographed ancient sites, the Poulnabrone Dolmen—comprising a long slab of rock placed horizontally on top of several upright slabs—has stood on this lonely limestone plateau for 5,000 years. It marks the site of a mass grave containing the remains of ancient people buried here between 3800 and 3200 BC.More

Galway Cathedral

Constructed in the 1960s, Galway Cathedral is among the youngest cathedrals in Ireland and one of Europe’s youngest stone cathedrals. While it’s a relatively modern build, the cathedral borrows elements from architectural eras past, with Renaissance, Romanesque, and Gothic detailing combined with Irish artwork and adornments.More

Dunguaire Castle's Medieval Banquet

Dunguaire Castle’s Medieval Banquet offers an evening of music and storytelling along with traditional food and wine. Once the home of noble medieval lords, the 500-year-old castle sits on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay. Today, the picturesque fortress’s medieval-themed banquet hall is the place to go for a fun night of revelry.More


The village of Cong, located on the border of County Galway and County Mayo, in western Ireland, is known for its thatched-roof cottages and its connection to John Wayne’s Oscar-winning film The Quiet Man. The ruins of Cong Abbey, which date back to the 13th century, are a popular sight and a lovely spot for a stroll.More

Lough Corrib

Stretching for 69 square miles, Lough Corrib is a lake in the west of Ireland that straddles County Galway and County Mayo. It is a famous place for fishing, especially for its wild brown trout and salmon. The lake has inspired many writers and artists over centuries, including Oscar Wilde’s father—the historian William Wilde—who wrote a book about Lough Corrib.More


Set in green fields next to the River Shannon, this monastic complex was founded in the 6th century by St. Ciarán and served as a center for Christian learning in Ireland. An air of spirituality still hangs in the air amid the scattering of stone ruins; among them a cathedral, churches, round towers, high crosses, and grave markers.More

Galway City Museum

This museum focuses on the history of Galway, with exhibitions covering everything from the traditional Galway hooker boat to local literary figures. Among the items in the collection are prehistoric stone ax-heads, a medieval cannonball, and an execution warrant for Myles Joyce, a local who was wrongfully hanged for murder in 1882.More


Located on the wave-beaten western edge of Ireland, this former fisherman’s village is known for its traditional Irish music scene. Every night, patrons squeeze into a trio of popular pubs to listen to fiddlers, singers, flutists, tin whistlers, and bodhrán (a traditional Irish drum) players take part in toe-tapping jam sessions.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Galway

How to Spend 3 Days in Galway

Cliffs of Moher Tours from Galway

Cliffs of Moher Tours from Galway

How to Spend 1 Day in Galway

How to Spend 1 Day in Galway

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Recent reviews from experiences in Galway

Perfect Day Trip!
alisonklotz, Mar 2023
Cliffs of Moher and Burren Day Trip, Including Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Cave, and Doolin from Galway
We were able to see all the local sites, plenty of time at the Cliffs and our guide John B.
Gagandeep_M, Jan 2023
Cliffs of Moher and Burren Day Trip, Including Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Cave, and Doolin from Galway
Would be great to visit again.
Limo service to castles
Nicole_D, Nov 2022
Clonmacnoise, Clontuskert Abbey, Clonony and Athlone Castle Tour from Galway
Fairly local to Galway, great chance to see some castles and take in the history of the region.
Great way to see Galway!
Elizabeth_W, Oct 2022
City Sightseeing Galway Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
Informational commentary really helped us get a feeling for Galway and pointed out places we would like to go back to visit.
A Must-Do Day while in Galway!
Hannah_L, Mar 2023
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
Our tour guide also offered us lots of insight on the Aran Islands and places to visit while enjoying our stay in Galway.
Lovely day trip to the Cliffs and back
Evelyn_S, Feb 2023
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
Came to Ireland on a solo trip and decided I wanted to see the Cliffs of Moher on a whim, so I made my way to Galway.
Highlight of our trip!
Kathleen_V, Oct 2022
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
There’s a few dining options for lunch - we made our way to the Hotel for a pint of Guinness and had a club sandwich and veggie burger - loved to see vegetarian options available!
Gorgeous Cliffs of Moher Experience
Amberlee_V, Jul 2022
From Galway: Guided tour of Cliffs of Moher and The Burren.
I would recommend this to anyone looking to see the sights outside Galway.
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People Also Ask

What is Galway famous for?

Galway is famous as the gateway to the natural beauty of the west of Ireland. Galway City is home to a pedestrian-friendly center with shopping, galleries, and historic sites, while County Galway is the gateway to popular destinations including the Cliffs of Moher and Aran Islands.

What is there to do in Galway?

Galway is a university town with a bustling arts scene, vibrant pub culture, and quality museums. The city is best explored on foot, including local landmarks Eyre Square, the Latin Quarter, and the Spanish Arch. Venture to the Westend to discover live music venues, charming pubs, and interesting shops.

Is Galway worth visiting?

Yes. Galway is worth visiting. This university town is famous for live music, fresh seafood, historic sites, and a welcoming atmosphere. Check out Galway Cathedral, Galway City Museum, and Galway Arts Centre on a visit. The city is also a gateway to the coast, including the Cliffs of Moher.

What is so special about Galway?

It's easy to explore compact Galway on foot. The city center is a network of pedestrianized streets lined with restaurants, pubs, live music venues, and shops. It's a popular nightlife destination and is a gateway to the natural beauty of the west of Ireland including the Cliffs of Moher.

What can teenagers do in Galway?

Galway offers plenty for teenagers to explore, including vintage clothing stores, live music venues, and art galleries. Teens can tour the city by bike, join a food tour, or people watch in Eyre Square. The city is also a gateway for coastal outdoor adventure including kayaking and surfing.

What is there to do in Galway when it's raining?

Galway offers several landmarks for indoor entertainment if it’s raining. Visit the Galway Arts Centre, Galway City Museum, or Galway Cathedral. Browse the stores along Shop Street, sample fresh seafood at a local restaurant, or check out one of the city’s famous bookstores such as Charlie Byrne’s Bookshop.


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