The joy of County Galway comes from one simple thing: it is a spellbinding place of contrasts. You’ll find the bustle of Eyre Square in Galway City, the wildlife-enriched splendour of Connemara, the modern-day majesty of Galway Cathedral and much much more.
The famous ‘Twelve Bens’ mountain range can be found in County Galway plus stunning lakes and the benefits of Gulf Stream weather.
The rugged coastline, with its wildswept islands and villages, can be found alongside mountains, bogland, rivers and more.
If you’re an Irish speaker – or want to try a few words – there’s good news in that County Galway is home to the largest Irish-speaking region (or ‘Gaeltacht’) in Ireland. The Irish-speaking area covers parts of Galway City west through Connemara.
Tradition and Culture in Modern Galway
Tradition and culture doesn’t stop, though, outside the city centre. Far from it.
You’ll find great traditional music with – that contrast again – a whirlwind of activity outside in the city too, particularly the popular gathering spot of Eyre Square.
The travel writers at Lonely Planet were clearly wowed by County Galway when they wrote: “Some of Ireland’s most picturesque scenery fans out from Galway’s city limits, particularly along the breathtaking Connemara Peninsula.
“Tiny roads wander along its coastline studded with islands, dazzling white sandy beaches and intriguing villages, while its interior shelters heath-strewn boglands, glassy lakes, looming mountains and isolated valleys. In the county’s east, towns with medieval remains give way to rolling farmland.”
Dining in Style
An increasingly-popular culinary scene includes two special highlights we’ve included in our County Galway essential guide: the nearby Ashford Castle for sumptuous dining and the unique Pullman Restaurant for its Orient Express carriage setting.
It isn’t easy to pick out just a few highly recommended Galway experiences, as it means leaving out some top attractions, but read on to find some great starting points for your Galway adventure…