Galway, the largest county in Connaught, is celebrated in song and story throughout the world and takes centre stage on Ireland’s western seaboard. A spectacularly beautiful county, it is a medley of contrasts – the wildest and remotest of countryside teamed with one of Europe’s most vibrant and popular cities. Drawn as if by a magnet, visitors come again and again, captivated by this most special of Irish counties.
Galway City at the mouth of Galway Bay is both a picturesque and lively city with a wonderful avant-garde culture and a fascinating mixture of locally owned speciality shops, often featuring locally made crafts. Indeed local handcrafts are a feature of the entire region including hand knits, pottery, glass, jewellery and woodwork.
The city has many relics of its medieval past and is worth taking time to explore. It has changed considerably over the last number of years and features a fascinating juxtaposition of new and ancient architecture. The centre of the city is conveniently compact enough to ramble around comfortably.
Anyone who knows the song ‘Galway Bay’ will be familiar with the Claddagh, previously a fishing village of thatched cottages, now an area just outside the city centre. Here is the birthplace of the world famous Claddagh ring, a souvenir many bring home, just to keep a little piece of Galway with them always.
As you would expect, Galway has a huge range of activities for the holidaymaker to enjoy. Golfers will find themselves spoilt for choice between excellent links and parkland courses, the equal of any in the world but without the sting of exorbitant green fees. Horse riding and trekking is another popular way to unwind in this the native county of the Connemara pony.
Walking trails to suit all tastes are available both around the city and in the countryside. Hill walkers will find many fine routes in Connemara and the Twelve Bens and the scenery is unsurpassable. So much coastline is a good indicator of the variety of watersports available.
Fishing is always a popular option in Galway – every visitor to the city will have visited the famous Salmon Weir Bridge. Coarse fishing, river angling and sea angling are also available locally.