County Galway is situated in the West of Ireland and is one of Ireland’s largest counties. It is one of Ireland’s most diverse counties containing the largest Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) in the country, the largest island community, a vibrant city (Galway City) and some of Ireland’s most dramatic mountains.
Galway city is known worldwide for its entertainment scene. Its cobbled streets are abuzz with traditional and contemporary artists from around the world. The city is long beloved by painters and poets.
Beyond the city itself, further west and stretching toward the Atlantic Ocean, is the legendary Connemara region. Its unique beauty is marked by brooding bogs and jagged mountains, glassy lakes and a pristine coastline.
Off the coast, and battered by the powerful Atlantic, the rocky Aran Islands are popular with visitors, and are home to a number of stone age forts.
Top Attractions in County Galway
Connemara National Park – Letterfrack, Co Galway, Letterfrack – National Park over 2,000 hectares in size with visitor centre.
Coole Park – Coole Nature Reserve, Gort –
Dún Aonghasa – Kilmurvey, Aran Islands, Inishmor – Dún Aonghasa is the largest of the prehistoric stone forts of the Aran Islands. It is enclosed by three massive dry-stone walls and is perched spectacularly on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic ocean.
Dunguaire Castle – Kinvara – Dunguaire Castle, which overlooks Galway, is a 16th century castle. From April to September the castle comes alive with medieval banquets, which feature a theatrical performance involving rhyme, verse music and song.
Galway Cathedral – Galway City, galway-city-centre – Galway Cathedral, located on an island in the River Corrib is one of Galway’s landmark buildings and also one of the largest. Built in the early 1960s it’s modern construction contains an impressive interior including a 145 foot high dome.
Galway Film Centre – Cluain Mhuire, Wellpark Road, Galway City – Located just a few minutes walk from Eyre Square, Galway Film Centre is dedicated to the development of film as an artistic medium in the West of Ireland.
Ionad Cultúrtha an Phiarsaigh – Rosmuc Village, Carraroe – Visit Teach an Phiarsaigh, the cottage where Patrick Pearse, writer, educator and leader of the 1916 Rising, spent his summers. Explore Pearse’s historical and cultural legacy.
Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden – Connemara, Kylemore – Set in the Connemara mountains is Kylemore Abbey, a beautiful neo-Gothic Castle. Built by the English industrialist Mitchell Henry in 1868, visitors to the three reception rooms in the Abbey are touched by its history steeped in romance and tragedy.
Nora Barnacle House Museum – Bowling Green, Galway City – The Nora Barnacle House, Bowling Green, Galway was built in the 1800s. The smallest house in the street, its accommodation consists of two rooms and a tiny back yard. The ground floor room served as a kitchen, dining room, and often a bedroom.
Portumna Castle – Portumna – The great semi-fortifed house at Portumna was built before 1618 by Richard Burke or de Burgo, 4th Earl of Clanricarde. There are exhibitions in the castle and Gate House.
St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church – Galway City – The Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas is the largest medieval parish church in Ireland in continuous use as a place of worship. Founded in 1320, this Church of Ireland (Anglican) church is dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of seafarers.
Events and Festivals in County Galway
Galway Races: Horse racing festival held annually just outside Galway city at the end of July.
Main Destinations in County Galway
Galway City is a medieval city that is rich in culture. It is also a university city which is partly responsible for its vibrancy and love for the arts. It has much to offer visitors, both young and old.
Salthill is a traditional seaside resort offering facilities to please young and old and is situated just minutes from Galway city centre. Salthill’s famous prom is the perfect place to watch the sun go down on Galway Bay.
Other Towns and Villages in County Galway
Loughrea lies north of a range of wooded hills, the Slieve Aughty Mountains.
Popular locations to stay in Co. Galway are Athenry (4 places to stay), Ballinasloe (3), Camus (1), Claregalway (3), Clarinbridge (1), Cleggan (1), Clifden (10), Cornamona (1), Furbo (1), Galway City (66), Gort (3), Inis Oirr (1), Inishmor (2), Kilronan (1), Kinvara (4), Kylebrack (1), Leenaun (3), Loughrea (5), Moyard (2), Oranmore (3), Oughterard (6), Portumna (1), Recess (1), Renvyle (8), Rosscahill (1), Roundstone (1), Shrule (1), Tuam (1).
Other towns include Annaghdown, Ardrahan, Ballyconneely, Caherlistrane, Carna, Carnmore, Carraroe, Cashel, Cashel Bay, Castlegar, Claddaghduff, Clonbur, Craughwell, Dunmore, Eyrecourt, Headford, Inishbofin, Inishere, Inishmaan, Inverin, Kilcolgan, Kilkerrin, Killimor, Kylemore, Letterfrack, Maam Cross, Milltown, Mountbellew, Moycullen, Rosmuck, Spiddal, Taylors Hill, Williamstown.
Getting Here and Around
Galway is located on Ireland’s west coast. Bus and rail services focus on Eyre Square – the centre of the city itself. From here, there are regular rail services to/from Dublin, connecting with elsewhere in the country; as well as a number of long distance bus routes to/from most major cities and towns in Ireland. Local bus services are also served by the bus station here.
The Aran Islands are reachable by ferry from Rossaveal.
More detailed information on getting to and around County Galway can be found in our Co. Galway Transport Guide.