ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Why Galway is One of the Best Cities I have ever visited

Updated on March 15, 2016
A view of the Connemara Country side, just a couple of hours outside Galway City.
A view of the Connemara Country side, just a couple of hours outside Galway City. | Source

Galway Ireland, what can I say? It’s one of the best cities I have ever been to. It has History, Culture, night life, shopping, and is a starting point for a few tours to the surrounding area. It has an interesting history; it embraces it, and thrives on it. Galway is both medieval and modern at the same time. It has something for every kind of traveler, including accommodations. Whether it is a hotel, bed and breakfast, inns, or hostels the city has something to suit your taste.


The Spanish Arch
The Spanish Arch | Source
A cheese-monger's shop in Historic Galway
A cheese-monger's shop in Historic Galway | Source
One of the many buildings that were built in the 15th century and are still used today in Historic Galway.
One of the many buildings that were built in the 15th century and are still used today in Historic Galway. | Source
Another 15th century building. I loved the design of this one.
Another 15th century building. I loved the design of this one. | Source
View from Menlo Park Hotel, taken in 2009 when I stayed there.
View from Menlo Park Hotel, taken in 2009 when I stayed there. | Source
St. Nicholas Church, a historic Church. One of my Favorites.
St. Nicholas Church, a historic Church. One of my Favorites. | Source
Finnigan's, Its a restaurant in an 15th century building. I recommend their Shepard's Pie.
Finnigan's, Its a restaurant in an 15th century building. I recommend their Shepard's Pie. | Source
One of the Buskers in Historic Galway.
One of the Buskers in Historic Galway. | Source
The Docks
The Docks | Source
The tide out on the Docks, hence the boat.
The tide out on the Docks, hence the boat. | Source
Cathedral in Galway. It has amazing stain glass windows.
Cathedral in Galway. It has amazing stain glass windows. | Source
The Tourist office from Father Ted, Aran Islands.
The Tourist office from Father Ted, Aran Islands. | Source
Promontory Fort, Aran Islands.
Promontory Fort, Aran Islands. | Source
View of the coast line off the Aran Islands.
View of the coast line off the Aran Islands. | Source
Quiet Man Gift Shop and Muesum
Quiet Man Gift Shop and Muesum | Source
Source
Kylemore Abbey
Kylemore Abbey | Source
Source
Source
Source
Source

Where to Stay

Finding a place to stay when traveling is always one of the most important steps and Galway offers something for everyone. You have your choice of hotels, bed and breakfasts, and hostels. Having been back to the city both times I have been back to Ireland I can recommend at least two of these from personal experience. Back in 2009 when I first found myself in Galway, it was the last week of July during race week. This being said it was incredibly busy and it was really difficult finding a room. We did manage to get one at the Menlo Park Hotel, which is 4-star accommodations and was really worth the extra price. The room was fantastic, the staff was incredible, and the breakfast was amazing. It was a bit of a travel from the Dock and the Historic 15th century section of the city but a fantastic place to stay. If you are more of a hotel person when you travel I recommend staying here. But if you are more budget cautious when you travel, there are plenty of hostels all within walking distance of all the action. I would recommend staying at Kinlay House Hostel. It is one of the better hostels that I have stayed in. I stayed here the second time I traveled down there in 2013 when I was on spring break from University and I look forward to staying there the next time I am in Galway. The staff was fantastic, it was very clean, full of life, and the breakfast was one of the best. I in fact recommend staying in Hostels. Below there is a link to an excellent site for booking hostels, bed and Breakfasts, and even some hotels. I always check there first.


Some Recommendations and Highlights

Now that you have your place to stay all picked out and ready to go we can get on to the fun stuff, which makes up so much of what I love about the city and can’t wait to share with you all. The history is what brings a place alive for me and being able to walk on the same roads that were there in the 15th century and go in and out of buildings that have stood the test of time really was a fantastic treat for myself. The area down by the Docks and Spanish Arch are beautiful, and the original architecture is amazing. St. Nicholas was a beautiful church, and as an archaeology student at the time I could really see the changes that the building has under gone. The Information was fresh in my mind, having just come from my field school on Achill Island in County Mayo. Between the shops, the restaurants, the pubs, and the street performers it was amazing. The streets that are closed off from vehicle traffic are the original streets. It was an amazing feeling to be able to walk on them. Galway was built in 1124, and control of the city has changed hands several times since it was built. It has been a center for trade. In the late 1400's the city was controlled by 12 merchant families.

The Spanish Arch is a misnomer, because it is not connected to any Spanish presence in the city itself. The Arch was constructed in 1584, and was built as an extension to the city wall, in order to protect the Quay. This section of the wall was damaged and part of it destroyed in 1755 from a tsunami. Until 2006 the Galway Museum was housed here, until it was moved to a building directly behind it.

The St. Nicholas Collegiate Church was founded in 1320 and was dedicated to St. Nicholas of Myra, who is the patron saint of seafarers. This Church is now a part of the church of Ireland. Another Historical place in the city, that I enjoyed very much, was the Kings Head Pub. The building, archaeologists will tell you, has been there since about the 13th century. It has been a number of things, including a spirits and grocer. But it draws its name from the beheading of Kings Charles I. As the property in the back, had belonged to Richard Gunning, who was said to have bragged that he was the executioner that beheaded the king and the property as given to him, as payment for spilling royal blood. There is lots of really cool historical details that are original to the building, outside and in. The food and pub atmosphere are nothing short of spectacular and there is a live band. I highly recommend this place if you find yourself in the area.

Day Tours of the Surrounding Area

But there is more to do in Galway then just the city, but the surrounding country side which is a must see as well. From Galway you can take several day tours to the Aran Islands, Connemara and Kylemore Abbey, the Cliffs of Moher and the Ring of Kerry. I highly recommend taking these tours, especially if have only a couple of days in the area. They are a great way to see a lot in a short period of time, not to mention that the guides tend to give you a bit of history and stories that can make everything come alive. They really are and excellent experience. We did the Aran Islands tour and the Connemara and Kylemore Abbey tour while we were there and both were truly amazing.

The Aran Islands- a day spent immersed in the past. The primary Language on the Islands is still Irish, and their schools are taught in them, as our guide told us. There is a lot to see once you get there for several options to get around the Islands once you get there. You can of course go the self guided route and walk or rent a cycle to get around, you can also take a horse drawn cart tour or a van. The last two options get you a guide and work as a hop on and hop off at the various different stops. The first two options of course can be fun for the adventurous. I did a combination of walking around on my own and tours that I picked up along the way and it worked well for me. There are neolithic historic sites, beaches, epic scenery and modern Irish culture. I got some truly amazing pictures that came out like post card pictures. I have done this particular tour twice in rain and shine and I loved both times. If you find yourself in Galway I truly suggest making your way to the Aran Islands and while your there get yourself a sweater that is made right there. I love mine; it is both warm and cozy, not to mention a practical souvenir to take home if you need the excuse. There's several tour companies that you can take. We used Lally Tours, and I fully enjoyed it. And the driver and tour guide on the bus, on the way to the ferry, were very knowledgeable and engaging. I enjoyed learning about the area from them. I can recommend them personally. But I have looked into the other tour companies, and have heard really good things.

Connemara and Kylemore Abbey- A day in the country side. Once again I used Lally Tours for this trip...they really are a fantastic company and the drivers/guides are truly amazing. This tour winds through Connemara stopping at various stops to and from Kylemore Abbey. The Village where the John Wayne movie The Quiet Man was filmed. I loved this as it is one of mine and my dad's favorite movies. In the same village there is also a ruined abbey and quite a few churches to explore. Once at Kylemore Abbey you have a couple of hours to spend. It was built as a private home and then became an Abbey. There is a chapel and Mosulem for the husband and wife that had it built. There is also a historic walled garden that is really amazing. There is so much I can say about the Abbey, which is an article in itself. I would highly recommend this tour. Connemara and Kylemore Abbey really are stunning and epic in many ways.

These Tours can be booked online and if your staying at a Hostel you can also book at the tour desk. A helpful tip...if you don't mind staying in a hostel the tour buses pick up right outside the Kinlay House and several other hostels.

So....Why is Galway the Best City I have Visited

Galway is truly a walk able city and in fact I recommend it as it truly helps to get to know the city on a personal level. There's so many reason to fall in love with this city. The people are friendly, the Architecture is fantastic and it is very much a gem. It will truly remain one of my all time favorite places. A place to return to time and time again. I myself can not wait to go back. I am sure that there are places and sites that I did not include, but I am more then happy to answer questions, just ask.

Cast your vote for Galway
show route and directions
A markerMenlo Park Hotel -
Headford Rd, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland
get directions

Excellent Hotel! I loved it, and would stay there again. Full Irish breakfast included with the rm. Great Staff. Rm, was the perfect size. Loved it.

B markerThe Docks -
The Docks, Co. Galway, Ireland
get directions

Excellent Shopping and Night Life. Fantastic! and Full of History.

C markerGalway City Muesum -
Galway City Museum, Spanish Parade, The Docks, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland
get directions

The Spanish Arch! Its Amazing. And Part of the old walls of the medieval city.

D markerThe Quays -
11 Quay St, The Docks, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland
get directions

excellent Pub, Good food.

E markerKings Head -
15 High St, The Docks, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland
get directions

One of the Oldest Pubs in Galway! Good food and atmosphere. Lots of Fun.

F markerFairgreen Road The Docks, Galway, Co. Galway -
Fairgreen Rd, The Docks, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland
get directions

www.failtetours.com/

G markerStation Road The Docks, Galway City, Co. Galway -
Station Rd, The Docks, Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland
get directions

www.fahertytours.com/

H markerKinlay House -
Merchants Road, Eyre Square Galway, Co. Galway, Ireland
get directions

This is the tour office for Lally Tours. www.lallytours.com/

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • chspublish profile image

      chspublish 5 years ago from Ireland

      Hi there and welcome to HubPages. Thanks for doing such a good job on the layout of detail about Galway city. I have a bias towards that city - was born in Salthill, an extension to the city and the nearest beach to the city.

      Hope you have a fun time on HubPages and I'll be looking out for more of your hubs.

    • archgirl1985 profile image
      Author

      archgirl1985 5 years ago from Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

      Thanks!It took me awhile to get the layout done the way I wanted it. I have thing about the details, being an archaeologist. I loved Galway, and I didn't do it Justice. I just completed the application for NUI Galway. I went to Salthill while I was there. I enjoyed the beach very Much. :-)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 5 years ago from Germany

      Welcome to HubPages! I love Galway, too. It is a beautiful city with an interesting history. Voted up! Thanks for sharing.

    • archgirl1985 profile image
      Author

      archgirl1985 5 years ago from Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

      Thank you! I apologize for it taking a few days to reply back. I got accepted into grad school so, I was a bit busy with making sure everything is together. Galway, is a very beautiful city, and it will always have a special place with me. you can see the history every where there.

    Click to Rate This Article