Galway prides itself on being one of Ireland's cultural hot spots. This city in the west of Ireland has a fascinating medieval history, which is well preserved in the architecture. Day trips out of the city reward you with brooding scenery and ancient castles.
Set out on foot for a walking tour around the city center to see some of the major attractions. Galway City Museum is an interesting building and home to some excellent exhibitions. Nearby is the Spanish Arch, a 1580s extension of the city walls. Visit St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church and Lynch's Castle; both are fine examples of Galway’s medieval architecture. Cross the River Corrib to see the Galway Cathedral, built in the 20th century but inspired by Renaissance design.
Venture outside the city with trips to Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden and the quaint town of Clifden. The evocative Dunguaire Castle lays on medieval-style banquets, and warrants the 30-minute drive.
Few of Ireland's cities outside of Dublin can compete with Galway's party atmosphere. By day, the sculpture-filled Eyre Square is a hub of activity. At night, take your pick from the entertainment on offer in the city’s taverns, jazz bars, craft beer houses, theaters and comedy clubs.
Consider timing your visit to Galway to coincide with one of the many events the city hosts. In summer, there’s the Galway Races, Galway Cathedral Recitals and the Galway Arts Festival, which is considered Ireland’s premier arts event. Foodies will love the Galway International Oyster Festival in September.
Galway's sheltered position on the North Atlantic makes for a consistently mild climate. Average highs in winter are 48F (9C), and 66F (19C) in summer, which is the peak tourist season.
Shannon Airport and Ireland West Airport Knock are the best way to get to Galway by air; both are about 55 miles (90 kilometers) from Galway. A frequent train service runs from and to Dublin. The journey takes 2-2.5 hours.