3 Days in Galway


3 Days in Galway

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Galway has loads to offer, the city and county are full of interesting sites, old Irish castles, retro visitor centres and some of the most beautiful landscape you will see in Ireland, Galway has it all. Galway city is a vibrant fun city to visit, full of nice people, cool Irish pubs and plenty of historic buildings! The city is full of stuff to see.

Galway has a population of 100,000 people. Galway is located in the West of Ireland in the province of Connacht. Galway is 207 kilometres from Dublin, this journey would take around a two and half-hours.

It’s a must-see destination while visiting Ireland, the city and county. Outside Galway, you have one of Ireland’s national parks that has to be seen!

See my post on the Best FREE stuff to do in Galway here!

In this post, I have put together a 3-day itinerary of stuff to see and things to do, as well as some places to stay! I have based the itinerary on the basis that you have transport, a car or an MPV. I hope you enjoy this trip!!!

Accommodation

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I’m going to recommend a few hotels in this post to stay in, these hotels are in great locations and close to the city centre. A huge plus is that the hotels are within walking distance of loads of attractions. It’s handy to be able to walk back to the hotel after an evening out after having a few beers, this of course after a great day sightseeing!!!

The hotels I’m recommending are perfectly located and has all the amenities you will need for a comfortable stay in the city of tribes.

1 – Jury Inn Hotel

2 – The Hardiman

3 – Eyre Square Hotel

Day 1 Check out Galway City Centre and Eyre Square!

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Day one is based in Galway City and around the surrounding areas. The city is a cool area to stroll around and take in the vibe of the city centre. Eyre Square is an open public park in the heart of Galway, its also known as the JFK Memorial Park because JKF back in the 1960s made a speech there when he visited Ireland, the locals decide to make it after JFK!

The square is the perfect spot to relax for a while and take in the culture of Galway. The square has a number of cool statues and monuments to check out. During the month of December, there is a really cool Christmas market held in Eyre Square that has loads of food stalls and a Big Wheel!

Check out Galway Cathedral!

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Galway Cathedral is a beautiful modern Cathedral build in the 1950s, it around a 10-minute walk from the city centre. The cathedral is the youngest of its type in all of Europe. The interior of the Cathedral is stunning with such height from the floor to the ceiling, and the stained glass is amazingly done. The Cathedral was dedicated to Saint Nicholas and our Lady. It’s a lovely church to say a quiet prayer in and maybe get some photos of one of Ireland’s nicest cathedrals.

Pop over to the Spanish Arch!

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The famous Spanish Arch is located in the long walk area of Galway just a few minutes from the city centre. The arch dates back to the year 1584 and used to be known as (The Head of the Wall) Ceann na Bhalla. The Spanish Arch was too connected to the walls of Galway City and used to protect the quays area back in the day.

Back in the day, the city was surrounded by walls! The Spanish Arch is part of a lot of walking tours around the city of Tribes, you have to pop over and take a look!

Learn about the Claddagh Ring!

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The Claddagh Ring is a symbol of Ireland, it world-famous and loved by millions of people worldwide. The Claddagh Ring was originally designed and made in Galway before it was launched onto the world stage. Claddagh Jewellers are located on 25 Mainguard Street, Galway. This jewellery shop sells a huge range of Claddagh rings and Jewellery, if you interested in purchasing a ring, this is the shop to go to!

Pop into O Connell’s Pub for a Pint!

This cracking pub is located across from Eyre Square, it’s a lovely little spot to pop into to wind down after a busy day or just maybe for some tasty lunch. O Connell’s pub serves really good pizza and they have a super beer garden, it’s just a great pub all round!

The interior of the pub has an authentic old feel with some cool décor, the drinks menu is huge with everything from craft beers to retro funky drinks for the ladies! It’s one of the nicest pubs in Galway in my opinion.

Ed Sheeran’s video for his version of the Galway Girl was filmed in O Connell’s Bar, so this bar is world-famous, you have to pop in for a pint or two!

Take a look at Salthill

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Salthill is a seaside location that Irish people love and tourists fall in love with! Salthill is around three kilometres from Eyre Square, that’s around an 8-minute drive depending on traffic.

The area has loads to see, there’s a lovely beach, a cool pier and some amazing views of the Burren region in County Clare from the promenade in Salthill. The area has some amusements for kids and a leisure land indoor swimming pool with a gym. Salthill is a lovely area to go for a stroll and stretch the legs after a few hours in the car!

Hear Some Live Music on Shop Street!

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Shop Street is full of buskers and live music performers. The street is well known for its lively atmosphere. You will see dancers, guys playing the guitar and some young and up and coming bands singing away!

The atmosphere on Shop Street on a busy day is what Galway is all about, the cool music vibes and the Irish culture of everybody just have the craic and chilling out. The pubs are usually busy with everyone enjoying a few beers! Shop Street is must-see while visiting the city of tribes, and you will go back again and again while in Galway

Day 2 – Take a look around Coole Park

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Coole Park is located around 48 kilometres from Galway, it’s around a 50-minute drive. Coole Park is a huge nature reserve set on a 1,000 acres of land. Robert Gregory bought around 600 acres of land back in the year 1768 and built a Beaulieu house on the lands where he and his wife Lady Gregory resided for many years.

The famous poet William Butler Yeats spent time in Coole Park. Coole Park nowadays is a cool visitor centre and a stunning nature reserve that has some amazing gardens to see. The visitor centre has loads to see including loads of informational displays.

Coole Park is an area of conservation, the park and lands were purchased by the Irish state in the year 1927. The park has loads to see and is home to many plant species and lots of different animals breeds. The Walled Gardens are stunning and have a really old classical feel. The area has many walking trails with some beautiful woodlands to see, it’s a great place to get out and about and experience the great outdoors in Ireland!

Coole Park often hosts events and different informational day events, it’s a great place to visit with children too. There is a cafe called “The Coole Park Tearooms” where you can get a bite to eat and some refreshments!

Pop over to Thoor Ballylee (Yeats Tower)

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Thoor Ballylee is an old Irish castle, its also known as Yeats Tower because the famous Irish poet William Butler Yeats used to live in the castle. The castle is in very good condition. The great poet Seamus Heaney said that Yeats Tower “was the important building in Ireland”. The castle is close to the town of Gort in County Galway, its was built banks of the river streamstown.

The castle dates back to the 12th century and was originally a fortified tower owned by the Burke/ Burgo clan. This family were very prominent in Connacht back in the day.

The present castle dates from around the 15th century, it’s amazing to think that Yeats lived in this castle and was inspired to write some of his amazing poems there.

William Butler Yeats purchased Thoor Ballylee for 35 pounds, the castle wasn’t in great condition when he purchased the building. Yeats began a large project to restore the building. Some of Yeats poems features the tower, he was inspired by his surroundings mentioning it in some of his work.

Yeats and his wife often fished from the castle into the nearby river. They spend many days enjoying the local areas and they were regular visitors to Coole Park. Yeats Tower nowadays is turned into a cool visitor centre, the castle is opened to the public and you can climb up the stairs and see some of the rooms that Yeats and his family lived in.

The visitor centre is reasonably priced at only 5.00 euros per person, there is a really nice art Studio next to the castle with some really nice art pieces to check out it, You can visit the castle for FREE from the outside but be aware there is a small fee to go inside! You have to visit Yeats Tower!!

Driver over to Kinvara County Galway!

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The seaport village of Kinvara is a beautiful colourful little Irish village with loads of stuff to see. Kinvara is located on the Wild Atlantic Way route it’s around a 45-minute drive from Galway. Kinvara has a beautiful pier to check out, full of all kinds of boats. The village has loads of eating and drinks houses.

Kinvara is home to a famous Irish Castle called “ Dunguaire Castle”. The Castle is FREE to visit from the outside of course! The castle dates back to the 16th century and is in a great location surrounded by water. Dunguaire castle is used for mediaeval banquets in the Summer months, this a really enjoyable event to attend and I highly recommend it!!! You can get a feel for how people lived back during the mediaeval period!!!

Kinvara is home to the largest thatched roof in Ireland, Its on a hotel!! The Merriman Hotel in Kinvara boosts the largest thatched roof in the whole of Ireland!!! The Merriman Hotel serves nice food and I have often had a meal there its very good. Kinvarra has loads of nice pubs and cafes to check out!

There are loads of activities in and around Kinvara, the village is quite close to the Burren region in County Clare and very popular with tourists and Irish people going on day trips and holidays.

Day 3 -Day-trip to Connemara!

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The Connemara region has loads to see, it’s a great area to tour around in a car. Connemara has plenty of cool attractions and lovely little Irish villages and some of the best scenery you will see in Ireland.

Connemara is one of Ireland’s National Parks, and probably in the top three of the Parks, it’s an amazing area to visit. Leaving Galway City head towards the R336 towards Spiddal. The views of this road are fantastic and of the wonderful County Clare and the Burren region in the distance.

Click here for a Map of Connemara!

Stop at the Connemara Marble Shop and Visitor Centre!

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This marble shop is something to see, they make loads of different jewellery places from the Connemara marble, there is a guided tour of the workshop, you learn about the history of Connemara marble that dates back millions of years.

The marble shop is located in Moycullen which is around a 20-minute drive from Galway City. The marble shop is the perfect place to pick up some unique gifts for friends and family, the marble comes in green and white, its a truly unique Irish product!!!

Check out Glengowla Mines in Oughterard!

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Glengowla mines are one of Connemara’s hidden gems, it’s a cool attraction to spend a few hours learning about sheep herding, tuff cutting and exploring an old sliver and lead mine that dates back to the 1850s. This cool visitor centre has three different attractions to keep you busy.

The turf cutting experience is great to learn about how the turf is cut and dried to provide a great source of fuel for the people of Connemara. The mines experience is amazing, you can go down into an old silver and lead mine, there is a guided tour of the mine and some gold panning too! You can use the grounds of the visitor centre for a picnic! You have to pop in for a look!!

Check out Clifden!

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The town of Clifden is a cool Irish town. There are a number of beaches close to Clifden. One route you have to see is the sky-road in Clifden, it’s an amazing route full of superb scenery. You can drive up the Skyroad or walk it depending on what you wanna do! It’s around five and a half kilometres from Clifden.

The town has plenty of cool pubs with great food and warm atmospheres. I’m going to mention Mannions Bar and Restaurant, its a good spot for food and you can sit outside if its a nice day!

Another cool attraction outside Clifden is the Clifden castle. Clifden castle dates back to 1818 and is an old Gothic design building, the castle is in a ruined state now, but its design is very interesting if you’re into old buildings!

Drop into Kylemore Abbey for a look!

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Kylemore Abbey is another class attraction in the Connemara region, its full of history, interesting gardens and in a beautiful part of the world! The abbey used to be a Benedictine monastery, it’s now a major tourist attraction in one of Ireland’s nicest National Parks. There are guided tours of the abbey, its in amazing condition.

The surrounding lands and waters are what makes the area so special, as you look around its like something out of a fairytale, it truly is a beautiful abbey of historic importance in a wonderfully scenic area of Ireland. There is a gift shop and restaurant on-site to get a bite to eat or maybe some gifts for friends of the family.

The abbey used to be a boarding school. The attached gardens are something to see, they are a beautiful example of a timeless Victorian Walled Garden, some of the best you will see!

Pop into Gaynors Pub (The Field Bar)

The movie the Field featured Graynors Bar in some of the scenes from the movie. It’s a lovely little pub in a fanatic location in the heart of Connemara, they serve nice creamery pints of Guinness. The food menu is good at Gaynor’s pub.

This pub serves really good Irish Coffees!! The movie the Field starred Richard Harris, it was a story about a piece of land that causes a bit of trouble. Harris played the Bull Mc Cabe who got annoyed when the lands he had rented for years was auctioned and an American became very interested in the land, it’s a fascinating movie. Gaynor’s pub is the ideal stop after a long drive through the Connemara region!

I hope you find this post useful, I welcome any questions or suggestions by email to info@allthings-ireland.com.

Thanks

John C

All Things Ireland

John C

Hey, my name is John Conway and I love travelling around Ireland. I have a passion for All Things Ireland. I love the Emerald Isle! I love Guinness and green fields!

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