The seemingly perpetual rains do not dampen the constant buzz of energy and steady entertainment in Ireland's most Irish city. Galway has attracted a lot of tourists from all parts of the world for many years now, but its medieval architecture, rich history and numerous festivals are not the only reasons why it has been a natural magnet for visitors. Rather Galway's charms lie in its vibrant culture, spirited art scene and absolutely mouthwatering gustatory delights. The students at the National University of Ireland, Galway keep the city eternally young and energetic as live music, impromptu at times, in the city's many pubs make the nights truly come alive. Here in Galway, life goes on -- rain or shine.
Unlike other European cities that are literally bursting at the seams with churches, castles and other architectural wonders, Galway isn't as populated. But that makes it a much more approachable destination. On top of your list should be Eyre Square, a 300 year old park which was newly renovated. It now boasts of pathways, sculptures and green spaces and is a great place to people-watch. The Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas of Myra, the oldest medieval parish church where Christopher Columbus was said to have once prayed, is another must-see site. Another prominent religious institution is the Galway Cathedral. The Spanish Arch that frames the River Corrib located east of Wolfe Tone Bridge is the last remainder of Galway's medieval defenses. Beside it is the Long Walk, a promenade popular among those who would like to stretch their legs with a pleasant stroll. If you still have time, include Lynch's Castle, with its impressive facade of gargoyles, and Dunguaire Castle, with its tall tower and medieval banquets, in your itinerary.
Don't leave Galway without a sumptuous feast of oysters from Galway Bay. You should also treat your palate with boxty, coddle and a pint of Guinness in the many restaurants and pubs along the city center. Many restaurants can also be found in the area around Eyre Square and in the Salthill area. Check out the hot food selections every Saturday at the Galway Market.
The primary shopping district in the city is the area between Williams Street and Shop Street. Eyre Square is a large shopping center with a supermarket. Bridge Mills in the western portion of the William O' Brien Bridge is another shopping complex. For jewelry, head to Thomas Dillon's Claddagh Gold. If book shopping is your thing, drown yourself in the collections at P Powell & Sons, Easons's and Charlie Byrnes, among others.
Unit 7 Killkerin Business Park
The Weir, Kilcolgan
11 Quay Street
Quay St. and Chapel Lane