Galway is a perfect base for seeing the West of Ireland but it is also worth a visit in itself. Although it has only a few typical sightseeing spots, what makes it a wonderful place to stay is the atmosphere, the culture, the people and the events. Even being the fourth largest city in Ireland, it has retained much of its small town character and is home to many artists, writers, and artisans. Galway is the unofficial cultural capital of Ireland and Galway is the ideal place for international technology, arts, sciences, and of course, English students. Besides, its lively arts scene peaks during the summertime such as Galway Arts, Comedy, Oyster and Food Festival, Galway Races, The Latin Quarter and Galway Christmas Market. Outside of Galway City the wild and sparsely populated Connemara region offers spectacular scenery of mountains and lakes and unparalleled hill walking across the peaks of the Twelve Bens. The coast line is wrought into rocky inlets sheltering white sand beaches, and is studded with the beautiful Aran Islands that make for interesting day trips. Galway is a vibrant city that offers a unique combination of development, history and quality education by creating an experience of living and studying abroad unforgettable. Below is a list of categories detailing the best places to visit in and around Galway.
The Cliffs of Moher in County Clare are Ireland’s most visited natural attraction with a magical vista that captures the hearts of one million visitors every year and are a Signature Discovery Point in the heart of the Wild Atlantic Way.
Standing 230 metres above the ground at their highest point and 8km long, the Cliffs boast one of the most amazing views in Ireland. On a clear day, the Aran Islands are visible in Galway Bay as well as the valleys and hills of Connemara
The Aran Islands lie just outside Galway Bay and just miles from the Clare coast and the Cliffs of Moher on the West coast of Ireland. Loved by every visitor, the Aran Islands are 3 of the most unspoilt Islands in the Atlantic. The last outpost of traditional Irish culture. Each of the Islands, Inis Oírr (Inisheer), Inis Meain(Inishmaan) and the largest Inis Mór (Inishmore) has its own individual character. All native inhabitans of the islands speak Irish. You’ll find ancient forts, churches and monuments on all 3 Islands. The flora and fauna is also different on each.
Kylemore Abbey is home to a community of nuns of the Benedictine Order who came here in 1920 after their abbey in Ypres, Belgium was destroyed in World War I. Settling at Kylemore, the Benedictine Community opened a world renowned boarding school for girls and began restoring the Abbey, Gothic Church and Victorian Walled Garden to their former glory.
Kylemore Abbey & Victorian Walled Garden welcomes visitors to discover the magic, beauty and peacefulness of Kylemore Abbey. Visit Kylemore Abbey and discover what makes Kylemore the no.1 must-see attraction in Connemara and the west of Ireland.
Thousands of people come to visit Kylemore every year to see the magnificent fairy tale castle and Abbey. They also come to experience not only the natural beauty of the Kylemore but to experience the aura of peace and tranquillity and a sense of spirituality.
Situated in the West of Ireland in County Galway, Connemara National Park covers some 2,957 hectares of scenic mountains, expanses of bogs, heaths, grasslands and woodlands. Some of the Park’s mountains, namely Benbaun, Bencullagh, Benbrack and Muckanaght, are part of the famous Twelve Bens or Beanna Beola range. Connemara National Park was established and opened to the public in 1980.
Much of the present Park lands formed part of the Kylemore Abbey Estate and the Letterfrack Industrial School, the remainder having been owned by private individuals. The southern part of the Park was at one time owned by Richard (Humanity Dick) Martin who helped to form the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals during the early 19th century. The Park lands are now wholly owned by the State and managed solely for National Park purposes.
Brigit’s Garden takes you on a magical journey into the heart of Celtic heritage and mythology, making it one of the truly outstanding places to visit in the West of Ireland. The award-winning Celtic Gardens are widely regarded as one of the most spectacular in Ireland, set within 11 acres of native woodland & wildflower meadows. In addition to the Celtic Gardens visitors can enjoy the nature trail, an ancient ring fort (fairy fort), thatched roundhouse and crannog, and the calendar sundial, the largest in Ireland.
Brigit’s Garden is very family-friendly with a kids’ discovery trail, a natural playground and lots of opportunity to explore.
Dunguaire Castle is probably the most famous land mark that is associated with Kinvara. The castle was built in 1520 by the O’Hynes clan on the picturesque shores of Galway Bay. This restored 16th century tower house sits on a rocky outcrop on the shores of Galway Bay, 300 yards outside the village of Kinvara.
Barna Woods is located on the western boundary of Galway City and is owned and managed by Galway City Council. The woodland is part of a wider recreational amenity that includes Cappagh Park. The Barna Woods Project is a ‘Biodiversity Survey and Management Plan of Barna Woods’.