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Galway is the capital of the West of Ireland. The streets and buildings of this ancient town have many interesting features, and its position on the edge of the Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) makes it the gateway to magnificent areas such as Connemara, Corrib country, and the Aran Islands. The city itself is a continuing centre of growth with the University, Institute of Technology centers, Theatres, the Cathedral, Castles,as well as other interesting attractions.
Recently, the city centre of Galway has been closed to traffic in order to allow for the enjoyment of the city's narrow shopping streets. Parking in Galway is best done in the multi-storey car parks. If you park on the street you will need parking discs which allow you park for a certain period of time. This time period is street specific and is posted at each street junction.
Atlantaquaria (Galway Aquarium) Galway Atlantaquaria is the National Aquarium of Ireland and one of the West of Ireland's premier attractions. It's home to 170 marine and freshwater species. Highlights include seahorses, stingrays, sharks and an enormous skeleton of a Fin Whale. http://www.nationalaquarium.ie/
Corrib Cruises Operating since 1977 on the Republic of Ireland's largest lake, Lough Corrib, Corrib Cruises is the longest established and most experienced company cruising these waters. Tours include visits to Ashford Castle, Cong, Oughterard and Inchagoil Island. http://www.corribprincess.ie/
St. Nicholas is the largest medieval parish church in Ireland in continuous use as a place of worship at the heart of Galway's life. The early sections of the church date from 1320, although tradition tells us that St. Nicholas was built upon the ruins of an older structure, and part of the chancel's south wall may incorporate some of this earlier material. it's said that Christopher Columbus prayed here in 1477 before sailing away on one of his attempts to reach the New World. A tour through the Church will allow you to glimpse the part of its rich history. The church is open all day, every day, and visitors are most welcome.
Galway's famous Spanish Arch is located on the river bank of the Corrib, where Galway's river meets the sea. The Spanish Arch was originally a 16th century bastion, which was added to Galway's town walls to protect merchant ships from looting. At this time, it was known as Ceann an Bhalla (Head of the Wall). Its current name "Spanish Arch" refers to former merchant trade with Spain, whose galleons often docked here. In 1755, the arches were partially destroyed by the tidal wave generated by the 1755 Lisbon earthquake. In recent times part of the Arch has been converted into the Galway City Museum.
The Salmon Weir Bridge crosses the Corrib from the Cathedral on one side to the courthouse on the other. During the summer, people gather on this bridge in summer to see the shoals of salmon make their way up the Corrib river to spawn. During the salmon season, people stop to watch the fishing in the waters below, applauding each catch. There is a magnificent view of the Cathedral from the bridge itself, and the view remains impressive all the way down to Wolfe Tone Bridge. The bridge was originally granted by Henry III to the Earl of Ulster. The Franciscans later held the fisheries until the suppression of the monasteries under Henry VIII, when they were given to the Lynch family. It is now the property of the state.
Galway City Museum Galway City Museum reopened on 16th April 2007 with the launch of its permanent exhibition. Among the highlights on show is a rare 17th century altar piece, the new location of the statue of Pádraic Ó'Connaire and the Galway City hooker boat, named 'Máirtín Oliver' by the general public. http://www.galwaycitymuseum.ie/
Situated behind the famous Spanish Arch, Galway City Museum houses exhibitions which explore aspects of the history and heritage of Galway city, focusing on the medieval town, the Claddagh village & Galway, 1800-1950. In addition, the Museum mounts temporary exhibitions & hosts a variety of exhibits from other museums, galleries & special interest groups. The building itself affords spectacular views of the Claddagh, the Spanish Arch, the River Corrib and Galway Bay.
Galway is known as the cultural capital of the west containing many art galleries, museums, historical buildings and theatres. There is something for everyone from music gigs to theatrical performances.
Galway city offers a number of restaurants to please every palate and pocket. There are several pubs around Galway offering various types of music from traditional to rock and pop.
Galway Oyster Festival - see section on Festivals and Events for further details.