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Hotels in Galway

Originally a small fishing village, Galway today is a buzzing, bohemian city steeped in culture and history.

Book one of our Galway hotels and explore a city with a thriving arts scene, a stunning coastline and a centre full of cobbled streets, cafés, bars and shops.

Arts and culture

Hundreds of artists and performers from across the globe flock to the city for the Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland's largest arts festival. Founded in 1978, it encompasses theatre, dance, visual arts, music, literature, comedy and more. The city is also the home of the Cuirt International Festival of Literature, which includes poetry and fiction readings, poetry slams, book launches, masterclasses, music and theatrical performances and more.

Galway Arts Centre has a 3,000ft2 gallery which hosts contemporary art exhibitions, and offers classes and workshops in art, writing, photography, drama, music and more. The centre also includes the 80-seater Nun's Island Theatre. Galway's main theatre, the Georgian Town Hall Theatre, offers a daily programme of plays, concerts, musicals, opera, ballet, film screenings, comedy, children's shows and more.

Beaches

There are four main beaches in Galway City. Silverstrand is a shallow, sandy beach where you can swim at low tide and which is popular with young families. Just 250m long, the beach has a cliff on one side, rocks on the other and excellent views across Galway Bay. Salthill beach is a collection of several small beaches, some sandy and some pebbly, and both Salthill and Silverstrand have been Blue Flag beaches since 2006. Nature lovers should head to Ballyloughane, whose wildlife includes flatfish, sand hoppers, seaweeds and crabs, or the sandy Grattan beach, a good place to spot wintering birds.

Things to see

At Galway City Museum, you can discover Galway's archaeology, art, geology, natural history, folklife and social history. The permanent collection has around 1,000 items, including farm implements, carvings, fishing boats, artwork, objects from 19th- and 20th-century shops and photographs of the city through the decades.

Galway Cathedral, built in the 1960s, is one of the city's largest and most striking buildings, with a 145-foot-high octagonal dome, and impressive rose windows and wall paintings inside. On the Salmon Weir Bridge, which crosses the River Corrib by the cathedral, you can see the salmon swim up the river in summer, and watch the anglers fishing.

The Atlantaquaria, Ireland's national aquarium, is home to more than 150 marine and freshwater species. You can hold starfish and crabs in the touch pools, feed the fish at the estuary, and see seahorses, rays, sharks, conger eels and more.

Eating and drinking

Housed in a 1920s stone cottage, the White Gables restaurant serves traditional Irish dishes, with seafood a speciality. There's also a shop selling homemade breads, cakes and meals to take away, as well as artisan foods ranging from chutneys to fudge. Alternatively, head to the popular Brasserie on the Corner for steak, seafood and cocktails.

There are plenty of pubs where you can enjoy traditional Irish music, including Taaffes, The Crane, An Pucan and Monroe's Tavern, all of which have live music every night. Monroe's Tavern has traditional Irish dancing on a Tuesday, which you are welcome to join in.

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