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Things to do in Galway

Things to do in  Galway

Welcome to Galway

From the open wilderness of the Aran Islands to the hustle and bustle of Galway itself, County Galway offers plenty of opportunity for adventure. Using Galway City as a base, travelers can enjoy guided tours to top natural attractions including the Cliffs of Moher, Inishbofin island, and Killary fjord, where the rolling green hills and rugged coastline of the Emerald Isle awaits. Take the Wild Atlantic Way route on a tour along the western coast of Ireland to fishing villages such as Roundstone, paddle over the waves on a pre-planned sea-kayaking adventure, or travel by horseback as you follow a guide into the rugged wilderness of the Connemara National Park. If time is on your side, take a four- or seven-day cycling trip deep into the countryside, where life ticks by at a relaxing pace and rural Ireland reveals its beauty. Within Galway City itself, take a hop-on hop-off bus tour to places of interest such as Claddagh, Galway Cathedral, Galway City Museum, the Salthill promenade, and the Spanish Arch; and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace. Spin through the streets on a guided bike trip, or let your taste buds lead the way and discover the flavors the locals love on a food tour.

Top 10 attractions in Galway

#1
Sky Road

Sky Road

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Even though it’s only seven miles long, Clifden’s Sky Road feels like a journey through all of Connemara and time. When driving this winding, rural road, views look down on the town of Clifden and its two iconic spires—which is a view you’re sure to see on any postcard of Western Ireland or Connemara. Behind the town are the 12 Bens hills, standing brown, rugged, and proud, and as the drive loops around away from town, views stretch out to the offshore islands and the open Atlantic Sea. Aside from the sweeping landscape views, ancient castles and historic mansions are around every bend in the road. At the 19th century Clifden Castle—built in a Gothic style—visitors can walk the dirt road that leads right up to the castle. Another stroll is up Memorial Hill and offers famous view of Clifden, and by turning uphill at the fork in the road, the drive climbs past the old Coast Guard station to 500 feet above sea level. There is a small parking lot near the road’s summit, where whitewashed cottages appear as flecks on the misty, wave battered coast. The Sky Road has often been called one of Ireland’s most scenic drives, and seeing as it’s just a short loop from Clifden, is an Irish road trip that any Connemara visitor with a car can enjoy.More
#2
Clonmacnoise

Clonmacnoise

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While Ireland’s weather is famously cool, it isn’t the temperature that will give you chills when visiting Clonmacnoise. Rather, it’s the 1,500 years of monastic history that’s powerfully felt in these ruins—where temples, cathedrals, home sites, and graveyards have withstood the elements for centuries. Originally founded in the 6th century, this stone village along the River Shannon prospered for a time as Christian monastery in Ireland’s central plains. Years of outside siege, however, would leave the settlement in ruins, and even though it now sits empty and is a shell of its former self, the stone towers and towering crosses can still move people today. When visiting the ruins at Clonmacnoise, silently stroll past one of the largest collection of Christian gravestones in Europe. Gaze upwards at the brown sandstone that forms the Cathedral’s north wall—a piece of architecture that astoundingly dates to the early part of the 8th century. Once finished wandering the grounds and admiring the 12th-century churches, head inside the Clonmacnoise Museum for its collection of preserved Celtic crosses. Standing over 12 feet in height, the Cross of the Scriptures and the South Cross are both intricately carved, and are some of Ireland’s most famous examples of traditional high Irish crosses.More
#3
Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poulnabrone Portal Tomb)

Poulnabrone Dolmen (Poulnabrone Portal Tomb)

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The Burren area of County Clare offers more questions than answers. It’s a vast countryside of karst limestone and millennia of human existence, and a place that leaves you shaking your head at the mysteries it holds inside. At a place like ancient Poulnabrone Dolmen (also known as the Poulnabrone Portal Tomb for the two thin, vertical portal stones that support its 12-foot capstone) the first question that arises is how it was built in the first place. Dating to Ireland’s Neolithic period, the dolmen structure is estimated to be over 5,000 years old. When the area was excavated in 1985 to repair a crack in a stone, the remains of over 25 people—including adults, children, and an infant—were found buried by the Poulnabrone Dolmen, and along with items such as a stone axe and bone pendants, helped to date the portal tomb to around 3,600 BC. Today, when visiting this mystical and ancient site in the fields of County Clare, there’s a profound sense of historical unknown that’s held in the silence of the stones.More
#4
The Burren

The Burren

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Covering an area of more than 115 square miles (300 square kilometers), the Burren is a vast, otherworldly expanse of scarred and fissured limestone rock, naturally sculpted through acidic erosion. Though it may look barren from afar, this rocky plateau is anything but lifeless. In spring and summer, wildflowers and rare plants thrive here.More
#5
Dunguaire Castle

Dunguaire Castle

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Sitting on an outcrop jutting into Galway Bay, the 16th-century Dunguaire Castle appears like a fairy-tale vision to drivers traversing the coastal road, prompting many to pull over and reach for a camera. The site housed prominent local clans for centuries before famous Irish surgeon, poet, and playwright Oliver St. John Gogarty bought it in 1924. He then turned it into a hangout for Ireland’s literary elite, including Lady Gregory, W.B. Yeats, Seán O'Casey, and George Bernard Shaw. Today, most travelers admire the castle from afar, though some do venture inside.More
#6
Aran Islands

Aran Islands

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Set off Ireland’s craggy, wind-battered Atlantic coast on the western edge of Europe, this trio of sparsely populated and starkly beautiful islands is a stronghold of traditional Irish culture. The Aran Islands’ jagged coastal cliffs enclose a patchwork of green fields, where the remnants of ancient stone forts and medieval churches can be seen, while in their one- and two-pub towns, locals trade gossip in Irish Gaelic (Gaeilge) and traditional music sessions last well into the night.More
#7
Galway Bay

Galway Bay

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Flowing in from the Atlantic Ocean on Ireland’s west coast, Galway Bay laps the shores of some of the country’s most picturesque stretches of coastline. With the three windswept Aran Islands at its periphery, the bay meets land at the artsy city of Galway and numerous fishing villages, coastal cliffs, and beaches.More
#8
Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden

Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden

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Standing along the edge of Kylemore Lake, the neo-Gothic Kylemore Abbey and Victorian Walled Garden is every inch a storybook castle. Built in 1868, the abbey’s construction employed grateful locals still reeling from the Irish Potato Famine. Today, the resident Benedictine nuns welcome the public into parts of the abbey and the grounds.More
#9
Dunguaire Castle's Medieval Banquet

Dunguaire Castle's Medieval Banquet

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Dunguaire Castle’s Medieval Banquet offers an evening of music and storytelling along with traditional food and wine. Once the home of noble medieval lords, the 500-year-old castle sits on the southeastern shore of Galway Bay. Today, the picturesque fortress’s medieval-themed banquet hall is the place to go for a fun night of revelry.More
#10
The Spanish Arch

The Spanish Arch

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A Galway landmark on the banks of the River Corrib, the Spanish Arch is the remains of a late 16th century bastion designed to protect the city. Located in the heart of Galway, the Spanish Arch is a short walk from other city landmarks including the Claddagh and the Galway City Museum.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 3 Days in Galway

How to Spend 3 Days in Galway

Cliffs of Moher Tours from Galway

Cliffs of Moher Tours from Galway

How to Spend 1 Day in Galway

How to Spend 1 Day in Galway

Top activities in Galway

Cliffs of Moher Cruise

Cliffs of Moher Cruise

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$18.36
Galway Food Tours

Galway Food Tours

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$88.27
Private Cliffs of Moher Day Tour

Private Cliffs of Moher Day Tour

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$572.54
per group

Recent reviews from experiences in Galway

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I was picked up in Galway and had an...
Brent Lee, Aug 2017
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
There was sufficient time at each stop to see all its beauty.
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Amazing scenery. This is a great...
Margaret C, Feb 2016
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
This is a great day trip even in winter.
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Day Trip
collierriss, Jan 2020
Connemara Day Trip Including Leenane Village and Kylemore Abbey from Galway
My friend and I were staying in Galway for two days, and we knew we wanted to go to see Kylemore Abbey.
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Excellent adventure on the Irish coast
themighty0ne, Sep 2019
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
We then took the ferry down the coast to see the Cliffs of Moher by sea before returning to Doolin to board the coach and walk along the cliffs.
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Great driver/ tour guide. Made the...
Brittany H, Apr 2016
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
Highly recommend this tour to anyone wanting to see beautiful Galway and surrounding area.
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Amazing Excursion -
ocmom1310, Jul 2019
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
We did not have enough time to see the castle or the seal colony - 2 things I really wanted to see,, but the experience was great.
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Well spent day
Noreen L, Jul 2018
Cliffs of Moher and Burren Day Trip, Including Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Cave, and Doolin from Galway
This was a stress free way to see several sites in the West of Ireland.
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I prefer to drive and tour in our car...
Iain B, Oct 2013
Connemara Day Trip from Galway: Kylemore Abbey and Ross Errily Friary
I prefer to drive and tour in our car, however, this was definitely the best way to see Connemara from Galway.
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We combined this with the Aron...
Kevin Q, Jun 2017
Cliffs of Moher, Burren and Wild Atlantic Way day tour from Galway city
The advantage of combining with the island tour is that you get to see the cliffs from the boat prior to being driven up to the top.
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If you want to see Connemara, DO...
Sarah B, Oct 2017
Connemara Day Trip from Galway: Kylemore Abbey and Ross Errily Friary
If you want to see Connemara, DO THIS TOUR.
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Our guide Phil was amazing...
dizneefreak, Sep 2017
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
Phil made the decision to take the coast route on the way back instead of the way up, which really paid off as the views along the coast were awesome, and better to see in the afternoon.
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We booked this day tour in order to...
Roger G, Oct 2017
Connemara Day Trip from Galway: Kylemore Abbey and Ross Errily Friary
We had two hours there, and in that time we had to see the lovely Abbey gardens and head gardener's cottage, which involved waiting for a shuttle to and from, tour the Abbey house itself, visit the great gift shop, and oh yes, eat lunch.
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This tour was amazing! If you go to...
AJ B, Jul 2017
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
He spoke with such enthusiasm and heart that you couldnt help but fall in love with Galway.
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The trip was just perfect! It was...
annapia.ahola, Oct 2017
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
I rented a bike and headed off to see the Plassey shipwreck.
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What a great trip! We had so much...
Sarah D, Aug 2017
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
Then from there we were able to see the beautiful Irish countryside and see the Burren.
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My wife and I went on three day...
pjswainiac88, Apr 2015
Connemara Day Trip from Galway: Kylemore Abbey and Ross Errily Friary
Make sure that you actually want to see and pay 7 extra euros per adult Kylemore Abbey for two reasons: 1 It is incredibly beautiful and very interesting 2 because it is 2 hours almost not enough time!
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My cousin and I thoroughly enjoyed...
Patricia H, Sep 2016
Cliffs of Moher Day Trip from Galway
I would repeat this tour if I have the opportunity to visit Galway again.
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A great value for all that you are...
sarahperz, May 2017
From Galway: Aran Islands & Cliffs of Moher including Cliffs of Moher cruise.
A great value for all that you are able to see and do in a relatively short amount of time.
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