Galway´s relaxed and fun atmosphere is perfectly shown in its weekend market. This incredibly lively and colourful market attracts thousands of tourists every year, thanks to its splendid location next to the medieval church of St. Nicholas on Lombard Street.
The church is well worth a visit as it is considered to be the largest and best preserved medieval parish church in Ireland, dedicated to the patron saint of sailors, St Nicholas of Myra, built in 1320. It is said that Christopher Columbus prayed inside this church in 1477.
In the market you will find people chatting around the bustling stalls and a myriad of colours, smells and tastes.
As well as local cheeses and meats, the international influence of Mediterranean produce is also evident. Grab a basket and buy what you need for a picnic!
Be prepared to enjoy fresh local produce or even find tasty sushi or delicious crepes, as well as handmade biscuits and artisan chocolates.
Among the spices, Madras curry is the most popular.
At the market you can have something for lunch if you wish, or you can buy to take away. You can also take the opportunity to buy some original and uniquely Irish souvenirs. And if you don´t want to go shopping, it is possible to come to the market to just meet local craftsmen and listen to them discuss the issues. Mingle with the people enjoying a universe of aromas and colours that will open up your senses.
The market is easily accessible on foot, from the central Eyre Square, just over 500m away. It is open all year round, Saturdays from 08.00 to 18.00 and Sundays and public holidays from 12.00 to 18.00.
In July and August it is open on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 12.00 to 18.00.
A stroll through the market will be a real pleasure.
LET´S HAVE SOME TASTY... FISH AND CHIPS!
And if we get hungry... why not try a classic Irish dish? We are referring to the typical fish and chips, an iconic dish of the British Isles. A cultural symbol. There is no better place than Mc Donaghs, located at 22 Quay Street (not to be confused with McDonalds). Here, four generations of this family have been dedicated since 1902 to the restaurant business and to this well-known dish.
It was the great-grandmother who started the business. When the fish sellers used to stand in the main street of Galway with their goods on their heads in a wicker basket, she went one step further and opened a fish shop. It quickly became very busy and gradually turned into a restaurant that continues to operate from one generation to the next.
Today the cod comes from Iceland, the potatoes from England and the butter and beer for the batter comes from Wales and for many Irish people it is the restaurant with the best fish and potato combination on the island.
The Irish love this tuber and even more this combination, although the dish was invented in England.
It was first served in 1860, when the first establishment opened in London, introduced by a Jewish immigrant from Portugal and Spain in the 17th century, as a derivative of the Andalusian "pescaito frito" (fried fish).
To illustrate the importance of this dish, it has even been said that fish and chips helped win the First World War, as it was the food of the working class and was never rationed.
During the Second World War, British soldiers communicated with each other during landings by saying "fish". The answer or password was "chips".
Until 1980 the traditional fish and chips dish was served wrapped in a newspaper, but it was declared dangerous for the food to touch the ink of the paper.
Now in many establishments fish and chips are served wrapped in a layer of thick paper and then in another layer of newspaper.
Address: 22 Quay Street
SHOPPING IN SHOP STREET
Shop Street is the main artery of the historical area of Galway, where most of the city´s leisure activities are concentrated: pubs, restaurants, shops, etc.
The atmosphere of these streets in summer is incredible, full of tourists from all corners of the world and in winter, although a little less, as the cold weather does not make so many people cheer up, but they are still one of the main places to go for a stroll. We find in this street, which is actually three but they are presented as one along practically one kilometre, most of the historical monuments: the Spanish Arch, the Blake´s Castle, the Lynch´s Castle and the Church of St. Nicholas.
Galway is a city with a frequent presence of tourists, so in and around Shop Street there is no lack of the typical small Irish souvenir shop with the typical Irish merchandising products, with their characteristic green colour.
However, if we want to be original, in Galway we have the opportunity to buy some handmade products with a strong local component. The most typical of the area, without a doubt, are the woollen jumpers from the Aran Islands. These are thick, handmade jumpers with different patterns in relief that have their origins in the fishermen of the islands. Although some shops offer industrial imitations, the more traditional shops still have local women who knit them by hand as they have done over the years. The characteristic feature of these jumpers, usually light-coloured and of very coarse wool obtained from local sheep, is the different patterns in relief with which they are woven. Originally, each of the shapes of the jumper fabric was unique to each family.
Traditionally, these jumpers were worn by the fishermen of the Aran Islands when they went out to sea, so that if they were involved in a shipwreck or accident, the wearer could be identified by the pattern of the jumper.
Today, far from being only a fisherman´s garment, knitters can freely combine different types of patterns in the same jumper.
They are usually expensive garments, but totally handmade and personalised. It is even possible to know which person has knitted the jumper. For smaller budgets, there is always the possibility of buying warm local sheep´s wool socks, a scarf or a souvenir ball of yarn - the O´Maille shop on Shop Street is one of the best places to find such products. Celtic jewellery is also popular with tourists, with the Claddagh ring leading the way. This ring is typical of the area and has the particularity that, in former times, its position determined the marital status or sentimental situation of the woman who wore it. There are a few small traditional jewellery shops in the city centre that sell this ring, along with other pieces of local jewellery and costume jewellery.
The large fashion chains are mainly concentrated in the shopping centres. Eyre Square, at the end of Shop Street, is the most important in the city. Like all shopping malls, it is not very attractive, but it is always a good place to take shelter on a rainy afternoon. Incidentally, for anyone who hasn´t been properly protected from the rain, you can pick up a mackintosh for cheap at the local version of Primark, called Penney´s.
Address: Shop Street
This iconic but very simple monument is one of Galway´s icons. It is probably one of the most photographed places in the city. It doesn´t exactly stand out for its spectacular nature, but nobody leaves the city without immortalising themselves next to it.
Situated on the left bank of the River Corrib, the Spanish Arch is one of Galway´s historic gems, dating back to the Middle Ages.
It was built in 1584, but is actually an extension of the city wall built by the Normans in the 12th century, which stretched from Martin´s Tower to the river bank. Its function was to protect the ships moored at the city´s docks which were located next to the area that was known as the fish market and is now known as the Spanish parade.
The name is probably a reference to the old merchant trade with Spain and the Spanish galleons, which often docked there.
In medieval times, European ships carrying wine and spices sold their wares at the docks. In fact, Christopher Columbus visited the city in 1477.
Today through the Spanish Arch from Spanish Parade you can access the Galway City Museum and the Long Walk promenade.
The Long Walk used to be the place where boatmen dried their ropes and sails after a day at sea. The Long Walk has become famous in recent years for being featured in the video of the famous pop singer, Ed Sheeran, "Galway Girl". Before Ed Sheeran became famous, he used to play music on the streets of Galway.
The Long Walk was built in the 18th century alongside the docks whose arches were partially destroyed in the 1755 Lisbon tsunami.
Galway, which was capital of culture in 2020, has historically always had a close trading relationship with both Spain and Portugal due to its location in Western Europe. The Dublin ruling class once said that "Galway is more Spanish than Irish" due to the number of Spaniards who settled here.
Address: The Long Walk, 2
Buried in a mass grave in Forthill Cemetery, Galway, lie over 300 sailors, soldiers and nobles who were ordered executed by the English Viceroy of Ireland, William FitzWilliam on the 9th October 1588.
FitzWilliam and his deputy were responsible for the murder of possibly over 1000 shipwrecked Invincible Armada sailors in Ireland, including over 300 executed at Galway.
Fierce storms off the Irish coast in September 1588 caused several Spanish ships to be wrecked off the west coast of Ireland. Many of the survivors were imprisoned in Galway Gaol.
In early October 1588, Galway Gaol was overcrowded with between 300 and 400 prisoners, many of them sick. Fitz William, who had very few troops to control and guard this prison and fearing a possible uprising, ordered the prisoners to be stripped of all valuables and then executed either by hanging or by knife.
The more than 300 prisoners left the Galway jail on 9 October 1588 and were paraded through the streets of Galway to the abandoned Augustinian monastery on the outskirts of the city, where they were unceremoniously executed. The people of Galway, though inclined to support the English for the most part, were shocked by this slaughter and it was the men of Galway who gave them a decent burial, while their wives made shrouds to wrap their bodies in.
Today, now that the convent has been demolished, we know very roughly where the bodies are buried, as the cemetery of St. Augustine´s Monastery has remained in use from the 16th century to the present day.
If you want to visit the mass grave area, Forthill Cemetery is a short walk from Galway city centre. On the entrance wall, on the left hand side, a plaque donated by the Mapfre Foundation echoes these facts.
Address: Lough Atalia Rd.
TAKE A DIP IN THE ATLANTIC OCEAN
Being right on the Atlantic Ocean, Galway has an intimate relationship with the sea. This relationship is most evident in the small seaside suburb of Salthill, where locals often take advantage of the 2km boardwalk to take a stroll along the sea. You can even go for a swim if you dare! Considering the temperature of the Atlantic water, this is something reserved for only the bravest.
Tradition has it that you should kick the wall at the end of the boardwalk for good luck and get into the water. But if you don´t feel like doing that -as we´ve said it´s a plan for the intrepid-, just order a fish and chips with a pint of beer, sit on the beach and watch the light change over the Atlantic.
One of the best things of sitting here is to watch as Aeolus draws the clouds into impossible shapes, the sun paints them at sunset and then lets them fly away.
Sometimes they gather at the end of the road and cover the green top of Blake Hill, where the horizon is lost. At other times, they stain the sky grey, blurring it.
This spectacle can be seen from Galway´s four-kilometre round trip promenade to enjoy its charms doubly.
In the 1860s, Sathill began to become a hotel and tourist area, as the little beaches, which are exposed on the seawall at low tide, began to attract and encourage people to touch the icy waters, even if only with their fingertips.
The Irish here swim every day of the year. Some of them swim in neoprene skins and dive from a yellow diving board, the Blackrock, which is also an amphitheatre for climbing, into the very sky.
There was a time when this structure, a symbol of the neighbourhood, was for men only, but now, if you dare, it is for public and indiscriminate use.
Sathill, in Gaelic means "the road by the sea", Bóthar na Tra, so if you dare to bathe in the Atlantic or contemplate the wind patterns, Sathill is your place.
Eyre Square is Galway´s main square and a meeting place for local people. Although nowadays we can see modern sculptures and the premises of large multinationals in its surroundings, this green space has many years of history. In fact, in the medieval period it was already an open green space where markets were held.
Sitting on a bench on a sunny day, or even in the rain! and enjoying the atmosphere is one of the best things to do in Galway.
The square is officially named J.F. Kennedy, after the former president of the United States. J.F. Kennedy was in Galway in 1963 and gave a speech in this square in front of more than 10,000 people.
The origin of the square comes from the open space in front of a city gate, known as "the green".
The land that became Eyre Square was presented to the city in 1710 by Mayor Edward Eyre, after whom it was named.
In 1801, General Meyrick erected a stone wall around the square, which later became known as Meyrick Square. In the mid-19th century, the entire park was remodelled in the Georgian style.
Of all the attractions in the square, the one that stands out is the fountain portraying the "Galway hooker", which are not, despite what one might think, the local prostitutes, but a traditional fishing boat that was used in Galway Bay.
The hooker was built for the strong tides in the Galway area. It is characterised by a steep bow and a single mast with a mainsail and two foresails. The hooker is usually black and the sails are brown.
These boats came to the United States when the Irish settlers began to need fishing boats, and as they knew how to build Galway hookers quickly, they began manufacturing them, making them the most widely used boats in the world.
The Galway hookers built in the United States were sometimes called Boston hookers or Irish cutters. Funny, isn´t it?
Address: Eyre Square
SOUTH PARK, UNKNOWN AND RELAXING
Situated in the Claddagh area and across the River Corrib we can walk to South Park, known locally as "the marsh". It is an excellent starting point to walk along the famous Salthill promenade, a pleasant promenade where you can watch people playing sports and enjoying a nice day in the sun.
On leaving the Galway City Museum, cross the River Corrib over one of the bridges. We recommend that you see Galway from the other side of the river. From here you´ll have one of the most classic images of the city, with the colourful houses facing the river and the little boats.
It is a place where a large number of swans and other birds congregate, and there is always someone feeding them. If you keep walking, following the river towards the sea, you will soon come to a huge park, South Park.
This is not an well-cured park like Kennedy Park, one of the most central parks in Galway, but a huge green expanse where you can stroll around enjoying the calm of the sea.
Within the park we can also see three football pitches, one of them Gaelic, a rugby pitch, a children´s playground and several benches to sit and relax, as well as areas of flowers, shrubs and lots of greenery.
Although the park is sheltered by the bay, here the Atlantic is already blowing hard against the coast, but on a calm day you´re sure to enjoy sitting on the sand and contemplating the infinity of the ocean in this secluded corner of Galway.
A half hour walk, which if the weather is nice will make for a pleasant stroll where you can watch people play sport and enjoy a nice day in the sun.
There are also two memorials in the park: the one to Celia Griffin, the 7 year old girl who died like so many other children of starvation during the famine, and the one dedicated to the ships that took thousands of Galway people to the United States and Canada to escape the poverty and hunger of Ireland in the 19th century.
Address: South Park, Grattan Road
There is better no place to watch the time go by than the Latin Quarter!
Known fondly as the cultural heart of Galway, it is home to the city´s most popular bars, restaurants, retail shops and cultural attractions.
Locals and visitors alike love to hang out here.
The nightlife in the Latin Quarter is arguably the best in Ireland, with nightly street bands and live bands, cocktail bars and pubs serving the best pint of Guinness. Its selection of restaurants doesn´t disappoint either, from gourmet restaurants to delicious street food - watching the world go by while enjoying a coffee is even a pastime in itself!
It is situated next to some of the city´s most historic landmarks and stretches from the Spanish Arch on Long Walk past O´Brien´s Bridge to St Nicholas Church and back along Buttermilk Lane to An Taibhdhearc on Middle Street.
But, as people say, you´ll know when you´ve arrived in the Latin Quarter!
It is Galway´s most colourful and bohemian neighbourhood. Once a fishing village, today its pedestrianised streets are lined with bars, cafes and restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. At the harbour side entrance to the district there is a beautiful welcome mural. The liveliest street is Quay Street, with charming little colourful houses and terraces on both sides of the street. We also invite you to wander around the rest of the neighbourhood and discover for yourself other charming spots. Besides being one of Galway´s most charming neighbourhoods, when night falls the Latin Quarter also has a lively and welcoming atmosphere, inviting you to sit down in an Irish pub to the rhythm of traditional music and enjoy a cold pint of Guinness. Murphy´s Bar, The Dew Drop Inn or Tig Cóilí are just some of the pubs in the area.
Address : Latin Quarter
Wellcome to Europamundo Vacations, your in the international site of:
Bienvenido a Europamundo Vacaciones, está usted en el sitio internacional de: