Galway and Surroundings

The city is also well known for its many festivals throughout the year with huge crowds gathering for the annual Galway Arts Festival, Races, and numerous other events.

Old Ireland is present too with turf fires and traditional music featuring in many pubs to compliment your enjoyment of a well-earned pint of Guinness. Take an evening stroll along the promenade and watch the sunset over Galway Bay or watch the salmon fishermen in the River Corrib from the perfect vantage point of the Salmon Weir Bridge.

With Galway City, a true Renaissance city as its hub, the West offers a diverse set of experiences for every visitor. From the sunsets over Galway Bay to the rocky shores of the Aran Islands, and the enchanting locales of “Quiet Man” country.

Follow the trails of Connemara National Park, tour the great museums, watch craftspeople make hand-knit sweaters and other traditional crafts, sip a cup of tea beside a turf fire, or listen to the Irish language being spoken and sung. Galway provides glimpses of Ireland as it used to be, while also having a thriving urban center at its heart.

12 Places to Visit in Galway

1) Kirwan’s Lane

One of the finest medieval laneways in Galway, Kirwan’s Lane, located in what is now referred to as The Latin Quarter contains many relics of 16th and 17th-century architecture. It is at the center of the area that was originally within the city walls and is named after the Kirwan’s, one of Galway’s fourteen “tribes” – the families who ruled the town for several centuries. The area has been significantly restored over the years and has rejuvenated the heart of Galway’s historical town center.

2) Galway City Museum

Situated behind the famous Spanish Arch, Galway City Museum houses exhibitions that 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.

3) The Bridge Mills

The Bridge Mills is a commanding building on the banks of the Corrib and marks the starting point of the area known as ‘Galway’s Westend‘. Restored a few years ago with high regard for its aesthetic and historical features, the 430-year-old Bridge Mills is now the location of the language school and restaurant.

4) The Claddagh

The Claddagh or ‘A Cladach’ meaning ‘the shore’, is a notable area in Galway, on the western side of the city. The Claddagh was once an ancient fishing village, dating from the fifth century. This community, most of whom sold their daily catches at the market near the Spanish Arch, lived in thatched cottages. They sailed in the famous Galway Hooker boats and spoke Irish. They even had their own king, who led the fishing fleet and settled disputes in the community.

5) Galway Hooker Boat

The Galway Hooker boats, with their instantly recognizable dark red or rusty brown sails, are a common feature of life on Galway Bay. Renowned for their beauty and resilience these ‘workhorses of the west’ are an iconic symbol of Galways’ enduring relationship with the sea. Their name is derived from ‘hook and line fishing, which involved long lines of baited hooks being dragged behind the boat with fish being caught when they took the bait. The main purpose of the boats was primarily to fish and carry loads of turf, livestock, general supplies, seaweed, poitín (an illegal whiskey), and lime (which was used in building mortars, hide preparation for leather making, lime wash, and for waterproofing walls with whitewash).

6) St. Nicholas’ Church

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. Beyond the church gates, the busy Saturday market provides a good opportunity to explore a myriad of colorful and aromatic stalls where you’ll find a unique gift or souvenir to remember your visit to Galway.

7) Galway Cathedral

Located on Nun’s Island, on the west bank of the River Corrib near Salmon Weir Bridge, Galway Cathedral is one of the largest and most dominating buildings in Galway. Construction of the Cathedral began in 1958 and was completed in 1965. It is located on the site of the former city jail and features a dome at a height of 145ft. It was the last large church in Ireland to be made from stone and features a huge octagonal dome that complements the skyline of the City of Galway. Inside the visitor will find the rose windows and wall paintings, which echo the broad tradition of Christian art, particularly impressive.

8) The Latin Quarter

The Latin Quarter of Galway City extends from the Spanish Arch to O’Brien’s Bridge to St Nicholas’ Church to Middle Street and features many well fine examples of the city’s medieval heritage. It is home to many of Galway’s best-known shops, pubs, restaurants, and hotels along with historic buildings. All along the short cobblestoned stretch of the road, known as High Street are small, interesting unique shops. Kilkenny Shop has a good range of goods, especially knits and pottery. Galway Woollen Market will sell you the wool to knit your own sweater or jacket.

9) Connemara

They say when you visit Connemara you “experience the real beauty of Ireland”. It’s located in the northwest corner of County Galway and is an area of desolate beauty, incredible scenery, and some interesting attractions, which combine to make Connemara a really beautiful place and a place close to the hearts of Irish people and visitors alike.

10) The Cliffs of Moher

The extraordinary Cliffs of Moher, undoubtedly Ireland’s top visitor attraction, tower high over West Clare’s wild Atlantic coastline. Standing 214 meters above the raging ocean at their highest point, the cliffs stretch for 8 jagged kilometers along the Clare coastline. From them, you can see astonishing vistas. To the north and west are the Aran Islands, Galway Bay, the Twelve Bens Mountains, and the Maam Turk Mountain Range.

To the south, there is a beautiful impressive Loop Head with the Kerry coast lurking in the mist beyond it. A top of the iconic Cliffs of Moher sits O’Brien’s Tower, yet another of Ireland’s most photographed landmarks, and it holds steadfast against the winds and the relentless Atlantic onslaught to guard the coast from Spanish galleons and warring tribes.

11) Islands of Galway

Any visit to the west of Ireland should include a visit to one of the 7 islands off the West coast which consist of the 3 Aran Islands of Inis Mór, Inis Meáin, and Inis Oírr, and further north to Inishbofin, Inishturk, Clare Island, and beyond to Achill Island off the coast of Mayo. Island life is difficult to describe and impossible to forget. Life moves that little bit slower on these islands, and stress is much less than on the mainland.

However, there are still many activities to do: you can visit historical sites, go cycling, horse riding, or walking, take in the breathtaking scenery and spend time in the many visitor centers, and take part in local music, art, craft, and walking festivals.

12) Towns and Villages of County Galway

County Galway is truly one of the most beautiful counties in Ireland. It makes a fantastic tourist destination, as it has so much to offer. It has a spectacularly rugged coastline dotted with islands and villages, a vast wilderness of bog, mountains, and rivers, blankets of green fields with hidden historical treasures, and a lively city that oozes with atmosphere, culture, heritage, and friendly people.

Our Cultural Activities

The following free time activities are included in the price of the courses in Galway:

  • one guided tour of the city
  • one full-day excursion (on Saturday)

Our walking tour of Galway

We offer one free walking tour of Galway city center each week. Led by a member of staff, the walking tour introduces you to Galway’s history, culture, and cuisine. Pass by Shop street, St Nicholas’ Church, Eyre Square, and much more. You’ll see many of the city’s pubs and restaurants where the famous Galway nightlife happens. Last but not least, enjoy a pint of Guinness in one of our many busy Irish pubs!

Our full-day excursion

After five days of lessons, it is time for the weekend and time to relax. For you and your colleagues who meet on our courses, we offer trips to some of the most beautiful surrounding areas. Do not miss the opportunity to participate in these all-inclusive tours, with professional guides, tickets, and transportation included!

Participants can choose among any of the following excursions, usually held on Saturday.

Cliffs of Moher and Burren

Experience the rugged coastlines, windswept landscapes, rare flora, and Irish culture that make The Burren unique. Explore the most popular sights of Ireland’s west coast on our professional guided day tour to the Cliffs of Moher and the Burren and visit some of the lovely villages and towns along the way including Kinvara, Dunguaire Castle, Aillwee Cave, Lisdoonvarna, Corkscrew Hill, Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, Wild Atlantic Way, Coastal Road, and Blackhead Lighthouse.

Connemara

Connemara is known worldwide for its wild landscape of mountains and lakes, and the strong cultural traditions of music, language, and storytelling. It is often the most overlooked and underrated region of Ireland and is often a true hidden gem. As you travel from Galway, listen to your expert driver/guide share the origin of the Irish language and how it is still the native language of Connemara, despite its diminishing status in the rest of Ireland.

Visit iconic Irish landmarks independently and discover rivers and lakes that flow off The Twelve Pins Mountain Range to naturally shape this majestic region. You’ll surely see reasons why Hollywood directors chose Connemara as backdrops to movies such as The Field (written by John B. Keane, starring Richard Harris and John Hurt) and most recently, Marley & Me (starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston).

Aran Islands

Aran Islands are a group of three rocky islands located in Galway Bay. The islands include Inishmore (Inis Mór – the largest island), Inishmaan (Inis Meáin – the second largest), and Inisheer (Inis Oírr – the smallest). On the islands, you can explore ancient stone forts and churches, awesome cliffs, and flora and fauna. Visit the main town of Kilronan on Inis Mor and rent a bike, horse-drawn carriage or walk to the famous cliffs and Dun Aengus fort. Learn to speak some Irish along the way!

About the Training Centre in Galway

One of the unique features of our teacher training center is its location in The Bridge Mills, an 18th-century mill situated on the River Corrib in the center of Galway. From the school windows there is a superb view of the river below with its colonies of swans and wild birds, and in the distance, Galway Bay and the hills of Co. Clare.

The school is located a few steps away from many bars and restaurants and a few meters from the historic pedestrian city center of Galway. The school’s location is also within easy walking distance to all of the city’s main attractions.

The school began in 1987 as a small group of teachers wishing to bring academic excellence and a high standard of personal attention to students visiting from overseas to study English in Galway. Over the past 34 years, we have expanded to our present year-round, adult school of 20+ teachers and on average 150 students per week (full and part-time), but we have never forgotten the principles of the early school. 

How to Reach Us

We are located in the city center of Galway and only 10 minutes on foot from the main Bus and Rail stationCourses in Galway are held in the Galway Language Centre, The Bridge Mills, Galway City, Ireland, H91 R1WF.

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