Explore Galway and the spectacular west coast of Ireland
Discover the breathtaking nature, vibrant culture, compelling history and warm hospitality of Western Ireland, just a short drive from Dublin. Immerse yourself in Galway’s historic ambiance rich in Irish culture and gastronomic treasures. Before hitting the road for your scenic journey along Ireland's western coastline, make sure to read our tips to get the most out of your holiday.
From Dublin to bohemian bliss in just over two hours
Located where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean, Galway is a convenient base for exploring the country’s rugged yet majestic west coast. Known as the cultural capital of Ireland, this bohemian city offers a wide array of options for accommodation and a fantastic food scene. You can visit some of the most incredible places on Ireland’s western shore before heading back to the city to enjoy the excellent restaurant offerings and a good night’s sleep.
Finnair flies to Dublin daily, and Galway is just over a 2-hour drive away from Dublin. If you prefer to use public transportation to get around, the train will be the quickest option to reach Galway from Dublin as it’s only 2.5 hours away. The bus usually takes around 3 hours.
Galway’s idyllic riverside and cultural delights
With 80,000 inhabitants, Galway seems larger than its size based on its cultural scene. You can admire the renaissance style Galway Cathedral that hides remarkable stained glass and marble flooring inside or take a stroll from the Latin Quarter just past the Spanish Arch to spot all the colourful residential homes along The Long Walk. Alternatively, you can spend the day wandering around the cobblestone streets exploring local design, historical buildings and independent bookshops. On sunny days, the locals tend to gather around the gushing waters of the River Corrib to bask in the sun and soak in the spectacular views.
Traditional tunes in local pubs
The city’s pubs and restaurants are concentrated in three areas within walking distance of each other: the Latin Quarter, the West End and Salthill by the Sea. Several Galway pubs offer live Irish music in the evenings. Local musicians sit in the middle of the crowd and play traditional instruments without loudspeakers, and occasionally someone sings. The Crane in the Westend of Galway and Tigh Chóilí in the Latin Quarter are great locations for catching some traditional tunes over a pint of Guinness.
Magical excursions beyond the city
Galway is an excellent base for day trips to the surrounding area. If you prefer to skip renting a car, you can take part in the trips of the local tour operator Lally Tours. The most popular and famous day trip destination is the Cliffs of Moher. Also known as a filming location for Harry Potter, the magical cliffs stretch for about 14 kilometres and rise up to 214 metres above sea level. There is also a well-marked hiking trail along the entire stretch of coastline connecting the charming villages of Doolin and Liscannor. The route is highly popular with bird watchers, too.
Another good day trip destination is the Aran Islands. The three Aran Islands are called Inishmore, Inishmaan and Inisheer and they are an excellent destination for hikers. Treat yourself to spectacular views with a visit to the World Heritage Site of Dun Aonghasa on the edge of a steep cliff, take in the traditional Irish language (Gaeilge) still spoken on the islands, and bring home an iconic souvenir – a traditional Aran jumper.
Connemara National Park, known for its cute ponies, is easily accessible from Galway either by car or by public transport. Connemara has many walking routes and is also home to the 725m tall Benbaun, the highest peak in County Galway. Before you embark on your Connemara adventure, make sure to check the weather as the region is no stranger to frequent bouts of wind and rain, much like the rest of Ireland.
Finnair flies to Dublin daily. The train journey from Dublin to Galway takes three hours.