Our Galway adventure was a bit of an unscripted day. I had done a little research and had planned to hike at Connemara National Park a couple hours west of Galway but honestly we were exhausted and needed a bit of a relaxing day. So we decided to head to the Latin Quarter and visit some locations that locals had told us about.
Our first stop was the Spanish Arch. This a remnant of the ancient wall that at one time surrounded Galway. Not much remains in this section of the city but this arch that was built in 1584. This beautiful arch is on the shores of the River Corrib and once protected the quays. There was a busker playing a flute under the arch, the sound and the setting were just beautiful. It is free to visit the arch, this is a small but beautiful historic attraction.
Our hiking guide in the Mourne Mountains suggested that we visit the Hall of the Red Earl while in Galway. This is a 13th century archeological site that is in the middle of Galway. It is thought to have been the first municipal building in the city. The Hall was unearthed in 1997 and has been incorporated into the modern architecture around it. The building on either side are connected with an arch that goes over and protects the exposed site. The street side is protected with a glass wall. The back side is part of a closed off courtyard. This is a free site to visit and I highly suggest making a quick detour to the Hall of the Red Earl. I didn’t take any pictures of the Hall but I did take video, check out the video tour below.
There is a lot of stuff to see in Galway within walking distance. We visited:
- Eyre Square – the official name is actually John F. Kennedy Memorial Park, which I didn’t learn until I got home. Kennedy made a speech at the park in 1963. This is just a public park with some ancient architecture and modern art.
- Kirwan’s Lane – a 16th century medieval lane. We stop at a great little art shop and a pub.
- The Quay – this bar was suggested to us and we stopped in to listen to some music.
- If you are visiting Ireland and want to listen to music, get there early. The places fill up fast. They don’t mind if you sit there and nurse a beer for a while. Besides, the people watching and conversation are great.
I’m not catholic, however the architecture on cathedrals is always worth looking at. Keltin and I made our way to the Galway Cathedral to find that a funeral was finishing up. Obviously, we did not go into the cathedral at that time. Instead we visited a small local park to rest our feet and relax. While we were there a female mallard duck tried to eat my shoelace. I guess she thought it was a word. They birds are clearly scared of people.
Once the service was complete we did head into the cathedral and the inside is beautiful. I really loved the stained glass. Also, check out the impressive pipe organ set with the magnificent rose window. I can imagine the majesty of the music that is played on that instrument.
If you are in Ireland make sure to spend some time in Galway. It is a walkable city that is full of history. Other things that can be done in this part of Ireland is visiting Connemara National Park and visiting the Aran Islands, both of which are on my list for when I get the chance to visit Ireland again. Have you ever been to Galway? If so, what did you think of the city? Let me know in the comments! Remember to leave no trace and safe travels!
Thank you KW Photography for allowing me to use your wonderful photos!
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