County Galway / Co. Gaillimh
GALWAY CITY Known as the folk capital of the west Galway has a unique vibrancy and visitors arrive ready for enjoyment, the music and the 'crack'. It is, at the moment, Europe's fastest growing city, with constant renovations taking place, with the expanding number of shops and restaurants to cater for the increase in visitors and students alike giving the impression of a 'boom town'. The last two weeks in July is a great time to be in the city when the Galway Arts Festival takes place; when those practitioners of theatre, music, poetry and the visual arts combine to create a festival jamboree. (Be sure your accommodation is booked as the festival is followed by the Galway Races) drawing more people into the city and again, at the end of September, when the Oyster Festival completes the festivities. Today Galway is a modern thriving city with a University, Technical College and an Airport. The traveller should visit Eyre Square, dating from 1630, when it was just a 'plot of green'; now Galway's public park and still holds the Eyre name although it was officially titled the John F. Kennedy Park in honour of the former U.S. President who was made a free man of the city during his 1963 visit. It is nice to know that, with all the new growth, Galway still manages to keep much of its medieval old world charm. Galway is so old that the meaning of its name is unknown.
The seaside resort of Galway is known as Salthill and the village of Barna is on the coast road. This has been the traditional seaside resort for generations and its attractions are numerous. Leisureland has an indoor swimming pool, diving, board-sailing, jet-skiing, night-clubs, pubs, music and dancing and amusement arcades. It is within the city boundaries and has a promenade about 3 miles long. Restaurants are available and an 18-hole golf links at the end of the promenade. Barna village has retained its old world character and is in a Connemara landscape. Here, just five minutes from Salthill, the visitor has the opportunity to enjoy the facilities of Galway and Salthill and the peace and tranquillity of the countryside; together with good restaurants, two pubs, and a little fishing harbour. The traveller will find Connemara wild and beautiful, it lies between Lough Corrib in the east, the Atlantic Ocean in the west and Galway Bay to the south. The route by the River Corrib and the lake goes through Moycullen village, a rural wooded area convenient to the city. The second route from Galway is through Barna on the coast road, a rather lovely drive through an Irish-speaking area. The traveller will go through several villages, each just a little different to the other; some with excellent beaches and fishing, pubs and music; the traditional village again with good restaurants and a lively night-life, a fishing village with a craft centre, great seafood and beaches; through another village where the Irish language and the old traditions remain unchanged. Famous for its restaurants is Clifden, capital of Connemara, the choice never ends and there is varied night life; then the village with a protected harbour and the departure point for the ferry to Inishbofin. It seems that all roads lead to the sea and to the Aran Islands. The Islands consist of three separate islands spreading across the mouth of Galway Bay - Inishmore the largest of the three, has a history lost in time. Inishman is the middle island and Inisheer (the Eastern Island). And the one thing perhaps remembered by all visitors are the dry stone walls, mile after mile, seemingly never-ending. It is very difficult to leave these lovely islands.
The Eastern part of County Galway is not as well known to the visitor as Galway City and the Aran Islands. The area has a rolling landscape with the Slieve Aughty Mountains in the south, the River Shannon (Lough Derg) in the east and Galway Bay to the west. There are many attractive country towns worth visiting along with many historic sites and monuments.
Few sites can be more beautiful than looking out over Galway Bay at sunset on a Sumer's evening, with many viewing spots where you can see nature's show at its best. The main Galway / Dublin N6 and Galway / Limerick / Cork N18 roads pass through this part of Galway county so why do some exploring as you are passing through.