Hotels in Galway

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A gem of art, theater, music and all things bohemian, Galway’s rich Celtic cultural heritage and swelling student population makes it a party town with substance. From the improvising ranks of the traditional Irish folk musicians who crowd into the snugs of its pubs to jam, to the fresh oysters which make the perfect accompaniment to a pint of the black stuff, Galway’s a buzzy carnival of idyllic sights, rich smells and lively sounds. Throw in a bustling mass of flagship shops, and the breathtaking spectacle of Galway Bay, and you have a unique cocktail of tradition, retail and escapism.

Things to see

At the center of Galway’s impressive shopping area stands the part-pedestrianized Eyre Square, which is bordered by some of the many chain shops and department stores which give the city its reputation as one of Ireland’s capitals of commerce. As well as providing an open space to catch your breath during retail therapy, the square’s the ideal showcase for some of the city’s art, with modern abstract sculptures rubbing shoulders with a bust of John F Kennedy. Slightly out of the center, on the Left Bank of the River Corrib, stands the Spanish Arch – a reminder of the city’s merchant past when it was a thriving port and had good reason to be concerned about looters coming onto its shores. The Arch is now home to Galway City Museum. For a serious change of pace, you could take a flutter at Galway Race Course, especially during the seven-day Galway Races festival each July.

Hotels in Galway

If you decide you’d like to see Galway in luxury, you’ll be able to find five-star style in both the city center - with hotels which offer rooftop bars, steam rooms, saunas and fitness centers – and further out towards the coast with seaside views and balconies. Away from the top end, there are a whole host of mid-range hotels in Galway which offer WiFi, concierge services and business facilities, and which range from chain hotels in the city center to more boutique country-manor style guesthouses. Depending on your preference for sea air or shop proximity, you’ll find plenty of choice and value in Galway.

Where to stay

The center of Galway is a heady mix of the old and new, thanks to the remnants of its medieval buildings which are incorporated into everyday life in the city and the youthful population. A university city, Galway’s as much about artisanal stalls selling local specialities like Aran jumpers as it is brightly coloured bars and modern shops. Staying in the center’s convenient, but noisy, especially during summer when tourists make the narrow streets hard to navigate. Suburban Salthill, from where you can look across the bay to the Burren and sample sea air, is a more peaceful experience, still within easy reach of the center.

How to get to

Despite Galway’s modern, buzzy center it’s more difficult to access than some European cities. Galway Station runs five trains a day to and from Dublin, which take about three hours, while other parts of the country are connected via Athlone. A cheaper alternative is the coach, which runs into the station near Eyre Square and offers journey times of around three and a half hours to Dublin. Galway Airport can be reached via a number of UK cities, and runs a park and ride scheme into Galway center. The nearest major international airport to Galway is Shannon, which offers a greater range of connections to Europe.

Galway travel guides

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