HISTORIC SITES & LANDMARKS
The 4 star Clayton Hotel Galway is located just on the outskirts of Galway city in the west of Ireland. Galway is a medieval city bursting with life, energy and vitality. Home to many start up pharma and technology companies, as well as multinational medical device companies it is also known as the capital of arts, culture and festivals.
Clayton Hotel Galway is the perfect base for exploring all of the historical sights and attractions that this wonderful city has to offer visitors. Drive the short distance to Galway city centre, or alternatively, with complimentary parking available at the hotel, leave the car and take the bus 403 into Galway city centre and stroll through the historic, meandering, cobble streets. Galway is still known today as the City of the Tribes, the name referring to 14 important Anglo-Norman merchant families who lived there and dominated the life and trade of the city during the middle ages. The following will give a good indication of some of the many Galway sights and attractions that can be visited whilst here.
Eyre Square is located in the centre of Galway city. It is a historic relaxing area which was originally named in 1710 by Mayor Edward Eyre. In 1963 it was officially renamed “Kennedy Memorial Park” in honour of US President John F. Kennedy, who visited here shortly before his assassination in 1963. Eyre square and its surrounding area is home statues, scenery, shops and restaurant, most notably the Eyre Square Shopping Centre. This centre incorporates sections of the historic city walls as part of its structure. The Browne doorway is another notable feature in Eyre Square as it was originally the doorway of the Browne families home on Lower Abbeygate Street and it was moved in 1905 from Abbeygate Street to Eyre Square. Most recently Eyre Square has been home to a number of major Galway events such as the annual Galway Christmas Market, shows from the Galway International Arts Festival and the Galway Comedy festival. This is also the point where the 403 bus from Clayton Hotel Galway drops guests while on a trip to city centre.
From Eyre Square, William Street and Shop Street are the main routes leading into the bustling Latin Quarter. The area is characterised by buskers, boutiques, unique shops, cafes, bar and restaurants, and is a hive of activity both during the day and at night. Whilst in the Latin Quarter why not visit Thomas Dillon’s Claddagh Gold shop. This is the home of the Claddagh ring. As a symbol of Galway, this ring is in the form of two hands clasping a heart, wearing a crown and is traditionally given in Ireland as a token of love. It is Ireland’s most famous traditional ring. The story of the ring began when a fisherman from the poor fishing community of Claddagh was sold into slavery to a goldsmith. Jonathan Meyers is the owner of this historic shop in Galway. If you pop in he will give you the full history of the ring and show you around his beautiful store. Jonathan and his team are the original Claddagh ring makers, going as far back as 1750, and they’re also the oldest jewellers in Ireland. This is one shop you must go see in Galway. From the Latin Quarter see the famous Lynch’s Castle which is now a bank, but still the grandest 16th Century town house in Galway was owned by the Lynch family.
Shop Street & Quay Street
Stroll along the cobbled, pedestrianised centre of Galway from Shop Street onto Quay Street. As you continue down Shop St, you can’t miss the statue of Oscar Wilde, sitting on a bench in conversation with Estonian writer Eduard Wilde. This is the perfect opportunity for a true Galway photo. Quay Street has many small craft shops and restaurants and also two famous pubs, The Quay’s which is famed for its traditional music sessions and Tigh Neachtain, where the old interior with its little ‘snugs’ or booths is a real beauty.
St. Nicholas’ Church
A side street from Lynch’s Castle leads to St. Nicholas Collegiate Church. This is Galway’s finest medieval building. Founded in 1320, following damage in the 15th and 16th century it was extended. It is 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 always welcome.
Galway Farmers’ Market
Galway’s famous street market has been trading Galway by St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church for centuries. The market is open all year round on Saturdays from 8.00am – 6.00pm. On Sundays and Bank Holidays you can stroll through the stalls from 12.00pm – 6.00pm. In Galway’s Farmers Market you can find many locals selling organic produce and handmade crafts. One of the markets most famous stalls include donuts, they are made right in front of you with which ever toppings you so please. To find out about Galway this is the best place to meet local people and hear stories of the city from the locals. Grab a coffee and get lost in this beautiful market and pick up some Galway jewels.
The Spanish Arch
The beautiful Spanish Arch was built in 1584, and is located on the banks of the river Corrib. It was originally an extension of the famous city walls, and was designed specifically to protect the quays. The Spanish Arch is home to the Galway City Museum.
At the end of Quay Street, just across the River Corrib you can explore the beautiful, quaint village of The Claddagh. The name of the Claddagh area is based on the Irish word “cladach”, meaning a stony beach. Throughout the centuries, the Claddagh people kept Galway City supplied with fish, which they sold on the square in front of the Spanish Arch. The traditions of this place remain in Irish heritage today these include the claddagh ring which is a heart being clasped by two hands representing friendship.
Salthill beach is a popular tourist attraction with young and old alike. It is located approximately 2km from Galway City and encompasses several small sandy and pebbled beaches. With a total distance of 3 miles. It is a popular beach for walking, swimming and relaxing and is home to Galway Atlanta Aquarium and Leisureland complex. Locals and tourists alike can be seen participating in the local tradition of ‘kicking the wall’ at Blackrock near the end of the Promenade. Enjoy beautiful scenery overlooking the astonishing Cliffs of Moher. The beach itself has been dual awarded, achieving the International Blue Flag and Green Coast Award status 2015.
The amazing Galway Cathedral is located on the banks of the River Corrib in Galway city. The expansive stone Cathedral was completed 1965 making it the youngest of Europe’s great stone cathedrals. It was built of local limestone. Inside columns shoot up into the ceiling, transforming into curved arches that support a gigantic dome. The cathedral displays an interesting mix of Renaissance, Romanesque and Gothic characteristics. This is a must see for any visit to Galway.
Corrib Princess Cruise
A short stroll from the Cathedral you will reach Woodquay. The famous Corrib Princess sails from Woodquay along the majestic River Corrib onto Lough Corrib. Irelands second largest lake providing visitors with unsurpassed views and natural amenities that make this the most spectacular waterway in Ireland. The Corrib Princess takes you past castles and various sites of both historical and cultural interest. Enjoy a 90 minute cruises throughout the year. It is a wonderful activity for an individual, a group or a family.
This is not an exhaustive list of everything Galway City centre and its surroundings has to offer, but it does give a strong indication of how one can enjoy a day or a couple of days in this magical city. If you require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the reception team here at Clayton Hotel Galway who would be happy to assist. Why not book a room now to experience the local attractions that Galway has to offer.