Galway, a harbor city on Ireland’s west coast, sits where the River Corrib meets the Atlantic Ocean. The city’s hub is 18th-century Eyre Square, a popular meeting spot surrounded by shops and traditional pubs that often offer live Irish folk music. Nearby, stone-clad cafes, boutiques, and art galleries line the winding lanes of the Latin Quarter, which retains portions of the medieval city walls.
Christopher Columbus allegedly once prayed at 14th-century St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, a 16th-century townhouse Lynch’s Castle is now a bank. Galway has a thriving arts scene, with the Galway International Arts Festival in July, and places such as the Galway Arts Centre and Druid Theatre Company presenting exhibitions and performances year-round. Fresh local oysters, mussels, and other seafood are staples on many restaurant menus. Day trips to the Aran Islands often take in the Dún Aonghasa prehistoric fort on the Inishmore. To the south around Galway Bay is Dunguaire Castle, a 16th-century fortress.