Anyone who has visited Galway knows that for its relatively small size, it packs a punch. The fourth largest city in the Republic of Ireland with a population of over 80,000, the city is a rarity with many tourist attractions easily accessible, located centrally and within walking distance.
A vibrant arts and culture hub – the city celebrated its status at European Capital of Culture in 2020 – with restaurants and pubs aplenty, there are no shortage of activities to keep visitors entertained.
There are some lesser known facts about the city – home of Galway Tour Company, that may make your visit here even more interesting.
- In 1477, famed Italian explorer and navigator Christopher Columbus visited the city. No records exist to show whether he sampled McDonagh’s fish and chips while he was here!
- St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in the heart of the city is over 700 years old and is the largest medieval parish church in Ireland.
- Lynch’s castle, formerly a residence of one of the Mayors of Galway, is located between Shop Street and Abbeygate Street. Recognisable now as the AIB bank, it is the oldest building in Ireland still in active use.
- The Great Famine (1845-47) affected Galway more than many other counties. An estimated 20% of the city’s population died.
- The popular sporting ballad, ‘The Fields of Athenry’ refers to ‘Michael’ from Athenry, Galway who, subjected to extreme poverty during the famine, stole food to support his family and in consequence for his actions, was sent off to a penal colony in Australia.
- The River Corrib – popular with kayakers and swans – is the second-fastest flowing river in Europe clocking a speedy 3 metres every second. Title of fastest flowing river goes a little further North to the River Foyle in Derry.
- Galway contains the largest Gaeltacht – Irish speaking – communities in Ireland. Many parents send their children off during the summer for several weeks to immerse themselves in the language, tradition and culture.
Of course, you don’t need to be an Irish teenager to experience the Irish language and customs. At Galway Tour Company, we can transport you to places and offer experiences that can reveal our origins and what life was like for previous generations.
Whether it be the unspoilt Aran Islands, hiring a pony and trap to take in the beach views or stopping off for a fresh fish and chips in the fishing village of Doolin with the locals, there’s plenty on offer for those who venture outside their door.
You can learn more about the various half and day tours we have available by checking out our tours page.