Galway: City of the Tribes

By | Category: Travel destinations

Galway Oyster Festival

Galway, like a lot of Ireland, has seen good and bad times in the last decade. The bad coincided with the ending of the services by Aer Arann to London, Manchester and Edinburgh making it more difficult to visit the city, Connemara and the west coast of Ireland. And this is despite the fact that Galway is Ireland’s fastest growing city. Whether the service comes back in the summer is anyone’s guess so the main way to get there is via rail or bus from Dublin or from flights into Shannon and Knock and then, probably, a hire car.
In the light of this difficulty why would you go there?
Known as the city of tribes or the cultural heart of Ireland, Galway has more arts organisations based in the city than any other city of comparable size in the world and is the home of one of the most prestigious – the Galway Arts Festival which takes place each July.
The city is divided into different areas so Claddagh is the old medieval fishing village area.(one of the big festivals is the Galway International Oyster and Seafood Festival.) Galway has been a thriving port for centuries and today it has visits from cruise ships as well as being a stop on round-the-world yacht races. With this trading pattern maybe it’s not surprising that one tourist spot are the Spanish Arch which were built to help protect the city. And behind the arch is the free Galway City Museum. They are both to be found in the Latin Quarter which is where you are likely to find a lot of the arts organisations, buskers and bars as well.
As a university city there is an abundance of fairly priced restaurants, hotels and events around here.
Outside the city, twenty miles away is Coole Park and Gardens a one thousand acre nature reserve which hosts seasonal lakes fed by spring waters. But here also stood Coole House where Lady Gregory lived, one of the most important figures in modern Irish literature. Through her influence people like W B Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, J M Synge, Edward Martyn and Sean O’Casey visited her at Coole Park and a tree still bears some of their carved names.
Lad Gregory became interested in the language after a trip to the Aran Islands where it was still spoken as the first choice language. You can catch a ferry from Rossaveal, about fifteen miles away from Galway and served by bus. The three islands that make up Aran have accommodation for overnight or longer stays. But the rest of the county and Connemara are full of stunning scenery. That’s why the majority of tourists come. And for the festivals. And the hospitality.
But what of the tribes? That relates to relates to the time when fourteen families of merchants virtually ruled the city for a couple of hundreds of years. Long since ended the city is still known as the city of tribes
For more information click here

image courtesy of Tourism Ireland

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