As part of our day tour from Dublin with the Wild Rover Tours, last stop was the medieval city of Galway after visiting Cliffs of Moher and Burren. We had 2 hours in hand to explore this city before we head back to Dublin. For the first 30 minutes, after we arrived in Galway our guide gave us a walking tour and then we were free on our own to explore.
Hungry much since we skipped our lunch at Cliffs of Moher we thought of eating first, so we headed looking out for a restaurant seeking for some vegetarian food. But to my disappoint since Galway is a coastal town all we cloud find in every restaurant is seafood. Hence, I ended up having just the onion rings and some coffee.
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So, this medieval city lies in the west of Ireland on the mouth of the River Corrib, in the county of Connacht and we were informed that this is known as the “most Irish city” in Ireland. Centuries ago, this was just a small fishing village and when Normans invaded Connacht somewhere around early 13th century it came under the rule of Richard de Burgo, who was also called as the Red Earl and after this, the development of the city took off. I also learnt that Galway was ruled by 14 merchant families, who were known as the “Tribes of Galway” during the medieval ages.
As we entered the city my first view was its charming harbor with picturesque, colorful buildings in the background.
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Our first stop on our guided walking tour was the Spanish Arch, built in 1584 which is actually the remnant parts of the medieval Galway’s city walls. It is more commonly known as the Ceann na Bhalla (The Head of the Wall). Currently, this arch houses the Galway city museum, it once acted to protect the quay while the ships with goods from Spain was being unloaded, hence the name Spanish Arch. The city had developed a good international trading relationship with Spain and France and was an important Irish port during the medieval times and it’s quite interesting to know that Christopher Columbus had visited Galway in 1477.
We then walked towards the narrow and crowded Quay street where I got the answer why Galway is known as the most Irish city of Ireland. I could see a number of quaint cafes, busy restaurants and lively pubs lined on either side of the street, playing the most Irish music. Though it was bit crowded I loved walking through this street, capturing the beauty of the place making sure I was avoiding the passersby coming in my frame, well it was not successful all the time.
As we passed through this brightly colored buildings we came across the only building still existing from the medieval times, the Lynch’s castle which stands strongly showcasing its visitors the glory of the city during its heydays. Lynch’s castle is one of the most finest town castle built in Irish Gothic style, which belonged to one the wealthy merchant tribe the family and I was disappointed to learn that now its operates as Allied Irish Bank.
Our next stop was the 14th century St. Nicholas’ Church, built in the dedication to St. Nicholas of Myra (Santa Claus), who is a patron saint of children and seafarers. This is Ireland’s largest medieval parish church which is still in use and during his visit, Christopher Columbus had prayed in this church.
Walking through these streets we got to see the traces of the old glories of this ancient city through its historical monuments and buildings alongside how it evolved over the years to be called a Vibrant City.
Hope you guys enjoyed reading our post, do leave us a comment on your thoughts about Galway!
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